Miserly Monday #4 (Fictionophile’s #Kindle book bargains)


Another three bargain Kindle purchases this week.

These books might vary in price from Amazon.ca to Amazon.com to Amazon.co.uk but they are all still BARGAINS!  Probably about what you would pay for a cup of coffee.

NOTE: The price tags reflect the price I paid on Amazon.ca – the links are to Amazon.com as most of my blog followers seem to be from the United States.

Click on the price tag

to go to the Amazon.com link for the book.

Clicking on the book’s cover will take you to Goodreads.

Note: I do NOT receive any remuneration from Amazon.  These are just Kindle deals that I have found and want to share with my fellow book lovers. I am quoting the price I paid – the price might have changed by the time you read this post.

So, here goes my fourth Miserly Monday…








Blurb:    Ten years ago, four people were brutally murdered. One girl lived.

No one believes her story.
The police think she’s crazy.
Her therapist thinks she’s suicidal.
Everyone else thinks she’s a dangerous drunk.
They’re all right—but did she see the killer?

As the anniversary of the murders approaches, Faith Winters is released from the psychiatric hospital and yanked back to the last spot on earth she wants to be—her hometown where the slayings took place. Wracked by the lingering echoes of survivor’s guilt, Faith spirals into a black hole of alcoholism and wanton self-destruction. Finding no solace at the bottom of a bottle, Faith decides to track down her sister’s killer—and then discovers that she’s the one being hunted.

How can one woman uncover the truth when everyone’s a suspect—including herself?









Former homicide detective Nicole Foster has hit rock bottom. Driven off the force by her treacherous partner and lover, she’s flat broke and struggling with a gambling addiction. All Nicole has left is the dream of a warm bed at a homeless shelter and the haunting memories of three-year-old Kelsey Chase—whose murder case ended her career.

As Nicole obsesses over the old facts, she realizes everything about that case felt off: a disinterested mom, a suicidal pedophile, and too many questions left unanswered. When the little girl’s grieving father begs Nicole for help, she’s drawn back into the investigation…and given one shot at redemption.

But the deeper Nicole digs, the more evil she uncovers, including betrayals that hit painfully close to home. Will a shocking discovery be the key to finally getting justice for Kelsey and resurrecting her own life?










Six years ago, a dreadful tragedy overturned Hannah Walker’s life. Now her fragile existence is threatened by a macabre discovery. The truth will come out – but is it one that Hannah can bear to confront?
Three people are drawn together by a crime, three lives are torn apart by the chilling consequences. Secrets cannot stay buried for ever… 

Have YOU found a great Kindle bargain this week? If so, please share in the comments.

Posted in Miserly Monday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Blogger vs. Reader – Books I REALLY want to read!

The above 10 novels are the books that I want to read right now!

They are calling my name and their voices are very LOUD!

The problem you ask?

Well… NONE of these are on my ‘for review’ TBR – which means that I have about 145 books to read BEFORE these lovely titles.

Also, although I own seven of them, two of these titles are not even available in Canada on Kindle! The one that is available, and that I don’t own, is on my Amazon wishlist as it was a bit pricey.

  1. The burning” by Jane Casey
  2.  “Anything you do say” by Gillian McAllister
  3. The house of birds” by Morgan McCarthy
  4. The house of spines” by Michael J. Malone
  5. Rubbernecker” by Belinda Bauer
  6. The trouble with goats and sheep” by Joanna Cannon
  7. The dry” by Jane Harper
  8. The mountain in my shoe” by Louise Beech
  9. The child finder” by Rene Denfeld
  10. Her dark retreat” by J.A. Baker

Only a bookworm/bookblogger could possibly understand my quandary. I know of one friend of mine that would say just leave the ‘for review’ books and read what is calling your heart. (but then, she is not a bookblogger)

A fellow book blogger summed it up nicely in this post:

Have YOU read any of the ten titles on my list?

How do YOU balance the tightrope that spans the divide between BLOGGER and READER?

Posted in Book bloggers, Choosing what to read next, ramblings & miscellanea, Reading | Tagged , , | 33 Comments

Throwback Thursday (an old favorite recommended)

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favorites.

This week I’ve chosen “The boy who shoots crows” by Randall Silvis for my Throwback Thursday post. It was first published in January of 2011 and was, for me, a 5* read.

First reviewed on Fictionophile May 16, 2012


The protagonist in “The boy who shoots crows” is an artist who has moved from the city to rural Pennsylvania to recover from a failed marriage. She has the idea that the idyllic peaceful setting will cure her soul and prove as an inspiration to her art. The description in the novel is told as seen through the eye of an artist using a lot of imagery which enables the reader to vividly imagine the action and setting.

The renovated farmhouse where Charlotte Dunleavy has taken up residence adjoins a wooded area. The novel opens with a police officer knocking on Charlotte’s door early one early spring morning to ask her if she had seen a young boy from the area who has been reported missing. The boy has been seen many times by Charlotte as he goes to the wood to shoot crows on a regular basis. However, this time she tells the officer that she has not seen him. She does say that she saw an older boy, Dylan, spreading lime on the fields and that he left his tractor to enter the woods that day… The police officer, Marcus Gatesman, is a widower who is immediately attracted to the lovely Charlotte. He sees her vulnerability and her fragility and feels the need to protect her from life’s dark side. And he has seen the dark side. Many years of police work coupled with the loss of his beloved wife and infant daughter in a car accident, ensure that he is well versed in the fact that bad things sometimes do happen to good people. He is a likable chap who occasionally waxes philosophical on life, fate, and chance. The author, Randall Silvisdescribes Gatesman as being “softened by life’s hardness” which describes him perfectly. Charlotte on the other hand is so wounded by her ex-husband that she is unable to let herself feel anything for Marcus. Although this sounds like your stereotypical romance novel, nothing could be further from the truth.

Jesse, the missing boy, is the only child of a poor family who live in a small mobile home just down the road from Charlotte’s farmhouse. His long-suffering mother, Livvie Rankin works hard to give Jesse the basic necessities. His father drinks to excess, gambles and shows neither his wife nor his son any love or affection.
Dylan, the teenager who Charlotte inadvertently puts in a difficult position maintains his innocence. Suspicion has been established however, and the local community make Dylan’s life a misery. He is severely beaten and hospitalized. This even after Charlotte recants her earlier tale, pleading that she was suffering from a debilitating migraine that day and couldn’t really rely on her senses. In fact Charlotte is so emotionally fragile that she seems to doubt her own perceptions causing the reader to question what is true? What is not?

As the story progresses and the search for the missing Jesse remains unfruitful, Charlotte seems to deteriorate into melancholia. She doesn’t take care of herself, she has lost all interest in her art, and her despair is almost palpable. She blames herself for casting Dylan in a guilty light.

The boy who shoots crows” is unlike previous thrillers I have read where you turn pages wondering if what you deduct might be true. It is an astounding literary psychological thriller where I found myself turning pages feverishly hoping that what I was afraid of wasn’t true… The ending of the novel is one that will remain with me for years to come. Highly recommended!

I borrowed “The boy who shoots crows” from my local public library.

Randall Silvis was born in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. He is a novelist, a playwright, a screenwriter, and a teacher. He has been published and produced in virtually every field and genre of creative writing. His numerous essays, articles, poems and short stories have appeared in several magazines, both in print and online. His work has been translated into ten languages.

Silvis’s many literary awards include two writing fellowships from the National
Endowment for the Arts, the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, six fellowships for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting from the Pennsylvania Council On the Arts, and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree awarded for “distinguished literary achievement.”

Posted in Favorite books, Psychological thrillers, Throwback Thursday | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“The doll funeral” by Kate Hamer

A well-written, though at times bleak novel, about a thirteen year-old girl who can ‘see‘ the dead. She sees many dead people, but the most constant presence is that of ‘Shadow’, a young boy who has made himself known to her throughout her life.

Ruby lives in The Forest of Dean with her parents Barbara and Mick. Her life is traumatic. Mick is a vicious and violent abuser who thinks nothing of slamming Ruby up against a wall, or making a meal of her face with his fists. Barbara seems to love her, but will not stand up to Mick’s violence.  Ruby misses a lot of school due to her injuries. Mick is the school caretaker and doesn’t want her to show up bruised at his place of work.

On her thirteenth birthday, Barbara and Mick tell Ruby that she is adopted.  Rather than being upset by this revelation, she is ecstatic.  It explains so much.  What a relief! She now devotes herself to finding her ‘real‘ parents.

Ruby has a large red birthmark on one side of her face. She is ostracized at school, partly because she is ‘different’ and partly because of her home situation.  One day, when fear of Mick’s violence overcomes her, Ruby bashes him in the head with a plank.  Thinking that she has killed him, she runs away to her beloved forest. She spends the night in a hollowed out tree. Upon her return to the house, she is packed off to live with Mick’s sister in Coventry – away from the forest.  With some guidance from ‘Shadow’, Ruby runs away again – this time to the home of Tom, a fifteen year-old boy she met near her school.

“We are what our families have made us. But sometimes you can escape that.”

As Ruby passes under the arch with the ‘Green Man‘, she enters Hilltops, a large house where the squalor makes the living conditions much worse than the place she left.  Tom, his older sister Elizabeth, and his younger brother, Crispin live alone in a large house, which was once a commune. Their neglectful, ‘hippie’ parents have absconded for pastures new. Now the adolescent children run wild, in increasingly desperate conditions. Malnourished and cold, they resort to killing wildlife for sustenance.

“We’re just sad stinking children, I thought. Lost and alone”.

The story shifts point of view from Ruby in 1983 back to Ruby’s birthmother Anna in 1970. Anna got pregnant at eighteen. She was unmarried, a difficult position for a young girl in 1970. She eventually marries Ruby’s criminal father Lewis, but soon after the marriage she suffers from a psychotic episode that the psychiatrists label as postpartum psychosis.

“Family has been one long disappointment”.

I love the way that Kate Hamer writes. Her sentences flow easily and she has a way of capturing emotions and scenes that resonate with the reader.  That being said, there were times while reading this novel that I thought I was having a psychotic break.  Fanciful by turns, I wasn’t sure at times what was real and what was purely in Anna’s or Ruby’s imagination. The classic novel “Alice in Wonderland” was mentioned several times in the book, and there were times that I felt as though I had fallen down a magical rabbit hole while reading it.

I purchased the prequel novella “The world of Shadow” and read it prior to reading “The doll funeral“. The novella introduces the reader to ‘Shadow’, the little dead boy that accompanies Ruby through her life.  I was thinking it would help me get a better grip on the book, but now I wish I had read it after the book…

I’m on the fence about recommending this novel.  It does contain beautiful prose and has an atmospheric setting. The story is at once heart-breaking and fantastical. I read the author’s “Girl in the red coat” previous to this and I enjoyed that book more than this one. Although I went with it at first, I think the supernatural aspect of the story just got to be too much for me.  Themes of parental neglect, betrayal, and of course – the spirits of dead family abound. Recommended with some reservations…

The publisher Faber & Faber granted my wish to read this novel via NetGalley. I was only to happy to provide my unbiased review.

Kate Hamer grew up in the West Country and Wales. She studied art and worked for a number of years in television and radio. In 2011 she won the Rhys Davies Short Story Prize and her short stories have appeared in many collections. Her novel THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT was published in the UK by Faber & Faber, in the US by Melville House and has been translated into 17 different languages. It was shortlisted for The Costa First Novel Prize, the British Book Industry Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year, The John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger and the Wales Book of the Year. It was a Sunday Times bestseller. Her new novel THE DOLL FUNERAL has been a Radio4 Open Book editor’s pick and a Bookseller Book of the Month.

Posted in Book Reviews, ghost stories, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Miserly Monday #3 (Fictionophile’s #Kindle book bargains)

Only four bargain Kindle purchases this week.

These books might vary in price from Amazon.ca to Amazon.com to Amazon.co.uk but they are all still BARGAINS!  Probably about what you would pay for a cup of coffee.

NOTE: The price tags reflect the price I paid on Amazon.ca – the links are to Amazon.com as most of my blog followers seem to be from the United States.

Click on the price tag

to go to the Amazon.com link for the book.

Clicking on the book’s cover will take you to Goodreads.

Note: I do NOT receive any remuneration from Amazon.  These are just Kindle deals that I have found and want to share with my fellow book lovers. I am quoting the price I paid – the price might have changed by the time you read this post.

So, here goes my third Miserly Monday…








Blurb:    One phone call. Two lives. Their darkest secrets.

Lana needs to sell a holiday, fast. Stuck in Tenerife, in a dead end job, she never expected a response quite like Liam’s. Thousands of miles away a phone rings. Liam never intended to pick up, he’s too busy choosing the quickest way to die. But at least someone should know the truth before he goes, even if that someone is a stranger. As time runs out both are drawn to the other, expressing thoughts they never imagined they would share. When you’re about to die will your secrets even matter?








Blurb: For Clarissa, being called to do jury duty is a relief. It means she can leave work for a couple of weeks and avoid the unwanted attentions of her university colleague, Rafe. An intense man who is an expert on grisly folk tales, Rafe has always unnerved her, and Clarissa still cannot understand how she could have let herself have a drunken one-night stand with him.

As the trial unfolds, Clarissa begins to see the parallels between the violent tale related by the young woman whose attackers she is judging and her own situation. But with no crime to report and only her gut feeling to guide her, she is powerless. What can you do when the lines between fantasy and reality, love and fixation become dangerously blurred? How do you protect yourself from an enemy that no one else can see?

With an original structure and a heroine whose voice is equal parts unsettling and unforgettable, The Book of You is tinged with the darkness of a macabre fairy tale, yet is terrifyingly close to reality, a story that will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.








Blurb: Can a house keep secrets?

1840’s – When Lord Edward Armstrong builds the house for his bride, Anna, the family is at the climax of its power. But its world is threatened when no heir is born. Anna could restore their fortunes, but it would mean the ultimate betrayal. Then the Great Famine grips the country.
1910s – Clara finds life as lady of the manor is not what she expected when she married Pierce Armstrong. As the First World War rages, she finds solace in artist Johnny Seymour’s decadent circle. Then the War of Independence erupts and Clara is caught between two men, deceit and revenge.
Present Day – When Kate Fallon sees the house it is love at first sight. She and her tycoon husband Tony buy it and hire the last Armstrong owner, architect Nico, to oversee its restoration.
As Kate’s fascination with the house grows, she and Nico begin to uncover its history and the fates of its occupants in centuries past. But then, as her husband’s business empire faces ruin, Kate realises that they are in danger of losing everything.
Betrayal, deceit, revenge, obsession – one house, one family, three generations.









Blurb: Maxwell’s fiancée, Imogen, is obsessed with her idyllic childhood in Cambridge, England, which was cut short by her parents’ deaths at a young age, causing her and her siblings to be adopted by different families. With plans to move back there, the young couple travel to the city together, where Imogen’s excitement is offset by Max’s deeply unsettling déjà vu: despite having no history there, something about Cambridge is all too familiar. As the wedding planning begins and Imogen’s preoccupation with her lost younger brother intensifies, Maxwell is forced to consider that he may actually be Imogen’s missing brother. Worse, he fears that she may already know that he is, and be marrying him anyway.

Meanwhile, Detective Chief Inspector Morris Keene languishes at home, struggling with a debilitating injury and post-traumatic stress, and his former partner, Detective Inspector Chloe Frohmann, investigates a suicide case in which Morris’ daughter is suspected of having a hand. When buried skeletons are discovered next to an old barn, the suicide is linked back to Imogen’s childhood, revealing horrors of the past and triggering new dangers in the present.

For those readers who don’t care how much a book costs, here is a little graphic by Sarah Andersen that I thought you might enjoy.

Sarah Andersen’s second book is out now! It is a follow-up to her successful book “Adulthood is a myth“.

Have YOU found a great Kindle bargain this week? If so, please share in the comments.

Posted in Miserly Monday | Tagged , | 10 Comments

20 Questions with Rebecca Stonehill

interview graphic for Rebecca Stonehill
Today I’m delighted to welcome Rebecca Stonehill to Fictionophile.

Rebecca has had numerous short stories published over the years, for example in Vintage Script, What the Dickens magazine, Ariadne’s Thread and Prole Books. Rebecca is the author of The Poet’s Wife, The Girl and the Sunbird and The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale (to be published on 11 November 2017)

Rebecca is from London but currently lives in Nairobi in an old wooden cottage with her husband and three children. She dreamed of being an author from a very young age when she used to spy on people Harriet-the-Spy-style from under beds and up trees, scribbling down notes about them for use in future stories.
Rebecca set up Magic Pencil, an initiative to give Nairobi children greater access to creative writing and poetry.

Rebecca loves reading, travelling, yoga, photography and spending time with her family and she has so many stories jumbling around in her head that sometimes she feels overwhelmed by not being able to get them all out in time!

Congratulations Rebecca, your debut novel “The Poet’s wife” is currently enjoying a high Goodreads rating of 3.9! I haven’t had the pleasure of reading “The Poet’s wife”, but it is on my TBR. Tomorrow your third novel will be published! Such an exciting time for you!

1. Historical fiction requires immense amounts of research. Can you share with us some of your research process with us?

RS: The research process for my three novels have all been quite different. With The Poet’s Wife, this involved talking to many people in Granada and Spain as a whole to hear their experiences of the Spanish Civil War or the ensuing dictatorship. I was lucky enough to chat to 96 year old Bob Doyle, International Brigades veteran, at his home in East London, shortly before he died. In the UK, where I’m from, resources for undertaking research such as public libraries, museums and archives are fantastic so I literally spent hours upon end making the most of this, particularly in the extensive British Library.

By the time I came to writing my second novel, The Girl and the Sunbird, I was living in Nairobi (where the book is set) and this time round I found the research process a far greater challenge. Kenya does not have the same tradition of archiving and historical posterity (in many ways, not a huge surprise given its colonial heritage), so I had to employ more creative channels of research. For example, I found two elderly men willing to talk to me about their vastly different experiences of the Mau Mau period of unrest, one an officer with the British colonial government and the other, a Kikuyu who was interned in a Mau Mau concentration camp for two years by the British as a young man.

As for The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale, I used some wonderful old photographs, diary entries and letters from my mother and her friends during their travels to Crete in the 1960’s as my starting-off point. I also read a number of books that I shipped out to Nairobi from the UK and trawled the internet for first hand accounts of the Battle of Crete in 1941. Thank goodness for the internet!

2. Has the writing process taken vastly different amounts of time for your three novels?

RS: It certainly has! My first novel took an incredibly long time, longer than I ever imagined possible to be honest. The reason for this, however, is clear: during my writing process, not only did we move country twice with my husband’s job (UK – India – Kenya), but I also had three children, each of them two years apart. I started writing the novel in 2004 and it was not published until 2014. I had a fairly tight deadline with my publisher for Sunbird, which came out just over a year later – but at least my children were a little older by then and at school and we were settled in Nairobi! Alfred Nightingale has also been far quicker, about one and a half years to write and edit, and a reason for this is because in many ways this is my ‘first’ novel; I have had elements of this story in my head since I was about eight years old!

3. Are re-writes a big part of your writing process?

RS: Yes, re-writes are integral and this, I believe, is where the true work begins. As writers, we are so close to our work and so invested in our characters that it’s often very difficult to look at the plotlines or character motivations dispassionately. This is where a trusted reader and/or editor comes in and the process begins of fine-tuning the balance between listening to their advice and taking those tough decisions of what needs to be tweaked or drastically changed, and what needs to stay the same.

4. Your first book is set in 1920s-1970s Granada, your second at turn of the century and 1950’s Nairobi, and your third, as yet unpublished novel is set in Crete during WWII and the 1960s. How do you pick a time period for your novels? What things influence your decisions?

RS: The reason I chose this (quite broad) time period for The Poet’s Wife was because I was shocked to discover what had happened in Spain in the not so distant past and realised that if I knew little about this period, the chances were that so did many others from the UK and beyond. When people think of Spain, they often think of beaches and sangria, but scratch the surface and there are a multitude of stories waiting to be told, the repercussions of which are still keenly felt in this country today.
As I was living in Nairobi, it made perfect sense to me (and my publisher) to set my second novel there. As for this particular period, I was astonished to discover when I set about my research that just over one hundred years previously, the teeming metropolis I now lived in consisted of vast Masaai- herded plains and swamps, wild animals and a few colonial buildings. How fascinating, I thought, to be able to wind back the clock, literally watch the buildings vanish before my eyes and set a story in Nairobi’s early days as a tiny township.
For Alfred Nightingale, my mother’s own experiences in Crete in the 1960’s inspired the time period. For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the Sixties, often wishing I could have been alive then (I was born in 1977). But I didn’t want my book to simply be a 1960’s coming-of-age story, so I started to research what had happened on the island during World War Two and a story began to emerge, as well as how I could link the two time frames.

5. Do you think it is imperative for novelists to be familiar with the settings of their novels, or do you believe that you can write a novel that is set in a place you have never been?

RS: That’s an interesting question. I spent two years living in Granada in my early twenties, teaching English as a foreign language and completely fell in love with it. Although I had no idea at the time what form the novel would take, I knew that one day I had to set a story amongst the narrow, winding streets of the old, Moorish Albaicín and amongst the hidden caves of Sacromonte. With this book, it simply would not have been possible to write had I not walked its streets, breathed in its alegría (a word often associated with Granada, roughly translated as ‘joy’) and listened to the stories from its inhabitants and its troubled past. Similarly with my second novel, the impetus to write that story would not have existed had I not lived there; my interest about Nairobi and its past simply wouldn’t have been sufficiently aroused if I hadn’t spent time living there.

Yet all that being said, I didn’t physically make it to Matala (the setting of my third novel in Crete) until 2016 and yet, I truly believe that the seed of this book was sown as early as 1985. As a child, I loved to heave down heavy old photograph albums from a shelf in my mother’s bedroom of her travels as a young woman. She was not a ‘hippy’ in the way we think of it now, as back then that word was not in common use. But she loved travelling (as I also do!) and in her early twenties, amongst other trips, hitchhiked down to Crete from the UK by car, truck, on the back of motorbikes and by boat! Of all her pictures I was most drawn to her time spent living in some caves in southern Crete with a group of free-spirited travellers from the world over.
I started writing my Matala novel (both in my head and on paper) well before I had visited the place so I think this is really significant; that a writer doesn’t necessarily need to have been to or lived in the setting of their novel, but if this is the case, the passion for this place, for whatever reason, must be there in order for this interest to be palpable to the reader.

6. How much part have you had in choosing the covers for your novels?

RS: For the first two covers, very little, though I could suggest minor changes and tweaks.








For my current novel, I employed a cover designer and was given a choice of about five covers after providing my designer with a detailed brief. I was absolutely delighted with the particular cover I chose and know that if I were to see it in a bookshop or online, I would want to dive right in – a great sign! Book covers are an interesting business, not at all what I imagined they’d be before I was published. So much rides on them and yet, at the same time, I’ve learnt over time that it’s less important for them to convey the book’s contents than be representative of the genre’s market.

7. In your novel “The Girl and the sunbird”, the protagonist Iris Johnson moves from England to Nairobi and finds her joy in teaching the local schoolchildren. This sounds very similar to your own experiences. How much of Iris Johnson is based upon your own life?

RS: I don’t think that Iris was ever ‘me’ on a conscious level. However, I certainly felt a keen empathy for her as a character. As a writer, those ‘What if…’ questions often form the vital undercurrent and pulse for a story. So by asking What if I was not allowed to use my brain in the way I wanted; What if I was not permitted to chose my own husband and What if I was sent thousands of miles from everyone known and everything familiar, the personality and character of Iris started to grow.
I have always loved working with children – their energy, honesty, curiosity and unbridled creativity has always served as great inspiration to me and so I knew that I could write convincingly of Iris’s teaching episodes. But on a more practical level, I needed to think of a realistic scenario in which my protagonist could meet local Kikuyu, Kamau. She simply would not have struck up a conversation with him walking down the main thoroughfare of Nairobi, so the schoolroom felt familiar but, more importantly, credible.

8. Have you ever ‘people-watched’ to gain inspiration for any of your characters? And, how did you pick your character’s names?

RS: Oh, yes! I people watch all the time! As mentioned in my introduction, I started this from a very young age. Inspired by children’s book Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, I spent hours upon end as a child and in my early teens watching people surreptitiously and making notes about them. I no linger hide up trees or under beds, but I am fascinated by people in general: by what makes them tick, their passions and motivations and insecurities. The human race is so very complicated and multi layered and I’m intrigued by those words left unspoken and the subtle nuances of relationships and emotion.
Names for characters are so important and a number of them have been changed as the story has progressed. Obviously they need to be true to the period and setting but, as well as that, the name must suit the character. One could easily ask, but how do you know it suits the character and wouldn’t any chosen name serve just as well? All I can reply to that is that it has been evident as I have ‘written myself’ into a novel, that some names just need to go whilst others could not be more perfect.

9. All of your novels so far have been stand-alones. Have you ever considered writing a series? Do you prefer reading series or stand-alones?

RS: One of the comments I receive from readers that heartens me the most is when they say that my characters have lived on for them, far beyond reading the final page. A number of people have even said they would love to know what happens to them in later years. For me, this is part of the beauty of writing, that not all questions are answered and by the end of the book, I am handing the reins over to the reader for them to make their own decisions about the characters’ futures. For this reason, I must confess I’ve never considered writing a series and I’m sure it’s no coincidence that I read very few series myself. I love reading stand-alones, each one is a unique gift to be unwrapped and savoured, unlike anything that has come before or that will come after. But that is not to say I will never write a series. I never say never!

10. Did you have other jobs before becoming a writer? If so what were they and how did they influence your writing?

RS: I believe that we are the sum of our parts, whether we like and embrace what we have come from or not. Everything I have done, everywhere I have been and every person I have become close to has influenced me as a writer. I studied anthropology at university but I really didn’t know what I wanted to be still at that stage in my life, so I went on to do many things. I worked as an English language teacher, with disabled children, as a travel consultant to the Indian sub-continent, did some mind-bogglingly dull temping jobs, worked in a bar, was employed as care worker for elderly people, piano teacher, worked for an NGO that promoted fairly-traded photography, editor and, the most important job of all, being a mother.
All of the above have, in different ways, influenced me as a writer: the people I’ve met through these experiences, the conversations I’ve had and the emotions that have resulted in, for example, understanding the loneliness of isolated elderly people or learning that when I became a mother, my heart felt as though it continued to beat outside my own body.

11. Have you ever been so wrapped up in your characters that you dream about them at night?

RS: I feel like I should be saying yes but, actually, no! And that’s strange, because I do dream very vividly. But that’s not to say I’m not wrapped up in my characters…quite the opposite. They just visit me more in my waking hours! It’s not particularly fair on my family, but there have been times when I’ve been mid-conversation with them and a snippet of conversation or the ‘perfect line’ has come to me and I’ve literally had to dash off to write it down. Or when I’m walking I hear the voices of my characters in my head telling me something they want to do or a direction they want to take. It’s so interesting how these characters live and breathe independently of me.

12. I feel all writers must also be avid readers. What type of books do you read for pleasure?

RS: I absolutely love reading and am a complete bookworm, even when I’m in the middle of writing my own books. I really enjoy reading widely, so I wouldn’t say there’s a particular ‘type’ of book I read as I love so many genres, including poetry and autobiography and non-fiction. But as far as fiction goes, anything with a fantastic story, compelling characters and evocative writing and I’m in.

13. If you could sit and enjoy a chat and a drink with another historical novelist – who would it be?

RS: I would probably say Tracy Chevalier. The Girl with the Pearl Earring was one of my first foray’s into historical fiction and I have since read several of her books and think she is a master of the genre: impeccable research, compelling stories and multi-layered characters. I would love to know how she decides what to write next and what her writing process is and how this has changed during her career.

14. What novelist writing today do you most admire? Why?

RS: I would have to say Isabel Allende, who has been writing for decades and continues to write prolifically. The reason I say Allende is not because I read a lot of her books these days (though I have done in the past) but because she has built her career over many years, from her days as a young political journalist. Her writing style has grown with her and she has been so versatile as a writer over the years, creating adult fiction, political commentary, memoir, children’s books and even a cookbook. I love the idea of this, because I too would like to try my hand at different genres. In fact, I am currently collaborating with an artist friend on a children’s environmental book and my husband and I often talk about creating an illustrated culinary travelogue of the British Isles one day.

As a side note, it was after reading Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits that I was first inspired to write The Poet’s Wife. This book influenced me hugely.

15. What current novelist do you feel is underrated or deserves to be more well known? (I like to ask this question because it gives me and my readers fodder for our TBRs!)

RS: I recently read Eve Green by Susan Fletcher. It was written in 2005 as her debut novel and I have not yet read any of others, but I most definitely will – all of them in fact. I adored this book. In a sense it is a ‘crime’ novel, but the most beautiful crime novel I have ever read, with beautifully rendered prose and particularly masterful observations of the natural world. I can’t wait to read more of her and urge everyone to try one of her books.

16. What is the title of the book that you most often recommend to your friends and acquaintances? What is it about this book that you love?

RS: My favourite book of all time, which I recommend a great deal and re-read myself every year or so, is The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth. It moves me to tears every time I read it, though I must be on my 20th time by now! It is a novel written in verse but it flows beautifully and after the first few stanzas, you completely forget that you are not reading prose. For me, this book encapsulates perfectly the human experience: pain, belonging, love, regret and understanding.

As for non-fiction, I recently read The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane and am finding it comes up in conversation increasingly often. This is a beautifully written elegy to what remains of real wilderness in my native Britain and what we stand to lose. Lyrical, passionate and informative, it is definitely a book to be re-read, savoured and recommended widely, not only to people who hail from Britain, but anybody who has a deep love of the natural world.

17. What part of your career as a novelist do you dislike the most?

RS: Social media! I must confess I’m quite envious of those novelists of the past who only needed focus on the actual writing. The author’s world of today is very different and I am trying to embrace the positive elements that I am well aware social media can bring, whilst at the same time striking that precarious balance of time spent on and offline. People are amazed to hear that I don’t have a smart phone. I make gentle fun of myself that I’m a smartphoneasauraus, but actually it’s a decision I have made, to be online only when I choose to be without the distraction of various social media apps pinging the entire time. I know I could turn all of these off, but I think the temptation would be too great for me not to and I value silence and my own space too much.

18. What interview question have you not been asked yet that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

RS: What a great question! Perhaps it would be, What is your greatest inspiration as a writer? As intimated above from a book I now find myself recommending to others (The Wild Places), I feel a deep affinity with the natural world, from mountains to oceans to birdlife to the vast plains of the African savannah. I have had the great fortune of living in Kenya for five years and, without question, my most cherished memories of my time here when I leave will be those occasions when I’ve escaped Nairobi for the wilderness. I feel as though I can breathe more deeply and more freely in rural areas and I need this kind of air and space, often, to feel truly connected to myself which, in turn, adds fuel to the fire of my creative life.

19. How do you wish to be contacted by ‘fans’? Do you prefer Facebook? Twitter? Your own blog?

RS: Any of the above! Having said in an earlier question that I am not a social media ‘natural’, I absolutely love hearing from readers. I reply to every single person who takes the time to get in touch with me, so please do contact me through my

Rebecca Stonehill Books facebook page


Twitter @bexstonehill


or through my contact page on my website rebeccastonehill.com

If you would like to keep updated with my writing projects, please do join my mailing list here: http://rebeccastonehill.com/email

Thank-you SO much Rebecca for taking the time to answer my questions. On behalf of myself and my blog’s readers, I wish you every success!

Posted in author interviews, Authors, Historical fiction | Tagged | 16 Comments

“The music shop” by Rachel Joyce

A heartwarming novel that makes you smile while reading it.

“He was perfectly fine with emotions,
so long as they belonged to other people.”

We meet Frank, a gentle bear of a man. Forty and single, his unorthodox upbringing has made him LOVE music, fear intimacy, and know how to listen. He is very patient, and he has boundless empathy. His late mother, Peg, left her house and all her estate to strangers. To Frank, she bequeathed her extensive record collection and her Dansette Major record player.

“Frank knew what people needed even when they didn’t know it themselves”

Frank has the uncanny ability to just know what you need to hear. He diagnoses emotions and finds the perfect music just for you. Always on vinyl – Frank doesn’t believe in CDs. He employs a clumsy yet endearing young assistant named Kit. “Frank found that if you treated him like a young terrier, sending him out for regular walks and occupying him with easy tasks, he was less liable to cause serious damage”.

The story is set in the late 1980s and is located in a decaying side street populated by eccentrics and loners. There is Father Anthony, an ex-priest who sells religious trinkets, Maud, a female tattoo artist (who has Frank’s name tattooed underneath her bra strap), a Polish baker, two brothers who run a funeral parlour, an elderly lady and her dog, and a pub called “England’s Glory”.

“He couldn’t put away the loneliness that swallowed him.”

One ordinary day turned extraordinary when a young woman in a green coat faints outside Frank’s music shop. “There was something about her that was both fragile and incredibly strong”.  The day that Ilse Brauchmann came to Unity Street, the dynamic of the street was forever changed. Ilse is thirty. She wears a pea-green coat, she has a delightful German accent, vast dark eyes, and ‘always‘ wears gloves.

Unity Street is being targeted by property developers. The misfits who live there maintain that if they rally together they can be strong enough to see the street through this time of adversity.

I’m not going to tell you any more about the story. Suffice it to say that decrepit as it was, the author made Unity Street a place where you want to live – if only to get to know the wonderful assortment of people who inhabit it.

It is a love story, but not in the traditional sense. It is a book that makes you laugh and then, minutes later, weep. Events near the end of the book will make you verklempt. I loved this book and anticipate recommending it to everyone I know.  

The message, or moral, to this story was summed up nicely in this sentence “The human adventure is worth it, after all.” Rachel Joyce has never failed me yet. 

Music playlist for the novel.

Click on this link ONLY if you have already read this great novel.

I received a digital copy of this novel from Random House via NetGalley in expectation of my honest review.

Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect, and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.

She is also the author of a short story collection, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. She is the award-winning writer of over 30 original afternoon plays and classic adaptations for BBC Radio 4.

Rachel Joyce lives with her family in Gloucestershire.

Posted in Book Reviews, Favorite books, Literary fiction, Love stories, NetGalley | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Cover Love: part 40 – Broken wine glasses

The covers of novels entice the reader to enter a different world. Covers are, after all, the way the publisher hooks the reader into choosing one book over countless others.

In my fortieth installment of ‘Cover Love‘, I’d like to show you books that feature broken wine glasses on their covers.

Folks who know me, know that I’m partial to a lovely glass of wine on occasion (but who really needs an occasion?)

A glass of red pairs nicely with a novel of any genre.

Some of the following books I’ve already read, some are on my ‘to read’ list,
and some I chose only for their covers.

Some, perhaps, will now be on your TBR!

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from  Goodreads.

You might just find your next favorite book!

 Are you tempted by any of these covers?

If you have a few minutes visit any of the previous installments of

Cover Love – some of which I’ve updated recently


Posted in Cover Love series, Dustjackets | Tagged | 17 Comments

Miserly Monday #3 (Fictionophile’s #Kindle book bargains)

A list of the bargain Kindle purchases that grabbed me this week.

These books might vary in price from Amazon.ca to Amazon.com to Amazon.co.uk but they are all still BARGAINS!  Probably about what you would pay for a cup of coffee.

Click on the price tag

to go to the Amazon.com link for the book.

Clicking on the book’s cover will take you to Goodreads.

Note: I do NOT receive any remuneration from Amazon.  These are just Kindle deals that I have found and want to share with my fellow book lovers. I am quoting the price I paid – the price might have changed by the time you read this post.

So, here goes my third Miserly Monday…

First novel in the Gibson Vaughn series.






A decade ago, fourteen-year-old Suzanne Lombard, the daughter of Benjamin Lombard—then a senator, now a powerful vice president running for the presidency—disappeared in the most sensational missing-person case in the nation’s history. Still unsolved, the mystery remains a national obsession.
For legendary hacker and marine Gibson Vaughn, the case is personal—Suzanne Lombard had been like a sister to him. On the tenth anniversary of her disappearance, the former head of Benjamin Lombard’s security asks for Gibson’s help in a covert investigation of the case, with new evidence in hand.
Haunted by tragic memories, he jumps at the chance to uncover what happened all those years ago. Using his military and technical prowess, he soon discovers multiple conspiracies surrounding the Lombard family—and he encounters powerful, ruthless political players who will do anything to silence him and his team. With new information surfacing that could threaten Lombard’s bid for the presidency, Gibson must stay one step ahead as he navigates a dangerous web to get to the truth.






Not only has she lost her husband, but his actions have put her under investigation for corruption.
Then a bashed and broken body is found floating in the Oxford Canal. It looks like the victim fell off a boat, but Hillary is not so sure. Her investigation exposes a dark background to the death.
Can Hillary clear her name and get to the bottom of a fiendish conspiracy on the water?
This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from beginning to end.
MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL is the first in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.


A tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.
Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.
But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.
The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.


When flames rip through their family home, only teenager Stephanie and her younger brother escape unhurt. Brett always liked to play with fire, but now their dad is dead and someone has to pay the price.
Psychologist Connie Summers wants to help Stephanie rebuild her life. She has a new name, a young son and everything to live for. But when Stephanie receives a letter from someone she’d hoped would never find her, Connie is forced to question what really happened that night. But some truths are better left alone . . .


When Hector Lewis told his daughter that she had a nothing face, it was just another bit of tossed-off cruelty from a man who specialized in harsh words and harsher deeds. But twenty years later, Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who knows how to avoid attention. In the comfortable suburb where she lives, she’s just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play. In the state capitol, she’s the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record.
But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she’s the woman of your dreams—if you can afford her hourly fee.
For more than a decade, Heloise has believed she is safe. She has created a rigidly compartmentalized life, maintaining no real friendships, trusting few confidantes. Only now her secret life, a life she was forced to build after the legitimate world turned its back on her, is under siege. Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new, mysterious dangers. Her employees can’t be trusted. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide. Or is it?
Nothing is as it seems as Heloise faces a midlife crisis with much higher stakes than most will ever know.
And then she learns that her son’s father might be released from prison, which is problematic because he doesn’t know he has a son. The killer and former pimp also doesn’t realize that he’s serving a life sentence because Heloise betrayed him. But he’s clearly beginning to suspect that Heloise has been holding something back all these years.
With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life—again. Disappearing will be the easy part. She’s done it before and she can do it again. A new name and a new place aren’t hard to come by if you know the right people. The trick will be living long enough to start a new life.

Have YOU found a great Kindle bargain this week? If so, please share in the comments.

Posted in Miserly Monday | Tagged | 3 Comments

A bookworm’s lament (#bookwormproblems)

Book bloggers read a LOT of books. That stands to reason.  There is one question that is asked of book bloggers that is very difficult to answer.

“What is your favorite book?”

Some people say it is like trying to pick a favorite child, they just can’t do it. Others list many titles, unable to settle on just one.

When asked that question myself, I find it easier if I rephrase it in my mind: “What book have I read, that I would like to read again for the first time?”  The reading pleasure was such that I would like to experience it all over again.

While perusing Pinterest this morning I came across a graphic that perfectly addresses this issue.  The artwork is by Toronto based illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi.  I loved it so much, I just had to share it…

Debbie Ridpath Ohi is the author and illustrator of Where Are My Books? and Sam & Eva (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Her illustrations also appear in books by Michael Ian Black, Judy Blume, Rob Sanders, Lauren McLaughlin and Aaron Reynolds. For more info about Debbie and upcoming projects, see DebbieOhi.com. You can find Debbie on Twitter at @inkyelbows and on Instagram at @inkygirl.

Posted in Art with book themes, Book bloggers, Favorite books, Reading | Tagged | 19 Comments

“Abigale Hall” by Lauren A. Forry

Blurb: Amid the terror the Blitz in the Second World War, seventeen-year-old Eliza and her troubled little sister Rebecca have had their share of tragedy, losing their mother to German bombs and their father to suicide. But when they are forced to leave London to work for the mysterious Mr. Bronawell at Abigale Hall, they find the worst is yet to come.

Eliza, 17, and Rebecca, 12 have had a traumatic life. Sent out of London as war evacuees during the Blitz, they returned to the city as orphans. They are taken in by their Aunt Bess, but their life is hard. In serious debt, Bess sends them to Carmarthenshire, Wales to work at a gloomy Welsh manorhouse named Thornecroft. I liked Eliza so much at first. She is given only a short time to pack for her journey to Wales and laments the fact that she cannot bring her beloved books along with her.

They are put to work by the housekeeper, the evil Mrs. Pollard. Their host, the ill and illusive Mr. Brownawell, is seldom seen.  The only other living beings on the vast estate are the one-armed groundskeeper, Mr Drewry and his howling wolfhound, Kasey.

Thornecroft has no electricity, so Eliza is expected to do her work with the aid of a Tilley lamp. The manor is dark, dusty, dirty, mouldy, disused, and creepy. The only place that seems at all light and peaceful is the glass-domed circular foyer called Abigale Hall.

“Abigale Hall was her favourite place, the only spot that felt untouched by the evil eroding the rest of the manor.”

“Ever since they arrived at the manor, Rebecca seemed to be slipping into her old ways, everything the hospital fixed breaking once again.”

In their first few days at Thornecroft, Eliza’s younger sister Rebecca behaves oddly. Deeply traumatized and already suffering from some mental health issues, Rebecca has taken to carrying a dead mouse around in her pocket which she strokes continuously… Then she finds an old bisque doll with the eyes gouged out…

“The world was wicked and cruel”

When Eliza is instructed to clean the library, she cannot believe her luck. Finally she will be able to see some books, perhaps even borrow one.  To her utter dismay and bitter disappointment, the shelves are barren. Would this horrible place allow her no comfort at all? She was unable to contact her boyfriend Peter before being whisked off to Wales, so he has no idea where she is… Her sister is behaving erratically, and she begins to see what she believes is the ghost of Victoria, one of the house’s former occupants.

Meanwhile, Peter, back in London, tries to find Eliza’s whereabouts. He suffers many trials and more than a little danger in his pursuits.

As for Eliza and Rebecca?  Well, it turns out that they had many predecessors at Thornecroft, all of whom seem to have gone missing… Eliza is plagued with terrifying nightmares.

This novel had many good points. The description of the post-war shortages and rationing was well done. The setting was equally well described. The characters were fully-fleshed out. It was the plot development that let it down for me.

I began reading this book on Halloween, as I was in the mood for a dark, gothic novel. Well… I got the dark, and the gothic, but unfortunately I didn’t get a read that I can, in all honesty, recommend – this was very disappointing as the beginning of the book held so much promise. The title was misleading as the manor was not called ‘Abilgale Hall’, it was called Thorncroft. The intriguing premise, and atmospheric setting, were more than offset by the dark, dour, and dismal story. At about 65% through the novel, I was hoping for a miracle, but sadly, I didn’t get one. The plot plodded along interminably. The ending was disturbing and felt rushed. A bleak gothic horror novel, I was surprised to read that it won the Faber and Faber Creative Writing MA Prize.I received a digital copy of this novel via Edelweiss and Skyhorse Publishing in expectation of my honest review.

Lauren A. Forry was brought up in the woods of Bucks County, Pennsylvania where her FBI agent father and book-loving mother raised her on a diet of The X-Files and RL Stine. After earning her BA in Cinema Studies from New York University, she spent some time in film production before moving to London where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. There she was awarded the Faber and Faber Creative Writing MA Prize for her first horror novel, ABIGALE HALL (Black & White Publishing, February 2016). Her short stories have since been published by Brick Moon Fiction, Lamplight Magazine, and in multiple sci-fi and horror anthologies. She currently resides in the woods but can, on occasion, be found in the quieter parts of London.

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, Historical fiction, Horror, Suspense | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Culling my lengthy TBR – sixth attempt

Lost in a Story began this idea for blog posts as a way to edit a growing to-be-read list.  You take your Goodreads TBR list, sort by ascending date added, and look at the oldest 5-10 items on your list.  If you haven’t read them by now, are you likely to? Why or why not?

I began using Goodreads in September of 2012.  In my first five attempts at culling my Goodreads TBR I removed 24 books.  Lets hope this time I can increase that number.

I’ve reread the Goodreads blurbs for each of the following and based my decision on whether the blurb still piqued my interest.

My 6th ten oldest titles on my Goodreads TBR

Nina Todd has gone” by Lesley Glaister (Goodreads rating 3.38)

A man Nina meets at a conference won’t take no for an answer and shows up everywhere? Stalker? Infatuation?… Who is he and who is Nina?  REMOVE

Goodnight June” by Sarah Jio (Goodreads rating 3.81)  ‘Goodnight Moon’ is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.  REMOVE

Jane Eyre’s daughter” by Elizabeth Newark (Goodreads rating 3.11)

The only reason I chose this one was “Jane Eyre” – however after reading some reviews I’ve decided that I won’t bother… REMOVE

Don’t try to find me” by Holly Brown (Goodreads rating 3.39)

When a 14-year-old runs away, her parents turn to social media to find her-launching a public campaign that will expose their darkest secrets and change their family forever.  REMOVE

The Butcher” by Jennifer Hillier (Goodreads rating 3.79)

A retired police chief leaves his house to his grandson Matt who finds more than he bargained for in the basement…  REMOVE

Safe house” by Chris Ewan (Goodreads rating 3.57)

When Rob Hale wakes up in a hospital after a motorcycle crash, his first thought is for the gorgeous blonde, Lena, who was on the back of his bike. The doctors and police, however, insist that he was alone at the scene.
Convinced that Lena is as real as he is, Rob teams up with Rebecca Lewis, a London-based PI and learns that even a close-knit community like the Isle of Man can hide dangerous secrets that will not stay safe forever…  KEEP

The angel gateway” by Jane A. Adams (Goodreads rating  (3.26)

First in a series. After a bomb attack, Detective Sergeant Ray Flowers moves to his late aunt’s cottage. Old diaries refer to a visitor called Kitty who was burned as a witch in 1643, & like him, bore facial scars. He pieces together her life, & finds his own part in it.   Still a little tempting… but REMOVE

House of the lost” by Sarah Rayne (Goodreads rating 3.65)

Novelist Theo Kendal inherits the remote Norfolk house in which his cousin Charmery was murdered, he believes it will bring him closer to the truth about her death.   KEEP

Drowned” by Therese Bohman (Goodreads rating2.84)

Family secrets are revealed during an idyllic rural Swedish summer.  REMOVE

The uninvited guests” by Sadie Jones (Goodreads rating 2.96)

Historical ghost story set in turn of the century rural England.  REMOVE

 EIGHT more titles removed from my TBR! Result!

As I write this post, I have 1,848 titles on my Goodreads TBR!

With so many wonderful titles coming out every month, my total number doesn’t seem to be changing very much as I keep hearing about books that sound SO GOOD… so I have to add them…. don’t I ??

If you strongly agree or disagree with my decisions please let me know in the comments. I’m easily persuaded…. LOL  I need all the help I can get.

Note:  The one I really waffled about was “Don’t try to find me“.  If anyone has read it and disagrees with my decision, I’ll gladly put it back on.



Posted in Fictionophile report | Tagged , | 27 Comments

Throwback Thursday (an old favorite recommended)

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favorites.

This week I’ve chosen “The Sleeper” by Gillian White for my Throwback Thursday post. It was first published in August of 1998 and was, for me, an excellent read.

First reviewed on Fictionophile November 11, 2013

An atmospheric thriller set on a Devon farm in dark December…

As daylight becomes shorter, there is nothing so comforting as a good novel.  “The sleeper” set in the dark days of December leading up to and including Christmas certainly fills the bill.  To say this novel is atmospheric is an understatement.  An isolated Devon farm during a winter storm, a family gathered to spend the holidays together, and…. a body.

Originally published in hardcover in 1998 this novel is now newly available through Open Road Media in ebook format.  I was given a copy via NetGalley in exchange for this review.

This novel is told from three different perspectives.  We have the perspective of Clover Moon, the farmer’s wife, mother of two teenage daughters, and one deeply unhappy woman.  Never really cut out for the farming life she has inherited through marriage, Clover is bitter.  She feels having her mother-in-law Violet as a house guest during Christmas week is putting her under even more stress than the holidays already entail.  Clover has never lived up to Violet’s expectations for her beloved only son and finds fault with myriad things Clover does making Clover feel inadequate and an unsuitable wife.  It is only with the help of her best friend Diana – who is also staying over Christmas – that Clover can cope with her mother-in-law.

We also have the perspective of Violet, a widow, who remembers her entire married life on this farm.  Hers was a very different existence there as she worked alongside her husband and was a true helpmeet who strived to make the farm a success. 

Upon William’s death, she moved to the tourist town of Torquay where she now has a small bungalow.  She holds seances there and has a regular group visit her bungalow to attend them.  Also, Violet had a tragic childhood with a trauma that would scar even the most strong minded.

Thirdly, we have the perspective of Valerie Gleeson, a hotel manageress in Torquay.  Her hotel residents are mostly elderly and just days before Christmas one of them goes missing…

Family secrets, mounting family discord, and a busy dairy farm to run during a power outage all serve to ratchet up the tension.

Gillian White ties the three narratives together seamlessly with an ending that will please readers of Ruth Rendell, Margaret Yorke, Frances Fyfield and the like.

From Liverpool, England, Gillian White is the author of sixteen novels of suspense, satire, romantic suspense, and Gothic.


Posted in Christmas, NetGalley, Suspense, Throwback Thursday | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Inkitt launches a FREE writing program in November!

They say that everyone has at least one book in them. ‘They‘ were clearly not talking about me. However, many of you out there in bloggyland DO have a book inside you that you are eager to get out. It is for those folks that I share this press release from Inkitt.

Inkitt launches a free program to help you turn your idea into a novel within 30 days!
They are launching a huge writers program in November to assist authors during the Nanowrimo challenge. It is free to join and there will be individual writing coaching sessions (e.g. with the editor of The Martian), Q&As with famous authors such as Andy Weir, Lauren Kate, Gayle Forman, etc. a Writing Buddy System and much more. Currently, we’re inviting authors to pledge here.

Have you ever thought about writing a novel? There are millions of people in the world who have ideas floating around in their heads that they want to write down but never find the time.

Inkitt, the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, will be launching their first ‘Writers Write Program’  on November 1st to help you turn your idea into an original novel. The 30-day program is completely free and filled with special benefits such as:


  • Free, 30 min private sessions with professional writing coaches (including the editor of The Martian)
  • Events and tips with bestselling authors like Andy Weir, Lauren Kate, and Gayle Forman
  • A variety of community features such as the choice to get a writing buddy who you can exchange manuscript feedback with

“Our intention is to enlarge the writing community by encouraging more people to become writers,” said CEO of Inkitt, Ali Albazaz. “The program is completely free so for us this isn’t about making money; it’s about encouraging talented and committed writers to keep going and finish what they started.”


If you are serious about taking on the challenge or want to finish (or start!) a manuscript then make sure to get your spot in the program now. There is less than a week left before it starts.


Posted in Writing | Tagged | 4 Comments

Welcome November – Fictionophile’s updates and October’s book haul

I love November. Settling back into a routine at home. Doing some holiday planning and shopping. Going for long walks in the crisp autumn air…

Autumn is such a beautiful season in Nova Scotia. 

Musquodoboit River, Nova Scotia

October sunset on Cape John, Nova Scotia

I endured a disheartening reading slump in October, but I’m happy to report that I think it is now over. The books that broke the slump?
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine“. This title will be on my best of 2017 list for sure!“In a cottage in a wood”. A compelling suspense novel that kept me transfixed.

I received four titles from NetGalley in October

I received FIVE titles from Edelweiss in OctoberAND

I received one title from Bloodhound Books

So TEN more review commitments in October. I am valiantly trying to get my TBR under control and I’m working toward my 80% NetGalley badge.  My NetGalley feedback ratio improved a little this month.  Considering I got four new NetGalley titles, I’m proud of the improvement. Yeh! Go me!

I purchased the following TWO books in Kindle format from Amazon.ca

(I did purchase more than two, but the rest were bargains that can be found on my Miserly Monday posts.)

$ 3.99

First in a series, this sounds like a perfect holiday read. I bought it because I loved Kate Hewitt’s “Rainy day sisters

$ 2.99

First in a new series of police procedurals set in Norfolk

I’m on the internet WAY too much. I admit it.  But sometimes my time is paid off in spades when I discover new titlesYes, I know, my TBR doesn’t need any more…

Anyway, I was excited enough about these two new titles that I just HAD to share them with you!

The marvelous Clare Mackintosh has a new book coming out!!!!!!  Can’t wait to get my greedy little hands on a copy as I loved her first two novels, “I let you go” and “I see you”.and…

Juliet Bell (unknown author to me) has written a re-telling of the classic “Wuthering Heights” set in 1980s Yorkshire.  That, and the marvelous cover ensured that I am gasping for it…

The relationship between authors and book bloggers is discussed by the author Ann Troup on this great post from The Tattooed Book Geek.  It is definitely worth a read!

So, all in all, October was a great month for my blog. Thanks to all my fellow bookbloggers who have been SO very supportive, and who share my posts via Twitter, etc.

Fictionophile now has 2,066 followers.  Thanks all!

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