Blog Tour: S C Skillman – Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire @scskillman @amberleybooks #blogtour #review #interview #newbook #travelphotography #curioustales #supernaturalwarwickshire

I’m thrilled to welcome Author S.C. Skillman to my blog to celebrate her latest release!

Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire
S. C. Skillman

Warwickshire, often known as Shakespeare’s County, has a host of strange and mysterious tales ranging from ancient legends and stories of the supernatural to more modern documented cases. Curious beliefs and customs were once widespread in Warwickshire’s towns and villages, some of which still flourish today.These strange and spooky stories include the quirky death of the Roundhead commander who owned Warwick Castle, the association of the great author J. R. R. Tolkien with the town, and the story of the hand of glory obtained at Warwick hangings. The historic buildings of Stratford-upon-Avon have witnessed many strange events over the centuries and more recently the Crackley Wood sprite has been sighted at Kenilworth. Other stories include the Wroth Silver at Knightlow Cross, an 800-year-old violent ball game played annually at Atherstone on Shrove Tuesday, and the unresolved mystery of the 1945 murder at Lower Quinton associated with witchcraft, along with other strange tales from the surrounding towns and villages. These stories are accompanied by the author’s photographs in this hugely entertaining book.

Q & A

  • How did you find your publisher for Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire and Paranormal Warwickshire?

A:  It all started when I shared my WIP (Paranormal Warwickshire) with my writing group. I read out the chapter on Guys Cliffe Warwick, and another member of the group, a historian, suggested a few history publishers to me.  I tried them with a proposal and Amberley were the ones who responded positively, saying they would like it for their Paranormal section.  So that’s how I focused the first book and subsequently Amberley asked me to write another 3 books about Warwickshire for them, which I have been very happy to do.

  • Out of all the tales in this latest collection which one/s is/are your most beloved. And/or which one surprised or intrigued you the most.

A: Probably the story of the footsteps in the derelict 17th century coach house near the beginning of the book. I like this one because it came to me unsolicited via a first person account from the individual who experienced it, and he volunteered the story.  Also, it had a truly authentic feel about it, with several satisfying elements; it came over as a genuine spooky tale. The narrator had experienced this in his teenage years, and never forgotten it. At the time of the experience, he sought rational explanations, and then tried to confirm those explanations, and had to accept it as paranormal. Finally, verification decades later from an independent source made it even more convincing. It also reminded me a bit of an MR James ghost story; ‘years later, curiosity drew him back to the scene of his youth’… those words give me a delicious frisson!

  • It must be fascinating and fun collating all the information for these tales. Tell us a little about the people you have interviewed in person and the places you have been.

A: I have spoken to people of all ages and backgrounds. One gentleman, Philip, I met through a chance encounter in the Warwick Tourist Information Centre, and he volunteered his story of hauntings in the basement of the Old Coffee House Tavern.

Another person was Caroline, a lady inspired by the spiritual rituals of the First Nation peoples, who calls herself a ‘Hedgerow Healer’ and holds healing ceremonies in a local community woodland using ancient smudging rituals and sage sticks. I had to be careful in the information I shared about her because she was wary of being misrepresented and wanted to ensure I wasn’t comparing her to spiritualists (I had no such idea in my mind). I feel privileged to gain the confidence of remarkable people like her, and being able to include their story, in such a way that they are happy with.

I also met a lovely elderly gentleman called Cyril in Costa Kenilworth, who has for many years been a traditional wooden toymaker, and he was fascinating. He appeared as a real life Geppetto in the ‘extra footage’ on a remastered version of Disney’s classic film Pinocchio. Though retired now, he is still a highly gifted painter and street photographer, fizzing with energy and humour.

  • I believe you have lived in Warwickshire for many years and the area is rich in intriguing history. Have you ever come across, or seen any of the tales you speak of… such as the big cats?

A: I’ve lived in Warwickshire for 28 years now.  I have tried to experience or gain personal knowledge of many of the stories I tell.  Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any big cats though!  One of my stories is about the ancient tax gathering ceremony the Wroth Silver which takes place on 11 November each year at daybreak in a field off the A4 near Ryton on Dunsmore. I was determined to attend the ceremony! It was moving to see how several of those who keep the ceremony alive have been attending for many decades and I have since been in correspondence with the elderly gentlemen involved. Also, I was very touched by the poem read out at the Wroth Silver breakfast by Barry Patterson, a local Bard. It was called ‘Dear Ancestors’ and for me it crystallised my thoughts about how people like to connect with their ancestors, which is why they cherish these ancient ceremonies. I think this is true of folklore and folk rituals such as the Wassailing Ceremony and groups like the Border Morris sides too. I’m delighted that Plum Jerkum, the local Warwick Border Morris side will be performing at my book launch in May!

  • Tell us a little about you and your past, and future writing projects.

A: I was born and brought up in Orpington, Kent, and studied English Literature at Lancaster University. My first permanent job was as a Production Secretary at the BBC in Portland Place, London.  Later I lived and worked for four and a half years in Australia, then returned to England to live. Now I live in Warwick with my husband and son, and my daughter is now spending time living and working in Australia. I have long been fascinated by ghost stories and tales of the unexpected, and visiting ancient sites: castles, stately homes, and gardens. I’m a member of English Heritage and the National Trust and I live near two of England’s great castles at Warwick and Kenilworth. Currently I’m working on a third book for Amberley, A-Z of Warwick. I also have a completed mystery novel, Director’s Cut, out on submission to publishers and agents, and am nearly halfway through the sequel to that novel, Standing Ovation.

  •  Do you believe in ghosts and what is your personal experience of the paranormal/strange happenings.

A: I have a theory about ghosts; I believe energy can be trapped in stone, and in the fabric of certain buildings, and those who are sensitive can tune into it.  I haven’t experienced ghosts but have had curious experiences which seemed to me like out-of-the-body experiences. My sister has experienced phantom footsteps, and her story is very convincing. I suggest that those who see ghosts or hear phantom footsteps are experiencing a psychic recording. However, this doesn’t cover every kind of verified experience. Sometimes we may hear stories of a ghost apparently interacting with the living percipient. I am intrigued by the whole phenomenon and keep an open mind. I respect people who tell stories of genuine experiences. I don’t judge but listen. Some stories are very convincing, especially those experienced in the same place by different individuals at different times quite independently of each other. Some might possibly be the person’s imagination. I still respect their convictions about what they have experienced.

MJ: Thanks Sheila for the wonderful interview and your fascinating theory about ghosts.

MJ’s Review

Illustrated Tales of Warkwickshire is a wonderfully informative, interesting and beautifully illustrated book of tales of Warwickshire. Some of the images within are the author’s own photography. And I learnt a thing or two! Readers who enjoy strange, supernatural, historical and quirky tales will enjoy this book immensely. It is evident that the author S. C. Skillman loves her home in which she has lived for over 20 years. Judging by the lengthy bibliography and the book itself she has researched, interviewed and knows her subject matter exceedingly well. Warwickshire is deservedly known as Shakespeare country! Authors, writers, tale hunters, and those keen to discover more about Warwickshire would love this. It would make a lovely gift for both visitors to the UK and local folk alike.

Delve into tales of big cats, mysteries, magical forests, witchcraft, extraordinary true life stories, intriguing people, and much more… plus famous authors such as Lewis Carroll who studied at Rugby School, (though he wasn’t happy there!)

Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher Amberley Publishing and S. C. Skillman for a beautiful copy. Review given freely and readily with no bias.

BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION
Publication: 15th April 2022
Price: £15.99
ISBN: 9781398110939
Size: 234 x 165mm
Binding: Paperback
Extent: 96 pages
Illustrations: 100 illustrations
Rights: World, all languages

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Illustrated-Tales-Warwickshire-S-Skillman/dp/1398110930/

I have also read and enjoyed Paranormal Warwickshire by S. C. Skillman – my review and author feature here:

And Mystical Circles which I also enjoyed. here is the link to my amazon review:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-reviews/R730W80HJX1X5/

THE AUTHOR
S. C. Skillman is a writer of psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction, who has
lived in Warwickshire for over twenty years.

Social Media Links:
Website and blog: https://scskillman.com/
Amazon Author Profile: http://bitly.ws/9SK9
https://www.facebook.com/scskillmanauthor
https://twitter.com/scskillman
https://www.instagram.com/scskillman/
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/scskillman/_created/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/sc-skillman-42347a47/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4692653.S_C_Skillman

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MJ’s Book Reviews: The Legend of The Taken Ones by Janice Spina @janice_spina #book #review

Synopsis

This is Book 1 of a fantasy series that will have six books in all. In this book learn about the three children of King Gateskin and his wife, Queen Solinara. The children have had powers since they were quite young..

Serena was three years old when she learned of her power to move objects with her mind. Her brother, Simon, can fly and their sister, Catalina, can become invisible or blend into her surroundings. They live with their parents in Sovorotskina, the Land of Light.

With these powers comes responsibility. The children must try to use their powers for the common good and responsibly to help others. The three children befriend a Sprite named Spindle who accompanies them on their adventure. Along the way they meet up with their aunt and uncle, their mother’s brother and his wife, Wizard Hotenfaran and Fairy Procelina. The group must travel into the evil land of Parotovina, Land of Darkness, to save King Gateskin, who was kidnapped, and also rescue some of the descendants of their friends and fellow Sovorotskinans who were captured and taken by the Evil Ones. These descendants have been waiting a long time to be free to return to the villages of their ancestors.

The children have many trials and adventures along the way. Will they be able to rescue their father and fellow Sovorotskinans without endangering their own lives? Will the evil King Kaposkaran and his Queen Beregina stop Serena and her siblings from being successful or will they turn Serena and her siblings to their dark ways?

The Legend of the Taken Ones by Janice Spina

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is book 1 in a cute fantasy adventure about good versus evil kings, saving the persecuted and reuniting communities through magic. The emphasis is on family, love, friendships, and trust. It is a gentle fantasy tale suitable for middle grade readers.

The text relies heavily on dialogue. I would have preferred some more descriptive passages to get a better sense of place and where the action is happening.

I enjoyed the short poetic passages in the tale.

I particularly enjoyed the characters of Spindle, a Sprite, and King Gateskin’s children whose magic is far beyond what is expected for their ages.

Recommended for middle grade readers and all who enjoy a good fantasy tale.



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Janice Spina is an award-winning author with 18 children’s books,12 MG/PT books and one book in a YA series with five more coming over the next few years, five novels and a short story collection for 18+ written under J.E. Spina. She is also a copy editor, blogger, book reviewer and supporter of fellow authors. Her husband, John, is her illustrator and cover creator.

Janice can be followed on her blog: http://jemsbooks.blog

Website: http://jemsbooks.com

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MJ’s Reviews: Still Life by Dodie Bishop @dodiebish @NextChapterPB #NextChapterPub #review #historical #fiction #romance #art

Synopsis:

Fighting for success in 17th century Amsterdam, a female artist must risk everything – and make enemies along the way.

Clara Peeters’ idyllic upbringing is shattered by her mother’s death, leaving her with a secret horror of childbirth. When her childhood love, Henri, proposes marriage and she refuses, they are both left heartbroken, though she must conceal her pain.

Defying convention, gifted artist Clara becomes a pupil to the renowned painter, Osias Beerts. But when the highly prized patronage won from the powerful Burgomeister Fabritius turns to hostility, Clara has to make sacrifices and risk everything to pursue her craft.

Together with fellow pupil Nico, the two find themselves surrounded by dangerous secrets and powerful enemies. But in the face of so much past pain, can something as fragile as love survive?

MJ’s Review:

Still Life: A 17th Century Historical Romance Novel by Dodie Bishop

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Throughout this 17th century tale death in childbirth and the power over, patronage of and rape and sexual abuse of women are powerful themes. Along with witch persecution and the taboo and abhorrence of same sex male partners to love and live openly at that historical time period.

Clara mother’s dies in childbirth leaving her with an overwhelming fear of ever becoming pregnant and this has huge consequences for her personal love life. Clara is a strong willed artist determined to make her way in a world ruthlessly dominated by men. Clara tolerates Fabritius’s ‘patronage,’ until it is clear what sort of man he is and her sister Adela is somewhat foolish making some terrible choices with regard to men with horrendous outcomes. Clara’s aunt disapproves of her painting, as do so many others but Clara’s admirable force of will and determination to succeed overcomes prejudice to follow her chosen career path often at the detriment of her life in other ways.

What an engaging tale. I loved this and became so absorbed in the life of artist Clara and the wonderful variety of characters in this story. The descriptive writing really pulled me in. The ending was so poignant, emotional and sad. Life wasn’t easy for women way back then! She had to be tough! She is such a strong character full of determination and I really loved Constanza, Nico and Henri too.

Notes from Wikipedia: “Clara Peeters was a Flemish still-life painter from Antwerp who worked in both the Spanish Netherlands and Dutch Republic. Peeters is the best-known female Flemish artist of this era and one of the few women artists working professionally in seventeenth-century Europe, despite restrictions on women’s access to artistic training and membership in guilds. Peeters specialized in still-life paintings with food and was prominent among the artists who shaped the traditions of the Netherlandish ontbijtjes, “breakfast pieces,” scenes of food and simple vessels, and banketjes, “banquet pieces” with expensive cups and vessels in precious metals.”

Listened to on Audiobook – the narrator did a fabulous job.



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MJ’s Book Reviews – The Ghosts of Roseby Hall by Jeanette Taylor Ford @jeanetteford51 #paranormal #ghost #romance

Synopsis:

On her first visit to her parent’s new home in Derbyshire, Beth Watson hears the whispered call coming from the old ruined mansion next door. Captivated by Roseby Hall, and disillusioned with her job and her unfaithful fiancé, she leaves her life in London to make a new life – and, rediscovering her talent for art, embarks upon a new venture as an artist of note and partner in the new craft shop in the village. Soon, she has two men in her life – Rick, the attractive twin brother of Beth’s new friend Rachel, and the other a devastatingly handsome Earl. One is puzzling – and the other is a ghost. Beth finds herself struggling to understand her feelings for them both and dealing with the confusion within. But someone in the village knows that Beth is now caught up in a race against time, which could end with her untimely death, and there’s only one person who can prevent it.

The Ghosts of Roseby Hall by Jeanette Taylor Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Thank you to the author for a copy. Review given freely and all opinions are my own.

The Ghosts of Roseby Hall. An enjoyable paranormal ghost mystery. The author has a pleasing voice and the story left me with a feel good feeling.

The ghostly drama and romance suspense is a little slow to develop but this leaves time for the characters, setting and plot to develop.

And the story is wrapped up well. There is a short section at the end explaining the inspiration for the story: a mansion in Sutton Scarsdale built by the 4th Earl of Scarsdale which is interesting, giving this an appealing, personal touch. I like stories which are inspired by actual places, etc.

Overall, this is a nice uncomplicated story of ancestral lives and family secrets, focusing on a haunted house, Roseby Hall, with the threat of ghostly menace portrayed without being frightening, or disturbing to the reader.

So a gentle, mysterious family tale of loved ones lost with romantic feel good elements.

4 stars.



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MJ’s Book Reviews: Earthbound (Chronicles of The Maca #1)

Synopsis

Marooned in 19th century West, an alien must survive and return to his homeworld to destroy his mortal enemies and avenge his people.

During a raid to a Comanche camp he rescues Anna: a tall warrior woman. The two become friends and comrades, their fates forever intertwined.

They find themselves together in the prairies of 19th century Texas, the bordellos of Civil War-era New Orleans, to Prohibition in the 1920s, the Great Depression, and the vastness of space.

But will they survive hardships through history, the enmity of their southern neighbors and the Civil War, to be able to return to his home planet and exact his revenge?

Amazon Sci-Fi Western bestseller

Praise for Earthbound:

★★★★★”Well written and thoroughly researched, with realistic characters and events. I could not put the book down” – Laurie Ann Davis, Amazon Review

★★★★★”A great story with memorable characters, but to me the most fun was the historical aspect of it. Mari has done her research.” – Mark R. Hunter, Amazon review

★★★★★“I don’t usually read western-themed books but this book breaks the mold, blending western, historical, and sci-fi / paranormal all into one. It was spellbinding.” – James Johnson, Amazon review

My review:

Earthbound by Mari Collier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A different read for me!

Earthbound begins in the 1842 potato famine in Ireland with starving people, and sweeps you on a fascinating journey to learn about extra terrestrial life in Texas!

For me the story really came to life when Zebediah L McDonald, (the alien,) met the German Herman Rolfe. These two menfolk’s friendship was fun to read.

This entertaining and original story (I’ve never read anything like it! ) has several interesting story threads which work remarkably well. We learn of Mac, (and his extraordinary characteristics.) The Justines and Thalians! Mind probing! The cleansing! The spaceship stranded on earth!

And there is a cowboy and Indian, civil war vibe (sensitively and poignantly described.)

In Texas there is much to draw our attention from grissly bears, indian tribes, poker games, to the whores who cannot begin to satisfy a Thalian man. Read the story to discover why!

There are many characters to discover and enjoy. My favourites are Anna, a human and Llewellyn (Mac, – his name on earth – the Thalian alien.) Loved Anna’s strength of character, for her bravery – when the Comanche capture her and during the sad scenes and personal loss of the influenza epidemic – and I admire her unfailing love for her family and Mac.

The love mix of Anna and Mac made me smile!

I really enjoyed the quirky and at times humorous feel of this extraordinary story.

An enjoyable and imaginative read full of heart. Recommended for sci fi readers and those who enjoy ‘Western’ type stories –
5 stars.

I listened to this on audiobook and enjoyed the narration.



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Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
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MJ’s Book Reviews: Father Figure by @jamescudney4 #Book #Review #Contemporary #romance #Suspense

Synopsis

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies.

Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent.

Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen is revealed. FATHER FIGURE is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense. 

Father Figure by James J. Cudney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Father figure starts of dramatically and continues with many sad and disturbing revelations until the heart-warming conclusion.

This is a tale full of heart with dual stories of Amalia and Brianna working side-by-side to reveal intricate connections that are truly remarkable to read.

I was particularly drawn to the sad narrative of Amalia and her life in Mississipi Brant with her controlling mother Janet and spineless father Peter who loves Amalia but can’t stand up to Janet. Yet Amalia loves him nevertheless.

Brianna doesn’t want to stay in New York and goes to Woodland to study. Her mother Molly is not pleased. It seems that both Brianna and Amalia want to escape their home towns to discover themselves and explore new possibilities.

Amalia’s story becomes more and more engaging as I continued to read about her poor, unfortunate life and the dreadful things that happen to her and her family.

There are many lighter moments too. I enjoyed the character of Brianna and her best friend Shanelle and the uncertainties conveyed about Brianna’s uncertainty about her sexuality and her life in general, as she has never had that all important guiding father figure.

But ‘blood,’ fathers are not necessarily flawless, or kind, and might even be wicked people. This tale explores fatherhood in all its shades and how secrets held can cause terrible shocking worries, and conflict.

Throughout the narrative one overarching question remains: fatherhood and the care freely given or withheld by those who should love you. This is conveyed in both the story of Brianna who doesn’t know who her father is and Amalia who does but is estranged from him due to circumstances and misfortune.

It’s a exceptionally clever story and the way James Cudney links the two women’s lives in an amazing reveal is brilliant.

There are exciting, witty, and heartfelt as well as shocking passages with disturbing content which might be triggering for some women. It’s a long story but well worth sticking with it to discover the revelations of who Brianna’s father is and what happened to Amalia.

Definitely a favourite of mine.
I listened to in audiobook. Narrator did a great job too.

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Authors Links:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

Buy Link Bloodstone (multiple platforms): https://books2read.com/u/bOyrgW

Buy Link Golden Healer : (extended distribution links coming soon) https://books2read.com/u/mgjY67

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Book Review: We Are Saul by Richard Dee @RichardDockett1 #Book #Review #Scifi

My review:

We are Saul by Richard Dee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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I’ve had the pleasure of beta reading an advance copy of We Are Saul by Richard Dee. Every time I read a new story from Richard Dee I am always struck by his ability to create wonderful new story lines, worlds and characters. He is one of my favourite indie authors.

And it was a thoroughly entertaining read from start to finish. What a fabulous concept for a story. I absolutely loved how this explored fascinating medical technological advancement in the form of robotic ‘humans.’ The main protagonist Saul has a terrible accident leaving him paralysed but is given the chance to live fully again by becoming an ARP – a robotic enhanced version of himself – using cutting edge technology.

But Saul begins to wonder at what cost? And what do they expect in return and are there others like him? This tale has love, heart, thoughtful observations and sci fi too! The ending was ace. Loved it and think it would make a great film. Well done Mr Dee!

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Pre-order buy link, We Are Saul launches June 1st.

About Richard Dee

I’m Richard Dee and I’m from Brixham in Devon. I was never a writer, at least not for ages. I made up stories in my head, based on dreams and events in my life, but I never did much with them. Life, a wife, three daughters and now three grandchildren have kept me busy.

I spent forty years in shipping, firstly at sea, then in Port Control and as a Thames River Pilot, with adventures to match anything I could imagine. When I retired, I just moved them out into space, changed some of the names and wrote them down.

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, reluctant amateur detective. When I’m not writing, I bake bread and biscuits, cook delicious meals and walk the Devon coast.

My first novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of The Rocks of Aserol, a Steampunk adventure, and Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space, the first of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective.

Sequels to most of them have either followed or are in production. I also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection of alternative history stories. I’m currently working on more prequels, sequels, and a few new projects.

Check out my videos to see what I get up to. Or, you can keep up with me at richarddeescifi.co.uk where you’ll find free short stories, regular features on writing, book reviews and guest appearances from other great authors.

I can also be contacted at richarddeescifi@gmail.com

Authors Links:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

Buy Link Bloodstone (multiple platforms): https://books2read.com/u/bOyrgW

Buy Link Golden Healer : (extended distribution links coming soon) https://books2read.com/u/mgjY67

Next Chapter Publishing Author Page:https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon
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The Woman Who Felt Invisible @Lizzie_Chantree #review #romance #read

Synopsis

The woman who felt invisible

Lots of twists and turns, so I found it hard to put the book down. Very enjoyable to read as it kept me guessing!’ – Amazon Review. ★★★★★

An exciting story of love, romance and tear-jerking reality, from international bestselling author, Lizzie Chantree.

Have you ever felt invisible?

Working as a stationery supervisor and a sitter to a pair of internet famous, delinquent dogs, wasn’t how former cyber-specialist, Olivia, imagined her life turning out.

Sitting in a tiny cubicle with a decrepit computer and being overlooked had suited her for a while, but now she’s fed up, lonely and determined to make the world ‘see’ her again.

Heartbreaker, Darius, wants to fill Olivia’s days with romance and adventure, but their love of technology has taken them on very different paths, forcing her to leave her past behind.

Gorgeous undercover policeman Gabe, is steadfast in finding out if Olivia is part of an online scam. Someone is stealing money from high profile men, but something doesn’t feel right and he suspects someone else is manipulating her life. But why?

Can true love blossom from the most deceptive of starts? And can someone who feels lost, find a way to flourish against all odds? 

My review

The Woman Who Felt Invisible captured my attention right from the beginning with a great opening chapter which immediately hooks. The premise about older women feeling invisible is such a perceptive idea and Lizzie Chantree has explored this with touching humour, attention to detail and great characters. I loved all the funny details, the hot house, the dogs, the internet sensation! Jen’s fake smile and how she looked down her nose at the other women.

The main character Olivia (an older woman who lacks confidence,) meets Constance, (Connie,) at the office xmas party and there is reference to Connie looking young but being in her 40’s. A tip off to suggest where the story direction is going…

There are so many funny little moments like when Olivia’s boss Greg, who happens to be her new friend’s cheating husband, corners Olivia in the stationery cupboard (where she works,) and Olivia stabs him with her pen.

After the office party Olivia and Connie become great friends and this is the pivotal point where the story changes and progresses to reveal stunning revelations about Olivia and her best male friend Darius.

The love interest/love triangle appears in the form of injured Policeman Gabe who is doing a stake out of Olivia as he thinks she’s a drugs criminal! And Darius who has his charms and an abundance of good looks too… no spoilers read to discover more!

Connie wants to plan revenge on her cheating hubby Greg. And a whole bunch of extraordinary revelations follow. A great read! Perhaps less romance than some of Lizzie’s other books. Lots of humour, and commentry on women being more powerful than they seem. Overall, an entertaining novel and a celebration of older women having much to offer society with Olivia’s character demonstrating many hidden aspects, talents and much to admire. I loved it. Light-hearted but thoughtful too.

My rating 5 stars. Highly recommended.

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Book Review – Welcome To Denver Falls by @simsansford #book #review #mystery #crime #supernatural

Welcome to Denver FallsWelcome to Denver Falls by Sim Alec Sansford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Wow, this captured my attention from the beginning with such an intriguing prologue and kept me enthralled throughout.

17 year old Harper is determined to solve an eighteen year old crime mystery, with Abigail being the first in a series of murder victims, in a small town. Abigail’s sister Emily says she is missing and ‘Something took her.’

Harper is a great character, brave, determined and so well written. I really enjoyed reading about her and felt sympathetic to her plight. And her family dynamics added an extra layer of interest in this story.

There are many warnings, and dreams which would make most teenagers run a mile but Harper stays resolute in her intention. She meets some seriously creepy characters along the way including the beguiling Gideon and his creepy brother Elijah.

Many mysteries are revealed towards the end of the book explaining why she was so compelled to dig deeper putting her own safety at risk. And there are some loose threads to be further explored in the second book.

Denver Falls crosses genre boundaries, being both a crime/murder mystery with a definite supernatural/paranormal feel to it with the mention of Shadow people, wraiths, the scene in the forest, the underground mine, and the weirdly dated poetry book and what follows. At the drunken bonfire the (Natives) issue a creepy warning to the kids to scare them off as they …
‘Anger the forest,’ says old man.

I loved the scene with Harper dancing under the moon with Gideon and I enjoyed the romantic aspect of the story.

The ending is complete but allows for a nice introduction to the second book in this series, with hints at what is to come.

Highly recommended. 5 stars, fantastic debut novel. Definitely my kind of read!

I’d also like to mention that the narrator of the audiobook did a fabulous job and really brought the tale to life. 5 stars to her too!

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#review #5stars Bloodstone (The Curse of Time, Book 1) @Marjorie_Mallon #NextChapterPub – Didi Oviatt -Author

Thank you so much to Didi Oviatt for this wonderful review of my YA Fantasy Bloodstone. Made my day! A great New Year’s eve present. <3

Here is a short paragraph from the review, do read the full review at Didi’s wonderful blog.

What a fun mix this book is of magic, mystery and compelling characters. It’s a young adult fantasy that piques your interest from the very first chapter. Amelina is a teenage girl with quite the family story to tell, and to figure out for that matter. Nothing is as it seems, as the magic that she’s surrounded with is unique and creative.

 

Source: #review #5stars Bloodstone (The Curse of Time, Book 1) @Marjorie_Mallon #NextChapterPub – Didi Oviatt -Author

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