A parent’s guilt. Desperate choices. The ultimate cost.
The dark water has always called to the Blackwell family.
Devastated by the loss of his daughter, Adam Blackwell flees his hometown of Scarsville, Georgia.
Something lurks beneath the churning black waters, and its patience is running out.
Two years later, his father is dead and has left him everything, including the lake where Adam’s daughter drowned. Now, Adam must return to the last place he ever wanted to go and settle the affairs of the man he blames for everything.
The time has come for the next sacrifice, and it will stop at nothing.
Adam believes it will be a short trip to get the house ready for sale. But the closer he gets to the lake, the more memories return from the worst day of his life.
Living in the past is dangerous, but there is nowhere to hide when the past comes back for you.
Staying in the family home, Adam hears small footsteps in the dark. Soon after, he hears the voice of his daughter. She wants him to join her in the depths of the black lake.
When the waters rise, Adam must decide whether he will begin the slow process of healing and somehow find peace between the world of the living and the dead—or become the next Dark Water Sacrifice…
Zach Lamb is a fictionist who creates thriller, horror and dark fiction stories. He is the author of The Suicide Killer and Dark Water Sacrifice. Zach has an MFA in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University. He lives with his wife and kids in the non-fictional town of Ellerslie, Georgia, named after the fictional character Captain Ellerslie from the Waverley Novels.
Today, I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for Invite Me In by Emma Curtis. It’s been a while since I’ve jumped into a psychological thriller so I was excited to be asked to be part of this tour. Scroll down to see whether it was as creepy as the simple but effective cover dictates.
BookReview: Invite Me In by Emma Curtis
Title: Invite Me In
Author: Emma Curtis
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Genre: Psychological thriller
Release Date: 22nd July for ebook and 2nd September 2021 paperback
‘Emma Curtis is the queen of the unputdownable thriller’ – Nuala Ellwood
The heart-pounding new domestic thriller from Emma Curtis, the acclaimed author of ebook bestsellers One Little Mistake, The Night You Left and Keep Her Quiet.
To those who think they know her, Eliza Curran has it all: two healthy children, a stunning home and a wealthy, adoring husband. No one would guess the reality of her life: trapped in an unhappy marriage to a controlling man, she longs for a way out. When she takes on a new tenant, her life changes unexpectedly. Dan Jones is charming and perceptive, and quickly becomes a close friend to the whole family. But Dan’s arrival threatens to tip Eliza’s fragile world out of balance. And when someone has as many secrets as Eliza does, the smallest slip could destroy everything . . .
Readers are loving INVITE ME IN:
‘An absolutely captivating read, this is a superbly plotted thriller that will keep you guessing right until the end…highly recommended’
‘A rollercoaster ride to the very end. I can’t imagine how the author plotted it all out, there is so much brilliance in the final chapters’
‘Invite Me In is sensational, gripping with plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading long into the night’ ‘A cut above other thrillers’
This novel jumped in with a strong start where Eliza met the good looking, empathetic and likeable Dan and it promised to be a thrilling read when tension and questions instantly built along with her nerves of arriving home late. Her husband, Martin, is controlling and a classic villain to hate but with Eliza’s own secrets and unreliable narration, and other manipulative characters this book kept me on edge with the insecurity of not knowing who to trust and where the story was leading.
I connected with Eliza and was emotionally invested in her happiness and longed to rescue her from the grips of her unhappy and abusive marriage to give her the happy ending she deserved. I guessed part of the conclusion early on but there were enough unpredictable twists and turns for this not to interfere much with my enjoyment of the book.
It has many threads and themes, including alcohol and emotional abuse which are dealt with effectively and with accuracy.
Would I recommend?
Yes, this well written psychological thriller with intriguing characters would be enjoyed by fans of Sophie Hannah. I’m thrilled to have Emma Curtis’ back catalogue to explore and add to my to-be-read list.
Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and now lives in London with her husband. After raising two children and working various jobs, her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write her acclaimed psychological suspense thrillers One Little Mistake, When I Find You, The Night You Left and Keep Her Quiet.
Today, I’m excited to share my review for Someone I used to know by Paige Toon on its publication day. Though I have seen many books by this author, I have never read one but this blurb drew me in as did the simple but beautiful cover. Scroll down to see what I thought.
Book Review: Someone I used to Know by Paige Toon
Title: Someone I used to Know
Author: Paige Toon
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: Women’s fiction, romance
Release date: 24th June 2021
So much can change in half a lifetime…
At fifteen, George is the foster brother Leah never asked for. As the angry, troubled boy struggles to come to terms with his circumstances, Leah finds herself getting drawn closer to him. Theo’s wealthy family have mysteriously pulled him out of boarding school and he’s now enrolled at the local state school with Leah and George. When their worlds collide that summer, the three teenagers form a bond they believe will be unbreakable. But life doesn’t always go to plan…
Shocking news brings Leah back to Yorkshire, baby daughter in tow. But Emilie’s father Theo isn’t with them, and George has unexpectedly returned. After half a lifetime, have they healed the scars of their pasts? Will coming back home set their hearts in a different direction?
This is my first Paige Toon novel but it will not be the last; I loved it. Not only do I love her style and voice, she has the ability to bring the characters to life and delves deep into their emotions. The beginning chapter grabbed me and I knew it would be a fantastic read. The story follows Leah, who has a large family despite none of them being her blood except her parents, as she returns home and has to face her past before she can move on. I grew up on a staple diet of Home and Away when Pippa and Tom, with their ever-changing foster kids, were the stars of the show. The chapters set in the past where troubled children were growing up on an alpaca farm reminded me of this and kept me turning the pages. Not only did I fall in love with the characters, I also fell in love with animals and the many intriguing facts I discovered about them were a bonus to the story.
The dual timeline of the novel works well and allowed me to understand the dynamics of the unlikely friendship between Leah, Theo and George. Each have their own issues to deal with as teenagers which have a big effect on their adulthoods. I connected with them deeply, making this a heart-breaking, emotional but also uplifting unputdownable read with unexpected twists and turns.
Would I recommend?
Yes, this is a lovely, emotional and uplifting novel and a delight to read. It shows all sides of the fostering system and how people can make a huge difference to other people’s lives. I will not forget the characters, or farm and is one for my forever shelf. I’m so glad I discovered a new author to catch up with and will look forward to more in the future.
Sunday Times bestseller Paige Toon was born in 1975 and grew up between England, Australia and America. A philosophy graduate, she worked at teen, film and women’s magazines, before ending up at Heat magazine as Reviews Editor. Paige is married, has two small children and lives in Cambridge. She is the author of eighteen novels which have sold 1.5million copies worldwide. In 2016, The One We Fell in Love With, was selected for the WH Smith Zoella Book Club. Follow Paige at @PaigeToonAuthor and sign up to the Hidden Paige at www.paigetoon.com.
Thank you Random Things Tour for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy for read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.
Today I’m excited to share my review for the first in a new series by Victoria Connelly, The House in the Clouds. I first became aware of this author during a blog tour last year, for the delicious The Book Loversseries and I fell in love with her world building. This title and blurb offered a beautiful and whimsical read. Scroll down to see if this novel matches my high expectations.
Book Review: The House in the Clouds by Victoria Connelly
Title: The House in the Clouds
Author: Victoria Connelly
Publisher: Cuthland Press
Genre: Women’s fiction
Release date: 8th June 2021
Artist Abigail Carey has always dreamed of a life in the country and, when Winfield Hall comes up at auction, she’s desperate to make the place her home. The only trouble is that businessman, Edward Townsend, has exactly the same idea.
With its position high on the Sussex Downs, Winfield is a stunning house, but it hasn’t been a home for a long time and there’s a lot of work to do to restore it to its former glory. It’s going to take a lot of time and money, so Edward and Abi decide to take a risk and share the house, each living in their own wing.
But can these two strangers agree on a vision that suits them both? And will free-spirited Abi ever get the rather reserved Edward to reveal the secret he’s been hiding for so long?
The House in the Clouds is the first novel in a brand new trilogy from the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.
What a lovely welcome to Winfield House; it was a beautiful pleasure to read and a strong start to this new series. Victoria Connelly has a talent for painting locations, characters and scenes with her words and brings them to life as showcased in this novel. She uses all the senses in her descriptions, making reading her work a very holistic experience. I could taste the food, breathe in the refreshing air of the Sussex Downs and visualise the stunning house through Abigail’s eyes, making me fall in love with it, too. As an artist and designer akin to Emma Bridgewater, Abigail’s point of view is amass of texture, light and hue. Her bohemian relaxed nature is a contrast to Edward’s view of the world where his emotions are held close, but when snippets of his true nature slip through, the chemistry between the two main characters is a joy to read.
The plot is emotional, heart-warming, and it deals with mental health issues sensitively. I wasn’t sure how sharing a house with strangers would work but it does and Winfield Hall provides a stunning location that grows in the imagination. The walled garden is somewhere I would love to own myself. I kept reading to discover the reasons behind both the character’s actions and the revealing of secrets but also for the enjoyment of the prose, setting and company. I was disappointed to reach the end because I needed to know more. With several threads left open and the introduction of side characters who I need to get to know better such as Abigail’s sister, Ellen, I can’t wait to read the next in the series.
Would I recommend?
Yes! It’s beautiful and is a wonderful escape from the hassles of life. Like the The Book Lovers series, this novel will be on my forever shelf so I can return to Winfield Hall again for companionship and contentment. It’s perfect for a sunny day lying in the garden or cuddled up under the duvet when the seasons change.
Victoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.
If you ask a roomful of book lovers what their dream would be, the majority would admit to longing for a bookshop of their own. The blurb for The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday by Kiley Dunbar, promised to ignite this dream and I couldn’t wait to read.
Book Review: The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday by Kiley Dunbar
Title: The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday
Author: Kiley Dunbar
Genre: Women’s fiction, romantic
Release date: 5th May 2021
The Fully Booked Bookshop Café invites literature lovers to run their very own bookshop … for a fortnight.
Spend your days talking books with customers in your own charming bookshop and serving up delicious cream teas in the cosy café.
Bookworms, what are you waiting for? Your holiday is going to be LIT(erary).
Apply to: The Fully Booked Bookshop, Down-a-long, Clove Lore, Devon.
Jude Crawley should be on top of the world. She’s just graduated as a mature student, so can finally go public about her relationship with Philosophy professor, Mack.
Until she sees Mack kissing another girl, and her dreams crumble. And worse, their dream holiday – running a tiny bookshop in the harbour village of Clove Lore for two weeks – is non-refundable.
Throwing caution to the winds, Jude heads down to Devon, eager to immerse herself in literature and heal her broken heart.
But there’s one problem – six foot tall, brooding (but gorgeous) Elliot, who’s also reserved the bookshop holiday for two weeks…
As Jude and Elliot put their differences aside to run the bookshop, it seems that Jude might be falling in love with more than just words. Until she discovers what Elliot is running from – and why he’s hiding out in Clove Lore.
Can Jude find her own happy ending in a tiny, tumbledown bookshop? Or is she about to find out that her bookish holiday might have an unexpected twist in the tale…
I read this novel on May’s bank holiday Monday when the windows were rattling in the wind and rain. It was just what I needed and provided a much-needed escape to a delightful Devonshire village. It gave me everything I wished for when reading the blurb and more.
Jude put her life on hold in her teens to care for her gran, so when the opportunity to have her life back arises, she flounders until the chance to run a bookshop for two weeks. The beginning chapters focused on her life pre-bookshop and offered a good insight into the life of a young carer and the impact it has on their lives. It was refreshing to read a book that highlights this as well as dyscalculia, a form of number dyslexia. Her caring family were a delight to meet. The pace of the book picked up when she arrived at the bookshop and met Elliot, who is not your average bookseller. The chemistry between the two was a joy to read, as were the interactions with the other characters. Aldous, the dog was a wonderful addition to the bookshop.
The characters brought to life by Kiley Dunbar’s words, were quirky, had depth and unique qualities about them, making them very memorable. The location, based on Clovelly, was perfect and I could visualise the cobbled steep hill and the nooks and crannies of the bookshop. I did not want to leave because there was so much to explore. It had everything I needed including a bakery. Elliot was a hero of my dreams, with his tattoos, book nerd tendencies. His secret was well written and though I guessed some of it, it did not detract from the read. The only issue I have is there is no such place called Fully Booked Bookshop. I did not want this book to end and reality to loom over me again.
Like many books that involve a bakery or café, this book made me fancy scones with jam and cream, so be prepared if you can. An afternoon tea would complement this novel perfectly.
Would I recommend?
This is a wonderful book and one I know will revisit again and again so once I get a paperback version, it will love on my forever shelf. It has become one of my favourite books in this genre for the plot, setting and style, not only for this year but ever. It’s quirky, has unique characterisations, an idyllic location and a hero like no other to swoon over. Forget Mr Darcy (even Colin Firth’s adaptation) tattooed book loving Elliot is my ideal book man. I will look into Kiley Dunbar’s other novels because I loved her writing style.
Kiley Dunbar writes heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.
Kiley also works as a senior lecturer, teaching creative writing at the Manchester Writing School. One Winter’s Night is shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2021.
Is prophecy real; can Arridia and Joss defeat a god?
Evil never sleeps, and neither can the fire spirits who have guarded Kesta and her family so faithfully for more than fourteen years. United in a desire for peace, the four lands beneath the sky have enjoyed relative stability, but under the surface stirs unrest. Greed, ambition, disquiet, rebellion; and the ever-present threat of Geladan’s crazed god discovering she has been fooled.
Quiet Arridia is a Raven Scout, dedicated to the principles and hopes of her parents. When an opportunity presents itself to come home, she grasps it, longing to settle and find the love she has patiently waited for.
Fun-loving Joss is drawn to the court of Elden with all its colour, noise, and intrigue; but has he taken on more than a young man can survive?
Raven Fire is the final part of the breath-taking Fire-Walker saga.
If you could, would you dare to change the world?
Book Extract: Raven Fire by Emma Miles
This extract is taken from chapter four, where we follow young Joss – son of Fire-Walker’s protagonist, Kesta – as he navigates the dangerous court of the King of Elden. With him is his faithful adopted brother and bodyguard, Alikan.
Joss swallowed back his ale and smoothed down the front of his dark-blue jacket. His training kicked in as he surveyed the room before stepping further in. King Bractius sat at the high table, laughing loudly with the Jarl of Southport. Bractius was drinking from a large, ornate tankard carved from the bone of an enormous animal and traced in gold. Joss startled, his eyes narrowing. Had the king forgotten it had been a long-ago gift from the murderous delegation from Geladan? Bractius’s astute brown eyes travelled around the hall even as he joked with his subordinate. He’d allowed his sandy beard to grow long, plaited and held by silver beads. Queen Ayline was standing apart, Eleanor at her side. The young princess was wearing an elegant gown that hugged her slender figure, and Joss raised an eyebrow.
Alikan nudged his arm hard, and Joss only just avoided splashing ale over his expensive clothes.
‘Keep your eyes in your head.’ Alikan scowled.
Joss grinned. The king’s hall was an array of very tempting young woman, but Elden wasn’t the Fulmers, as his parents were fond of reminding him. There was a sudden buzz in the conversation, and many turned toward the main doors. A man strode in with a retinue of Borrowmen warriors on his heels. Bard of the Borrows and captain of the Undine, Temerran’s striking red hair seemed untouched by grey despite the years he’d accumulated. His green eyes sparkled with mischief as he bowed to both men and women on his way to present himself to the king. Temerran’s first mate, Nolv, was a more sombre figure, in practical loose clothing of salt-splashed grey.
‘Your majesties.’ Temerran gave a low and flamboyant bow. The man never forgot to include the queen, and despite her dislike of the Borrowman, Ayline flushed and smiled.
‘Temerran.’ The king gave the Bard the courtesy of standing but didn’t move to greet him. ‘How good of you to come.’
‘It honoured me to be invited,’ Temerran replied.
Movement caught Joss’s eye, and he turned to see his parents slipping in quietly through a side door. As ever, his father wore perfectly tailored black, but his mother had chosen a bright red, and unlike the women of Elden she allowed her long dark hair to fall loosely around her shoulders. Despite their discreet entrance, they stood out like hawks in a flock of doves.
Doroquael gave a sudden squeal and flew out of the torch in which he’d been hiding. Joss’s hand twitched, readying to draw power, before he realised the fire-spirit was excited, not alarmed. Alikan took a step forward, putting himself between Joss and the room.
‘It’s okay, Ali.’ Joss’s heart beat just a little faster as he squeezed through the crowd, hurrying toward the main doors through which Doroquael had vanished.
One of the king’s stewards loudly announced, ‘The Icante of the Fulmers.’
The Icante stepped in, wearing a pale cream dress with a sky-blue cloak wrapped around her shoulders. Unlike her daughter, the ruler of the Fulmer Islands had her steel-grey hair coiled artfully about her head. The warrior Gilfy flanked her, along with the Fire-Walker, Eidwyn. Her new apprentice, Vivess, and the formidable scout, Heara, followed behind. Despite being in her sixties, Heara moved with energy, her bare arms still tight with muscle. As far as he could see, Heara was the only one who’d dared bring weapons into the king’s hall; her two long knives tucked into her belt.
Joss appraised his grandmother’s new apprentice before moving forward again to meet them. Vivess had lighter hair than most of those in the Fulmers, a dark chestnut, almost red where it caught the light. She was about Joss’s age and had one grey eye, one green.
‘Joss.’ Dia’s serious expression melted into a joyful smile and she halted to hug him. ‘Are you well?’
‘I am.’ Joss waved a hand at Doroquael. ‘Calm down!’
The fire-spirit ceased his noisy buzzing and made himself small, coming back to Joss’s shoulder.
‘Did Grandpa not come?’
Dia’s smile faded, and anxiety squeezed Joss’s heart. ‘Your grandfather was a little unwell. Joss, I’ll catch up with you as soon as I can, but it would be rude of me not to go straight to the king.’
‘Oh, of course.’ Joss’s face warmed, and he glanced around, realising many eyes were directed his way. ‘I’ll find you in a moment.’
Dia Icante smiled, then turned to continue to the high table. Heara gave Joss a huge grin and a thump on the arm as she passed. Alikan ducked in time to miss the scout’s hand as she tried to clip him around the head.
Despite his laughter, Joss felt uneasy. His grandmother had seemed worried.
I often get asked when I knew I was a writer; the answer is always. A writer is what I am, it’s in my soul. There have been times in my life when I couldn’t write, and times when my writing has been the only thing that kept me going. I think I always longed for something deeper from life, something more meaningful, and I found it in my imagination and in the music of words. It was poetry which first caught my attention, and whilst my younger cousins called for ghost stories it was animals I first wrote of. I think I gravitated toward fantasy because of the freedom it gives, I could create my own worlds and decide my own rules. My Wind’s Children trilogy was born from an image that came to me whilst daydreaming, of a young man sitting alone below a bridge. I didn’t know who he was; it turns out neither did he, but we found out together. I’m now working on my eleventh book and love writing more than ever, it’s an addiction, an obsession, but one I now share with my wonderful writing family. My beta readers, my editor, and you, my readers, having you with me on my journey means the world to me. I write as much as I can around work, but I also try to squeeze in a ridiculous amount of hobbies! I’m a wildlife photographer and do a little archery. I paint, sculpt with clay, withies and driftwood, preferring to be outdoors if I can. I still have a love for the theatre, having started out in life studying backstage crafts, and a great love for language. I speak a little French, Romanian and Italian, ma non molto bene!
Thanks for reading this. If you read any of my books and love them, please come say hello and tell me, you’d be surprised at how much that means to an author. Take care of yourself. Em x
I’m pleased to share news of a recent release The Charity of Strangers by Alison Burke. I love browsing in charity shops for bargains and it is something I have missed doing this last year so this book appeals and is on my TBR pile.
The Charity of Strangersby Alison Burke
Title: The Charity of Strangers
Author: Alison Burke
Publisher: Lily Dale Press
Release date: 25 Nov. 2020
You can find almost anything in a charity shop, but can you find love?
You can certainly find friendship and there is both laughter and tears ahead when 19yr old Zaffron, lonely, anxious and without direction, meets Blaire Daintry, good-looking, charming, and gay.
Both volunteers in the charity shop, he has a hidden agenda, she has secrets, but they are friends from the start, despite Blaire’s constant sparring with Ida, the stern, good-hearted older volunteer who Zaffron admires. And perhaps Ida has secrets too.
Together with other victims of the city’s housing crisis, Blaire and Zaffron set up a safe and happy home. Secure at last, she tells him of the dreadful incident in her childhood that has marred her life, but not even his total acceptance gives her the confidence to start a relationship with an attractive and decent young army sergeant who falls in love with her.
Is it fear of the truth coming out that holds her back? Or is there some other reason, buried too deep in her heart for her to recognise?
I was born and grew up in Lancashire, gained several nursing qualifications and had the privilege of a long and varied nursing career, briefly in the Royal Army Nursing Service abroad, mainly in the NHS in UK. True love and a happy family came my way and now I have the time to read, write and remember.
The writers who call themselves Caedis Knight are back with the next instalment in the Blood Web Chronicles, Witches of Barcelona. I had high expectations for this book because I adored the previous two books and longed to see how Saskia dealt with witches. My previous review for Vampires of Moscow can be found here. Scroll down to see if it reached my expectations.
Saskia de la Cruz is a Verity Witch and investigative reporter for The Blood Web Chronicle, the biggest news outlet on the paranormal Blood Web.
After escaping murderous Vampires in snowy Moscow, Saskia can’t imagine a more difficult or more dangerous mission. That is until her editor sends her to Barcelona to investigate a high profile disappearance at the Mage Association, which just happens to be run by her evil mother Solina.
Saskia’s plan is to spend as little time in Barcelona as possible, until she meets three junior members of the MA who know more than they let on – including information on Saskia’s missing sister, Mikayla. Among her new leads is Catalan bruixa Luisa, who has a hold over Saskia stronger than any magic.
It doesn’t take long until Saskia finds herself under the glittering spell of MA high society, where morals are few and magic is law. Can Saskia escape the clutches of a world that’s always been dangerous for her, before it turns deadly?
With vibrant characters, page-turning suspense and steamy romance, this second book in the Blood Web Chronicles series has been dubbed by early readers as ‘devilishly addictive’ and ‘a dark, magical world of power and passion.’ Co-authored by two established fantasy authors Jacqueline Silvester and N.J Simmonds, the second book in the Blood Web Chronicles series is perfect for fans of Crescent City, True Blood, The Elite, and The Craft.
From Russia and vampiric ballet dancers to sunny Barcelona, Caedis Knight knows how to immerse the reader into a location by painting the stunning scenery, architecture and atmosphere of a place with their words. I’ve added Barcelona to the places I want to visit and can imagine going on a global Caedis Knight inspired holiday visiting all the places Saskia visits by the end of this series.
Still searching for sister, Saskia goes home to her mother who is acting as First Witch of the Mage. The prologue highlights the murky world Saskia is entering and immediately I knew this book would not let me down. It shows a more vulnerable side of Saskia as she is introduced to different types of witches who are more powerful than herself, makes new friends and meets a new love while she battles with the trauma of the past and her mother. It is full of magic and imaginative imagery – the descriptions of the enchanted food and the witches’ ballgowns are stunning and would translate well to film. As would the scenes with Luisa. While not for readers under the age of 18, they are the most romantic and sensual scenes I’ve read and are in keeping with the character and plot. Like their other books, there is nothing gratuitous about the sex scenes, unlike some novels. With many unpredictable twists and turns as Saskia investigates the crimes, this multilayered novel is a thrill to read.
Would I recommend?
Hell yes! This is a strong book in the genre and my favourite so far in this series. With highly visual and imaginative imagery, a thrilling plot and sensuous sex scenes, it is one to read if you love powerful female characters, travel, spectacular magic and a rollercoaster ride of a read. Like the others, they belong on my forever shelf and can’t wait to find out what happens next
Caedis Knight is the pen name of two established fantasy authors, Jacqueline Silvester and N J Simmonds. Silvester began her career in screenwriting and lived all over the world before going on to pen her highly successful YA series Wunderkids. Spanish Londoner Simmonds’ background was originally in marketing before writing her fantasy series The Indigo Chronicles, along with various Manga stories and writing collaborations. Together they created Blood Web Chronicles – their first paranormal romance series set in Europe. Great friends and avid travelers, you can find them whizzing between one another’s homes in Germany and the Netherlands, or having Zoom calls to excitedly plot Saskia’s next humorous sexy adventure.
The weather in Yorkshire has been glorious the last few days, giving it a holiday feel on the run up to this Easter weekend. The sunny days suited a summer read so I’m pleased to share my review for Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett. This is the first novel I have read from this author but it won’t be the last. Scroll down to see why.
Book Review: Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett
Title: Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point
Author: Sarah Bennett
Publisher: Boldwood books
Release date: 25th March 2021
‘Delightfully romantic and touching.’ Phillipa Ashley
Laurie Morgan runs a café in the small seaside community of Mermaids Point, named after the beauties rumoured to live in the waters a few miles off the top of the point. When a hazy image is posted online of what appears to be a mermaid, the café and the village are soon full to bursting with curious sightseers.
The most eye-catching of the new arrivals is handsome author, Jake Smith, who has rented a cottage for the summer while he works on his new book. Or so he says. In fact, he is a journalist, burned out and disillusioned with life, whose editor has sent him on a crack-pot hunt for mermaids…
Jake quickly finds himself drawn to village life, and to the gorgeous woman who runs the local café. But he soon suspects there’s trouble lurking beneath the idyllic façade, and when it looks like Laurie’s family might be involved, Jake faces a difficult choice. Pursue the truth, or protect the woman he’s beginning to fall in love with…
Warm, escapist, feel-good and altogether brilliant story-telling from bestselling author Sarah Bennett. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley and Milly Johnson.
This is a beautifully written romantic novel that takes you to Mermaids Point, a small coastal town that is suffering from the lack of tourists visiting. It is a stunning location. The detailed descriptions capture the atmosphere of the town perfectly and drew me into the story. I fell in love with the setting and all the characters especially Laurie and her family. Jake was rather swoonsome too. The mention of cake and other tantalising food made my tastebuds zing, and I felt homesick for the family Sunday dinners from my childhood.
With a relative simple plot about an investigative reporter searching for mermaid, it shows you don’t need complex story to give you hours of pleasure and pure escapism, just wonderful imagery, well written prose and delightful characters blended with romantic chemistry.
Would I recommend?
Yes. It is an uplifting, and emotional novel which is full of warmth. It was like going on holiday while curled up under the duvet. I didn’t want to leave Mermaid Point behind and am happy to see another is on the way in October.
Sarah Bennett is the bestselling author of several romantic fiction trilogies including those set in Butterfly Cove and Lavender Bay. Born and raised in a military family she is happily married to her own Officer and when not reading or writing enjoys sailing the high seas. The first book in her new Mermaids Point trilogy for Boldwood will be published in Spring 2021.
Last year, I reviewed Mariëlle S. Smith gratitude journal here so was thrilled to be asked by Rachel’s Random Resources to review her latest journal, 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II
Book Review: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II by Mariëlle S. Smith
Title: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II
Author: Mariëlle S. Smith
Genre: Writing Self-help
Release date: 21st Nov 2021
‘With this book by your side, anything feels possible.’ Jacqueline Brown
Tired of not having a sustainable writing practice? You, too, can get out of your own way and become the writer you’re meant to be!
52 Weeks of Writing:
makes you plan, track, reflect on, and improve your progress and goals for an entire year;
helps you unravel the truth about why you aren’t where you want to be; and
keeps you writing through weekly thought-provoking quotes and prompts.
With this second volume of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, writing coach and writer Mariëlle S. Smith brings you the same successful strategies to craft the perfect writing practice as she did in the first journal. The only difference? Fifty-three different writing quotes and prompts and a brand-new look!
A printable PDF is available through: https://payhip.com/b/0YgJ Get 50% off until 31 March 2021 by using the coupon code 52WOW during checkout.
I’m in love with this journal and even though I’m only a few of weeks in, as long as I can keep reminding my grasshopper brain to keep filling it in, I know it will help keep me focused on my long-term goals of being a writer and encouraged to keep going. It will also help me explore and dig deeper into my writing and the reasons for doing it.
The journal’s objectives are clearly explained in the introduction and Mariëlle S. Smith is encouraging and friendly, making it feel you have someone on your side. I was excited to begin. I have the pdf version which can be printed out, but a physical copy is also available. The layout of the journal is clear and being purple, which is my favourite colour, it felt personal even before my stickers and coloured pens came out to personalise it some more.
As the title suggests, it covers 52 weeks and each week begins with a writing quote to motivate you and ends with optional writing prompts and exercises. Recently, I was introduced to general journaling and was amazed at how liberating and revealing it was to free write on topics. This is a superb extension of that. Some prompts will push my boundaries, not only in respects to my writing but my emotions around it. For example, the second week deals with fear. Fear is a large part of why I procrastinate, but exploring this helped put it in perspective, silence my inner critic and move forward even if I will need to be reminded about it again and again.
In the first week long-term goals for ten years, five, down to 3 months are set. This made me focus on where I wanted to be and gave me a boost to get cracking. The journal checks in on these goals every three months for you to reflect on and see if you are on track or need to adapt. The empathise is that these goals are fluid, which helps relieve some pressure I know as a writer I can put on myself which can end up being of being counterproductive. One failure at hitting a goal can snowball into nothing getting done because of guilt and emotion. The aim of this journal is to keep things realistic.
Would I recommend?
Yes, if you want something to keep your goals, thoughts and plans in place while being urged to explore your writing more. It would suit writers who love journaling. It provides a helping hand to keep things grounded and prevents you being overwhelmed.
Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a writer. Early 2019, she moved to Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.