8.5/10

#BookReview
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
@RuthWareWriter @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware @RuthWareWriter @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Author: Ruth Ware

Published by Gallery/Scout Press on May 29, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game comes Ruth Ware’s highly anticipated fourth novel.

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.


Review:

Ominous, atmospheric, and darkly mysterious!

The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a gothic, character-driven thriller that takes us into the life of Hal, a young woman recently orphaned and struggling to make ends meet as a tarot reader when she receives an unexpected bequest that will unearth tragic memories, powerful emotions, and long-buried skeletons that will change more than one life forever.

The writing is polished and taut. The characterization is well done with a cast of characters that are complex, troubled, and resourceful. The setting, Trepassen House, is a character itself with its dereliction, isolation, abundance of magpies, and multitude of secrets. And the plot is well crafted and builds subtly to create tension and suspicion as it unravels all the deceptions, lies, personalities, and relationships within it. 

Overall, The Death of Mrs. Westaway is another gripping, eerie, intelligent page-turner by Ware with a classical crime style that is guaranteed to mystify, surprise, and keep you guessing until the very last page.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                        

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer, and is The New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game. Her latest book, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, will be available in May 2018. She is married with two small children.

#BlogTour #BookReview
Her Secret by Kelly Florentia
@kellyflorentia @UrbaneBooks @LoveBooksGroup

#BlogTour #BookReview Her Secret by Kelly Florentia @kellyflorentia @UrbaneBooks @LoveBooksGroupTitle: Her Secret

Author: Kelly Florentia

Series: No Way Back #2

Published by Urbane Publications on May 17, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Love Books Group Tours

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

When one door closes, another opens, or so the saying goes.

After being in a long-term relationship for eight years, Audrey Fox never thought she’d tie the knot. But at the age of forty-two, fate throws her a lifeline and she finally has it all – a loving husband, successful career, beautiful family and loyal friends. Life couldn’t be better for Audrey … until a family member entrusts her with a secret that threatens trouble in paradise.

Lying to her new husband definitely wasn’t on the cards when Audrey took her vows, but now she feels there’s no other choice. She either keeps the secret or risks hurting the people that she loves. And then just when the dust seems to settle, an old flame turns up and creates a storm that could bring her world crashing down …

Unable to discuss her dilemma with her significant friends Louise and Tina, or sister-in-law Vicky, the cracks begin to show. Torn between her husband and the people she’s known and loved for years, Audrey’s perfect life begins to spiral out of control. Where do her loyalties lie and whom can she trust? Because there’s no smoke without fire and everyone has secrets … don’t they?


Review:

Unexpected, twisty, and clever!

Her Secret is an enticing tale that takes us into the life of Audrey Fox, a newlywed who’s happy, carefree marriage is about to take an unexpected turn when promises are made, secrets are kept, and lies are told.

The prose is smooth and intense. The characters are complex, secretive, witty, and loyal. And the well-crafted, multi-layered plot quickly unravels and intertwines to create a suspenseful, dramatic story about life, loss, love, marriage, family, romance, deception, manipulation, desperation, and obsession.

I have to admit that when I started Her Secret I didn’t realize it was a sequel and even though I found it to be a gripping, emotive read that kept me guessing from the very first page I would highly recommend you read No Way Back first to truly appreciate and enjoy the creative storyline and exceptional character development.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

 

 

Thank you to Kelly Florentia and Love Books Group Tours for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kelly Florentia

Kelly Florentia was born and bred in north London, where she continues to live with her husband Joe. HER SECRET (2018) is her third novel and the sequel to NO WAY BACK (2017).

Kelly has always enjoyed writing and was a bit of a poet when she was younger. Before penning her debut The Magic Touch (2016), she wrote short stories for women’s magazines. To Tell a Tale or Two… is a collection of her short tales. In January 2017, her keen interest in health and fitness led to the release of Smooth Operator – a collection of twenty of her favourite smoothie recipes.

As well as writing, Kelly enjoys reading, running, drinking coffee, scoffing cakes, watching TV dramas, and spending way too much time on social media.

 

#BookReview
Bluethroat Morning by Jacqui Lofthouse
@jacquilofthouse @Blackbird_Bks

#BookReview Bluethroat Morning by Jacqui Lofthouse @jacquilofthouse @Blackbird_BksTitle: Bluethroat Morning

Author: Jacqui Lofthouse

Published by Blackbird Digital Books on May 22nd

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 551

Format: eBook

Source: Blackbird Digital Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Alison Bliss, celebrity model and critically acclaimed writer, walks into the sea one ‘bluethroat morning’. In death she becomes a greater icon than in life, and the Norfolk village where she lived is soon a place of pilgrimage. Six years later her husband Harry, a schoolteacher, is still haunted by her suicide and faithful to her memory. Until he meets Helen and they fall in love.

Harry and Helen’s relationship initiates a return to the scene of Alison’s death where they meet ninety-eight year old Ern Higham, and a tale is revealed that has been generations in the making. As Harry pieces together a tragic history and finally confronts his own pain, he discovers that to truly move forward, first he must understand the past …


Review:

Intense, somber, and contemplative!

Bluethroat Morning is a hauntingly perceptive novel that takes us into the life of Harry Bliss, a middle-aged man struggling to come to grips with the incredible grief, guilt, and emptiness he still feels over the loss of his wife to suicide.

The prose is poetic and sophisticated. The imagery is vivid. The characters are complex, self-indulgent, and tortured by the past. And the well-crafted plot written in a reflective past/present style does a remarkable job of unraveling all the secrets, mysteries, motivations, actions, personalities, and relationships within it.

Bluethroat Morning is ultimately a novel about marriage, life, loss, friendship, ambition, despair, solitude, secrets, manipulation, desire, acceptance, and forgiveness. And it becomes abundantly clear from the outset that Lofthouse is an exquisite literary writer with an uncanny ability to lay bare humanities weaknesses and emotional fragility and remind us that everyone that enters our lives, no matter the length of time, shapes, defines and influences us.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or the following link.

              

 

 

Thank you to Blackbird Digital Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jacqui Lofthouse

Jacqui Lofthouse is the author of four novels ‘The Temple of Hymen’, ‘Bluethroat Morning’ ‘Een Stille Verdwijning’ and ‘The Modigliani Girl’. Her novels have sold over 100,000 copies in the UK, the USA and Europe and have been widely reviewed.

Jacqui began her career as an actor touring India as Sheila in J.B. Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’. She went on to study Drama and English at the University of Bristol and subsequently worked in radio production and media training. In 1992 she studied for her MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia under Sir Malcolm Bradbury and Rose Tremain.

Jacqui has taught creative writing in a broad variety of settings including from City University to Feltham Young Offenders Institution. She has also taught English and Drama in London secondary schools.

In 2005, Jacqui founded The Writing Coach, a coaching and mentoring organisation for writers (www.thewritingcoach.co.uk). She is currently working on her first YA novel and returning to actor training at Identity School of Acting. She has recently been cast in four short films. Jacqui is delighted that Blackbird Digital Books are publishing the first digital edition of ‘Bluethroat Morning’ in May 2018.

#BlogTour #BookReview
Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli
by Portia MacIntosh @PortiaMacIntosh @HQDigitalUK

#BlogTour #BookReview Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli by Portia MacIntosh @PortiaMacIntosh @HQDigitalUKTitle: Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli

Author: Portia MacIntosh

Published by HQ Digital on May 1, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: HQ Digital, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Lily Holmes is ready for a fresh start. And there’s no better place to begin again than the idyllic seaside town of Marram Bay.

All Lily wants to do is focus on making her new deli a success and ensuring her son’s happiness. Not the postcard creeping out of her handbag, and definitely not finding a new man in her life!

But this isn’t going to be as easy as she first thought. The town is in uproar about the city girl who’s dared to join them and she’s fighting a battle at every turn.

Perhaps with a little help from the gorgeous cider farmer next door, she may be able to win them over, but her past secrets threaten to ruin everything…

The brand new laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from bestseller Portia Macintosh. Perfect for fans of Jo Watson and Tilly Tennant.


Review:

Comical, uplifting, and delightfully sweet!

Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli is a charming, summery read that takes us to Marram Bay and into the life of Lily Holmes as she meanders through all sorts of highs and lows, from single motherhood, moving to a new town, disgruntled locals, opening a new restaurant, an unexpected visit from her ex, and a blossoming new romance.

The prose is well turned and light. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are amusing, quirky, authentic, and cordial. And the plot is a fun, flirty, beguiling tale full of tricky situations, tender moments, humorous mishaps, self-discovery, friendship, family, community, happiness, romance, and scrumptious food.

Overall, Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli is another entertaining, refreshing, enjoyable treat by MacIntosh that reminds us that life is truly an adventure!

If you haven’t had a chance to read my reviews for Portia MacIntosh’s other novels be sure to check them out here:

 

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

                                 

 

 

Thank you to Portia MacIntosh and HQ Digital for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Portia MacIntosh

Portia MacIntosh has been 'making stuff up' for as long as she can remember - or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it's really like for women who don't find this life stuff as easy as it seems.

 

#BookReview
Sal by Mick Kitson
@PGCBooks @canongatebooks

#BookReview Sal by Mick Kitson @PGCBooks @canongatebooksTitle: Sal

Author: Mick Kitson

Published by Canongate Books Ltd on March 1, 2018

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 234

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife, waterproofs, and a first aid kit from Amazon using stolen credit cards. She read the SAS Survival Handbook and watched loads of YouTube videos. And now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter and start a fire; how to estimate distances, snare rabbits, and shoot an air gun; and how to protect her sister, Peppa–because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her.

Told in Sal’s distinctive voice, and filled with the silent, dizzying beauty of rural Scotland, Sal is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love, a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things.


Review:

Pensive, adventurous, and moving!

Sal is a compelling tale that takes us on a journey into the lives of two young sisters as they learn to escape and survive both the predators and dangers found in the Scottish wilderness as well as those within their own home.

The prose is astute and vividly descriptive. The characters are witty, vulnerable, loyal, resourceful, and endearing. And the plot is a heart-wrenching story about alcoholism, sexual abuse, poverty, self-preservation, coming-of-age, innocence, morality, and selfless love.

Overall, Sal is a profound, sophisticated, inspiring novel that highlights the complex dynamics of sister relationships and does an exquisite job of reminding us just how indomitable the human spirit can truly be.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Mick Kitson

Mick Kitson was born in South Wales and grew up in London. He studied English at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne before a brief spell as one half of 80s pop duo The Senators. He went on to work as a newspaper reporter before switching career again at the age of 40 to become an English Teacher.

He lives in Fife, Scotland with his wife Jill and bad tempered dog Lucy. He has three grown up children: Molly, Susie and Jimmy and spends more time than is good for a person fly fishing for sea trout, reading, playing the banjo and growing
Strawberries. He also builds boats.

#BookReview
The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews
@mkayandrews @StMartinsPress

#BookReviewThe High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews @mkayandrews @StMartinsPressTitle: The High Tide Club

Author: Mary Kay Andrews

Published by St. Martin's Press on May 8, 2018

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons Brooke Trappnell to Talisa Island, her 20,000 acre remote barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter with Brooke, who is an attorney, but Brooke knows that Mrs. Warrick has long been a client of a prestigious Atlanta law firm.

Over a few meetings, the ailing Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, secrets, betrayal and a long-unsolved murder. She tells Brooke she is hiring her for two reasons: to protect her island and legacy from those who would despoil her land, and secondly, to help her make amends with the heirs of the long dead women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth and Varina. When Josephine dies with her secrets intact, Brooke is charged with contacting Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met.


Review:

Mysterious, sentimental, and uplifting!

The High Tide Club is an alluring tale that delves into the life of ninety-nine-year Josephine Bettendorf Warrick and all the friendships, lies, secrets, and promises she made, told, and broke over her lifetime.

The prose is clear and fluid. The characters are well-developed, unique, and inquisitive. And the plot, alternating between past and present, is a nostalgic, twisty tale full of familial drama, loss, grief, war, forgiveness, deception, happiness, love, skinny dipping, southern life, and murder.

Overall, The High Tide Club is a humorous, emotional, heartbreaking, suspenseful story that highlights the intricate and dynamic bonds between friends, both old and new, that gets better and better as it goes along and is an excellent choice for a summer read!

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews is the pen name of American writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck, based in Atlanta, who has authored a number of best-selling books under the Andrews pen name since 2002.

Trochek graduated from the University of Georgia with a journalism degree in 1976. She worked as a reporter at a number of papers, and spent 11 years as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before leaving to write fiction full-time in 1991. She published ten mystery novels under her own name between 1992 and 2000, and switched to the Andrews pen name in 2002 to author Savannah Blues, which marked a change in her style to more Southern-flavored themes.

#BookReview
Squared Away by Annabeth Albert
@AnnabethAlbert @CarinaPress #NetGalley

#BookReview Squared Away by Annabeth Albert @AnnabethAlbert @CarinaPress #NetGalleyTitle: Squared Away

Author: Annabeth Albert

Series: Out of Uniform, #5

Published by Carina Press on April 16, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA

Pages: 336

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Carina Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.


Review:

Sensuous, intimate, and sensitive!

Squared Away is a heartfelt story that takes us into the lives of Mark and Isaiah as they each must learn to cope with the loss of a sibling, their new status as guardians to three children, and a budding relationship that will require a lot of trust and understanding.

The writing is generous and compassionate. The characters are sorrowful, supportive, and flawed. And the plot told from two different points of view nicely unravels to reveal a tale about life, loss, grief, responsibility, friendship, family, support, and the importance of communication.

Squared Away is another beautifully written tale about finding unconditional love by Albert that not only touches on the struggles encountered by same-sex and interracial relationships, but also the challenges faced by those who are grey ace on the asexual spectrum.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my reviews of the previous novels in the Out of Uniform series, be sure to check them out here:

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                

 

 

Thank you to Carina Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Annabeth Albert

Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

#BookReview #Q&A
The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances
@michellefrancesbooks @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview #Q&A The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances @michellefrancesbooks @PGCBooks @panmacmillanTitle: The Girlfriend

Author: Michelle Frances

Published by Pan Macmillan on March 1, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 464

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A relentlessly paced domestic noir examining a mother-son-daughter-in-law relationship in a chilling new light.

A girl. A boy. His mother and the lie she’ll wish she never told.

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a gripping debut thriller, based on the fall-out following an unforgiveable lie. It follows the charged relationship between girlfriend, boyfriend and his mother, in a triangle of lies and deceit.

Laura has it all. She has a successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but she hasn’t had the same opportunities as Daniel. And she wants Laura’s life.

Cherry comes to the family wide-eyed and wants to be welcomed with open arms, but Laura suspects she’s not all that she seems.

When tragedy strikes, an unforgiveable lie is told. It is an act of desperation, but the fall-out will change their lives forever.


Review:

Riveting, complex, and well crafted!

The Girlfriend is a character-driven, domestic thriller that delves into the embattled relationship that can occur between a mother and her son’s significant other when they’re both ruthlessly determined to be the most important woman in his life.

The writing is precise and intense. The characters are self-absorbed, troubled, devious, and at times despicable. And the plot, told from multiple perspectives, starts with a bang and continues to ratchet up the tension as it subtly unravels all the personalities, histories, and motivations within it.

The Girlfriend is a chilling, intriguing, page-turner that at its core is a novel about family, manipulation, jealousy, deception, and obsession. It’s a wonderful debut for Frances, and I can’t wait to read what she comes up with next.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

  

 

And now a little Q&A with Michelle Francis:

 

This is a different sort of love triangle, the girlfriend, Cherry, isn’t competing with a lover but the potential mother-in-law, Laura. What made you choose this dynamic to write about?

I’ve always been fascinated by the notion that two women who are complete strangers are suddenly thrust together in a very intimate relationship for the rest of their lives – just because one starts to date the other’s son. It’s a bit weird and great territory for emotional stress and anxiety. Will she like me? Will I like her? What about for the next forty years?!

I really wanted to write a book that gave both the mother’s and the girlfriend’s point-of-view as each woman’s love for the same man is, although very different, of equal weight and importance. Pit these two loves against each other and who would win? I wanted to create a story that would get readers talking, debating which of the two women might be the more ‘wronged’ and the more justified in their behaviour.

 

There are times in the book where it’s easy to dislike Cherry and Laura! Did you feel empathy for them even though they both do some pretty bad things?

I find it hard to dislike either of them – particularly in the beginning. I want to shake Cherry and tell her to relax right at the start of the book and stop worrying so much! It’s sad really, she genuinely cares for Daniel (even though she does also like his money) and if she’d just stopped fretting about what Laura thought of her, things might have worked out very differently. And Laura does the most awful thing but she has been told by the doctors that Daniel has days – possibly hours – to live, and I can’t help but understand her actions as she’s about to lose her second – and only remaining – child. Both women have moments of possession and jealously and they are ugly, dangerous emotions that make them do despicable things. But as people I feel sorry for them both in many ways.

 

Part of the fun of The Girlfriend is trying to decide which of the characters’ behaviour is worse! Did you always intend for the story to be so morally ambiguous?

Yes, absolutely! I really wanted to test the characters, to see how far they would go, and importantly, try and make their actions justified – at least in their eyes. I think that in some cases, particularly with Laura, even though she does some awful things, she genuinely believes it’s for the right reason. Sadly, with the combination of both Laura’s and Cherry’s individual backgrounds and the situation they now find themselves in, mixed in with the paranoia and nerves, things start unraveling quite quickly.

 

How was writing for a novel different from writing for film and TV?

Well in TV, someone else does all the work! My work in television has been nearly all in producing and script editing (although I have attempted a script or two along the way). There are lots of key differences. The most obvious is length (!) – a script has about 12,000 words, a novel 100,000. Writing for television is also a very collaborative affair – certainly in the UK. There will be tiers of editors, producers, executives and commissioners, all with an opinion, that the writer will either embrace, or will need to successfully argue is invalid.

Things – mostly – happen on screen fast. A very respected UK producer once told me to ‘burn story’. Help, I thought, if I tell the writer to use that story beat in the first five minutes of the episode, what the heck are we going to do just before the ad break? But actually, it’s extremely liberating. It’s a bit like a natural disaster. The occurrence of one thing will set in motion other things, for example the earthquake will set off the tsunami. It’s the same with story – and more to the point, characters. Making things happen often triggers other things to happen.

I’m stating the obvious here but television is a visual medium. But so is a reader’s imagination. In TV, you would look to cut scenes against one another that can help to tell the story. For example, a cop might be talking to a colleague wondering who could be the culprit. Cutting to a new scene featuring a particular individual can make the audience think that individual is the guilty party. The use of visuals – and descriptive prose – cut against each other can create all sorts of drama. It can build tension, create cliffhangers, increase mystery, explain secrets. This is true of novels just as much as of television.

 

What inspired you to write a thriller for your first novel?

Personally, I wrote a thriller because that was the story nagging at me in my head wanting to be told! The darker side of our psyche and how far we’ll go when pushed fascinates me. Also, the dynamic between mother / son / girlfriend is a universal story that touches on a lot of people. Plenty of my girlfriends had tales of woe about their mothers-in-law. During the course of writing the novel I also heard a radio program about the difficulties some women were having with their new daughters-in-law and one story particularly affected me. A heart-broken woman had phoned in and was in tears speaking of how she was excluded to the extent she hadn’t even known her son and his new wife had not one, but two children. She had discovered that her grandchildren existed by accident. It reinforced to me that it’s a universal relationship that can affect a lot of women and cause a lot of distress – to either party.

 

What was your writing process like?

I tend to see writing a novel as a bit like completing a jigsaw puzzle. After shaping up the characters, I generally start with the foundations of the story, the big plot beats and twists (which I liken to the straight edges of a puzzle). Then I will fill in some of the more detailed beats in the first few chapters only – and then go ahead and write them. Once they’re complete, the characters will be starting to tell me where to go next, and so I’ll write the next section, and this continues until I’m near the end, where hopefully the jigsaw pieces are slotting in faster than I can write them!

I write everything out by hand first in a series of notebooks and once I’ve completed the day’s word target, I’ll then type them up, doing a mini-edit along the way. I like the sensation of pencil on paper and find it more liberating.

 

The Girlfriend has already been optioned for a film adaptation (congratulations!). Are you excited to see how your story will be adapted for the screen?

Very much so. Having worked in TV for so long, I’m aware of how you can have two different writers take the same source material and end up with two wildly different scripts. I’m excited to see a filmmakers’ take on the novel and watch his or her vision take shape. This also applies to casting – it’s fascinating to try and imagine different actress’s versions of Laura and Cherry!

 

Are you working on another novel and if so can you tell us anything about it?

Yes, it’s another psychological thriller, which is set in the world of the maternity leave replacement. The mum-to-be is a TV producer who tries to like her temporary replacement, but can’t help thinking she’s got a hidden agenda. Is she after her job – or something else entirely?

 

Thank you to Michelle Frances and Publishers Group Canada for participating on my blog today and providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review. It has been an honour and a pleasure.

 

About Michelle Frances

Michelle Frances graduated from Bournemouth Film School in 1996 and then from the Masters programme at the American Film Institute, Los Angeles, in 1998. Returning to London, England, she worked for several years in film and TV as a script editor and producer for both the independent sector and the BBC. The Girlfriend is her first novel.

 

#BookReview
Bachelor Girl by Kim van Alkemade
@KimvanAlkemade @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Bachelor Girl by Kim van Alkemade @KimvanAlkemade @SimonSchusterCATitle: Bachelor Girl

Author: Kim van Alkemade

Published by Touchstone on March 6, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 comes a fresh and intimate novel about the destructive power of secrets and the redemptive power of love—inspired by the true story of Jacob Ruppert, the millionaire owner of the New York Yankees, and his mysterious bequest in 1939 to an unknown actress, Helen Winthrope Weyant.

When the owner of the New York Yankees baseball team, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, takes Helen Winthrope, a young actress, under his wing, she thinks it’s because of his guilt over her father’s accidental death—and so does Albert Kramer, Ruppert’s handsome personal secretary. Helen and Albert develop a deepening bond the closer they become to Ruppert, an eccentric millionaire who demands their loyalty in return for his lavish generosity.

New York in the Jazz Age is filled with possibilities, especially for the young and single. Yet even as Helen embraces being a “bachelor girl”—a working woman living on her own terms—she finds herself falling in love with Albert, even after he confesses his darkest secret. When Ruppert dies, rumors swirl about his connection to Helen after the stunning revelation that he has left her the bulk of his fortune, which includes Yankee Stadium. But it is only when Ruppert’s own secrets are finally revealed that Helen and Albert will be forced to confront the truth about their relationship to him—and to each other.

Inspired by factual events that gripped New York City in its heyday, Bachelor Girl is a hidden history gem about family, identity, and love in all its shapes and colors.


Review:

Passionate, evocative, and thoroughly absorbing!

Bachelor Girl is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Colonel Jacob Ruppert, the wealthy American brewer and owner of the New York Yankees who became known for his successful acquisition of the legendary slugger Babe Ruth, the construction of the iconic Yankee Stadium, and the unusually large endowment he left to a young, unknown actress upon his death.

The prose is eloquent and fluid. The characters are genuine, well drawn, and endearing. And the story sweeps you away to New York City during the 1920s when women were shortening their skirts, cutting their hair and gaining independence, prohibition was in full force, and love in all its forms was expressed but still hidden.

Bachelor girl is a fascinating, well-written, richly described story about friendship, loyalty, familial relationships, sexual identity, secrets, prosperity, ambition, life, loss, and love. And even though there is not much known about Colonel Jacob Ruppert’s close, personal relationships, van Alkemade has done an exceptional job of taking historical facts and surrounding them with fiction that is both captivating and exceptionally alluring.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kim van Alkemade

Kim van Alkemade was born in New York City and spent her childhood in suburban New Jersey. Her late father, an immigrant from the Netherlands, met her mother, a descendant of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, in the Empire State Building. She attended college in Wisconsin, earning a doctorate in English from UW-Milwaukee. She is a professor at Shippensburg University where she teaches writing, and lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Her creative nonfiction essays have been published in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, So To Speak, and CutBank. Orphan # 8 was her first novel.

#BlogTour #BookReview
Brother’s Keeper II: Liam by Stephanie St. Klaire
@StephStKlaire @InkSlingerPR

#BlogTour #BookReview Brother's Keeper II: Liam by Stephanie St. Klaire @StephStKlaire @InkSlingerPR

#BlogTour #BookReview Brother’s Keeper II: Liam by Stephanie St. Klaire @StephStKlaire @InkSlingerPRTitle: Liam

Author: Stephanie St. Klaire, Dawn Yacovetta

Series: Brother's Keeper #2

Published by SSK Group on February 22, 2018

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Pages: 233

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: InkSlingerPR

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

Running blind, and hiding in plain sight may be your only option, when your villain isn’t just behind you but all around you. When a past Felicity Nichols thought was dead and buried threatens everyone she loves, that’s exactly what she encounters. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide because her villain can follow her anywhere.

Liam O’Reilly is as loyal and protective as they come. When Felicity falls victim to a cyber stalker who wants something she has, he will stop at nothing to protect her and his family from the danger threatening them at every turn. Technology may make life easier for some, but it’s the smoking gun that can end it all for others.

Power, and money will never be enough – it will only get you so far. The power struggle threatens to turn deadly when Liam meets his match, behind the computer screen, in a race of wills against time. 

Can Liam overcome his own past, or will it cost him another broken heart and shattered soul. Can Felicity be the light in his darkness and reveal that love is the most dangerous weapon of all?

Will Liam and Brother’s Keeper Security be able to bring a faceless predator to justice? Or, will Liam lose more than just a second chance at love? One thing is certain… sometimes you have to break the rules to protect what you love.


Review:

Menacing, sultry, and adrenaline pumping!

Brother’s Keeper II: Liam is a riveting tale that takes us into the lives of two main characters, Felicity, a young woman determined to keep her unfinished past a secret, and Liam a caring father and widower who will protect those he cares about at any cost.

The writing is crisp and taut. The characters are relentless, committed, and sophisticated. And the story starts off with a bang and never lets up as it takes you on a suspenseful thrill ride full of twists, turns, deception, familial drama, tender moments, red-hot chemistry, violence, and state-of-the-art cyber weaponry and warfare.

Overall, Brother’s Keeper II: Liam is an action-packed, romantic tale that not only keeps you on your toes but warms the heart, and ultimately leaves you eager for more O’Reilly.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following link.

                              

 

 

 

About Stephanie St. Klaire

Stephanie St. Klaire is a Pacific Northwest native currently living in Portland, Oregon with her husband, five children, and two ferocious lap dogs that are used to the finer things in life like sleeping all day. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found with a plate full of taco’s, a side of bean dip, and probably some gummy bears while being a little bit hippy and a lot bit busy mom’ing and wife’ing.

When she’s not tossing around gritty crime show inspired serial killers and diabolical bad guys, she likes to make people pee their pants a little with a good romcom. Sometimes, her worlds collide, and she writes really funny stuff right before she kills people off on the pages! She loves murder and mayhem as much as a good laugh and HEA! That’s why she’s a die-hard Hallmark junky but loves her gritty crime shows – balance! 

Stephanie has always been a story teller, with the gift of “gab”, and a life-long goal to be a writer. Unfortunate circumstances with her health, finally afforded her the time to do so. Irony at its best, she began writing her first novel at an adverse time, to escape her circumstance and explore the stories in her imagination for relief. She is happy to share those stories with her readers, and bring a little fun, entertainment, and of course smexy characters to the pages. 

Follow Stephanie St. Klaire on Social media to learn more about her, how often she really eats taco’s, and to keep up with her work.

 

And don’t forget to check out the first novel in the series!

 

 Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo 

 

Thank you to InkSlingerPR and Stephanie St. Klaire for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

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