Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Magic, Murder Mystery, Paranormal, Romance

A Spell of Murder Kennedy Kerr 5*#Review @bookouture @KennedyKerr5 #CozyMystery #magic #Scotland #loch #BookReview #LostMaidensLochMystery #Witches #psychic #paranormal #policeprocedural #murdermystery

#ASpellofMurder

In the sleepy town of Lost Maidens Loch, people sometimes disappear…

Down a quiet lane in town sits a little shop full of oddities you’d probably miss if you weren’t looking for it. This is Love’s Curiosities Inc., and its owner, Temerity Love, is sought by experts all over the world for her rare and magical gift: the ability to find lost things and learn their stories.

When Lost Maidens’ pretty local school teacher is found murdered by a poisoned cup of tea, a strange antique hand mirror is discovered nearby. Temerity – with the help of witchy sister Tilda, their cats Scylla and Charybdis and the lovingly eccentric local townspeople – is determined to divine the story behind the mirror and its part in Miss Molly Bayliss’ untimely death.

If only grumpy out-of-towner Angus Harley of Lost Maidens Police wasn’t on the scene. Temerity can’t solve the crime without him, but he’s distracting, and in more ways than one. Can this unconventional duo solve the most mysterious murder ever to blight Lost Maidens Loch before the killer strikes again?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has all the ingredients for a perfect escape. Cozy mystery, with a touch of magic, and vividly created characters and setting. Set in a small town in the Scottish Highlands, the loch has a mystical significance, well understood by psychic Temerity, and her herbalist sister Tilda. Temerity’s gift manifested when her first love died tragically at the Loch, something she feels inherently guilty for. Both women feel tied to the small town and they are intrinsic to its wellbeing.

The villagers accept the women, although gossip has it that they are witches, with their two seemingly lazy cats and an opinionated parrot. Temerity’s give for psychometry, has proved useful to the police in the past, but the new officer in the town isn’t convinced. Maybe he’s worried about his secrets?

There is so much in this first book to absorb the reader and capture their interest. The setting is authentic and described so well that you can visualise it. The mystical ethos, and legend that surrounds it add to its appeal. The protagonists are complex characters full of flaws and hidden layers. Some of which, are revealed in this book. Some are hinted at, to be revealed later in the series? The small-town dynamic works, the sense of community and gossip is evident. The cast of characters colourful and mostly easy to like.

The magical, witchy element is the icing on the cake, not too far-fetched, but outer-worldly enough to appeal. The cozy mystery is cleverly plotted, with lots of suspects, a dastardly murder, and plenty of clues and misinformation, to engage those who enjoy this.

A brilliant start to what promises to be an enchanting series, with wide appeal because we all need a little magic in our lives.

Posted in Book Review

A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate- Inspiration behind the story – Linn B Halton- 5* Review

Linn  is one of my favourite authors,  like me she believes there is more to this life than we can see with our eyes and this always makes her romantic stories special.  I asked her to tell me what inspired her latest story ‘ A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate.

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A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate – who doesn’t have a secret, or two, to hide from the world?

I suppose the idea for this novel was sparked by the way a celebrity’s life is often aired on TV, in magazines, and in daily newspapers, whether or not they are seeking the spotlight. There must be times even an A-lister wants to sink quietly into the background to keep a few things secret from the world. In a way it is nice to know that even the rich and famous go through the same trials and tribulations as their fans, but would you want to go through those awful moments in the public eye? After all – we’re all human and the path we travel is never an easy one.

As for secrets? Well, mine (but don’t tell anyone) is that I’m painfully shy. When I’m nervous I chat, which makes people think I’m outgoing but it really is only the nerves talking! So what’s YOUR little secret?

My latest novel is really about someone who glosses over the problems in her life because she is one hundred per cent focused on her career. But what happens when you reach those dizzying heights: you are the best at what you do? And what if one day a panic attack signals the start of a new journey?

Blurb 2016- 2

On the surface, Kristi Danielson has it all. She’s a lifestyle coach to the rich and famous, has a bestselling book to her name and is described by her fans as “the veritable Queen of how to lead a fulfilling life”.

But the harsh truth is that Kristi has never practiced what she preaches. Her home life is a mess, her relationship with artist boyfriend, Tom, not much better – and now she has to redeem herself before all is lost.

At her wit’s end, Kristi is driven to seek out the help of Patrick Blakeslee, a tarot card reader and psychic medium, in an attempt to make sense of the mounting panic she’s feeling.

But Patrick’s visits have an unexpected effect on Kristi, leaving her with more questions than answers – and a life-changing decision to make.

Buy Links 2016 -2

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Links 2016-2

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My Review 2016-1

 A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate

Kristi, has it all, or so her fans believe. A celebrity lifestyle coach, she is famous for identifying what’s wrong in people’s life and telling them how to make it better. So, her life should be perfect, right? Unfortunately, not. Kirsti’s determined to fix it, she just doesn’t know how. She runs from her relentless lifestyle but is she taking the right path, or just inviting more problems?
A voice in her head seems to be directing her actions but she doesn’t understand it. Seeking Patrick’s help is out of character. He’s a psychic medium but she is out of her depth. Their interactions lead to more questions than answers and force them both to look at their lives more deeply.
Told in a light-hearted way, this story deals with strong emotions and tragic events. Kristi tries to follow her own life mantra’s but putting her theories into practice is not as easy as she thought and the psychic interference only makes it more difficult for her to choose the path to take.

Kristi is a likeable character full of human flaws but with a heart full of goodness. Tom, a permanent fixture in her life, is her friend/lover but is he the man of her dreams or an emotional crutch? Patrick soon becomes her mentor but he wants more.

There is a love triangle of sorts in this story which adds a little spice, in what is a journey of discovery for the main characters; Kristi, Patrick and Tom. The psychic element is intrinsic to the plot and adds an interesting dimension to this engaging romantic tale.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate by Linn B. Halton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate by Linn B. Halton

Linn B. Halton

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Posted in Author Interview

An Interview with Author -Linn B. Halton

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An Interview with...

Today I have the lovely Linn Halton on my blog, answering questions about her books and writing. The ‘Falling- Angels Among Us’ series was very popular, I personally loved it. What inspired you to write these books?

 My earliest childhood memories were all psychic ones, but it took me many, many years to face up to that fact. Even though things continued to happen around me increasingly more frequently as the years passed, it’s hard not to be a sceptic, isn’t it? It’s easier to file away those things as unexplained, wishful thinking (if it’s related to a loved one you’ve lost), or imagination. Then I had the first shared experience with my husband and both of our lives changed forever.
For this series I wanted to take a simply love story and wrap around it some thought-provoking questions. Is the power of love stronger than fate? If angels walk among us do they know they are angels? What if we all have a little angel-wisdom in us and without knowing it have the power to change someone’s future? What if just taking the time to listen to someone in need, or giving some advice at the right moment, prevents them from making a mistake that they would change the course of their lives forever?
I also did a lot of research – even attending two Gayatri Mantra chanting workshops which feature in the story and talking to a lot of people whose lives revolve around their beliefs. I’ve always had an open mind and my personal beliefs/theories are all based on what I’ve seen, heard and/or experienced. I think we all need to draw our own conclusions, rather than follow someone else’s theory without questioning it. I think that begins with something as simple as wondering ‘what if?’

22917661Where’s your favourite place to write? Why do you like it?

Ironically there is a little psychic story attached to this, too. Eighteen months ago we began renovating an old cottage on the edge of the Forest of Dean and a we decided a big flatscreen TV would look odd in the cosy sitting room, so the former dining room became a TV room/study. Then we started getting visits from our ghost cat, who belonged to the previous owner who died a year before we moved in. He’s very regal and often runs around the cottage, but his appearance is quite distracting at times. Twice he’s almost tripped me up as it’s hard to believe he’s not real! When you catch a movement out of the corner of your eye, you instinctively look up and that was becoming a problem for me when I was working on the computer. So now I have my office in a small building in the garden, which we are converting into a dual purpose guest bedroom. My husband is still working on the ensuite – which was an old stone storeroom and is now shaping up quite nicely! I love that I have views of the garden and also the fact that it’s totally separate from the cottage. When I finish for the day the walk home takes – oh – all of five seconds.

UTS for Jane ‘Under The Stars’ features a woman at a crossroads in her life, something I have personally experienced. What motivated you to write this story?

This was the second book I wrote after giving up my former career as an interior designer. I actually gave it up to spend some quality time with my mum as my instincts had been screaming at me that she was unwell. Within three months of giving up work she died, quite unexpectedly and I knew it was her greatest wish that I found time to fulfill my writing dream. So I wrote five manuscripts back to back. I think Katherine Dale’s uncertainty, worries and fears reflected a lot of what I was going through at that time. It’s one thing to sit down and write, but what if no one wants to read what you’ve written? Any major life change is unsettling, scary and requires a lot of self-belief to get through it. Mine was difficult because I was also grieving. Immersing myself in writing actually got me through one of the worst periods of my life. Katherine’s life was also in tatters and every day was an uphill battle – a case of fiction mirroring life!

Astrology is a central theme of ‘Under the Stars’, do you follow your horoscope on a daily basis and would you consider having a personal horoscope done? If so why?

I’ve followed the celebrated astrologer and astronomer, Jonathan Cainer, for many years. From his newspaper column, then into magazines and now his website, where I am a 5-star member. That means I get my daily forecast for the next day pop into my inbox and it’s the last thing I read before I fall asleep. He has also done my full birth chart and, yes, I do take on board the advice he gives me. If the planetary alignments aren’t favourable and he says ‘don’t sign a contract now’, then I hold off! If the planets are favourable then I take advantage of that and have taken risks I wouldn’t normally take that have turned out to be great opportunities. The recent introduction of Astro Alerts has been amazing and his level of accuracy means that this additional level of forecasting is timely and it definitely affects my decision-making. The planetary alignments have a great effect on the earth, so why wouldn’t they affect our individual lives?

Do you have animal companions when you write? Can you tell us about them?

Mr Tiggs (who is black and white and had a cameo role in Under The Stars and Quintessentially Yours) and our ghost cat, whom I’ve named Sharpie. He’s jet black like my Sharpie pen and annoying at times (I once wrote a note using my pen and had to do three coats of paint on the window sill as it seeped through the paper!). Ironically, Mr Tiggs has been around a few spirits (we’ve lived in a lot of very old properties) and he has a repetitive thing he does when he’s uncomfortable, but with Sharpie he almost ignores his presence. Mr Tiggs seems to know when I need to stretch my legs as he’ll uncurl and start miaowing – which means ‘feed me’ and it does get me off my typing stool.

25773021Your latest release for Harper Impulse is ‘A Cottage in the Country’; can you tell us a little about this? Does it have a supernatural element?

The basic story mirrors the experience we had when we moved into our cottage on the 19 December 2013, when Gloucestershire was experiencing severe flooding. We sold our previous house complete with furniture and on our first night in the cottage the bed wasn’t delivered because of the flooding. We only had a couple of garden chairs and that was it for furniture.
Moving into a cottage where the central heating boiler had seized up, there was a decidedly uncomfortable feel about it (the old lady had died one year prior and it had been empty the entire time) and the rain didn’t stop. It was the perfect backdrop for Maddie’s story, which is essentially about starting over and her fight to become that 50-and-fabulous woman of her dreams. Her now ex-husband had been sleeping with her best friend and she had been the last person to find out. There is a little reference to the spirit of the previous occupier, which is tied into the fictional story, and it’s true to say we did have a ‘visitor’for the first few months we lived here. However, now it’s just us and Sharpie, who seemed to appear as soon as the presence left – but he doesn’t appear in the story. If you ever wondered what it’s like renovating an old cottage, Maddie’s experience is our real story of moving mishap and renovation hell. However, it’s now coming along nicely and we love living here!

Can you describe your writing process?

It starts with one single thought, then I think of a title and sit down in front of a blank page and type. Usually I have no idea where it’s going, or how it’s going to end. Each character appears at the appropriate time and I let them tell me where to go next. It’s an exciting journey and I wouldn’t want to write any other way.

Have you any other releases this year, we should look out for?

It’s been a crazy year for me – four new books by three different publishers over a period of seven months. My next new release is 5 August 2015 and it’s Quintessentially Yours, which is the sequel to Under The Stars (both with Endeavour Press). Then my fourth novel this year will be my first with Choc Lit – Sweet Occasions and that’s coming in the autumn.

I know you are interested in graphics and how authors can use them for promotional purposes, can you tell us about this?

I love working on websites (I have four) and posts/articles look much better if there are some graphics to illustrate the text. When I set up Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine I suddenly found myself taking lots of photos and playing around with different forms of presentation. Then, wearing my author’s hat, I started using graphics to make slideshows to advertise my novels. For authors, I think it helps your readers if they can see the characters and the setting, so it has now become a part of the process, once the story is written. It’s something that’s a lot of fun to do.

What’s next for you Linn?

Well, Jonathan Cainer confirms that I’m on the right path and I’m certainly enjoying every minute of it. Although it has been an exhausting six years since I wrote that first word, I waited a long time to have this ‘me’ time and I’m going to make the most of it. I’m about to sign a contract for my first novel for 2016 and I’m literally thanking my ‘lucky stars’. But writing is really about the lovely reviewers who spread the word and the readers who choose your book from the hundreds of thousands out there. Every time a reader Tweets me to say they’ve enjoyed one of my stories, or a review is posted and knowing that someone has taken the time to put their feelings into words, I feel truly blessed. This is my dream and has been ever since I was about eleven years old and writing in my homemade journals. And it’s all down to my wonderful mum, who remains by my side with every step I take on this exciting journey.

Thanks so much for some really great questions, Jane, and for inviting me over!

Thanks Linn, it was lovely learning more about you and your writing.

Poppy - Author BioIMG_3069Bristol-born Linn B. Halton lives in the small village of Lydbrook, which nestles on the edge of the Forest of Dean, in the UK. She resides there with her husband and feline with ‘catitude’- Mr Tiggs.
Linn began writing in March 2009 and her debut novel was published in February 2011. In a recent interview Linn was asked about genres:
“From a very young age I knew romantic fiction was always going to be my genre. I am, and will always be, madly in love with love! Whether that’s love of life, a partner, or the things I’m passionate about.
My stories are about love, life and real relationships – but romance is always the one thing that holds each story together. Often there’s a light, psychic touch and I never dreamed I would write drawing upon my personal psychic experiences. But as my interest and understanding in the subject has grown, it is now such a part of my life that it finds its way into my fictional tales. However, what is heartening is that most of my experiences have been uplifting and it’s wonderful to know loved ones are around me always. I hope it will make readers stop and wonder ‘What if?’
The result is that I get a lot of mail from readers who have had similar experiences and some are sharing theirs for the first time with me. I always feel that’s something rather special and for which I’m very grateful.”
Love, life and beyond… but it’s ALWAYS about the romance!

Linn is published by Choc Lit, HarperImpulse, Endeavour Press and Sapphire Star Publishing.
Linn is also the managing editor of Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine.
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Check out my reviews of Linn’s books by clicking on the book cover links below:

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