Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romance

Mrs Ps Book of Secrets Lorna Gray 5* #Review @MsLornaGray @0neMoreChapter_ #LiteraryFiction #HistoricalFiction #postwar #1946 #TheCotswolds #loss #Mystery #FamilyDrama #Romance #FriendShip #BlogTour #30DaysofBlogs #LornaGray #TheBookGhost #MrsPsBookofSecrets

Mrs Ps Book of Secrets

There are no white shrouded spectres here, no wailing ghouls. Just the echoes of those who have passed, whispering that history is set to repeat itself.

The Cotswolds, Christmastime 1946: A young widow leaves behind the tragedy of her wartime life, and returns home to her ageing aunt and uncle. For Lucy – known as Mrs P – and the people who raised her, the books that line the walls of the family publishing business bring comfort and the promise of new beginnings.

But the kind and reserved new editor at the Kershaw and Kathay Book Press is a former prisoner of war, and he has his own shadows to bear. And when the old secrets of a little girl’s abandonment are uncovered within the pages of Robert Underhills’s latest project, Lucy must work quickly if she is to understand the truth behind his frequent trips away.

For a ghost dwells in the record of an orphan girl’s last days. And even as Lucy dares to risk her heart, the grief of her own past seems to be whispering a warning of fresh loss…

Mrs P’s Book of Secrets will be published in the US as The Book Ghost.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

1946 is such an interesting time in British history. The immediate post-war years were very hard on the people. Rationing of food and other essential goods, men returning from the war changed both physically and mentally. Women, who had kept the country’s farms and industry running in the WW2, forced back to their former lives. This led to inevitable adjustment and unrest, after the relative freedom of wartime, for women, in terms of employment. Then, there were the men who didn’t return from the war and the widows who had to carry on.

Lucy, known as Mrs P, is one such widow, who finds herself unemployed in 1946 and bereft of the husband who was hers for such a short time. Returning home to her aunt and uncle and their Cotswold printing business is the only viable alternative, but even here things are not the same. They have a lodger and new employee, and Lucy struggles to fit in. The historical setting of this book proves to be the perfect backdrop for this story, and the details of life at the time and the intricacies of the printing and publishing world are absorbing.

This is Lucy’s story of coming to terms with her loss, accepting her world as it is now, and learning to live again. As the story progresses, events from Lucy’s past illuminate her present unsettled feeling, and her search to belong. The mystery of the missing girl, she discovers in a book, entangles itself with her childhood and loss, making her question everything, doubt those she should trust, and obsessively search for what happened to the young girl.

There is also a lovely friendship, which flowers into romance for Lucy. Slow-burning, because even though she feels physical attraction, feelings of guilt and fear of loss, push any thoughts of life beyond her single state, away for Lucy initially.

The echoes of her childhood, recent bereavement and the strange events that occur serve to haunt Lucy’s already emotionally unstable mind. The reader experiences this first hand, as the story is told in the first person. Sometimes, this is an uncomfortable place for the reader to be, the emotions are raw, and realisation slow to arrive, but the ending makes the angst worth suffering.

The conclusion of the mystery is not what you might expect, but it is believable, poignant, and shows how much Lucy has healed. There are still unexplained events, which you may interpret as you please. I am sure that we do not understand everything in this world, and choose to accept Lucy’s explanation.

A gently paced, historically detailed, romantic literary adventure. A young woman’s struggle with widowhood, as she explores an unusual mystery and experiences a few occurrences that defy explanation. Something original to enjoy that demands your ability to concentrate and become part of the story.

#LornaGray

Lorna Gray was born in 1980 in Bedfordshire. Her relationship with the glorious countryside of the Cotswolds began many years ago when she first moved to Cirencester. She has been exploring the area through her love of history, adventure and romance ever since.

This is Lorna’s fourth post-WWII mystery. Her three previous novels are In the Shadow of Winter (2015), The War Widow (2018) and The Antique Dealer’s Daughter (2018). She lives in the Cotswolds with her husband.

5* #Review

Read my author interview with Lorna Gray

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Revenge Fiction, Family Drama

Knowing You – 5*#Review – Samantha Tonge @canelo_co @SamTongeWriter

An abrupt change; a new friendship; a dark secret…

Kind-hearted Violet has never fitted in, but despite being bullied at school is now content. She is dating ambitious Lenny, has her dream job in publishing and runs a book club at the local retirement home.

However, when her relationship with Lenny begins to falter, Violet, hurt and alone, seeks the advice of her new flatmate, Bella. She changes her image and with her head held high aims to show that she doesn’t need Lenny in her life to be happy and successful.

Her long-term friends Kath and Farah worry about Bella’s influence and slowly Violet starts to distance herself from them. When she was a child, her closest confidant and companion was a boy called Flint. Her mother didn’t approve of their closeness and he suffered a terrible end. She won’t let the same thing happen to Bella, no matter what anyone says…

Knowing You is about friendship and knowing who to trust with your deepest secrets; it’s about taking control of your life and not being afraid to stand out.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Violet has a career she loves, and a relationship that she is happy with, the first part of this story follows her life as a children’s book editor, which is interesting, she has lots of friends mostly older than her, but they value her friendship as she does theirs.

The present-day narrative is broken up with stories from Violet’s childhood, and a particularly momentous event that takes place and effects the young girl deeply.

It’s impossible not to feel empathy for Violet as a child, and to admire what she achieves as an adult. Then something happens to change her outlook on life and the secrets of her past resurface in a dangerous adult version.

This story is beautifully written. Violet is a lovely character and you want her to realise that beauty comes from within and that she doesn’t need the opinion of others to validate her. I loved the sincerity and the easy flow of this book, it’s easy to read but it makes you think. The characters are believable, as are their motivations and actions.

Even though you may guess what is happening, you are never sure until the end. The full impact of Violet’s story resonates, and it’s a poignant and powerful message.

A curious mix of revenge fiction and family drama, this story will hold your interest until the last page.

Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: Cover Girl – Nic Tatano

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Blurb - Coastal

Powerhouse romance editor Keira Madison is known as “Cover Girl” – because she’s come up with the concepts for the covers of the best selling novels in history. But right now, she’s desperate to replace her best selling author.

Wannabe author Alex Bauer has given up hope of ever selling his military thriller, so he takes a shot at writing a romance and sends it to super agent Bella Farentino. She’s blown away by the book, but more shocked to find out the author is a man. So she decides it’s best to keep it a secret when pitching the novel – what does a man know about romance after all?

When Keira buys the book, Alex needs a cover story to hide the fact he’s the real author. So he invents a fictional cousin who’s an agoraphobe; too shy to ever leave the house. He agrees to work as “her” intermediary during the editing process while getting a friend to “play” the author on the phone.

One major problem. He falls hard for Keira, a spunky redhead who is a dead ringer for the heroine in the book. And she’s smitten with him, as he’s a clone of the novel’s romantic hero, a fictional Mister Right come to life.

You see where this is going.

As the release date for the book gets closer, their relationship grows stronger while the tale of the fictional author goes over the top. At some point Alex will have to come clean that he’s the real author of the book but worries he’ll risk losing Keira because she won’t be able to trust him.

Buy Links - Coastal

Amazon UK
Amazon
My Review - Coastal

Cover GirlThis story has the distinctive, edgy realism of the other books in the series, even when the plot spins a tale of epic, fairytale proportions. The characters are believable and vivid, I could picture them and their expressions as I read the story and this made it an enjoyable read. The meeting between dynamic Keira and our gentle hero Alex is original and plausible.

Keira is a strong female character who takes no prisoners in her work life, romance is a different story but luckily she has her fairy godmother or editorial assistant Gretch who makes her believe in herself.

Alex isn’t an alpha hero but a rare male who appears to understand, what’s important to women. Despite this, he misses the obvious on numerous occasions with some comical and poignant results.

The story is perfect for romantic comedy. A career dream comes true for Alex and he finds a woman, who could be his soul mate but when the plot twists come into play, his dream career, perfect love life and his sanity are all in danger.

For me, the test of a good romantic comedy is the humour and the imagery it portrays. This story delivers both and was a pleasant escape for a few hours.

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

 

Cover Girl by Nic Tatano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Cover Girl by Nic Tatano

Nic Tatano

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Posted in Crimson Frost Books, The Dragon Legacy, Writing Journey

Crimson Frost Books Launch 23 August 2013 ‘The Dragon Legacy’

Frostmanis Grand Opening Graphic Crimson Frost Books  opens for business on 23 August 2013. Dragon Legacy

I was invited to be part of this exciting new e-book publishing house in June 2013 when they bought my debut The Dragon Legacy .

The family of authors at Crimson Frost Books and Midnight Frost Books is growing daily and you can look forward to a wide range of quality fiction starting with the release of four e-books  on 23 August 2013. Launch Day.

Don’t forget to visit the Crimson Frost Books Blog.

The Dragon Legacy is scheduled for release on 24 January 2014 and I am very excited as regular readers of First Steps will know. My editor has promised the first of my edits this week. This has left me with mixed feelings as I posted on my Facebook yesterday. Apprehension as these will be my first edits. Delight because I am one step closer to seeing my book released. 🙂

 Here’s the blurb from ‘The Dragon Legacy’

Emotionally fragile Fleur craves excitement. Will a murder mystery weekend satisfy her desire?

A serendipitous meeting with a mystery man leads naive Fleur into a  dangerous, mystical world hidden amid the dark wild hills of the English Lake District. Passion hotter than a dragon’s breath ignites. Dragons, demons wolves and witches clash in apocalyptic battles.

Abducted Fleur becomes an unwitting pawn in the demon’s revenge against the dragon lord. In a horrific battle for survival Fleur must overcome her inner fears and outwit the demon to have the life she wants with Lukas…

Dragon and demon slayer Lukas Draco must find the last dragon egg buried a millennium ago in the shadow of Helvellyn. The survival of humanity depends on his mission’s success.’

Lukas a loner, fights the magnetic pull of Fleur’s unusual aura. Torn. His emotions threaten his rationality. If Fleur is his soul mate she must survive in his paranormal world. Fiery passion erupts from dark despair and throws the mismatched pair into intimate contact. The integrity of his mission threatened Lukas must choose. The dragon egg or his soul mate…’

 Really looking forward to my cover. 🙂 Whilst we wait for the great reveal. Visit my Pinterest boards The Dragon Legacy and The Dragon Legacy-Fleur to see who I think my characters look like. The actor I pinned is exactly how I see Lukas. 🙂

As January seems so far away here’s a snippet from ‘The Dragon Legacy’

Filled with suppressed excitement she continued her secret study. His face the epitome of masculine beauty. Characterised by well-defined angular cheek bones, covered with pale almost translucent skin. Its apparent delicacy did not detract from his masculinity; he looked like a fallen angel. A telltale blush stained her cheeks rosy. A heat rush pooled between her legs, Fleur shuddered.

Tomorrow my fellow author Lillie J Roberts will be blogging. Don’t forget to  visit her 🙂

More on my edit experience in the next couple of weeks 🙂