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Archive for December, 2019

A Song For Bill Robinson by CE Atkins

Tensions are building on the notorious Holds End estate.

The local community centre is fighting for survival and the murder of 15-year-old Lewis Matthews remains unsolved…

Wannabe teenage singer, Bill Robinson, just got out of hospital after surviving a vicious attack. He thinks he knows who attacked him…and why. When a violent feud escalates between him and local thug Charlie McDonnal, Bill vows to find the killer and help save the community centre by taking part in the local singing contest.

How can music bring a shattered community together? And can Bill keep his own demons at bay long enough to win the singing contest and find out who killed Lewis Matthews?

Amazon UK     Amazon US

About the Author

Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to reading, writing and music and writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life and has now been developed into a 6 book series. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere and award-winning dystopian, The Tree Of Rebels, plus a collection of short stories related to her novels called Bird People and Other Stories. The award-winning Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature was released through Pict Publishing in October 2018. Her next YA novel A Song For Bill Robinson will be released in December 2019. Chantelle has had multiple articles about writing published by Author’s Publish magazine.

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I would like to thank Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to share this book.

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TillHumanVoices

Welcome to the blog tour for Till Human Voices Wake us by C.S. Johnson!

TillHumanVoicesWakeUsTill Human Voices Wake Us (Till Human Voices Wake Us #1)

Publication Date: July 31, 2019

Genre: Science Fantasy/ Mermaids

Sometimes the difference between reality and insanity is only a matter of absurdity.

There is nothing Milo Bishop fears more than the thought that he is going insane.

Having grown up hearing his Uncle Jay’s stories about the strange mermaids Milo never had a reason to believe they were actually true. But when a near-death experience gives Milo a vision of a mermaid calling to him for help, Milo is forced to test his uncle’s claims. And when he winds up in Rasulka, the mermaid community tucked away, deep under the southern California seas, the question of his uncle’s sanity is the least of his concerns.

For in the heart of Rasulka, a growing whirlpool in the ocean-sky and the terrarium’s changing climate — along with a discarded prophecy that says their end will come when humans appear — all suggest that the end is near. Along with his uncle and best friend, Moss, and Eluia, a young mermaid who grew up hearing myths about humans, Milo has only hours to sort through his doubts and insecurities and face down unimaginable terrors if he is going to find his way home — before Rasulka, and everyone in it, is lost forever.

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Excerpt

“Are you awake?”

Much like the time I’d woken up in the hospital, I was beckoned back to reality by a familiar voice—but instead of my mother, this time it was her voice.

Am I dreaming? Am I dead?

I could hardly believe it. My eyes were covered with sand and dirt, and I squirmed as something nudged my foot, and hard.

“What is it?”

A new voice spoke from the other side of me. This one was a male voice, one that sounded older and much more disgruntled.

“I … can’t say.” She was the one who answered, and I knew from the gentle innocence of her voice, she hadn’t been the one who’d been prodding me.

“Well, is it alive, Eluia?”

Eluia.

Her name was Eluia, and before I could open my eyes to see her, I already knew she was the one I’d seen before. She was the one I’d spoken to while I was saving Moss from the whale.

“Yes, it seems so,” Eluia said. A soft whisper of a touch grazed my forehead. A shiver went through me at its chilling warmth.

“Let me see.”

“Don’t poke it with that stick!”

Right on cue, something stabbed my cheek, right underneath my goggles.

“Ouch,” I grumbled, tasting the salty thickness of air and musk through the mask of my wetsuit. “Watch it.”

“It’s making noises.” Eluia’s voice rang with excitement. “See, it is alive.”

“Hey!” I yelped, as another jolt of pain hit me, as I was prodded in the ribs.

“Ceros!” Eluia’s rebuke came quick. “Stop. You’re hurting it.”

“Just because it’s alive doesn’t mean it has value,” Ceros scoffed.

I didn’t have to see Ceros to know I didn’t think I was going to like him.

Ceros.

He was in one of Uncle Jay’s stories.

That moment was too surreal; I found myself debating with myself, torn between whether or not I was going to open my eyes and find out what destiny had in store for me.

Uncle Jay had told me before that some people don’t want to heal. But as I lay there, with my back to the ground and my limbs all sprawled out in different directions, I realized that it wasn’t just healing that people didn’t want. I didn’t want to be stripped of my ideas about life—and I didn’t want to take a leap of faith into a new world where things could be different or frightening.

“Just because that’s your opinion, doesn’t mean I value it,” Eluia murmured under her breath. From the sound of it, Ceros was already walking away, so I doubted he heard her.

Hearing her voice again—and the spirited defiance behind it—I decided I wanted to know the truth about her, if nothing else.

Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

About the Author

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C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at here.

CS Johnson | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

My Review

5 Stars

Milo Bishop has some problems and has some seriously negative thoughts when we first meet him. Milo grew up listening to his Uncle Jay’s stories of mermaids and is about done listening to them until he finds himself in Rasulka, the mermaid community below California. But these are not the wonderful mermaids of legend.

These mermaids don’t believe in humans. They are cold and cruel as they practice torture and murder in the name of science. This behavior is a recipe for destruction and it will be up to Milo to try and save those he can along with himself.

After reading Across the Floors of Silent Seas I couldn’t wait to dive head first into this book. Milo has some serious issues he is working with and my heart goes out to him. I think I would be thinking the same thing about the mermaids until I found myself in Rasulka too. But Milo has to make some serious decisions quickly if he is going to save everyone.

I really liked how this book makes you think, especially about Milo and his issues. I understood his mental health issues but he does realize how selfish he has become. This is not your typical happy, fuzzy bunny story and I loved it because of that. I really hope that there is more to come from this series.

 

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Across the Floors of Silent Seas (Till Human Voices Wake Us – 0.5)

Do mermaids believe in humans?

While working on a deep-sea diving assignment at the University of California, oceanography student Jay Bishop is dragged into a volcanic tube towards the earth’s core and certain death.

But much to his surprise, Jay not only survives the fall, he finds himself taken prisoner by a community of mermaids and kept alive as a science experiment. Confused and disoriented, Jay’s only hope to escape back to the surface is found in Paga, an elder of the community who believes Jay’s unexpected arrival marks the fulfillment of a terrifying prophecy.

With the community rising against them, Jay and Paga face dangerous choices — and their consequences — if Jay is ever to see home again. Will Jay make it back to the world on the surface? And even if he does, how can his life be the same ever again?

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My Review

5 Stars

Jay Bishop is an oceanographer that is studying the sea floor when he is sucked into a volcanic tube to the center of the earth. There he is rescued by mermaids to keep him to runs tests on him. To them humans are myths and legends. Jay just wants to go home but it looks like his fate is sealed except for an elder called Paga.

Paga believes that Jay is the fulfillment of a prophecy. Jay is trying to get Paga to help him but then again he is afraid of what awaits him on the surface. Are humans really going to believe his story? That is if he can escape the mermaids in the first place.

I love SC Johnson’s stories and jumped at the chance to read Till Human Voices Wake Us. I was also giving the chance to read Across the Floors of Silent Seas. I am so glad that I did. Jay has a great banter with his sister with just breathes life into them. I was instantly sucked into the story along with Jay in the volcanic tube.

I could not put this book down and ended up reading it in one sitting. I’m so glad that I have the next book in the series because I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

Enter for your chance to win a digital copy of this book and the prequel novella, Across the Floors of Silent Seas, click the link below!

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TillHumanVoices

Blog Tour Schedule

December 2nd

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

Jessica Belmont (Review)

Quirky Cat Fat Stacks (Review)

Vicks Bookish Writing Blog (Review)

I Love Books and Stuff (Spotlight)

December 3rd

Rambling Mads Blog ( Spotlight)

Tsarina Press (Spotlight)

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight)

December 4th

Scarlett Readz & Runz (Spotlight)

Sophril Reads (Spotlight)

Viviana MacKade (Spotlight)

My Bookish Bliss (Review)

December 5th

Cats Luv Coffee & Books (Spotlight)

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight)

Lunarian Press (Spotlight)

December 6th

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review of Duology)

Book Dragons Not Worms (Review)

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review)

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

I would like to thank R&R Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share these books.

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Awa and the Dreamrealm (Dreamweavers Book 1) by Isa Pearl Ritchie

What if dreams are more real than waking life?

Life is already complicated enough for Awa Bryant when she starts having weird dreams – waking dreams – and strange coincidences start appearing in her real life.

She meets dreamcharmer, Veila, a quirky glowing creature who helps to guide Awa through the mysterious Dreamrealm.

At first the Dreamrealm is a glorious escape from Awa’s daily struggles but something is not right… Soon Awa discovers she has a bigger quest, and everything she cares about is at stake. Will she be brave enough to face her fears and save her friends?

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Goodreads

About the Author

Isa Pearl Ritchie is a New Zealand writer. As a child, she loved creating imaginary worlds. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. Her second novel, Fishing for Māui, was selected as one of the top books of 2018 in the New Zealand Listener and was a finalist in the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Adult Fiction Book 2019. Awa and the Dreamrealm is her first book for young people.

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram

My Review

4 Stars

Awa Bryant is having a tough time lately. Her parents are divorcing, she is moving and starting a new school, has lots of anxiety, and of course the school bully has chosen her to be the new target. But at night when she dreams things start taking a new perspective.

Things seem to be more real than they used to be and she meets Veila, a dreamcharmer that tells Awa she is special and can navigate the Dreamrealm. But the Dreamrealm is not as wonderful as it first seems. There is something off and it is up to Awa to fix things.

This is a fascinating story that will appeal to midgrade readers and up. Awa is multiracial and the new girl at school which puts a big target on her back for the local bully. It also doesn’t help that she is battling anxiety. At home her parents are divorcing and she has moved into a new home. She is essentially looking for an escape when she stumbles upon the Dreamrealm.

I loved watching Awa as she grew during the story. She doesn’t let her current situation stop her as she keeps fighting to save the Dreamrealm and to deal with her present situation. I really like that although her mother had her own problems she was there for Awa. What a great role model!!

This is a fantastic story for midgrade readers. It has a great story and message for those that have present challenges in their lives. I think kids that love fantasy will really enjoy this story. Well adults to, I loved it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

Enter to Win 1 x kindle copy of Awa and the Dreamrealm (INT)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

I would like to thank Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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Patch Lane

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Ooh this cover just gives me chills! Welcome to the blog tour for Patch Lane, a brand new thriller by S.F. Barkley! Read on for an exclusive excerpt, and a chance to win a Kindle copy of the book!

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Patch Lane by SF Barkley

Publication Date: October 22, 2019

Genre: Thriller

Sarah Hastings is a rookie cop who works the night shift in Amber Forest, a small rural town nestled in the Western Pennsylvania mountains. After repeatedly responding to an abandoned and allegedly haunted farmhouse for 911 hang up calls, she discovers a dead body in a secret room. The forensic investigators determine that the body has only been dead for three to four days, but the case takes an unexpected turn when Sarah runs the victim’s fingerprints and finds that her Jane Doe actually died 20 years ago.

The murder investigation is complicated with a sloppy autopsy and delayed forensic reports. When the US Marshals and FBI join the case, Sarah realizes that she is caught in a web of jurisdictional politics that seem to care less about the victim and are more concerned with a larger confidential case. Sarah soon realizes that she may be closer to the victim than she thought and finds herself drawn deeper into the case, threatening not just her career, but her life.

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Excerpt

The house was in total disrepair. The exterior had white wooden siding with loosely attached, rotting black shutters. The moonlight highlighted the chipping paint, making the shutters appear two-toned. The old brick chimney was pulling away from the side of the house, and small trees were growing on the lower roof. There were no signs of life inside—no lights, no sound, not even a car parked on the property. It was the only house on the lane, so I deduced this was once a running farm. This must have been the original farmhouse. I slowly made my way around the house, trudging through the overgrown grass, to check the perimeter. With no evidence of life or habitation, I was beginning to question if Dispatch had gotten the address wrong. I got on the radio. “1034 to Dispatch.”

“Dispatch, go ahead.”

“I’m at 52 Patch Lane. Can you confirm this is the address?”

“Stand by.” After about a minute, Dispatch got back on the air. “1034, yes, that’s the correct address. Do you need backup?”

“Negative. It appears no one is home, but I’ll update.”

At this point, I knocked on the front door and announced myself. “Officer Hastings, Amber Forest Police Department!” No answer. All of the windows were closed, so I tried the front door. Locked. I didn’t have any extenuating circumstances that would allow a warrantless entry, so all I could do was leave. There wasn’t even enough for me to write a police report.

“1034 to Dispatch,” I radioed again.

“Dispatch, go ahead.”

“It looks like this house is abandoned. I think the 911 hang up might have been some crossed telephone wires. Clear me from the call with no report.”

“10-4.”

I began driving back down the gravel lane when another wave of chills shot through me. I hit my brakes and glanced in my rearview mirror. My brake lights flooded the house in red, and for a split moment I thought I saw someone standing in the window watching me leave. I blinked, and the figure vanished. My intuition had kept me alive this far, but I knew Chief Fox would rip me a new one if I tried to enter that house based on my intuition and faintly seeing shadows. I took a deep breath and convinced my foot to ease off of the brake and back on the gas.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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S.F. Barkley is a former police officer who uses her law enforcement knowledge and experience along with her love for all things creepy to create short stories and novels. She had several eerie experiences as a cop, including having discovered secret underground tunnels and responding to 911 hang up calls to an abandoned industrial building. She has published short horror stories in various anthologies and is publishing her debut mystery novel, Patch Lane, in October 2019. She was raised in Western Pennsylvania and currently resides in Maryland with her husband and their rescue pup.

S.F. Barkley | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Amazon

Five Things That Inspire My Writing

By: S.F. Barkley

Some people grow up always knowing that they wanted to be a writer. They loved writing essays in school, maybe got their college degree in English, or perhaps they even wrote their first novel before ever finishing grade school. That, however, wasn’t me. I had no idea that I wanted to be a writer until, well, I started writing. To explain what gave me the push to first put the pen to paper (or more realistically, my finger to the keyboard), I’ve narrowed it down to the five main things that inspire my writing.

  1. My Love for All Things Creepy

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to the paranormal. Every eerie sound I heard in my house as a child, every chill down my spine, I always believed in ghosts. It’s no surprise that my favorite books growing up were Goosebumps by R. L. Stine. My interest in the paranormal only grew the older I got. I love going on ghost tours of old cities, visiting supposedly haunted places (big fan of Gettysburg), and hearing the fascinating histories of buildings and places. 

  1. My Experiences as a Cop

I was a cop for nearly three years. During that time, I discovered an underground tunnel system, a secret room behind a fireplace, and was dispatched to an abandoned building for 911 hang up calls- all while on the job. First responders commonly find themselves in creepy situations, especially those who work the night shift. All of my experiences left me wondering, “What if…” 

  1. My Personal Life

One of the most famous pieces of advice for writers is to “Write what you know.” I know law enforcement, but there’s a lot more to a story than just the main character’s career. I constantly draw on my personal life’s experiences to help build the world and characters in my stories. For example, I grew up in a small town in Western Pennsylvania, so the fictional town I created was in Western Pennsylvania and inspired by the towns that I knew. There are pieces of my life sprinkled throughout my stories.

  1. Reddit r/NoSleep

My first attempt at writing was on Reddit’s subreddit r/NoSleep, which is a forum for realistic horror stories told from first-person perspective. My first short story was about finding dead space in my house, but it only received about 60 upvotes, deeming it not very popular. I still had a lot of fun writing the story and reading the responses though, so I wrote a second short story series. This second series was about being a rookie cop and getting dispatched repeatedly to an abandoned house for 911 hang up calls. In a blink of an eye, the story blew up. It was read over 100,000 times, upvoted by over 5,000 readers, and eventually went on to win Story of the Month in August 2018, having competed with nearly 4,000 other short stories.

Once I received such an outpour of positive feedback, I was inspired to turn the short series into a novel, and that’s how Patch Lane was created.

  1. Wine

There are actually two ways that wine helps inspire my writing. First, it’s no secret that alcohol loosens us up and gets the creative juices flowing. My writing routine involves sitting in my wine/writing room, pouring myself a large glass, and turning on some soft music. Second, by making such a cozy and zen writing setting, I give myself something to look forward to. I don’t allow myself to sip on wine until I’ve sat down with my laptop in hand.

My Review

4 Stars

Sarah Hastings is a young police officer in the little town of Amber Forest, Pennsylvania. Most days her calls are minor but recently she has had several 911 hang up calls from the haunted farmhouse on Patch Lane. While exploring she discovers a dead body in a hidden room. Although the body has been dead for a couple days prints show the Jane Doe was supposed to have died 20 years ago.

If that wasn’t enough mystery for you, Sarah seems to have a connection to the victim. She can’t just walk away from the murder but it seems the murder knows who she is and is going to stop her investigation one way or another. Pig’s heads are nothing and won’t scare Sarah away from the truth.

This is a great police procedural thriller. I liked Sarah and having come from a small town I could relate to her normal cases and dealing with the old school guys at the station. This was a great mystery that kept me guessing. It also has a touch or paranormal added in to keep things moving.

I really liked this story and recommend those that like thrillers check it out. I can’t wait to read more from SF Barkley.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

Click the link below to win a Kindle download of Patch Lane!

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Blog Tour Schedule

December 2nd

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

Horror Tree (Guest Post)

I’m All About Books (Review)

Kim Knight (Review)

December 3rd

B is for Book Review (Guest Post)

Just 4 My Books (Spotlight)

Scarlett Readz & Runz (Review)

December 4th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview)

Reading Nook (Spotlight)

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review)

December 5th

Cup of Books Blog (Review)

Read and Rated (Review)

My Comic Relief (Review)

December 6th

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight)

Jessica Belmont (Review)

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Spotlight)

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

I would like to thank R&R Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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False Step

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False Step by Victoria Helen Stone

Stay calm, keep smiling, and watch your step. In this marriage of secrets and lies, nothing is what it seems.

For days, all of Denver, Colorado, has worried over the fate of a missing child, little Tanner Holcomb. Then, a miracle: handsome, athletic Johnny Bradley finds him, frightened but unharmed, on a hiking trail miles from his wealthy family’s mountain home.

In a heartbeat, his rescuer goes from financially strapped fitness trainer to celebrated hero. The heat of the spotlight may prove too much for Johnny’s picture-perfect family, however. His wife, Veronica, despises the pressure of the sudden fame, afraid that secrets and bitter resentments of her marriage may come to light. And she’s willing to do anything to keep them hidden.

But when a shocking revelation exposes an even darker side to Tanner’s disappearance, Veronica realizes that nothing in her life can be trusted. And everything should be feared.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Victoria Helen Stone

About the Author

Victoria Helen Stone is the nom de plume for USA Today bestselling author Victoria Dahl. After publishing more than twenty-five novels, she has taken a turn toward the darker side of genre fiction. Born and educated in the Midwest, she finished her first manuscript just after college. In 2016, the American Library Association awarded her the prestigious Reading List Award for outstanding genre fiction. Having escaped the plains of her youth, she now resides with her family in a small town high in the Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, and not skiing (too dangerous).

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My Review

3 Stars

Tanner Holcomb is a missing child in Denver. Everyone is worried until Johnny. A fitness trainer happens to find him on a run in the woods. Of course Johnny becomes an instant hero and things look like they are finally looking up for him. Then you meet his wife Veronica. She does not want to be in the spotlight because she is afraid that the dark parts of her marriage to Johnny are going to come to light. Then she learns that there may have been more to Tanner’s disappearance in the first place.

As we all know, not all marriages are perfect and some have more troubles than others. I have to say that on the surface Johnny and Veronica seemed like a good couple with a great daughter. But the more you read the more you realize how selfish they both are. But like a house of cards one movement will bring the whole thing down.

I have to say that I didn’t like Johnny and Veronica from the start and felt sorry for their poor daughter. Of course I guessed what was going to happen with the story so that didn’t really peak my curiosity. This is more of a drama that you see on television and books more and more.

I admit that I’m not really a big fan of this genera so I’m sure that has something to do with my feeling about this book. It was a decent read and I’m sure many would like the book. Unfortunately it’s not my thing and it felt like other family drama stories to be. I do recommend checking it out, you may find your next new, favorite author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read to post an honest review.

I would like to thank Little Bird Publicity for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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The Last Thing She Told Me by Linda Green

Even the deepest-buried secrets can find their way to the surface…

Moments before she dies, Nicola’s grandmother Betty whispers to her that there are babies at the bottom of the garden.

Nicola’s mother claims she was talking nonsense. However, when Nicola’s daughter finds a bone while playing in Betty’s garden, it’s clear that something sinister has taken place.

But will unearthing painful family secrets end up tearing Nicola’s family apart?

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Praise for The Last Thing She Told Me

‘Emotionally moving. A thought-provoking page turner with a poignant three-generational link.’ Jane Corry, author of The Dead Ex, The Sunday Times Bestseller.

Linda Green

About the Author

I was born in North London in 1970 and brought up in Hertfordshire. I wrote my first novella, the Time Machine, aged eight, shortly after which I declared that my ambition was to have a novel published (I could have been easy on myself and just said ‘to write a novel’ but no, I had to consign myself to years of torture and rejections). I was frequently asked to copy out my stories for the classroom wall (probably because my handwriting was so awful no one could read my first draft), and received lots of encouragement from my teachers Mr Roberts, Mrs Chandler (who added yet more pressure by writing in my autograph book when I left primary school that she looked forward to reading my first published novel!) and Mr Bird.

My first publication came when I was thirteen and my Ode to Gary Mabbutt won second prize in the Tottenham Weekly Herald ‘My Favourite Player’ competition. At fifteen I won the Junior Spurs Football Reporter of the Year Competition and got to report on a first division football match from the press box at White Hart Lane (I got lots of funny looks and none of the journalists spoke to me.)

At sixteen I embarked on ‘A’ levels and a journalism course at De Havilland College, Hertfordshire, and my college magazine interview about football hooliganism with local MP and football club chairman David Evans made a double page spread in Shoot! magazine (they never paid me) and back page headlines in several national newspapers (only a nice man at the Daily Star bothered to check the story with me).

I joined my local newspaper, the Enfield Gazette, as a trainee reporter at eighteen. During a ten year career in regional journalism I worked as a reporter on the Birmingham Daily News, news editor on the Birmingham Metro News and Chief Feature Writer on the Coventry Evening Telegraph, winning Highly Commended in the Feature Writer of the Year category of the 1997 Press Gazette Regional Press Awards.

I loved working on regional newspapers but by 1998 my features were getting too long and the urge to write a novel had become too great so I left my staff job to write my first novel and work as a freelance journalist. I have written for The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, The Times Educational Supplement, The Big Issue, Wanderlust and Community Care Magazine. I’ve also had a short story published in Best magazine

I found the writing and working from home a very solitary process so also worked as co-ordinator of the Birmingham Bureau of Children’s Express, a national charity which runs a learning through journalism programme for young people and taught journalism to schoolchildren for the National Academy of Writing. After I moved north in 2001 I qualified as an adult education tutor and taught creative writing classes to students aged between 18 and 82 for the Workers Educational Association across Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

After more than a hundred rejections from agents for my first novel (and more rewrites than I care to remember) I finally got an agent but still couldn’t get a publisher. I started work on my second novel I DID A BAD THING in 2003, finished the first draft and gave birth to my son Rohan in 2004, rewrote the novel and got a new agent in 2005, obtained a two-book deal with Headline Review in 2006.

I Did a Bad Thing was published in paperback in October 2007, made the top thirty official fiction bestsellers list (and number 3 in Tesco!) and has so far sold more than 77,000 copies. 10 Reasons Not to Fall in Love was published in paperback in March 2009, reached no 22 in the official fiction bestseller charts (and no 4 in Tesco) and has so far sold more than 80,000 copies. Both novels were also long-listed for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Following the success of my first two novels I got another two-book deal from Headline Review, with Things I Wish I’d Known being the first of these. I am currently working on my fourth novel.

I enjoy travelling.

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My Review

5 Stars

Betty’s story starts in the 1940’s but we start the book in present day as she is dying. Just before she goes, she tells her granddaughter, Nicola, to take care of the baby’s in the bottom of the garden. When Nicola asks her mother who tells her it was just the ramblings of a dying woman. Then Maisie, Nicola’s daughter finds a bone while playing in the garden which prompts Nicola to call in the police.

What follows is generations of women going through live with relationships, rapes, teenage pregnancy, and so much more. Each generation keeping secrets from the next but causing more pain for themselves. This is truly a heartbreaking story.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t really rush to pick up stories like these. But this one sounded good and I wanted a change. This story pulled me in from the beginning with Betty dying and Nicola’s mother essentially brushing it off. I could just tell that there was more to this story than a simple falling out.

I don’t want to give away too many details but I will say that you will need some Kleenex when you are done reading this book. The last part finished tearing up my heart when I didn’t think I could take much more. This is a great, sad, read and one I recommend checking out.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Quercus for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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The Gateway to Danger: Chelsea Crosses into e-Commerceland by D. Gail Miller

Each of us crosses through the gateway from childhood to adulthood at some point in life. For some, that point comes early; for others, it arrives much later. Once we pass through, we find that we can’t go back. The gateway closes tightly behind us….

Four very different girls have been friends since kindergarten, calling themselves the Nutellas, stuck together by their passion for their favorite delicious, gooey lunch. As they have aged, their disparities have become as pronounced as their similarities, but they have continued to be there for each other through thick and thin.

Now in junior high, Samantha, Dorothy and Brittany rally around their mutual bestie Chelsea on her quest to make her smartphone time more productive, at her father’s prodding, by launching an e-commerce business. This seemingly worthwhile aspiration takes the four out of their childhood comfort zone in American suburbia and into a sometimes dangerous new adult-like world filled with thefts, lawsuits, fraudsters and troubles with legal authorities.

Despite their multiple close calls with disaster, Chelsea and her three tight friends overcome internal conflicts and survive to see another summer vacation. Chelsea cements her friendship with classmate Jeff Buckingham, who proves that a close boy friend can sometimes be very handy to have.

Refusing to be defeated by unfortunate and unjust circumstances, Chelsea sets her sights on a new e-commerce business as summer break dawns.

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About the Author

I am the author of more than two dozen books. Many are targeted for young adults and were written years ago, before the advent of self-publishing. After I became a Christian in the mid-1980s, I felt compelled to write, especially for the young. I also worked as an assistant editor for a Christian publication.

Authors, like many artists, can have a very hard time making an adequate income from their writing. So I took some time off from writing to earn an income through “real” work, mainly working for government agencies and in small retail businesses.

After my mother moved in with us, everything changed. I could no longer be employed for hours at a time outside of the home. My new role as caregiver necessitated that I be at home more. I fortunately quickly discovered the opportunities presented to freelancers (editors, writers, artists) through outsourcing web agencies such as Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr. Work galore, as long as you didn’t expect to be paid too much per hour.

Most of my assignments involved editing, but I was thrilled to receive a few writing jobs. One of my assignments was writing Amish romance fiction. I did not know too much about the Amish, but I soon learned. Much of what I learned was incorporated in my first published book on Amazon, The Amish Research Guide, basically a guide for other fiction writers interested in writing about the Amish. I watched the progress of my novels on Amazon (all published under someone else’s name, of course) and decided that I might as well write and publish my own books. That way I would not have to follow the prescribed Amish romance formula so rigidly.

So that’s what I am up to now. The writing is great. The marketing is by far the biggest challenge. Once your book is published, how on earth do you get anyone to take a look at it?

My first fictional series, The Light of Dark: Leah, Tobias, Bethany and Jesse, a combination Amish romance and dystopian nightmare, is now available on Amazon.

My Review

5 stars

Samantha, Dorothy, Brittany, and Chelsea have been best friends since kindergarten and now they are in junior high. One day Chelsea’s father has had enough of her wasting her time on her cell phone. He challenges her to do something productive with her cell phone and she decides to start a business with the help of her friends.

What follows is three stories that break down the girls adventures as they create the business, get the product sold, and have many close calls and get into trouble for not following the letter of the law. The girls make new friends and enemies’s along the way and learn a lot about running a business.

This is a wonderful read to follow along as the girls learn about stating and running a business. I even learned a lot from the things they did and the events that happened. I loved how all of the girls were different form their religion, social standing, and families yet they were all there for each other through the end.

This is a wonderful read for any midgrade reader and up. I think it has a great message and is a great learning lesson for kids and adults alike. I strongly recommend checking out this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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