Tag Archive | Spotlight

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Cry Standing Up by Valarie Savage Kinney

Cry Standing Up“We had a crowd at the house that night, and even though I was careful about the frailty of my glass; even though I remembered to hold it just tightly enough to keep my grasp, but not so tightly I caused it any more harm; even though I was cautious about the perspiration dripping down the sides… even so, my glass still broke. It broke in the darkness, the deep of the night so black the stars were barely visible. Just before 1 a.m., when the rest of the world had the audacity to be sleeping, that’s when it happened. And the world continued to slumber, just as it always had, just as if my glass, my special, perfect glass, had not just shattered all over the floor.”

My soul had gone to sleep the day my sister died, and I wasn’t keen on the idea of waking it up. Being numb is a whole lot easier to handle than raw, screaming agony.

And then I found out my brother had terminal lung cancer. What follows is my journey through the grief of losing my siblings. I wrote a lot during these years of aching loss and grief, and most of it is not pretty, but it is honest and real. My hope with this book is that others who are mourning might realize they are not alone in the way they feel. Deep grief changes people, that’s just a fact. It’s not an experience one can just “get over.” We can learn to live with it, though, accepting the waves of emotion that sometimes strike us out of nowhere. And in time, laughter will come again.

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My Review:

Cry Standing Up is a book about grief, depression, and anxiety. It’s poignant, and it’s emotional.

I have had depression and anxiety for a long time, and having lost a few people close to me over the past few months, I found many of the author’s thoughts very familiar. Although some parts weren’t easy to read, and I read a lot of the book through my tears, it was reassuring to realise that I’m not alone in my feelings.

Of all the thoughts in this book that struck a chord with me, this one resonated the most:

“If the people around me could stop dropping dead for like five minutes, I might be able to get my head screwed back on straight. But obviously that’s not going to happen”

 
Cry Standing Up also offered a comforting beacon in the dark and an assurance that it was ok to be tired all the time, to cry, to be me, and to grieve.

Thank you, Valarie!

 

About The Author:

Valarie Savage KinneyValarie Savage Kinney is a writer, fiber artist, and Renaissance festival junkie with a wicked caffeine addiction. She resides in Michigan with her husband, grown children, two slightly hysterical dogs, and eight (yes, eight) guinea pigs.

She is the author of Slither, Heckled, Consumption and The Secrets of Windy Springs Series. She puts the “I” in weird.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

The Haunting of Room 909 by Michael James

(Junior Paranormal Investigators Book 1)

The Haunting of Room 909Summer is usually a time of fun and games for most children, but Hanna and Ben Littleton are not your average eleven and twelve-year-old. Their father is Percy Littleton, a famous paranormal investigator, and this summer they are traveling to different locations to investigate unexplained phenomena. Things are rather boring until they stop at Castleridge Hotel.

Though warned by their father not to meddle in his investigation, the brother and sister are convinced they can prove their worth as true investigators. Their eagerness soon turns to terror when Hanna begins having visions about a certain former employee of the hotel, the elevator takes them to the ninth floor on its own, and ghosts interact with them. The building seems to have a mind of its own as Hanna and Ben are forced to figure out what really happened one hundred years ago at Castleridge Hotel, before the spirits trapped inside decide to make them permanent residents.

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My Review:

A wonderfully spooky book for youngsters

After their mother disappeared in unusual circumstances, Hanna and Ben’s dad became a paranormal investigator. His latest case is the haunting of a hotel, and although their dad doesn’t want them anywhere near the centre of the paranormal events on the ninth floor, the hotel has other ideas. As Hannah is sensitive to some of the ghosts and Ben is excited to help investigate, the two youngsters are drawn into the events.

This was an enjoyable, fast-paced book with a great mix of supernatural creepiness and humour. Just right for youngsters 8/9 and above.

 

About The Author:

Michael JamesMichael James is an author from the prairie province of Alberta, Canada. He is an avid golfer, cyclist, mountain climber, and astronomy enthusiast.

Junior Paranormal Investigators: The Haunting of Room 909 is Michael’s debut novel for middle grade readers. After absorbing all things paranormal while growing up, he knew he had to share his fascination with ghosts and other-worldly-creatures with the next generation of kids.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

Light the Way by Joe Kipling

(The Union Trilogy Book 2)

 
Light the WayIn the near future, when the world’s population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside.

MaryAnn Hunter has crossed over to become a fugitive on the Outside. Hiding out in the Union headquarters MaryAnn is slowly coming to terms with the lies she has been brought up with.

But when a friend asks for help MaryAnne finds herself on a dangerous rescue mission that takes her on a terrifying journey back into the desperate clutches of the Director and the Light.

MaryAnn faces a fight for survival. It’s a fight she must win against insurmountable odds – but is it one she is willing to win at any cost?

Light the Way is the second book in The Union Trilogy.

Set in a dystopian future The Union Trilogy is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown.

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My Review:

A brilliant follow up to Blinded by the Light. This time, in addition to MaryAnn’s point of view, there’s Charlotte’s point of view, which doesn’t detract from the main character and definitely adds to the story, as MaryAnn can’t be in two places at the same time.

In this book, we once again join MaryAnn, who is growing from her experiences and is no longer the spoilt rich kid we met at the beginning of book one. Although still uncertain as to whether or not she wants to join The Union, she doesn’t hesitate to help when one of the Unionists family members needs rescuing from The Light.

MaryAnne and her friends undertake a dangerous journey and rescue attempt, even though it puts their lives at risk, and MaryAnn within reach of the Director of the Foundation again.

I hoped for a lot from book two and was not disappointed. I can’t help wondering whether MaryAnn and Peter will ever stop arguing for long enough to realise that they have feelings for each other.

I am more than ready for book three. Fingers crossed, I won’t have to wait for too long.

  

About The Author:

Joe KiplingJoe Kipling is a West Yorkshire based young adult fiction writer with a lifelong passion for Sci-Fi, particularly the post-apocalyptic variety.

She currently lives in Holmfirth with her dog Kenny and is a full-time consultant and part-time writer.

A lifetime of travelling and avoiding near catastrophe has provided endless inspiration for The Union Trilogy.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Blinded by the Light by Joe Kipling

(The Union Trilogy Book 1)

Blinded by the light

In the near future, when the world’s population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside. MaryAnn is one of the privileged. It doesn’t matter that her friends can sometimes be cruel or that the boy she likes just threw up on her shoes, it’s all about being noticed at the right parties.

But it takes a single event to rip her life apart.

Struggling with physical and psychological scars, MaryAnn must face up to the truth about the foundations of the Neighbourhood and the legacy of her family. Once she learns the truth she can never go back, but can she really put her faith in the Union?

Blinded by the Light is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown. It is the first book in The Union Trilogy.

This dystopian young adult fiction book set in the near future critiques aspects of society such as a preoccupation with celebrity, materialism and privilege. It Shows that in real life good and evil are never clear cut and we all have to decide what it means to ‘do the right thing’.

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My Review:

Set in a future where the population has been decimated by the Sandman Virus and the elite live in Neighbourhoods run by The Light Foundation. This was an enjoyable read, told from MaryAnn’s point of view.

MaryAnn’s father is an important man in The Light Foundation and at the start of the book MaryAnn has a perfect life, she’s a spoilt rich kid who has everything she wants.

After meeting her estranged brother, Daryl, at a party, disaster strikes and MaryAnn has to live with the Director of the Foundation. Although still rich and spoilt, she becomes isolated with only the Director’s daughter, Maud, for company.

When her brother contacts her again, she discovers he is a Unionist. The Unionists live outside of Neighbourhoods and know the truth behind The Light Foundation. As MaryAnn is introduced to other Unionist members, including her Uncle Patrick and Daryl’s friend, Peter, her beliefs are challenged, and her world changes from the ‘them and us’ attitude that she was brought up with.

The characters were well written and multi-dimensional, my favourites being MaryAnn and Peter. I loved seeing MaryAnn adapt and mature as the story went on, and the developing friendship between her and Peter, though it was heartbreaking watching the life she knew collapse around her.

The Author has done an amazing job of world building and how her society is structured, and it’s easy to imagine living there, either as one the elite or one of ‘outsiders’

Overall, a topnotch and imaginative start to a trilogy for young adults, and older adults also. I’ve already started Book 2, Light the Way.

About The Author:

Joe KiplingJoe Kipling is a West Yorkshire based young adult fiction writer with a lifelong passion for Sci-Fi, particularly the post-apocalyptic variety.

She currently lives in Holmfirth with her dog Kenny and is a full-time consultant and part-time writer.

A lifetime of travelling and avoiding near catastrophe has provided endless inspiration for The Union Trilogy.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Retriever of Souls by Lorraine Mace

(D.I. Sterling Book 1)

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The first title in a dark and gritty crime series.
Brought up believing that sex is the devil’s work, a killer only finds release once he has saved his victim’s souls. Abiding by his vision, he marks them as his. A gift to guide his chosen ones on the rightful path to redemption.

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling is out to stop him, but Paolo has problems of his own. Hunting down the killer as the death toll rises, the lines soon blur between Paolo’s personal and professional lives.

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My Review:

I really enjoyed this great British crime drama. It’s the first of a series and I’m already looking forward to reading the next.

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling’s personal life is a mess. He’s separated from his wife and has high hopes of getting back with her, and his teenage daughter, Katy, is going off the rails. His professional life isn’t faring any better. His new partner, Detective Sergeant Dave Johnson,  is obnoxious and has no respect for women.  Add to that, the fact that someone is murdering prostitutes and dumping their bodies in rubbish dumps and there aren’t any leads.

While we follow Paolo as he deals with his complicated relationships and tries to solve the case, we also get a close look at the murderer. The villain was brought up by a religious zealot who taught him that sex was a sin, and he believes that by killing the women he is saving their souls.

There is much more to this book than the crime and solving of it. It’s a character-driven book and they are well written and relatable… easy to like, or hate. It was interesting to watch them and their various relationships evolve and grow.

This was a gripping, gritty, and, at times, gruesome thriller, with interesting characters, a number of suspects, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

 

About The Author:

Retriever of Souls - Lorraine MaceWhen not working on her crime novels, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions.

A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service.

She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of The Writer’s Abc Checklist (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel Vlad The Inhaler – Hero In The Making, and Notes From The Margin, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

In Memory Trilogy by Joshua Sutton

(In Memory, Shadowborn and Shards of Shaz’uul.)

25867415In Memory

Sarah Summers was normal once, but now she spends her nights plagued by dreams of her dead family. When a demon is sent to possess her, can Sarah fight back against it and overcome the evil that not only threatens her sanity, but humanity itself?

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ShadowbornShadowborn

They thought it was over, but Death disagreed. With Sarah gone and Marcus slowly gaining power, can Teo and his friends find Sarah and stop a war before it even starts?

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Shards of Shaz'uulShards of Shaz’uul

It had been many years since the fighting stopped. Humanity had moved underground, in an effort to hide themselves from the demons on the surface. They thought it was all over. For real this time. They were wrong. After ritualistic murders begin happening Teo must find out what has happened all the while hoping Sarah and Cornelius can complete the Shaz’uul Crystal and seal the demon world away for good.

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My Review:

The premise of the trilogy was imaginative and original.

Marcus has lost the love of his life and will do anything to get her back, including driving people insane and having them possessed by demons. Sarah is one of those people, however, having been possed by Cornelius, she teams up with him and fights back.

As the story moves on, the reasons behind Marcus’ actions change, and he sets out to rule the world(s).

There were quite a few characters in the first book, and more introduced in the following one. I would have liked to get to know the characters better, their reasoning or motivation. As it was, I didn’t connect with any of them and apart from Cornelius, none were particularly memorable.

The entire trilogy fills approximately 400 pages and there’s a lot of action packed into those pages. For me, there was too much action at times in book one, and too many interconnecting events, which got a bit confusing and made the book seem rushed.

I was however intrigued enough by the first book to read the rest of the trilogy.

Book 2 continues the story after a 15-year gap, and book 3 many years after that. Both books still had plenty going on but at a less manic pace.

 

About The Author:

Joshua SuttonJoshua Sutton grew up in Kent in the UK. From an early age he wanted to write books and after taking time away to study Music Technology and Production at university, finally came back and released his debut novel In Memory on July 4th 2015. The sequel Shadowborn was released June 2016, and the final book in the trilogy Shards of Shaz’uul was finished on the 18th Feb 2017.

Joshua writes Paranormal Fiction but dabbles in other genres and is working on other projects as well that you will see in the near future. It was his life long dream to write and now he is fulfilling his dream, he hopes you enjoy his work.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

The Case of the Curious Client by T.G. Campbell

(Bow Street Society #1)

 
30828825The Bow Street Society is a fictional group of amateur detectives operating in London in 1896. Each of its civilian members has been enlisted for their unique skill or exceptional knowledge in a particular field. This ensures the Society may work to solve cases on the behalf of their clients regardless of their client’s social class or wealth; cases that the police either can’t or won’t investigate. From an artist to an illusionist, from an architect to a veterinary surgeon, the Bow Street Society is justice by all and for all.

In The Case of The Curious Client, the Bow Street Society are hired by Mr Thaddeus Dorsey to locate a missing friend he knows only as ‘Palmer’ after he fails to keep a late night appointment with him. With their client’s own credibility cast into doubt mere minutes after they meet him though the Society are forced to consider whether they’ve been sent on a wild goose chase. That is, until events take a dark turn and the Society have to race against time not only to solve the case but also save the very life of their client…

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My Review:

*I won a signed copy of this book at the UK Indie Lit Fest last year.

Although I don’t usually read historical books, I do read mysteries and thrillers, so the crime aspect of this one intrigued me and I decided to give it go. I’m glad I did!

The Bow Street Society comprises a mixed bag of members with different skills, from all walks of life and is overseen by Rebecca Trent.

We join some of those members in this book as they search for Thaddeus Dorsey’s missing friend, Palmer, which leads to them investigating a murder and trying to save their client from being convicted of the crime.

The Case of the Curious Client was a fascinating read with an intriguing plot and plenty of twists which kept me guessing ’til the end. The characters were well-rounded and I enjoyed getting to know them, their flaws, and their quirks.

The author’s patent love of the Victorian era shines through this book, and she has, without doubt, done an impressive amount of research, as the evocative and authentic descriptions transported me back in time to 1980’s London.

I will definitely be reading more of this series.

 
About The Author:

6af07c396b9dfcfbc82b1406bbcc4cf5Tahnee Georgina (T.G.) Campbell wrote her first crime fiction story at the age of sixteen as a gift for her best friend. At only 40 pages long it fell considerably short of a “novel” but it marked the beginning of a creative journey that would eventually spawn the first of the Bow Street Society mystery novels; The Case of the Curious Client. During that time she attended the University of Winchester where she acquired her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Studies and wrote a dissertation on the social and cultural importance of the works of Agatha Christie.

She also became a volunteer member of staff on an international text-based gaming website where she was responsible for creating, and facilitating, storyline-games in a Victorian Era setting. The historical content of the reference pages for this setting were therefore researched, collated, and maintained by her.

It was as part of her work for this site that she came up with the idea of The Bow Street Society. Though The Case of the Curious Client is a project independent from the website the time she spent as a member of staff there helped her better understand character formation/evolution, effective use of description, and clue-puzzle mystery plot mechanics.

More recently, she attended her very first book signing event in the form of the UK Indie Lit Fest in Bradford on the 28th July 2018. She’s currently planning a schedule of similar events in 2019, to give her readers even more opportunities to meet her and have their Bow Street Society books signed. The second and third instalments of the Bow Street Society mysteries The Case of The Lonesome Lushington and The Case of The Spectral Shot are on sale now. There are also two published volumes of the Bow Street Society Casebook: The Case of The Shrinking Shopkeeper & Other Stories and The Case of The Peculiar Portrait & Other Stories. T.G. Campbell also writes monthly features for Fresh Lifestyle Magazine and releases new Casebook short stories in the monthly Gaslight Gazette. The fourth Bow Street Society mystery is due to be released in 2019.

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