10 New Books in 2015 from some of my favourite authors

I'm really getting into lists to finish off my book blogging for 2015. I've already got 5 Authors I've discovered in 2015 and enjoyed reading and 3 Detectives I met in fiction in 2015. Here's another list (in publication date order):

10 New Books in 2015 from some of my favourite authors


1. TERRY TYLER Last Child

Published February 2015

I couldn't put this book down and kept snatching quick reads every time I had to do something else. The device of using historical personalities and events as the framework for the novel works really well. The author has used the Tudor history really effectively but makes adjustments where necessary to avoid the contemporary plot becoming strained and contrived. I loved the way the relationships between various characters were explored and evolved. The author has used her trademark reality style to make her characters come alive and zing. The writing is clever, original and compelling and the whole two-book saga is a totally enjoyable read.
Book Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Child-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B00TV1YBSQ

2. JONATHAN HILL Pride

Published February 2015

As you would expect from this author, Pride is a very well written novella. Don't let its easy-reading style lead you into thinking it's a simplistic tale. The book works on a number of levels. It tells the story of Liam, an adolescent who is coming-of-age and coming-out. It's a charming story of a young man who meets another and falls in love. There are ups and downs in an ever-changing social whirl but all is resolved in a happy-ever-after ending.

On another level Pride is an exploration of the difficulties encountered by a young person who has come to terms with their orientation but is struggling to share the news. The author has explored sensitively some challenging relationships between parents and child. The reactions of others, both those who are empathetic and those who are openly hostile, adds depth to the story and provides the conflicts and tensions which make the book so engaging and interesting.

In addition Jonathan Hill has created a story which, although focussed on a young man who is gay, overarches the emotional development of all adolescents. Pride is a paradigm of otherness and the search for inclusion. There is an interesting juxtaposition of narrative intercut with reflections from the older, and wiser, Liam. And it's here where there are hints that all is not quite as happy-ever-after as the young Liam's story suggests. Maybe there is more of this story yet to tell.

I thought this was a lovely, beautifully written story and I enjoyed it so much I read it twice.
Book Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pride-Jonathan-Hill-ebook/dp/B00TJEPVIO

3. LUCIANA CAVALLARO Search for the Golden Serpent

Published March 2015

Search for the Golden Serpent is an historical, mythological, fantasy quest on an epic scale. The plot is completely plausible. Fantasy and reality meld seamlessly with mythology until the reader is immersed in a world of times long past urging the hero, Evan / Evandros, to step up, take command and do whatever is necessary to save the day.

I was confident that Search for the Golden Serpent would be well written. Luciana Cavallaro has already demonstrated in Accursed Women her ability to tell a tale, sustain the reader's engagement from start to finish and keep the pages turning. However I did wonder how she would get on with a full length novel after writing shorts. The answer is she gets on really well and she's brought all her talent as a writer of short stories into this her first full length novel. The complex plotting, the fully developed characterisation and the beautiful descriptions of places, people and cultures are a delight to read.

Search for the Golden Serpent is a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy quest novel which really works but the novel is made extra special by the wonderful background detail that the author has woven throughout the story. As the reader accompanies Evan / Evandros and the other characters from one ancient place to another their world comes alive. Luciana Cavallaro's passion for Ancient History and Mythology permeates every page of this book and she paints verbal pictures of the changing scenes that are vivid and detailed and a pleasure to read.
Book Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Search-Golden-Serpent-Servant-Gods-ebook/dp/B00TO8TT9W

4. KATH MIDDLETON Top Banana

Published March 2015

Although Top Banana has a serious side it's carried along by some very funny scenes.

Steven the main character is wonderful. He is so endearing despite his daft ideas and extraordinary fascination for fruit and veg. His mother is a nightmare of pursed lips, rolled eyes and acidic comments; Steven's long suffering dad is a quiet, formidable force who holds the little family together. Steven's first boss is an Ealing comedy villain while the second is a paradigm of human resources best practice. And when Steven eventually meets the love of his life, she turns out to be the sweetest, kindest, most grounded character that either he or the reader could wish for.

Top Banana really is a feel-good book. There are several instances of the triumph of right over wrong; there are the laugh-aloud funny events that are interspersed throughout the story from beginning to end; and there is a wonderful Mr Pollyish theme that emerges as the story unfolds where Steven takes responsibility for his life and takes actions to change it.

Beneath the comedy, Top Banana is a novel about relationships and these are explored wisely and with sensitivity. The book is ultimately positive and uplifting; it leaves behind a strong sense of the power of humankind to change for the good and this lasts even longer than the laughter.

5. LIZZIE LAMB Scotch on the Rocks: . . . journey to Cormorant Island and fall in love 

Published June 2015

Lizzie Lamb has already demonstrated that she is an expert in writing romantic fiction. She creates believable main characters who fall in once-in-a-lifetime love; she devises imaginative and unusual conflicts and tensions that threaten to keep the lovers apart; she develops a rich cast of supporting players who help and hinder the resolution to the lovers' problems; and she describes fascinating and beautiful settings in which their story unfolds.

Miss Lamb has done all this again in Scotch on the Rocks, another lightly comedic tale of love and romance set on a beautiful, remote, isolated Scottish island.

The plotting in this novel is really clever with many surprises on the way. Scotch on the Rocks keeps you turning the pages and wondering what's going to happen next.

The dialogue is particularly good in Scotch on the Rocks. It's sparkling and vivid, sharp and witty. There's a lovely Scots voice for all the indigenous characters enhanced with the musical, poetic tones of Gaelic.

No doubt about it: Lizzie Lamb has excelled with Scotch on the Rocks. A five star romance from a five star romantic novelist.
Book Link: 

6. TERRY TYLER House of York

Published October 2015

The House of York one of the best novels I've read this year.

What a fantastic book. I loved reading every page of it. The combination of family drama, romance, mystery and an historical framework based on the Wars of the Roses makes for a gripping read with so many twists and turns you can't put it down.

Really well written as you'd expect from this author but the best I've read yet from Terry Tyler. Each chapter is told by one of the main characters so as the narrative moves forward the reader's perspective shifts depending on who is telling the tale. This works really well and results in characters who are realistic and totally convincing. As each chapter unfolds they present their take on the story as though they're chatting to you on the phone and so from early in the novel the reader is immersed and engrossed in the emerging plot.

Inspired by events from the era of the Wars of the Roses how could there not be intrigue by the bucket load?  The characterisation remains largely true to historical fact but the course of events is less determined by history than it was in the author's Tudor sagas. As a construct to help tell a tale it is highly effective and unusual.

The ending is completely unexpected. It's sinister and leaves your imagination working overtime. It's here where there is the strongest resonance with the historical background of the novel. There is a very dark side to this novel too which is explored honestly but without gratuitous detail. This greater depth makes The House of York the best Terry Tyler novel I've read so far.
Book Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/House-York-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B016WNEEQO

7. EMMA DAVIES Merry Mistletoe

Published October 2015

As the charming book cover and the title suggest, the story is themed around Christmas. From the early description of Freya dressed in her "forest green coat and bright red woolly hat and scarf" as she sets off for the Mistletoe Fair, Christmas images abound. As well as the mistletoe there's snow, robins and baubles in abundance. The sense of Christmas is almost Victorian and its creation is lyrical. Descriptive writing is full and evocative: landscape, weather, rural life and the Christmas season are brought to life with a deft choice of words and phrases. But even with this strong sense of place and time, the themes of the novella are much deeper.

Underneath the romantic Christmas story is an exploration of bereavement; coming to terms with loss; letting go of the past. And this is written about with gentleness and sensitivity. Although there are the some pithy remarks, sharp comments and occasional swearwords which prevents the novella from becoming saccharine and keeps it rooted firmly in reality.

What I found extraordinarily good about Merry Mistletoe was that so much was packed into a relatively short book. It took just a couple of hours to read but it felt as satisfying as a full length novel. Lovely!
Book Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Merry-Mistletoe-Kindle-Single-ebook/dp/B016YB99KK

8. JONATHAN HILL The Anniversary

Published December 2015

The Anniversary doesn't take long to read but this novella lingers on with an uneasy sense of having missed something. As one question is answered another forms. Is this book the exploration of a mental breakdown or of a clever criminal mind?

There are many details in the setting and the descriptive writing that place the story firmly in the Christmas season but it's about as far from "peace and goodwill to all" as you can get. There are echoes of a couple of the writer's more macabre short stories and, once again, he's demonstrated an ability to write beautifully with economical and precise language that creates powerful visual images.

The non-linear time scheme is the great strength of the novella allowing the reader to delve into the mind of the narrator. It creates complexity and gives the story a much bigger context than the simple tale it supports. Confusion is created and the reader is lead into the narrator's nightmare world, whether real or imagined is difficult to say.

This is definitely a book to read again, and probably again, and one that I can recommend most highly.
Book Link:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Anniversary-Jonathan-Hill-ebook/dp/B018ZSCEKW

9. JULIA HUGHES Everybody Lies

Published December 2015

A missing teenager, a disappearing conman and a suicidal rock-star are a huge challenge for Detective Inspector Crombie who is given the job of investigating a complex web of family secrets and deceit. This book is the one DI Crombie fans have been waiting for - a full length novel putting the big man himself centre stage! Author Julia Hughes has devised a tricky plot full of twists and red herrings that keep the reader guessing right to the end. Crombie is at his straight talking, takes-no-nonsense best. There is a strong supporting cast from both sides of the law and some particularly good female characters. There's a great sense of reality with sharp, entertaining dialogue and an attention to detail that makes Everybody Lies a gripping page-turner and a thrilling whodunnit.
Book Link:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Everybody-Lies-Julia-Hughes-ebook/dp/B0199AB0QE/

10. JEFFREY PERREN Tellen Song

Published December 2015

I've read all Jeffrey Perren's other novels and have been looking forward to Tellen Song. It was released just before Christmas and I'm about half way through. The novel combines the author's ability to tell a good tale with his fascinating historical research. So far .... so very good.

This is from the book description in the Amazon Kindle Store.

1307 AD — The Legend Ends, the Story Begins...

Wilhelm Tell, hunter and builder in √úri, dares to disrespect the envious bailiff Gessler, appointed ruler of the southern forest cantons by King Albrecht of Germany. Sentenced to slavery until he completes building Gesslerburg, Tell escapes over the Alpine mountains to Lombardy. But the political upheaval in his homeland is mirrored there. Drawn unwillingly into the squabbles between the Pope-supporting Guelphs and the Ghibellines, who side with the Emperor, he longs to rejoin his own independence movement. A fugitive from Schwyz and a misfit in Milan, Tell finally sees his chance to return to lead his people. Will he forge a lasting freedom for himself, his family, and his countrymen? Or will his own brethren betray him, and themselves, at the crucial moment? Harking back to the founding of the Swiss Confederacy, Tellen Song tells the story of its legendary founder — set among all the rich historical details of the 14th century.
Book Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tellen-Song-education-Wilhelm-Tell-ebook/dp/B019T7A388

Well, that's it! My third and final book list for 2015. 

Thanks for reading my blog today and best wishes for 2016. 


I'm running a Kindle Countdown price discount for A Single To Filey, the best selling detective novel by Michael Murray, between New Year's Eve and Twelth Night in the Amazon UK Kindle Store.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00YA6SPFC and http://www.spurwing-ebooks.com/ for further details.





3 detectives I met in fiction in 2015

Here's another list from this year's reading:

3 detectives I met in fiction in 2015


1. JOHN PYE Cathedral of Lies 

(Detective Inspector Doug Taylor Book 1) 

Previously I wrote a list of 5 Authors I've discovered in 2015 and enjoyed reading and I could easily have added this author to that list too.

Author John Pye uses his knowledge of police procedure to give this book a high level of authenticity. Combined with a gripping plot, interesting characters and an unexpected thriller style development Cathedral of Lies is a page turner from start to finish.

DI Doug Taylor of the Staffordshire Police teams up with three police officers from Exeter when their respective investigations become entwined. Unexpectedly, the plot develops to encompass elements of a real life unsolved crime which broadens out the setting for this exciting novel into another country.

The relationships between the villains are complex and challenge the reader to try and work out who has been doing what to whom and why with a new interpretation in every chapter.

The novel is intriguing and exciting and after a few pages I found I had to force myself to put it down to go and do other things. A really good read and I quickly went onto the second DI Doug Taylor novel: Field of Lies.

Field of Lies by John Pye

(Detective Inspector Doug Taylor Book 2) 

In the second novel DI Taylor and his team develop as even stronger characters and the plot is gripping and page turning. The police procedural and forensic detail is excellent and gives the book depth and reality. The plot develops skilfully with many unexpected twists and turns.

The introduction of another strong female character, the mysterious Blonde, is an unexpected and effective addition to the story enhancing both the plot and the characterisation. There is a very satisfying ending where all loose ends are convincingly tied up. Altogether a thoroughly enjoyable read and the third DI Taylor is on my list of books to read whenever in the future it appears.

Book Links:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cathedral-Lies-Detective-Inspector-Taylor-ebook/dp/B00BZ8IN7S
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Field-Lies-Detective-Inspector-Taylor-ebook/dp/B00XJPX2JE

2. SEAN CAMPBELL Ten Guilty Men 

(A DCI Morton Crime Novel Book 3)

I could have added Sean Campbell to my list of 5 Authors I've discovered in 2015 and enjoyed reading as this was the first DCI Morton novel I'd read.

The characters are realistic and convincing and a few pages in I found this was a book I had to keep on reading. The plot is a tricky one for Morton and his team to solve and just when you think you've worked it out some new development occurs which knocks your theory out.

There is plenty of procedural and legal detail which helps to ground the book which combined with the high-life lived by the victim and the main suspects results in a really engaging read. The deceased is just as much a character in the story as all the living and the dramatic title keeps you guessing right to the end.

The first DCI Morton Crime Novel is Dead on Demand. It has hundreds of good reviews on Amazon UK and is currently free to download. Guess who just downloaded it?

Book Links:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guilty-Morton-Crime-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B01392U0YQ

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Demand-Morton-Crime-Novel-ebook/dp/B0080FCR2G

3. JULIA HUGHES Everybody Lies

I first met DI Crombie, the star of Julia Hughes' new novel Everybody Lies, playing a supporting role in A Raucous Time (Celtic Cousins' Adventures Book 1).

The intricacies of Crombie's relationship with Rhyllann and Wren (the Celtic Cousins of the title) are the backbone of the book. Taciturn, down-to-earth, idiosyncratic and courageous Crombie joins the ranks of all the good fiction detectives as he aids and obstructs the Celtic Cousins in pursuit of their goals.

Crombie's presence is minimal in the other Celtic Cousins' Adventures but he has his own short story Crombie's Christmas. There's something about this author's writing style that I really enjoy: there's a sense of fun, of not taking life or the story too seriously. Deftly written with a nice, light touch which entertains and keeps the pages turning, Crombie's Christmas is an amusing short story with an unexpected ending.

Crombie's Christmas is a quick read but it includes some new aspects to Crombie's character and more back story about his home life. I suspect that Mrs Crombie might become a force to be reckoned with.

Everybody Lies is the novel DI Crombie fans have been waiting for putting the big man himself centre stage!

Author Julia Hughes has devised a tricky plot full of twists and red herrings that keep the reader guessing right to the end. Crombie is at his straight talking, takes-no-nonsense best. There is a strong supporting cast from both sides of the law and some particularly good female characters. There's a great sense of reality with sharp, entertaining dialogue and an attention to detail that makes Everybody Lies a gripping page-turner and a thrilling whodunnit.

To quote from the book description for a taster of the book:

Three days before Christmas, hedonist MP Henry Drayton-Maye invites a handsome stranger home for dinner. However, his new acquaintance is an escaped convict with devious intentions. Alerted by an anonymous phone call, the police discover Henry shackled to his bed. The possessions reported stolen are soon recovered, and although the convict has fled the country, apart from Henry’s reputation, there appears to be no harm done.

Months later, the convict's ex-partner in crime, Rex Raven, is found dead inside his locked study. The verdict is suicide. But then Rex's teenage daughter disappears, along with a mysterious Scandinavian youth.

To find the missing teenagers, Detective Inspector Crombie must first untangle a web of intrigue woven around family secrets and is furious to discover that even his superiors have deceived him.
But as the big fellow already knows, everybody lies.

Everybody Lies by Julia Hughes - Highly Recommended.

Book Links:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Everybody-Lies-Julia-Hughes-ebook/dp/B0199AB0QE
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crombies-Christmas-Celtic-Cousins-Adventures-ebook/dp/B00ASTAM9W

Thanks for reading my blog today and best wishes for 2016. 

I'm running a Kindle Countdown price discount for A Single To Filey, the best selling detective novel by Michael Murray, between New Year's Eve and Twelth Night in the Amazon UK Kindle Store. 

5 Authors I've discovered in 2015 and enjoyed reading

I've been looking at My Year in Books on Goodreads. The list doesn't include everything I've read, just the books I remembered to add to Goodreads! It's reminded me of some of the great indie authors I've discovered this year.

I don't think I've ever written a list for a blogpost but there's a first time for everything so here is my list (in no particular order) of

5 Authors I've discovered in 2015 and enjoyed reading.


1. CHRIS JANE The Year of Dan Palace

This is a story about complex relationships between the main character, Dan Palace, and three women: Nina, Dan's current partner; April his ex-wife; and Jenny, a young women he meets as the story evolves. But it's also the story of a mid-life crisis triggered by the impending end-of-the-world (as Dan sees it) and a belated young adult road trip.

Dan is prompted out of the predictability of his mundanely successful life by the idea that a comet is going to end the world. Consequently he decides to leave Nina to try and make amends with April. In the process he hooks up with Jenny and her boyfriend, Andy, which results in a sequence of unexpected consequences. 

The storyline moves rapidly from one eventful day to the next and the reader is soon immersed in the everyday trivia of Dan's existence and his attempts to change his life. At times the plot is surreal and bizarre creating for the reader a sense of the mental turmoil Dan is experiencing.

One of the great strengths of the book is the attention to detail. This is not a book for a quick read despite the ever changing plot. It's a book to savour and enjoy the beautiful clarity of the writing. The book's other strength is the excellent characterisation. These people are so real even though their behaviour is, at times, very peculiar.

From the powerful emotion of the break-up of Dan and Nina's relationship in the opening pages to the completely unexpected ending, this book really is amazing and highly recommended.

Book Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Dan-Palace-Chris-Jane-ebook/dp/B00OFC8HAO


2. JUNE KEARNS  An Englishwoman's Guide to the Cowboy

I really enjoyed reading An Englishwoman's Guide to the Cowboy and I recommend it highly not only to readers who enjoy romance but also to those who enjoy well written fiction whatever the genre.

The setting is the American West in 1867. An unexpected stage coach wreck causes well-bred, bookish, Englishwoman-abroad, Annie Haddon to meet English-hating, rule-breaking, Colt McCall. Was there ever such a hero? Heathcliff meets Rhett Butler! Colt is a wonderful romantic lead although the development of his and Annie's relationship is far from conventional.

The supporting characters are many and varied reflecting the different aspects of society of the era and the complexity of the plot. The writing is so good that every character comes alive and makes a strong contribution to the overall story. The dialogue is excellent providing authenticity to the setting and ensuring the vivid development of the characters.

The plot has more than enough complications to keep the story moving forwards at a good pace and, of course, there's a very satisfactory ending in true romance style albeit with an unexpected twist. One of the best examples of romantic fiction I've ever read.

June Kearns is also the author of The 20's Girl, the ghost, and all that jazz.


Once again June Kearns has devised a plot so full of twists and turns that even in the final pages it's hard to see how it will all be resolved. Every time you think you know what's going to happen the story takes a different direction. This is another wonderful romance, beautifully written with style and panache. I loved it from beginning to end.

Book Links:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Englishwomans-Guide-Cowboy-June-Kearns/dp/0957400500

http://www.amazon.co.uk/20s-Girl-ghost-that-jazz/dp/0957400535


3. KEN MAGEE Dark Tidings


Dark Tidings is an easy to read, light hearted novel which has a wonderful tongue-in-cheek sense of the author's presence with wry, humorous asides. 

From the start this novel moves along with a good pace and the pages almost turn themselves. The dialogue is snappy even when it's between the characters from ancient times which contributes to the energy of the narrative. 

The two fantasy characters are very endearing particularly as they struggle to cope with the modern world they've joined. Michael heads up the contemporary cast and is a beacon of morality in a corrupted world of high finance. 

There are hints throughout of the author's take on global financial institutions not unrelated to recent events. Some of the scenes in the ancient world are heavy with threats of torture and overladen with gore and putrid smells; how this is then continued into the contemporary world is imaginative and colourful. 

Dark Tidings is a very enjoyable fantasy novel and its transition into reality makes it unusual and highly entertaining.


4. JAMIE GREENING The Little Girl Waits


The unlikely hero of The Little Girl Waits is a Baptist Church minister whose congregation is located on the north west Pacific coast. Pastor Butch Gregory is distressed when Tamara, a young girl who attends his church, disappears, apparently without trace. Pastor Butch thinks he is called by God to search for the girl and rescue her. In his quest he is assisted by a disillusioned war veteran and a woman who is straight-talking and street-wise. Inspired by a prophetic poem, the determined trio are confronted with a series of obstacles as they race against time to save the girl.

The novel is well written in a direct style which is easy to read and moves with good pace from page to page. Although the underlying theme of child sex trafficking is unpleasant, I enjoyed reading the book and there were several aspects which I found interesting.

In the final pages, the author explains the circumstances which lead him to write the book. This provides the rationale for him looking at the issue of child sex trafficking in a novel. The novel succeeds in raising awareness of the subject without the use of gratuitous detail for which the author should be commended.

The novel is an overtly Christian book which explores the positive power of prayer and demonstrates the integration of bible study into the challenges of everyday life even in the difficult circumstances explored in the plot.

The two supporting characters, Wyoming Wallace and Amber Smith, are both very interesting. They are essential to the success of the venture and to the fulfilment of the prophecy. They are also vital to the Christian sub-text particularly in relation to the themes of retribution and redemption which criss-cross the text.

There are elements of the supernatural in the book which with a different focus would place the novel in the fantasy genre. This mixes with the thriller aspects of the novel to produce a highly readable hybrid which, for something a bit different, is well worth a look.


5. MIKE GULLICKSON The Northern Star Trilogy

Book 1: The Beginning

Author Mike Gullickson has created a totally authentic other-world into which the reader is skilfully transported. The pages fly by as the plot unfolds. It's difficult to write about this novel without giving the plot away, suffice to say I loved it. 

It's an imaginative yet completely plausible advanced cyber-world mixed with a chaotic real-world which creates an exciting read. This is the first book in a trilogy and having finished reading The Beginning I downloaded the second book and continued reading immediately. 

Book 2: Civil War

Civil War is another can't-put-it-down book and I enjoyed reading it immensely. Although stretching credulity to the limit this is excellent science fiction. The writing is so vivid it makes the story completely believable. 

The terrifying future world imagined by the author contrasts starkly with the easily recognisable emotions of the main characters. 

Civil War continues to tell the story of John Rainey, the Tank Major, introduced in The Beginning who despite his extraordinary physical changes retains a profound and moving humanity. 

At times this book reads like fantasy with almost spiritual overtones. The cyber world created by the author is on an epic scale and it is greatly to his credit that he manages to sustain the vision and develop it coherently through both books. I'm looking forward to reading the third book in the trilogy in 2016.

I borrowed the books with my Kindle Unlimited subscription but if I was buying I would definitely go for the omnibus edition with all three books in one volume. 


Thanks for reading my blog today and best wishes for 2016. 

I'm running a Kindle Countdown price discount for A Single To Filey, the best selling detective novel by Michael Murray, between New Year's Eve and Twelth Night in the Amazon UK Kindle Store. 










Happy Christmas

Thanks for reading my book blog in 2015.


Happy reading during the Christmas break and 

hope to see you again next year.

My Review of The Anniversary by Jonathan Hill


It's going to be difficult to write comments about The Anniversary, the newly released novella from talented indie writer Jonathan Hill, without giving the plot away so I shall be cautious.


Fans of Jonathan Hill's writing have known for some time that he was working on a new book which was going to be in a different genre to anything he'd written before.

Well, this is true.

The Anniversary is a psychological thriller with the emphasis on the psychological.

It's the first anniversary of the death of the narrator's partner and shortly after starting a new job he's at the office Christmas party. The co-workers are a singularly unpleasant bunch vying with each other to be the most obnoxious. It's the office party from hell really but the outcome is that, Janet, one of the narrator's co-workers, offers to spend Christmas Day with him. The only downside to this generous offer is that Janet was accused of murdering her husband!

The action takes places over the course of a few hours but the intricate timing moves in and out of the past and the present filling out the back story and persistently raising questions in the reader's mind.

This non-linear time scheme is the great strength of the novella allowing the reader to delve into the mind of the narrator. It creates complexity and gives the story a much bigger context than the simple tale it supports. It creates confusion and leads the reader into the narrator's nightmare world, whether real or imagined is difficult to say.

There are many details in the setting and the descriptive writing that place The Anniversary firmly in the Christmas season but this is about as far from "peace and goodwill to all" as you can get. The Anniversary has echoes of a couple of the writer's more macabre short stories and, once again, he's demonstrated an ability to write beautifully with economical and precise language that creates powerful visual images.

The Anniversary doesn't take long to read but the novella lingers on with an uneasy sense of having missed something. As one question is answered another forms. Is this story the exploration of a mental breakdown or of a clever criminal mind? Certainly a book to read again, and probably again, and one that I can recommend most highly.

You can get details of this and Jonathan Hill's other books on his Amazon Author Page or his Website.


Thanks for reading my blog today and hope you call back again soon. I've got a Facebook page for Indie Bookworm if you want to keep in touch.  https://www.facebook.com/Indie-Bookworm-537179859629675/

My Review of Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

This book, novella length and a Kindle Single, is a perfect little gem for Christmas or any other time of year.


Here's the start of the book description:

Sherbourne Mistletoe has been prized and sold at the annual Mistletoe Fair for over a hundred years; but could this year possibly be the last? With her father’s sudden death and debts mounting up it looks as though Freya’s only hope for the future is to sell her beloved family home. And to make matters worse, the only contenders to buy Appleyard Farm, are the people she’d least like to sell it to – her rival growers, the Henderson brothers, who seem always to make life so difficult for her.


As the charming book cover and the title suggest, the story is themed around Christmas. 


From the early description of Freya dressed in her "forest green coat and bright red woolly hat and scarf" as she sets off for the Mistletoe Fair, Christmas images abound. As well as the mistletoe there's snow, robins and baubles in abundance. The sense of Christmas is almost Victorian and its creation is lyrical. Descriptive writing is full and evocative: landscape, weather, rural life and the Christmas season are brought to life with a deft choice of words and phrases. But even with this strong sense of place and time

the themes of the novella are much deeper.


Underneath the romantic Christmas story is an exploration of bereavement; coming to terms with loss; letting go of the past. And this is written about with gentleness and sensitivity although there are some pithy remarks, sharp comments and occasional swearwords which prevents the novella from becoming saccharine and keeps it rooted firmly in reality.

The story unravels the complicated web of feelings Freya has towards five men in her life: her well-loved and recently deceased father; her chauvinistic, self-centred boyfriend, Gareth; the two Henderson brothers, Sam and Stephen; and Amos, the farm's handyman and general factotum. This is a romance story but the romance comes where it's least expected and although the reader expects a happy-ever-after ending, it's difficult to see where it's going to come from in Merry Mistletoe. (But it does!)

What I found extraordinarily good 


about Merry Mistletoe was that so much was packed into a relatively short book. It took just a couple of hours to read but it felt as satisfying as a full length novel. Lovely!

Get more details 


about Merry Mistletoe and Emma Davies' other books on her Amazon Author page or her website.

Thanks for reading my blog today and hope you call back again soon. I've got a Facebook page for Indie Bookworm if you want to keep in touch.  https://www.facebook.com/Indie-Bookworm-537179859629675/


How to get a free Smashwords reader account.

Some of the ebooks I've reviewed are available at Smashwords as well as Amazon. This usually means that you will find the books on Apple iBooks, Kobo and B&N Nook as well.

For example you can download a free copy of Aphrodite's Curse by Luciana Cavallaro at Smashwords if you click this link.

Click here for my review of Aphrodite's Curse.

If you're unfamiliar with Smashwords click here for Smashwords founder and CEO Mark Coker's explanation.


If you want to read ebooks from Smashwords it's really easy to set up a free reader's account. Then you can sample and download hundreds of titles in a wide range of genres written by indie authors from around the globe.

It isn't actually necessary to get your downloads from Smashwords. You can read the free samples - often 20% of the book - and then download from your preferred ebook retailer. Smashwords samples and downloads come in a variety of formats and whatever ereader you use there'll be something suitable.

To get your free reader account go to https://www.smashwords.com/signup and complete the Sign Up form. Smashwords will send an activation email which includes some useful information about using the site. This is well worth reading as it explains how to sample and download the ebooks; how to read them on whichever device you prefer; and how to use the adult filter. You can also turn the book covers on and off with a button at the bottom of the screen if you wish.

Smashwords insist that authors decide if their ebooks are suitable for readers younger than 18 years. If they're not they have to be published in the adult category. This means that adult literary fiction like "adult language and other adult situations" gets categorised with "erotica" and books containing "graphic violence"; I quote from the Smashwords email mentioned above.

If you need help with downloading an ebook from Smashwords to your ereader, there's helpful advice for all devices on the Smashwords FAQ page: https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq#kindle

You can download a free copy of A Raucous Time (Celtic Cousins' Adventures Book 1) by Julia Hughes although it has a different book cover to the copy I downloaded.

I enjoyed reading A Raucous Time. It's an adventure - mystery - thriller - historical novel with a fast paced plot, some unexpected twists and turns and several engaging characters.

The novel introduces the Celtic Cousins of the title - Rhyllann and Wren. They are two very different individuals but their relationship is close and this is explored throughout the book. They share an overwhelming sense of loyalty to each other and this carries them through the challenges they have to overcome as the story unfolds. The teenage protagonists of A Raucous Time would probably make this book of particular appeal to readers of that age. It is an enjoyable, light, escapist novel which would be absolutely ideal for chilly, winter evenings when you just want to get lost in a book.

Thanks for reading my blog today and hope you call back again soon. I've got a Facebook page for Indie Bookworm if you want to keep in touch. https://www.facebook.com/Indie-Bookworm-537179859629675/