Five on Friday with Nicola May @nicolamay1 #FiveonFriday

Today I’m delighted to have author Nicola May sharing her thoughts with us. Nicola writes what she describes as chick lit with a kick (right up my street) and just the thing for a bit of Bank Holiday escapism. For anyone who has read Nicola’s bestselling The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, you’ll be delighted to hear that the much awaited sequel Meet me in Cockleberry Bay is due out on 5th July.

Nicola May - Hi res

 

Author Bio:-

When Nicola May was made redundant from her event management job, she resorted to a variety of temping jobs to make ends meet. This became the inspiration for her first novel, Working It Out, a romantic comedy about a young woman who does twelve different jobs in as many months. Unable to find a publisher, she published that novel herself, achieving the rare distinction of getting it stocked in Waterstones, and went on to self-publish eight more novels, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Her novels Christmas Spirit and The School Gates won Best Author-Published Read at the Festival of Romance in 2012 and 2014, while Love Me Tinder was ebook of the week in The Sun. Her ninth novel, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK in January 2019. Nicola lives near Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan.

So over to Nicola

 

Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

 

Never give up on a good thing by George Benson – I never ever gave up on the dream of being a full-time author. This dream came true this year after 22 years of writing

Happy by Pharrell Williams – Happy is what I am now that I am a full-time author – such a great, upbeat tune – even gets a mention in my novel, The SW19 Club

Angels by Robbie William – My lovely mum died when I was just 17, This song always seems to come on to the radio at relevant moments in my life

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for by U2 – Let’s just say, to date, I’ve been better at writing romance

The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood – My favourite song. Love IS powerful and I am lucky to be surrounded by it

 

 

Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.

 

Stanley, my lovely black and white cat

Tea

My Simba mattress

Sunshine

Clarins Red Lipstick

 

 

Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?

 

Don’t start smoking

Do start saving

Appreciate the body you have

Finding love can wait

Silence is powerful

 

 

Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.

 

My right pupil is bigger than my left

I was a contestant on Supermarket Sweep

I haven’t read a Harry Potter book

My recent novel was #1 on the Amazon Kindle store for a month this year

I am obsessed with television quiz shows. The Chase being my favourite

 

 

What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?

 

To go to a spiritual mind and body retreat somewhere remote and delicious

See the northern lights

Ride a gondola in Venice

Sing in a west end musical

Learn Italian

 

Thanks so much for sharing with us Nicola. I’m also someone who also couldn’t live without tea and (whispers) I haven’t read a Harry Potter book either. We’re a big fan of quiz shows in this house – we can get very competitive! I hope you get to achieve your bucket list dreams. I was lucky to take a gondola ride last year – something I’d always dreamed of, it really is a fabulous feeling sailing along the canals amidst all that history. Well worth the wait. 

 

Nicola’s Books

(click on image for a non-affiliated buying link)

 

Meet me in Cockleberry BayMeet me in a Cockleberry Bay – published 5th July and available to pre-order

The cast of the runaway bestseller, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, are back – including Rosa, Josh, Mary, Jacob, Sheila, new mum Titch and, last but by no means least, Hot, the adorable dachshund.

Newly wed, and with her inherited corner shop successfully up and running, Rosa Smith seems to have all that anyone could wish for. But the course of true love never did run smooth and Rosa’s suspicions that her husband is having an affair have dire consequences.

Reaching rock bottom before she can climb back up to the top, fragile Rosa is forced to face her fears, addiction and jealousy head on.

With a selection of meddling locals still at large, a mystery fire and Titch’s frantic search for the real father of her sick baby, the second book in this enchanting series will take you on a further unpredictable journey of self-discovery.

 

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry BayThe Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay

Rosa Larkin is down on her luck in London, so when she inherits a near-derelict corner shop in a quaint Devon village, her first thought is to sell it for cash and sort out her life. But nothing is straightforward about this legacy. While the identity of her benefactor remains a mystery, he – or she – has left one important legal proviso: that the shop cannot be sold, only passed on to somebody who really deserves it.

Rosa makes up her mind to give it a go: to put everything she has into getting the shop up and running again in the small seaside community of Cockleberry Bay. But can she do it all on her own? And if not, who will help her succeed – and who among the following will work secretly to see her fail?

There is a handsome rugby player, a sexy plumber, a charlatan reporter and a selection of meddling locals. Add in a hit and run incident and the disappearance of a valuable engraved necklace – and what you get is a journey of self-discovery and unpredictable events.

With surprising and heartfelt results, Rosa, accompanied at all times by her little sausage dog Hot, will slowly unravel the shadowy secrets of the inheritance, and also bring her own, long-hidden heritage into the light.

 

Love Me TinderLove Me Tinder

Dull security or risky freedom – which would you choose? With her marriage in pieces, shy Cali Summers is faced with this decision and hits the world of fast love on an internet dating app. Using room 102 in the hotel where she works as her dating ‘lair’, she opens herself up to a world of sex, lies, deception, as well as personal discovery and passionate love. With a charming F1 engineer, a handsome army officer and her adulterous ex all on the scene, a predictable love match is far from on the cards

 

The SW19 ClubThe SW19 Club

What would you do if you were told you could never have children? Faced with this news, Gracie Davies is at an all-time low. But with the support of some new Wimbledon friends, an unorthodox therapist, her hippy-chick sister Naomi and Czech call-girl Maya, she sets up The SW19 Club and begins her rocky journey to inner peace and happiness. Add in a passionate fling with handsome landscaper Ed, a fairytale encounter with a Hollywood filmstar and the persistence of her adulterous ex, life is anything but predictable…

 

Star FishStar Fish

Tired of looking for love Amy Anderson decides that an astrological dating agency is the only way she is going to meet the man of her dreams. Star Fish follows Amy’s hysterical search for her ‘sole mate’ as she dates her way through the twelve signs of the zodiac. So who will finally woo Amy? Will it be Ted the Arian photographer with a passion for ice skating, or maybe Laurence, the Libran IT whiz kid who likes to get behind the wheel of a fast car? Or, how about Capricorn Christopher, the owner of Starr & Son, the dating agency? You’ll be kept guessing until the very last page!

 

Better TogetherBetter Together

Jess is nearly 40 when she meets Dan Harris at a party. She is single, sorted, happy – with a great job and a buzzy social and sex-life. All of this is threatened when she falls deeply in love with Dan, who is only 23.

Jess, being older, recognises this as the real, precious thing – but in his immaturity, Dan does not. Unable to cope with the stigma of being with an older woman, he eventually leaves her.

Ten years pass…

Jess, who is still gorgeous at 50, is married now, with a child of her own.They meet again. The years fall away.
This time, Dan understands – but is it too late?

 

Let Love WinLet Love Win (sequel to Working it Out)

Ruby IS BACK and never expected to be starting over…but after a shocking bereavement, she begins to question whether or not she will ever be happy again.

A chance encounter with handsome author Michael Bell throws her fragile heart into turmoil. Plus, a dark family secret and completely unexpected love interest add to her confusion.

Encouraged to face her demons, she volunteers at The Bow Wow Club – (Boyfriends of Widows, Wives of Widowers).

In this charming sequel to Working it Out you will laugh and cry along with a myriad of eccentric characters as Ruby searches for her inner peace. But will she let love win? Or allow her past to continue to haunt her.

 

Working it OutWorking it Out

Ruby Matthews has a plan. Twelve jobs in twelve months, until she finds the one of her dreams…

After an unexpected redundancy, Ruby begins to question her priorities. Inspired by a quote from Kahlil Gibran about loving your work, she launches her mission to find the ideal job.

Her year of gainful (and sometimes painful!) employment includes nannying for clients in the South of France; dealing with embarrassing ailments in a Harley Street Clinic; waiting tables in a buzzy Soho cafe; and meeting the celebs of years gone by in a home for retired actors. And even though love is no longer top of her list, relationships just seem to start happening along the way – which sees her handing out some P45s of her own!

But will any of the jobs, or men she meets, see her dreams come true? Or will Ruby just end up back where she started?

 

The School GatesThe School Gates

At 3.10pm every weekday, parents gather at Featherstone Primary in Denbury to collect their children.

For a special few, the friendships forged at the school gates will see them through lives filled with drama, secrets and sorrows. When Yummy Mummy Alana reveals the identity of her love-child’s father, she doesn’t expect the consequences to be quite so extreme. Ex Czech au-pair Earth Mummy Dana finds happiness in her secret sideline, but really all she longs for is another child. Slummy Mummy Mo’s wife-beating husband leads her down a path she never thought possible, and Supper Mummy Joan has to cope when life deals her a devastating blow.

And what of Gay Daddy Gordon? Will he be able to juggle parenthood and cope with his broken heart at the same time?

Four very different mothers. One adorable dad. And the intertwining trials and tribulations that a year at the primary school gates brings.

 

Christmas SpiritChristmas Spirit (short story)

It’s two days before Christmas – and Evie Harris finds herself both manless and jobless. After a chance encounter with handsome Greg (and egged on by her toy-boy-eating friend, Bea) she agrees to work at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day.
Striking up an unlikely friendship with homeless Yves, Evie begins an unwitting journey of spiritual awakening, all set against the sparkling winter backdrop of London landmarks.
A New Year’s Eve revelation is on its way . . . but will it leave Evie with a happy heart, or will she allow the pre-Christmas past to dictate her future?

 

You can follow Nicola via:-

Twitter

Her website 

Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five on Friday with Rose McGinty @rosemcginty @urbanebooks #FiveonFriday

Today it’s a pleasure to host author Rose McGinty. I first became aware of Rose when I was a member of the Urbane Book Club (no longer running) and received a copy of her book, intriguingly  entitled the ‘Electric Souk’.

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Author bio:-

Rose McGinty was born with itchy feet, which she has yet to decide is a blessing or a curse. But it was her adventures in the Middle East that gave her the itchy fingers to write. Rose lives in Kent, where as well as enjoying writing short stories, flash fiction and poetry, she also paints. She works in community health services and has worked overseas in Ireland, Canada, Sweden and the Middle East.

She completed the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course, under the guidance of Richard Skinner, in 2015. Electric Souk is her debut novel and Rose says of her story, ‘The parts of the story that are true, I probably wish were not; while the parts that are not, I probably wish were true.’

So over to Rose:-

Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

Daydream Believer by the Monkees – I mostly felt trapped at school. My way out was to
daydream and take myself off into magical worlds. It turns out this was the key skill I developed at that time as now my life revolves around stories – and I still daydream.

Riverdance by Bill Whelan – I was living in Dublin, studying at Trinity and actually dancing on the stage in a show that was a fusion of Irish and contemporary dance when Riverdance exploded from the Liffey. That was such a special time. It is Ireland in one piece of music and its energy, magic and joy are everything that Ireland is to me.

Missing (I miss you like the deserts miss the rain) by Everything but the Girl  – this song reminds me of my time living in the Middle East. The desert was so hypnotic like this song, but so cruel too, and leaves you full of yearning.

No Frontiers by Mary Black – there’s a lyric in this beautiful song that echoes something my grandmother always used to say to me, and when I hear it it’s as if she has come back to me in a song. It’s all about overcoming your fears and hope.

I can see clearly now the rain has gone by Johnny Nash – this sums up everything I feel about life since I found my writing group – they are my bright, bright sunshiny day.

 

Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.

 

Laughter

My camera

Big skies

My passport

Dreams

 

Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?

 

There’s really only one piece of advice but it relates to at least five key aspects of life – jobs, relationships, homes, bed and definitely parties – always leave ten minutes before you think you need to.

 

Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you. 

 

I jumped 192 metres off the Auckland Tower and have no fear of heights.

I enjoy life drawing.

I love dancing and I’ve danced since I was four, mostly ballet but I also studied Egyptian dance (belly dancing) for a year with Yasmin, who danced in U2’s video for their song She Moves in Mysterious Ways.

I am a secret Coronation Street addict and when I can’t sleep I write storylines in my head. If Shakespeare was alive today he would be writing for Coronation Street and I would love to write even one line and have a drink in the Rovers Return.

I was mistaken for a WAG once, whilst sitting next to a very famous footballer at Dublin airport. I merrily let autograph hunters take photos of us although I had no idea who he was and had to ask someone once he had been called for his flight. My one ever moment of glamour.

 

What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?

 

See a whale swimming free in the ocean

Travel the Silk Road

Hang glide

Live by the sea in Ireland

Kiss my soulmate

 

Thanks so much for taking part Rose, I love your music choices. No Frontiers by Mary Black is a lovely track and she has an amazing voice.  I know most people will want to know who that famous footballer was, but that’s your secret, not mine, so my lips are sealed! Hope you get to achieve those things on your bucket list. Living in Ireland, ideally near the coast, is also one of our dreams – I can think of nothing nicer. When you achieve that dream, I’m hoping it’s with your soul mate. 

 

Rose’s Book

(Click on image for non-affiliated buying link)

 

Electric SoukElectric Souk by Rose McGinty

Ireland’s gone bust, and with it Aisling Finn’s life. She flees austerity for adventure in the desert. But the Arabia she finds is not that of her dreams. Everyone is chasing a fast buck, a fast woman and another G&T. Expats and locals alike prickle with paranoia. Debonair fixer, Brian Rothmann, charms Aisling with champagne brunches and nights at Bedouin camps. But is Brian a hero or a desperate expat prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants? Is this Aisling? Or is he using her as bait? Her only hope is Hisham, a local activist. But where do his loyalties lie? Aisling faces severe peril when the sleazy expat and blood-lusting desert worlds collide, as the Arab Spring erupts. She has to ask, whom can she trust? Can she trust her instincts? Humanity blisters in this haunting, lyrical thriller about trust and treachery.

 

Follow Rose via:-

Twitter

Her website

 

Five on Friday with Susan Pape @wordfocus #FiveonFriday

Today I’m delighted to host former journalist turned novelist Susan Pape. Susan writes smart and witty women’s fiction with long time friend Sue Featherstone.  Susan is a Yorkshire lass with a professed love for Filey,  so I’m sure we’d get on if we ever met.

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Author bio:

Susan Pape is a former newspaper journalist with extensive experience of working for national and regional papers, and magazines. She has also worked in higher education, teaching journalism at Leeds Trinity University.

Susan joined with best friend Sue Featherstone to write two successful journalism text books – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction (both published by Sage).

They went on to write their debut novel, A Falling Friend, published by Lakewater Press, which has been followed by a second book, A Forsaken Friend. The final book in the Friends trilogy, A Forgiven Friend will be published this year.

 So over to Sue:-

 

Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

 

Mr Blue Sky. I saw Jeff Lynne’s ELO at the First Direct Arena in Leeds last year and the audience (many of a certain age who remember the Electric Light Orchestra from the first time around) erupted in sheer delight. It was an absolutely amazing atmosphere.

Happy by Pharrell Williams. It’s a song that you can’t help smiling, clapping and dancing along to.

Faure Requiem is the best known of composer Gabriel Faure’s large works, and although I’ve listened to it many times, it still has the power to overwhelm.

Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. I would gladly list all Leonard Cohen’s music on my soundtrack, but it I had to pick just one it would be this. I saw Leonard Cohen in concert two or three years ago and it was one of the most magical events of my life. The whole audience was as one: we loved him and none of us could believe we were actually there listening to him.

Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto is a popular piece which regularly features in Classic FM’s top 100. I love it because it’s so intense and leads you into a slowly building finale that knocks your socks off.

 

Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.

My ukulele

My car

Walking boots

My diary

My computer (for writing)

 

Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?

 

Dive in at the deep end.

Relax – the bath won’t overflow (mother will remember to turn the taps off before everyone in the house drowns)

Just be natural: life’s not a performance, and you don’t have to put on an act.

Be genuinely nice to people rather than ingratiate yourself or try to please others to win their affection and approval.

Some of your worst fears will materialize, but you will deal with them.

 

Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.

 

I have climbed all the 214 hills (known as Wainwrights) in the Lake District (some more than once). I took a bottle of champagne up the final one on my list (which was some weight in my rucksack) and sat on the cairn drinking and celebrating.

I spent my early years in Hong Kong and can count to ten and swear in Mandarin.

I play the ukulele in a band. I learned to play during a music tuition weekend in the Lakes, without telling anyone what I was doing. I came home, made my husband close his eyes while I took my uke from its case, and played him Jambalaya, an easy tune as it’s only got two chords, but to me, it was the start of a love affair with this crazy little instrument.

I ghost wrote two cookery books. Friends will laugh at this because I’m a notoriously bad cook. To produce the books, I spent time with the chefs involved and it was a case of interviewing them and copying down, ounce for ounce, the recipes they wanted including. Because these books were ghost written, I wasn’t allowed to say I was the ‘author’, but I proudly keep them on my bookshelves.

Deep within my heart is a secret I can never tell anyone.

 

What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?

 

I don’t really have a bucket list. I’ve always taken the view that if you have ambitions and goals, just get on with it. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t do something – go on and do whatever’s possible for you. I’ve had that approach to climbing mountains; walking long-distance footpaths; taking two degrees as a mature student; training and running half-marathons; speaking in public; and writing books and getting them published.

But if I was pushed, I’d say I want to learn to dive and conquer my fear of swimming underwater. 

 

Thanks so much for joining us today Susan. I love your advice, very practical and I wholeheartedly agree with the principles of be yourself and be nice to others. I’m also with you on the bucket list, I know I asked the question, but I don’t have one either. Living for today, and making the most of your chances and opportunities would be my philosophy too. I love that you can swear in Mandarin, I’m sure that comes in handy when an expletive is needed in polite company!  Of course what everyone really wants to know now is your secret – I guess we’ll never get the answer though.    

 

Susan’s Books (with Sue Featherstone)

Click on image for a non affiliated buying link

 

A Falling FriendA Falling Friend (Friends Book 1)

There are two sides to every friendship.

After spending her twenties sailing the globe, making love on fine white sand, and thinking only of today, Teri Meyer returns to Yorkshire – and back into the life of childhood friend Lee. Plus, there’s the new job, new man – or three – and the guaranteed lump sum of a bursary for her academic research piece on the way. Life is first-rate.

What could possibly go wrong?

Going out on a limb to get best friend Teri a job at the same university seemed like a great idea. But it doesn’t take long for Lee Harper to notice a pattern. Teri seems to attract trouble, or maybe she creates it, and Lee can see exactly where things are spiralling – downwards. But Teri’s not the sort to heed a warning, so Lee has no choice but to stand by and watch.

And besides, she has her own life to straighten out.

 

A Forsaken FriendA Forsaken Friend (Friends Book 2)

No-one said friendship was easy.

Things can’t get much worse for Teri Meyer. If losing her job at the university and the regular allowance from her dad’s factory isn’t bad enough, now her ex-best friend has gone and stolen her ex-husband! Well, to hell with them all. A few weeks in the countryside at her brother’s smallholding should do the trick – and the gorgeous and god-like neighbour might help.

But then there’s Declan, not to mention Duck’s Arse back in Yorkshire…

It’s not as if Lee Harper set out to fall in love with her best friend’s ex-husband. But, for once, her love life is looking up – except for all the elephants in the room, not to mention Mammy’s opinion on her dating a twice-divorced man. Perhaps things aren’t as rosy as she first thought. And now with one family crisis after another, Lee’s juggling more roles – and emotions – than she ever imagined.

Maybe sharing her life with a man wasn’t such a grand idea.

 

 

Non-Fiction Titles

Click on image for more details and non-affiliated buying link

 

Newspaper Journalism                      Feature Writing

 

 

Susan blogs about books and writing with Sue at bookloversbooklist.com

You can also find Susan on Twitter and on Facebook.

Five on Friday with Thomas Enger @EngerThomas ‏@OrendaBooks

Today I’m delighted to feature author and composer Thomas Enger.  I was fortunate to meet Thomas at The Orenda Roadshow in Manchester earlier this year. As well as adding his latest book to my beloved signed collection, it was the ideal opportunity to invite him to share his Five.

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Author bio:-

Thomas Enger (b. 1973) made his debut in 2010 with Burned, the first of five novels in the critically acclaimed Henning Juul series. Burned was shortlisted for the eDunnit award in England for the best novel that was both published as a hard back and in a e-book format in 2011. Movie rights for all the books in the Juul series have been sold to the Norwegian production company Cinenord. His most recent book is Inborn (Orenda Books). Thomas’s books are published in over 30 countries. He lives in Oslo with his wife and two children.

So over to Thomas:-

 

Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

 

Edvard Grieg: Piano concerto in A minor. Quite simply because it’s the most stunning piece of music ever written.

Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera. I went to see this in West End in 1989 (I was 14), and it changed my way of thinking about music completely.

James Horner: Braveheart. Quite possibly the most beautiful and romantic movie score ever made.

James Newton Howard: Snow Falling on Cedars. One of the most emotive and immerse scores I know.

Hans Zimmer: Crimson Tide. Quite possibly the CD I’ve played the most.

 

Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.

 

Lipbalm

Our summer cabin in Stavern

Manchester United

My piano

Chewing gum

 

Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?

 

Read more books

Study at least one year abroad

Start playing golf a lot sooner

Spend more time with your grandparents

Don’t wait until it’s too late to ask important questions

 

Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.

 

I used to stutter/stammer a lot when I was young. Had a huge problem with it.

My first paid job was as a garbage disposal person at Oslo Airport Gardermoen.

I grew up listening to a lot of heavy metal.

When I was young I wanted to become a butcher (might explain a few things…)

When I was 16 (or maybe I was 17), I scored a goal from my own team’s half of the pitch.

 

What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?

 

I’d like to live for a while in Paris or Copenhagen

Spend three months at a writer’s retreat in the Maldives (preferably during the winter)

Go see/listen to a Hans Zimmer in concert show

Take my son to see Manchester United at Old Trafford

Record an album with my songs

 

Thanks so much for sharing with us Thomas, it’s been great to discover more about you. I’m interested in hearing some of your musical choices that I’m not familiar with – I’m particularly partial to a romantic/emotive movie score. Personally delighted to see a certain football team making an appearance (twice). I fell in love with George Best in 1968 as a 10 year old, and they’ve been ‘my’ team since. Hopefully you’ll get to take your son to Old Trafford. Glad to see you gave up your desire to be a butcher, I’m sure your readers are equally appreciative too!

 

For those of you interested in hearing some of Thomas’s compositions choose music once you’ve followed the link here.

 

Thomas’s Books

Click on image for non-affiliated buying link in UK

 

The Henning Juul Series

 

BurnedBurned (Henning Juul 1)

A BRUTALISED VICTIM IN THE WILDS
A solitary tent is found to contain the body of a half-buried woman. She’s been stoned to death. There are lash marks across her back. One of her hands has been cut off.

A LONE VOICE 
Two years earlier internet reporter Henning Juul lost his son, Jonas, in a domestic fire. As he returns to work, physically and emotionally scarred, Henning struggles to escape this past and to be taken seriously again as a reporter – by his colleagues, his ex-wife and the police.

A MYSTERY IGNITED
Told to cover the story of the woman in the tent, he finds an increasingly dangerous trail and, despite an early arrest, he is convinced that the story is more complex than the police think…

 

PiercedPierced (Henning Juul 2)

A Convicted Killer: Despite always maintaining his innocence, Tori Pulli, once a powerful player on Oslo’s underground crime scene, has been found guilty of murder.

A Loose End: Scarred reporter, Henning Juul, is contacted by Pulli, who claims that if Henning can help clear his name he can give him details of who was responsible for the fire which killed his six-year-old son, Jonas.

A Double Threat: Desperate to continue his own search for justice, Henning realises that the information Pulli promises is life threatening, to both of them and to others. As events take a deadly turn, Henning finds himself on the trail of two killers for whom the stakes have never been higher…

ScarredScarred (Henning Juul 3)

An elderly woman is found dead in a nursing home. Bjarne Brogeland, who heads up the investigation, soon realises that they are on the trail of a meticulous killer who has developed a keen taste for revenge. A killer who has only just begun…

Trine Juul-Osmundsen, Norway’s Secretary of State and Henning Juul’s sister, is accused of sexually harassing a young male politician. As the allegations cause a media frenzy, Trine receives an anonymous threat telling her to resign. If she doesn’t, the truth about what she really did that night will be revealed.

Scarred reporter Henning Juul, finds himself torn between the two high profile cases. He wants to help his estranged sister, but as he digs into their past, he discovers memories that haunt them both. Memories of a broken home. Memories of a dead father.

As the two cases collide, both their worlds threaten to fall apart.

 

CursedCursed (Henning Juul 4)

What secret would you kill to protect?

When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests.

Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. When their lives are threatened, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.

 

KilledKilled (Henning Juul 5)

Crime reporter Henning Juul thought his life was over when his young son was murdered. But that was only the beginning…

Determined to find his son’s killer, Henning doggedly follows an increasingly dangerous trail, where dark hands from the past emerge to threaten everything. His ex-wife Nora is pregnant with another man’s child, his sister Trine is implicated in the fire that killed his son and, with everyone he thought he could trust seemingly hiding something, Henning has nothing to lose … except his own life.

Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-awaited finale of one of the darkest, most chilling and emotive series you may ever read. Someone will be killed. But who?

 

Standalone Novels

 

Inborn 1Inborn

What turns a boy into a killer?

When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock … for murder?

Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously … and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community.  As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has a relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect?

It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust.

But can we trust him?

 

You can keep in touch with Thomas via

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April’s Book Haul

I’ve had a bumper buying month this month, so better make a large cuppa (or three) – this might take a while.

Kindle Books

(Click on image for non-affiliated buying link)

 

The Gustav SonataThe Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

What is the difference between friendship and love?

Gustav grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav’s father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him. Gustav’s life is a lonely one until he meets Anton. An intense lifelong friendship develops but Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined until it is almost too late…

An Eventful VacationAn Eventful Vacation by Linda Christie

Rosalinda Little, a painter known as ‘Little Rose’ in the art world, is invited to show her work at an exhibition in a fabulous hideaway hotel, the ‘El Pino’ in beautiful Formentor on the island of Mallorca. She decides to make a holiday of it, taking her best friend, Connie, with her. They arrive joyously on a glorious summer day… but soon a series of extraordinary events take place. She is witness to a little boy in distress, only later to find out he has gone missing.

The novel portrays Rosa’s struggle to help find the lost boy, with unexpected and sometimes disastrous consequences. The twists and turns of her quest involve her with a fascinating cast of characters, over a wide range of international settings, from a Mallorcan monastery to an Algerian prison. The dark and complex secrets concealed in the paradise setting of the ‘El Pino’ Hotel take a long time to unravel. Meanwhile, Rosa faces the added dilemma of falling in love with a married man half her age…

 

Dirty Little Secrets 1Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.

There’s just one problem.

Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.

 

If Only I Could Tell YouIf Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

Audrey’s family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.

As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?

 

Two Fridays in AprilTwo Fridays in April by Roisin Meaney

It’s Una Darling’s seventeenth birthday, but nobody feels much like celebrating. It’s been exactly a year since the tragic death of her father Finn, and the people he left behind have been doing their best to get on with things. But it hasn’t been easy.

Daphne is tired of sadness, of mourning the long life she and her husband were meant to share, but doesn’t quite know how to get past it. And she can’t seem to get through to her stepdaughter — they barely speak anymore, so Daphne knows nothing of the unexpected solace Una has found, or of the risk she’s about to take.

When Una fails to appear for a birthday tea with her family, Daphne suddenly realises how large the distance between them has grown. Will she be given the chance to make things right?

 

Mad Blood StirringMad Blood Stirring by Simon Mayo

1815: The war is over but for the inmates at Dartmoor Prison, peace – like home – is still a long way away.

On the eve of the year 1815, the captured sailors of the Eagle arrive at Dartmoor prison; bedraggled, exhausted, sustained only by a rumour heard along the way.

Joe Hill thought he’d left the conflict behind but it is clear there is a different type of battle here. As he announces the news of the end of the war, the guards bristle and the inmates stir. The powder keg was fixed to blow and Joe has just lit the fuse.

Elizabeth Shortland, the Governor’s wife, looks out at the unsettled crowd. The peace means the end is near, that she needn’t be here for ever. But suddenly, she cannot bear the thought of leaving.

 

Changeling (Six Stories Book 3)The Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

A missing child
A family in denial
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. Journeying through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there, he talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know what happened to the little boy…

 

Day of the AccidentDay of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart.

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter’s funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie’s husband?
And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow… her daughter is still alive?

 

The SurvivorsThe Survivors by Kate Furnivall

Directly I saw him, I knew he had to die.’

Germany, 1945. Klara Janowska and her daughter Alicja have walked for weeks to get to Graufeld Displaced Persons camp. In the cramped, dirty, dangerous conditions they, along with 3,200 others, are the lucky ones. They have survived and will do anything to find a way back home.

But when Klara recognises a man in the camp from her past, a deadly game of cat and mouse begins.

He knows exactly what she did during the war to save her daughter.

She knows his real identity.

What will be the price of silence? And will either make it out of the camp alive?

 

Her Best Friend's SecretHer Best Friend’s Secret by Anna Mansell

Your best friend deserves the truth. But it will ruin her life. What would you do?

It’s been over twenty years since four very different teenage girls sat on that beach at Goran Haven, and swore to be best friends forever. Their lives went different ways after Emily left. But each remembered that promise. And none truly found friendship like it again.

Now, Emily’s back, with a secret she can’t face. She tries to hide away, take time to heal and make some difficult choices, but she runs into one of her old friends, and soon the four are reunited. Lolly, warm as ever, is a successful physiotherapist, married with kids. Yet smart, strong Amanda, who cherishes her teenage daughter, is alone and seemingly stuck in a dead-end job. And creative Jess is so much quieter than Emily remembers.

The bond is still there, and Emily realises their friendship might keep her together, but there are reasons why the women fell out of touch. Secrets that have lain dormant for decades start to surface, and then one of the women discovers a betrayal so big, it could turn each of their lives upside down.

It’s always those we’re closest to who have the power to tear us apart. Can friendship give Emily and her friends the strength to survive a devastating shock, or are some things unforgivable?

 

Do No HarmDo No Harm by L V Hay

Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

 

Under the Spanish Stars 1Under the Spanish Stars by Alli Sinclair

A life-changing journey, a family secret, a passionate encounter . . .

1945.When Katarina Sanchez is drawn into the world of flamenco, she’s forced to make a decision—comply with her affluent family’s rigid lifestyle or live a life of poverty but enjoy freedom and self-expression. Although Spain is crippled under a dictatorship, Katarina finds love. However, the tragedy of war brings heartbreak. An opportunity to right a past wrong arises, yet it comes at a cost for Katarina—save the lives of many or potentially lose the only man she’s ever loved.

Present day.Charlotte Kavanagh will do anything to fulfill the wishes of her ailing grandmother, even if it means travelling to Spain to uncover the truth behind a mysterious painting. As Charlotte explores Granada’s ancient cobblestone streets, she meets Mateo Vives, a man with a dark past and the only person who can help Charlotte complete her quest. As the secret surrounding the painting deepens, she discovers her grandmother’s connection to the Spanish underground. Weighed down by secrets and betrayals, Charlotte finds herself questioning the true meaning of heritage, family, and love.

 

What Happens in FranceWhat Happens in France by Carol Wyer

“She stood and took her place in front of the camera… It was now or never”

Bryony Masters has been looking for her long-lost sister, Hannah, for years, but when their father has a stroke her search takes on new urgency. So when primetime game show, What Happens in France, puts a call-out for new contestants, Bryony spots the ultimate public platform to find her reality TV-obsessed sister, and finally reunite their family.

With the help of handsome teammate Lewis, it’s not long before she’s on a private jet heading for the stunning beauty of rural France. With a social media star dog, a high maintenance quiz host and a cast of truly unique characters, Bryony and Lewis have their work cut out for them to stay on the show and in the public eye.

Yet as the audience grows and the grand prize beckons they find that the search that brought them together may just fulfil more than one heart’s wish.

 

Missing PiecesMissing Pieces by Laura Pearson

What if the one thing that kept you together was breaking you apart?

All Linda wants to do is sleep. She won’t look at her husband. She can’t stand her daughter. And she doesn’t want to have this baby. Having this baby means moving on, and she just wants to go back to before. Before their family was torn apart, before the blame was placed.

Alienated by their own guilt and struggling to cope, the Sadler family unravels. They grow up, grow apart, never talking about their terrible secret.

That is until Linda’s daughter finds out she’s pregnant. Before she brings another Sadler into the world, Bea needs to know what happened twenty-five years ago. What did they keep from her? What happened that couldn’t be fixed?

A devastating mistake, a lifetime of consequences. How can you repair something broken if pieces are missing?

 

The Forgotten VillageThe Forgotten Village by Lorna Cook

1943: The world is at war, and the villagers of Tyneham are being asked to make one more sacrifice: to give their homes over to the British army. But on the eve of their departure, a terrible act will cause three of them to disappear forever.

2018: Melissa had hoped a break on the coast of Dorset would rekindle her stagnant relationship, but despite the idyllic scenery, it’s pushing her and Liam to the brink. When Melissa discovers a strange photograph of a woman who once lived in the forgotten local village of Tyneham, she becomes determined to find out more about her story. But Tyneham hides a terrible secret, and Melissa’s search for the truth will change her life in ways she never imagined possible.

 

An Unsuitable WomanAn Unsuitable Woman by Kat Gordon

Theo Miller is young, bright and ambitious when he and his earnest younger sister Maud step off the train into the simmering heat of Nairobi. Both eagerly await their new life, yet neither are prepared for the pain it will bring.

When Theo meets American heiress Sylvie de Croÿ, he is welcomed into her inner circle – The Happy Valley Set – rich, dazzling expatriates, infamous for their scandalous lifestyles.

Yet behind Sylvie’s intoxicating allure lies a powerful cocktail
of secrets, lust and betrayal. As dark clouds gather over Kenya’s future and his own, Theo must escape this most unsuitable woman – before it is too late.

 

Collected PoemsCollected Poems by W B Yeats

Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector’s Library is a series of beautiful gift editions of much loved classic titles. Macmillan Collector’s Library are books to love and treasure.

All are present in this volume, which reproduces the 1933 edition of W. B. Yeats’s Collected Poems and also contains an illuminating introduction by author and academic Dr Robert Mighall.

As well as being one of the major literary figures of the twentieth century and the recipient of the 1923 Nobel Prize for Literature, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) is the greatest lyric poet that Ireland has produced. His early work includes the beguiling ‘When You are Old’, ‘The Cloths of Heaven’ and ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ but, unusually for a poet, Yeats’s later works, including ‘Parnell’s Funeral’, surpass even those of his youth.

 

59 Memory Lane59 Memory Lane by Celia Anderson

May Rosevere has reached the grand old age of one-hundred-and-ten, thanks to several slices of toast with butter every morning, a glass (or two) of port, and the wonders of the Cornish sea air – or so she tells everyone.

But there’s much more to May than her remarkable age. She has a secret. One that no one has ever discovered …

 

Katharina Luther - Nun, Rebel, WifeKatharina Luther by Anne Boileau

On 31st October 1517, Martin Luther pinned ninety-five theses on the Castle Church door, Wittenberg, criticizing the Church of Rome; they were printed and published by Lucas Cranach and caused a storm. Nine young nuns, intoxicated by Luther’s subversive writings, became restless and longed to leave their convent. On Good Friday 1523 a haulier smuggled them out hidden in empty herring barrels. Five of them settled in Wittenberg, the very eye of the storm, and one of them – Katharina von Bora – scandalised the world by marrying the revolutionary former monk. Following a near miscarriage, she is confined to her bed to await the birth of their first child; during this time, she sets down her own story. Against a backdrop of 16th Century Europe this vivid account of Katharina von Bora’s early life brings to the spotlight this spirited and courageous woman.

 

Six StoriesSix Stories by Matt Wesolowski

One body. Six stories. Which one is true?

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.
2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame…
As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth.

 

A High Mortality of DovesA High Mortality of Doves by Kate Ellis

1919. The Derbyshire village of Wenfield is still reeling from four years of war. Just when the village has begun to regain its tranquillity, a young girl, Myrtle Bligh, is found stabbed and left in woodland, her mouth slit to accommodate a dead dove – a bird of peace.

When two more women are found murdered in identical circumstances, Wenfield is thrown into a panic.

With rumours of a ghostly soldier with a painted face being spotted near the scene of the murders, Inspector Albert Lincoln is sent up from London to crack the terrible case – but with the killer still on the loose, who will be the next to die at the hands of this vicious angel of death?

 

Whiteout (Dark Iceland Book 5)White Out by Ragnar Jonasson

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop?
With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place.
Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.

 

The Only Way Is WestThe Only Way is West by Bradley Chermside

You’re in Greece and are given a €20 note with an email address scribbled on it. What would you do:
1. Spend it?
2. Slip the suspect counterfeit bill into an enemy’s birthday card?
3. Send an email, hoping it will lead to you finding everlasting love?
Brad, a hopeless romantic, chose the latter.

Two years later, his love life remains a disaster and his career is misfiring. As he’s about to walk Spain’s fabled Camino de Santiago to ponder some profound life changes, Brad receives a reply. Incredibly, it’s from a woman who lives on the 1000-year-old pilgrim path, far away from where the money first crossed his palm. She invites him to sleep… ‘on her house’.

Hiking nine hundred kilometres on the Road to Santiago to a blind date with the mystery €20 woman, he discovers the utopia of his fantasies, befriends a Hungarian who speaks English in song titles and has his raison d’être revealed to him by a barefoot Mayan mystic. Will he meet his happily-ever-after too?

 

The SilenceThe Silence by Katharine Johnson

Doctor Abby Fenton has a rewarding career, a loving family, an enviable lifestyle – and a secret that could destroy everything.

When human remains are discovered in the grounds of an idyllic Tuscan holiday home she is forced to confront the memories she has suppressed until now and relive the summer she spent at the villa in 1992. A summer that ended in tragedy. The nearer she gets to the truth the closer she comes to losing her sanity.

In order to hold onto the people she loves most, she must make sure they never discover what she did. But the reappearance of someone else from that summer threatens to blow her secret wide open.

 

The Man Who DiedThe Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen

A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists.
With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.

 

Costa del ChurrosCosta del Churros by Isabella May

The rain in Spain doesn’t mainly fall on the plain…

Brits abroad Belinda, Julia, Laura and Georgina need more than the sweetness of churros with chocolate dipping sauce to save them from their unsavoury states of affairs.

Cue Carmen Maria Abril de la Fuente Ferrera, the town’s flamboyant flamenco teacher! But can she really be the answer to their prayers?

One thing’s for sure: the Costa del Sol will never be the same again.

 

Cassandra's SecretCassandra’s Secret by Frances Garrood

1960s England

Cassandra Fitzpatrick’s family isn’t quite like everybody else’s: her house is always full to bursting with the various misfits her mother houses as lodgers.

The creative and chaotic household is all she has ever known and loved, until something awful happens that changes everything.

Cass loves her mother deeply, but, as she gets older, she becomes more and more aware of her flaws.

Will Cass have to distance herself from her family to find happiness? Or is she destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps?

As Cass reflects on her memories, she must lay the ghosts of the past to rest and make peace with the secrets that have haunted her adult life

 

Betray Her 1Betray Her by Caroline England

Best friends forever.

That’s the pact you made.

You’d do anything for her.

And you have.

She’s always had it all.

If you could take it for yourself . . . would you?

 

This Is How It EndsThis is How it Ends by Eva Dolan

This is how it begins.

With a near-empty building, the inhabitants forced out of their homes by property developers.

With two women: idealistic, impassioned blogger Ella and seasoned campaigner, Molly.

With a body hidden in a lift shaft.

But how will it end?

 

City Of Shadows 1City of Shadows M J Lee

A family has been found murdered in the heart of 1920s Shanghai. But what could have compelled them to open the door to their killer?

Inspector Danilov has always taken a unique approach to solving his cases. So, when he’s asked to investigate the violent death of a fellow police officer, killed in action, he doesn’t think twice about turning his attention to a different case altogether: the brutal murder of the Lee family, found massacred in their own home.

How could the deaths of an ordinary family account for a shooting halfway across the city? And what clues lie with the letter found clasped in the dead girl’s hand? Inspector Danilov’s instincts tell him he’s close. But when the investigation reveals deep corruption at Shanghai’s core, Danilov faces a choice: probe further, and expose the evil underbelly of the city? Or shy from duty…and keep the few people he loves safe?

 

OverkillOverkill by Vanda Symon

When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems.

Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands.

To find the murderer … and clear her name.

 

House of GoldHouse of Gold by Natasha Solomons

The start of a war. The end of a dynasty.

VIENNA, 1911. Greta Goldbaum has always dreamed of being free to choose her own life’s path, but the Goldbaum family, one of the wealthiest in the world, has different expectations. United across Europe, Goldbaum men are bankers, while Goldbaum women marry Goldbaum men to produce Goldbaum children.

So when Greta is sent to England to marry Albert, a distant cousin she has never met, the two form an instant dislike for one another. Defiant and lonely, Greta longs for a connection and a place to call her own. When Albert’s mother gives Greta a garden, things begin to change.

But just as she begins to taste an unexpected happiness, the Great War breaks out, threatening to tear everything away. For the first time in two hundred years, the family will find themselves on opposing sides. How will Greta choose between the family she’s created and the one she was forced to leave behind?

 

The House on Rosebank LaneThe House of Rosebank Lane by Millie Gray

Edinburgh, 1953.

Kirsten Mowat, eighteen years old and with a joyful spring in her step, could’t be more in love with her sea-faring sweetheart Duncan Armstrong.

But, seven years later – after a hasty wedding, a twist of lies and wrenching loss – Duncan and Kirsten’s relationship has faded to tatters. When those closest to her turn their backs, Kirsten – alone, with a young family to care for – must gather all her spirit and strength if they are to survive.

From much-loved Millie Gray, The House on Rosebank Lane is an Edinburgh story of families entwined, of sorrow and hopefulness . . . and of a young mother’s love for her children and a transforming quest for happiness.

 

The FeudThe Feud by Amanda James

When secrets run deep, revenge will surface…

Matthew Trevelyar leaves his job in London to return to his Cornish roots in the village of St Agnes. After losing his wife to leukaemia, he wants to make a fresh start.

His new life is going well until Matt returns to his cottage to discover a grim warning on his doorstop. The message is clear – Leave now and go back to London.

Not wanting to give up his new life, Matt eventually discovers that there has been a 200-year-old feud between his family, the Trevelyars, and another local family, the Penhallows.

When Matt learns that one of his ancestors burned down a barn belonging to the Penhallows, and that there were tragic consequences, he understands why his family name is mud. But why is Matt paying for the sins of his ancestors now? And is there more to the feud than meets the eye?

 

All This I Will Give to YouAll This I Will Give to You by Dolores Redondo

When novelist Manuel Ortigosa learns that his husband, Álvaro, has been killed in a car crash, it comes as a devastating shock. It won’t be the last. He’s now arrived in Galicia. It’s where Álvaro died. It’s where the case has already been quickly closed as a tragic accident. It’s also where Álvaro hid his secrets.

The man to whom Manuel was married for fifteen years was not the unassuming man he knew.

Álvaro’s trail leads Manuel deep into one of Spain’s most powerful and guarded families. Behind the walls of their forbidding estate, Manuel is nothing but an unwelcome and dangerous intruder. Then he finds two allies: a stubbornly suspicious police lieutenant and Álvaro’s old friend—and private confessor—from seminary school. Together they’re collecting the pieces of Álvaro’s past, his double life, and his mysterious death.

But in the shadows of nobility and privilege, Manuel is about to unravel a web of corruption and deception that could be as fatal a trap for him as it was for the man he loved.

 

The Great PassageThe Great Passage by Shion Miura

Kohei Araki believes that a dictionary is a boat to carry us across the sea of words. But after thirty-seven years of creating dictionaries, it’s time for him to retire and find his replacement.

He discovers a kindred spirit in Mitsuya Majime—a young, disheveled square peg with a penchant for collecting antiquarian books and a background in linguistics—whom he swipes from his company’s sales department.

Along with an energetic, if reluctant, new recruit and an elder linguistics scholar, Majime is tasked with a career-defining accomplishment: completing The Great Passage, a comprehensive 2,900-page tome of the Japanese language. On his journey, Majime discovers friendship, romance, and an incredible dedication to his work, inspired by the words that connect us all.

 

The Murmur of BeesThe Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia

From the day that old Nana Reja found a baby abandoned under a bridge, the life of a small Mexican town forever changed. Disfigured and covered in a blanket of bees, little Simonopio is for some locals the stuff of superstition, a child kissed by the devil. But he is welcomed by landowners Francisco and Beatriz Morales, who adopt him and care for him as if he were their own. As he grows up, Simonopio becomes a cause for wonder to the Morales family, because when the uncannily gifted child closes his eyes, he can see what no one else can—visions of all that’s yet to come, both beautiful and dangerous. Followed by his protective swarm of bees and living to deliver his adoptive family from threats—both human and those of nature—Simonopio’s purpose in Linares will, in time, be divined.

Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the devastating influenza of 1918, The Murmur of Bees captures both the fate of a country in flux and the destiny of one family that has put their love, faith, and future in the unbelievable.

 

An American PrincessAn American Princess by Annejet van der Zijl

Born to a pioneering family in Upstate New York in the late 1800s, Allene Tew was beautiful, impetuous, and frustrated by the confines of her small hometown. At eighteen, she met Tod Hostetter at a local dance, having no idea that the mercurial charmer she would impulsively wed was heir to one of the wealthiest families in America. But when he died twelve years later, Allene packed her bags for New York City. Never once did she look back.

From the vantage point of the American upper class, Allene embodied the tumultuous Gilded Age. Over the course of four more marriages, she weathered personal tragedies during World War I and the catastrophic financial reversals of the crash of 1929. From the castles and châteaus of Europe, she witnessed the Russian Revolution and became a princess. And from the hopes of a young girl from Jamestown, New York, Allene Tew would become the epitome of both a pursuer and survivor of the American Dream.

 

About the NightAbout the Night by Anat Talshir

On a hot summer day in 1947, on a grandstand overlooking Jerusalem, Elias and Lila fall deeply, irrevocably in love.

Tragically, they come from two different worlds. Elias is a Christian Arab living on the eastern side of the newly divided city, and Lila is a Jew living on the western side. A growing conflict between their cultures casts a heavy shadow over the region and their burgeoning relationship. Between them lie not only a wall of stone and barbed wire but also the bitter enmity of two nations at war.

Told in the voice of Elias as he looks back upon the long years of his life, About the Night is a timely story of how hope can nourish us, loss can devastate us, and love can carry us beyond the boundaries that hold human beings apart.

 

The House by the RiverThe House by the River by Lena Manta

Theodora knows she can’t keep her five beautiful daughters at home forever—they’re too curious, too free spirited, too like their late father. And so, before each girl leaves the small house on the riverside at the foot of Mount Olympus, Theodora makes sure they know they are always welcome to return.

Having survived World War II, the Nazi occupation of Greece, and her husband’s death, Theodora now endures the twenty-year-long silence of her daughters’ absence. Her children have their own lives—they’ve married, traveled the world, and courted romance, fame, and even tragedy. But as they become modern, independent women in pursuit of their dreams, Theodora knows they need her—and each other—more than ever. Have they grown so far apart that they’ve forgotten their childhood home, or will their broken hearts finally lead them back again?

 

Still WatersStill Waters by Viveca Sten

On a hot July morning on Sweden’s idyllic vacation island of Sandhamn, a man takes his dog for a walk and makes a gruesome discovery: a body, tangled in fishing net, has washed ashore.

Police detective Thomas Andreasson is the first to arrive on the scene. Before long, he has identified the deceased as Krister Berggren, a bachelor from the mainland who has been missing for months. All signs point to an accident—until another brutalized corpse is found at the local bed-and-breakfast. But this time it is Berggren’s cousin, whom Thomas interviewed in Stockholm just days before.

As the island’s residents reel from the news, Thomas turns to his childhood friend, local lawyer Nora Linde. Together, they attempt to unravel the riddles left behind by these two mysterious outsiders—while trying to make sense of the difficult twists their own lives have taken since the shared summer days of their youth.

 

Deep Dirty TruthDeep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb

Single-mother bounty-hunter Lori Anderson finally has her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.

With North due in court in 48 hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined.

In this race only the winner gets out alive…

 

The Evidence Against YouThe Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

Can you trust your father, when they say he killed your mother?

17 years after being convicted of murder, Izzy’s father is finally released from prison.

She wants nothing to do with him – but he claims to be innocent.

She’s always believed he killed her mother, but now doubts are creeping in.

Because if he’s telling the truth, then someone else has been lying all this time . . . 

 

Fingers in the Sparkle JarFingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham

Every minute was magical, every single thing it did was fascinating and everything it didn’t do was equally wondrous, and to be sat there, with a Kestrel, a real live Kestrel, my own real live Kestrel on my wrist! I felt like I’d climbed through a hole in heaven’s fence.

An introverted, unusual young boy, isolated by his obsessions and a loner at school, Chris Packham only felt at ease in the fields and woods around his suburban home. But when he stole a young Kestrel from its nest, he was about to embark on a friendship that would teach him what it meant to love, and that would change him forever. In his rich, lyrical and emotionally exposing memoir, Chris brings to life his childhood in the 70s, from his bedroom bursting with fox skulls, birds’ eggs and sweaty jam jars, to his feral adventures. But pervading his story is the search for freedom, meaning and acceptance in a world that didn’t understand him.

 

The Cazalet ChroniclesThe Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard

The 5 book series I first read years ago and loved.

The first on the series Light Years was published in 1990 and opens in 1937. The series follows the family over a 20 year period

 

 

King's BedThe King’s Bed by Margaret Campbell Barnes

For seventeen-year-old Tansy Marsh, life centres upon her father’s inn, The White Boar, in Leicester.

Richard III sits upon the throne of England, and all seems well.

But the threat of the would-be usurper, Henry Tudor, looms like a gathering storm. And soon the eye of that storm is uncomfortably close to Tansy, disrupting her reassuringly ordinary life.

Once King Richard is defeated, that life becomes even less ordinary.

For Tansy has met Dickon Broome, the man who will change her existence forever.

And while life goes on under the Tudor, Dickon has particular reason to bear a grudge.

Meanwhile in Leicester, Tansy’s beloved father dies, and she is left at the mercy of her self-absorbed, self-interested stepmother.

Until her stepmother also dies, in a most horrible way, and Tansy finds herself terrifyingly close to the centre of that drama.

It soon becomes clear that there is nothing more for Tansy in her childhood home. She travels to London, to Dickon, and to a future that will be marked by some of the most noted events in England’s history.

For Dickon, Broome is not quite all that he seems, and the quality that sets him apart forces him to take some difficult decisions; decisions that affect Tansy as much as himself.

While the couple seems happy, Dickon’s secret has the power to destroy them. Will he allow that to happen, or will he come to terms with some of the nation’s most famous historic events, and live out a quiet and happy life with his beloved Tansy?

Only one man can decide.

 

Material RemainsMaterial Remains by Richard Bray (this month’s Unbound Reading Club choice)

One Thursday morning a body is found on the beach of St Andrews. Suddenly archeology student Mike MacEwan’s world of tea, pints, late mornings and the occasional essay comes to an abrupt halt. Consumed with guilt, grief, confusion and thoughts of what might have been, Mike haunts the local ruins, rebuilding them in his mind, trying to find the shape of what is no longer there, as he obsesses over the loss of someone he barely knew, unsure of his place in her life, or her death.

It’s only the discovery of an ancient plague burial site near campus that drags Mike back into contact with those around him. But life has changed, both for himself and others, and the burial ground holds more than the bones of those long dead. Unsure what he will find, Mike peels back the layers of earth and its dark history, trying desperately to connect the victims of the past to the tumult of his present.

 

Physical Book Purchases

 

Bright Sari in a Darkened StreetBright Sari in a Darkened Street by Ian M Emberson

Aspiring artist Miles lives with his family in a small village above an industrial town in West Yorkshire. After his first
encounter with the spirited and enchanting Kavita, a Hindu and the sister of one of his school friends, he is drawn into a relationship that must cross not only physical but cultural divides. Can he and Kavita find a future together – or will the challenges they face result in tragedy?

This intensely moving coming-of-age story will resonate with anyone who can remember the intensity and passion
of first love.

 

Rain Falling on Tamarind TreesRain Falling on Tamarind Trees by C L Hoang

Have you ever wondered what Vietnam is like some forty years after the war has ended? Then come along with the author as he returns to visit his ancestral homeland for the first time after a decades-long absence.

Retrace his steps with him around his former hometown of Saigon in the south, and then follow him along on an itinerary of discovery to other unique destinations throughout the country: Hoi-An, the best-preserved medieval seaport in Southeast Asia; Hue, the ancient capital of imperial Vietnam, on the central coast; Halong Bay, a world-renowned natural wonder; and Hanoi, the country’s thousand-year-old capital, in the north.

Filled with historical and cultural tidbits and personal reminiscences, and illustrated with over forty photographs, Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees offers the reader an insightful and fascinating glimpse of this tropical land.

 

liarLiar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen (This month’s Reading in Heels book selection)

If being old meant making up things so you wouldn’t be alone, then it really wasn’t very different from being seventeen

Nofar is just an average teenage girl – so average, she’s almost invisible. Serving customers ice cream all summer long, she is desperate for some kind of escape. One afternoon, a terrible lie slips from her tongue. And suddenly everyone wants to talk to her: the press, her schoolmates, and the boy upstairs – the only one who knows the truth.

Then Nofar meets Raymonde, an elderly woman whose best friend has just died. Raymonde keeps her friend alive the only way she knows how – by inhabiting her stories. But soon, Raymonde’s lies take on a life of their own.

 

How to Fall in Love AgainHow to Fall in Love Again by Amanda Prowse (published 2nd May – bought at author event)

Is it ever too late to find your soulmate?

From Amanda Prowse, queen of heartbreak fiction, comes a gorgeous story of finding love when you’ve given up hope.

Kitty Montrose isn’t sure she believes in true love anymore. When she was a little girl, she had dreamed of finding her soulmate. Someone to laugh with, cry with, and to share her twilight years. But it never happened. She has her gorgeous children and grandchildren, but her marriage was never the happily-ever-after love story she’d imagined.

Then Kitty bumps into Theo, an old flame. The timing was never right for them before. Could now be the time for Theo and Kitty to fall in love again?

 

Will You Remember MeWill You Remember Me? by Amanda Prowse

How do you say goodbye to your family for the last time?

Poppy Day is thirty-two and married to her childhood sweetheart. She’s a full-time mum of two gorgeous children and loves her homely little cottage in the countryside. It’s the life she aways wanted.

But Poppy is so busy caring for others she hasn’t noticed how tired she is, or the menacing lump growing on her breast. It’s unthinkable that cancer could defeat such a strong and amazing woman. But life doesn’t always give you what you deserve…

 

Are you still here? If so, well done and hope you’ve not been tempted too much. I never make apologies for buying as it makes me happy (even though I know I’ll never read them all). So I’ve had a very happy month!!

 

 

 

Five on Friday with Jan Ruth @JanRuthAuthor

Today I’m delighted to feature author Jan Ruth who writes contemporary fiction about the darker side of the family dynamic, often blending life in rural Wales with a touch of city business. Her style is best described as fast-paced and realistic, with a sprinkling of dry humour.

01-JanRuth-wide-1

Author bio:-

The real story began at school, with prizes for short stories and poetry. She failed all things mathematical and scientific, and to this day struggles to make sense of anything numerical.

Her first novel – written in 1986 – attracted the attention of an agent who was trying to set up her own company, Love Stories Ltd. It was a project aiming to champion those books of substance which contained a romantic element but were perhaps directed towards the more mature reader and consistently fell through the net in traditional publishing. Sadly, the project failed to get the right financial backing.

Many years later Jan’s second novel, Wild Water, was taken on by Jane Judd, literary agent. Judd was a huge inspiration, but the book failed to find the right niche with a publisher. And then Amazon changed the face of the industry with the advent of self-publishing. Jan went on to successfully publish several works of fiction under her own imprint, Celtic Connections.

After a brief partnership with Accent Press in 2015, Jan chose to return to the freedom of independent publishing.

Jan Ruth lives in Snowdonia, a mountainous area of North Wales, UK. She is also an active member of her local RDA group (Riding for the disabled) and is an Assistant Equine Facilitated Learning Practitioner for the Welsh Institute of Therapeutic Horsemanship. In her spare time she enjoys riding and walking the Welsh hills; a constant source of inspiration.

Jan’s books are available globally via Amazon in paperback and for Kindle; and locally, you’ll find them in North Wales libraries and Hinton’s bookshop of Conwy.

So over to Jan :-

 

Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

 

Not so much soundtracks to my life, but music which has heavily influenced me along the way:

Gloria, I recall being fairly obsessed with this track in the 80’s and it still makes me feel wired despite the million times I must have listened to it. The energy and angst is palpable.

Angel, Sarah Brightman. I tend to find myself writing Christmas stuff at the wrong time of the year. It’s always a tall order to find the mood when the sun is beating down on the parched Welsh mountains. This is where music plays a massive part, well, that and mince pies. This track by Brightman epitomises our kaleidoscope of beliefs when it comes to religion, guardian angles, and all things paranormal.

 Remember When it Rained, Josh Groban. The loss of my father.

Pyro, Kings of Leon.This album, and especially this track, shaped my character, Daniel, from White Horizon. It included a fast car, an old schoolfriend with a nasty agenda, and yes, a fire…

Fields of Gold, Sting. Everything I feel about the Welsh countryside is epitomised in this music. It’s moving without a shred of sentiment, and this sums up much about me and the style of my books.

 

 Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.

 

Horses. They’ve been part of my life for fifty years and a constant source of inspiration.

The British countryside. I really can’t think of anything which might induce me to live in another country, and so much of my health and happiness depends on the big outdoors.

Laughter. I’m an optimist, it works for me!

My Apple Mac. It keeps my life in order.

My Fiat Panda. I wouldn’t describe myself as a car person, but I’d be lost in the Welsh hills without my modest 4×4.

 

Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?

 

Don’t run with the crowd, be individual.

Contentment doesn’t come from material things. As we mature we discover that we can actually live without most of the things we clutter our lives with.

It’s okay to be unhappy or sad, sometimes.

If in doubt – don’t.

Not all good material is published by a traditional publisher, and contracts from some of them aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

 

Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.

 

I’m a qualified equine therapist. (Assisting those with mental health issues through interacting with horses)

I do my best writing wearing my pyjamas and dressing gown. As soon as I get dressed the spell is broken…

Since I don’t write commercial fiction, I no longer submit manuscripts. I write and publish for myself and my readers.

I’m an active trustee member for Conwy RDA. (Riding for the Disabled).

 

What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?

 

See more of Italy

Walk the Coast to Coast

Ride a long distance trail – in fact I’ve just booked this for June in Cumbria, so here’s hoping for kind weather!

Visit Sark

Develop my equine therapy and coaching skills.

 

Thanks so much for joining us today Jan. I’m definitely keeping this post away from my husband, he needs no encouragement to work in his dressing gown! (We do work from home). Very sage advice for your younger self, much of which we could all do to heed as an older self. Here’s hoping you get to tick those bucket list items off and good to see that your long distance trail is already planned. Wishing you all the best with that and fingers crossed for good weather. 

 o-o-0-o-o

 

Jan’s Books

 (Click on image for non-affiliated buying link)

 

Standalones

 

Gift HorseGift Horse

Caroline Walker’s daughter suffers a horrific riding accident. Her distraught parents wonder if she’ll ever walk again, let alone ride. And when Mollie’s blood group is discovered as rare, her husband offers to donate blood. Except Ian is not a match. In fact, it’s unlikely he’s Mollie’s father.

Eighteen years previously, Caroline had a one-night stand with Irish rock star, Rory O’Connor. Caroline fell pregnant. Deeply flawed boyfriend, Ian, was overjoyed. And Caroline’s parents were simply grateful that their daughter was to marry into the rich, influential Walker family. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Caroline turns to Rory’s friend Connor; and although his almost spiritual connection with his horses appears to be the balm she needs, Caroline cannot forget Rory, or her youth – both lost to a man she never loved. Eighteen years on and after surviving cancer Rory lives as a virtual recluse in the Welsh mountains. Through his well-meaning but interfering sister, he is shocked to discover he has a teenage daughter. Or does he? As the truth begins to unravel, Caroline finds herself faced with a complex trail of moral dilemma.

Someone has made a terrible mistake… someone is going to get hurt…

 

Silver Rain 1Silver Rain

Al is the black sheep of his family, Kate, the good shepherd of hers. Can black and white become silver, or just a dark and dangerous grey?

Alastair Black has revealed a secret to his wife in a last ditch attempt to save his marriage. A return to his childhood family home at Chathill Farm is his only respite, although he is far from welcomed back by brother George.

Kate, recently widowed and increasingly put upon by daughter, sister and mother, feels her life is over at fifty. Until she meets Alastair. He’s everything she isn’t, but he’s a troubled soul, a sad clown of a man with a shady past. When his famous mother leaves an unexpected inheritance, Kate is caught up in the unravelling of his life as Al comes to terms with who he really is.
Is Alastair Black her true soulmate, or should Sleeping Beauty lie?

 

White Horizon 1White Horizon

Three couples in crisis, multiple friendships under pressure.

On-off-on lovers Daniel and Tina return to their childhood town. After twenty-five years together, they marry in typically chaotic fashion, witnessed by old friends, Victoria and Linda who become entangled in the drama, their own lives changing beyond recognition. However, as all their marriages begin to splinter, and damaged Victoria begins an affair with Daniel, the secret illness that Tina has been hiding emerges. Victoria’s crazed and violent ex-husband attempts to kill Daniel and nearly succeeds, in a fire that devastates the community. On the eve of their first wedding anniversary, Tina returns to face her husband, but is it to say goodbye forever, or to stay?

 

Wild Water Series

Wild Water series

 

Wild Water 1Wild Water (Book 1)

The tragedy and comedy that is Jack’s life; secrets, lies and family ties.

Jack Redman, estate agent to the Cheshire set. An unlikely hero, or someone to break all the rules? Wild water is the story of forty-something estate agent, Jack, who is stressed out not only by work, bills and the approach of Christmas but by the feeling that he and his wife, Patsy are growing apart. His misgivings prove founded when he discovers Patsy is having an affair, and is pregnant. At the same time as his marriage begins to collapse around him, he becomes reacquainted with his childhood sweetheart, Anna, whom he left for Patsy twenty-five years before. His feelings towards Anna reawaken, but will life and family conflicts conspire to keep them apart again?

 

Dark Water 1Dark Water (Book 2)

The tragedy and comedy that is Jack’s life; is there a future for him and Anna, or is the past too destructive?

Jack Redman, estate agent to the Cheshire set and skilled juggler of complex relationships. Someone to break all the rules, or an unlikely hero?

In this sequel to Wild Water Jack and Anna return to discover that history repeats itself. Anna’s long-awaited success as a serious artist is poised to happen, but her joy, along with her relationship with Jack, is threatened by old scores.

Simon Banks is a depressed and unstable man with a plan. He wants to wipe out his past by buying a brighter future, but Jack Redman stands in his way.
Will Jack ever escape the legacy of lies and deceit left by his ex-wife? Can Jack and Anna hold it all together, or will tragic repercussions from Jack’s past blow them apart forever?

 

Silent WaterSilent Water (Book 3)

The tragedy and comedy that is Jack’s life; a dangerous web of lies concludes a bitter-sweet end.

Jack Redman, estate agent to the Cheshire set and someone who’s broken all the rules. An unlikely hero or a misguided fool?

In this sequel to Dark Water, Jack and Anna must face the consequences of their actions. As the police close in and Patsy’s manipulative ways hamper the investigations, will Jack escape unscathed?

With her career in tatters and an uncertain future, Anna has serious decisions to make. Her silence could mean freedom for Jack, but an emotional prison for herself. Is remaining silent the ultimate test of faith, or is it end of the line for Jack and Anna?

 

 

Midnight Sky Series

 

Midnight Sky series

 

Midnight SkyMidnight Sky (Book 1)

How can we harness the future if the past will not set us free?

Opposites attract? Laura Brown, interior designer and James Morgan-Jones, horse whisperer – and Midnight Sky, a beautiful but damaged steeplechaser.

Laura seems to have it all, glamorous job, charming boyfriend. Her sister, Maggie, struggles with money, difficult children and an unresponsive husband. She envies her sister’s life, but are things as idyllic as they seem?

She might be a farmer’s daughter but Laura is doing her best to deny her roots, even deny her true feelings. Until she meets James, but James is very married, and very much in love, to a wife who died two years ago. They both have issues to face from their past, but will it bring them together, or push them apart?

 

Palomino SkyPalomino Sky (Book 2)

A golden promise for the future in a lonely palomino mare, but life deals a cruel hand for James and Laura.

James is still running from the past after the loss of his wife, and a devastating accident forces him to face his final demons, but at what cost? Laura is forced deeper into his rural world – a life she once despised – but discovers empathy and hope in the palomino mare she calls Song.
Repercussions abound for Maggie too, when the full extent of her daughter’s dangerous liaison comes to light, leaving the entire family in turmoil. Will James and Laura ever find a golden future, or has life dealt too vicious a blow?

 

Strawberry SkyStrawberry Sky (Book 3)

A rosy future seems certain but Laura has some tough decisions to make.

Maggie is devastated by her daughter’s plans, but Jess is determined to remove the past from her life no matter the upset it will cause. James is no longer running from his past, but a multitude of unresolved issues are set to catch up with Laura.

As an orphaned foal and a motherless teenage girl slip seamlessly into her life, are they key to a positive change or an omen for impending danger? Armstrong is a troubled young man and a trail of minor events ends in a catastrophe no one could have predicted. Can the family ever recover, or should they simply trust in destiny?

 

Short Stories and Novellas

 

Away for ChristmasAway for Christmas

Jonathan Jones has written a novel. Losing his job a few days before Christmas means the pressure is on for his book to become a bestseller, but when his partner drops her own bombshell, the festive holiday looks set to be a disaster.

When he’s bequeathed a failing bookshop in their seaside town, it seems that some of his prayers have been answered, but his publishing company turn out to be not what they seem, and when his ex-wife suddenly declares her romantic intent, another Christmas looks set to be complicated.

Is everything lost, or can the true meaning of words, a dog called Frodo, and the sheer magic of Christmas be enough to save Jonathan’s book, and his skin?

 

A Short Way from HomeA Short Way from Home

What to do About Clara?
The certainty of old love, or the uncertainty of new? Frankie has two women in his life and he needs to make a choice.

Over The Moon.
It’s Pattie’s birthday, but will all her wishes come true?  Events are planned, but Pattie simply longs to escape, preferably to the man next door!

Two Hearts One Soul.
Celtic fantasy, inspired by the many Druid circles and standing stones scattered across the Welsh hillsides. The bond of a twin can never be broken, not even by death. Belief is a powerful, invisible tool.

A Piece of Cake.
Alpha male thinks he’s in control, but the day brings some surprising revelations! Lead sixteen ramblers along an easy section of the coastal path. It should have been easy, but saving his life at the same time, made for a more challenging route.

Genesis.
Adam is flawed, obsessed by Eve and his search for the unattainable. Can new love and a new beginning re-write his future or will he succumb yet again to the lure of forbidden fruit?

A Short Way From Home.
Age is just a number, until it catches up with you.

Christmas Present.
Flash Fiction. Christmas spirit; is it a present, or a presence?  Some poignant thoughts about family and the pride of those elderly and alone.

 

Home for ChristmasHome for Christmas

Rudolph the Brown-Nosed Reindeer
Rick isn’t looking forward to his lonely corporate Christmas, but it’s the season of goodwill and magic is in the air.
An off-beat love story. It’s time Rick wore his heart on his sleeve, or is it too late? Lessons in love from an unlikely source.

Jim’s Christmas Carol
Santa and Satan pay a visit. One brings presents, the other an unwelcome presence.
Paranormal reality. Jim’s played with fire it’s time he got his comeuppance, but from who?

Home for Christmas
Deck the halls with boughs of holly. Fa la-la la-la, la-la la-la. Tis the Season to be jolly…
Romantic-comedy. Pip might accidentally find her true vocation, but the folly of her fibs are about to catch up with her.

 

A Long Way from HomeA Long Way from Home

Home Sweet Home.
Only it’s not always sweet, or homely. Callum doesn’t do sweet. Mel doesn’t do homely. Sometimes the world of fantasy is actually the right one, and the facts are less important.

A Long Way from Home.
A wedding in Wales doesn’t turn out as the father of the bride expects.
Mal’s a good bloke really, surely it was his time for some karma?

Home is Where the Heart is.
Unless it’s out of town.
Never mix love and business. Just when Morgan thinks he’s lost it all, he finds a happy ending.

 

You can follow Jan via:-

Her website

Twitter

Facebook

 

Five on Friday with Mary Grand @authormaryg

Today I’m delighted to introduce author Mary Grand. I’ve known Mary since I reviewed her second book Hidden Chapters (you can read my review in the book link). Mary writes with heart, about family dramas, problems and relationships, and this post serves as a reminder to me, to catch up with her other books (which like so many, are sitting here waiting to be read). Hopefully you’ll be encouraged to take a look at her books and be a bit quicker about reading them, than I’ve been.

 

Mary Grand

Author bio:

I was born in Cardiff and retain a deep love for my Welsh roots. After teaching Deaf children I moved to the beautiful Isle of Wight with my husband, where I now write full time. I have two grown up children.

My novels can be described as dark family dramas. My aim is also to write accessible, gripping stories, so there are strong elements of mystery and secrets to be uncovered. I do extensive research for my novels as within the novels I explore difficult subjects such as addiction and abusive relationships

‘Free to Be Tegan’ was my debut novel and was inspired by my experiences growing up in a religious sect. The second novel ‘Hidden Chapters’ is about motherhood adoption and family secrets. I set my third novel on Mottistone Down here on the Isle of Wight, and the title of that is ‘Behind the Smile’. I have also published two books of short stories ‘Catching the Light’ and ‘Making Changes’. ‘Catching the Light’ is also available as an audiobook. I am working on novel number four, again set here on the Isle of Wight. To date I am a self-published, Indie author.

So over to Mary:-

Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why.

 

At Seventeen by Janis Ian. Janis Ian said this song was terrifying write; she was completely honest and spoke from her heart. I am so grateful she found the courage to write it. This song puts into words the insecurities I experienced in my teens and made me feel I wasn’t alone.

Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. I went to college having had a very sheltered upbringing in a religious sect. I had never been to a disco and so dancing on a Friday night to Stayin’ Alive had to be one of my highlights…of course with all the John Travolta moves!

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves sung by Annie Lennox. In my late twenties and early thirties, I slowly grew in confidence. Dancing to this in my bedsit was just the best.

Thank You For The Days by Kirsty MacColl. I am sixty years this year, it sounds a lot older than I feel. My children are now in their twenties and I treasure every memory of them growing up. I feel very grateful that we all get on well, and still enjoy being together.

Look What They’ve Done To My Song by Melanie. There is a line in this song about longing to find a good book to live in. I didn’t come to writing until my fifties but the fact this song and this line in particular has been with me since my early teens, may explain why, now I am writing, I finally feel like I have come home.

 

Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.

 

Pepper, my cocker spaniel. Working days start with a walk together, breakfast, and then he sits next to me while I write. When he thinks it’s time for a break, he puts his head on my laptop (I have learned to save my work frequently!).

 

Walks on Mottistone downs. Whatever the weather, most mornings I am lucky enough to walk up there with Pepper. I am usually thinking about writing or what I shall eat for lunch.

Coffee. Many cups a day.

Reading. I read different books depending on my mood. Recently I have been reading a lot of very good and gripping psychological dramas but felt in need of a brief change. So, at the moment, I am reading a very funny book by James Acaster which I kept embarrassingly laughing out loud to on the plane.

Television. I enjoy crime series like Vera and Happy Valley, also psychological dramas like Doctor Foster and Killing Eve. I also love to laugh and enjoy programmes like Veep, Modern Family, and Outnumbered.

 

Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?

 

No one has the right to bully and frighten you.

Being chatty, laughing loudly and having opinions is fine.

It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok not be the best.

Stop worrying all the time about how you look.

Learn to say no.

 

Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.

 

I had an aunt and uncle who lived in Cardiff Castle (my uncle was a gatekeeper) and I used to play hide and seek in the gold room on rainy days.

When I taught in London, I lived in a council flat that was broken in to. The council put up a thin wooden plank for a door which stayed there for weeks, oh the things you don’t tell you parents in your early twenties!

I taught Deaf children and have passed my initial exams in British Sign Language.

I saw a therapist for help with my anxiety and hypervigilance.

My father had tea with Agatha Christie. I owned about thirty of her books, gave them away and have now replaced them.

 

What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?

 

Go on a tutored writing retreat.

Learn self-defence.

Learn pottery.

Go to a small but exclusive hotel in France for Christmas.

Go to New Zealand.

 

Thanks so much for joining us today Mary,  it was lovely to find out more about you. Pepper looks adorable and walking on the downs sounds idyllic. I’m envious of your connection to Cardiff Castle, it’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit because of its William Burges interiors I’m sure it’s got a fabulous history too, but that decor – wow. I suspect your Agatha Christie story is hard to beat as well. I really hope you get to achieve some (if not all of your bucket list) but with luck you’ll never need the self-defence.

 

Mary’s Books  

 

Behind the SmileBehind the Smile

Lowri is pregnant, looking forward to a new life with her lover, Simon. But her plans are shattered. She finds herself alone, her face scarred, her future uncertain
Her estranged husband, Jack, proposes they “settle” for each other, and raise Lowri’s unborn child on the Isle of Wight, in the idyllic village of Elmstone.
Lowri is befriended by Carina, the beautiful Italian woman living in Elmstone Manor, and Heather, the popular local café proprietor. However, she soon discovers that no-one is the person they appear.
What dark secrets is Heather hiding from her family and from the village?
Why is Carina desperate for Lowri to fail in her new life and prepared to go to increasingly desperate lengths to destroy her?
As she confronts her own insecurities, and faces another devastating loss, will Lowri find the courage to be proud of the person she is hiding behind the smile? Will she find true love amid the confusion and intrigue?

 

Hidden ChaptersHidden Chapters (my review here)

Catrin survives by denying her past. Her marriage is in crisis. She has devoted herself for eighteen years to bringing up her adopted Deaf daughter, Bethan. She is unaware that her life is about to be shattered by the appearance of the woman she has been told is dead, Bethan’s birth mother, Elizabeth. Catrin is devastated. How will Bethan react? Why has Elizabeth hidden away all these years?
Slowly and painfully, Catrin is forced to examine the web of lies and secrets from her past, the unexplained death of her ‘golden brother’, the truths about her alcoholic mother and the relationships she has now with her father and husband.
Hidden Chapters is an optimistic novel about the hope and the courage each of us can find within ourselves to own our past and take control of the next chapter of our lives. 

 

Free to be TeganFree to be Tegan

Tegan, aged twenty seven, is cast out of the cult, rejected by her family and from the only life she has known. She is vulnerable and naïve but she also has courage and the will to survive. She travels to Wales, to previously unknown relations in the wild Cambrian Mountains.

Guilt and shadows from her past haunt her in flashbacks, panic attacks and a fear of the dark. However she also finds a world full of colour, love and happiness she has never known before. The wild beauty of the hills, the people she meets and the secrets slowly revealed by the cottage all provide an intriguing backdrop to Tegan’s drama.

This is the uplifting story of her journey from life in a cult to find herself and flourish in a world she has been taught to fear and abhor.

 

Making ChangesMaking Changes

Four stories, four women making changes that will alter their lives for ever.

Give and Take
Days before her wedding, hairdresser Lisa has a huge row with her fiancé. He tells her she is over-reacting, so why does Lisa feel devastated? As Lisa listens to the two sides of a couple’s marital problems in the salon, she begins to find answers.

The Key
Looking at the remains of the fire in her beautiful new kitchen, Ruth is very frightened and confused. Since moving with her new husband to Worthing nothing in her life makes sense. What is happening to her?

The Right Shoes
After a devastating family tragedy, Emma moved with her minister husband and daughter to the run down seaside resort of Ruxton. She refuses to talk to anyone about it: no-one will understand. Can a new friendship and a new puppy help Emma and her family heal and make a fresh start?

Holly’s Perfect Christmas?
Holly plans her dream Christmas at an idyllic cottage in Snowdonia. However her partner’s difficult teenage daughter, ex-wife and new husband join them and then the spiteful anonymous texts start to arrive. Can Holly still have her perfect Christmas?

 

Catching the LightCatching the Light

Four women, four compelling short stories.

The New Arrival
Rachel has moved to the Isle of Wight determined to become invisible. Hiding a shameful secret she cultivates a ‘cold polite smile as effective as an electric fence.’ However, unexpectedly, into her life comes a loving, crazy, individual: Lottie the cocker spaniel. Everything is about to change.

Catching the Light
Erin thinks she has found her fairytale prince. However, the honeymoon in a remote cottage in Wales shatters the dream. For the first time in her life Erin discovers the mystical world of fairies.

Belonging
Megan works in a Theatre for the Deaf. She is Deaf. Her language is British Sign Language. One evening she meets John, who is hearing, and two worlds collide. This is the story of the struggles, joys and tears of their remarkable relationship.

The Outing
This was to be the most important day of Kay’s life. However her mission to be free from years of guilt reveals so much more than she could possibly imagine.

Also included is an excerpt from the author’s full length novel ‘Free to Be Tegan’. 
Tegan, aged twenty seven, is cast out of the cult, rejected by her family and the only life she has known. She is vulnerable and naïve but she also has courage and the will to survive. She travels to Wales, to previously unknown relations in the wild Cambrian Mountains.

 

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