Archive for May, 2019

Closer Than You Think by Darren O’Sullivan

May 18, 2019 - 10:32 am No Comments

Closer Than You Think by Darren O’Sullivan

Published by HQ Digital on 15th March 2019

277 pages

There are a lot of psychological thrillers on the market at the moment. We follow the case, the serial killer gets caught, end of the story. But what if there is a survivor and the killer is still out there. Closer Than You Think is that story.

Claire Moore is a sole survivor of The Black-Out Killer, thinking she is now safe, she is trying to rebuild her life. 10 years on she has moved to England, but making a recovery is hard than you think.

Written from Claire’s POV, enables you to see what physical and emotional damage the Black Out Killer caused her that fateful night in Ireland and how hard she was finding it to rebuild her life, even dipping her toes into a starting a new relationship. As I followed Claire through her healing, my heart went out to her, every small step of achievement had me rooting for her to be the survivor. Her visit to her husband’s grave was moving and you could feel the build-up of 10 years of guilt tinged with survivor’s guilt.

Whilst following Claire, we also follow the Killer and through his story, we find out the reasons behind why he wanted to kill, what drew him to his victims and why he stopped and restarted.

Although we know a lot about him, there was no clue to his identity. The author had a way of leading you down the wrong path and when you are certain that you know who it is, further in the book, you realise you are wrong. Not knowing the real killer until the end will have you quickly turning the pages. As for the ending, well it is up to you.

Foul Deeds Will Rise by Elizabeth Ireland

May 17, 2019 - 5:52 am No Comments

My turn has come to be on the blog tour for Foul Deeds Will Rise, the 2nd in the Backstage Mystery series written by Elizabeth Ireland   

Foul Deeds Will Rise

By 1875, Lillian Nolan believes she has successfully shut off any connection to the spirit world. That winter she is thrilled when she wins the role of Ophelia in a new production of Hamlet in her home town of Chicago. Everything changes when the body of the managing director is found sprawled across the steps of the dress circle and all the investors’ money is missing. Lillian fears, once again, her career is over before it begins.

After her dearest friend is arrested for murder, Lillian commits herself to discover the truth. Her search is complicated by a strange man who is following her, the romantic overtures of her co-star, and a reunion with an old nemesis. But nothing is what it seems. What she does find puts a member of her own family at risk and leads to the unmasking of the killer with lethal consequences for herself.

Foul Deeds Will Rise by Elizabeth Ireland

Published on 13th February 2019

224 pages

Written in the same format as A Walking Shadow, the story is told using Lillian’s memoirs to her great-grandniece Agnes. As with A Walking Shadow this story opens with a death and through her story, you follow Lillian whilst she tries and solves the mystery.

Following on from the Great Fire in Chicago, Lillian is still determined to become a famous actress and the first part of the story, we follow Lillian learning her trade with travelling theatre groups and as I was reading, I was surprised how unglamorous her job was and how unscrupulous some managers were to the actors. However, when she meets Regina, Lillian’s life seems to change for the better. Her relationship with her family was progressing well and her acting was improving. As Lillian tells her story, you can see how much she had matured since her debut in the theatre.

Lillian does not get involved in the murder until Regina is wrongly accused and the pace of the story seems to quicken over the last third of the book. Whilst the supernatural element is not as strong in this story, there is a nice twist at the end involving Lillian’s gift. Whilst there are familiar characters from A Walking Shadow, like Eleanor, her grandma and Edward Hearne, a leading actor, there are some new characters which you will either love or hate. One character I was interested in was Michael Ferris a young reporter from The Tribune.

The mystery has enough suspects to keep you guessing and when the murderer was revealed, it was a surprise. Like the previous book, you can see the passion that the author has for the theatre and it is interesting to read how theatres were run in the 19th century.

Whilst this can be read as a standalone, I would recommend you read the series in order as there are characters and storylines that appear in both.

I am curious to find out what will happen to Lillian next and am looking forward to reading Forms of Reading Unknown.           

 Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07NQM8NT4/

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NQM8NT4/

THE BACKSTAGE MYSTERY SERIES

Tagline: Life upon the wicked stage can be deadly.

Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theater. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.” 

The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.

Author Bio –

Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theater early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theater, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theater History—particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.

She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.

Social Media Links –

www.facebook.com/BackstageMystery/

www.BackstageMystery.com

@EbethIreland

Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

May 15, 2019 - 5:31 am 1 Comment

When I read the blurb “Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop, a madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will” I knew I had to be on the blog tour for Stoker’s Wilde written by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

Published by Flame Tree Press and will be out on 30th May 2019

384 pages

Even if you are not a horror lover, you would have heard of Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. Two successful and popular authors, but where did they get their ideas for their most famous books. This story will hopefully explain all this and more.

As soon as you start reading this book, you notice that the story is told using correspondence, journal and diary entries and even an interview to tell Stoker and Wilde’s adventure. This was a new way for me to read a story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story flowed smoothly and as some scenes were written from a few characters perspective, you get the whole story. Some of my favourite scenes were reading Stoker and Wilde’s journal entries and I did have a snigger to myself reading the entries when they were bitching about each other. In fact, at times you can really tell just how much they despised each other.

From the first page, you are taken on a supernatural adventure where you come across werewolves, visions and nests of vampires. The subject matter was well researched and as I was reading the book I would google every new character I came across, to see if they had any connection to Stoker and Wilde. There are hints to some of their popular stories throughout this book and I loved how these were linked to the hunt for the Black Bishop. The descriptiveness of the scenery had me feeling that I was there, watching the performances at the theatre or following them as they were hunting for vampires.

This was a fast-paced read with some unexpected twists and whilst I read it fairly quickly, I did not want it to end. I hope that the authors will write a sequel as I would love to see where Stoker and Wilde end up. This is a must-read for Horror lovers 

Meet the authors

 Steven Hopstaken was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he spent his formative years watching and reading science fiction and horror. He has a degree in journalism from Northern Michigan University and spends his free time travelling; writing screenplays, short stories and novels; and practising photography. Melissa Prusi Melissa Prusi was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (often mistaken for Canada), and studied video and film production at Northern Michigan University and the University of Michigan. She’s been a video editor, a semi-professional film reviewer, a three-time champion on the quiz show Jeopardy!, and a Guinness world record holder (1990 edition, for directing the longest live television show). They met in a college screenwriting class and married three years later. They spent a brief time in Los Angeles, where they both worked for Warner Bros. television. They eventually ended up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they love the arts scene but dread the winters. While they both currently make a living as website content managers, they have sold two screenplays, which have been lost to development hell. They’ve indulged their fascination with Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde through trips to Dublin and London to research their lives and visit sites mentioned in Stoker’s Wilde. They live in St. Louis Park, Minnesota with their two cats. If they’re not writing, you can usually find them at a movie, local theater production, improv show or pub quiz.

The Whisperers of Evernow by Heidi Catherine

May 14, 2019 - 5:49 am No Comments

It’s my turn on the blog tour for The Whisperers of Evernow, 1st in The Kingdoms of Evernow series, a new series by Heidi Catherine 

The Whisperers of Evernow

When the King owns your words, who will own your heart?

Manipulated by a vicious King, Jeremiah is stripped of his identity and forced into a life of silent submission as a Whisperer. Allowed only to speak at the command of the King, one thousand Whisperers must line up in rows and chant their sadistic ruler’s darkest desires. As each evil wish comes true, the King’s power over his impoverished kingdom grows.

When Jeremiah’s fears for the family he left behind are confirmed, he turns in desperation to the most unlikely person for help—the King’s eldest daughter. But is Princess Rose as kind as she is beautiful, or will she lure him into a trap?

To save those dearest to him, Jeremiah has no choice but to put his trust in Rose, whose own life is threatened as her father prepares to clear the path to the throne for his newborn son. Together they embark on a bold plan to overthrow the King and set the Whisperers free.

As love blossoms in this most unlikely place, Jeremiah and Rose must discover how to use the power of the spoken word to conquer more than just the kingdom. They will need to conquer their hearts.

The first book in the spellbinding The Kingdoms of Evernow series, this is a must-read by award-winning author, Heidi Catherine.

The Whisperers of Evernow by Heidi Catherine

Published by Sequel House on 6th April 2019

276 pages

The Whisperers are whispering. The Whisperers are whispering. The Whisperers are whispering. Then silence. There is something sinister about a 1000 voices speaking in sync and with their spoken word having the power to change fate.

Living under a tyrant king has turned the Valley of the Blessed into a poor and desolate land. People were starving and loyalty to the royals was gone. Jeremiah thought he was doing the right thing when he joined the Whisperers. At 16 there was a lot of responsibility on his young shoulders. As a whisperer, everything had to be done in silence or face the consequences of imprisonment or worse death. As the story spanned Jeremiah’s time in the castle, you can see that the pressure of remaining silent and worrying about his family had a detrimental effect on his life. Accompanying him as he does his duties, you meet quite a few characters, but none are as important as Rose. The connection between them, becomes stronger the longer they are in each other’s company, and whilst Jeremiah’s life is sad, Rose’s is not much better.

Whilst the majority of the story is set in the castle, there are times when we are following Micah’s story, Jeremiah’s younger sister, her story shows how she suffered with him leaving and the lengths she had to take to survive. Moving between Jeremiah and Micah’s story was seamless and there was no confusion whose tale I was reading about.

The plot was original, with characters you will love or hate. The descriptive style and the world building of the author enable you to imagine Jeremiah’s world with ease. The story ebbed and flowed depending on the scenes and when the scene had tension or suspense, I felt myself reading faster. It was a refreshing change not to finish on a cliff-hanger and whilst I do not want to give the ending away, I am glad to see that book 2 and 3 are already on pre-order and both will be out in a couple of months.

This is an ideal book for fantasy lovers and perfect for teenagers and adults . This is a new to me author and I enjoyed this book so much, I am off to read their other series.

Purchase Links:

US –  https://www.amazon.com/Whisperers-Evernow-Book-Kingdoms-ebook/dp/B07PJ88Q7W

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whisperers-Evernow-Book-Kingdoms-ebook/dp/B07PJ88Q7W

Author Bio –

Heidi Catherine is an award-winning fantasy author and hopeless romantic.

Her debut novel, The Soulweaver, won Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award and was published by Crooked Cat Books as the first book of a trilogy. After being named as a highly commended author in The Hope Prize, Heidi’s story, The Extra Piece, was published by Simon & Schuster in a collection of stories about disadvantage in our community. She was also a finalist in Romance Writers of Australia’s Little Gems competition four times.

She lives in Australia, not able to decide if she prefers Melbourne or the Mornington Peninsula, so shares her time between both places. She is similarly pulled in opposing directions by her two sons and two dogs, remaining thankful she only has one husband.

Social Media Links –

www.heidicatherine.com

www.facebook.com/heidicatherineauthor

www.twitter.com/heidicatherine

www.instagram.com/heidicatherinewww.amazon.com/author/heidicatherine

A Matter of Latitude by Isobel Blackthorn

May 13, 2019 - 5:36 am 1 Comment

Having read Clarissa’s warning, I volunteered straightaway to be on the blog tour for A Matter of Latitude.

A Matter of Latitude

From the acclaimed author of The Drago Tree comes a riveting thriller about survival, revenge and long-hidden secrets.

When local Lanzarote anti-corruption activist, Celestino, is T-boned on a lonely stretch of road, he knows the collision was no accident.

Wounded and fearing for his life, he hides in an abandoned fishing village, waiting for a chance to make it home. Meanwhile his wife, English expat Paula, is distraught. Her pursuit of answers is deflected when her neighbour, troublesome retiree Shirley Mobad, co-opts Paula on her escapades around the Canary Islands.

Paula’s search for her husband quickly descends into mayhem, danger and intrigue. Before long, she realizes she’s being followed. She needs answers, and fast.

But where is Celestino, and will he ever make it back alive?

“A Matter of Latitude simmers with danger, betrayal and treachery, drawing the reader into the island’s history of shady dealings and uneasy relationships between natives, tourists and expats… Isobel Blackthorn has crafted an atmospheric and setting-rich novel with alluring lyrical style.” – Sandi Wallace, award-winning crime fiction author

So here are my thoughts.

A Matter of Latitude by Isobel Blackthorn

Published on 7th December 2018

290 pages

It took me a while to warm to Paula, as at the start she came across as a bit ungrateful and envious of her parents, but as the story continues you realise how hard it had been for her to adjust to living in a foreign country, not fluent in the language and how hard she was trying for her daughter. When Celestino went missing she was at a bit of a loss and was torn between find out where he was and trying not to get him in trouble with the police. Celestino was a local artist and whilst he was trying to support his family selling the paintings he did, he was running a campaign exposing the corruption on the island.

As I mentioned I have read previous work by this author and I knew that the story would be descriptive, where the scenery was as important as the story and I was not disappointed. As you follow the mystery, you are introduced to some amazing scenery and highlighted throughout are important landmarks to the country. Due to the fine detail, this is a slow-paced mystery and whilst Paula was struggling, she did make some headway. What is different to so many other mysterious is that as a reader we know what has happened to Celestino and throughout the book his story is told.

Whilst this is a mystery, there is also an insight to how money and corruption is spoiling the landscape and whilst places rely on tourism, it shows what damage it is causing.

Another good mystery that will keep you reading to find out that will happen next.

Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KWM65GY

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07KWM65GY

Author Bio – Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific novelist of original fiction across a range of genres, including psychological thrillers, gripping mysteries, captivating travel fiction and hilarious dark satire. 

Isobel holds a PhD in Western Esotericism for her ground-breaking study of the texts of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey. Her engagement with Alice Bailey’s life and works has culminated in the biographical novel, The Unlikely Occultist. 

Isobel carries a lifelong passion for the Canary Islands, Spain, her former home. Many of her novels are set on the islands, including The Drago Tree, which was released in 2015 and is now in Spanish translation, Clarissa’s Warning and A Matter of Latitude. These novels are setting rich and fall into the broad genre of travel fiction, and the novels are as much stories about the islands themselves as they are straight-ahead entertainment.

Isobel has led a rich and interesting life and her stories are as diverse as her experiences, the highs and lows, and the dramas. Some of her writing is dark, like the psychological thriller, Twerk, which is based on six years of research and first-hand accounts of dancers working in what are euphemistically called gentlemen’s clubs. 

A life-long campaigner for social justice, Isobel has written, protested and leant her weight to a range of issues including family violence. A Londoner originally, Isobel currently lives near Melbourne, Australia.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/Lovesick.Isobel.Blackthorn/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5768657.Isobel_Blackthorn

Twitter http://@IBlackthorn

https://www.instagram.com/isobelblackthorn/