Dark Visions: an anthology of 34 horror stories from 27 authors: Volume 2 (The Box Under The Bed) Dan Alatorre and 26 others! #BookReview

A short while ago, I was approached by Robbie Cheadle, a great blogger buddy of mine, with a request.

She is branching out into writing horror fiction – another string to her already impressive bow, wife, mother, children’s author, baker, blogger, financial whizz… and now this too!

Robbie has had two stories chosen to be included in a new collection of spooky short tales, the second volume of Dan Alatorre’s collections, named Dark Visions: an anthology of 34 horror stories from 27 authors: Volume 2 (The Box Under The Bed)

She wondered whether I may have the time to peruse this collection, which includes 34 short horror stories, perfect for this time of year, and possibly leave a review.

And I have to say, I jumped at the chance! I have had the first volume on my TBR pile since it was published, and haven’t been able to read it yet, but I cleared my schedule last weekend and got reading.

I wasn’t disappointed!

Alongside Robbie’s tales are stories from other familiar indie authors, many of whom I have followed, admired and read for a while. You will have heard of them, I am sure!

Dan Alatorre, Jenifer Ruff (Everett), Allison Maruska ,  J. A. Allen, MD Walker, Juliet Nubel,  Dabney Farmer, Sharon E. Cathcart, Heather Kindt, Bonnie Lyons, Sharon Connell, Geoff LePard, Anne Marie Andrus, Christine Valentor, BA Helberg, Ernesto San Giacomo, Alana Turner, Nick Vossen, Robbie Cheadle, Betty Valentine, Frank Parker, Bonnie Lyons, Lori Micken, Chuck Jackson, Ellen Best, Victoria Clapton

It was truly a (spooky) pleasure to read!

My Review:

If you like to be able to dip in and out of a collection of spooky stories at your pleasure, then this is definitely a book for you!
A wonderful anthology filled with various delights ranging from the ghoulish to the gruesome!
I especially enjoyed the tale of a troublesome mother who helped her son’s business in a truly bloody manner, thanks to Geoff LePard, titled Ice Cream.
Robbie Cheadle’s tale The Haunting Of William was another that left me spooked out! For the record, that William deserved to get haunted!
Ellen Best’s entry, The Documentary is a short, sharp shocker too!
If I could, I would review each and every story, but that would defeat the purpose of you reading for yourself, so I urge you to take a chance on this fantastic collection of tales, perfect for the month of October, and Halloween!

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Review: here

Amazon Review: here

Available to buy on Amazon now! Click here to buy.

The Coordinates of Loss by @MrsAmandaProwse #BookTour #BookReview #BlogTour

You all know I am a HUGE Amanda Prowse fan and I was honoured to have been asked to review some of her recent releases, Anna and Theo, two books in a mini-series entitled One Love Two Stories, and was delighted to discover there was a third book joining those two, about a third character from the story, How To Fall In Love Again (Kitty’s Story).

A couple of months ago I was asked if I’d like to be sent an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of Amanda’s new release, and well, obviously it was going to be a YES!!!!! Along with the promise of a review and a date set for the official Blog Tour, my copy came winging its way to me.

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My ARC and the real deal!

And here it is. The Coordinates of Loss.

A truly beautiful cover, I’m sure you’ll agree!

About the book:

When Rachel Croft wakes up on her family’s boat in Bermuda, it’s to sunshine and yet another perfect day…until she goes to wake her seven-year-old son, Oscar. Because the worst thing imaginable has happened. He isn’t there.
In the dark and desperate days that follow, Rachel struggles to navigate her grief. And while her husband, James, wants them to face the tragedy together, Rachel feels that the life they once shared is over. Convinced that their happy marriage is now a sham, and unable to remain in the place where she lost her son, she goes home to Bristol alone.
Only when she starts receiving letters from Cee-Cee, her housekeeper in Bermuda, does light begin to return to Rachel’s soul. She and James both want to learn to live again—but is it too late for them to find a way through together?

It took me a bit longer to read, but that has nothing to do with anything more than the fact that it is term-time now and teacher exhaustion hits fast! But this book has been with me all the time so I could squeeze in a few pages here and there, wherever possible.

My Review:

Are you ready with your tissue box? No, well then, if you want to read this book, you need to be prepared to be assaulted by a wave of emotions hitting you hard.
Amanda Prowse has done it again. With powerful words and descriptions, she sucks you into the lives of a couple who are going through the toughest time of their life.
Rachel and James are living an idyllic life in the Bahamas with their seven-year-old son, Oscar – until he disappears one day, from their boat.
Sitting in a home, far away from their loved ones, this story takes you through the journey of emotions of a couple torn apart with grief and disbelief.
Is he still alive?
Has he been taken?
Was he dead?
They begin to be a burden upon each other, rather than a support, leading Rachel to run away back to her British home in Bristol, to be near her own family and best friend Vicky, leaving James to deal with the grief in his own way.
Rachel finds solace in the words of her beloved Bahamian housekeeper, Cee Cee, who herself suffered a loss, and writes poignant letters filled with hurt, hope and honesty.
I can’t tell you what happens at the end, you need to read it yourself, but be prepared for a rollercoaster of a read, as you really feel the emotions of a mother coping with the loss of a child, and a husband and wife trying their hardest to deal with the cruellest challenge parents could ever have to.
What are you waiting for? Go, read it!

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(⭐) If I could give it six stars, I would

My Amazon Review: here

My Goodreads Review: here

The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse is out now, published by Lake Union and available to purchase here:http://amzn.eu/d/9RDjJIT

The Coordinates of Loss Blog Tour Banner.jpg

About the author: I have to tell you, Amanda’s story reads like one of her own books, there is joy, sadness, suffering and success in her own life – no wonder she is the most amazing writer, with such a wealth of experience behind her! I have heard from Amanda about her journey to become a published author too and she is just inspiring!

Amanda Prowse is one of the UK’s most prolific and loved storytellers with global sales of 6million copies and legions of loyal readers (me included!.) Based near Bristol, Amanda is the author of 25 novels and novellas, with books sold in 22 countries and translated into 12 languages – no mean feat when you consider her first novel was only published in 2012. (There’s hope for me yet then!)
A passionate reader since her first visit to the local library aged 6, Amanda would read everything and everything and – armed with her precious library ticket – would spend hours reading Enid Blyton, Anna Sewell, Judy Blume and Nina Bawden, while scribbling short stories of her own. As time passed, she moved on to the more risque delights of Lace, The Thorn Birds and A Woman Of Substance; gritty, emotional stories that would inform her writing. (Mandy, we share the same taste in reading material!)
A powerful storyteller and a master of the addictive plot, Amanda wasn’t always marked out for literary success – for one, she hated school! Born in 1968 in The East End Maternity Hospital, Stepney to young parents, Amanda’s mother was a model for Mary Quant in the ’60s and her father was an engineer for Ford. One of four children – and the only girl – Amanda moved around a lot in her childhood so often felt misplaced. She also suffered from a congenital pelvic defect that went undetected until she was 9 years old and from the age of 11 to 18  underwent numerous operations, spending a lot of time in hospital. Reading became her friend and it was while attending school in St. Albans that an inspirational English teacher – Mr Green – recognised her talent and encouraged her to write and read more widely
Eager to make money, she started work in her late teens and after a series of eccentric flatshares – one with a drag queen and a shoplifter – she went to live with her Nan and Grandad in Dagenham working her way through a number of jobs, trying to figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up!
Against the odds with her medical history in 1996, Amanda gave birth to her son, Josh. With her parents helping to look after Josh, Amanda continued to forge a career, travelling the world to set up offices in Chicago and Europe for a data analytics company. It was then that Amanda met the love of her life, Simeon Prowse. A single dad with a son of his own, they met at the school gates and before long, became a perfectly blended family with Ben becoming a much-loved brother to Josh. Happy and more settled than she had ever felt before, life was about to put another obstacle in her way when Amanda was diagnosed with cancer. A timely wakeup call, she left her job and set up an interior design shop in Bristol whilst starting to write.
Saddled with debt and struggling to keep things afloat, Amanda wrote Poppy Day and, on the 11th November 2012, her life was changed forever when she was approached by a leading literary agency and her first publishing deal was signed.
Since then, Amanda’s rich imagination and prolific writing talent has seen her write over 20 bestsellers with millions of copies being sold across the world. She often writes for 15 hours a day and sees her plots like moves in her mind that she’s compelled to get down on paper. These heartfelt human stories have made her one of the most successful female writers of contemporary fiction today and she has become a regular interviewee in TV, radio and in print.
Amanda’s ambition has always been to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night; great characters that stay with you and stories that inhabit your mind so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades. She is also a passionate supporter of military charities and those that support women’s causes and holds regular ‘Evenings with Amanda’ events as fundraisers for her chosen charities.

I was even featured on Amanda’s website if you fancy a read! Just click here!

And I fangirled like mad when this ⬇ happened!

Follow Amanda on Twitter @MrsAmandaProwse, Instagram @MrsAmandaProwse or join Amanda on Facebook.

Check out her website: https://www.amandaprowse.com/

I received a free copy of this book with no obligation to post a review.

Life Begins When The Kids Leave Home and The Dog Dies by Barb Taub #BookReview #AmReading

Yes, another day, another book!

This time I am reviewing Barb Taub’s hilarious book, Life Begins When The Kids Leave Home And The Dog Dies. It is a collection of essays written by Barb through her life as a columnist for several papers, and if you enjoy it, there are so many more on her blog!

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I met Barb for the first time at the second Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in London, way back in 2016. I had won a competition and was awarded a special bracelet to commemorate one of her fiction works from the Null City series.

Check out Barb’s books here.

I can confirm she is as bubbly as her blog posts sound!

I have also read Do Not Wash Hands In Plates – a memoir of hers from travelling around India which was fantastic too.

This book I had on my Kindle, ready to read, then one day I received a package! Lovely Robbie Cheadle of Bake and Write fame, had won a copy of the book, but not wanting to put postage costs up for Barb (as she lives in Sout Africa) she nominated me as the recipient of her prize. Thanks Robbie!

 

It took me a while to get round to reading it (that tbr pile is literally teetering by my bedside, as well as on my kindle!) and I am so glad I did.

Here’s my review.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Now, I am not quite at retirement stage, not looking out for grandchildren, as my own kids are still young, thankfully, but I enjoyed reading Barb Taub’s collection of essays immensely!
The articles about motherhood resonated deeply, and I have to say I snorted with laughter at many!
Barb Taub has a way with words, her humour is brilliant and these short essays keep you turning the pages.
You could dip in and out of this book, but I was so immersed, I read it continually (when my own children would allow) until the very last page!
Definitely recommended!

My Amazon Review here.

My Goodreads Review here.

Buy Life Begins When The Kids Leave Home And The Dogs Died here.

Seven Cities Of Delhi by Rajiv Chopra #Book Review #AmReading

In my mission to always support our wonderful Indie authors out there, I decided to purchase a book a little out of my usual genre, by photographer and writer, Rajiv Chopra.

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Here is he, with a pen rather than his camera – his usual weapon of choice!

I have been following Rajiv’s work for a long while, and was extremely excited at the thought of his book, Seven Cities Of Delhi, which was to be a combination of photography and historical facts about the glorious city of Delhi, and I wasn’t disappointed!

Makes me want to go again and actually explore more, rather than just go shopping! (Oh, and eat Gol Gappe!!!)

My review!

Star rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’ve appreciated the photography of Rajiv Chopra for a few years via social media. I have visited Delhi several times and enjoyed my time there too. So when I read that there was a book combining both, I felt a compulsion to buy.
Seven Cities of Delhi? Who knew? I have read many tales and historical novels about various rulers who dominated Indian history, and it was really fascinating to read about how they left their marks on the capital of India.
Rajiv’s photos, in black and white, gave a grainy, almost to the era feel to the pictures, I wanted to step inside to see the colour!
If you love to read about long-forgotten Indian history, and have a fascination with the beautiful photographic structures, I recommend this book!

Available on Amazon here.

My Amazon review here.

My Goodreads review here.

How To Fall In Love Again (Kitty’s Story) By Amanda Prowse – #BookReview #RituReviews @MrsAmandaProwse

Another Monday, another review!

If you remember, a while back, I reviewed two amazing books by best-selling author, Amanda Prowse: Anna and Theo. They were part of a One Love Two Stories set, where you read the same story from two perspectives.

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I’m still fangirling!

Read my reviews here:

Anna

Theo

Well, just as I was getting over the fantastic story, she only went and published a third book that links with them!

This one is entitled How To Fall In Love Again (Kitty’s Story) and is about a secondary character from the previous two books, whose life is entwined with both Theo and Anna.

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First, the official blurb:

Amanda Prowse, queen of heartbreak fiction, asks if you can ever find love in your twilight years, after living a lie?
Kitty Montrose is packing up her house, and the memories that go with it. Under this roof, she’s seen her children grow up, her grandchildren arrive, and her marriage come and go.
Kitty knows better than most that the twists and turns of life can bring joy, despair, and everything in between. But when she was a little girl, she had hoped for more. She dreamed of finding her true soulmate. Someone to laugh with, cry with, and share her twilight years.
Then Kitty meets Theo, an old flame. The timing was never right for their lives to intertwine. Can Theo and Kitty find a way to fall in love again? Or is it too late for them both?

My take:

Kitty is a young girl, brought up in a perfect family. Her parents dote on her, the housekeeper like an extra mother figure. Her cousins are the brothers she never had.
The dark shadow of depression threatens to cloud the happiness of their family, so Kitty seeks solace through her passion for swimming, escaping to the pool whenever she can.
Being sent to boarding school to be spared the visions of her haunted mother and long-suffering father, she meets several characters who will shape her life to come.
Angus and Theo.
First love and friendship.
It’s easy to confuse the two.
Pregnancy, marriage, another pregnancy, revelations, the loss of loved ones, the finding of new special folk, and a story that comes full circle in the end.
A beautiful tale filled with hope that shines through the difficulties Kitty faces.

My Review:

After surfacing from the book hangover of both Anna and Theo, I was thrilled to find out there was a third book, that linked to their story; that of Kitty.
Amanda Prowse has a way of telling the story from different perspectives, which makes you see a situation in totally separate lights. I was hooked from start to finish, and it was exciting to read parts of the entwined story which you remembered so clearly from the previous books, yet, they were written in a way that added another dimension to the knowledge you already had.
I rooted for Anna through her story, I wanted to champion Theo through his ups and downs, and I cried for Kitty, and cheered for her happy ending!
I shan’t give anything away (no one wants spoilers!) but suffice to say, Kitty’s story kept me gripped!
Even though I have been busy nursing my unwell father, this book was unputdownable! (don’t worry, no fathers were neglected during the reading of this book!)
How To Fall In Love Again (Kitty’s Story) can be enjoyed as a stand-alone, but personally, I recommend reading all three – it just adds to the experience!!

 My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reviewed on Goodreads and Amazon.

Buy How To Fall In Love Again here

Buy Anna here

Buy Theo here

About Amanda:

Amanda has always obsessively crafted short stories and scribbled notes for potential books, but it wasn’t until she was forty that she began writing full time. The result was Poppy Day, the story of an army wife, whose incredible love for her husband gives her the courage to rescue him from hostages in Afghanistan. This was followed by the number 1 bestseller What Have I Done? Amanda now has ten novels and four novellas published.
All of Amanda’s books in the No Greater Love series share common themes in that they are contemporary love stories, the main characters are women, just like you and I, who find themselves in extraordinary situations for love.
Her new series is the No Greater Courage series, tales of women facing the trials that life throws at them and having to dig deep to find the will and strength to succeed. This series includes the A Mother’s Story and Perfect Daughter, which continue to receive brilliant reader and press reviews.
Amanda’s ambition has always been to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…
Currently, Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband and their 18 & 19-year-old boys Josh and Ben.

Follow Amanda on Twitter @MrsAmandaProwse, or join Amanda on Facebook.

Check out her website: http://amandaprowse.org/

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