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D: Darkest Beginnings by Chris Turnbull

(Prequel to Whitby’s Darkest Secret)

 
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What makes a young boy turn to the darkness?

What turns an honest man into a monster?

In this prequel to Whitby’s Darkest Secret, journey back and learn about the life of the boy, who grew up to become known simply as ‘D’

Amazon • B&N

 

 

 

 

My Review:

D: Darkest Beginnings is the background story of the man known only as D!

It’s a quick and easy read chronicling the life and misfortunes of a young, nameless, orphan boy, left to the harsh regime of a workhouse at the tender age of five.

He’s bullied from day one in the workhouse, and by various antagonist as he grows up, and then finally hit by tragedy the day before his wedding.

I will definitely be reading the other books in the series, and have already started D: Whitby’s Darkest Secret, as I am curious to know what becomes of this young man!

 

About The Author:

13781487Chris has always been a keen reader and writer, he loves the feeling of been drawn into a good book and the escapism into another world after a long day at work.

In 2013, after finishing his first full story Chris decided that he wanted to get it professionally edited in the hope to print it out for himself. After very little persuasion Chris finally released time travel story The Vintage Coat on Amazon and had a successful book launch in Leeds.

Chris was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire in England.

The eldest of two sons Chris originally wanted to become a dog groomer and trained in this field before working on a farm in the grooming room as well as helping with the dog hydrotherapy.

After a few years, Chris moved on and found a job at Bradford University working with PhD students in the Biology labs. Chris enjoyed nearly 7 years there before moving over to York University to take on a similar, be it more senior role.

Chris now lives on the outskirts of York with his partner and their Jack Russell terrier.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads • Amazon

 

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

I have two short reads for my spotlight this week.

 

As Dreams Are Made On by Maria Gibbs

51g5gh8s1nlMatty Taylor: a beautiful young woman is starting out in her new life with her husband. Plagued by visions that seem all too real she seeks advice from the Gypsy at the local fair.

Donald Taylor: cannot believe his luck when Matty agrees to marry him. A methodical, down to earth, man who requires irrefutable evidence to believe in the existence of anything.

Thomas Trevelyan: Enigmatic and exciting but with an agenda of his own.

Matty is pulled from her life in the 21st Century into a frightening dream world where Thomas Trevelyan rescues her from a crowd of angry peasants and spirits her off to his secluded house in the woods.

Frightened when he cannot wake Matty from her sleep Donald has to start challenging the way he thinks in order to get her back.

If Thomas can win her heart, he will be a step closer to obtaining the ultimate prize but he has to contend with the echoes of her real life endeavouring to lure her home.

Two men lay claim to her love but who will be the victor in this love triangle.

Amazon

My Review:

A captivating fantasy story of love.

Matty (Matilda) doesn’t remember her previous life. She’s trapped in a dream world, kidnapped by Thomas.

It’s up to her husband, Donald, to try to wake her and save her from the demon in her dream

Told alternately from Matty and Donalds points of view, this is a wonderful and enjoyable read.

 
The Author:
me-2I started reading and writing from an early age, it has always been my passion and my escape. There are so many worlds out there to discover and to create. I write in many genres, my mind is alive with thoughts and ideas so I allow them free release on paper. Inspiration comes in many forms and I grab it with greedy hands. I am predominantly a pantser, planning only when needed.

I work full-time but my dream is to be able to make a living from writing and be able to give my undivided time to releasing all the books that are floating around in my over-active brain.

When I’m not writing, I like reading, crafting, running, listening to music or riding my motorbike.

Website • Facebook •Twitter 

 

Seal Mother by Rose English

A Selkie Tale in Verse

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One lonely seal
in the midst of the ocean
rolls on the waves
to the rhythmical motion.
The seal watches over
the child on the sand.
Her lovely young daughter
born of the land.

On Midsummer’s Eve seals swim up onto the sand, shed their skin and transform into beautiful young women to give thanks to the mysterious Moon Goddess.

Lost in dance, no one notices a shimmering sealskin being stolen; leaving one beautiful Selkie trapped on the land forever.
Can an unlikely friend help her reclaim her skin, or is she destined to remain forever in human form?

‘Seal Mother’ – a magical Selkie tale of love, loss and deceit, told in verse.

Amazon

My Review:

I loved this wonderful rhyming interpretation of the Selkie folklore.

The story tells the tale of a seal, trapped on land when a fisherman steals her pelt on midsummer’s eve. She marries and has a family but always misses her old way of life, until one day she finds her seal skin and returns to the sea.

The beautiful illustrations add to this entertaining and poignant story.

 
The Author:
11308024Living on ‘England’s Green & Pleasant Land’, amongst the gentle rolling hills of the Herefordshire Countryside, Rose’s house is wall to wall books. She even has a ‘leaning tower of paperbacks’.

Rose is a dreamer, preferring a simple & quiet life. Often spending time lone, although never lonely, being ever surrounded by great characters when lost in a good book. She loves theatre and the arts, adoring live performances on stage. Rose has very eclectic tastes.

Working as a school librarian, and sharing her love of books with the children was the best job she ever had. However, life moves on and another chapter was only a page turn away.

Now working in an entirely different library, in Hereford’s Wye Valley NHS Trust Hospital, Rose spends her day cleaning and issuing ‘Medical Equipment’.

Website • Blog • Facebook • Twitter 

 

January Round-up

 

Books I Read In January 2019

 

On my Five on Friday (Jan 11th) I listed five books that I wanted to read this month – Happy to say I read them all.

At the time of that posting, I had just started reading The Magic of Grandfather Time by Rose English, and I had already read Day Of Execution by Lily Luchesi and When I Grow Up by Jon Hales.

Adding in the five books from Five on Friday, and that’s eight books read in January.

 

My Reviews:

Day Of Execution by Lily Luchesi

When I Grow Up by Jon Hales

The Magic of Grandfather Time by Rose English

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018

The Hairy Hand by Robin Bennett

Knowing His Madness by Valarie Savage Kinney

Reviews for the final two books, Seal Mother by Rose English and As Dreams Are Made On by Maria Gibbs will be published on my Saturday Spotlight (Feb 2nd). Or they can be read on Goodreads.

 

 

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

Knowing His Madness by Valarie Savage Kinney

Secrets of Windy Springs Book 4

 

519oqwvvhzlLife hasn’t gone the way Dashiel Winston once thought it would. His ability has destroyed his marriage, wreaked havoc on his mind, and left him weighted by the burdens of his past decisions. At fifty-seven, he lives alone with little company beyond the voices vying for attention in his head. For too many years, he’s buried himself in the fantasy life he’s created; everyone who knows him sees him as the flamboyant, addled pirate, Captain Dash. He’s loving, he’s jovial… and his heart is about to break from the terrible pain it carries.

When his deepest secrets are forced out in the open and his most treasured relationship threatened, he’s left with a choice: come clean about the decades of lies he’s built his life upon, or risk losing both his family and his sanity.

Amazon

 

My Review:

This is the book I’ve wanted to read since starting the Windy Springs series – the life of my favourite character, Captain Dash, as told by the man himself.

In this book Dash is, as always, a multi-layered and remarkable man. We get an insight into what makes him tick and into his struggles with mental illness.

I am always happy to return to Windy Springs and the wonderful quirky characters.

I love the way the author has used her magical world to give an honest look at mental illness and hopefully help to diminish the stigma surrounding it – Well done, Valarie!

I highly recommend this book, and the series.

 

About The Author:

27654394_1904237963158226_6070796649316661387_nValarie Kinney is a writer, fiber artist and Renaissance Festival junkie with a wicked caffeine addiction. She resides in Michigan with her husband, four children, and two insane little dogs. Author of Heckled, Slither, Just Hold On, and the Secrets of Windy Springs series, as well as short stories included in various anthologies.

Website • Blog • Facebook • FB Group • Twitter
Instagram • Pinterest • Goodreads • Amazon

Five on Friday

Five on Friday

 
Five reviews that made my to-read list longer…

 

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Legion by Brandon Sanderson

Reviewed on Fantasy Book Review

legion-brandon-sandersonStephen Leeds, AKA “Legion,” is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the story begins, Leeds and his “aspects” are drawn into the search for the missing Balubal Razon, inventor of a camera whose astonishing properties could alter our understanding of human history and change the very structure of society.

Continue reading this review.

 

5f2

The Blood Race by K.A. Emmons

Reviewed on The Reading Cafe

the-blood-raceThe Blood Race by K.A. Emmons is the 1st book in her new The Blood Race series.

Ion was an outcast, he didn’t fit in, he always felt different, going from school to school, he’s always felt a freak, and after the latest incident at the new school, Ion was at his wits end !!!

Hawk isn’t interested in much, she keeps herself to herself. And when her “Sensei” wants her to take on Ion to “teach” him about what and who he is, she isn’t interested, but after persuasion from Sensei, Hawk takes up her task.

Continue reading this review.

 
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Shores Of Death by Peter Ritchie

Reviewed on everywhere and nowhere

51lesyytosl._sy346_Shores Of Death definitely builds on the brilliance of the other books in this series, I knew I was in for a good story but this one exceeded my already high expectations.

I was especially looking forward to this book because of the big announcement made at the end of the last book (I’m not telling you you’ll just have to read it). I knew that this instalment would see Grace struggle with her priorities and I was keen to see how this would be handled.

Grace has always been a smart and strong character but it was nice to see some vulnerability.

Read more of this review.

 
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The Current by Tim Johnston

Reviewed on Stacy Alesi’s Bookbitch.com

current-by-tim-johnstonA captivating novel about two murders 10 years apart and how they are intertwined, tearing up the people living in a small Minnesota town.

Caroline Price and Audrey Sutter are two young women going to the same University. They have become good friends and take to sharing their experiences and confiding confidential matters to each other. When Christmas and New Year’s break comes up, circumstances place them together in Caroline’s car driving to their respective homes which are fairly close together.

Read more of this review.

 
5f5

The Guardian by Jacquie Biggar

Reviewed on Roberta Writes

51ntfyg0i+lI listened to the audio book of The Guardian: Mended Souls One. The reader, Daniel F. Purcell, has a pleasant voice and I enjoyed his reading of this story.

Tracy York, a medical examiner, is assigned to investigate the circumstances surrounding a horrific car accident in which three people have been killed.

The driver of one of the vehicles is a well-know celebrity, Lucas Carmichael, who has been enjoying a night out on the town with his best friend and fellow celebrity, Scott Anderson, and Scott’s younger sister, Natalya, when the accident occurs and he is killed.

Read more of this review.

 

 

The Hairy Hand by Robin Bennett

the hairy hand

 

the hairy hand coverA scary adventure for 8 – 12 year olds, full of jokes, magical familiars and a Dickensian cast.

When Septimus inherits a magical, treasure-finding Hairy Hand from his uncle, life suddenly becomes a lot more exciting – and dangerous!

Amazon

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Introducing Sept, the awful Plogs, the Village of Nowhere and the letter that changed everything

When Septimus Plog was small he liked to play in puddles outside his house. Sometimes he would look up and see his mother watching him from the kitchen window. He would stop and wave at her with all his little might … then wait; but she never waved back. Not once.

He always knew he was very different from everyone else in the village and Septimus often wondered if that was why his mother seemed not to like him very much.

For starters, he had this name. Septimus (Sept, for short). Everyone else his age was called Garp, Darg or Dorgk or Blaarg. Good, honest names that sounded like you were sneezing into custard or you had swallowed something pointy.

Secondly, he read books – by the sack, when he could get his hands on them. As far as he knew, no-one else in his village read anything except graffiti. And quite how Sept knew how to read was a mystery: there were no schools for a hundred miles, no teachers and, more to the point, Sept couldn’t remember ever not being able to read. Printed words in books just popped into his head, as if someone was telling the story out loud.

Unfortunately, in the Plog household there were only two books: the one he kept secret from his parents; and the one they kept a secret from him. Sept had only ever glimpsed it when he’d come home once and caught his mother staring at the cover as if she dared not open it. It was a small book with a black cover, like dead bats’ wings, and no title. Something about the book scared Sept very much indeed. His mother kept the Black Book in her apron pocket.

The other one – his secret book – he had read so many times he knew it almost by heart. It was called, How to be Happy, and it had twelve chapters, each with a simple idea for looking on the bright side of life. It was Sept’s most treasured possession, one that was just his. He hid it away in his room under a floorboard – because where he came from, possessions were just things other people hadn’t got around to stealing yet.

 

My Review:

I enjoyed this humorous and moderately gruesome read which, I think, will appeal to its target audience.

Septimus Plog, or Sept for short, doesn’t have the best upbringing and doesn’t fit in in his village. An unexpected inheritance from his uncle, a powerful magician, changes that.

Sept embarks on a journey, not only to find his late uncles home, but also to find himself and to stand up for what is right.

There’s an amazing cast of ghastly characters, including Sept’s parents, Plog the Sneaker and Gertrude!

A fun and adventurous fantasy story of good versus bad, determination and resisting temptation.

 

Author Information:

7020809Robin Bennett is an author and entrepreneur who has written several books for children, sometimes under the nom de plume R.S Harding, and a few more on the swashbuckling world of business: How to Make a Good Living Running Your Own Business, Kicking the Property Ladder and Start up Smart, all published by Harriman House.

In 1997, Monster Books was founded as a way for Robin to sound moderately respectable when he was selling his books and also to allow full control over his work.

Robin has spoken at conferences on fantasy literature. His first book for young adults, Picus the Thief, won the Writer’s News Indie Published Book of the Year Award in 2012.

WebsiteGoodreads

 

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018

 
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Plaisted Publishing House and The Ghostly Writes Crew have done it again, bringing us yet another collection of haunted tales and spooky poems.

From ghostly encounters to haunted carnival rides, wicked forests and ghoulish manors, there is something inside for everyone.

So curl up beneath your blanket and get ready to experience all the spine-tingling encounters hidden inside….

The Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018

 
 

 

Your Authors for 2018 are:-

C L Williams, Karen Mossman, Adam Mitchell, Dan McAteer, M E Hembroff, Chandra Trulove Fry, Kyrena Lynch, Wendy Steele, Michael Lynes, Eve Merrick-Williams, Adele Marie Park, Jane Risdon, Mary Woldering, K M McFarland, R M Demeester, C A Keith, Cassandra Jones, M J Mallon, Claire Plaisted, Pamela Silva, J G Clay, Michelle Hughes & Mara Ritsma

The book is written in various English Grammar and Spelling from around the world!!

Amazon

My Review:

An enjoyable mix of short stories, as is usual with anthologies, I found some of them more enjoyable than others. Most were well written and I will be keeping an eye out for books by their authors. Others were a bit confusing, and one or two seemed to be a small part of a much longer story.

My favourite stories include:
The Gift by Jane Risdon
At Midnight by Chandra Trulove Fry
and
The Basement by Wendy Steele

The ebook is free at most online retailers