Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Review - All Fall Down by Louise Voss & Mark Edwards

Wow! What a thrilling read!

Dr Kate Maddox is a high profile virologist and when a number of her colleagues are murdered in a terrorist attack, she is called upon by a secret agent to go over to the US and help them to find a cure for this pandemic.  Torn between staying to be with her son, and possibly saving the world, she makes her choice and decides that she’ll send her son for a long holiday with his father in another part of the States to keep him protected from the virus that she has spent a lifetime trying to cure.  

Only they hadn’t told her the whole truth. While it was agreed originally for her partner to go with her, when they arrived in the US, they were separated and he decided to split from the secret agent and what they had in store for him to do a little investigating of his own about how his brother, and Kate’s former partner had been killed years earlier. 

Meanwhile a group of tough, killer “ladies” (and I say the word ladies in the loosest sense of the word!) discovered that it was their destiny and that they were the chosen ones who got to decide that the world needed to be refreshed of it's inhabitants and they were hell bent on spreading this virus in the US then onto to the rest of the world.  But first they wanted Kate to become one of them. 

Can Kate find a cure for this disease before it wipes out the people that she loves dearly as well as the rest of the world?  I’m not going to tell you the answer now am I!

This book got my heart thumping, my mind racing, and put me in a state where I was totally oblivious to the outside world while reading this book. It was thoroughly enjoyable, full of suspense and thrills it completely absorbed me. It was exciting, exhilarating, and my heart pounded most of the way through the book. There were times when I felt myself holding my breath and times where I wanted to shout at the main characters about what was going to happen and wanted to help them find a way out.  It took a while for me to come back down to earth and realise that they couldn't actually hear me if I did!

Brilliantly written, with amazing characters, and an unbelievable yet believable plot, very gruesome in parts, yet moving in others, there were so many different qualities in this book which made it a totally superb read.

Thoroughly entertaining, and totally energetic, it certainly grabbed my attention and my imagination and you really had no idea until the very end how it was going to turn out.   To tell the truth when I finished reading it, I felt completely exhausted as if I'd gone through every single one of the will ordeals myself and had to go and have a lie down!   

Mark Edwards and Louise Voss met after Louise saw Mark on a TV documentary about aspiring writers, and a writing partnership was born.

Their first two thrillers, Killing Cupid and Catch Your Death, were huge hits when the pair self-published them online, becoming the first UK indie authors to reach No. 1 in both the Amazon Kindle and Amazon Fiction charts. All Fall Down is their third novel.

Find out more about the crime-writing duo at their website
Mark on Twitter: mredwards
Louise on Twitter: LouiseVoss1

To buy this book via Amazon UK click here

Monday, 7 January 2013

Launch - Goodnight Brian by Steven Manchester

Last year, it was a real honour to be contacted by Steven Manchester who asked me if I would like to review his novel Twelve Months.  I'm delighted to tell you that it became a #1 best seller on Amazon! You can read my review here.

I’m now really excited to announce that today, January 8th, The Story Plant will be releasing Steven's new novel, Goodnight, Brian.  Here's a little bit about the book, sounds like it's going to be another tear-jerker and I can't wait to read it, but I'll definitely make sure that I've got a box of tissues at the side of me.  I kind of think I'm going to need them. 

 Fate was working against little Brian Mauretti. The food that was meant to nourish him was poisoning him instead, and the doctors said the damage was devastating and absolute. Fate had written off Brian. But fate didn’t count on a woman as determined as Brian’s grandmother, Angela DiMartino– who everyone knew as Mama. Loving her grandson with everything she had, Mama endeavored to battle fate. Fate had no idea what it was in for.

An emotional tale about the strength of family bonds, unconditional love, and the perseverance to do our best with the challenging gifts we receive,Goodnight, Brian is an uplifting tribute to what happens when giving up is not an option.

Steven Manchester is the published author of the #1 best seller, Twelve Months, as well as A Christmas Wish(the holiday prequel to Goodnight, Brian).

He is also the Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans,as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of his short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

You can find out more about Steven at his website.   

You can also like him on Facebook

Available from Goodnight, Brian

Available from Amazon UK Goodnight, Brian

This is also available for Nook

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Review - Dangerous Waters by Anne Allen

A thoroughly enjoyable book that I couldn't put down.

Jeanne Le Page, arrives in Guernsey on a ferry and has a panic attack.  She hasn't been back for fifteen years, since she was the only survivor of a boating accident which involved her parents.  Her grandmother has also now died and she has returned to the island because she has inherited her cottage. 

Jeanne has to make a decision as to whether she should sell the cottage, do it up and sell it, or do it up and live in it herself.  It is the latter that she decides and as she has just come out of a relationship along with its associated memories, she makes new friends and meets up with old friends in her efforts to build a new life in the place that she grew up in. 

She does however, get an 'odd' feeling in a certain part of the cottage and while looking for some old recipes of her Grandmother's, she finally uncovers a very old secret which goes back to the time of the German Occupation.  She becomes drawn into solving not one but two old mysteries, and while also trying to overcome her fears of the water, and get back the memories that she has lost, she finds that she is the star witness in one of them and for the second time in her life, she finds that her life is in danger. 

I loved reading this book.  It took me back to years ago when I visited Guernsey and thought it was one of the most beautiful places ever!  Anne's writing made it so easy to conjure up pictures of a very green and beautifully sunny island, with some very cosmopolitan places to visit and enjoy. 

Part of the book talks about her Grandmother's recipes and they try to recreate them using modern measures and ovens.  I was literally salivating at some of the descriptions and a lot of the book is also based around eating out, and I found myself constantly craving all of this gorgeous food that was being described and wanting to visit all of the restaurants.  Anne has done a fabulous job on behalf of the Guernsey Tourist Board as after reading this book, it has really picqued my interest in going there again as soon as possible.

I found that I couldn't put the book down, it was a mixture of mystery and romance, which was a great combination.  She became an integral part of a group of friends, and her relationships that developed within the group were wonderful and she handled one of the group who was getting way too friendly really well.  I read the book in two sittings, finishing it last night and I really couldn't wait to get back to it.   

Jeanne was a lovely character and I found myself wanting to be her, making a new life for herself in a beautiful country, living by the beach, having lots of time and enough money to be able to do up the cottage exactly as she wanted to before she found out that her life was in danger.  It really was written in a delightful way and was a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read. 
Anne Allen is a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, counsellor and Reiki practitioner.  She is a mother of three children, and lives near the sea in Devon after spending many years living in Guernsey.   She loves to read and to travel. 

Find out more about Anne Allen at her website
You can follow Anne on Twitter
Buy this book by clicking here

Review - Coffee, Tea, the Gypsy and Me by Caroline James

I absolutely loved this story!

Jo's husband ran off to Spain with their young spanish Nanny and so it was up to Jo to make a new life for herself and her son. On an impulse she buys Kirkton House - a run down guest house, and with the help of a number of local people that she took on as staff, in particular Hattie, with who she became firm friends, they work really hard to make sure they are able to open the refurbished country house hotel in time for the notorious Fair Week.

The Fair is a 300 year old gypsy tradition which the locals hate.  Keeping her hotel  fully booked and her young son happy and loved are the only things on her mind - that is until the handsome John Doherty walks through her door!

As soon as Caroline  starting to write about Kirkton House, I could picture it vividly in my mind and when the refurbishment was complete I wanted to book a room there so i could experience it for myself.  The more I read, the more I felt like I'd actually been there and walked around every area of this delightful house and sunbathed in the glorious garden and I loved it.  I felt like I'd eaten many of the fabulous meals that were created in the kitchen and found my mouth watering when I was reading about them. 

I loved the easy and natural friendship that was forged between Jo and Hattie and how Hattie wanted Jo to make the best of herself and look the part as the owner of this prestigious hotel. I found Jo to be an amazing hostess, and with Hattie on her side they couldn't fail to have a success on their hands.  I felt like I knew each of these amazing ladies and went through such as lot with them in the space of reading this book.  They were so supportive of each other and would have done anything to help the other. 

It was emotional in parts, hilarious in others, great fun to read and fabulously romantic all rolled into one.  As far as I was concerned, the ending was perfect and everything that I hoped for.     

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read, very entertaining, and left you wanting to turn the pages as quickly as possible to find out how the story was going to end.  Caroline is a wonderful author, naturally descriptive and the words just flowed so well throughout.  A fabulous book, which I adored. 
Caroline James ran away from home when she was 15 years old, and after a shaky start working as a waitress on the south coast, clawed her way through the hospitality industry at college in Bournemouth to the front desk of a leading London hotel.  She has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the catering industry, from a pub to a hotel, restaurants and outside catering.  She now lives in Cheshire and runs a hospitality related company and loves to spend her leisure time writing and climbing mountains.

You can buy this book via Amazon

You can follow Caroline on Twitter

Review - Married by Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

A delightful festive read. 
Anna has had a difficult past.  Since she was a young girl, before being abandoned by her Mom, she has dreamt about having a wedding on Christmas Eve and her dream is coming true as she is marrying her fiance on Christmas Eve.  She has the whole thing planned down to the very last detail.
The only thing she didn't bargain for is the fact that her husband  to be Tom forgot to tell her that he was already married!  To a Las Vegas dancer he met a few years ago when he was in the USA.  Because she wants her dream to come true so much, she flies off to New York to sort it out leaving her best friend Eve & Tom behind.  What she has also missed is that Eve has a secret that she's also been hiding.  Anna meets an old friend Miles on the plane, who insists on helping her out while he is waiting for an audition which could be his big break in the world of music. 
This is a wonderful book, full of fun, romance, laughs and love.  The trip to New York made me feel like I was there myself experiencing a snow-covered Christmas in New York which is something I've always fancied.  

Each character was perfectly created, Anna in particular was a great lead role even though I found her a bit was a bit over enthusiastic with her organisation and lists but as her character let go a bit in New York, she became great fun, and her personality developed beautifully and I loved her even more.  Miles and Tom were very different leading males in the story but both equally likeable and Eve is the sort of best friend you would want in your life fighting your corner. 

Married by Christmas is a fun-filled romance that is purely delightful, fabulously festive to cosy up on the sofa with, and with lots of laughs thrown in to keep you thoroughly entertained.   
Scarlett also writes as Rowan Coleman and I reviewed one of her books - Dearest Rose - recently too.  You can find that review here
You can follow Scarlett on Twitter
You can like her on Facebook
You can buy this book via Amazon
You can find out more at her website