Saturday, May 25, 2019

Review: Under the Midnight Sky by Anna Romer

Chilling secrets buried deep in wild bushland drive this thrilling new novel from bestseller Anna Romer 

 When an injured teenager goes missing at a remote bushland campground, local journalist Abby Bardot is determined to expose the area’s dark history. The girl bears a striking resemblance to the victims of three brutal murders that occurred twenty years ago and Abby fears the killer is still on the loose.

 But the newspaper Abby works for wants to suppress the story for fear it will scare off tourists to the struggling township. Haunted by her own turbulent memories, Abby is desperate to learn the truth and enlists the help of Tom Gabriel, a reclusive crime writer. At first resentful of Abby’s intrusion, Tom’s reluctance vanishes when they discover a hidden attic room in his house that shows evidence of imprisonment from half a century before.

 As Abby and Tom sift through the attic room and discover its tragic history, they become convinced it holds the key to solving the bushland murders and finding the missing girl alive.

 But their quest has drawn out a killer, someone with a shocking secret who will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 1st, 2019
 by Simon & Schuster AU
*****

If there was a book I would give more than 5 stars to this would be it. It might sound like a cliche but it's so true when I say, like a fine wine that mellows with age, enhancing the taste and experience, Anna Romer gets better with each book.  Of all her books this I think is my favourite, but then I look at her previous and remember each and how yummy they all were.

While I wanted to rush through to see what was going on I also wanted to take my time and enjoy the scenery and exquisite writing. I was right there in the Australian outback, the desolate wilderness, keeper so many secrets.

I'll admit to being a sucker when it comes to old abandoned buildings and their ghosts, Ravensong was both eerie and intriguing while at the same time beautiful. I cringed when Abby would go for a walkabout, even knowing no one was around for many a mile, the author had my mind on high alert for possible dangers. When memories refuse to leave Abby alone and events present themselves she has no choice but to dig deep even if it means facing her past.

Under the Midnight Sky is a captivating read of guilt, family, and relationships.  It's a shining example of why Anna Romer is a go-to author for me and will gladly pay a little extra to order.  It used to be I could only get her books directly from an Australian book shop but I was thrilled to see this one available at BookDepository. Her books are also available in audio format from Audible.

 clicking on the cover will take you to may reviews


Review: The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge

Part ghost story, part Nordic thriller - this is a twisty, tense and spooky YA debut, perfect for fans of CORALINE and Michelle Paver.

 Martha can tell things about a person just by touching their clothes as if their emotions and memories have been absorbed into the material. It started the day she fell from the tree at her grandma's cabin and became blind in one eye.

 Determined to understand her strange ability, Martha sets off to visit her grandmother, Mormor - only to discover Mormor is dead, a peculiar boy is in her cabin and a terrifying creature is on the loose.

 Then the spinning wheel starts creaking, books move around and terror creeps in . . .

 Set in the remote snows of contemporary Norway, THE TWISTED TREE is a ghost story that twists and turns - and never takes you quite where you'd expect.

Paperback, 248 pages
Published January 10th, 2019
by Hot Key Book
***

It was the cover that drew me to this book.  Eerie, spooky and kinda creepy, the makings for a great ghost story.

This is Rachel Burge's debut and the premise is unique and has the making for not just a wonderful story but I could see a little series coming into play here.  I was grabbed right away with the first few chapters, wonderful character introduction, sinister setting and mysterious. But then it kinda fizzled out in the middle a little but gained some speed at the ending with a fitting conclusion.

I do recommend this book and will read this author again.

This book is part of my '2019 reading off my shelf challenge'.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Spotlight: Gold Digger by Rebecca Rosenberg

Gold Digger by Rebecca Rosenberg

Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Lion Heart Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 312 Pages
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Historical/American

One look at Baby Doe and you know she was meant to be a legend! She was just twenty years old when she came to Colorado to work a gold mine with her new husband. Little did she expect that she'd be abandoned and pregnant and left to manage the gold mine alone. But that didn't stop her!

 She moved to Leadville and fell in love with a married prospector, twice her age. Horace Tabor struck the biggest silver vein in history, divorced his wife and married Baby Doe. Though his new wife was known for her beauty, her fashion, and even her philanthropy, she was never welcomed in polite society.

 Discover how the Tabors navigated the worlds of wealth, power, politics, and scandal in the wild days of western mining.


Amazon | Barnes and Noble


Praise for Gold Digger


“Rosenberg’s rollicking Western adventure strikes gold with a gutsy, good-hearted spitfire of a heroine and action aplenty.” —THELMA ADAMS, bestselling author of Bittersweet Brooklyn and The Last Woman Standing

 "Gold Digger tells the true story of Lizzie 'Baby Doe' Tabor, a beautiful young woman who in 1878 marries the son of a wealthy miner in order to save her family from penury. Shrewd and stubborn, Lizzie fights back-biting Victorian society, wins and loses vast fortunes, and bests conniving politicians in her larger-than-life story. A twisting tale worthy of Mark Twain, with a big-hearted heroine at the center." —MARTHA CONWAY, author of The Underground River


About the Author

A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel. Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

 For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog.

You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.


Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a copy of Gold Digger, a gold facial mask & soap set, and recipe brochure to five winners. Three winners will receive an ebook of Gold Digger. To enter, please use the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  Gold Digger

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Spotlight/Giveaway: Smoke In Her Eyes by Anna Belfrage

Smoke In Her Eyes by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: March 15, 2019
Timelight Press
eBook & Paperback; 352 Pages
Series: The Wanderer, Book Two
Genre: Romance/Erotica/Paranormal

Six months ago, Helle Madsen would have described herself as normal. Now she no longer knows if that terms applies, not after her entire life has been turned upside down by the reappearance of not one, but two, men from her very, very distant past.

 Helle Madsen never believed in mumbo-jumbo stuff like reincarnation—until she came face to face with Jason Morris, a man who purportedly had spent fifty lives looking for her. Coping with being reunited with the lover from her ancient past was one thing. Having Sam Woolf, her vindictive nemesis from that same ancient past join the party was a bit too much. Suddenly, Helle finds herself the reluctant heroine of a far-flung, time-transcending epic story, one in which pain and loss seem to play a very big part.

 This time round, Jason and Helle are determined to make it to the happily ever after. Unfortunately, Sam Woolf will stop at nothing to crush them. That ride into the golden sunset seems awfully far away at times…

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


About the Author


Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with three absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. (Medieval knight was also high on Anna’s list of potential professions. Yet another disappointment…) With Jason and Helle, Anna has stepped out of her historical comfort zone and has loved doing so.


 Find out more about Anna by visiting her website, www.annabelfrage.com

You can also connect with Anna on FacebookTwitterAmazon, and Goodreads.


Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away two copies of Smoke In Her Eyes by Anna Belfrage! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Smoke in Her Eyes

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Spotlight/Giveaway: Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap

Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap

Publication Date: April 22, 2019 
Bellastoria Press eBook & 
Paperback; 388 Pages 
 Series: The Orphans of Tolosa, Book 1
 Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval
      

 Sent away from their families for their own protection when they were very young, Azemar and Azala├»s become separated when they are forced to flee from the band of outlaws who served as their supposed protectors. Armed only with scraps of memories and the wits and intelligence that have helped them survive brutal conditions, they struggle to find each other again and discover the mysterious past that links them across distance and time. Who are they? And do they hold the secret of the legendary Cathar treasure? All they know is that knights and monks spell danger, and they must find a way to survive at all costs if they are to fulfill their destiny—and preserve their vanishing culture.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo


About the Author

Susanne Dunlap is the author of six works of historical fiction. Two are for adults (Emilie's Voice and Liszt's Kiss, both published by Touchstone books of Simon & Schuster). Four are for young adults (The Musician's Daughter, Anastasia's Secret, In the Shadow of the Lamp, and The Academie, published by Bloomsbury). A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, four step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that's a total of four children and nine grandchildren! In her spare time she cycles in the beautiful Pioneer Valley.

 For more information, please visit The Orphans of Tolosa website

You can follow author Susanne Dunlap on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and BookBub.


Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away one copy of Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  Listen to the Wind

Monday, May 20, 2019

Spotlight: The Boy from Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis


Kindle, 268 pages 
Published May 8th 2018
 by Amberjack Publishing

Josie and Alec both live at 444 Sparrow Street. They sleep in the same room, but they’ve never laid eyes on each other. They are twelve years old but a hundred years apart.

 The children meet through a handpainted spirit board—Josie in 1915, Alec in 2015—and form a friendship across the century that separates them. But a chain of events leave Josie and her little sister Cass trapped in the house and afraid for their safety, and Alec must find out what’s going to happen to them. Can he help them change their future when it’s already past?

 The Boy from Tomorrow is a tribute to classic English fantasy novels like Tom’s Midnight Garden and A Traveller in Time. Through their impossible friendship, Alec and Josie learn that life can offer only what they ask of it.


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Review: A Murderous Malady by Christine Trent

For fans of Charles Todd and Deanna Raybourn comes Christine Trent’s second Florence Nightingale mystery.


 Cholera has broken out in London, but Florence Nightingale has bigger problems when people begin dying of a far more intentional cause—murder.

The London summer of 1854 is drawing to a close when a deadly outbreak of cholera grips the city. Florence Nightingale is back on the scene marshaling her nurses to help treat countless suffering patients at Middlesex Hospital as the disease tears through the Soho slums. But beyond the dangers of the disease, something even more evil is seeping through the ailing streets of London. 

It begins with an attack on the carriage of Florence’s friend, Elizabeth Herbert, wife to Secretary at War Sidney Herbert. Florence survives, but her coachman does not. Within hours, Sidney’s valet stumbles into the hospital, mutters a few cryptic words about the attack, and promptly dies from cholera. Frantic that an assassin is stalking his wife, Sidney enlists Florence’s help, who accepts but has little to go on save for the valet’s last words and a curious set of dice in his jacket pocket. Soon, the suspects are piling up faster than cholera victims, as there seems to be no end to the number of people who bear a grudge against the Herbert household.

 Now, Florence is in a race against time—not only to save the victims of a lethal disease but to foil a murderer with a disturbingly sinister goal—in A Murderous Malady.


Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Crooked Lane Books
Hardcover & eBook; 336 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery

***

A Murderous Malady is the second book in the A Florence Nightingale Series, it definitely works fine as a stand-alone.

With so many contemporary mystery’s out there it’s a treat to read a historical one for a change.  Though I am not overly familiar with the life of Florence Nightingale I enjoyed her portrayal here. With the story equally divided between the mystery and the cholera epidemic/hospital duties it was easy to get a feel for her talents.

A Murderous Malady was an interesting story, tagging along beside Florence (and Mary, I really like Mary) as she dawned her sleuth hat unraveling clues. There were times it was a little slow but all in all I was kept guessing and ultimately enjoyed a satisfying ending.

My thanks to Amy from HFVBT and the publisher (via Netgalley) for an advanced copy in exchange for honest review.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Christine Trent is the author of the Florence Nightingale Mysteries, the Lady of Ashes historical mystery series, about a Victorian-era undertaker, and three other historical novels. Christine’s novels have been translated into Turkish, Polish, and Czech. She writes from her two-story home library, where she lives with her husband, four precocious cats, a large doll collection, entirely too many fountain pens, and over 4,000 catalogued books.

 Learn more about Christine at www.christinetrent.com.

You can also follow her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Review: The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent

Two sisters raised in fear are about to find out why in a chilling novel of psychological suspense from the author of The Thinnest Air. 

Ignorant of civilization and cautioned against its evils, nineteen-year-old Wren and her two sisters, Sage and Evie, were raised in off-the-grid isolation in a primitive cabin in upstate New York. When the youngest grows gravely ill, their mother leaves with the child to get help from a nearby town. And they never return.

 As months pass, hope vanishes. Supplies are low. Livestock are dying. A brutal winter is bearing down. Then comes the stranger. He claims to be looking for the girls’ mother, and he’s not leaving without them.

 To escape, Wren and her sister must break the rule they’ve grown up with: never go beyond the forest.

 Past the thicket of dread, they come upon a house on the other side of the pines. This is where Wren and Sage must confront something more chilling than the unknowable. They’ll discover what’s been hidden from them, what they’re running from, and the secrets that have left them in the dark their entire lives.

Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published April 9th, 2019
by Thomas & Mercer
****

I love a good mystery, ones that keep me guessing, with twists and turns that are plausible, a book that I can polish off in a matter of days because I have to know what's going on. But I find myself picky these days, a few have been iffy and when publishers say 'if you liked such and such book then you will love this one', well what if I didn't love or even like such and such book?

I have a few favorite authors where I know I'll get a good ride but I also have a free favorite bloggers/reviewers whose opinions I trust - Laurie The Baking Bookworm for example. It was her review that pointed me in the direction of The Stillwater Girls.

I didn't read too much of the blurb but enough to get the just.  I was captivated right away, how can one not be after the first few chapters? There are 2 storylines here, one with 2 teens abandoned in a remote cabin somewhere in the woods.  While the other is a young woman with longings and unfilled dreams.  There were vivid pictures of both lifestyles with its hardships, suspicions and trust issues.

My curiosity of the connections and where the plot was going kept me guessing and while
I thought a couple things predictable I was taken aback by the ending. Well done Minka Kent.

Minka Kent is a new author to me, will definitely keep my eye out for more of her books. 

My thanks to the publisher for an advanced copy (via Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Audio Review: Duet by Kimberley Freeman

A story of passion, greed, secrets and lies.

Present day: A reclusive woman living in outback Australia receives a letter acknowledging a terrible secret from her past. Thirty years before, she stole another woman's life. From the moment the letter is opened two women are on a collision course with destiny.

From the London pop scene, to the opera stages of Europe; from a tiny Greek island, to a stifling manor house full of secrets and deceptions; from the sun-drenched Queensland coast, to the silent outback; Angela and Ellie are two women both looking for something. One in search of her identity and her memory; the other in search of the love that she had and lost; theirs is a duet whose last note will not be sung until the heart-stopping climax, when a shadow from the past returns to claim them both.

Trade Paperback 535 pages
Audiobook 19hours, 58 minutes
 Published January 1st 2007
 by Hachette Australia Trade Paperback
****
I have been a fan of Kimberley Freeman since reading Wildflower Hill and Evergreen Falls, an Australian author who reminds me of Kate Morton. Yes, that is right I said Kate Morton, those that know me know my feeling towards Kate Morton and it takes some mighty big shoes to come close to her.  But what can I say, if the shoe fits...

I think Duet might be one of Freeman's first books, there is a definite growth from this one to the 2 mentioned above.  Duet was an enjoyable read (listen - audiobook) with its mystery, suspense, and intrigue.  As you can read in the blurb there is a lot going on. Spanning many decades and reading from 3 different pov's I was trying to figure out the connections, guess at the outcome and walked my dog many miles waiting.  Seeing the different angles and getting to know these characters gave the plot more depth and added to the mystery. I did find it a little long in the middle and that did take some of the enjoyment away.  But already being familiar with the author kept me going and I was not disappointed.

Duet is a hard-to-find book in print but it is readily available at Audible





Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Spotlight/Giveaway: The Silent Woman by Terry Lynn Thomas

The Silent Woman by Terry Lynn Thomas

Publication Date: April 11, 2018
HQ Digital
Paperback & eBook; 384 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Cat Carlisle, Book One

Would you sell your secrets?

 Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage and the threat of World War Two is looming. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.

 Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.

 Can she clear her name before it’s too late?


Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Google Play | Kobo


About the Author

TERRY LYNN THOMAS grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back. Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. The Family Secret is slated for release in March 2019.

When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. The Silent Woman