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.
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.
Once she lived a normal life, a good, boring life, but a safe one…
Abandoned as a baby on the steps of Wolfe Manor, Fianna was raised with love, secure inside its walls. Now her bubble of safety is about to burst. Can she save the home and school which once cocooned her when old fears overwhelm? Facing students at the start of a new term is frightening enough without nightmares resurfacing which terrify Fianna.
She may have a degree in teaching but will this skill help her? The return of old friends sends Fianna spiraling down the rabbit hole of her past. Wolfe Manor may call her to be what she was born to be, but can she find out in time to save it from an evil only she can defeat? Or if she fails and Wolfe Manor falls, what happens when the evil faces humanity unchallenged?
An atmospheric story demonstrating the writing talent of Adele Marie Park. If you enjoy supernatural coming of age stories with elemental magic, witches, family secrets, gateways, portals between worlds, nightmares and dark demons this is for you.
It is an intricate read with a fair few characters and quite a complicated back story, so be prepared to invest time and attention to the narrative. There are some wonderful passages to enthrall you. I particularly loved the sections with the animals: the wolf, mouse, stag, owl, and badger. I’m a sucker for animals in books!
The authors words really shine in this latest book. I particularly enjoyed the passages devoted to art. I believe the author also paints and this is evident in how detailed and real these are.
I particularly enjoyed the humour and flurries of brilliance in this novel, as you can see in these quotes:
“Hey. Demon,” he shouted, and the chaos stopped for a second. “Yes. You know me. I remember and so do you. Leave or I’ll do what I did years ago.”
As memory infiltrated the adult personae her emotional shield dropped. It was as it had been when she was a child and Miss Appleton chased away the darkness.
Highly recommended. 5 stars.
Meet the Author
Fantasy and horror writer, Adele Marie Park originally hails from the Orkney islands. Rousay is a small, but archaeological important island, dubbed “The Egypt of The North.” The oral tradition of passing down stories fired the young Adele’s imagination with tales of trolls, faeries, sea monsters, witches, ghosts, and seals who could change into humans. The landscape of the island fascinated her as moorland hills swept down through green fields to the shores of secluded beaches, where black volcanic rocks might be a troll or a sleeping giant.
Reading the Hobbit at an early age inspired her and in her teens she turned to Stephen King, James Herbert, Anne Rice and Storm Constantine to appease a mind hungry to delve into the paranormal. Throughout her life she never gave up writing but it was an ongoing medical condition which forced her to give up work that began her passion to publish her writing for others to read.
Genres may come and go, but Adele’s writing encompasses a solidity which does not change; the overcoming of obstacles in one’s life, love, death, grief and pain all infused with those supernatural elements that one sees out the corner of the eye or feels when one is alone in the house at night and a floorboard creaks.
To connect with Adele, and learn more about her work visit this sites:
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
From the international bestselling author of If you love me, I’m yours, Ninja School Mum and Babe Driven.
Genie’s family is in crisis. Their seafront business is failing with the loss of Genie’s grandmother and her legendary ice cream flavours. Genie is determined to be the one to save her family’s heritage, but suddenly her mother wants to sell to developers and leave their shared history behind.
Buying the business and taking on a sixty-eight year old business partner, Ada, with a mysterious past and a gorgeous but distracting grandson, Genie sets out to prove her parents wrong.
Ada’s grandson, Cal, wants to protect his gran from ‘pensioner persuader’, Genie, but soon realises that living in a little seaside town and away from the paparazzi in Hollywood can actually give him time to heal. Hiding in a seafront business with its fiery owner and working as kitchen staff, is the only way he can think of to keep his ex-Hollywood glamour-puss, gran from harm. But his meddling might also ruin Ada’s second chance at love.
Hiring a private detective and learning about Genie’s parent’s past makes Cal regret his own impulsiveness. The information he has unearthed could destroy their blossoming romance and turn Genie’s world upside down.
Genie soon discovers that friends can become enemies and your closest family can have lied to you for your whole life.
Lizzie Chantree writes lovely romance novels and her latest is no exception. Her strengths lie in creating wonderful characters, beguiling settings and simple but effective story lines.
The main protagonist Genie has a lot of relatable qualities, such as her hardworking ethos, her strong sense of duty, and sadness at her family leaving to pursue a new life and business without her. Genie’s insecurities about her looks and the behaviour of her neglectful friends and family flame her vulnerabilities. Her uncertainties grow, making her fear that the people she loves will leave her, and this anxiety spills over into her private life.
Nevertheless, her confidence begins to grow as the novel unfolds. It’s a nice change to see a curvy girl feeling happy and sexy in her own body. It is also interesting to see Genie develop a friendship with an older woman, Ada – a grandmother like figure. That’s a nice touch, as is the references to older people and grandparents in general in this story.
As for the hot guys well they had me drooling… Bailey, Cal, Toby, all of which brightened my days, which is always good, as did Genie’s wrestling with her growing attraction towards Cal and Toby.
The revelations about Cal and Ada and the family add interest to the story too.
There are lovely touches of humour throughout.
And being that I am partial to the seaside and ice cream, (well food in general – yes I do love my grub,) this is pretty perfect. You can almost taste the ice cream, the writing is that flavoursome good!
A continually bullied runt of a youngster, Chas Larkin discovers his chutzpah and decides to take on the London gangs.
In the sleazy and violent East End of 1966 London, he is unwittingly assisted by Scotland Yard and MI5, who use the boy to delay an IRA campaign in the city. Together with the mysterious DCI Casey, an enigma amongst the bomb-damaged slums, they stir the pot of fermenting disquiet.
But can Chas achieve his midsummer night’s dream of total revenge?
Black Rose is a story of matriarchal might, of superstition, of a lucky charm tainted with malevolent juju, and of a young man’s smoldering anger and thirst for retribution.
I received a free e-copy of Black Rose in exchange for an honest review, which I give freely without bias. Many thanks to the author for the copy.
This is my introduction to the writing talents of Pete Adams and I was not disappointed. Initial impression, this is different and in a good way. The build up to the story, with a preface, foreward and then the initial chapter sparked a great deal of interest. I loved the idea of the grotty crumpet, being a good luck charm for the gang members, best explained by this quote from the book: ‘Someone’s ‘arf inched the lucky crumpet and replaced it with a replica…’ she paused to think on ‘… and this one’s got bad juju.’
It’s a tale of the senseless enmity between two equally villainous gangs: the Saints and the Larkins who own two pubs in the east End of London. I loved the word play used to describe the pubs. The pub owned by the Saints is called the Dog and Duck Pub (Dad’s.) The Larkins own the Bottle and Glass pub, “Arries.” The various character names, are entertaining too: Roisin O’Neill, ‘most called her Rosie, or Ginger Nut,’ …
There are speculations, whispers and uncertainties about an up-and-coming rival group: the O’ Neils and Roisin, a young girl who comes to the aid of poor long-suffering Chas.
There’s a rich diversity in the characters, all of which are so blooming great, particularly the female characters and gangster molls which Pete Adams did a wonderful job in portraying. Equally, Chas, the unfortunate lad with the club foot, who is bullied, ridiculed and treated appallingly by everyone including his mum, has an enviable creative character arc to keep you enthralled.
I loved the engaging banter between and amongst various characters notably: Detective Inspector Padraig, (Paddy,) Casey. Detective sergeant Flora Wade, Wendy Richards the child psychiatrist, Wade’s girlfriend Wendy, Nadia and the gangland molls.
At its heart this is a witty tale, full of observations about the deep recesses of human nature. It packs some surprises including: gangland killings, pub bombings, the threat of the IRA, heads exploding and extraordinary revelations as the tale unfolds. And that’s not forgetting the fate of the crumpet (which had me in fits of laughter!)