The Wildling Sisters

The Wildling Sisters
The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase

Murder Served Cold

Murder Served Cold
Murder Served Cold by Paula Williams

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Wilding Sisters by Eve Chase- Feature and Review




ABOUT THE BOOK:

Four sisters. One summer. A lifetime of secrets.

When fifteen-year-old Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote Manor in June 1959, they expect a quiet English country summer. Instead, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before. As the sisters become divided by new tensions when two handsome neighbors drop by, Margot finds herself drawn into the life Audrey left behind. When the summer takes a deadly turn, the girls must unite behind an unthinkable choice or find themselves torn apart forever.

Fifty years later, Jesse is desperate to move her family out of their London home, where signs of her widower husband’s previous wife are around every corner. Gorgeous Applecote Manor, nestled in the English countryside, seems the perfect solution. But Jesse finds herself increasingly isolated in their new sprawling home, at odds with her fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, and haunted by the strange rumors that surround the manor.

LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:




MY REVIEW:

The Wildling SistersThe Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase is a 2017 G.P. Putnam’s Sons publication.

The Wilde Sisters arrive at the Applecote manor in 1959 to spend the summer with their aunt. The girls, Dot, Flora, Pam, and Margot are close and protective of each other. But, their visit to the lovely country estate is dampened by their aunt’s struggle to overcome her daughter, Audrey’s disappearance, five years earlier. The mystery consumes the girls, but the closer they get to the truth, the closer they come to possible danger, and tensions begin to arise between them over two handsome boys.

Fifty years later, with the memory of her widower husband’s wife constantly surrounding her, Jesse is ready to escape the city. Not only that, her stepdaughter was involved in an ugly incident, which figured into her desire to move. Applecote Manor felt like the perfect place in the perfect setting at the perfect time.
However, trouble starts almost immediately. Her stepdaughter becomes increasingly difficult to handle, her husband is always away at work, and disturbing rumors about the house finally reach her ears. As her stepdaughter becomes nearly obsessed with the strange disappearance of a former resident, Jesse feels her life is slowly unraveling.

This is one of those books I was dying to read, but it just kept slipping down the TBR pile until I gradually lost track of it. Thankfully, while searching for another book in my voluminous Kindle folder, I happened across it and made a point to get started on it. I do recall hearing a lot of buzz about his book when it was first released. I have read other books by Eve Chase and was very impressed with her work. But, what drew me to this one was the constant effusive gushing about the novel’s strong Gothic tones. As a huge fan of Gothic novels, I’m going to have to cry foul on that one, just a little. Yes, there are a few Gothic elements, but I didn’t feel they were as strong or pure as many others have. I was slightly let down on that front, however, the story was very compelling, with dual timelines, and a very atmospheric and absorbing mystery to uncover.

As is usually the case for me, I was drawn more towards the historical elements of the story, but the present -day scenario, while not really adding a lot to the mystery, suggests a possible air of pending doom, which was quite effective, and may have been a slightly underrated element in the story.

The author wound the story around until the two timelines merged in a poignant way, slowly releasing the pent -up tensions, and bringing closure to all in a satisfying way.
I am glad this one didn’t drop completely off my radar. The story has a lot of familial touches, bringing the characters to life in a vivid and emotional way, drawing the reader into their world with lush writing, dialogue, and descriptions. Eve Chase once again impresses.


GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Wildling-Sisters-Eve-Chase/dp/0399174133/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-wildling-sisters-eve-chase/1125059689


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Eve Chase is the pseudonym of a journalist who has worked extensively across the British press. 

Eve Chase always wanted to write about families - ones that go wrong but somehow survive - and big old houses, where family secrets and untold stories seed in the crumbling stone walls. 

Black Rabbit Hall is such a story. 

She lives in Oxford, England with her husband and three children.

Monday Spotlight on -Murder Served Cold by Paula Williams





ABOUT THE BOOK:



A quiet English village where nothing ever happens.   Until…..
After her boyfriend runs out on her with the contents of their joint bank account, Kat Latcham has no choice but to return to the tiny Somerset village of Much Winchmoor where she grew up.  A place, she reckons, that is not so much sleepy as comatose and she longs for something to happen to lessen the boredom of living with her parents.
But when she and her childhood friend, Will Manning, discover a body and Will’s father, John, is arrested for the murder, Kat suddenly realises that she should have heeded the saying “Be careful what you wish for”.
Much Winchmoor is a hotbed of gossip and everyone is convinced John Manning is guilty.  Only Kat and Will believe he’s innocent.  When there’s a second murder Kat is sure she knows the identity of the murderer – and set out to prove it.  But in doing so she almost becomes the murderer’s third victim.
Readers of Sue Grafton might enjoy the Much Winchmoor series of cosy murder mysteries spiked with humour and sprinkled with romance.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Paula Williams is living her dream.  She has written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her plays and pageants. But it is only in recent years, when she turned her attention to writing short stories and serials for women's magazines that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it.
Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmatian called Duke.  She still writes for magazines but also now writes novels.  A member of both the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Crime Writers' Association, her novels often feature  a murder or two, and are always sprinkled with humour and spiced with a touch of romance.
She also writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers' magazine, Writers' Forum and has a blog at paulawilliamswriter.wordpress.com.  Her facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author . And she tweets at @paulawilliams44.
Not only that, but when she's not writing, she's either tutoring, leading writing workshops or giving talks on writing at writing festivals and conferences and to organised groups.  She's appeared several times on local radio - in fact, she'll talk about writing to anyone who'll stand still long enough to listen.
But, as with the best of dreams, she worries that one day she's going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into reading 'the play what she wrote'.

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James - Feature and Review


                                                           ABOUT THE BOOK:




Let the shenanigans begin at the Best Boomerville Hotel …
Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business! 

Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than its fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun-loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself. 

With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?

MY REVIEW:



The Best Boomerville HotelThe Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James is a 2018 Ruby Fiction publication.

BFF’s Jo and Hattie decide to try something a little different, using their experience in the hospitality industry. Why not open a holiday retreat for guest of ‘a certain age’ offering them the chance to expand and exercise their minds and bodies?

Their first guests include Kate, a woman who ran a dating service, but never found her own ‘Mr. Right’, Andy Mack, a handsome James Bond lookalike, Lucinda, a poor, eccentric artist, and brothers, Henry and Hugo.

The staff and guests experience more adventures and drama than they signed up for, but their stay at the Boomerville Hotel just might give them a new lease on life.

“Somewhere in the Universe, there is someone, who will love us, understand us and kiss us and make it better.”

The cover of this book is adorable, and so is this story! As a woman of ‘a certain age’, I love seeing more stories centered around ‘mature’ characters. The guests and staff get involved in a few crazy antics, which are laugh out loud funny. But, there is also a dollop of suspense, and a whole lot of romantic intrigue.

Sometimes I get lucky and choose a book at just the right moment in time. With so much going on right now, the news is scary and so heartbreaking, turning to books is always a comfort. But, I’m wondering the Shaman in this story was working a little magic for me, as this story struck just the right chord, at just the right time. It was exactly the soothing balm my broken heart needed.

This is just a wonderfully warm and funny feel good story, laced with everything you want in a story. The characters are eclectic, a bit eccentric and quirky, each with a special backstory that brings them to life in a big way.

The pacing is brisk without compromising the development of the characters or the plot, but more importantly, it will leave you feeling like no matter what your age, it’s never too late to start over, to find love, or live life to its fullest. By the time I turned that last page, my spirits were lifted, and my mood was much lighter. What more could you ask for?




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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications.



Her debut novel, Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me is set in North West England, at the time of a famous gypsy horse fair.  The book went straight to number three on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun.



So, You Think You're A Celebrity...Chef? was runner up the Winchester Writers festival for best TV Drama and takes a light-hearted look at the world of celebrity chefs as they battle it out for fame and fortune. Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean & Me was runner up at The Write Stuff, LBF, 2015 and is an Amazon best-seller and top recommended read by Thomson Holidays. Jungle Rock, a romcom novella set in Australia, revolves around a TV game show.



In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.



Caroline James Links:







Friday, November 9, 2018

The Big Inch by Kimberly Fish- Narrated by Sydney Young- Feature and Audio Review + Giveaway

THE BIG INCH
Misfits and Millionaires #1
by
KIMBERLY FISH Narrated by Sydney Young
   Genre: Historical Fiction / Romance / WWII Spies  Publisher: Fish Tales Publishing
Date of Publication: August 1, 2018
Length: 10 hours, 22 minutes


Scroll down for the giveaway!




Fans of Pam Jenoff, Susan Elia MacNeal, and Kate Quinn will want to read the first book in a sparkling WWII historical fiction series, The Big Inch. Lane Mercer is a spy recovering from a disastrous mission in France when she’s assigned to protect the interests of the new federal project sending American oil to the Allies. Thrown into the high-stakes world of Texas oilmen, she’s inventing maneuvers on the fly to outwit would be counter-intelligence and Fascist sympathizers. Complicating her mission is a handsome con-artist who manages to be under her feet at the most inopportune times. Trapped between trusting her gut or trusting her informers, Lane has to learn to navigate a town that is laced with more intrigue than she’d ever have guessed, and she soon discovers that the life she might have to save. . .is her own.
Kimberly Fish’s well-researched writing drops readers into the colorful world of the American home front known so well to those who lived alongside the Greatest Generation. Buy The Big Inch today to begin this exciting first novel in a WWII series set in Texas.








PRAISE FOR THE BIG INCH:



“Narrator Makes Book Exciting!” 
-- 5 Stars Review on Audible
“Kimberly Fish’s writing style snatched me out of my easy chair.” 
-- Vickie Phelps, author of Moved, Left No Address
“Kimberly Fish has a gift for combining conflict, emotion, and characterization to create a compelling story.” 
-- Louis Gouge, author of Love Inspired Historical Four Star Ranch series








MY REVIEW:

The Big Inch (Misfits and Millionaires #1)The Big Inch by Kimberly Fish
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Big Inch by Kimberly Fish is a 2017 publication.

Fascinating world war two intrigue- Texas style!

Lane Mercer’s new assignment sends her to Longview, Texas. Her mission is the keep an eye on the man in charge of the crucial pipeline that will send fuel to the troops, a necessity due to the probable German interception.

As Lane arrives in Texas, she is a still a bit rattled by the failure of her previous mission and is suffering from what we would now recognize as PTSD. As Lane settles into the East Texas community, she finds herself involved in all manner of small -town dramas, while standing up and speaking out against racism, and even lands herself in the middle of a love triangle. She also finds her current assignment to be more of a challenge than she expected.

Although, Lane may have been feeling tender and fragile when we first meet her, she’s pretty quick on her feet, and has an uncanny power of observation. As the story progresses, she rises to the occasion, shows her true mettle, and is one of the most determined women you will ever meet!

I loved this story! I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, and while I do try very hard to support Texas authors and love books set in Texas, I haven’t stumbled across any quite like this one. For those who are unaware, the pipeline the book is named after was finally given the green light after the United States entered the second world war. It was crucial because without it the Germans could intercept our oil shipments which the troops needed to do their jobs. So, Lane’s job was to see that the pipeline was not sabotaged. Her target, however, proves difficult to keep in her sights, and it turns out there is a great deal of intrigue going on in Longview, Texas, which was humorous as it was suspenseful, at times.

One minor complaint is the pacing with is just a little slow in some places, but the story is quite absorbing despite a few ebbs and flows.

Of course, for me, the big old softie, with a penchant for love stories, I was thrilled by the romantic elements in the story. Lane is a very sought- after young lady, but she’s also very independent and her career is her number one priority. While one may secretly root for one or more of Lane’s romantic prospects, I was very pleased with her choice.

Since I am reviewing the audio version of the book, I should mention the narration and the quality of the audio.

If you get the chance to add the audio, I do highly recommend it. The narrator has a very pleasing voice, and her southern inflections were nicely done. I felt as though I got a clearer picture of Lane in my mind with the audio version and could truly envision her character in the many unique scenarios in which she found herself in.

The story held my attention, which is something I occasionally struggle with while listening to an audiobook, as my mind does occasionally wander. However, I found myself listening to this one, very intently.  I looked forward to my daily sessions with Lane and couldn’t wait to see what would happen next in the story.

Overall, this is a terrific story centered around real events, and as a Texas resident, I enjoyed the setting and learned a bit more about Texas history, which is always fun. If you are a fan of historical fiction, I highly recommend this one! It has a bit of something for everyone, and Lane is a terrific character that will stay with you long after you finish the book!


CLICK TO PURCHASE
◆ Amazon ◆ Audible 
  




Kimberly Fish has been a professional writer in marketing and media for almost 30 years. In the course of research for the Longview Chamber of Commerce 100-year compilation, she stumbled across a 1940s federal works project that was too good, too war-winning, not to be retold to modern audience. In 2017, she released The Big Inch, her first WWII spy thriller detailing the crazy, big pipeline project that fueled the Allies to a win in Europe. The Big Inch has also been released as an audio download on Audible. That eye-opening novel was so consumed by readers, she quickly followed it with a second WWII spy thriller set in Longview, Harmon General. Both of these novels will be helpful to her work with the City of Longview’s 150th birthday celebrations which begin in January of 2020. Comfort Plans, a contemporary novel also set in Texas, continues her love of history by weaving old letters into the renovation of an iconic Hill Country farmhouse.  Kimberly enjoys speaking on the value of weaving history and nostalgia into our plans as we grow our communities for the future. 


 ║ Website ║ Facebook  Twitter InstagramGoodreads  ║ Pinterest Amazon Author Page   




Sydney Young is a lawyer, award-winning writer and audio book narrator from the Lone Star State. Her next theatrical project will be directing “SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE,” for the Paris Community Theatre stage (Feb. 2019), while her novel “I AM HOUSTON,” is being submitted for publication by the Loiacono Literary Agency. Sydney has long been a reading advocate, including with her readings to an adopted second grade class each year. She loved voicing THE BIG INCH for all of its authentic Texas voices and true characters, all while she learned the history of the East Texas oil effort for World War II.  Visit Sydney’s website for more information on her writings, theatre, and audio books.
║ Website ║ Facebook ║ Instagram ║ Twitter 








-------------------------------------
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
ONE WINNER!  Choice of Audio or Signed Print Copy of The Big Inch  + $25 Amazon Gift Card + a WWII Themed Surprise Gift! NOVEMBER 5-12, 2018
VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
11/5/18
Joint Guest Post
11/6/18
Audio Book Review
11/7/18
Audio Book Review
11/8/18
Narrator Interview
11/9/18
Audio Book Review
11/10/18
Audio Book Review
11/11/18
Guest Post
11/12/18
Audio Book Review
11/12/18
Audio Book Review
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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Ohio by Stephen Markley - Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

The debut of a major talent; a lyrical and emotional novel set in an archetypal small town in northeastern Ohio—a region ravaged by the Great Recession, an opioid crisis, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—depicting one feverish, fateful summer night in 2013 when four former classmates converge on their hometown, each with a mission, all haunted by the ghosts of their shared histories.
Since the turn of the century, a generation has come of age knowing only war, recession, political gridlock, racial hostility, and a simmering fear of environmental calamity. In the country’s forgotten pockets, where industry long ago fled, where foreclosures, Walmarts, and opiates riddle the land, death rates for rural whites have skyrocketed, fueled by suicide, addiction and a rampant sense of marginalization and disillusionment. This is the world the characters in Stephen Markley’s brilliant debut novel, Ohio, inherit. This is New Canaan.
On one fateful summer night in 2013, four former classmates converge on the rust belt town where they grew up, each of them with a mission, all of them haunted by regrets, secrets, lost loves. There’s Bill Ashcraft, an alcoholic, drug-abusing activist, whose fruitless ambitions have taken him from Cambodia to Zuccotti Park to New Orleans, and now back to “The Cane” with a mysterious package strapped to the underside of his truck; Stacey Moore, a doctoral candidate reluctantly confronting the mother of her former lover; Dan Eaton, a shy veteran of three tours in Iraq, home for a dinner date with the high school sweetheart he’s tried to forget; and the beautiful, fragile Tina Ross, whose rendezvous with the captain of the football team triggers the novel’s shocking climax.
At once a murder mystery and a social critique, Ohio ingeniously captures the fractured zeitgeist of a nation through the viewfinder of an embattled Midwestern town and offers a prescient vision for America at the dawn of a turbulent new age.

LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:







MY REVIEW:


OhioOhio by Stephen Markley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ohio by Stephen Markley is a 2018 Simon & Schuster publication.

New Canaan, Ohio

The Rust Belt-

By now the plight of those living in a what is commonly known as ‘The Rust Belt", is etched into our consciousness. A marginalized area simmering in hostility, hammered by a stubborn economic depression, and an unprecedented epidemic opiate crisis.

This atmosphere is more in the forefront than in the background as Stephen Markley captures the mentality of those born and raised in this environment. Four high school friends, all of whom took a different path in life, all of them haunted by actions, decisions, and memories of the past, compounded by their current day realities, return home at the same time, with shocking results.

The novel begins in 2007 with the funeral of former football star Rick Brinklan, killed in Iraq. This surreal parade sets the stage quite effectively as the author leads the reader quickly to 9/11- the event that cements a ‘before and after’ time frame for our main characters.

Separated into four segments, giving each character the power of the first person narrative to describe their youthful experiences, the angst of needing to belong, the compulsion to express individuality, or their forced conformity.

All four voices are connected by their upbringing, their history, and their knowledge of certain crimes, their mistakes and regrets.

Their shared memories, especially centered around rumors of and evidence of certain events that took place in high school, still binds them. But, the unspoken jealousies and competitions build to a point that eventually boils over, the consequences that follow them into adulthood, and will eventually bring terrible tragedy, which now begs for justice.

This is a very impressive debut novel. It is thought provoking, with very strong characterizations, and vivid depictions of time and place. It is, however, very laborious, and verbose, perhaps in need of a more aggressive editor. Despite some clunky sections, the author’s prose is magnificent.

In my opinion the mystery is not the most prominent element of this book even though it is firmly placed in that category. In fact, I wondered at times, if the author intended to write a true mystery or was using it as a means to an end, with a fictionalized social commentary being the ultimate goal.


Yet, at the end of the day, there is a mystery, one that took me by surprise, the outcome of which never really crossed my mind, as my attention was diverted by the rich characterizations. The story eventually merges the four individual segments with a surprising turn of events.

Some of the vignettes, if you will, reminded me of many typical small town scenarios, not just those who have come under such intense scrutiny as of late. I live in a small town in Texas, surrounded by even smaller towns, some which have dried up the same way those in the heavily maligned rust belt. Factories closed, drugs took over, bored teens did what bored teens do, creating cliques and fiefdoms, and in a football obsessed mindset- similar crimes are committed, overlooked and unreported. Some are trapped in a vicious, never ending cycle going back generations with no end in sight, and others got away only to find themselves right back where they started, or curiously enough, unable to find contentment in any other way of life.

Stiff conservative values, hard wired patriotism, and God and country still rule in the hearts and minds of small town America- and God help you if you go against the grain with sexual identity or liberal leanings. My point being that the rust belt in not unique in this. My next point is – don’t stereotype- of presume this is a searing portrait of the entire state of Ohio- despite the book’s title.

The story takes a very long and rambling way around to linking the threads together, perhaps too long if the goal was to keep the reader invested in the mystery elements.

But, if you want to get a very realistic look at the issues that still very much divide our country, dissect the long road leading to this point; if you want to see why there is such a fierce loyalty to this way of life, or if you just enjoy strong, well- drawn characters, placed in a dense and gritty atmosphere- and don’t mind depending on those characters to carry you through to the ultimate moment of truth- then the mystery, which doesn’t come on strong until the bitter end, will be worth the extended wait.

The book is a riveting combination of narratives, quite absorbing, albeit violent and pretty darned bleak and melancholy.
So, my only caution to readers is to keep in mind that small towns everywhere suffer some of these same plights, these exact same attitudes, and personalities, but that is not a rebuke of all the residents, or the state in which they are located and hope the urge to group everyone together in the blame game will be avoided.

Wisely, the author added diversity to the story, which hopefully will help to combat strict preconceived notions about rural or blue- collar areas. However, it would serve us all well, from small communities to large cities, from the east to the west, and all points in between, to step outside our own insular world to consider the challenges and fears of others. Compassion may begin at home, but it doesn’t have to stop there - it is limitless.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Ohio-Stephen-Markley-ebook/dp/B075RR69P6/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ohio-stephen-markley/1127208698

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Stephen Markley's debut novel "Ohio" will be published in August of 2018 by Simon and Schuster.

Markley is the author of the memoir "Publish This Book: The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold, and Published This Very Book" (2010) and the travelogue "Tales of Iceland."

His work has appeared in Paste Magazine, Slate.com, The Iowa Review, Chicago's RedEye, The Week, The Chicago Tribune, The Rumpus, Weber: A Study of the Contemporary West, and the Chicago Reader. He’s also the author of the e-reader short "The Great Dysmorphia: An Epistemological View of Ingesting Hallucinogenic Mushrooms at a 2012 Republican Presidential Debate."