An Interview with Author D.N. Frost


I'm delighted to welcome author D.N. Frost to Indie Bookworm.


D.N. Frost is the creator of Tales of the Known World and today she's going to tell us about Book 1 in the series: Awakening.


First, let's read the book description of Awakening taken from the Amazon website.


Centuries ago, the prophetic Golden Age ended in war, and history spiraled into darkness. Now, only scholars retain the last portent of the mythic city A'lara, concealed in a distant glade for the advent of the dragon mage.

At the edge of the Known World, the slave Larin escapes her new lord before she meets his dark masters. Deep in the mountains, the legendary elf Kingard awaits his call to battle. When young Darek flees imperial mages tasked to exterminate shape-shifters, he launches them all on a voyage to redeem their unsought destiny.

United by fate and guided by prophesy, their growing band of fugitives journey for A'lara to fight the ancient evil infiltrating the capital. But looming over the gears of fate, their enemies follow the same prophesies. With the unknown close upon them, Kingard and his allies face a mortal quest to restore their infected empire.

It's a great pleasure to meet you Ms. Frost

and thank you for taking time out of your busy writing life
to share some of your thoughts with me and the readers of Indie Bookworm.

1. Why did you write Awakening?


I have many reasons for writing, but I wrote my first book mainly to inject qualities of literary fiction into the rather diluted fantasy genre. As the reading public is generally aware, modern fantasy novels tend to be either Lord of the Rings rehashes or romantic drivel ensconced in supernatural trappings. I love exploring notions of magic and empowering my readers with their liberating ramifications, and I noticed a distinct lack of quality fiction within the fantasy genre. Determined to fill this niche myself, I set out to write a fantasy saga imbued with the human stories, masterful writing, and social commentary of literary fiction.
I write more about my personal spark in these latest inspirations.

2. What kind of reader would enjoy Awakening?


Readers of literary fiction would enjoy Awakening, especially if they also enjoy epic fantasy. Reviews of my Tales of the Known World saga praise its in-depth characters, well-written prose, and engaging storyline. So far, I've been focusing my marketing efforts on fantasy fans hungry for a higher caliber of epic fantasy. However, I've received positive feedback from numerous readers who have never read another fantasy book in their lives. These readers praise the novel's relatable characters and gripping plot, as well as how naturally the fantasy features of my world integrate with the story and how realistically the book embodies various cultures, governments, and other aspects of human life. If you are looking for great literary fiction with an unconventional twist, Awakening is for you.
I write more about my intended audience in this saga introduction. What is TotKW?

3. How did you develop your characters?


In life, I have the profound ability to see things through other people's eyes, and this empathic dexterity shines through in my writing. The characters themselves develop in two ways. Most prominent in their development are their own internal drives, what they desire and how they want their own stories to turn out. Less prominent but just as important are the demands the story itself, what must be done and who the characters must become in order to enact those deeds. Real people grow and change through a mixture of experience and insight, and I mirror that in all my characters, whether they are heroes or villains, large roles or small. Ultimately, I perceive each character as a real human, vibrant, indomitable, and striving for fulfillment in a world all too often choked with grief.
I write more about my character development tools in these character workshops.

 4. What has been the biggest influence on your career as a writer?


It is difficult to isolate a single influence as the biggest or most important. I don't have any heroes, just a sea of people I respect and admire. Ultimately, I think the biggest influence on my writing career has been me. I felt a yawning void in my beloved fantasy genre, a void I sought to fill with my own work. But beyond this inspiration to produce great work, I feel a profound calling to impart spiritual concepts and evoke honest introspection in the people with whom I interact. This spiritual calling manifests in many forms, from overt counseling sessions to the subtle but pervasive maxims that under-gird the magic systems of the Known World. By exploring these maxims in a fantasy setting, I circumvent a lot of real-world resistance to different spiritual ideas and instead present them in a way that readers can easily absorb and explore while still feeling self-consistent.
I write more about my spiritual calling in this inspiration. Enlightened Entertainment

5. Are you working on any new writing at the moment?


I'm always working on something new. My Tales of the Known World saga spans centuries and at least eight books, plus a number of planned short stories and bonus scenes. I am currently in the revision phase of my second novel, Broken. Beyond the story, I'm also working on new content for my website, which hosts a number of mini-series about writing, map-making, world-building, my personal inspirations, resources and bonus content from the Known World, and prophetic riddles in meter and rhyme. I also present a slew of guest resources, including book reviews, project collaborations, contributions to my website, and my advocacy of people who inspire me along the way. My latest works are also featured in my twice monthly newsletter.
I write more about my works in progress in this book profile. Upcoming - Book Two: Broken

What a fascinating interview, Ms Frost.

You've certainly piqued my interest in TotKW. I've visited your website several times to follow the links you've given above and to read some of the other pages too. You're a skilled cartographer and the maps of The Known World are beautiful. I've signed up for your email newsletter and enjoy reading it. And, of course, I'm looking forward to reading Awakening. A huge thank you for your interview here today and every success with your future writing.

http://www.DNFrost.com/Awakening








Long Spoon by Kath Middleton

Kath Middleton is an interesting author whose writing ranges from drabbles and short stories, through novellas to full length novels such as the recently published Long Spoon. 

I've read nearly all Kath Middleton's books and was delighted to find she'd released a new title. 

Well, Long Spoon is another surprise from this talented author: an entertaining and well written book as you'd expect but quite unlike anything she's previously published.

Long Spoon takes the reader into student life 

and the desire of two friends, Ed and Paul, to make loads of money. Their plan is to sell a home-made legal high to their friends and other students for a grossly inflated price. Ed becomes carried away with what they might accomplish although Paul is the person in the firing line when things get out of hand.
It's possible that Ed is one of the most unlikable main characters ever devised.
Even at the end of the story when he's undergone something of a transformation Ed remains an obnoxious character. So brilliantly envisioned by the author; really well done. The mirror for Ed is his fellow student, Paul, a gregarious, engaging character who simultaneously encourages Ed's genius while trying to help Ed become more socially aware.
The other cast members in Long Spoon range from the charming and quietly intellectual Rose to some seriously scary heavies via a motley collection of middle aged, middle class truth seekers. Kath Middleton's descriptions of their hippy commune are well observed and very funny.
There are some underlying serious aspects to the novel but these are explored without dragging the book down.
I particularly enjoyed the way the author leads the reader to think the novel is heading in one direction then suddenly throws a spanner in the works and goes off in another. This keeps the book light and lively and makes for a most entertaining read.

You can get details of Long Spoon and Kath Middleton's other books on her Amazon Author Page.

Pattern of Shadows by Judith Barrow

Pattern of Shadows is a wonderful story 

set in the latter days of World War Two somewhere in the north of England.

Mary Howarth is a nurse 

who is part of a medical team given the unenviable task of caring for sick and injured prisoners of war at the prison camp hospital.

Mary starts a relationship with one of the guards at the camp, Frank Shuttleworth. 

The relationship proves difficult for Mary but Frank is persistent.
Meanwhile, Mary's home life is far from easy and she finds solace in her work.

As the novel evolves Mary's life becomes increasingly fraught and complicated. 

To say more would be to give away an extremely well constructed plot which explores some challenging issues of the day.
I've already read Silent Trauma by this author and know that Judith Barrow can write about difficult subjects with sensitivity and honesty.

The writer displays that same talent again in this novel. 

The novel is well researched and the sense of time and place is established securely.
The author has created a group of characters who are very real and the dialogue and interactions between them are a strength of the writing.
The romance element of the novel has a degree of predictability but when the concluding chapter is reached there is a sense of relief that what was anticipated has occurred.

Pattern of Shadows is the first of a three part set which takes the story on further and it's going to be fascinating to see what happens next.

Details of all Judith Barrow's novels are on her Amazon Author Page.

Fur Coat and No Knickers by Adrienne Vaughan

Adrienne Vaughan is the author of a romantic trilogy: The Heartfelt Series.

I read all three novels, one after the other, a couple of months ago.

The central love story is between Marianne Coltrane and Ryan O'Gorman, a journalist and an actor.  From the outset, Marianne and Ryan are clearly meant for each other but they take several hundred joyous pages to get there.The Heartfelt Series is a great block-buster of a romantic saga set on a beautiful, remote island off the west coast of Ireland. The plotting is complex as befits such a substantial piece of writing and Adrienne Vaughan demonstrates great skill in keeping on top of all the intricacies.

It was with great interest that I turned to the author's collection of short stories and poems: 

Fur Coat and No Knickers.

The book description promises "fascinating and unforgettable characters" 

and believe me, that's what you get. After reading The Heartfelt Series I thought this author was good but the short stories showcase her talents to a whole new level. The range of emotions that are explored in this collection results in a very satisfying read.

And there are so many twists on the notion of a love story:

an older couple meet while a beautifully described solitary swan reflects their emerging romance; a one-sided telephone conversation is amusing and edgy; so  much emotion packed into one lemon bag; a woman meets a man in a bar and her ultimate ruination; a so-called married man sends poor Eva to a tragic end; a theatrical agent is stitched up by his best friend; a lonely woman is helped to find something positive in her marriage by an ageing father; and a young woman finds out that all was not as it seemed in her early life.

Great variety and depth of feeling in these short stories.

My favourites were: 

A Seed of Doubt

A man whose wife has died goes on a weekend bereavement course. He is struggling to come to terms with his loss as he believes his wife was unfaithful. Help and a solution come from an unexpected source and the moral of the story is one from which many might benefit.

A Visit at Christmas

I mean it: I had tears in my eyes at the end of this story.

Fur Coat and No Knickers

Just so much fun! A woman who is a snob and a traditionalist turns out to be living a life of pretence.

There's a poem between each story. 

I don't read a great deal of poetry but I liked the break that each poem provided between the stories. I particularly liked "Friends in Graveyards" and the inclusion of the Heartfelt poems at the end.

A fine collection of short stories, well worth reading.

Fur Coat and No Knickers is available to download at http://amzn.eu/88BFNzX
And details of all the author's books are on her Amazon Author page. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adrienne-Vaughan/e/B00AC0QUOI

Take a chance on us by The New Romantics Press

Have you met the New Romantics?

In 2012 four writers:

Adrienne Vaughan,
Lizzie Lamb,
Mags Cullingford
and June Kearns

(all members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) New Writers’ Scheme)

decided to take destiny into their own hands,
form The New Romantics Press 

and publish their novels.

Although I'd read novels by 

June Kearns and Lizzie Lamb already, I downloaded Take a chance on us and got to know Mags Cullingford and Adrienne Vaughan too.

This collection of story samples 

is a great way to try out each of the writers' individual styles and get a flavour of the wealth of content they're offering.

Each novel is truly romantic 

but the amazing four demonstrate such variety, originality and flair that every book is hugely different.
From June Kearns' yee-ha romantic Westerner,
Lizzie Lamb's smouldering Highlander,
Mags Cullingford's worldly, charismatic Priest and
Adrienne Vaughan's glamourous Film Star,
these writers show time after time that they can conjure up hugely attractive leading men for their entertaining, engaging and ever-so readable romances.

Plots,Settings,Characters,

all handled with expertise and style. Twists and  turns. Ups and downs. Never a dull moment. Great reads for holidays, winter evenings in front of the fire or lazy summer afternoons in the garden with a glass of chilled Chardonnay!

To find out more about the New Romantics Press
check out their website and 

to download Take a chance on us, just hit this link: http://amzn.eu/bMbmVLH

March additions to my bookblog

Three new indie titles added to my bookblog in March.

A fabulous, fantastical debut novel from Mark Mayes,
the long-awaited return of Esme Quentin in Wendy Percival's new genealogical mystery novella and a laugh-out-loud, who-dunnit from Ian Thompson.


The Gift Maker: Spellbinding and beautifully written, impossible to put down
by Mark Mayes 

Link: http://amzn.eu/67FcIpI
Review
https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-gift-maker-by-mark-mayes.html



Death of a Cuckoo: An Esme Quentin Short Read
by Wendy Percival 

Link: http://amzn.eu/9tCBaz
Review
https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/death-of-cuckoo-by-wendy-percival.html


Murder At The Jolly Jester (The Ronald Rowntree Mysteries Book 1)
by Ian Thompson 

Link: http://amzn.eu/9tFX4zD
Review
https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/murder-at-jolly-jester-by-ian-thompson.html

15 Kindle books I really enjoyed reading.

At the start of March I awoke my bookblog from hibernation 

and after a Spring Clean and a Make-Over started to post comments on the books I'd read during the Big Sleep.

And what a great selection of titles they are!


The Devil You Know
by Terry Tyler

Link: http://amzn.eu/eEw6Os1
Review: https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-devil-you-know-by-terry-tyler.html




I Came to Find a Girl
by Jaq Hazell

Link: http://amzn.eu/192Tj11
Review: https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/i-came-to-find-girl-by-jaq-hazell.html






54th State
by Ian Thompson

Link: http://amzn.eu/371iu9h
Review: https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/54th-state-by-ian-thompson.html




Silent Trauma
by Judith Barrow

Link: http://amzn.eu/dnz9lH3
Review: https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/silent-trauma-by-judith-barrow.html




The Geisha Hummingbird: a travel mystery
by Jeffrey Perren

Link: http://amzn.eu/4c6CBQG
Review: https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-geisha-hummingbird-travel-mystery.html




Is it Her?
by Jonathan Hill and Kath Middleton

Link: http://amzn.eu/26PrIhe
Reviews: https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/novellas-from-kath-middleton-and.html




The Grayson Trilogy
by Georgia Rose

Link: http://amzn.eu/dm3XkAS
Review: https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-grayson-trilogy-by-georgia-rose.html



Chosen Child
by Linda Huber

Link: http://amzn.eu/2lsmO1D
Review: https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/chosen-child-and-ward-zero-by-linda.html



Last Bite of the Cherry
by Margaret Cullingford

Link: http://amzn.eu/2xcIqk8
Review: https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/last-bite-of-cherry-by-margaret.html



The Hollow Heart: Love will find a way (The Heartfelt Series Book 1)
by Adrienne Vaughan

Link: http://amzn.eu/boYe49Q
Review
https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-heartfelt-series-by-adrienne-vaughan.html


An Off-Piste Christmas
by Julie Houston 

Link: http://amzn.eu/dPk3pmY
Review
https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/an-off-piste-christmas-by-julie-houston.html



Never Again
by Nicky Clifford 

Link: http://amzn.eu/4JyWHp2
Review
https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/never-again-by-nicky-clifford.html



Only The Dead (DCI Bennett Book 1)
by Malcolm Hollingdrake 

Link: http://amzn.eu/duviYFW
Review
https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/only-dead-by-malcolm-hollingdrake.html



The Other Son
by Nick Alexander 

Link: http://amzn.eu/63Do3Ms
Review
https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-other-son-and-let-light-shine-by.html



Blind Date in Gibraltar
by Margaret M Dunlop 

Link: http://amzn.eu/9mLtr4A
Review
https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/blind-date-in-gibraltar-by-margaret-m.html



Click here to read about the March additions to my bookblog.

Murder At The Jolly Jester by Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson is an interesting writer: part satirist, part humorist and overall great story-teller.

I've read both his earlier books:

Ezicash 

by Ian Thompson
Link: http://amzn.eu/drsgrQF
Review: https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/review-of-ezicash-by-ian-thompson.html







54th State 

by Ian Thompson
Link: http://amzn.eu/i0U0sZP
Review: https://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/54th-state-by-ian-thompson.html





and found them to be unusual, engaging and very, very readable. 

But the book description for Ian Thompson's latest novel, Murder at The Jolly Jester, seemed to be taking the humour to a whole new level:

"Enjoy this laugh-out-loud dozy mystery as Ronald blunders from one crisis to the next."

Ronald is Ronald Rowntree the manager of the Jolly Jester Pub.
He lives and works at the Jolly Jester where one morning a corpse is found in the saloon bar......

Essentially the novel is a who-dunnit 

of the classic body in a room, how did it get there, who did the deed variety. Murder at the Jolly Jester also spins off into an exploration of village life which has all the overtones of big city crime and misdemeanours.

Sharply written with some hilarious one-liners, 

the zero-hours contract gag is my favourite, Murder at the Jolly Jester is Ronald's story throughout.
At first Ronald appears to be an unattractive, self-indulgent pub landlord but as the story develops so does Ronald's character. His journey of self-discovery and involvement in new relationships underpins the novel's complex plot. Ronald becomes more heroic and reveals unexpected strengths and traits.
Sharing village life with Ronald are a catalogue of characters who in many cases are also seen in a new light as the novel moves towards its unexpected finale.

In places the novel lives up to its laugh-out-loud billing but it's also dramatic, tense and quietly emotional. However, overall Murder at the Jolly Jester is funny and entertaining and I really enjoyed reading it.

Download details of Murder at the Jolly Jester can be found here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Jester-Ronald-Rowntree-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01MQWWQR9

The Other Son and Let the Light Shine by Nick Alexander

The first novel by Nick Alexander that I read was The Photographer's Wife. 

It's really good and my comments are here if you would like to read them although the formatting of the post seems to have become a little odd with the passing of time. During my blog's hibernation period I've read some more books by this marvelous author.

The Other Son is another great novel from Nick Alexander

The characters are so real that within a few chapters I felt like they were people I'd actually met. The author has a remarkable ability to get into the heads of older characters especially Alice.

From the book description:

Alice has been lying to herself for years, holding fast to the belief that the needs of her family far outweigh her own. But her outwardly successful marriage hides dark secrets, and for much of her life, the children were the only reason she stuck around. These days, though her successful banker son lives nearby, his young wife seems to do everything she can to keep Alice at bay. As for Alice's other son, he has always been something of a stranger and has been traveling for so long that Alice isn't even sure what continent he is on anymore. Alice can't help but wonder if the effort she expends presenting a united front to the outside world is actually helping anyone and what would happen if she suddenly stopped pretending. Could life, like the novels she devours, hold surprises in its closing chapters? And if she did shake everything up by admitting the truth about her marriage, would anyone be on her side? Has the time finally come for Alice to put her own needs first? For the first time in years, her heart is racing. Can Alice really change her life? Dare she even imagine such a thing?
I loved the way the author plays with the reader's feelings towards the characters by presenting contrasting facets of their personalities from the viewpoint of different characters.
The story-line is riveting and this is one of those books you're sorry to finish.
Although highly entertaining the novel gives you plenty to think about and lingers on for several days after finishing it.
You can imagine how thrilled I was to discover

The Other Son (Christmas Bonus):
A short-story length sequel for The Other Son

which tells you what happened next.
What a good idea!
The main novel reaches a satisfying conclusion leaving the reader to speculate over future developments.
The outcome as described here is unexpected and highly enjoyable to read.
It says on the book description that this short novel will be offered free of charge for 5 days every quarter so that's worth looking out for once you've read the main novel.

I went on to read
Let the Light Shine
and although I've enjoyed each of the Nick Alexander novels I've read,  this is the best yet. 

It's a serious book which deals with some important contemporary issues but it is so readable. I read it with my Kindle Unlimited subscription and could hardly put it down.
Penny and Victoria are about as different as two siblings can be, one with a smart London lifestyle, the other struggling to make ends meet.
But they are joined by more than blood, and their shared past is affecting the present more than they realise.
When events begin to tug at the fabric beneath which dark secrets are hidden, the resulting chaos threatens to tear the two families apart. 
Could there be aspects of the past that youngest child Penny doesn’t remember?
Could the truth of Marge be more complex than the beloved mother the girls choose to perceive?
And could the true story of Christmas 1975 be the key to understanding Victoria, Marge, and much much more?
The characterisation is fantastic and the main characters' development as the story unfolds is remarkably good. The twists and turns of the plot make for an entertaining and engaging read with an ultimately very satisfying ending. Stunningly good!

Details of all his novels are on Nick Alexander's Amazon Author Page.

Blind Date in Gibraltar by Margaret M Dunlop

Blind Date in Gibraltar by Margaret M Dunlop 

is an entertaining mix of romance and suspense.
Set amongst the villas, bars and cafes of the Spanish holiday and retirement coast, the writer uses lots of interesting local details to create the scenes.

From the book description, the novel is based in part on the author's real-life experiences.

The author lived from time to time over a period of years on the Costa del Sol in Spain where the action in the novel takes place. And once, when she was younger and still living in Scotland, she was offered a blind date in Gibraltar. All this gives the novel authenticity. Margaret Dunlop is a sharp observer who writes with insight, humour and compassion. She recognizes the hopes, fears and aspirations of people and creates a picture of the charm of the country as well as its rougher edges.

Georgie, the main character, is looking for romance but also a fresh start in life. 

She is an attractive forty something – too attractive to men for her own good. But she has been lonely and so an invitation for life in Spain, away from the traumas of her past, seems a good idea. But things intrude on her plans, some good, some bad and some outright menacing. How will she cope with the ex-pat way of life – with the men and women she meets? Readers will hate some of them and love others and perhaps be surprised as they identify with the characters – something easy to do with Margaret Dunlop’s keen style of writing.

Georgie's blind date in Gibraltar leads to a lot more than she (or the reader) expects.

Well written and engaging, this novel would be an ideal holiday read and is very enjoyable from the highly unusual beginning to the satisfying end.

Download details on the Amazon Book Page. 

Only the Dead by Malcolm Hollingdrake


Another of the books I enjoyed reading while my bookblog was hibernating:

Only the Dead 

by Malcolm Hollingdrake.

The novel runs two separate, exciting story-lines alongside each other. The link between the two is DCI Bennett and his team who pull out all the stops to solve both cases although there are plenty of challenges for them along the way.

From the book description:

Meet DCI Cyril Bennett, a man with a passion for manners and efficiency, as well as an eye for the ladies. His partner, DS David Owen, is na├»ve and untidy but keen. Together they make a formidable pair. When the discovery of two infants’ bodies is made at a Teacher Training College, Bennett and Owen are given the case. Soon a number of suspects are identified.
At the same time, a killer is on the loose staging attacks using sulphur mustard.
Is there a link between the infants’ bodies and the sulphur mustard attacks? 
Do the answers lie in the past or the present?
Bennett and Owen must work together to bring to justice a killer with revenge on his mind.

There's lots of interesting detail about the cases and not too much off task detail about the characters, just enough to make them interesting.
The settings in Harrogate and France are created well.

It's a very good read and I'm looking forward to reading another DCI Cyril Bennett soon.

Download details on the Author's Amazon Page.

Never Again by Nicky Clifford

Mountains, Mystery, Romance

What more do you want for a great holiday read?

Harriet Anderson’s life is spiralling out of control. Unused to such mayhem, she ditches her high-powered job to take refuge in the Swiss Alps where she meets Philippe Smith, a crime writer with a dark and shadowy past. Thrown together by chance, is their fate intertwined? Will the karma and romance of the mountains and the quaintness of the Alps soothe their troubled souls?
Or will their rocky paths create avalanches that cannot be avoided...

I enjoyed reading this debut novel from Nicky Clifford.

In Never Again

the on-off romance shared by Harriet and Phillippe has a wonderful variety of complexities and the Alpine setting where the romance commences is charming and beautifully described.
Greg, Harriet's ex, must be in the running for a worst boyfriend of the year award but otherwise the supporting cast is full of interesting and delightful characters.

Definitely an author to read again.

More details from Nicky Clifford's Amazon Author Page.

An Off-Piste Christmas by Julie Houston

Just in time for Christmas
 when my bookblog was in hibernation, Julie Houston released an 

Off-Piste Christmas. 

I've read all Julie Houston's other novels and feel that I know the main characters, Harriet and Grace, so well they're almost old friends. 

You can read my comments on other Julie Houston novels if you follow this link

From the book description:

The last thing Harriet Westmoreland wants is Christmas away from home, 
particularly when skiing, snow, heights and freezing her backside off are on the menu. While her own family, together with her best friend Grace's, are soon whizzing down ridiculously high and scary mountains in the fashionable Italian resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, Harriet is stuck in the remedial class on the nursery slopes unable, it seems, to remain vertical.
Tired of trying to stay upright in the dunces' class, Harriet decides to overcome her fear of heights and take her bruised body off to explore the refugios in the magnificent Dolomites above Cortina. And maybe catch a glance of George Clooney, rumoured to be in town... But what happens next triggers a totally unexpected avalanche of events which proves that, for friends Harriet and Grace and all their families, Christmas really is a time for little miracles...

Lovely to meet up with Harriet and Grace again in this new Christmas special from Julie Houston.

An ideal read for the holiday season with lots of references back to previous stories and a whole new set of plot developments. 

A lovely winter sports setting (for which Harriet expresses a healthy disregard) provides the backdrop to another can't put it down read. 

Excellent characterisation makes you feel like the fly-on-the-wall as the story unfolds. Amusing - entertaining - really enjoyed reading it.

Details of this and her other novels on Julie Houston's Amazon Author Page.


Last Bite of the Cherry by Margaret Cullingford

During the period when my bookblog was hibernating, I read

Last Bite of the Cherry by Margaret Cullingford.

From the book description:

Monica Sommers, during counselling sesions with depressed Rosaleen Westlake, is reminded of her own tumultuous past. Monica, only child of warring parents, loves unwisely. Insecure, impulsive, she betrays with irreversible consequences, Will Ackroyd, the love of her young life. Will loves her above all else. Seeking atonement, she meets and falls in love with Malachy O'Brien, her chance of a last bite of the cherry, if love, like life, is a bowl of cherries. Malachy is everything any woman would want in a man. But, can he love her in return? Malachy is a priest. Cherries have stones.

In Last Bite of the Cherry, 

two fascinating life stories become enmeshed in an unusual and superbly well written novel.
The author has a marvellous eye for detail and an ability to explore deep and complex emotions in an imaginative and beautiful manner.
The main characters are strong and completely engaging and the multiplicity of sub-plots and minor characters make the novel a joy to read.
The novel tackles some very meaty issues without becoming heavy or depressing.

A powerful and thought-provoking novel. 

Download details on the Author's Amazon Page.


The Heartfelt Series by Adrienne Vaughan

The Heartfelt Series by Adrienne Vaughan 

comprises three novels which together tell the romantic story of Marianne and Ryan who have more ups and downs in their relationship than you can even begin to imagine.

Set on the beautiful west coast of Ireland 

the three books are a charming and delightful  escape into a world of intrigue and mystery as well as romance.

Book One - The Hollow Heart - introduces Marianne Coltrane, 

a feisty, award-winning journalist who uncovers a devastating travesty of justice involving the sale of babies by the church in Ireland. Fighting her corner in the male-dominated world of newspapers she witnesses a terrorist attack that changes how she thinks about her future and what she really wants. Taking herself off to the wilds of the west of Ireland to re-evaluate her life, she encounters the soon to be world-famous actor Ryan O'Gorman, to her mind the most conceited, infuriating man in the world. He in turn loathes journalists, especially female ones. One thing they do have in common is they both think their chance of true love has passed them by. As they both begin to fall in love with Innishmahon, their spiritual home, they discover the very fabric of the island is threatened and as the islanders find themselves in grave danger, Marianne and Ryan join forces to save that which they hold most dear. But the road is rocky for this fiery, opinionated pair ... and when Ryan discovers his ex-fiance is carrying his child, things take a turn for the worst. Can he talk his way out of this one? And will Marianne even care, when she unwittingly reveals the most devastating secret of all, the truth behind her past and her own parentage.

I really enjoyed reading The Hollow Heart 

and especially liked the main character, Marianne. The story line is great and the ups and downs of her relationship with Ryan makes it a really engaging read. I read Book One almost without stopping and was straight onto Book Two.

The next book in the trilogy is A Change of Heart.

The main character, Marianne, continues to develop and there are ever more ups and downs in her relationship with Ryan. It's a really entertaining and exciting read filled with glamour, mystery and intrigue from start to finish. The characters develop well and the plot is nicely complex ensuring a high level of reader engagement. Naturally, I was straight on to Book Three to find out what was going to happen next.

The final part of the Heartfelt Series is Secrets of the Heart.

 Finally free to be together on the remote Irish isle of Innishmahon, Marianne Coltrane and Ryan are looking forward to life away from the bright lights of Hollywood and the constant pursuit of the paparazzi. 
However, when nature conspires to keep them apart and Ryan puts both his own and his son's life at risk, Marianne finally realises how determined he is they should be a family. She now needs to put aside her own, deep rooted fear of commitment and come to terms with the sinister secrets buried within her family history.
Yet when Ryan's own devastating secret is revealed, and their world is turned upside down, Marianne has to call upon more than determination to see them through. She has to believe in love with every fibre of her being, because if she cannot, it could mean not only the end of their relationship, but even life itself.

Doesn't Secrets of the Heart sound compelling? 

And it really is a can't-put-it-down book.
I enjoyed all three books in the series and this final installment brought the trilogy to a great ending. I liked the way the author recapped some of the characters who reappeared as the story evolved. The main characters are well developed and there's a large cast of fascinating minor characters too. The island setting is lovely and beautifully described. The plot is a mix of romance, adventure, mystery and glamour and keeps you in suspense for the final outcome right to the very end. Very enjoyable!
You can get details of all three parts of the Heartfelt Series on author Adrienne Vaughan's Amazon Author Page. I read all three volumes of the Heartfelt Series while my bookblog was hibernating over the Winter but it would make an ideal holiday read, Winter or Summer.

Chosen Child and Ward Zero by Linda Huber

I read two novels by Linda Huber while my blog was hibernating. 

I enjoyed reading them both very much.

Chosen Child 

was the first novel I read by this author.

The tantalising book description more than lives up to its promise.

A disappearance. A sudden death. A betrayal of the worst kind. 
Ella longs for a child of her own, but a gruesome find during an adoption process deepens the cracks in her marriage. A family visit starts off a horrifying chain of events, and Ella can only hope she won’t lose the person she loves most of all. Amanda is expecting her second child when her husband vanishes. She is tortured by thoughts of violence and loss, but nothing prepares her for the shocking conclusion to the police investigation. And in the middle of it all, a little girl is looking for a home of her own with a ‘forever’ mummy and daddy.
You'd go a long way to find a worse marital betrayal than the one that opens this novel. Quite shocking! The novel is a gripping thriller with an emotional exploration of the subject of adoption enmeshed. It's one of those stories that hooks you from the outset and keeps drawing you back in until you reach the dramatic conclusion. I was definitely on the lookout for something else from this talented author.

I went for:

Ward Zero: the dead ward.

From the book description:

On Sarah’s first visit to see her foster mother, Mim, in Brockburn General Hospital, she is sucked into a world that isn’t what it should be.
Someone is lying, someone is stealing. And someone is killing – but who? With a grieving child to take care of, as well as Mim, Sarah has to put family first. She doesn’t see where danger lies – until it’s too late.
If you think you’re safe in a hospital, think again.
In this novel you're hanging on right to the end to know who's the villain of the piece. The author cleverly takes the reader one way and then the other in this well plotted story which builds up steadily to a dramatic climax. The characters are very real and the reader shares their emotions as the gripping plot develops.

Another can't-put-it-down read from Linda Huber.
Links to all Linda Huber's books are on her Amazon Author Page.



I Came to Find a Girl by Jaq Hazell

I downloaded Shopping at Tesco, 

a short story by Jaq Hazell, because of the quirky title.
It's also free - seemingly permanently.
I enjoyed reading Shopping at Tesco so much, I read it twice and immediately downloaded the author's collection of short stories,

London Tsunami & Other Stories.

What a marvellous set of short stories.
Funny,
poignant,
quirky,
unexpected,
unusual.

Such a variety of content and characters and so well written - not a word wasted.

So, on to reading
I Came to Find a Girl

with high expectations that it was going to be something special.
And, it certainly was.

From the book description:

When art student Mia meets famous artist Jack Flood, she later wakes naked in his hotel room with no idea what has occurred. She fears she may have been filmed for one of his future artworks. Should she go to the police? And what has happened to her missing friend? Women are being murdered, and the city seems a more dangerous place.

I Came to Find a Girl is a gripping and enthralling psychological thriller.

Set in Nottingham this is the story of a young art student's twisted relationship with the famous artist, Jack Flood.
Every page crackles with unspoken menace and Jaq Hazell's dark, edgy style takes the reader right into the heart of student life and Mia's disastrous encounter with Flood.

I couldn't stop reading until I reached the dramatic finale.

This really is a stunning novel and well deserving of all the accolades that have been heaped upon it.

I Came to Find a Girl is available to download from the Amazon Kindle Store and

further details can be found on the author's Amazon page.

I Came to Find a Girl is available "free" for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.
Thanks for visiting Indie Bookworm today.
Catch me on Twitter @spurwing_ 



Death of a Cuckoo by Wendy Percival

I've been looking forward to reading another book featuring the genealogical sleuth, Esme Quentin, for ages. 

I enjoyed both of Wendy Percival's earlier novels, Blood-Tied and The Indelible Stain and although a shorter read, Death of a Cuckoo is well up to form. 

Author Wendy Percival can tell a good tale 

and her personal knowledge and understanding of genealogical matters permeates her writing.

From the book description:

When Gina Vincent receives a letter of condolence from a stranger following her mother’s death, a photograph slipped inside reveals a disturbing truth – everything she’s ever known is based on a lie. Shocked and disorientated, she engages genealogy detective Esme Quentin to help search for answers.
I'm sure all Family History enthusiasts are amateur detectives and the author creates a very satisfying fusion of mystery, crime and genealogy for us.
In Death of a Cuckoo, the main character is Gina Vincent who calls on Esme Quentin for help in unravelling an unexpected complication in her family story.
From the book description:
The trail leads to an isolated and abandoned property on the edge of Exmoor, once the home of a strict Victorian institution called The House of Mercy and its enigmatic founder, whose influence seems to linger still in the fabric of the derelict building.
As they dig deeper, Esme realises that the house itself hides a dark and chilling secret, one which must be exposed to unravel the mystery behind Gina’s past.

What happens next has a good plot with unexpected developments leading to a very satisfying and heart-warming conclusion.

Esme Quentin is a strong but supporting character in Death of a Cuckoo

But this is really Gina's story and the author has chosen to explore a difficult subject after it's revealed to Gina that her whole life has been based on a lie. 

The issues uncovered in the story are handled with sensitivity although the author isn't afraid to confront the emotional truths that are revealed as the tale unfolds.
Gina is a very likable character and the reader experiences a sense of relief for Gina in the book's outcome.
I'm sure Death of a Cuckoo will be a must-read for all Esme Quentin and Wendy Percival fans but it also serves as a good introduction for new readers.
I'm looking forward to reading the next one!
Sample and download Death of a Cuckoo from the Amazon Kindle Store.

The Grayson Trilogy by Georgia Rose

The Grayson Trilogy by Georgia Rose comprises

Book 1: A Single Step
Book 2: Before the Dawn
Book 3: Thicker Than Water 

I read each book in The Grayson Trilogy one after the other as I was enjoying the series so much.
They're a very readable set of romances with thriller overtones.

From the book description for A Single Step: 

Emma Grayson was left devastated when her life was torn apart by tragedy and betrayal. 
Now someone believes it’s time for her to start again and puts an advert for a job through her door which leads her to the Melton Estate. 
Despite her desire for a solitary existence she finds herself discovering a life she could never have imagined, challenging her independence, her fears and her resistance to love.


Emma Grayson is a complex personality. 

Her back story is very emotional and poignant and the author explores this with great sensitivity.
Author Georgia Rose has created in Emma an interesting character whose love life across all three books has so many wonderful ups and downs.
Her romantic attachment is enhanced by the exciting thriller into which her love story is woven.

Trent, the leading man, is a complex character too.

He has as many hang-ups as Emma and the author takes her time over all three novels to reveal the explanations for his behaviours.

Emma and Trent dominate the novels 

but there is a large supporting cast too.
The main characters and all the subsidiary characters develop well as the series progresses.
It's easy to keep track of who's who and what's what as the three books evolve.
The author references back to previous main story points so that a reader who picks up one of the books out of sequence will know what's going on.
However, this is done with a light touch and doesn't get in the way for readers who are following through sequentially.

I liked the horsey setting which I found unusual and interesting and life on "The Manor" is certainly different and filled with surprises.

Although there is the predictability about the ending associated with this genre there are some plot developments and revelations about key characters which are completely unexpected and these bring the series to a very satisfying conclusion.

The Grayson Trilogy would be a great holiday read and it's available to download from the Amazon Kindle Store.

As it's in Kindle Unlimited, subscribers can read the series, like I did, for "free".

Further details can be found on the author's Amazon page.

Thanks for visiting Indie Bookworm today.
Catch me on Twitter @spurwing_ 
  

You don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books

You don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books

I've just posted this on one of my other blogs 

because it still amazes me 

how many readers don't know about the free Kindle App. 

So, just in case you've stumbled onto this blog by chance 

and you are one of those readers, 

please take a look at my blogpost 

which tells you how to get yourself the free Kindle app. 

NEWS of two #mustreads coming soon to a Kindle Store near you.

I've spotted news of two books approaching publication that are #mustreads for me.


Check out this blogpost to find out more about Kath Middleton's next title
and
this blogpost to enjoy Lizzie Lamb's birthday celebrations and get the latest on her next book.


I've read all three novels written by Lizzie Lamb and enjoyed them all immensely so am looking forward to the next. Check out my reviews of Lizzie's books here.


I've read nearly everything that Kath Middleton has written. She's an amazingly eclectic writer and I'm intrigued to see what her next publication will be. Check out my reviews of Kath's books here.


Thanks for visiting Indie Bookworm today.
Catch me on Twitter @spurwing_ 

Novellas from Kath Middleton and Jonathan Hill

In March last year two of my favourite authors, Jonathan Hill and Kath Middleton, collaborated in an unusual writing project. 

They each wrote a novella using the same atmospheric painting as a starting point. 

The novellas were published together in the same volume entitled "Is it Her?" and it was fascinating to read each story inspired by different interpretations of the painting.

You can read more about "Is It Her?" 

in this review from my guest reviewer, Michael Murray (aka he with whom I share my life!)

Towards the end of 2016, while Indie Bookworm was hibernating, 

Kath Middleton published a collection of three novellas just in time for Hallowe'en. 

Each of the three supernatural tales in "Souls Disturbed" is focused on an artefact - an antique mirror, a family heirloom and an ancient well - which has supernatural properties.

The book description tells more: 

THE MOON GLASS
Martin buys an old mirror, but when the moon shines on the glass it’s not his own reflection he can see.
THE MOURNING JEWEL
On her twenty-first birthday, Vanessa inherits her great-grandmother’s pendant. The classic style appeals to her and she wears it constantly – until she discovers her darker inheritance.
THE WELL
While archaeologists dig out the old well in Karen and Ben’s garden, a neighbour’s child goes missing – and Karen can hear a child’s cry coming from the well.
And, yes, the three stories live up to their promise and are as intriguing as they sound.
I particularly like the way Kath Middleton writes about ordinary people living ordinary lives for whom something very out of the ordinary happens.
The author's down-to-earth writing style ensures that the supernatural is completely plausible and very readable.

Three excellent tales with just the right degree of spookiness and well worth reading.


October 2016 saw the publication of "Not Just a Boy" by Jonathan Hill. 

I'd been very impressed with Jonathan Hill's award winning novel "FAG" and his novella "Pride" and was looking forward to reading "Not Just a Boy".
Writing with his usual talent for economy, Jonathan Hill's latest was a poignant tale of an angsty teenager which concluded with an unexpected finale.

From the book description:

When two friends move to a new school, they expect some change but nothing like the events that unfold over several terms.
A schoolboy crush takes hold and refuses to let go, propelling both boys towards a moment so devastating it will change their lives forever. 
The author has created a main character who reveals his confusions and complexities with captivating honesty. Through "the boy's" experiences the reader shares the torment of school based bullying and the difficulties of adolescent relationships with peers and parents.
At the end of the book the writer states his belief that writing should "not only entertain but also enhance and change the way readers view the world". As far as this reader is concerned, that mission was accomplished.

Christmas 2016 brought a short story from each writer.

Jonathan Hill gave us (literally as it was free for a few days) a feel-good comedy short story, "A Christmas Outing".

The book description gives a hint of what is to follow:
It's that time of year again, when Mum insists on dragging us to the Christmas markets. This year is a bit different, though, as my friend Jamie is coming too.
Mum is so stressed about enjoying the evening that she probably won't enjoy it, Dad has conveniently developed a sudden fear of crowds to try to get out of it, and I'm waiting for the right moment to tell them both that Jamie is more than just a friend...
I found the short story to be amusing but insightful and certainly not just for Christmas!

Kath Middleton came up with Stir-up Sunday: a ghost story for the Christmas season.

As tradition dictates, Hannah is making the family Christmas pudding on Stir-up Sunday. Over two hundred years previously, Lizzy had been doing the same job, in the same place, but she stirred up more than a pudding.
Hannah now feels her own life slipping out of her control, as she is drawn helplessly to a Christmas past and its dark secret.
I enjoyed the mix of old traditions in a contemporary setting with an historical tale that has an unexpected ending. Nicely spooky but not too much! A really enjoyable Christmas ghost story.

And coming up to date I saw this on Twitter:

which I shall certainly be looking out for.


You can find details of Kath Middleton's book on her Amazon author page

and books by Jonathan Hill are listed on his Amazon author page. 

You can find my reviews of both these authors' books on these Indie Bookworm pages:

Jonathan Hill

Kath Middleton

Thanks for visiting Indie Bookworm today.
Catch me on Twitter @spurwing_