Review of ‘Here To Stay’ by Mark Edwards @mredwards #heretostay #bookreview

Paperback, 380 pages
Published: September 1st 2019 by Thomas & Mercer
ISBN: 1542044901 (ISBN13: 9781542044905)
Edition Language: English

Buy a copy here

Well, now my breathing has steadied, the palpitations have subsided, and the hives have disappeared, I feel just about ready to share my thoughts on ‘Here To Stay’ by Mark Edwards…

What’s it about?

Cover

Gemma Robinson comes into Elliot’s life like a whirlwind, and they marry and settle into his home. When she asks him if her parents can come to stay for a couple of weeks, he is keen to oblige – he just doesn’t quite know what he’s signing up for.

The Robinsons arrive with Gemma’s sister, Chloe, a mysterious young woman who refuses to speak or leave her room. Elliot starts to suspect that the Robinsons are hiding a dark secret. And then there are the scars on his wife’s body that she won’t talk about . . .

As Elliot’s in-laws become more comfortable in his home, encroaching on all aspects of his life, it becomes clear that they have no intention of moving out. To protect Gemma, and their marriage, Elliot delves into the Robinsons’ past. But is he prepared for the truth?

My thoughts:

This is the fourth Mark Edwards book I have read, and I approached ‘Here to Stay’ with complete confidence that I would enjoy it. It isn’t my copy actually; I borrowed it from my mother-in-law who, having read The Retreat while staying with us, ordered the author’s entire back catalogue! I’ve a few to go at yet…

After rather a disturbing opening sequence, the real story starts idyllically with the professional, successful and self-deprecating science educator Elliot having an open-garden event in order to support the efforts of the lovely corner of the suburb in which he lives. A lady called Gemma comes to look around and Elliot is instantly attracted to her. Fast forward a short time, and they are newlyweds after an intoxicating whirlwind romance.

A short time after their wedding, Gemma tells Elliot that she’s heard that her parents are returning from France, and it seems they have nowhere to stay. Elliot offers rooms in their large home to them, until they sort out their alternative accommodation.

There is accomplished plotting and pacing – anyone who has read The Magpies will know that the author is skilled at allowing small, irritating foibles almost imperceptibly become insidious and malevolent behaviours, resulting in a reign of terror which is utterly horrifying.

As readers, we already have a clue about the in-laws, but the manipulation of Elliot and his constant efforts to be accommodating in the first instance sets the teeth on edge. Will he break under the pressure? What can he do against a physically stronger foe? How can he get his house and wife back to how it was before? Is it even possible?

This is a completely absorbing story that I raced through in genuine horror of the situation, but desperate to know how it would resolve. It’s a clever and, I don’t quite know how, but a plausible ending! The stuff of nightmares, and an excellent book. Highly recommended if you can handle the tension! Probably a few lessons to be learned about getting to know your partner’s family before you get in too deep. I feel very lucky in that regard 😊

About the author:

Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people.

Mark has sold over 2 million books since his first solo novel, The Magpies, was published in 2013. Since then he has topped the bestseller lists several times. His other novels are Because She Loves Me, Follow You Home, What You Wish For, The Devil’s Work, The Lucky Ones, The Retreat and In Her Shadow. He has also published A Murder of Magpies (a short sequel to The Magpies) and six books co-authored with Louise Voss.

To connect with Mark: (He loves love hearing from readers and always responds.) Mark can be contacted in the following ways:

Email

Twitter

Facebook

Empire’s Hostage by Marian L. Thorpe @rararesources @marianlthorpe #empireslegacy #bookreview #giveaway #blogtour

Paperback, 249 pages or Kindle Edition, 374 pages
Published: July 16th 2017 by Arboretum Press
ISBN: 0994068123 (ISBN13: 9780994068125)
Edition Language: English
Series: Empire’s Legacy #2

To buy now, please click here. 

I am very pleased to welcome you to one of the last stops on the blog tour for Marian L. Thorpe’s second book in the Empire’s Legacy series, ‘Empire’s Hostage. Thanks so much to the author and publisher for the digital copy in exchange for my thoughts, and to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour. Please read to the end to enter the giveaway!

What’s it about?

Hostage ebook cover

For fifteen months, the Empire and the northern people have been at war, but a truce is finally at hand. As part of this treaty, Lena, now a Guardswoman on the Wall, is asked to stand as a hostage, to go north to live and learn among the people of Linrathe.

But not everyone there will welcome her.

As Lena learns more of the history of both her land and the north, a new threat emerges, one that will test her loyalty to its limits, and in the end, demand a price she could not have envisioned.

My thoughts:

This is the second book in the trilogy, and having enjoyed the first, ‘Empire’s Daughter’, I was very keen to revisit Lena et al. I already knew I would enjoy Marian’s writing; she has incredible attention to detail and the way in which she intelligently retells and mixes various cultural histories is superb.

I found it far easier to keep up with the characters this time and didn’t need to consult the directory at the start, as I did quite frequently last time! I was more invested in Lena’s character, particularly as the story went on, because, while I found it quite hard to reconcile her age with her thoughts and behaviour while she was in Tirvan, I realised while reading ‘Empire’s Hostage’ that I was wrong, and that she is only really learning to reconcile actions with consequence and the cynicism that comes with age is developing.

The plot is well paced, thoroughly absorbing and tense. Given the fragility of the truce, Lena is torn between her desire for knowledge and the need to be restrained in her interactions, despite finding people she both likes and admires during her restricted journey to north of the Wall. I enjoyed how Lena’s understanding of the world is shaken, fuelling her to desire to discover more, and how the restrictive nature of being a hostage, leads her to make shaky decisions with far-reaching ramifications.

I was glad this time of the guide to pronunciation in the appendices. There is a mixture of words fairly unfamiliar to me of Celtic and Scandinavian origin. The nature of song and stories in disseminating information and a hidden history is a real treat. It’s light on romantic interest, which is both realistic and refreshing as Lena stays true to herself. This is not to say that it doesn’t tug at the heartstrings though, because it often does.

I love her adventurous spirit, her intelligence, independence and her strength of character. She is the heroine I would have liked to have been, and certainly for young adults (and older) with an interest in cultural and military history, the Empire’s Legacy series promises to be incredible.

I’m very interested to know how Cillian and Lena will negotiate their new circumstances in ‘Empire’s Exile’ as I am loving this series; right up my street! Watch the blog in March, where I will be sharing my thoughts.

For lovers of adventure and keenly observed, well researched history, looking for a strong, bright and resilient heroine, I highly recommend the Empire’s Legacy series.

 

About the author:

Empires Hostage Author

Not content with two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian L Thorpe decided to go back to what she’d always wanted to do and be a writer.

Author of the alternative world medieval trilogy Empire’s Legacy, Marian also has published short stories and poetry.

Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history informs her novels, while her avocations of landscape archaeology and birding provide background to her settings.

To connect with the author:

Twitter

Facebook

Website

GIVEAWAY!! to Win a Paperback copy of Empire’s Legacy, the complete trilogy (Open Internationally)

Empires Legacy ebook

Enter here!

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

For the rest of the blog tour, and lots of unique perspectives on ‘Empire’s Hostage, please take a look at the tour banner below:

Empires Hostage Full Tour Banner

 

Book Blitz for ‘Blue Skies Over Berlin’ by John Steinberg @rararesources @SteinbergStory #bookblitz #promo

Genre: Fiction / History / Mystery /Romance / World War 2 / Art
Pre-Order Blitz Date: 11th February 2020
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: 2QT Limited (Publishing); 2nd Revised edition edition (29 Nov. 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1913071383
ISBN-13: 978-1913071387

Buy now:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Welcome to my blog for the blog blitz promotion of ‘Blue Skies Over Berlin’ by John Steinberg. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me.

Blue Skies Over Berlin Cover

What’s it about?

A young German woman, thinking she can escape her memories of wartime Berlin, moves to London in 1954 under her new name of Charlotte Brown. The offer of a prestigious job at the National Gallery leads her to believe that she can establish a new life in a city itself emerging from the ruins of war.

With her new identity, Charlotte hopes she has left Eva Schlessinger far behind . . . but when her job brings her into contact with a ruthless set of art dealers with dubious wartime connections, she fears they can see behind her facade. Priceless masterpieces start appearing at auction, stolen from murdered Jewish families by the Nazis, and she herself is implicated. At this point, Charlotte makes a solemn promise – one that will take her a lifetime to fulfil.

Blue Skies Over Berlin is a novel about secrets and guilt in an uncertain time, balanced by friendship and enduring love – and ultimately the need to make amends for just standing by.

About the author:

johnsteinberg_bw

Born and raised in North London in 1952, John still lives in the city with his wife and three children. Privately educated, John left school after ‘A’ levels and completed a business diploma in what is now the University of Westminster, before entering banking.

He started training as an accountant but did not complete the course, choosing a position in his family’s furniture manufacturing business instead. John started his own mergers and acquisitions business in 1987, which he ran for almost 20 years before quitting to become a full time writer in 2007.

John has co-written and produced comedies for the stage and has created a series of books for children. “Previously, I had only been interested in comedy and finally started to write down the things I said or thought of. That led me to co-write and produce a play, In the Balance, and then W for Banker – which appeared at the New End Theatre, Hampstead. It was then I decided to quit the world of business in favour of writing full-time, and move toward more serious subjects. My first novel has taken two years to write and is the first in a series of books I am calling the ‘Steinberg Stories’.”

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To connect with the author:

Facebook

Twitter

‘The Devil’s Bride’ by Emma S. Jackson #BookReview #BlogTour @ESJackson1 @darkstrokedark @crookedcatbooks #paranormalromance #TheDevilsBride

Kindle Edition: 257 pages
Published: February 5th 2020 by crooked cat / darkstroke
ASIN: B081697ZJZ

To buy now, please click here.

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for ‘The Devil’s Bride’ by Emma S. Jackson. Many thanks to Emma for my e-copy of the book in exchange for my thoughts as a reader.


Front Cover

What’s it about?

England, 1670

No one goes near Edburton Manor – not since the night in 1668, when demons rose from the ground to drag Lord Bookham’s new bride to a fiery death. Or so the locals say.

That’s what makes it the perfect hideout for the gang of highwaymen Jamie Lorde runs with.

Ghost stories have never frightened her. The living are a far more dangerous prospect, particularly to a woman in disguise as a man. A woman who can see spirits in a time when witches are hanged and who is working hard to gain the trust of the most ruthless, vicious man she has ever known because she intends to ruin and kill him.

But when the gang discovers Matthew, Lord Bookham’s illegitimate brother, who has been trapped by a curse at the Manor ever since the doomed wedding, all Jamie’s carefully laid plans are sent spiralling out of control.

My thoughts:

I was thrilled to be included in this book tour, not necessarily because I know much about paranormal romance, but I because I get a real thrill out of being chilled to the bone by the gothic and horrifying.

Emma S Jackson’s The Devil’s Bride does not disappoint in this regard. It’s atmospheric, gripping and very creepy. As female protagonists go, Jamie Lorde makes not only a very convincing man, but is canny, intuitive and intelligent and I was totally absorbed in her character.

The pace is very well controlled, the plot smart, addictive and dripping with menace. I read it in a couple of sittings, but it was actually very hard to put down and I did so a bit begrudgingly to feed little people and read bedtime stories etc.

The writing is so very good, as is the actual storytelling. It’s a challenge to bring something new to either the paranormal romance or gothic genres, but ‘The Devil’s Bride succeeds, and this is really exciting – many elements of the plot surprised me, which was extremely refreshing. There are rich descriptions, none of which are extraneous, and never seem forced or awkward – the same with the dialogue.

I love being able to keep track of characters and plot, even when complex motivations and twists and turns are revealed – this makes for a memorable story. There are some swashbuckling action scenes, and plenty of intrigue for readers to look forward to having unpicked in the sequel.

The Devil’s Bride is an accomplished, entertaining, atmospheric and spooky read, which has left me wanting more, and quickly! Really loved this.

About the author:

Author pic

Emma Jackson is the best-selling author of A MISTLETOE MIRACLE, published by Orion Dash.

A devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old, she joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association on their New Writers’ Scheme at the beginning of 2019, determined to focus on her writing.

Her debut novel was published in November 2019.

When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished.

THE DEVIL’S BRIDE is her second novel, published by DarkStroke as Emma S Jackson. She hopes to continue working across sub-genres of romance, as she believes variety is the spice of life.

You can follow Emma on:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Website

Mine is the second entry on this blog tour – be sure to check out the rest!

Blog tour banner

Review of ‘Beyond The Margin’ by Jo Jackson @rararesources @jojackson589 #ApedalePress #beyondthemargin #giveaway

Genre: Contemporary literary
Publication Date: 19th October 2019 by Apedale Press
ISBN:978-0-9956094-1-9
Estimated Page Count – 242
Standalone Novel

Purchase links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

It gives me enormous pleasure to be on the blog tour of Beyond the Margin by Jo Jackson. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to the author for the copy of the book in exchange for my honest reader experience. Details of an exciting bookish giveaway at the bottom!

What’s it about?

Beyond The Margin Cover

Is living on the edge of society a choice? Or is choice a luxury of the fortunate?
Joe, fighting drug addiction, runs until the sea halts his progress. His is a faltering search for meaningful relationships.

‘Let luck be a friend’, Nuala is told but it had never felt that way. Abandoned at five years old survival means learning not to care. Her only hope is to take control of her own destiny.

The intertwining of their lives makes a compelling story of darkness and light, trauma, loss and second chances.

My thoughts:

From the first chapter, this book just had me. I need say nothing much about the plot other than what you see in the synopsis because Beyond the Margin is all about the way it makes you feel.

I found it both captivating and strangely, perhaps even inexplicably, calming. It’s raw and honest and visceral but is told with such skill that, despite the pity, the fury and the pain, it becomes beautiful, warm and uplifting. I was compelled by Joe’s journey. Near isolation makes him face himself; his spinning merry-go-round of regret and guilt is slowed sufficiently by the wonderful couple who both need him and show faith in him, for him to get off and start to heal.

Nuala is so blameless and broke my heart many times on her journey. Luck is no friend to her, until it is. Good people in her life are transient and so often become out of reach. Trying to make it on to the main page when your life is lived out beyond the margins may never be an available option, but she shows a resilience which is borne of her traumatic experiences, with an added strength of character and intelligence that maybe even she doesn’t see.

An exceptional piece of writing, characters to treasure and remember. I didn’t want this to end; very emotional. I now have a book hangover that I don’t have time for! Wouldn’t swap it for the world though – can’t recommend this highly enough.

About the author:

Beyond - Author P9200709 Beyond the Margin-2

Jo Jackson reads books and writes them too.

Having worked with some of the most vulnerable people in society she has a unique voice apparent in her second novel Beyond the Margin.

She was a nurse, midwife and family psychotherapist and now lives in rural Shropshire with her husband. She loves travelling and walking as well as gardening, philosophy and art.

Her first novel Too Loud a Silence is set in Egypt where Jo lived for a few years with her husband and three children. Events there were the inspiration for her book which she describes as ‘a story she had to write’.

To connect with Jo:

Facebook

Twitter

My thoughts come on the last day of what I hope has been a very successful tour for a wonderful book. Please have a look at the tour banner as you’ll be able to find some other opinions, excerpts and author interviews to read.

Beyond The Margin Full Tour Banner

Giveaway to Win signed copies of Beyond the Margin and Too Loud a Silence by Jo Jackson. (UK only)

Beyond The Margin - Giveaway Prize

Enter here!

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.