No Such Luck by Staci Troilo~ #Contemporary Romance Fiction ~ #Review ~ @stacitroilo

Seeds of luck usually wither. The rare one grows and blooms.


Piper Seidel has one thing going for her—a red carnation given to her by Tommy Burnett in the tenth grade. It might have dried over the years, but it’s still her good luck charm. Losing it sets her life in a downward spiral, forcing her to return to her hometown where she comes face to face with her high school crush.


The years have been kind to Tommy, who looks better than ever. Unfortunately, Piper is at her worst, continually embarrassing herself whenever he’s around. The only plus? Her long-time friend, Jack Rhodes, still lives in town. Since she last saw him, his legs have grown longer, his biceps thicker, and his shoulders broader. He was always the brother she never had, but now she can’t help noticing him in an unsisterly way. Jack is every bit as caring as he’s ever been—until her bad luck drives him away, maybe forever.

Piper needs a new good luck charm, and fast, before she loses her final chance at happiness.

Our Review

It was the title of this book that attracted me, mainly because when it comes to luck, it always seems to run out when it gets to be my turn! I am ever searching for a HEA, so I thought it would make a change to read about someone else’s misadventures and I am really glad I did!

No Such Luck is the first of the new Keystone Couples Series, beautifully written and totally romantic and if all the stories that follow are like this one, they should do very well!

Tuesday Teaser ~ His Ladyship by Stevie Turner ~ #Family Life Fiction @StevieTurner6

This extraordinary story is my book of choice this week. (and I’m loving every minute!)

Book Description

Norman Wicks is 57, overweight, and has diabetes. He is sick of his life. He has never left home, had a girlfriend, or held down any kind of job. The only friends he has are online, as he prefers to stay in the comfort zone of his bedroom. His devoted 92 year old mother Agnes waits on him hand and foot.

Norman has a secret he has kept hidden from the world for the majority of his life, but now he is desperate to bring it out into the open. He is terrified of how his family will react. However, for his own happiness and peace of mind, Norman must find a way to tell his mother and siblings exactly what they do not want to hear.

HIS LADYSHIP reached the finals and the Longlist of the 2021 Page Turner Awards.

Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner is a British author of romantic suspense, humour, paranormal stories, and women’s fiction family dramas. She is a cancer survivor, and still lives in the same picturesque Suffolk village that she and husband Sam moved to in 1991 with their two boys. Those two boys have now grown, and she and Sam have 5 lovely grandchildren.

One of her short stories, ‘Lifting the Black Dog’, was published in ‘1000 Words or Less Flash Fiction Collection’ (2016). Her screenplay ‘For the Sake of a Child’ won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival, and her novel ‘A House Without Windows’ gained interest in 2017 from De Coder Media, an independent film production company based in New York. ‘Finding David’ reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition. https://writers.coverfly.com/profile/writer-d3b3affc7-6104#accolades

To quote reader Roberta Baden-Powell, ‘I’m looking forward to reading your new book, and find your books the best so far. The style you write in has given me a new perspective and a renewed inspiration in reading once again.’

You can find out more about Stevie from her website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk or by reading her WordPress blog http://www.steviet3.wordpress.com

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk

Review to follow…





Family or Freedom, which would you choose?

Book Description

Young Annie’s life was perfect until she uncovers a nasty family secret, something her parents have been doing for years.

Now she knows about it, she cannot continue to live like this, but her protests fall on deaf ears.

How can she hope to change what has become a way of life for her family?

Her struggle to change everything only makes her life so much worse, forcing her to try to escape, but how far must she run to escape the truth?

Can Annie make a new life for herself, or will they hunt her down and bring her back?

Amazon Review

Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seem remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be a directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.

Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, of her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.

Excerpt

I couldn’t worry about Ma now and we sat quiet for a while, watching the birds settle for the night. The sun going down laid a blanket of red across the field, like the blood of generations being pulled back from the earth. As if they were trying to remind us they were still there and trying to tell us something. As the sun continued its journey down for the night, the blood colour shrank across the field, as if it were trying to catch up with the setting sun before the moon could touch it with its silvery fingers.

I’d walked across the field many times when it was bathed in that red glow and the feeling of belonging was stronger then, but to what? I still couldn’t figure it out as the feeling didn’t last long enough. I’d talked to Ma about it and all she said was, ‘Some folks never find the place they belong, but you keep looking, Annie, for you just might.’ She said it in a way that made me feel it was real important to keep looking.

I got to thinking that no one really knows what they’re talking about for they never finish what they’re saying. About halfway through they go all dreamy looking like they’re remembering something, but they don’t know what it is anymore.

A soft wind came up, carrying a chill around its outsides, the way it does when the middle’s still warm. Nathan put his shirt on, saying he was going for a walk. That was something he’d taken to doing more and more often and I knew he wanted to be by himself. I still had the candy bar in my hand, and I put it in my pocket before going inside. Not that I thought Ma would take it, I just didn’t want her to know that Nathan had given it to me. Should she ask, I could lie but Ma had a way of knowing a lie when she heard it.

I wasn’t sure why I didn’t want her to know, maybe it was because she was acting funny and like Nathan said, there aint no telling what she’s gonna do next. But maybe it was something to do with Nathan; he had given me something more than just a candy bar. I got the feeling we could be close again, but he didn’t want Ma to know about it.

Ma didn’t put meat out for supper, just bread rolls and cheese and the pickle that Ma made herself. I didn’t feel much like eating, but breakfast could be a long time coming if you got real hungry. I sat at the table, picking at it until Ma said food weren’t for playing with. I heard what she said, but my mind was on the caves and the way Nathan spoke about them. I couldn’t wait for sunup…

If I have timed this right, Bad Moon should be available for just 99p!

New Release: No Such Luck by Staci Troilo #Contemporary Romance Fiction @stacitroilo

I have started reading Staci’s new book and loving every word, but couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it! My review will follow in due course…

Piper Seidel has one thing going for her—a red carnation given to her by Tommy Burnett in the tenth grade. It might have dried over the years, but it’s still her good luck charm. Losing it sets her life in a downward spiral, forcing her to return to her hometown where she comes face to face with her high school crush.


The years have been kind to Tommy, who looks better than ever. Unfortunately, Piper is at her worst, continually embarrassing herself whenever he’s around. The only plus? Her long-time friend, Jack Rhodes, still lives in town. Since she last saw him, his legs have grown longer, his biceps thicker, and his shoulders broader. He was always the brother she never had, but now she can’t help noticing him in an unsisterly way. Jack is every bit as caring as he’s ever been—until her bad luck drives him away, maybe forever.

Piper needs a new good luck charm, and fast, before she loses her final chance at happiness.

A Ghost and his Gold by Roberta Eaton Cheadle #historical African History #Ghost Horror @RobertaEaton17

After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summons a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.
Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?
After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lie in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.

An image posted by the author.
Robbie Cheadle

Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.

Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.

Roberta has 9 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.

Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.

Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.

Our Review

A Ghost and his Gold is based in South Africa.

I was expecting a jolly good ghost story, but I wasn’t disappointed, for this story is so much more than that.

An interesting combination of the paranormal entwined with history. History that had to be closely and accurately researched to ensure that all the details are portrayed sensitively.

In the beginning of the story, we learn about two ghosts, soldiers who fought and died on opposite sides of the second Boer war. We learn a lot about this war from these two ghosts. Robert, a British soldier, and a Boer called Pieter. Their heart-breaking duel story is brilliantly written, as is the sad story of Estelle, the third and very vengeful ghost and daughter of Pieter.

Far from ordinary, this story is a complicated tale of revenge.

I wish I could forget the horrors of the Boer War, but I will never forget these character’s.

Just remind me never to play with a Ouija board!

The Castle by Anne Montgomery ~ #Review ~ @amontgomery8

Ancient ruins, haunted memories, and a ruthless criminal combine with a touch of mystic presence in this taut mystery about a crime we all must address.

Blurb

Maggie, a National Park Ranger of Native American descent, is back at The Castle—a six-hundred-year-old pueblo carved into a limestone cliff in Arizona’s Verde Valley. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt.

One evening, she chases a young Native American boy through the park and gasps as he climbs the face of The Castle cliff and disappears into the pueblo. When searchers find no child, Maggie’s friends believe she’s suffering from depression-induced hallucinations.

Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, who always greets her with a warm smile and pink boxes filled with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver who is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Dave, an amiable waiter with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen.

One of these men is a serial rapist and Maggie is his next target.

In a thrilling and terrifying denouement, Maggie faces her rapist and conquers her worst fears once and for all.

Anne Montgomery

Biography

Anne Butler Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. Her first TV job came at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, and led to positions at WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, and ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter. She finished her on‐camera broadcasting career with a two‐year stint as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery was a freelance and/or staff reporter for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archaeological pieces. Her previous novels are A Light in the Desert, The Scent of Rain, and Wild Horses on the Salt. Montgomery taught journalism and communications at South Mountain High School in Phoenix for 20 years. She is a foster mom to three sons, and spent 40 years officiating amateur sports, including football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball. When she can, she indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, musical theater, and playing her guitar.

Contact Information

602.275.6064

annemontgomeryauthor@gmail.com

Excerpt of The Castle

“Holy crap!” Maggie dropped the phone. Someone peered from outside the darkened window. A child. Big eyes in a bronze face. “Hey! You can’t….” But the boy—nine maybe ten—disappeared. She heard a laugh, a light tinkling sound like tiny brass bells on the breeze.

Maggie scrambled for the phone, punched in the number, and made her report. Then she grabbed a flashlight from under the counter and bolted out the back door of the Visitor Center.

A half-moon lit the concrete trail. There was no sign of the boy. The wind pushed through massive Arizona Sycamores, their star-shaped leaves fluttered, the sound mimicking a stream rushing over small river rocks. Maggie rushed down the path. Her Nikes would have served her better than the brown ankle boots that were part of her uniform.

The laughter came again, this time from the wild land amidst the rocks—huge slabs of fractured white limestone that over the centuries had tumbled down the escarpment. Striving to avoid the vicious prickly pear that dotted the slope and the jagged pieces of stone that could slice skin like a honed blade, Maggie left the safety of the trail and pushed past the mesquite and pungent creosote bushes toward the base of the cliff, boots crunching on the rocky rubble that littered the ground.

Her gaze drifted up the sheer stone wall to The Castle, a prehistoric edifice almost iridescent in the moonlight. She could make out the small windows and even ancient logs that jutted from the structure, all of which had been felled and carted up the cliff face many hundreds of years earlier.

Maggie gasped. To her horror, she saw the boy ascending the wall. She flashed on the day she’d scaled the precipice with archaeology students from New Mexico State University. A seasoned climber, she was comfortable in the harness and helmet, but the ladders were touchy. The feel of rock beneath her hands and feet provided a much more solid sense of security. But there were no ladders propped against the ragged limestone now, nor was the child dressed in any protective gear. In fact, he didn’t appear to be wearing clothes at all.

Frozen, she watched the boy mount the wall like an animal, arms and legs working with almost preternatural ease. Then Maggie saw the child hoist himself over the ledge before he disappeared into the cave that held The Castle in its belly.

At six-foot-three, Jess Sorenson towered over her friend. She folded the slim spiral notebook and tucked the pad into the back pocket of her uniform pants. Like Maggie, Jess sported a gray button-down short-sleeve shirt and forest green slacks. But Jess was a National Park Service Law Enforcement officer, so she also wore a sidearm.

“You don’t believe me.” Maggie slumped into a desk chair in the office at the Montezuma Castle Visitor Center.

“Look, sweetie…”

Maggie glared.

“I’m just saying that we’ve had a search team out here for,” Jess checked her watch, “five hours now. And they’ve found nothing. And you have to admit….”

“They think I’m still crazy, right?” Maggie jumped from the chair and paced the room, a palm pressed against her forehead.

“I didn’t say that, but….” Jess creased her brow. “You know I have to ask.”

“No, I’m no longer medicated, if that’s what you’re curious about.” Maggie turned toward the east-facing windows of the Visitor Center, where the morning sun had yet to offer even a hint of illumination.

Jess nodded and reached again for the notebook. She jotted the information in blue ink, stuck the pen in her breast pocket, and ran her fingers through short, shockingly white hair. “Maybe you need some more time off,” she said softly.

Maggie closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. “I know what I saw.”

Jess stared for a long time. “I believe you. But the other guys….” She spread her hands wide.

“I have to work, Jess. Sitting around is doing me no good. I just think too much when I’m alone. When I’m here, I feel better. I can’t go back to the house.”

“I know.” Jess perched on the corner of a nearby desk. “So, what do you want to do? Should we file a report with the local authorities? Ask if any young boys are missing?”

“They’ll send me home.”

“They might.”

“But what if a child is out there injured?” Maggie pointed toward The Castle, unable stop tears from spilling down her cheeks.

“Do you think the child was hurt?”

Maggie blew out a breath and closed her eyes. She pictured the boy scaling the wall like one of the ubiquitous brown lizards that scampered among the rocks, his tinkling laughter playing on the breeze. Suddenly the memory seemed wrong. How could the vision be real? She stared at Jess, frowned, and collapsed into a chair.

Jess got up, walked over to Maggie, and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “I’m gonna call the guys off. Let’s get you to bed.”

Maggie lifted her head and peered from bleary eyes. “What about the report?”

“I think we need to err on the side of caution and tell the local folks, just in case. But maybe we can make it sound not so….”

“Crazy?” Maggie finished the sentence.

“Come on, now.”

Maggie allowed Jess to help her from the chair. Then she picked up the straw-colored hat with the flat brim and dark leather band that symbolized her profession. Her job was all that mattered now. By making the report Maggie was putting her employment at risk. But what if a child was lost or injured, and they stopped the search because she chose to say nothing? Maggie couldn’t live with that.

Maggie dragged herself from bed. After slipping on a pair of khaki shorts and an overly large navy-blue T-shirt bearing the words Plant Lady: I dig dirt, she made a cup of instant coffee, heavily laced with sugar and milk.

Maggie pushed through the screen door to the tiny porch that fronted her one-bedroom apartment, let the door snap shut behind her, and placed the steaming mug on a round wrought iron table. She’d slept until noon—not a surprise considering her run in with the boy/spirit/hallucination—so the sun was directly overhead. Birds chattered noisily in the surrounding bushes and trees. A speckled brown and white roadrunner, who sprinted about the grounds frequently and exhibited little fear of humans, tilted his head as she sat at the table, then went back to pecking among the rocks in a search for insects and lizards.

The apartment, one of several in a tidy row, sat on National Park land, just a short walk from The Castle. One of the benefits of being a National Park Ranger was the opportunity to live at work. Maggie had recently requested one of the simple flats—a bedroom, kitchenette, tiny living room, and bath—because the thought of returning to her house on Beaver Creek was overwhelming. Memories lingered there, once vibrant and joyful, now nothing but dust and shadow, thoughts that clawed at her gut like a small rodent anxious to eat its way out. She fingered the ragged scars that bisected her wrists—cuts that were partially concealed by a pair of colorful tattoos—then stared at the cerulean blue of the high desert sky.

Maggie, who’d grown up in the bulging metropolis of Phoenix, Arizona, had enjoyed the small-town feel of the Beaver Creek area, which encompassed the communities of Lake Montezuma, Rimrock, and McGuireville. On the way home from The Castle, she’d pass Vickie’s Grill—where a sign proclaimed you could get good home cooking—the Feed Store, and Candy’s Creek Side Cottage with its colorful kitschy décor that always made her smile. Further down the road stood the Montezuma-Rim Rock Fire Department, the town post office, and the most popular spot in town, Flora’s Bakery, where indescribably delicious confections came in pink boxes tied with twine. Then Maggie would turn onto the unpaved, dusty lane with the long row of metal mailboxes, mostly black and white and green, some with their red flags at attention, signaling mail within. Maggie’s was the fourth box from the right, turquoise with white flowers and a yellow butterfly that Charlie had insisted on.

Her tiny house was embraced by an ancient Arizona Sycamore, some of the tree’s branches having kissed the earth untold years earlier, after which they’d rebounded into the high desert sky, massive in their height and breadth. She’d felt connected to the tree with the mottled skin—pale green, brown, and white—cool to the touch, verdant star-shaped leaves. She couldn’t wrap her arms completely around the trunk, though she’d tried.

Charlie had loved the tree. Maggie stopped worrying as he’d grown older, no longer concerned that the boy might fall from the enormous limbs.

Bits of Charlie’s life assaulted her as she sipped her coffee. A hand-painted wooden frame clutching a picture of the two of them, smiling on a hike when he was six. A small pair of boots, laces untied, caked with dried red mud. The collection of minerals on the bedside table, including the strange geometrically-shaped white rocks called pseudomorphs, they’d found sifting through the sandy bottom of the open-pit salt mine in Camp Verde.

Maggie forced the thoughts away, not wanting to think about the house she still owned but dared not enter. For six months she’d stayed away. Jess periodically checked on the property and picked up the mail. Maggie continued to pay the mortgage, but the water and electricity had long since been turned off.

A half an hour and two cups of coffee later, Maggie stared at a Queen butterfly that rested on the wooden porch railing. The creature lazily opened and closed white-spotted orange and black wings, and flitted to a nearby patch of milkweed.

Maggie jumped, startled by the sound of a vehicle. A late model green Jeep Wrangler pulled to a stop in front of the last apartment in the complex. A tall man wearing a Colorado Rockies baseball cap unfolded himself from the driver’s seat and spoke into a cellphone as he slammed the door. He ended the call and slipped the phone into his back pocket. Then, he opened the rear of the vehicle and hoisted a large silver cylinder to his shoulder. His phone rang.

“What!” He walked up the wooden steps to the apartment. “I’ll call you back.” He put the cylinder on the porch floor and fumbled with a key.

Maggie recognized the object, strangely incongruous in the desert. It was a scuba tank.

Our Review

The author has dedicated The Castle to all survivors of sexual violence, which has to be the worst abuse every woman fears.

Maggie is back at work as a Park Ranger, trying to lead a normal life after a rape ordeal. That’s if life and her memories will let her.

She meets many men in her job, and they all make her feel uncomfortable. How can she know who to trust?

Like Brett Collins, a serious scuba diver that she is assigned to assist. He seems decent enough and doesn’t even flirt with her. Her boss Glen, Jim Casey the baker and Dave the good looking, dark haired waiter, they all seem harmless, but try as she might, the thought that she could be in danger again will not leave her be.

I loved the way I learned more about the rapist as the story developed, all while I was trying to guess who he was. It was as if once I knew, then he would be caught and punished before anything bad happened!

The author tried hard with the sympathy card, but I couldn’t feel sorry for the serial rapist, sorry.

I also loved the history of the ancient ruins and the thread of mystery throughout the story, which did help to balance the pervading evil.

I cannot say I enjoyed reading this story, due to the subject matter, but it is brilliantly written and plotted, and I didn’t manage to guess who the rapist was until the very end!

Jealousy of a Viking ~ #Historical Norse & Icelandic Fiction ~ @vm_sang ~#Review

Jealousy Of A Viking (A Family Through The Ages Book 2) Kindle Edition

After Helgha meets Erik in the woods surrounding her home near Jorvik – modern day York – she learns that he is lost, and helps him by taking him into her home for the night.

In time, the two grow close, much to the anxiety of her parents as there is no message from his father suggesting a betrothal, but Erik behaves as though they are betrothed. Soon, they learn that there is another reason why Erik has not asked her to marry him.

With the honour of their family at stake, Helgha’s father takes drastic measures to rectify the situation. Amid the bloodshed and danger of the medieval times, can Helgha find happiness for herself and her family?

This book contains graphic violence and is not suitable for readers under the age of 18.

Our Thoughts

This unusual medieval story of one woman’s quest for love, reminded me of so many other star-crossed lovers throughout history. The author has cut away most of the myths surrounding the Vikings, revealing their wisdom and their beliefs. A far cry from the blood thirsty tribes we see all the time on TV.

I loved reading about the Viking people, and the way Helgha, the main character, used both the Christian and Viking religions to help her when rescued by a Christian community.

Even though she managed to hedge her bets, so to speak, it didn’t look as if anything would help her to find happiness.

Helgha must have been one of the unluckiest women, for when history decided to repeat the first stage in her journey, I wondered what fate had in store for her. Or was she doomed to be loved, but only from a distance?

About the Author

Viv Sang was born in Northwich, Cheshire in the United Kingdom. She trained as a teacher in Manchester and taught in Salford and Heywood in Lancashire before leaving to raise her children. She moved to Fair Oak, near Southampton where she taught Maths until moving to Redhill in Surrey. Here she taught Science, Maths and IT in several Croydon Schools.

She enjoys walking and cycling as well as various crafts such as knitting, crochet,card-making and tatting. She also enjoys going abroad on holiday and looking at historic buildings and stately homes.
She paints as well as writes novels and has begun to post some poetry on her blog http://aspholessaria.wordpress.com/.

Fragile: Secrets and Betrayal in the Stunning Break-out #Psychological Thriller from Sarah Hilary @sarah_hilary

Fragile, Sarah Hilary, Picador, Psychological Thriller, Pan, Pan Macmillan

Everything she touches breaks . . .

Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperately trying to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong.

So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands.

But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees he is hiding secrets of his own.

But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easily they can be to break . . .

About the Author

Sarah Hilary’s debut novel, Someone Else’s Skin, won the 2015 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and was a World Book Night selection. The Observer’s Book of the Month (‘superbly disturbing’) and a Richard and Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. No Other Darkness, the second in the series, was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the U.S. Her D.I. Marnie Rome series continues with Tastes Like Fear, Quieter Than Killing, Come and Find Me, and Never Be Broken. Fragile is her first standalone novel.

My Thoughts

Reading this book, I saw the gothic shades of Rebecca that another reader mentioned and felt a connection in my heart to Jane Eyre, a beautifully illustrated book I loved, even though it gave me nightmares when I was a child.

I was fostered and it wasn’t always pleasant, so reading parts of Fragile brought back so many poignant memories, permanent reminders of the fragility of human life.

They shouldn’t have mentioned Rebecca, for all the time I was reading I expected to find traces of the old-fashioned romance that would soften the menace. There was menace all right, but it was sneaky, masquerading as something completely different.

As I gradually became immersed in this story, I identified with Nell, having been in similar circumstances. I remembered feeling lonely, invisible, and as helpless as she did, constantly wondering when life would turn in my favour.

Will Nell’s story have a happy ending, or will the raw, emotional memories persist, poisoning everything they touch?

Jaye’s Days…

poster for daily journal by Jatye Marie

It is 7.30 in the morning. The air is still, and cool compared to yesterday, and the only sound I can hear is the repeated and annoying call of a wood pigeon. I counted twelve that time. It is 20 degrees already and we have been promised another hot day. Parts of the UK have seen 32 degrees in the past few days, something I have not enjoyed at all.

My swollen feet and ankles look like hobbit feet, and the arthritis is running riot. I live in a cotton nightdress and cannot bear to get dressed. Cool showers only work for a few minutes and drinking water makes me feel like a ripe peach, about to burst.

Torrential rain and thunderstorms were forecast for parts of the country, and you guessed it, nowhere near where we live.

Anita cannot stand the heat either, and is really suffering. Every day the angina attacks get worse, yet we have not heard from the hospital about the plans for a new treatment. Lockdown might be over, but it seems to make matters worse, not better.

On the work front, I am trying to keep busy in between moments of desperation and complete despair. What’s the point has taken up residence at the back of my mind, and ignoring it is becoming a full-time occupation.

To give my brain something else to bite on, I am trying to switch our subscriber list from Mailchimp to Mailerlite, as I have heard good things about them. For some reason, they just don’t like my email address so not getting very far with logging in. Stubborn is as stubborn does, so they say, so today I will try again. If your hear a loud explosion coming from the south of England, you will know I failed spectacularly!

I am also reading David Gaughran’s free course ‘Starting from Zero, to try and improve our marketing. You never know, we might even get around to doing some, once the dust settles…

This Book Funnel promotion ends at the end of the month, so thought I would mention it again. My book CrossFire is taking part and so far has been picked up well, so thank you to everyone who now has a FREE copy!

https://books.bookfunnel.com/serialkillerchampagne/2d36r2udcw