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The New Teacher by Dominique Demers – Book Review

The New Teacher
The Adventures of Miss Charlotte Book One

Author – Dominique Demers
Publisher – Alma Books
Pages – 78
Released – 15th June 2016
ISBN-13 – 978-1846883996
Format – ebook, paperback
Reviewer – Stacey
Rating – 4 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.

 

Mademoiselle Charlotte, the new teacher, is not like the others: she wears a large hat and a crumpled dress that make her look like a scarecrow, and she talks to a rock.

The children think she is crazy at first, but soon realize she makes school more fun than ever, getting them to measure the room with cooked spaghetti in maths class, telling fascinating stories about a gorilla and even taking the pupils on at football.

The first book in Dominique Demers’ popular series, The New Teacher, brilliantly illustrated by Tony Ross, is an entertaining, imaginative and inspiring book that will make you wish you had a teacher just like Mademoiselle Charlotte.

The New Teacher is the first book is ‘The Adventures of Miss Charlotte’ by Dominique Demers. Told from the POV of one of the class pupils, Miss Charlotte arrives at the school as the supply teacher as the normal class teacher is on maternity leave.

The class of nine year old’s find her strange and don’t know what to make of her, especially when she removes her hat and pulls a pebble from the top of her head that she calls Gertrude and begins to have a conversation with it.

Over the course of the next few weeks the pupils learn that Miss Charlotte isn’t like the other teachers, she lets them have fun for most of the day as long as they work hard on their subjects for the first two hours. She joins in with sports and tells the fascinating tales about her travels.

The other teachers at the school are not convinced they like her teaching methods and the headteacher is furious of her behaviour and calls a meeting with the class parents. Poor Miss Charlotte whatever will happen to her?

The book reminds me of a cross between Roald Dahl’s work – just less wackiness and the Mary Poppins books as the eccentric teacher breezes in brings the children lots of joy and then disappears again. The Illustrations to remind me of those by Quentin Blake in the Roald Dahl books. They also bring the story to life as the reader gets to see how weird and wonderful Miss Charlotte is.

At just 78 pages long this is a quick read but it is full of fun and amusing moments. There are also plenty of life lessons to be learned within the pages, especially about if you need to talk to someone about your problems.

This is a great start to what looks like is going to be a fascinating children’s series. Now on to book two ‘The Mysterious Librarian’

Book Reviewer – Stacey

Purchase online from:

Amazon.co.ukAmazon.comiBooksBlackwells

About the Author

Dominique Demers is a doctor in youth literature, an author and screenwriter who has lived in Quebec for several years. She is best known for the children’s novels she has written for several years.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University. She then obtained a certificate in teaching at the University of Montreal, which she will follow a master’s degree in children’s literature at the University of Quebec in Montreal. She completed a Ph.D. in children’s literature at the University of Sherbrooke in 1994.

For twelve years, she was a journalist for the magazine Châtelaine and the magazine l’Actualité, and she writes for the newspaper Le Devoir. She has also produced various documents for television and radio.

For fifteen years, she taught children’s literature at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke.

The novels of the Charlotte youth series were used to develop the screenplays of the films The Mysterious Miss C. and the Incomparable Mademoiselle C. Moreover, in 2005, she put in scenario A winter of turmoil for a televised soap opera.

What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point by Jodi Auborn – Book Review

Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point

Author – Jodi Auborn
Publisher – CreateSpace
Pages – 198
Released – 1st December 2014
ISBN-13 – 978-1499321234
Format – ebook, paperback
Reviewer – Stacey
Rating – 4 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.

 

Ten-year-old Dylan is excited when his father inherits an old lighthouse and cottage in Maine. Dylan and his family get to live there all summer! He goes sailing on the bay, explores the small town down the road, and searches for a legendary pirate treasure that was said to be buried nearby.

After mysterious things start happening at the cottage, Dylan meets Matthias, a gruff lighthouse keeper who had died in a storm one hundred years before. A ghost! Dylan is startled to find Matthias living in his bedroom, but he is glad when they become friends.

It’s the best summer ever! Things change when they learn that the lighthouse is threatened by a greedy treasure hunter who also knows about the pirate legend. He will do whatever it takes to find the treasure…even kidnapping! As Dylan and Matthias team up to protect their home, they begin an adventure that changes Dylan’s life forever.

Ten-year-old Dylan and his big sister Alondra along with their parents are having a summer vacation in Salvation Point, Maine in a house that his dad has inherited from his Uncle Zack. Dylan’s dad used to live in the area and moved to New York to be with his wife and hasn’t been back for many years.

The house that the family has inherited is the old lighthouse keepers cottage. They also inherited the lighthouse but that is now run by automation and looked after by the Coast Guard.

From the moment the family arrives at the house, they sense something isn’t right as they can hear a piano playing which suddenly stops as they enter the property. Over the next few days, strange events happen, from footsteps and voices being heard to pictures re-appearing on a wall where they had been removed from.

When the local librarian tells the family the house is the most haunted place in Maine, their mum won’t have it as she disbelieves in ghosts but Dylan is determined to find out who is living in his house and it’s not long before he meets Matthias, the old lighthouse keeper who died a hundred years ago.

Dylan is excited at the prospect of having a ghost as a friend but the pair have work to do if they are to stop a treasure hunter in his tracks.

Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point is a middle-grade adventure/ghost story. The book is told from Dylan’s POV and follows him as he tries to find out what is happening at his new home for the summer and then once he discovers Matthias who died a hundred years ago the two have more adventures as they try to stop a greedy treasure hunter.

I can’t say the plot was particularly scary, yes there are some references to a presence early on in the book and strange occurrences but we know from the beginning about Matthias so I’m sure children will make the connection between the activities in the summer house and Matthias. I would say this is more of an adventure book.

The book flowed nicely and at a constant pace, although I thought the chapters were quite long for a middle-grade book and it took a while for Matthias and Dylan to meet. I was also disappointed that there were no illustrations throughout either.

For those children that like adventure books and pirate stories this would be a wonderful book to read and will keep them amused for a few hours.

Book Reviewer – Stacey

"Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point" - Book Trailer - YouTube

Purchase online from:

Amazon.co.ukAmazon.comBlackwells

About the Author

Jodi Auborn became interested in lighthouses and the ocean when she was fifteen years old and went on her first vacation to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Later in life, she made several trips to Monhegan Island and other small towns in coastal Maine, all of which inspired the setting for the fictional town of Salvation Point.

She is the author of Stormwind of the North Country and Secrets of the North Country, teen novels set in New York State’s Adirondack Mountains. She has also written a memoir titled The Forests I Called Home. The author lives in Ticonderoga, NY.

What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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Big Digger Little Digger by Timothy Knapman – Book Review

Big Digger Little Digger

Author – Timothy Knapman
Illustrator – Daron Parton
Publisher – Walker Books
Pages – 40
Released – 4th July 2019
ISBN-13 – 978-1406382952
Format – paperback, hardcover
Reviewer – Stacey
Rating – 5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.

 

Little Digger loves to work hard, digging holes all day long. “Little digger, little digger” he hums happily as he digs. But, one day, an especially BIG hole needs to be dug, and so in comes … BIG DIGGER.

“Big Digger like to dig down DEEP!” he roars, and he begins to dig the biggest hole that anyone on the building site has ever seen… With the arrival of Big Digger, will there still be a place for Little Digger on the building site?

How many little children do you know who love construction vehicles? I remember my three children when they were toddlers all having a construction set and they played with it every day. For all those children that love these hard-working vehicles, this book is just perfect.

Little Digger loves the construction site. He works the hardest of all the vehicles and enjoys his job. That is until a large hole needs to be dug. He is sure she can do it but before he gets the chance to try a big digger arrives to dig the hole, now he doesn’t have any jobs to do.

There are no more holes needed to be dug on the site and Little Digger can’t do other jobs like mixing cement, he feels lost and alone, that is until Big Digger has a problem and Little Digger has an idea of how to help him.

Big Digger Little Digger is such an adorable book. It is brightly illustrated with full-page illustrations that capture the building site and all the vehicles perfectly. The story is very sweet and shows no matter your size you can always be useful.

At the front and back of the book the author has included diagram drawings of both the diggers to show what the different parts are called, I thought this was a very clever idea and educational too.

I loved this book and I’m sure little children will love it too.

Book Reviewer – Stacey

Purchase online from:

Amazon.co.ukAmazon.comBlackwells

About the Author

Tim Knapman writes plays, musicals, songs and children’s books and has been published by Simon & Schuster, Puffin, Macmillan, Scholastic, Hachette, Egmont UK and many more. His previous books include the bestselling Dinosaurs in the Supermarket, Dinosaurs Don’t Have Bedtimes and Superhero Dad.

His books have been translated into 20 languages and several have been read on CBeebies bedtime stories. Tim has done more than 100 events and readings in schools, colleges, bookshops, fairs, libraries and festivals.

He lives in Sussex and his hobbies include swashbuckling.

What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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Alison Brodie

Today we welcome back author Alison Brodie to Whispering Stories Blog to catch up on what she has been doing since our interview with her back in April 2017 on ‘The Writing Life of: Alison Brodie‘. This post contains affiliate links.

I am a Scottish lassie by birth and now live in Biarritz, France. Before becoming an author, I was a photographic model, modelling for a wide range of products, including Ducatti motorbikes and 7Up. I was also the vampire in the Schweppes commercial with plastic teeth!

A catastrophic modelling assignment – where everything that could go wrong did go wrong – in the Scottish Highlands gave me the idea for my first book, Face to Face, which was then published by Hodder & Stoughton.

Good Housekeeping magazine chose it as one of their “Pick of the Paperbacks.” Face to Face was subsequently published in Germany and Holland.

​I have since written four more books: Wild Life, The Double, Brake Failure and ZENKA.

Welcome back to Whispering Stories Blog, lovely to be featuring you again. We last met you back in April 2017 when we spoke to you about your writing life and your latest book at the time ‘Brake Failure’. Since that date I believe you have written and published another book.

1) How has life changed since we last met you?

What have I done since I last spoke to you, Stacey? Apart from winning 25 million on the Lottery and giving birth to Boris Johnson’s love child, not much.

2) Has your writing style changed since we last interviewed you?

My writing style has changed. I’ve always written romantic comedy, but with ZENKA I switched to black comedy thriller. And what a load of fun that was!

3) Have you allowed yourself to be influenced by your readers’ opinions of your characters?

I am always influenced by my readers’ opinions of my characters. With ZENKA, seven book bloggers chose it as one of their books of the year, which thrilled me to bits, so from that, I guess they were happy with the characters! Although I have had complaints about the book cover, saying it doesn’t depict the story – it makes it look like a shoot-em-up, not a black comedy.

Many readers have asked for a sequel so that’s what I’m doing now – writing a sequel.

4) Have you found writing gets easier or harder the more books you write?

I have found writing gets easier the more I write.

5) Is there a difference in the way you feel about your books the more you publish? As in do you still feel the same level of excitement?

Thankfully I always feel excitement with the books I write. If I didn’t feel that excitement I would sense I was doing it wrong. Plus, writing an 85k book is a long, tough journey and it’s excitement that is the fuel that keeps me going.

6) If you could live within the pages of any of the books created by you, which would you choose?

I would like to be Faustine in WILD LIFE who’s protesting against the destruction of ancient beech trees and takes up residence in a tree-house to fight off the handsome Australian land developer.

 

Concerning your latest book:

Zenka

Author – Alison Brodie
Pages – 306
Release Date – 6th November 2017
Format – ebook

London crime boss, Jack Murray, demands to be obeyed.

Hungarian pole-dancer, Zenka, obeys NO-ONE.

Their friendship is explosive. But these two mismatched misfits are about to be united in a common goal when Jack receives a letter …

The letter says Jack has a son, Nicholas, a community worker whose patients call him a “saint”.

Jack is overjoyed. But there’s a problem. He needs a son with balls – not a halo – to inherit the Firm.

Zenka takes charge. “Don’t vorry, Jack. Ven I am finished vith Nicholas he vill be dog’s bollocks just like his papa.” Excitedly, she arms herself to the teeth. Then musters the mob.

Nicholas plans to marry Penelope and settle in suburbia. He leads a tranquil, if uneventful, life. That is, until he falls in love with a mysterious Hungarian girl who begs him to protect her. Protect her?! He’s qualified to nurse the elderly handicapped – not attack the various thugs who seem to be popping up with frightening regularity.

Frustrated by his cowardice, Zenka turns up the heat. Her tactics become more bizarre, more illegal, and soon events begin to spin of control.

Meanwhile, Jack’s accountant believes the letter is a lie and investigates.

Which is when the secrets come out – and now someone is going to pay with their life …

 

7) How long did it take you to write this book?

I wrote Zenka in 18 months.

8) Can you tell us a little about your new book?

I love to put my characters in tough situations and see how they cope. In ZENKA the heroine is a passionate Hungarian pole-dancer whose mission is to toughen up Nicholas, a guy who just wants a quiet life and is not prepared for the hell that Zenka puts him through.

9) Can you tell us anything you edited out of your book?

I edited this book like crazy. It would take too long to tell you all the changes!

10) Are you still going through the same publishing methods?

My books have been traditionally published by Hodder. Then I self-published my next four books. This time round I am starting to look for an agent/publisher again.

11) Can you remember seeing your book for the first time in the bookstore, supermarket, online?

When Face to Face came out in hard-back I went into my local W.H. Smiths and saw it all over the place in the shop. I was struck dumb, then I burst into tears. I was so happy!

12) What next for you in your writing career?

I am writing a sequel to ZENKA. And I have ideas for a fantasy novel.

Reviewers’ Questions

1) Question from Tina – Did you always want to be a writer?

No, I didn’t think of being a writer. One day when I was in my twenties I sat down and started writing and I haven’t stopped since. I was lucky in that the first book I wrote I sent to the first agent on my list and she got a two-book deal for it within 2 weeks.

2) Question from Ellwyn – What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

My advice to a new writer is: READ. LOADS. Not necessarily in your genre. Everything. Writing is like all forms of art: you must keep improving your skill.

3) Question from Kerstin – Do you use a special writing programme?

No, I don’t use a special writing programme. Although I’d like to be like Barbara Cartland and lounge on a chaise longue in pink chiffon all day with a Pekinese (dog) on my lap dictating to an army of secretaries who would then rush off and type it all up. Maybe when I win 25 million on the Lottery …

Author links

Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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The Good Kill by Kurt Brindley – Book Review

The Good Kill
A Killian Lebon Novel

Author – Kurt Brindley
Pages – 404
Released – 1st May 2019
ISBN-13 – 978-1096449034
Format – ebook, paperback
Reviewer – Ed Sheehan
Rating – 3 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.

 

During the battle to liberate Mosul from the brutal grip of the Islamic State, Killian Lebon, a war-weary Navy SEAL Senior Chief, sustains life-threatening injuries from an explosion during a rescue operation that goes horribly wrong.

Forced into early retirement from a vocation that for almost twenty years had been his sole purpose for being – that of a fearless warrior in defense of his country – Killian’s life quickly spirals downward to the deepest depths of hopelessness and despair due to the traumatic after-effects of his injuries and the overwhelming guilt he feels from the tragic consequences of his failed final mission.

Left without the will to continue on within such a dark and indifferent world, Killian attempts what he expects will be his last and ultimate mission. But RJ, a woman he had loved once long ago, saves him from his void of despair and, in her effort to console him, reveals two long-held, painful secrets, secrets that inspire within him a dark new purpose for living.

However, it isn’t long before this new lethal life mission of his places him and those he cares for straight within the deadly crosshairs of corrupt Russian agents and unscrupulous corporate moguls and forces him on a desperate and harrowing journey of rescue and revenge, one that takes him from the lush rolling hills of his Southern Pennsylvania farm, down to the mean streets of Baltimore and the steamy bayous of New Orleans, and then back once again to the windswept desert of Iraq where all his troubles first began… and where his most anticipated act of vigilante justice is destined to be executed.

Kurt Brindley’s novel The Good Kill: A Killian Lebron Novel first introduces a character called the killer.  The killer invades the house of a Mexican cartel boss in Ohio, tapes the naked bad guy to a chair in his basement, and with some extremely cruel torture with a machete, he forces the Mexican to confess his sins of sex and drug trafficking as he videos it. The video goes viral to sex and violence addicts, and to drug and sex traffickers who frequent the dark web.

The novel moves back in time with Killian Lebron — although not yet using his name — awaking from a six week induced coma in a Walter Reed veteran hospital wing in D. C., and it is made clear that the Navy Seal’s life will never return to normal after surviving a blast in Mosul, Iraq where he was injured while trying to rescue kidnapped teenage girls who ISIS turned into sex slaves.

The novel then introduces a myriad of bad guys who are involved in sex trafficking, and introduces Toni Steele, who is kidnapped while looking for her twin sister who used the stage name, Ruby Black, in the strip club that she disappeared from. The sex trafficking underworld is portrayed in graphic detail as tastefully as I can imagine.

When Killian is released from the hospital, RJ Gunther, who has loved him since their preteen years, is introduced. RJ is the only truly wholesome character in the whole novel. Her love for Killian never worked out when they were young for reasons that I won’t disclose here. When she is kidnapped by the bad guys, the story revolves around trying to find and rescue her.

I generally shy away from reading novels about dark subjects, and nothing is darker than sex trafficking. Despite that proclivity of mine, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I found the first part of the novel a bit confusing as it jumped around to introduce all the major characters that play important roles later. When I read the first seven chapters a second time, they made perfect sense.

I like the author’s voice and writing style. I would love to read a novel of his that is not so dark. That prejudice of mine should be taken into account when considering the three star rating that I give to this novel.

Book Reviewer – Ed Sheehan

Purchase online from:

Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com

About the Author

A husband and father of three, Kurt Brindley is also a retired sailor who lives in Southern Pennsylvania in a house on top of a windy and rolling hill. He traveled much of the world while serving in the navy and, aye, he’s got some stories to tell…

Kurt served twenty years and four days in the navy and “retired” as a Senior Chief Petty Officer. He has an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Maryland and a graduate degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma.

In 1998, he took a hiatus from his regular duties as a navy telecommunications specialist to attend the U. S. military’s Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute. The institute is little known to most but is internationally renowned to those in the human relations field.

Upon graduation, Kurt was certified as a Navy Equal Opportunity Adviser and assigned the responsibilities of providing diversity management training and equal opportunity consultation and assistance to navy personnel throughout the navy’s Western Pacific area of operations.

Much of this work focused on awareness and outreach seminars in an effort to mitigate the harassment and abuse that resulted from the confusion and resentment surrounding the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.

Kurt’s assignment as an EOA was one of the most challenging, and rewarding, assignments of his navy career, and it served as the impetus behind much of his early writing, including his novel THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR and his short story “Leave.”

What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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The Summer of Going Topless by Liz Davies – Cover Reveal

Today we welcome author Liz Davies with the cover reveal for her upcoming new book ‘The Summer of Going Topless‘, which will be released on 22nd August 2019. This post contains affiliate links.

The Summer of Going Topless

Author – Liz Davies
Publisher – Lilac Tree Books
Pages – 217
Release Date – 22nd August 2019
ISBN 13 – 978-1074534080
Format – ebook, paperback

Candice Summerville is invisible. No one seems to notice her – not really. Heck, she often doesn’t notice herself, except for her monthly scrutiny in the mirror to check on her body’s steady slide towards middle age.

But when her ancient, practical estate car is consigned to the scrap heap, Candice falls in love with a cute, purple convertible, and from that moment on her life begins to take on a whole new meaning. Strangers wave at her and people stop to talk, and suddenly she isn’t invisible any longer.

Life seems to be looking up, especially when she meets silver fox and handy-man, Paul. There’s just one fly in the ointment, one thing she that has her second-guessing herself. Is it the car that Paul sees – or is it her?

Pre-Order online from:

Amazon.co.ukAmazon.comiBooks

 

About the Author

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes.

She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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The Scribe by A. A. Chaudhuri – Book Review

The Scribe
Kramer & Carver Thriller Book One

Author – A. A. Chaudhuri
Publisher – Endeavour Media
Pages – 352
Released – 8th July 2019
ISBN-13 – 978-1839010019
Format – ebook, paperback
Reviewer – Stacey
Rating – 3.5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.

 

Making it as a lawyer has always been a cutthroat business.

A killer is targeting former students of The Bloomsbury Academy of Law. The victims – all female – are gruesomely butchered according to a pattern corresponding with the legal syllabus. Even more disconcerting are riddles sent by the killer to investigating officer, Chief Inspector Jake Carver, offering clues as to who is next and where they will die.

Up-and-coming lawyer Madeline Kramer, a former classmate of a number of the slain, soon finds her life turned upside down by the savagery. And when she decides to help Carver track down the killer, she places herself in mortal danger. Can Maddy and Carver unscramble the complex riddles and save the lives of those destined to die?

The book opens with the murder of young law student Sarah Morrell. Sarah converses with the killer and seems to know who he is, an ex-client of the law firm she is currently working at. The killer is out for some kind of revenge and carves the word ‘Contract’ into her abdomen.

DCI Jake Carver is in charge of the case and it’s not long before more law students are being killed. There is a serial killer on the loose and he seems to be targeting the students, but why?

With the help from lawyer Madeline (Maddie) Kramer, can the two solve the murders and bring the killer to justice?

The book began exceptionally strongly and I really thought that I was going to be enthralled and held to the pages, however, there were a few things within the first few chapters that made me roll my eyes. From DCI Carver making an off the cuff remark about a double murder before we are even told that a second person has been killed on the same night as Sarah was, to the police releasing details about the murders to the public within four hours of their bodies being found and giving the waiting journalist the names of the victims, where they were found, their professions and details of how one of them was killed – Would this really happen in real life?

The other thing that bugged me was Maddie found out about the deaths at her workplace via the news on TV her first thought was how ruggedly handsome with a strong square jaw DCI Carver was and that she could imagine his deep gravelly voice. I don’t think anyone finding out one of their colleagues has just been killed would first think how gorgeous the DCI on the case was.

Whilst I do understand this is a work of fiction, in a thriller you have to keep it real to engage the reader and put them into a thrilling mood and make them believe that the story is real. At this point, I actually contemplated giving up reading the book but in the end, I decided to carry on and see where the rest of the plot took me.

I enjoyed the thrill of the chase and the handling of the cases and the riddles. The two main characters worked well together, although I couldn’t take to Maddie and was unsure why a DCI would need so much help from a lawyer on murder cases.

I found this book hit and miss. There were chapters I really enjoyed and then there were sections that I felt didn’t need to be there. Overall, looking back I did enjoy the plot and I was intrigued enough to keep reading, plus DCI Carver turned out to be a great character that I enjoyed getting to know and watch him work.

Book Reviewer – Stacey

Purchase online from:

Amazon.co.ukAmazon.comBlackwells

About the Author

A. A. Chaudhuri is a former City lawyer. Once a highly ranked British junior tennis player, she went on to gain a degree in History at University College London, then trained as a solicitor and worked for several major London law firms before leaving law to pursue her passion for writing.

In addition to books featuring the feisty Maddy Kramer, she has written four stand-alone novels, including racy thriller, Illicit Retainers, and political thriller, The Darker Side of White. She lives in Surrey with her family.

What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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Look For Me by Lisa Gardner – Book Review

Look For Me
Detective D.D. Warren Book Nine

Author – Lisa Gardner
Publisher – Arrow
Pages – 416
Released – 12th July 2018
ISBN-13 – 978-1784758615
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover, audio
Reviewer – Clive
Rating – 4.5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.

 

SHOULD THEY SAVE HER – OR STOP HER?

Detective DD Warren and Flora Dane are in a race against time to save a young girl’s life – or bring her to justice.

A family home has become a crime scene. Four are dead, savagely murdered. One – a sixteen-year-old girl – is missing.

Did she have a lucky escape? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister?

Seeking different types of justice, Warren and survivor-turned-avenger Flora must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who could be victim or suspect. All they know is that the girl is silently pleading:

Look for me…

Look For Me hit me from the first page of the Prologue. Using colourful descriptions and a first person narrative Lisa Gardner creates atmosphere, fear and suspense in large measures.  Before Chapter One started I was already hooked.

Over the next few chapters the intrigue continues as the reader works out the relationship between the three different narratives that Lisa uses to tell the story. We have Flora in the first person, Roxy’s school essays and third person sections written from D.D.’s perspective; all in addition to that Prologue in Sarah’s first person. If you are concerned that this will confuse then put your mind at rest; it all adds to the understanding and the mystery.

I am aware that there have been several books featuring D.D. Warren and Flora who make an interesting couple. It is always nice to read about a good cop with a happy married life and no personal hang-ups. In contrast Flora Dane and her group of similarly affected “survivors” have more than enough baggage for all of us. They do however provide an interesting foil, giving the author the means to stretch the investigation beyond today’s routine police procedures.

The children’s storylines are at times troubling and if there is any truth in the activities described in the foster home that is a worrying indictment on the US child care systems.

Prior to Look For Me Lisa Gardner had published several novels and that experience and success shows in the quality of this book.  Her well-crafted story appears to have been supported by first class editing and proof-reading because every sentence flows with correct grammar and spelling. I was lucky enough to be sent a hard-back copy with a jacket bearing credits from eight of the current biggest selling novelists; support that most struggling writers can only dream of.

This would not be a balanced review without some negative comment but all I can manage is that on occasions the three narratives repeat themselves as the various parties catch up with events. Not really an issue and I often appreciate an update.

Give Look For Me a try, you will not be disappointed. Indeed, the Whispering Stories review machine is currently running a little slow and the sequel Never Tell has already been published in the UK so why not get them both. I have awarded a nearly perfect four and a half stars.

Book Reviewer – Clive

Purchase online from:

Amazon.co.ukAmazon.comiBooksBlackwells

About the Author

Lisa Gardner is a #1 New York Times bestselling crime novelist. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure and twisted minds into a streak of twenty thrillers. Her latest, NEVER TELL, came out Feb. 19 2019 and features Detective D.D. Warren joining forces with vigilante Flora Dane to investigate the murder of known associate of Flora’s infamous kidnapper.

Lisa lives in the mountains of New Hampshire with two crazy pups and an ancient rescue dog. When not writing, Lisa loves to hike, play cribbage, and of course, read!

What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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Amita Murray

This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author Amita Murray. Amita will be sharing with us detail of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘The Trouble with Rose‘, which was released on 16th May 2019 and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.

The Trouble with Rose is Amita Murray’s debut novel. Having lived in and around London, Delhi and California, Amita loves writing about the comedy and tragedy of cultural encounters.

She has taught writing at the University East Anglia, and been a Leverhulme Writer-in-Residence at University College London and Writer-in-Residence at Plymouth University/Literature Works.

In 2016, her short story collection won the SI Leeds Literary Prize. Amita lives in London, and teaches creative writing and yoga when she can be dragged away from the characters in her head.

 

1) As a child did you have a dream job in mind?

I used to daydream a lot as a child (actually, that hasn’t changed at all, hmm…) I did quite a lot of dancing and read a lot too. I changed my mind all the time about what I wanted to do when I grew up. The options included marine biologist, fashion designer, dancer, journalist, psychologist, air stewardess – and who knows what else!

I always thought creative people were ‘other people’ – I hated that I changed my mind so much, daydreamed, that I couldn’t stick with one thing, and that I found it hard to be the kind of person other people wanted me to be. Who knew that all this was good training to be a writer?

2) Who was your favourite childhood author (s)?

I’ve read so much Enid Blyton! But even in my early teens, I was reading Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters along with my Nancy Drew. By my mid-teens I was reading Daphne du Maurier, loads of Agatha Christie, and many other writers.  I love Mary Stewart.

3) Was there a particular point in your life that you realised you wanted to be a writer?

A few years ago, I was working as an academic and I was struggling to feel okay about my work, my life and about myself. There was definitely a craving and restlessness for something, but I had no idea what it was for. Gradually it became clearer that I had a deep hunger to do something creative.

I’d journaled and done other bitty writing all my life, but this was the first time I experimented with writing fiction. When I did, it was like falling in love. I knew pretty quickly, writing fiction was something I’d been waiting for all my life – I just hadn’t known I was waiting for it.

4) What is your average writing day like? Do you have any special routines, word count, etc?

I write any time I can find, around other work and family life. I don’t need a set number of minimum hours or even a particular space. I like working in my living room with the radio on (or a sporting event in the background if there’s something on that I like). But if I don’t have that luxury, then I’ll write in a café, on a train, in a bus stop, if I have to. I’ll write for an hour if that’s all I get.

5) How many books have you written? Any unpublished work?

My debut novel The Trouble with Rose has just come out with Harper Collins (May 2019). My second novel comes out in 2020. I have an unpublished short story collection called Marmite and Mango Chutney that won the SI Leeds Literary Prize in 2016. Stories from that have come out in magazines like Wasafiri, Brand, SAND (Berlin), the Berkeley Fiction Review, and others.

6) Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Ha! I’m an experimenter.  I try lots of stuff and see what sticks, what keeps my interest. I hop from thing to thing and see what I love doing. If something sparks a more lasting interest, then I stay with it and see if I can write a book. Between contracted books, I experiment with styles and genres. I start a book as a pantser, but as I go along, the plot becomes somewhat clearer.

 

Concerning your latest book:

The Trouble with Rose

Author – Amita Murray
Publisher – HarperCollins
Pages – 384
Release Date – 16th May 2019
ISBN 13 – 978-0008291242
Format – ebook, paperback, audio

A missing sister. A broken heart.

A whole lot of trouble…

Rilla is getting married. Except she isn’t. She’s running away – from her confused fiancé Simon, her big mad family, and the memories nipping at her heels.

Her sister Rose would know what to do in such times of crisis.

But the trouble is, Rose is the crisis. She disappeared years ago, and Rilla’s heart went missing too.

Where is Rose? And who is Rilla without Rose?

If she’s to rescue some happiness out of all this chaos, she needs to find out.

 

7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?

I tend to only research by reading non-fiction books. There are two strands in The Trouble with Rose that needed research.  In it, there are two sisters, who, as kids used to do a comedy sketch for parties, weddings and other events. This sketch show is borrowed from Indian street theatre – also known as nautanki.  That was one aspect of my research.  As an adult, the main character Rilla Kumar is doing an MA in philosophy and studying how different cultures understand love. So, I researched various philosophers’ views on love – though I already knew quite a lot from my academic training.

8) How long did it take to go from ideas stage to writing the last word?

I wrote the first draft in a month. I was working full time as an academic at the time, and I had a month off at Easter. My agent had already signed me on based on my short story collection and prize win. It felt very much like now or never. I charted out how many working days I had, calculated how many thousand words I would need to do every day to get a draft done. Then I did it.

9) How did you come up with the title of your book?

I didn’t! The publishers did.

10) Can you give us an insight into your characters?

Rilla Kumar is in her mid-twenties and she’s at a crossroads in her life. She’s about to marry Simon Langton, her boyfriend whom she met just six months ago. She’s on the verge of being kicked out of her MA programme, and she’s coming to realise that her life is not working, and hasn’t worked for a while. She knows that the only way to move forward is to find out what happened to her missing sister Rose.

Rilla is narky and cross. I want to be her when I grow up. Besides Rilla’s persistent fiancé Simon and a neurotic cat who can only walk in parabolas, the book is littered with an interfering family that wants to have a say in everything in Rilla’s life.  The book is a cross between My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Frozen for grown-ups, and The Royal Tennenbaums, I’d say.

11) What process did you go through to get your book published?

My agent found a few publishers who were interested in the book pretty quickly. After that, it was a process of trying to figure out which one we thought would be the best bet for the book.

12) What’s next for you writing wise?

My second novel comes out in 2020. In it, Maya Kapoor thinks that she’s happy with her boyfriend Jeremy, and satisfied with her market research job. Until one night she meets Jack and he turns everything she thinks she knows about her life on its head. Maya grew up as a sole carer for her single mother, and needs to come to grips with all that that has meant to her.

Fun Questions

1) If you could have any super power for the day which would you choose?

I’m acutely sensitive as it is. I get oversensitive to people’s moods and body language. But because I know I can be sensitive, I tend to second guess what my instincts are telling me. So, can’t I just have a way of reading other people’s minds? Or at least a way to trust my instincts.  I’m also terrified of revealing my feelings, so I chatter on about stuff to cover them up. So, maybe just a good way to shut me up!

2) Do you have any pets?

I have two cats, not as neurotic as Lord Basingstoke in The Trouble with Rose, but not far off.  They’re enormous, but if you so much as breathe a little too loud, they’ll shoot out of the house like their tails are on fire. One of them disappeared under a bathtub once and was under the floorboards within seconds of entering someone’s house when it was a kitten. It took a night and day to coax him out. The other one keeps bringing in “presents”.

3) If you decided to write an autobiography of your life, what would you call it?

I’m terrified of writing about myself.  This is why I write fiction. But whatever the title, it would have a lot of swearing in it.

4) Your book has been made into a feature film and you’ve been offered a cameo role, which part would you choose, or what would you be doing?

I’d have to be a crazy auntie or something.

5) Where is your favourite holiday destination?

I love the Highlands. I’ve lived in California, and I like going back to San Francisco.  There were loads of family holidays in the Himalayas when I was a child.  Oh, I don’t know, I love any form of woody walks, especially in the mountains.

6) A baseball cap wearing, talking duck casually wanders into your room, what is the first thing he says to you?

‘Of all the duck ponds in all the towns of all the world…’

I would like to say a big thank you to Amita Murray for sharing with us details of her writing life and for a wonderful interview.

Author links

Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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Masquerade: Oddly Suited by Various Authors – Book Review

Masquerade: Oddly Suited

Author – Various Authors
Publisher – Freedom Fox Press
Pages – 200
Released – 30th April 2019
ISBN-13 – 978-1939844644
Format – ebook,
Reviewer – Stacey
Rating – 4 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual companion or a date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Masquerade: Oddly Suited is an anthology of ten short stories from various authors who are part of an Insecure Writer’s Support Group. As with all anthologies there were some stories I loved and a few I found myself skipping over, however, there weren’t any I can say I disliked, just I enjoyed reading some more than others.

We begin with the title story – ‘Oddly Suited’. This is probably my favourite story in the whole book. It was written by L.G. Keltner and features a team of students who are filming a dating show scene as part of their course. They are trying to show that opposites can attract and so we have a human and an alien as the contestants – Think Blind Date. The plot is pure genius and I loved the opening first few lines. I did think it was going to be about a real alien.

My second favourite has to be ‘The Dark Charade’ by C. D. Gallant-King. This is the tale of a boy who is digging up graves in a church graveyard and a young girl who believes that the boy is really a vampire. For a short story, it had a big twist which was nicely done.

I don’t want to go through every story in the book but what I can tell you is that they are all unique and entertaining. They feature lots of diverse characters and range from the normal to the completely bizarre. There is a wide range of stories so there is something for everyone.

This is a book you can dive into when you have a few minutes spare, reading one of the stories and then put it down again – Or you can read it in one sitting as I did. You also don’t have to read the stories in order either.

The book might be quite short at just 200 pages but within the pages, the stories are captivating and intriguing. I also enjoyed the snippets of information at the end of each story which told me about the authors.

Book Reviewer – Stacey

Purchase online from:

Amazon.co.ukAmazon.comiBooksBlackwells

What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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The post Masquerade: Oddly Suited by Various Authors – Book Review appeared first on Whispering Stories.

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