The Legacy; A Blessing and a Curse~Alison Knight

London, 1969.

James has his dreams of an easy life shattered when his aunt disinherits him, leaving her fortune to her god-daughter, Charlotte. He turns to his friend, Percy, to help him reclaim his inheritance – and to pay off his creditors. But when their plans backfire, James becomes the pawn of Percy and his criminal associates.

Charlotte is stunned when she is told of her windfall. After an attempt at cheating her out of her inheritance fails, James tries to intimidate her. But she is stronger than he thinks, having secrets of her own to guard, and sends him away with a bloody nose and no choice but to retreat for now.

Resigned, James and his spoilt, pampered girlfriend, Fliss, Percy’s sister, travel across France on a mission that promises to free James from the criminals for good. But James isn’t convinced he can trust Fliss, so he makes his own plans to start a new life.

Will James be able to get away, or will his past catch up with him? Will Charlotte’s secrets turn the legacy into a curse?

I read a previous book of Alison Knight’s this past year and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so when given the opportunity to read another, I jumped at the chance to read!

The Legacy has us transported to 1969 and we meet James, Percy and Charlotte and we live their deceitful drama with them.

I felt bad that James was disinherited and favoured over Charlotte, but also felt bad for Charlotte-I’d be really uncomfortable if I had been chosen to inherit all that money and another family member had been totally over-looked for whatever reason. And an amount that vast! Really uncomfortable. I was glad Charlotte seemed to be strong enough to send James packing when he tried to sweet talk her out of the money though. But Fliss, well she’s not a favourite of mine at all! Neither is Percy.

So we’re introduced to the world of 60’s gambling and dangerous games of cat and mouse, slippery characters and vast skeletons in closets.

Legacy was gripping and well written well good characters, but not my usual era so I can’t say if it was exact in descriptions but I did enjoy it none the less.

About the Author.

Alison Knight is an avid reader and when not reading, she’s creating stories for the world to read. Mine was her first published novel, with Legacy being her second. Knight’s previously worked on writing short autobiographical pieces, women’s fiction and time travel adventures. She also runs workshops and courses-Jack of all trades!

Girl A- Abigail Dean

This book has so many varied reviews and I wanted to say it was amazing all the way through but really the best part for me was the plot twist towards the end.

Lex Gracie is Girl A-the one who escaped her family home-of-horrors which in turn set all the Gracie children free. This brave escape left her father dead and her mother in prison for the rest of her life.

The book gives us a history of what went on in the Gracie household and what took place after with time hops and glimpses in to the siblings other lives. The ending is somewhat happy but no one rides off in to the sunset with the wind in their hair, but the reader can assume some happiness will follow after the last pages.

The idea for Girl A was good. I was really looking forward to reading it, but the time hops aren’t totally clear and the chapter headings are titles the children were given after their rescue, so I expected a chapter from their point of view but that wasn’t what we were given, so sometimes I had to stop reading and look back at the previous page to see where I was in the grand scheme of things.

The plot twist at the end really got me though! I literally did not see that one coming in any way! It was pleasing to have such a psychological twist to the story and really gave Lex/Girl A a lot more depth.

I feel like this would be a good film/series (much like Haunting of Hill House is a better series than book-for me personally) and the tension would be real edge-of-your-seat stuff and would show the time hops in an easier way given the fact that there would be observed abs definitive differences. I would recommend this book but I’m not totally sure if it is worth all of the hype it received.

About the Author

Sir Lambalot~ Jude Lennon

Queen Floss wants to rid the land of dragons, giants and trolls so that her kingdom can be safe and play all day, and she sends her most loyal knight, Sir Lambalot, to remove these creatures in order to maintain a balanced and harmonious life. However, Sir Lambalot being a true knight, believes that all creatures have a misunderstood side to them, and accompanies them to Queen Floss to share their tale of misunderstood woe. Queen Floss learns that these creatures aren’t so scary after all and pose no threat, and even employs them about the castle!

Sir Lambalot is a lovely rhyming book driving home the importance of tolerance, kindness and acceptance. The pictures are beautiful and my little girl and I really enjoyed reading it together and discussing the characters.

The book is aimed at children of primary school age but my pre-schooler really adored it and followed with ease and really understood e importance of giving people a chance and being fair toward them.

This is a perfect read for any family/nursery/early years setting and I have highly recommended it to many other parents and early years workers and will continue to do so!

About the Author

Jude Lennon was a primary education teacher who now enjoys writing children’s books and is about to release a line of books for older children.

Lennon is the current Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate for the North West, a proud member of Team Author UK, a learning destination for the Children’s University, a Patron of Reading and a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. She works closely with the Liverpool based charity The Bobby Colleran Trust and has written two books for them.

Jude’s latest project is a collaboration with Hal’s Books on a series of books which feature an autistic main character. This series is part of the Awesome About Autism range and aims to raise awareness about Autism but also give autistic readers a character they can relate to.

The Silent House~Nell Pattison

If someone entered your home in the middle of the night and brutally murdered one of three children in the bedroom next to yours, you’d know. Wouldn’t you? You would hear them, sense them even. But that’s not the case here, because the child that was murdered while her two siblings slept next to her, was deaf. So are her siblings. And so are her parents.

The murder of Lexi shook the deaf community, and when Paige comes to the aid of the police with her role of interpreter, she suddenly finds that her life is in danger, as well as her sisters.

It takes many twists and dark turns before the mystery of who killed little Lexi comes to the surface, and everyone is a suspect. Right down to the smallest person you could imagine.

The Silent House was exceedingly well written and kept me hooked from beginning to end. Twice I thought I had it all figured out only to have the rug pulled out from under me! The tension was so real and everyone truly was a suspect. The characters were written strongly and the frustrations that those in the deaf community face every day were thrust in to the face of the reader, meaning that not only did you get a good dose of fiction BUT you also got to gleam some understanding of what it is like to face the world around you when you don’t have the use of all five of your senses.

As a person with a (luckily mild at present) hearing loss and numerous issues surrounding hearing, processing and ears, I really felt the frustrations of the hearing and non-hearing characters; it’s hard to be understood when you have so many important things to say and get them across, and it’s also hard to hear and process those things being said when you truly have a physical barrier. It’s also frightening to think that something like sleeping safely in your house can be so impacted when you have a hearing loss.

I loved the character of Paige and

I’ve read numerous reviews since I finished this book and it’s so frustrating to see those few negative reviews when they specifically mention the pace and dialogue; of course dialogue isn’t good when you’re writing deaf characters! Sign language is not the same dialogue as the spoken word and as there is no tone of voice to go with signs, the dialogue can seem to be missing key elements from those witnessing signed conversations. Another review said the characters seemed to have an on-off switch for when to be quiet and when to be scared; of course they do! Their sound level is minimal because most of the characters are deaf and unable to actually use spoken word!

Actually those review made me really cross if I’m being honest. Dialogue from a hearing loss point of view is difficult to understand when you’re fully hearing and difficult to explain when you’re hard of hearing. But I think the book was wi fearful and I really enjoyed it. I will most definitely be going on to read more of Pattison’s Paige Northwood books.

About the Author.

After studying English at university, Nell Pattison became a teacher and specialised in Deaf education. She has been teaching in the Deaf community for 13 years in both England and Scotland, working with students who use BSL. Nell began losing her hearing in her twenties, and now wears hearing aids. She lives in North Lincolnshire with her husband and son. The Deaf House is her debut novel and has been followed by two more surrounding the deaf community.

Girl A- Dan Scottow

Someone thinks they know who she is… and what she did.
But she insists it’s a mistake.
All Beth has ever wanted is a quiet life for her and her family. And that is what she has, until one evening a note is pushed through the door, with two words scrawled in menacing black ink;
Found you.
As Beth’s neatly crafted life begins to unravel, an unseen menace torments her and those she loves. But who’s behind the threats?
Somebody is out to get Beth, but do they have the right woman?
Beth faces losing everything, and there is far more at stake than just her marriage

NOT to be confused with Girl A by Abigail Dean (same title, different book all together!)

I’ll put it out there now-I wasn’t sure if I liked Beth or not and often I had eye rolling moments of “what are you doing?!Just pull yourself together!!” But on the whole characters were really likeable and relatable with a few gruesome ones thrown in for extra suspense! And Cooper the dog! My heart melts for that little fella!

Girl A was very well written, full of suspense and nightmare scenarios that are enough to make any reader feel on edge and disturbed long after the final page has been turned. I want to read it again and honestly feel that Scottow is one to watch and this being his second novel means I’m about to read his previous title!

About the Author

Growing up in Hertfordshire then moving to London in his early twenties, Scottow managed 10 years in the Big City before packing up and moving to Scotland for a more peaceful life where he works as a graphic designer while dreaming of a day when he can write full time-which I’m sure won’t be long if he continues with this immense titles!

Pluto’s in Uranus~Patrick Haylock

KUSHTI RUDDY BOK!

Dave suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Fatalism, meaning every single day, without fail, he follows his online horoscope and finds prophesy in their meanings. And as it just so happens that one day he sees the signs that he believes will lead him down the path of success. Only he’s very, very wrong and it lands him in extremely deep water.

After losing a LOT of money, Dave has no choice but to scramble it all back and in very little time. Which sees Dave box up some of his items and head to the most disastrous church sale and make a very unlikely allegiance with a rag-tag group of eclectic people.

If you fancy a book with an almost Douglas Adams type narrative, laughs, madness and piranhas then Pluto’s in Uranus is for you!

Sometimes it felt a little slow-going but just around the corner there’s always a new character or a sticky situation with hilarious results to pull you back in.

About the Author

Patrick Haylock is a globally unrecognised writer who, if you discount a school sweet pea growing competition, has won no awards whatsoever!
He was born in Enfield at a very dark time in the world.
It was 1:45 am, to be precise, and it wasn’t too long before it dawned on him.
To make something of himself he was going to need two things – the ability to tell the difference between a green onion and a scallion, and a good education.

Patrick lives with his wife in a converted Old Essex Brewery, where he claims a 6% ABV air quality inspired him to craft this nutty tale.
Although a ‘new voice’, in the literary world, those ‘in the know’ will willingly testify that his gift for imaginative storytelling is engaging, and, amusingly unique!

Project Kaitlyn~Grayson Avery

Meet Kaitlyn Colby, a clumsy, inappropriate blurter with self-esteem issues, but also quite handy with an axe. She’s certainly no superhero, but she fights the battles of a single mum with sweet snarkasm. Between work and pining for and co-parenting with her ex, Kaitlyn has no time to find that special someone. And if she did, would he really want her anyway? Her friendship circle intervenes to force her out of the funk that she fell into following her unwanted divorce.

When Kaitlyn makes a decision to pursue her advertising career over love, she tumbles (like no tumble you’ve ever seen…or heard) into the life of hunky, bay breeze-drinking Hunter Dixon, an ad exec who is intrigued enough by Kaitlyn that he hires her firm to revive a struggling project, much like herself.

Can Kaitlyn become the woman she needs to be to land the man of her dreams? Maybe. Maybe not. But it’ll be fun finding out!

I was dubious selecting this to read for a blog tour-I’ve been on a crime/mystery/thriller book-binge for so long that reading something different seemed entirely impossible! And if I’m honest, at times I really didn’t want to carry on with Kaitlyn’s story-being a recent divorcee myself, I felt like this would be the book for me and would lift my spirits and prevent a downward slide in to a slump (but with Covid still reeling havoc on the world, there’s pretty much nothing can lift anyone’s spirits), however I feel like the idea was good and the characters could have been a little stronger (Taylor didn’t really have to be that hyper and horny in my opinion) and some of the situations Kaitlyn found herself in were just agonisingly unbearable BUT I appreciate her journey and do find her lack of self-confidence very familiar; a lot of women during their life become highly self doubtful and it’s quite comforting to know that you’re not alone in feeling like you’re not good enough.

This would be an ideal beach read for a chick-lit and rom-com fan, but it wasn’t for me. I am glad I stuck with it to the last page though, and I would be likely to pick up the next book in this series, but only if I was on holiday or sat in the garden during a hot summer.

There aren’t many of my friends who are in to this genre, but for the few who are, I have recommended the book for “summer shelf”.

About the Author

There isn’t a great deal of information to give on Grayson Avery, except that Avery is the author of The Sweet Water Circle Series, a romantic comedy series that focuses on childhood friends in their 30’s and 40’s as they help each other navigate the stormy waters of dating, marriage, divorce, and a whole lot of inappropriate, naughty, and odd situations.

The next instalment of the series is Jenn Reinvented, due to be released sometime this year, which focuses on Kaitlyn’s younger sister.

Behind Her Eyes~Sarah Pinborough

This had been on my TBR list for months but hadn’t gotten around to reading it, and it wasn’t until I heard that Netflix would be releasing the adaptation that I felt the rushing need to actually get on and read it. And what a read!

I loved the start of the book! I felt so bad for Louise, a working single mum who meets that gorgeous and perfect man-in-the-bar only to discover that not only is he her boss, but he’s married to. I cringed when Louise bumped in to his wife, Adele, and wanted to scream at her to walk away and don’t even go there! But obviously, she does; Louise finds herself drawn to Adele and entering in to a deep friendship at the same time that she Perseus her affair with David, the husband/man-in-the-bar.

It made for an interesting start to the book, but somewhere between the half-way and three-quarter-of-the-way mark, I found myself feeling really bored.

I desperately wanted to love this book and devour it, but I found that I was rolling my eyes at Louise’s sheer stupidity at the whole mess she had found herself in. I wanted to just shake her! And at the same time, when it became clear that Adele was manipulating the situation, I began to really dislike her character.

For all the annoyance and boredom I felt during the book, I did LOVE the ending! It wasn’t just a cliff hanger but it was a really double whammy! I sort of saw part of it coming but not all of it! And that I was really thrilled with!

I did sit down and watch the first episode of the Netflix adaptation and I wasn’t keen-in fact, watching the first episode had me bored like the middle of the book (don’t hate me!). Louise was portrayed as a total simpering moron, Adele seemed robot-like and David was trying too hard to smoulder and it really wasn’t working for him (in my opinion). Since watching the first episode, I have come across a lot of mixed reviews so I’m not particularly eager to sit down and watch the rest of the episodes (I really did want to love the book and find I couldn’t stop watching the series, but that just isn’t the case).

I’m happy to place Pinborough’s other titles on my TBR list of they’re recommended to me, but I’m not overly excited about them if I’m being honest. Her characters were written well and I did like how my opinions of David changed and the cliff hanger was amazing, but there was no “grip” holding me or pulling me in. I could be very wrong and her other titles might just be utterly amazing, but unless someone says to me “you just need to read this; it’s so much better than Behind Her Eyes” then it’s not likely.

Guest Post.

Creating the World of Flammark in the supernatural thriller: When Angels Fear by Polly Mordant.

Flammark is the village setting in my supernatural thriller When Angels Fear. Its central character runs there in a desperate attempt to escape from her abusive partner. It was supposed to be a pin-in-a-map exercise, somewhere random where he couldn’t find her until she’d sorted her head out. Without offering any spoilers to the story, I think it’s fair to say that her intentions in this respect are an epic fail. The events that unfold do so while she’s at her lowest ebb, unable to work out the forces that are really at play in the village and how they affect her decisions. At the time of writing, I didn’t know I was also world-building. Flammark soon became like another character. It has a past—a history—steeped in both Celtic and Christian mythology. We see this first in the church which stands opposite Emma’s cottage. A whole chapter is dedicated to its description. It has Romanesque architecture, with distinctive corbels(see picture)–and is based on quite a famous church St. David’s and St. Mary’s at Kilpeck in Herefordshire.I think it’s really important to develop a strong sense of place within a story. It anchors the reader more to what’s going on. It also serves to anchor the characters too. In Angels, they are so attached to the place, leaving it would be unthinkable-even though Flammark’s past turns out to be as much the villain as the main antagonist. Running away from the threat is unthinkable. Emma also visits Sandmarsh Cathedral, another Norman revivalist building but of much greater scale. Sandmarsh itself, however, is loosely based on idea of Glastonbury. It’s full of new-age shops and has a pagan society. The pre-Christian roots of the town are developed in my short story Hallow’s Way. It’s currently available for free on my website. Ostensibly a Ghost Walk, I’ve used it to build the reader’s familiarity with the setting so that returning to the world becomes easier with each book. I’ve written two such stories now and will be releasing a volume of Flammark Tales once the third novel is completed.

So much time has been spent over the creation of the setting, I’ve had to draw a map of all its burial sites, barrows and standing stones. Thankfully, nothing is wasted. The map will appear in the books at some stage and certainly on Flammark’s dedicated facebook page: Friends of Flammark. Of course it’s not only the setting that makes a thriller. The characters do too and one of the challenges has been to create people who feel real, and who sometimes bounce off each other. Quite a lot of work went into Will, the troubled priest. Because Gabby is not who she seems, hers was also a difficult character. What to reveal, what to hold back? I did enjoy writing the sweary and insensitive D.I. Westen. He proved a great foil against Emma. I originally wrote him to provide texture to the story since the nervy numbness of her first chapters was in danger of flattening the narrative. It has come as a complete surprise that the seems to have gathered quite a fan base. He’s heading the favourite character pole on the Flammark page, by a quarter mile!!Most of the characters are back in the second in series where, yet again, Flammark becomes blighted with an evil spirit and Emma and her friends are threatened once more. It’s called Animus. I’m 20,000 words in at the moment and the main antagonist hasn’t even arrived yet, so am expecting the book to be a tad longer than the first. In many respects, its darker than Angels, more brooding and less ‘chummy.’ The cover has also been agreed, though needs a bit of tweaking. I’m hoping to publish roundabout May/June. If you want to be kept in the loop for publishing dates for Animus and other stories, as well the occasional Flammarkian gossips, do sign up to my newsletter. I hope you will give When Angels Fear a go. If you like thrillers, police procedurals and church mysteries, then I think you’ll enjoy it. I’m hoping to write many more episodes and it’s good to be in on the start of things. I love talking to friends and followers so do please feel free to get in touch on any of my social media, or sign up to my Newsletter. It’s great to keep in touch.

Your Neighbours Wife~Tony Parsons

This is the first book of 2021 I’ve completed that wasn’t for the purpose of a review, and it feels a bit odd if I’m honest! Because there wasn’t a deadline to read to, I really took my time with Your Neighbours Wife-it was okay but it didn’t blow me away.

It seems like Tara has it all-perfect, stay at hone husband, beautiful and smart son, adorable dog and an upbringing in an upper class home with her own pony. Tara runs her own business and a trip for a conference abroad sees her partaking in a one night stand who doesn’t want to leave things in the hotel room.

Once I had gotten over Tara’s indiscretion, I saw how awful her partner for that night really was, and as a reader I really grasped her terror as the book went on. However, I did find it seemed to almost drag in places (this is where I would put the book down and indulge in some TV drama and a cup of tea and put off picking the hook back up for a few nights), but the twist at the end was so worth it! I honestly didn’t see that coming in any way! I don’t want to give too much away, but honestly the entire set-up leading up to that moment was just mind blowing! And that final chapter just made me feel a little bit sentimental for Tara and Christian.

This is the first title of Tony Parsons I have read and I’m not sure if I’ll be adding previous titles to my constantly growing TBR list, and I really can’t compare to anything else he’s written, although a fair few reviews by fans of his do point to this being an entirely different style, genre and pace to Parsons series of titles. But I will say that a few book-bloggers I follow have found some Lisa Jewel titles quite slow and stalling, so I would say this title would seem similar to some. The writing style was good and I liked the characters-it was hard to know if you were meant to like Tara or hate her most of the time, and I really despised James Cain (as the reader is meant to) and the Accidental Dater blogger (didn’t see that one coming but also wasn’t really that surprised by it).

I’ve found an interview that fans of Parsons other books, of anyone whose curious to know more about Your Neighbours Wife, might find interesting.

Author Biography

Born in 1955 in Essex, Tony Parsons went to work in Gordon’s Gin Distillery (I wonder if he’s a fan of gin after all these years?) until he went to work as a music/punk journalist for NME (New Music Express-a magazine publication that’s no more), and much like the character of Christian, he married a fellow NME journalist who he shares a son with and divorced before remarrying again. Parsons has written numerous books going back to the early 00’s and is most well known for his DC Max Wolfe series.