Posted in Book Review, Literary Fiction

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die -Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay 4* #Review @JohnMurrays #LiteraryFiction

At eighteen, Somlata married into the Mitras: a once noble Bengali household whose descendants have taken to pawning off the family gold to keep up appearances.

When Pishima, the embittered matriarch, dies, Somlata is the first to discover her aunt-in-law’s body – and her sharp-tongued ghost.

First demanding that Somlata hide her gold from the family’s prying hands, Pishima’s ghost continues to wreak havoc on the Mitras. Secrets spilt, cooking spoilt, Somlata finds herself at the centre of the chaos. And as the family teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, it looks like it’s up to her to fix it.

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die is a frenetic, funny and fresh novel about three generations of Mitra women, a jewellery box, and the rickety family they hold together.

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I received a copy of this book from John Murray Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The description attracted me to this book, it was first published in 1993.

Somlata marries into an aristocratic, but cash poor Bengali family, who still have noble aspirations and therefore do not understand the concept of earning a living. To live, they sell off their assets, but even this income source is now in jeopardy. The family lives traditionally in a large house, according to hierarchy. When the matriarch dies, something has to change.

Somlata discovers Roshomoyee’s body, and also her ghost, and a quirky tale of strange occurrences, superstition and change begin. Somlata is effectively the conduit for the ghost’s wishes, and this empowers her and makes her a feared by some members of her new family. Her actions directed by the deceased Aunt bring the family to its lowest ebb, but her sense of empowerment grows and she becomes the key to their survival.

Three generations of women are featured; Roshomoyee, the aunt by marriage who was married and widowed very young, and feels she has been robbed of her rightful life, Somlata, who is bright and brave, and with a little ghostly help, changes all their lives for the better. Boshon is Somlata’s daughter, who believes in herself and her rights, and is not afraid to push against the family’s patriarch model. Interestingly Roshomoyee’s ghost diminishes when Somlata has her daughter?

The story is short but packed with detail, cultural references and family drama, it is humorous in parts and poignant in others. The style takes a little getting used to but it is an interesting story of tradition and female empowerment.

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While You Sleep -Stephanie Merritt – 5*Review

 

It begins, they say, with a woman screaming…

On a remote Scottish island, the McBride house stands guard over its secrets. A century ago, a young widow and her son died mysteriously there; just last year a local boy, visiting for a dare, disappeared without a trace.

For Zoe Adams, newly arrived from America, the house offers a refuge from her failing marriage. But her peaceful retreat is disrupted by strange and disturbing events: night-time intrusions; unknown voices; a constant sense of being watched.

The locals want her to believe that these incidents are echoes of the McBrides’ dark past. Zoe is convinced the danger is closer at hand and all-too-real – but can she uncover the truth before she is silenced?

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My Thoughts…

Gothic and creepy this story has all the components of a gripping, intense psychological thriller;  the unreliable protagonist, the lines between imagination and reality blurred and a cast of characters, any of whom could be the antagonist.  Where it differs is its quirky, supernatural content, which  I loved. Combined with a vivid, gothic setting it introduces an added dimension into the plot, increasing the tension and drawing the reader into a living nightmare of past and present.

Zoe’s arrival on the island is shrouded in mystery, is she running away from a dominating husband or trying to escape herself and her secrets? The village appears friendly and gossipy, as you imagine living in a small community would be, but the house she is renting has a tragic past, but is this fact or fable? Everyone has an opinion but whose can she trust?

There is a disturbing, sexual thread to this story that increases the menace and brings Zoe’s state of mind into question. The sensual scenes are well written, but the implicit threat to Zoe’s safety gives them an ominous quality.

The story is fast-paced and packed with detail, its an exciting plot and each page bring the reader closer to the truth that when finally revealed is even more terrible than any gothic horror story.

Realistic and often sinister characters, an intense plot in a  dramatic, unforgiving island setting make ‘While You Sleep’, a psychological thriller with a gothic twist, a thought-provoking, page-turning read.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK, Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review. 

 

Posted in Book Review

Echoes of Time -The Guernsey Novels Book 5 – Anne Allen – 5* Review

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Blurb - Coastal

Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years…
1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey.
All too soon Olive realises she’s made a mistake.
Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer-
but there’s a price to pay. . .
2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own…
Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive.
Thrown together in a bid to find out what really happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on?

Buy Links  - Coastal

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My Review - Coastal

Echoes of Time (The Guernsey Novels Book 5)

 

All the ‘Guernsey Novels’ are defined by their memorable characters, vivid setting and intriguing plots, ‘Echoes of Time’, has all of these qualities and something extra that makes it a gripping and worthwhile read.
The cross over and parallels between Guernsey’s past and present are explored in greater detail in this story and Natalie, who returns to the island after a traumatic incident, experiences life in war torn Guernsey, in a most disturbing way. Escaping her past Natalie witnesses a woman’s life with a startling similarity to her own, is her subconscious playing tricks on her or is what she dreams and experiences real? The mystery enfolds in 2010 with flashbacks and time slip to occupied Guernsey in World War Two. The historical element is well researched and often anecdotal and blends with the present in a believable, easy to read way.
Characters’ flaws make them authentic and human. Natalie finds friendship when she most needs it but will become something more and is she brave enough to let it?
A poignant, well written tale, set on a beautiful island, perfect for holiday reading and anytime you want to escape.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

Echoes of Time by Anne Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Echoes of Time (The Guernsey Novels Book 5) by Anne Allen

Anne Allen

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A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love – 5* Review – Linn B Halton

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Blog Image - Blurb

Life isn’t all love and cupcakes …

Katie has had her fair share of bad luck, but when she finally realises her dream of opening a bakery it seems things can only get better.

But the reality of running a business hits Katie hard and whilst her partner, Steve, tries to help she begins to sense that the situation is driving them further apart. Could Katie be set to lose her relationship and her dream job?

Then, one winter’s day, a man walks into her shop – and, in the space of that moment, the course of Katie’s life is changed.

But nobody finds happiness in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it takes two Christmases, three birthdays and a whole lot of cake to get there …

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Blog Image- My review

A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love

One of the best things about reading fiction for me is the chance to experience another world, walk in someone else’s shoes for a while. Sometimes this is romantic experience, sometimes it is angst ridden, with this author’s stories by the time you reach the end you always have that ‘feel good’ feeling that sets you up for the day ahead.
Katie and Adam are wonderful characters, not perfect but willing to go the extra mile for people they care about, even if it means putting their wants and needs on hold. Serendipity plays an important role in this story and if we’re honest most of us acknowledge our own lives are touched in similar ways at certain times.
Grace is at the end of her life but she still puts her grandson Adam first. She worries that he only living half a life and hopes to remain on earth long enough to help him. She, as do the other characters in this flowing, poignant story, has lessons to learn.
Self belief and discovery are important themes of this story, whether you believe in soul mates or a life beyond our human existence, this story is worth reading.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love by Linn B. Halton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love by Linn B. Halton

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Posted in Newsletter, Sunday Snippet

Summer News and Past Shadows

Newsletter Header Summer 2016

My Summer Newsletter has finally been sent out today, it seems I’m as late, as the Summer is arriving in the UK. 🙂

I’m giving away a paperback copy of The Dangerous Gift randomly drawn on 20 September 2016 – to one of my subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed yet to my seasonal newsletter, click on the image above or here.

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There’s also a  newsletter exclusive excerpt of The Dangerous Gift and my latest novel Past Shadows. 

Past Shadows will hopefully be released later this year, here’s another taster of my  mystery , historical romance with a ghostly twist.

PicMonkey Collage 2

Happy Reading x

Posted in Author Interview, Book Spotlight

Debra J. Edwards – Author Interview

Author Interview

Did a specific event or person motivate you to become a writer? Can you tell us what happened?

As a primary school teacher, I once taught a class of 6-7 year olds. They were at an age when their baby teeth would become wobbly and fall out – often during the school day. They used to love telling me about it although it did drive me a little crazy at first. It got me thinking as to what a tooth fairy might do with the teeth, but as there were a few tooth fairy books out already I didn’t pursue the idea. But I couldn’t leave it alone so decided to put a different spin on it all using teenagers in the main character roles.

Are you a full time or part time writer?

Having taught in primary schools for 20 years, I am now happy to say that I write full time. Before, I worked through the day and early evening making it difficult to find time for writing. I had to squeeze in time after marking each evening which could result in very late nights. Weekends were wonderful though and meant I could find a little extra time during the days to write. I did try getting up very early to write, but that didn’t work for me. I’m just not a morning person.

What are the three best things about writing for you?

Tricky question as writing brings so much to writers. Okay…
I love how the stories in my head start to come to life as soon as my fingers hit the keyboard. Breathing life into a new character is so amazing. It’s great to see just how much they develop as the plot unfolds.
Writing brings me a great feeling of accomplishment. I was never an ‘A’ student at school so it gives me so much pleasure when my books are read and enjoyed. To think that the crazy characters in my head are being let loose on the world feels so good.
Being a writer is a somewhat lonely profession, but it has actually opened up a great social network for me. I belong to the SCBWI which means I get to talk to other writers about what I’m doing and attend numerous events where I can meet agents, publishers etc. I’m also a lively participant on Twitter where I to chat to other paranormal writers mostly, but also take part in YA chat hours.

You write books for children and young adults, what made you pick these genres?

Because I worked in a primary/elementary school, writing for children seemed a natural start to my writing career. I was able to try out my ideas on my target audience each day and they gave me great feedback. It wasn’t always what I wanted to hear, but that’s the whole point and it made me reconsider some plot points and refine my character development.
I had read a lot of young adult books and wondered if it was an age range I could move into. I’d always wanted to write a ghost story too. I thought it might be too scary for an MG audience, but not scary enough for adults so YA seemed to be the right range. In a way it was a gamble, but the story has been received well by the target audience. And because my previous MG readers are now older, they are forming a fanbase for my YA books.

Can you tell us about the books you have written?

I have three children’s fantasy novels published for the 8-12 year range although I have sold a lot to teenagers and adults. In fact, my oldest reader for these books is in her sixties! They are stories about a group of stroppy teenage tooth fairies and how they try to save their world.

Aggie Lichen Pilp Collector cover 1 JPG

Here’s the blurb for the first book:
Aggie Lichen faces the same dilemmas as any other thirteen year old; what to wear, how to keep out of trouble at school. But while other thirteen year olds are doing their homework or settling down to watch T.V., Aggie flits from house to house in search of prize pilps. That’s where Aggie is a little different. You see, Aggie Lichen is a pilp collector – a tooth fairy!
One nightsgritch – a tooth collecting evening – Aggie is attacked by a bright, mysterious light. Is it just a low flying glow worm or a bad tempered giant bluebottle? Or, as Aggie and her gang suspect, is it something more sinister?
Unknown to them, Aggie and her gang have just thirty days to solve the mystery and save their kind but time is not on their side … neither are the Sprites or the Grublins …

I also have a Tween/YA paranormal novel out, Marvin’s Curse. It tells the story of a 17 year old boy who has inherited the gift of speaking to ghosts from his dead dad. Here’s the blurb for it:

Final cover for Marvin Herbie Quote

How would you handle the dead?

After losing his dad, 17 year old Marvin finds he can see and talk to the dead, an inherited ‘gift’. Bonus, you might think, but Marvin hates it. It makes him different and he just wants to be ‘normal’. He meets Stella in the graveyard that backs onto the house he’s just moved into.

‘My name is Stella, Stella McCartney. It says so inside my trousers.’ (!?!)

A mysterious business card reveals that Stella has lost her memories and all signs point to Moghador, a gateway to hell where a pawnbroker holds the answers. Oh, and she’s dead!

Do you follow a set process to write your books? If so can you share it with us?

Not really a process as such. I tend to jot down ideas in a kind of mind map and add to that when other things come to me. I scribble notes as I go in a carefully selected notebook for that particular book. I’m very much a person who just writes things down when watching TV or in the car (not driving, of course!). I usually write the first draft, have a read through then move on to structural editing. For the first time, I’m using an editing workbook (Darcy Pattison – Novel Metamorphosis) to try and improve the process by using the exercises suggested. I have used a freelance editor for all my books to ensure that I haven’t missed any issues before the books are unleashed on the world.

What’s your favourite time of day to write? Why do you enjoy writing at this time?

I prefer to start writing around mid-morning. I’m not a particularly early riser and need a few cups of coffee before I can begin. It’s a time when I feel most awake and able to tackle the writing challenges of the day. I’m quite happy to write early evening too depending on where I am in my story. If I’m at a difficult part, I like to press on to see if I can solve the issue, if not, it waits until the next day – after the coffee though.

Do you have need to be alone to write?

Yes, if I am at home and I need quiet too. I like to keep the door shut on my study to keep any form of noise out. This can often be my dog barking for attention or music blasted out by my husband. But I also enjoy writing in cafes on cruise ships which is a complete contrast as there can be around 2000 people at any time on these ships.

Do you have a favourite writing space? 

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I write mostly in my study which looks out on to trees and greenery. It has a firm chair which means I have to sit up straight and focus. In a softer seat I tend to slouch and fall asleep… zzzzzzz!

What are you writing at the moment? What do you plan to write this year?

I’m currently editing another YA book, The Iron City. It’s kind of a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Hunger Games – with dragons. In the book, it falls to a geeky teenage girl, Rae, to save the world from dragons. Here’s a snippet!

‘I am George, the original George as in George and the Dragon?’ said George, taking a Peter Pan stance. ‘And this is my trusted friend, Ascalon.’ He pulled a small wand like stick from his pocket. ‘…the dragon slaying lance.’
Rae stared hard at George then transferred her fierce look to the stick/lance he was holding. Then she burst out laughing. ‘Oh, please! George and the Dragon?’ She fell back against the tree. ‘Are you for real?’
George shook the stick several times. ‘It does that sometimes. It gets stuck. I think it’s all the crap it’s collected over the last few hundred years.’
‘Oh my god. You’re still talking, George,’ said Rae. ‘And it’s still just a stick. Look!’

Aggie Lichen Pilp Collector cover 1 JPG

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Arty's Revenge cover JPG

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Aggie Lichen Book 3

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Final cover for Marvin Herbie Quote

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Marvin’s Curse Trailer

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Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: Spirits of the Season – Eight Haunting Holiday Romances

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Paranormal Blurb

Upon a Ghostly Yule: A Victorian Christmas Short Story by Amanda DeWees, Daphne du Maurier Award–winning author of historical romantic suspense. When the ghost of a willful 18th-century beauty takes possession of spirited young Felicity Reginald at a Victorian Christmas house party, mystery and danger follow… but so does romance.

Saving Laurel by Raine English, USA Today bestselling author and winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award. A ghost from the past helps a tortured actress find love at Christmas.

In the Holiday Spirit by Angeline Fortin, award-winning author of time-swept Highland romance. Fate and a hauntingly helpful hand combine to bring Alice a Christmas gift she never dreamed of, wrapped in a New York Christmas.

Romantic fiction that takes the road less traveled to happily ever after with Kaidan: Snow Bride by Athena Grayson. It’s 1969 and Yukiko wants a modern man, but her nature only grants her one night. Can the snow witch break her curse to find love with an American soldier who has a life of his own?

Sapphire Ridge by Aileen Harkwood, bestselling author of paranormal romance and the Breens Mist witches. What does it take to lay her Christmas ghosts to rest? A sexy Scotsman with a mission.

Mistletoe & Magic: A Hidden Coast Holiday Romance by Lynda Haviland, multi-series author of paranormal romance. A small-town girl, a handsome actor, a romantic old inn–and a ghost trying to destroy the season.

Her Ghost of Christmas Past by debut author Afton Moss. Emma is sure she’ll finally get an engagement ring for Christmas this year. But the handsome ghost of a Civil War captain searching for his lost love has other plans for her and a Savannah bachelor.

Bandits Hollow: A Holiday Romance Novella (Robbin’ Hearts Series) by Diane J. Reed, bestselling author of contemporary romance with a magical touch. What happens when a fortune teller can heal everyone’s heart but her own? Leave it to a spirit who haunts Evangeline Tinker on Christmas Eve to show her how eternal his love really is.

Paranormal Buy Links

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Paranormal My Review

Spirits of the Season: Eight Haunting Holiday Romances

This is an easy to read festive collection of short stories and novellas, with a ghostly or paranormal twist. There is something to appeal to everyone in this book, whether you are fan of the festive season or not. Perfect for the commute to work or a snatched hour by the fire, these stories will let you escape to another era, time zone or even world.

Upon a Ghostly Yule – Amanda De Wees
A Victorian Christmas romance, this story has all the right ingredients for historical romance lovers. A courageous heroine snubbed by society through no fault of her own, a gallant hero, and a jealous so called friend. The paranormal twist is in the form of ghost, whose own unhappiness affects Felicity the heroine, in an alarming way.

Saving Laurel – Raine English
This contemporary Christmas story has Laurel returning to house where she grew up, with the intention of selling the estate and moving on. Already apprehensive about returning to her home she has to face echoes of the past, before she can move on with her life. Enhanced with vivid imagery and tender romance, this story is perfect for all the Christmas romantics like me.

In the Holiday Spirit – Angeline Fortin
This story perfectly captures the hopeful spirit of the Christmas season. Fearful of being hurt again Alice avoids commitment and resists all attempts by her matchmaking Grandma to start living life to the full again. She falls at the feet of a man to die for but is it just her clumsiness, or something more? Great characters and visual imagery make this one of my favourites in this anthology.

Kaiden: Snow Bride – Anthena Grayson
An unusual, romantic fantasy tale for the festive season set in Japan in the 1969- 1970.

Sapphire Ridge – Aileen Harkwood
Laying old ghosts to rest proves far more adventurous than Nikki would have imagined. Vivid disaster scenes and enlightening flashbacks in this fast paced story hold your interest. The paranormal element in this story is subtle and adds an exciting twist to an already emotional story.

Mistletoe and Magic- Lynda Haviland.
Like all ‘Hidden Coast romances’ this story interweaves supernatural elements into a contemporary world setting in a believable way. A surprise guest at Hannah’s empty inn, changes her plans in a charming and unexpected way. Full of romance and ghostly happenings this is a delightful read.

Her Ghost of Christmas Past – Afton Moss
This is a lovely romantic tale of ghosts, lost love and soul mates. Is love eternal, who knows but this story certainly makes you think about the possibility?

Bandits Hollow – Diane J Reed.
A western romantic tale where, the past haunts the present and echoes of magic and the supernatural enliven an everyday setting.

Enrich your festive season with magic and ghosts I recommend reading this anthology in the shadow of the Christmas tree lights.

I received a copy of this book from the authors in return for an honest review.

Spirits of the Season: Eight Haunting Holiday Romances by Amanda DeWees
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Spirits of the Season Eight Haunting Holiday Romances by Amanda DeWees

Amanda DeWees

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