Claire loves to read!

I'm Claire and I'm a voracious reader. I've loved books all my life and am lucky enough to have lots of time to devote to my favourite hobby - reading!

 

My favourite genres are crime, police procedural, psychological thriller, suspense, horror, mystery and paranormal; throw in a hint of romance and it'll tick another box. The type of genres I read has been widened considerably by accepting review requests from authors and publishers, so I'm happy to give almost anything a go!

 

    bookbridgr.com   2016 NetGalley Challenge <img src="https://www.netgalley.com/badge/d3bf833d7b0a76eee0e703fc6d29b8c091c86d3f" width="80" height="80" alt="200 Book Reviews" title="200 Book Reviews"/>
      Reviews Published    2015 Challenge Participant

 *NOT CURRENTLY ACCEPTING REVIEW APPLICATIONS*
 

Review: Murder Game (Detective Ruby Preston #3) by Caroline Mitchell

Murder Game: A gripping serial killer thriller you won't be able to put down (Detective Ruby Preston Crime Thriller Series Book 3) - Caroline Mitchell

Published by: Bookouture (31st October 2017)

 

ISBN: 9781786811622

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

A killer is playing a twisted game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead. 

In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die. 

But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby asks her gangster boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to set up a dangerous meeting to allow her to see into the twisted mind of a murderer.

But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team becomes. Is he really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining her up to be his next victim?

 

Review:

Wow! Every time I finish one of Caroline Mitchell's books I'm aware that I've spent the most part on the edge of my seat, mouth hanging open in shock and my heart hammering away! This was a real page turner with such a captivating plot. You can't help but like the fantastic Ruby Preston, who I absolutely ADORE. She's intelligently written and utterly captivating. I really like how her relationships with Nathan and daughter Cathy are interwoven with the case. It gives such a personal perspective in contrast to the professional side of Ruby and makes for a superbly well rounded character.

 

The case is shocking yet fascinating, like the scene of a car crash. The author is an expert at those twists and turns we just don't see coming...and there are plenty here. The story is intricate, dark and gripping, with great attention to detail. I was more than a little annoyed when life interrupted my reading time (much too often!) and I'm now eagerly awaiting my next fix of Detective Ruby Preston! Thanks to Bookouture for providing an ARC via NetGalley in return for my honest review.

Review: Seeking Eden by Beverley Harvey

Seeking Eden - Harvey Alexander Smith with Beverley Billiris

Published by: Urbane Publications (6th July 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911331896

 

Source:  Review copy via author/publisher

 

Rating: 4.5*

 

Synopsis:

'50 is the new 30 - haven't you heard?'

Or so says Ben Wilde's record producer on the eve of his comeback. If only Ben could win back ex-girlfriend, Kate, he'd be a happy man. But married Kate has moved on, and moved out - to Eden Hill, a quiet housing estate in the suburbs. Lonely and homesick for London, can Kate resist ego-maniac Ben's advances and save her own flagging marriage?

 

Streets away, Kate's new friend Lisa, a Chihuahua toting ex-WAG, is primed for a fresh start - until her footballer ex-husband is found dead and she is vilified in the gutter press. But Kate, Lisa and Ben aren't the only ones having a midlife crisis; local shop owner Martin dreams of escaping his dutiful marriage, and develops an unhealthy obsession with Lisa and her friends in Eden Hill. Alongside a colourful cast of friends and family, Kate, Lisa, Ben and Martin are living proof that older does not always mean wiser because in Eden Hill, there's temptation around every corner.

 

Review:

Seeking Eden is full of interesting, well rounded characters and has a well-written plot with an unforseen ending. There is plenty to hold the reader's interest in this debut novel, which is definitely a page turner. All the different characters really work well together to pack a punch! Being a dog lover/owner, I especially loved the brilliant observations of and interactions between Kate, Lisa, Nellie and Ludo (fabulous name!)

 

There is certainly more to this tale of life in the suburbs than at first glance. There is lots of drama among the personal relationships and everyone seems to want something they don't have! It's like an infinitely more exciting and far better soap opera.

Special thanks to author Beverley Harvey and Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications for providing me with a digital copy in return for my honest review.

Review: Accepting the Unexpected by Mollie Jo Joseph

Accepting the Unexpected - Mollie Jo Joseph

Self-published (25th June 2017) 

 

ASIN: B073BLP8JK

 

Source:  Author provided review copy

 

Rating:  4*

 

Synopsis:

Whoever said love hurts... was not lying!

When Leila Pierce, a creative director for a magazine named "Sleek" got brutally ditched by the man she thought she was going to end up with, that was just the start of her life being turned upside down. After the heartbreaking betrayal, she then found herself in a dark emotional tunnel, veering towards depression.
She finds herself packing her bags and leaving Cornwall, England and heading to New York to help Sleek international magazine make it big in the US. Leila is great at her job, and this means she can quell any anxiety over this amazing opportunity, and when she somehow gets introduced to Blake Collins, an actor and model, things start to look up. 
To add more drama to the mix, she also meets the mysterious Richard Speal, a retired NFL player with a drinking problem and some pretty big emotional baggage of his own. She finds herself inexplicably drawn to Richard—could they be kindred spirits?
How could she possibly fall for another man when she's still broken from the last one? And the bigger question is: which man? 
The one that is too good to be true?
The mysterious one? 
OR
The one she thought she was supposed to be with in the first place?
Too many questions and not enough answers. She needs to work all this out and impress her boss, Miranda Cain, editor and chief at Sleek NY by making the magazine a success. That's a lot for anyone to deal with right?

 

Review:

This book was very much an unexpected treat! Central character Leila is finding her feet in a strange city, and attracting the attention of more than one gorgeous man. Leila is vulnerable and rather naïve, but rather likeable. During the course of the book, we discover Leila is suffering from depression and anxiety. This subject is covered sensitively, you can tell the author has researched the subject well.

Leila's flatmate Jessie, boss Miranda, Blake & Richard are well written and all important to the plot, which is a twist on the classic love triangle. Other minor characters that appear have their part to play too, and are intelligently written. I did guess from their first meeting who Leila would end up with, but that really didn't matter as I still enjoyed the story very much.

This book could definitely do with a proofread and edit. This would tidy up all the little mistakes and give the book a more polished feel. Readers of chick lit will enjoy this heartwarming tale of romance in the Big Apple. Special thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in return for my honest review.

Review: I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

I Am Watching You - Teresa O'Driscoll

Published by: Thomas & Mercer (1st October  2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1542046596

 

Source: Author provided review copy

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis: 

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

 

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

 

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.

 

Review:

Oh WOW! It's almost 4.30 in the morning and I've just finished reading I Am Watching You.  I've got no idea where the last few hours have gone - I've been utterly engrossed. Gripped. I'm in shock. What an ending! Teresa Driscoll you are a sorceress! 

 

Each character in this book is so integral in their own way, and they are all so brilliantly written. I could waffle on for ages about each of them, but that would make such a long (and boring) review...I'll just mention that I adore Ella, she's so beautifully written.

 

I really like how the story unfolds throughout the book, and how we learn more about each of the character's involvement. There are some real surprises along the way, the story is intelligently written and you just have to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.

 

Hands down, I Am Watching You  is the best book I've read so far this year. It's utterly compelling. I urge all my fellow crime fans to read it!  Special thanks to Teresa Driscoll for providing the review copy. 

Review: Grave robbers by Matt Drabble

Grave Robbers - Mr Matt Drabble

Self-published  (29th January 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1542725859

 

Source:  Author provided review copy

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis: 

DI Lucas Grant thought that he'd seen everything that Bayport had to offer. A grim town run by a crime lord with half the police in his pocket and no one willing to take a stand. But now something new is happening, something that makes no sense. Bank robbers who won't stay down despite being shot multiple times, men returning from the dead to wreak havoc and death on his streets. Bayport might be a crime ridden hellhole, but it is still his town and outsiders don't get to burn it down, not without a fight. Saddled with a new partner he can't trust and forced into an uneasy alliance with the criminal who ruined his town Grant will finally have to make a stand. Forced to fight against the darkness he will get answers and find those responsible, wherever the truth lies and however incredible it might be.

 

Review:

If you're a fan of zombies, this is the book for you! The walking (un)dead are on the loose in Bayport and there's not a lot of people to stop them! Fast-paced, with plenty of action, Grave Robbers certainly packs a punch. 

There are plenty of interesting characters here. The good guys are likeable - I especially like LT, and the villains are loathsome. The story is good, yes, its been done before, but that's all good! Reanimation is all over the place at the moment, in more ways than one, what with remakes of this and that! This is rather gory in places, as you'd expect, but nothing a regular horror reader can't handle. Definitely worth a read! 

Special thanks to Matt Drabble for providing a digital copy in return for my unbiased review. 

Review: The Truth by Peter James

The Truth - Peter James

Published by: Orion (2nd August 2007 -reprint)

 

ISBN: 978-1407220505

 

Source:  Purchased 

 

Rating: 4.5*

 

Synopsis:

Susan and John Carter are crazy about each other and life is perfect but for one thing - they are on the brink of financial disaster. Surely being a surrogate mother to another man's child won't harm such a strong relationship? Especially when the mysterious Mr Sarotzini is offering to save their home and business - everything they've worked for.

What seems to be a perfect solution begins to feel like an impossible situation. Susan's pregnancy is disturbingly painful but no-one will tell her why. It becomes apparent that Sarotzini wields immense power and Susan begins to doubt everything she knows. As she realises the terrifying origin of the dark forces Sarotzini controls she is in fear for herself and John but most of all for her unborn baby ...

 

Review:

What seems like the perfect solution to the Carter's financial problems is the central theme of this horrific tale. Cleverly written, with dark characters and terrifying, grotesque attention to detail, the couple's involvement with the mysterious Satotzini and Susan's ensuing pregnancy are described in meticulous detail. Susan's dreams, in particular, a hard image to shake from the mind.

 

Although this book is gruesome in parts, I was utterly compelled to keep reading. I had to find out what happened to Susan and her baby. I picked this book up in the hospital as I had nothing with me to read and a long wait ahead. I thought I might be mildly entertained, perhaps pass the few hours, I certainly wasn't expecting it to be so gripping! I've read a couple of books by the author in the past, although not for some time. Why I've not read more, I'm not sure, but I'll definitely be reading more of his work in the future!

Review: Ultraxenopia by M.A. Phipps

Published by: Seven Sisters Publishing (1st August 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1546934400

 

Source: ARC via author

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. Those are the rules I lived by—the rules I thought would keep me alive. 

I was wrong.

Wynter Reeves is a law-abiding citizen of the State, a willing conformist whose daily life is haunted by terrorism and oppression. With the constant threat of death hanging over her like a shadow, she forces herself to live by a strict set of rules, all in the hope of ensuring she is never noticed. However, on her twenty-first birthday, as she prepares to take the placement exam that will determine her future within society, she begins to show symptoms of a rare and debilitating illness—ultimately attracting the attention of the State. Taken into the custody of the feared research facility known as the DSD, her worst nightmare becomes reality.

Ripped away from the life she knew, Wynter is forced to become the test subject of the mysterious Dr. Richter. Through him, she learns the true and terrifying nature of her condition: a disease called Ultraxenopia.

 

Review:

I initially read and reviewed Ultraxenopia when it was self-published and it was my number one read of the year. It's now been completely revised, together with the most breathtakingly beautiful front cover image I have ever seen. This is my review of this new, revised publication.

 

I was immediately struck by the author's fantastically descriptive writing style. There is such meticulous attention to detail that every possible query is accounted for. This debut novel is intelligently written and haunting with a gripping plot. It is just extraordinary. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars! It is in turn shocking, thrilling, horrifying yet so beautifully written.

 

Wynter is a great character. She's vulnerable yet feisty, determined and resilient. She is so likeable and I believe that readers, be they fans of young, or new, adult, or other genres, they will find it very difficult not to feel empathy for Wynter. Dr Richter, on the other hand, is the complete opposite; he's the epitome of every evil villain you could ever encounter.

 

I'd pretty much stopped reading dystopian books because many of them were so alike and I got disheartened, but Ultraxenopia has restored my faith in the genre. It is, hands down, the best dystopian novel I've ever read - better than all the Divergent, Hunger Games and Maze Runner books.

 

It is difficult to say much else without giving away too much of the plot, but suffice to say, I read it in one sitting as I simply could not put it down! I was utterly engrossed and unaware of my surroundings. It felt as though I was experiencing every emotion alongside Wynter, and was as desperate as she to fight for survival. I simply cannot praise it highly enough!

 

 

Spotlight - Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

 For a limited period, the eBook version of Rarity from the Hollow is on sale for $2.99 and the Paperback is on sale for $16.99. https://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton/dp/190713395X/

Author proceeds contribute to the prevention of child maltreatment: http://www.childhswv.org/

Project Updates: https://www.facebook.com/Lacy-Dawn-Adventures-573354432693864/

Synopsis:

Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage -- an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It's up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn't mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

 

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children's Story. For Adults.

 

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”

Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

 

 

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”

    Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

 

 

. "…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy." -- Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

 

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” --Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

 

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” — Piers Anthony , New York Times bestselling author

 

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” -- The Baryon Review

 

Culture: This novel was written in colloquial Appalachian voice.

 

Political Allegory: This novel was the first, perhaps the only, science fiction adventure to specifically predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power -- parody with no political advocacy one side or any other. Readers find out how Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, convinced Mr. Rump (Bernie Sanders) to help talk Mr. Prump (Donald Trump) into saving the universe. The allegory includes pressing issues that are being debated today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, an issue that several European commentators have compared to cockroach infestation; extreme capitalism / consumerism vs. domestic spending for social supports; sexual harassment…. Mr. Prump in my story was a projection of Donald Trump based on the TV show, The Apprentice. The counterpart, Mr. Rump, was based on my understanding of positions held by Bernie Sanders as I wrote the story. Part of the negotiations in the story occur in the only high rise on planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop), a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance, now more easily identifiable as Trump Tower. The allegory was not addressed by ARC reviewers of the novel because so few people worldwide considered Donald Trump to be a serious political contender until the primary elections in the U.S. The political allegory in the novel is obvious now that Donald Trump has become a household name.

 

Formats: Review copies are available in .pdf, .mobi, and .epub formats. With some exceptions, paperbacks for review are limited to the U.K. and the U.S. so as to avoid international shipping costs. If interested, please specify the format and I'll send you a copy.  

 

Sample Reviews of Final Edition: Requests for reviews of the new edition of Rarity from the Hollow are now being considered. On 1-6-17, the first was published, five stars. To facilitate your consideration of reviewing this novel, the closing lines were: "…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s 'Animal Farm.' I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list." https://marcha2014.wordpress. com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for- rarity-from-the-hollowby- robert-eggleton/

On 2-17-17, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes, a critic whose book reviews often appear in the New York Review of Science Fiction, published his review of the final edition, five stars: "…I know this all sounds pretty whack, and it is, but it's also quite moving. Lacy Dawn and her supporting cast - even Brownie, the dog - are some of the most engaging characters I've run across in a novel in some time…." http://sturgeonslawyer.livejournal.com/

“…It feels timeless, classic and mature in way that would ensure its longevity if more people knew about it… a distinctive approach to the adult-fairytale/modern-retelling sub-genre…I would even say it could be read in a college setting both for the craft itself and its unique brand of storytelling. The premise is brilliant." https://taylaroi.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/rarity-from-the-hollow-by-robert-eggleton-a-revised-book-review/

 

Sample Positive Reviews of Advance Review Copy: The ARC of this novel had a formatting error that has been corrected. The final edition reads much smoother. This problem likely affected some reviewers of the ARC. A few book bloggers have upgraded their reviews based on a review of the final edition and others may do the same. Despite the formatting problem, the ARC was awarded two Gold Medals by major book review organizations, was named one of the best releases of 2015 by a Bulgaria book critic, and received twenty-six five star reviews and forty-three four star reviews by independent book review bloggers. An unsolicited Top 100 Amazon Reviewer found:

 

"Rarity from the Hollow written by Robert Eggleton, to be fully honest, was much more than expected and a great read – semi-autobiographical literary work full of beautiful and ugly things, adventure, romance, pain and humor…."

 

Another reviewer of the ARC found that the writing style was one-quarter turn beyond that of Kurt Vonnegut. http://electricrev.net/2014/ 08/12/a-universe-on-the-edge/

The ARC was found by the editor of Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine, to be “laugh-out-loud funny” in some scenes. Long-time book critic, Barry Hunter, closed his review, “…good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find." http://thebaryonreview. blogspot.com/search?updated- min=2012-01-01T00:00:00-05:00& updated-max=2013-01-01T00:00: 00-05:00&max-results=50

Vonnegut, Douglas Adams (i.e., Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), or Tom Robbins (i.e., Another Roadside Attraction) are also close examples by subgenre. A former Editor of Reader's Digest found that, "Rarity from the Hollow is the most enjoyable science fiction that I've read in several years…."  http://warriorpatient.com/ blog/?p=58 My novel was referred to as a Hillbilly version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy  and awarded a gold medal by Awesome Indies:  “…Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate….”  http://awesomeindies.net/ai- approved-review-of-rarity- from-the-holly-by-robert- eggleton/  

With respect to the story's treatment of tough social issues, this reviewer said: "…I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go http://www.onmykindle.net/ 2015/11/rarity-from-hollow. html

A book reviewer from Bulgaria named Rarity from the Hollow as one of the best five books that he had read in 2015, along with Revival by Stephen King and The Martian by Andy Weir. http://codices.info/2015/12/ top-5-for-2015-ventsi/

On December 31, 2016, the ARC of Rarity from the Hollow was named a Top Pick for 2016: http://everyfreechance.com/2016/12/efcs-top-picks-of-2016.html.

On January 20, 2016, it was awarded a second Gold Medal by a popular book review site: https://readersfavorite.com/ book-review/rarity-from-the- hollow.

Additional praise of the ARC has been posted by book bloggers on Amazon.

 

Social Commentary: My work utilizes SF/F cross-genre as a backdrop. It is not hard science fiction and includes elements of fantasy, everyday horror, a ghost -- so it's a little paranormal, true-love type romance, mystery, and adventure. The content addresses social issues: poverty, domestic violence, child maltreatment, local and intergalactic economics, mental health concerns – including PTSD experienced by Veterans and the medicinal use of marijuana for treatment of Bipolar Disorder, Capitalism, and touches on the role of Jesus: “Jesus is everybody’s friend, not just humans.”

 

Writing Style: This novel is written in third person omniscient narrator. “…The author has created a new narrative format, something I’ve never seen before, with a standard third-person narration, interspersed, lightly, with first-person asides. This makes me think of Eugene O’Neill’s play Strange Interlude where internal and external dialogue are blended...partaking a little of the whimsical and nonsensical humor of Roger Zelazny or even Ron Goulart….” Jefferson Swycaffer, Affiliate, Fantasy Fan Federation. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1QI8J7NME5GE/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B017REIA44 Some of the inner thoughts of characters are in italics following the speaker's voice. For some busy book reviewers, this style could feel like it slows down the read and could result in head hopping if an attempt is made to read this novel too quickly, but for leisurely readers with time to contemplate it is a good fit. "…If it does not make you think, you are not really reading it…." http://www.onmykindle.net/ 2015/11/rarity-from-hollow. html      

 

About the Author: I recently retired after 52 years of contributions into the U.S. Social Security fund so that I could write and promote my fiction. I’m a former mental health psychotherapist in West Virginia . After coming home drained from working with child abuse victims, I didn't have the energy left to begin self-promotion of this project. Most of the successes listed above have been achieved in the last fifteen months following my retirement. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program in my home state. http://www.childhswv.org/ A listing of services that are supported can be found here: http://mountainrhinestones. blogspot.com/2015/06/review- giveaway-rarity-from-hollow- by.html.  

 

The Press: Dog Horn Publishing is a traditional small press located in Leeds . Adam Lowe is the owner. http://www.doghornpublishing. com/wordpress/books/rarity- from-the-hollow  The press also showcases other semi avant garde titles and publishes a popular magazine for the GLBTQ community (Vada).  

 

Supporting Information

 

The second edition of Rarity from the Hollow was released on November 3, 2016: http://www.lulu.com/shop/robert-eggleton/rarity-from-the-hollow/paperback/product-22910478.html. The eBook version was released on December 5, 2016: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017REIA44/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk.  

 

Purchase links:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ robert-eggleton/rarity-from- the-hollow/paperback/product- 22910478.html

http://www.amazon.com/Rarity- Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/ dp/B017REIA44

http://www.doghornpublishing. com/wordpress/books/rarity- from-the-hollow 

 

Public Author Contacts:

http://www.lacydawnadventures. com

https://www.goodreads.com/ book/show/32993259-rarity- from-the-hollow

https://www.facebook.com/Lacy- Dawn-Adventures- 573354432693864/

https://twitter.com/ roberteggleton1

https://plus.google.com/b/ 108662084126982201049/ 108662084126982201049/posts

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ robert-eggleton-909b154b?trk= nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

 

 

 

An excerpt from Rarity from the Hollow:

From chapter 13, Mom I’d Like to Introduce You to My Fiancé:

            …..…Jenny (the mother) walked up the hill to Roundabend. She called Lacy Dawn's name every few yards. Her muddy tennis shoes slipped and slid.

            I hear her voice. Why won't she answer me? 

            “Sounds like she’s talking to someone,” Jenny said to the Woods. 

            Nobody responded. The trees weren't supposed to since Jenny was no longer a child. Her former best friends had made no long-term commitment beyond childhood victimization. They had not agreed to help her deal with domestic violence in adulthood. She hugged the closest tree.

            I will always love you guys. 

Jenny quickened her pace, stopped, and listened for human voices. A few yards later, she stopped again.   

            Now it sounds like she’s behind me instead of in front. 

            Jenny looked to the left of the path.

            There ain't no cave Roundabend, but there it is. 

            She walked toward the entrance. The voices grew louder and she looked inside. Lacy Dawn sat on a bright orange recliner. Tears streamed down her face.  Jenny ran to her daughter through a cave that didn't exit and into a blue light that did.

            “All right, you mother f**ker!”

            “Mom!” Lacy Dawn yelled. “You didn’t say, ‘It’s me’ like you're supposed to (a traditional announcement mentioned earlier in the story)."

            DotCom (the android) sat naked in a lotus position on the floor in front of the recliner.  Jenny covered Lacy Dawn with her body and glared at him.   

            "Grrrrr," emanated from Jenny.  It was a sound similar to the one that Brownie (Lacy Dawn's dog) made the entire time the food stamp woman was at their house.  It was a sound that filled the atmosphere with hate.  No one moved.  The spaceship’s door slid shut.

            “Mommmmmy, I can’t breathe. Get up.”

            “You make one move you sonofabitch and I’ll tear your heart out,” Jenny repositioned to take her weight off Lacy Dawn.

            Stay between them.

            “Mommy, he’s my friend. More than my friend, we’re going to get married when I'm old enough -- like when I turn fourteen. He’s my boyfriend -- what you call it -- my fiancé.” 

            “You been messin’ with my little girl you pervert!” Jenny readied to pounce. 

            “MOM!  Take a chill pill! He ain’t been messing with me. He’s a good person, or whatever. Anyway, he’s not a pervert. You need to just calm down and get off me.”

            Jenny stood up. DotCom stood up. Jenny’s jaw dropped.

            He ain't got no private parts, not even a little bump.   

            “DotCom, I’d like to introduce you to my mommy, Mrs. Jenny Hickman. Mommy, I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé, DotCom.”

            Jenny sat down on the recliner. Her face was less than a foot from DotCom’s crotch and she stared straight at it. It was smooth, hairless, and odor free.  

            “Mrs. Hickman, I apologize for any inconvenience that this misunderstanding has caused. It is very nice to meet you after having heard so much. You arrived earlier than expected. I did not have time to properly prepare and receive. Again, I apologize.” 

            I will need much more training if I'm ever assigned to a more formal setting than a cave, such as to the United Nations.

            “Come on, Mommy. Give him a hug or something.”      

            Jenny's left eye twitched. 

            DotCom put on clothing that Lacy Dawn had bought him at Goodwill. It hung a little loose until he modified his body. Lacy Dawn hugged her mother…    

            …(scene of Dwayne, the father, overheard by those in the spaceship while talking to himself)… “Besides, the transmitter was part of Daddy’s treatment. There're a lot of other things that he did to help fix Daddy. DotCom is like a doctor. You ca n see that Daddy has gotten better every day. And no, there ain’t no transmitter in you. DotCom figured you out like a good doctor and the only things wrong are a lack of opportunity and rotten teeth that poison your body. You don’t need no transmitter. He just gave you a few shots of ego boost. I don’t know what medicine that is, but I trust him. You ain't complained since the shots started -- not even with an upset stomach.”

            "He's a doctor?" Jenny asked.

            “What's your problem anyway?” Lacy Dawn asked. “I know.  You’re prejudiced. You told me that people have much more in common than they do that's different -- even if someone is a different color or religion, or from a different state than us. You told me to try to become friends because sometimes that person may need a good friend. Now, here you are acting like a butt hole about my boyfriend. You’re prejudiced because he’s different than us.”

            “Honey, he’s not even a person – that’s about as different as a boyfriend can get,” Jenny said.

            “So?”

            Mommy's right. Maybe I need a different argument.

            A fast clicking sound, a blur of motion, and a familiar smell assaulted them.

            "What's that?" Jenny asked. 

            She moved to protect her daughter from whatever threat loomed. Brownie, who had been granted 27 / 7 access to the ship, bounded over the orange recliner, knocked DotCom to the floor, licked DotCom’s face, and rubbed his head on Jenny’s leg. He then jumped onto the recliner and lay down. His tail wagged throughout. Jenny sat down on the recliner beside Brownie and looked at Lacy Dawn.

            “But, you were crying when I first came in. That thing was hurting you.” Jenny shook her finger at DotCom to emphasize a different argument against him.

            “Mommy, I'm so happy that I couldn’t help but cry. My man just came home from an out-of-state job. I didn't talk to him for a whole year. Before he left, he told me that he wasn’t even sure if he'd be able to come home. I still don’t know what happened while he was gone. We ain't had no chance to talk. All I know is that he's home and I'm sooooo happy.”

            “Your man came home from an out-of-state job?” Jenny patted Brownie on his head, some more and some more…. 

            It's unusual for a man to promise to come back home and ever be seen again. Brownie likes him and that's a good sign. Maybe she's right about him helping Dwayne. Something sure did and it wasn’t me. It is a nice living room. They've been together for a while and I ain't seen a mark on her. That's unusual too. He ain't got no private parts and that's another good thing. Hell, if I get in the middle, she’d just run off with him anyway. I'd better play it smart. I don't want to lose my baby. 

            “What about his stupid name?” Jenny asked.

            “I’ve got a stupid name, too. All the kids at school call me hick because my last name is Hickman.”

            “My name was given to me by my manager a very long time ago. It represents a respected tradition -- the persistent marketing of that which is not necessarily the most needed. I spam…,” DotCom said. 

            They both glared at him. 

            "Dwayne is sure to be home. I don’t want him to worry. Let’s go,” Jenny said. 

            “Okay, Mommy.”

            “I love you, DotCom,” Lacy Dawn stepped out the ship’s door, which had slid open. Brownie and Jenny were right behind her. 

            “I love you too,” DotCom said.

            Lacy Dawn and Jenny held hands and walked down the path toward home. The trees didn’t smile -- at least not so Jenny would notice. On the other hand, no living thing obstructed, intruded, or interfered with the rite.   

            Jenny sang to the Woods, “My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up.  My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up….”

 

About Robert:

Robert Eggleton has served as a children's advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next -- never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency. Today, he is a recently retired children's psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

Review: Beware the Cuckoo by Julie Newman

Beware the Cuckoo - Julie Newman

Published by: Urbane Publications (18th May 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911129912

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

Two women. One man. A buried secret.

 

They were reunited at his funeral, school friends with a shared past. A past that is anything but straightforward. A past that harbours secrets and untruths.

 

Karen has a seemingly perfect life. An adoring husband, two wonderful children and a beautiful home. She has all she has ever wanted, living the dream. She also has a secret.

 

Sandra's once perfect life is rapidly unravelling. The man who meant everything to her had a dark side and her business is failing. To get her life back on track she needs to reclaim what is rightfully hers. She knows the secret.

 

As the past meets the present, truths are revealed - and both women understand the true cost of betrayal.

 

Review:

With  Beware the Cuckoo, Julie Newman has written a powerful debut centered around a sensitive subject matter. At times, this made for very uncomfortable reading. If you're the parent of a teenage girl, this book will certainly make you worry about what could happen right under your nose.

 

I like how the story is told in both present day and past tense, so we learn the story of Karen and Sandra's friendship from the beginning and the end at the same time. I found some parts of the story quite compelling, and others I managed to guess before they happened, hence just missing out on the 5* review. I was intrigued by the title of this book and not really sure what to expect, but I'm glad I decided to read it, it's really worth it. I recommend it to readers of psychological thrillers, crime and harder hitting women's fiction.

 

Thanks to Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications, Julie Newman and NetGalley for the ARC in return for my honest review.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 80%.

Beware the Cuckoo - Julie Newman

Review: The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet

The Frozen Woman - Jon Michelet, Don Bartlett

Publisher: No Exit Press (21st Sept 2017)

 

ISBN-13: 978-1843442929

Source: Real Readers

Rating: 2*

 

Synopsis:

In the depths of the Norwegian winter, a woman s frozen corpse is discovered in the garden of a notorious ex-lawyer, Vilhelm Thygesen. She has been stabbed to death.

A young biker, a member of a gang once represented by the lawyer, is found dead in suspicious circumstances.

Thygesen starts receiving anonymous threats, and becomes ensnared in a web of violence, crime and blackmail that spreads across Northern Europe.

Does the frozen woman hold the key?

 

Review:

I have lost count of the number of times I have picked up The Frozen Woman over the past several weeks. Usually, I really enjoy nordic crime thrillers, and this has twice won Norway's best crime novel, so there is no reason that I should not thoroughly enjoy it. I just could not get into it. At my last attempt, I got about 40% in, and then just completely lost interest again. I persevered more than I normally would if I had bought the book rather than had been given it to review, but alas, it was not for me. Thank you to the nudge team for providing a copy for me to review via Real Readers.

Review: Summer at Buttercup Beach by Holly Martin

Summer at Buttercup Beach: A gorgeously uplifting and heartwarming romance - Holly Martin

Published by: Bookouture (27th June 2017

 

ISBN: 978-1786812018

 

Source: Netgalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

For two years Freya Greene has hidden the fact that she’s totally and utterly in love with her best friend Rome Lancaster. It’s not been easy – they work together in his glasswork business, she lives above his workshop and, he’s completely gorgeous. But Rome has never shown any sign of returning those feelings. Until now…

Lately they’ve shared affectionate touches and words heavy with meaning. Yet Freya knows Rome has a damaged heart. After losing his fiancé in a tragic accident, he’s not allowed himself to fall in love.

Freya has already had her heart broken by a man who couldn’t let go of a past love. Can she risk it happening again? Rome and Freya have a friendship that could blossom into something more. Are they both brave enough to take that chance?

 

Review:

I needed a touch of summer sunshine to break through the miserable rainy weather and cloud that had stolen my reading mojo - and Holly Martin seems to have provided the perfect prescription in Summer at Buttercup Beach!

 

The two main characters create gorgeous works of art together and have been friends for a long time. The ideal couple who just haven't got together - Freya is someone who I'd want to be friends with. She's the sort of person you could talk to about anything without fear of being judged. Rome would be your ideal best friend and boyfriend combined...kinda like my hubby if I'm honest! I was just itching for them to stop pussyfooting around and get together!

 

The setting of Buttercup Beach is gorgeous. The descriptions are lovely, makes you fall in love with the place and the people. I want to go and live on Hope Island right now! It's so beautifully written, it really was a dream to read and I just couldn't put it down, I started reading it at midnight and read it all through the night!

 

I feel I've really missed out as I've not read enough of Holly's books...I will be rectifying that straight away! This is such a feel good warm read, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a comforting, uplifting read that will transport them to another place.

Review: Together by Julie Cohen

Together - Julie Cohen

Published by: Orion (13 July 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1409171744

 

Source:  Publisher

 

Rating: 4.5*

 

Synopsis:

Is this a great love story?

Or a story about great love?
You decide.

 

On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually would. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie's actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret - one they will do absolutely anything to protect.

 

Review:

Together is the hauntingly beautiful tale of Robbie and Emily and their love for one another. Told backwards, this heartbreaking and deeply moving story is original, gripping and all-encompassing. I really like that out begins when the couple are older and works its way back, so we get to find out what it was like when they first met. I became so engrossed in Robbie and Emily's story, I was only vaguely aware of my surroundings.

 

The couple's secret, when it is revealed, is quite shocking. If I hadn't already guessed what that secret was, this book would have got a big 5 stars from me. I usually read crime, so perhaps that stood me in good stead for detective duties in uncovering the secret here!

 

Although this is the first book by this author that I've read, it certainly won't be the last. I am really impressed with her ability to draw the reader in and hold their attention. Special thanks to the publishers for providing an ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

The Monk of Lantau by Mann Matharu

The Monk of Lantau - Mann Matharu

Published on 7th August 2015

 

ISBN: 978-1504987615

 

Source: Author provided review copy

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

The search for a meaningful existence is as universal as it is elusive. When obstacles to happiness and personal goals seem to riddle our horizons, where do we turn for answers? Meet Matthew, an average Londoner, a family man, intent on the all-too-normal pursuit of making a better life for himself and his family. When an accident threatens to become the proverbial straw that breaks his back, Matthew finds himself at a crossroad in his life. In the way the universe has of placing the right people in our lives at just the right time, Matthew happens upon a tale from an unlikely source, a tale of a man with mystical healing powers, someone Matthew can seek to restore balance and harmony to his life and heal his daughter, who is fighting for her own. As he traipses through Europe, the Middle East, India, and Asia in search of the healer, nothing about the beautiful, trying, and challenging outward journey compares to the progress he makes as he travels into the depths of his own being. Through Matthew's journey, we are given the keys to finding the healer for ourselves. Most importantly, readers are invited to harness the beauty and prosperity that come when we seek ways to recognize that we are all connected to each other and we are all marvellous and powerful creators of our own unique, stunning life stories.

 

Review:

I happened to be at a friend's house for the weekend when she mentioned she was reading this book. I was intrigued by both the title and the description, so when my friend said the author was looking for more reviewers, I turned a blind eye to my teetering TBR and offered my services. What follows is my unbiased review.

 

Although I was expecting the bulk of this book to follow Matthew on his journey, I wasn't prepared for the emotional attachment I made to him and some of the other characters

along the way. As Matthew travels through different countries and discovers more about himself, it made me really think about him. Although I have probably few of the same experiences as him; I'm not a parent, for example, I tried really hard to put myself in his place, something I think far too few people do in Western society.

 

I really enjoyed the way the story alternates between the different sets of characters. The story as a whole is really engaging. It's hard to say more and still avoid spoilers, but suffice to say this is one of those books that has touched me and that I will no doubt re-read from time to time.

 

Thanks to Jules for introducing me to this author. Thanks to Mann for the book and to Jules for sending it!

The Frozen Woman - Jon Michelet, Don Bartlett

DNF 40%

 

I tried several times to persevere with this but it just couldn't hold my interest. 

Ultraxenopia by M. A. Phipps is published today!

 

 

Ultraxenopia, a YA dystopian thriller by M. A. Phipps is published by Seven Sisters Publishing on August 1st 2017. I first read Ultraxenopia back when the author self-published in 2015 and it was my top read of that year. Despite not being a regular reader of YA fiction, the story of Wynter Reeves has long since stayed with me and I cannot recommend this book highly enough! 

Here is the stunning new cover image, designed by Nathalia Suellen.

 

 

Exerpt:

Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. Those are the rules I lived by—the rules I thought would keep me alive. I was wrong.

Wynter Reeves is a law-abiding citizen of the State, a willing conformist whose daily life is haunted by terrorism and oppression. With the constant threat of death hanging over her like a shadow, she forces herself to live by a strict set of rules, all in the hope of ensuring she is never noticed. However, on her twenty-first birthday, as she prepares to take the placement exam that will determine her future within society, she begins to show symptoms of a rare and debilitating illness—ultimately attracting the attention of the State. Taken into the custody of the feared research facility known as the DSD, her worst nightmare becomes reality. Ripped away from the life she knew, Wynter is forced to become the test subject of the mysterious Dr. Richter. Through him, she learns the true and terrifying nature of her condition: a disease called Ultraxenopia.

 

Watch the brilliant trailer here

Support the thunderclap here - this means just one post on your social media :) no spam!

Join in the celebration at the release party on facebook later today (August 1st) here

 

About the author

 

M. A. PHIPPS is an American author who resides near the ocean in picturesque Cornwall with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.

 

You can make contact with the author v via her official webpage here or via

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Official Fan Group

She'd love to hear from you!

 

Buy Ultraxenopia at:

Amazon US  UK 

Nook

iBooks

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Excerpt: 

“This isn’t how it looks,” I stammer.
A sarcastic laugh explodes from his lungs, echoing through the otherwise soundless bar.
“Really? Because, from where I’m standing, it looks like you’re one of them.”
“I’m not.” The words sound weak and unconvincing.
He pushes the barrel of the gun against my temple, and our faces are so close now that I can feel his heated breath against my lips.
“Why should I believe you?” he growls.
I tense my jaw, spitting my next words through clenched teeth. “If I was one of them, they would already be here,” I hiss back.
The State doesn’t play games. He must know that better than anyone. They wouldn’t waste time sending in a single person when they could more efficiently get the job done by sending a whole team. If I was one of them, the Enforcers would already be here. The State wouldn’t bother with this game of charades.
His expression doesn’t change, but I can see his true reaction in his gaze—the doubt that appears there. He seems to grasp that what I’ve said makes sense, but at the same time, can’t wrap his head around any other reason why I’d be here.
He wavers, and I can feel his uncertainty in the way the point of his gun wobbles against my skin. His eyes remain fixed on mine, making my heart race even faster. I only glance away when I notice a movement to my right. Looking up, I see another man now standing beside us.
“We can’t take any chances,” the man grumbles before spitting on the floor in front of me. “We should kill her to be sure.”
A deep-rooted panic washes over me, the fear like a smoldering and inextinguishable ember. Despite everything I’ve seen, I still have my doubts as to what’s really happening, and I can’t help worrying that this won’t end well. How can it? I won’t even be given the chance to defend myself.
He presses the gun even harder against my forehead, causing me to suck in a sharp breath. Our eyes lock once again.
“How do you know my name?”
I stare at him, trying to figure out the best way to answer his question. His hazel eyes are probing, but I find myself losing focus on his expression. His face has gone hazy, the bar even darker. The nausea from before returns with a vengeance, consuming my entire body and pressing down on me with a force that threatens to pin me to the floor.
I sway, lightheaded.
A strange trickling resonates around us, the sound deafening in the hushed bar. At first, I think I’m imagining it, but then I see the alarming change in his face.
His eyebrows pull together as he looks down, and suddenly, he’s taking a reflexive step back. I follow his gaze once more, my own vision doubling as I take in the tremendous pool of red that seems to surround me.
I watch the blood as it drips from my open wrist, the bandage soaked through and unravelling from its hiding place in the no longer white sleeve.
His eyes snap back to mine, and my every movement feels delayed as I glance up to meet them. The moment I do, the images from my vision flash through my thoughts, reminding me why I’m here.
I see his face. His hazel eyes.
I see his tears.
“I’m sorry, Wynter.”
Any and all light that the bar possessed vanishes in an instant, and the pain I had managed to forget hits me all at once. I gaze at him, concentrating on his face as much as my increasing blood loss will allow. Focusing on his eyes, which continue to stare back at me.
My lips pull into a smile as the darkness rushes to overcome me.
“I saw you,” I breathe.