Violet has a secret that could change the lives of everyone she knows and loves, especially the regulars at the run-down café bar where she works. After losing her parents at a young age, they are the closest thing she has to a family and she feels responsible for them.
Kai is a jaded music producer who has just moved outside of town. Seeking solitude from the stress of his job, he’s looking for seclusion. The only problem is he can’t seem to escape the band members and songwriters who keep showing up at his house.
When Kai wanders into the bar and Violet’s life, he accidently discovers her closely guarded secret. Can Kai help her rediscover her self-confidence or should some secrets remain undiscovered
Lizzie Chantree writes feel good romance stories with wonderful characters and interesting settings. Her latest, Shh… It’s Our Secret gives the reader a romance brimming with a great sense of community, friendships, family and the importance of standing up to bullies/aggressive partners. With Shhh It’s Our Secret, the venue is a particularly interesting one – a music cafe. This appealed to me as our house sometimes feels like a music venue! My hubby is a mad keen guitarist. Also, I liked how the main character, Violet grows in the story shaking off her down-trodden persona – after being horrendously treated by her mean partner Liam she finds a new strength and a way to trust and love again.
And the secrets revealed were also a great way to pull the reader in. Who doesn’t like a secret?
There are some wonderful characters in this novel, from Kai, Cole, the older ladies (Doris, and Esme,) who I loved to Violet’s sister Molly, and many others, with lovely touches of humour throughout.
Lizzie Chantree’s greatest strength lies in her ability to write her characters so well that you feel as if you know them!
A great ending full of emotional feels.
I listened to this on audio and thoroughly enjoyed. Would highly recommend.
International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other.
She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.
A collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on Writing to be Read in 2020. Open the book and discover the poetry treasures of Sue Vincent, Geoff Le Pard, Frank Prem, Victoria (Tori) Zigler, Colleen M. Chesebro, K. Morris, Annette Rochelle Aben, Jude Kitya Itakali, and Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
I was thrilled to receive an ARC copy of Poetry Treasures in give my opinion freely and without bias.
There is an introduction by Kaye Lynn Booth (Word Crafter Press,) followed by Sue Vincent’s beautiful contributions which are even more meaningful and poignant given that this lovely author, blogger, talented soul, dear friend and loved one has since passed and is dearly missed. I particularly love all Sue’s poetry in this collection. My favourites: Snow Drops, and Aflame.
This collection is a wonderful introduction to the poetic talents of many wonderful authors many of whose work I have read before with great enjoyment. I include them here with my favourite poem in brackets, Colleen Chesebro, ( The Weather Witch,) Robbie Cheadle, (How I See, ) Frank Prem, (Joe – Pretty Words,) Geoff Le Pard (The Coffee Machine, )and Annette Rochelle Aben (Yes – a tanka).
It was also a great way to discover more about Kevin, (Lonely Train, ) Tori (A Grain of Sand) and Jude (Darkness and Light) whose books I have not read before.
The poetry within shows versatility, a sense of the supportive community and the many differing styles of the poets.
Well done to all the contributors, a lovely collection and one I can highly recommend. It is one to read more than once!
I received an ARC and give my opinion freely and without bias.
Surprising new family members. A hidden talisman. Deadly curses. Murder. Months after tragically losing a loved one, Kellan learns his relative’s death wasn’t an accident.
Someone has discovered a cursed talisman, and a rogue government agent will stop at nothing to retrieve the heirloom. Unfortunately, it has already changed hands and found its way on campus. Moments before Braxton’s controversial art exhibition opens, Kellan stumbles upon another murder victim, and it appears he might be next on the avenger’s list.
Can Kellan protect the talisman’s true heir and prevent the killer’s nefarious plan? Given all the suspects have ties to prominent Braxton citizens, he’s uncertain whom to trust. Together, Kellan and Sheriff April are determined to solve the mystery – via legal means or blind luck.
I received an ARC as part of the blog tour and I am voluntarily leaving a review
This is part of James Cudney’s Braxton mystery series which are set on a campus. This is a prolific no. 7. I’ve read the first book in the series, Academic Curveball and must confess I haven’t caught up with all the others. That’s no reflection on James Cudney, (his writing is ace – that’s just because of my busy life.) I’ve also had the pleasure of reading all the books in his Perception of Glass series which I thoroughly enjoyed too.
James Cudney has a talent for writing family/murder mysteries, with wonderfully engaging dialogue, great characters, (my favourite is Nana D!) Nana D reminds me of my mother-in-law, a gutsy, energetic lady, who I remember still standing up swinging with gusto on the swings in her seventies. My mother-in-law has slowed down a bit now that she is in her nineties! Elderly folk are so interesting, they have so much back story, they make awesome characters and James Cudney captures that so well.
This is a little different from the first mystery I read as Kellan is sleuthing in the midst of a curse, (oh how I love a curse, ) which brings death in its wake. There’s the loss of Kellan’s uncle who has died in mysterious circumstances. Fortunately Kellen has help from Sheriff April (their relationship has become a romantic one,) to try to solve this case.
There is a lot going on in this book, a fair amount of detail about the curse and the talisman, new characters, so it’s one to keep focused on. This is fine to read as a standalone, but it is recommended to read the whole series to get a deeper insight and connection to all the characters. I enjoyed the dashes of humour and pacing which keep this tale fresh and engaging. It is choc full of well written dialogue and there is great conclusion at the end!
My recommendation: highly recommended for mystery fans. My rating: 4.5 stars
James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing.
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, mind, and body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels, and suspense thrillers. I conjure characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.
Reader & Reviewer
Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies, or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read two books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review, and post it on all my sites and platforms.
“Be prepared to learn a lot about the culture while you follow Amanda on her adventure.”—Laura Best, author, Bitter, Sweet
“What a great way for a young person to learn about a culture and to be inspired to experience other countries themselves.”—Irene Butler, author, Trekking the Globe with Mostly Gentle Footsteps
Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her aunt. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda travels to Malta with her classmate Caleb and his parents.
Amanda is intrigued by this exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean, full of colourful history, sun-drenched limestone fortresses, stunning beaches and fascinating birds. But…who is killing the protected birds? Who stole a priceless artifact from the museum? And why is Leah acting so strange? She couldn’t possibly be involved in these illegal activities, or could she?
Join Amanda and her friends as they visit ancient temples, an exciting falconry and the enchanting Popeye Village, as they try to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Sleeping Lady.
Be sure to read all the books in this exciting Amanda Travels series! 1. Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask 2. Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting 3. Amanda in England: The Missing Novel 4. Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone 5. Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music 6. Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind 7. Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action 8. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady
I received a copy from NetGalley and am pleased to leave an unbiased review.
This is a lovely middle grade novel that whisks you away to the island of Malta. I’ve never been but have heard a lot of rave stories about Malta and Amanda in Malta made me want to visit!
I loved the adventure aspect in this particular story, author Darlene Foster did a great job in creating a captivating and exciting story. Amanda sets off to find her friend Leah who disappears, and later the Sleeping Lady artifact goes missing too!
There are many great scenes in the book which will appeal to children: The Popeye Theme Park in Malta, (I loved Popeye as a child!) Marsaxlokk, (a charming fishing village,) the bird sanctuary island – Filfla, boat trips, island hops, Falconry centres and details about the eye of Osiris and dangers of anaphlaxtic shock!
It is also quite educational in places too.
There are humorous passages to make you laugh. I am sure this would appeal to youngsters and some young at heart adults too!
A big thank you to the lovely Sally Cronin for taking the time to read and review my latest poetry collection Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity. It means so much and I can’t thank her enough. Do pop over to her blog to read the review.
This is the first book I’ve read from Chantelle Atkins and I loved it. I’m amazed that this is her debut novel, it was that good.
It is an emotional, character driven tale about a sixteen-year-old girl coping with the difficulties of being a teenager and living within a broken family (her mother is separated from Lou’s father and is in a new relationship.)
Lou doesn’t want to be that overlooked, overweight girl anymore. The passages about her not wanting to eat are powerful and frightening to read.
The Mess of Me is also a tale of friendship, of love, mothers, daughters, parents and sons. There are many hard hitting topics throughout including escalating family violence, alcohol and drug use, drug trafficking, self harm, and cries for help but these subjects are handled with great sensitivity. The dialogues are sprinkled with wonderful teenage banter to add touches of humour to lighten the narrative.
My two favourite characters were Lou and her best friend Joe who she’s known forever… since she was a baby! Marianne, and Joe’s older brothers Travis and Leon were also well written as were all the adults in the book. Perhaps the only character I felt less connection to was Sara, Lou’s older sister.
Life can be confusing and awkward for teenagers but this also applies to adults too! I loved how The Mess of Me conveyed our vulnerability, our frailness, how making mistakes and bad choices can have a huge impact on our lives and the lives of those we love. Sometimes parents get it spectacularly wrong and The Mess of Me does a fantastic job of portraying that flip side too.
There are many wonderful scenes with Lou and her mum chatting, drawing closer together, beginning to understand each other. I was so touched by these, having two daughters myself, remembering those teenage angst flare ups made me cry. As a parent all you want is for your children to be happy, safe and well and when that is threatened the fear and helplessness is immense. I don’t want to go in too much detail for fear of spoiling the book for you but The Mess of Me portrayed that fear and hopelessness so well.
After finishing The Mess of Me I was left with a sense of hope rising up from this dark tale. I enjoyed it on so many levels.
I will definitely read more from this author. One of my favourite books of 2021.
Highly recommended – 5 stars.
I will be interviewing Chantelle about Chasing Driftwood – her creative writing group soon.
Take a life with a small dog in tow, add a dash of red hair dye, a selection of crumbling biscuits and a passion for recitable verse… The result is a recipe for laughter. Sue Vincent shares her world in verse.
Laughter lines – Life from the Tail End is a beautiful book of poetry celebrating the bond between man (or in this case woman!) and dog. The poems make you laugh, smile and are so relatable. That’s simply because they are about everyday life, sharing memories, experiences and humorous doggy anecdotes!
Poetic thoughts on:
Trouble sleeping, – being that I suffered badly from insomnia when I was younger I relate to this so much – (The Demon List.)
Cute doggy ones such as bathing Sue’s dog Ani, (Hair of the Dog,) and Sue’s poem about sharing her food with Ani and therefore not having to diet! (The Canine Diet,)
I loved the poem Grandad Doughnuts which involved being excluded from the kitchen by Grandma and therefore having to resort to cunning and imaginative measures to make another kind of doughnut with Grandad! This was probably my favourite poem in the collection. Loved it.
Hearts and Flowers explored how love should be more than a shop bought card
There were poems about being an indie author/creative living from hand to mouth –The Archetypal Indie, and An Author’s Lament, all very relatable!
Sue Vincent’s hair dye disasters Red For Danger and Saturday Morning Blues made me smile. Been there done that! And her desire to live the free life came shining through in Rewriting The Wrinkles.
I thoroughly enjoyed all the poems and would highly recommend.
In this collection of poems, MJ Mallon has given us a wry series of vignettes of our society during a very strange year in history; it reminded me in part of theatre of the absurd, and she carries it out with an admirable lightness of touch. She conveys the folly, the irritability, the absurdity of people’s behaviour, along with a feeling of being lost and adrift.
Pop over to Sheila’s blog to read the review in its entirety.
Thank you so much to Sheila for reading and reviewing Lockdown Innit. A wonderfully detailed review, I appreciate it so much. <3