New Release Book Review: Forrest’s #Win by Jennifer Cody

Forrest's #WinThis was an emotional read, dealing with two friends, Forrest and Blake, who have to learn to heal after Forrest is raped and Blake feels responsible for it happening.

These guys were gorgeous, Forrest lives his life by an extremely strict schedule and Blake is paid to help him manage everything. The friendship and understanding between these two were really lovely and it made it seem very organic to move from friendship to more when down the track they are forced to look at how they interact and how they really feel about the other.

When Blake sets Forrest up with a hookup, on his request, things go very wrong, and while the scene was graphic, it was short and I think the author did a good job of conveying the terror involved whilst still being sensitive to readers (please be aware this may be a trigger). Forrest doesn’t deal with this well, as you would expect, and neither does Blake, who blames himself. Thereafter follows a long journey of counselling for both of them, I really appreciate how well Jennifer Cody navigated the whole structure of this and how they moved forward, but not always in a straight line and not always without a few backwards steps; to portray anything else would be unrealistic.

Forrest’s way of talking and behaving was what I am guessing would be on the spectrum, as such it didn’t always flow smoothly, but that is how it is meant to be, the author did a good job, I think, of depicting his quirks and different ways of thinking and behaving.

Once again, this is another novel that shows us that sexuality is on a massive spectrum and things can change and emerge over time. When the novel starts, Blake is definitely into women, while Forrest is exploring his sexuality. Blake’s one night with a girl from Forrest’s D&D game has far-reaching consequences down the track and I wasn’t completely sure about this direction of the storyline, but still found it an enjoyable part of the read.

Thanks to the author for a digital copy in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review and Excerpt: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

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This was such an interesting concept that I was immediately drawn to wanting to read The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. A dual timeline novel, 1791 and the present day, these two stories are brought together when Caroline, our present-day character who once had dreams of being a historian and who has just found out her husband has cheated on her. Travelling on her own to London, she goes mudlarking (a term I’d never heard of before) and finds a small glass vial hidden in the mud of the Thames. This, in turn, leads her to investigate where it came from and in turn uncover a 200-year-old mystery.

Interspersed with Caroline’s story is Nella’s story, an apothecary who now also trades in poison for women wronged by men. And Eliza’s story, a young 12-year-old girl sent to Nella to get some poison on behalf of her mistress. Eliza is extremely fascinated with what it is that Nella does and when the chance comes to find out more, she does everything she can learn and understand the whats and the whys.

I admit to finding Nella and Eliza’s story in 1791, more interesting for most of the book, I didn’t really get much of a feel for Caroline for the majority of the story, until maybe the last third, where I just had to know how things were going to turn out for her.

Nella and Eliza make an unlikely pair, as they are thrown together, despite Nella’s misgivings, their story becomes a tangled tail of murder, vengeance and mystery.

As Caroline delves into the mystery of the vial, she finds that she is starting to discover a part of herself that has been forgotten, through marriage and expectations, and has some big decisions to make about her future and that of her marriage. I have to say, her husband was a right piece of work and I was hoping she would be strong and make decisions based on her needs and not his wants.

I had heard of poison being used to kill off people who had wronged you or who were in the way, obviously way back in the past, before we had testing for such substances, so I found it quite fascinating and I had no idea as to the extent that this kind of thing was used.

This was a very enjoyable read, thanks to HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

Read below for an excerpt.

The Lost Apothecary cover - FINAL

 

Excerpt

Nella

February 3, 1791

She would come at daybreak—the woman whose letter I held in my hands, the woman whose name I did not yet know.

I knew neither her age nor where she lived. I did not know her rank in society nor the dark things of which she dreamed when night fell. She could be a victim or a transgressor. A new wife or a vengeful widow. A nursemaid or a courtesan.

But despite all that I did not know, I understood this: the woman knew exactly who she wanted dead.

I lifted the blush-colored paper, illuminated by the dying f lame of a single rush wick candle. I ran my fingers over the ink of her words, imagining what despair brought the woman to seek out someone like me. Not just an apothecary, but a murderer. A master of disguise.

Her request was simple and straightforward. For my mistress’s husband, with his breakfast. Daybreak, 4 Feb. At once, I drew to mind a middle-aged housemaid, called to do the bidding of her mistress. And with an instinct perfected over the last two decades, I knew immediately the remedy most suited to this request: a chicken egg laced with nux vomica.

The preparation would take mere minutes; the poison was within reach. But for a reason yet unknown to me, something about the letter left me unsettled. It was not the subtle, woodsy odor of the parchment or the way the lower left corner curled forward slightly, as though once damp with tears. Instead, the disquiet brewed inside of me. An intuitive understanding that something must be avoided.

But what unwritten warning could reside on a single sheet of parchment, shrouded beneath pen strokes? None at all, I assured myself; this letter was no omen. My troubling thoughts were merely the result of my fatigue—the hour was late—and the persistent discomfort in my joints.

I drew my attention to my calfskin register on the table in front of me. My precious register was a record of life and death; an inventory of the many women who sought potions from here, the darkest of apothecary shops.

In the front pages of my register, the ink was soft, written with a lighter hand, void of grief and resistance. These faded, worn entries belonged to my mother. This apothecary shop for women’s maladies, situated at 3 Back Alley, was hers long before it was mine.

On occasion I read her entries—23 Mar 1767, Mrs. R. Ranford, Yarrow Milfoil 15 dr. 3x—and the words evoked memories of her: the way her hair fell against the back of her neck as she ground the yarrow stem with the pestle, or the taut, papery skin of her hand as she plucked seeds from the flower’s head. But my mother had not disguised her shop behind a false wall, and she had not slipped her remedies into vessels of dark red wine. She’d had no need to hide. The tinctures she dispensed were meant only for good: soothing the raw, tender parts of a new mother, or bringing menses upon a barren wife. Thus, she filled her register pages with the most benign of herbal remedies. They would raise no suspicion.

On my register pages, I wrote things such as nettle and hyssop and amaranth, yes, but also remedies more sinister: nightshade and hellebore and arsenic. Beneath the ink strokes of my register hid betrayal, anguish…and dark secrets.

Secrets about the vigorous young man who suffered an ailing heart on the eve of his wedding, or how it came to pass that a healthy new father fell victim to a sudden fever. My register laid it all bare: these were not weak hearts and fevers at all, but thorn apple juice and nightshade slipped into wines and pies by cunning women whose names now stained my register.

Oh, but if only the register told my own secret, the truth about how this all began. For I had documented every victim in these pages, all but one: Frederick. The sharp, black lines of his name defaced only my sullen heart, my scarred womb.

I gently closed the register, for I had no use of it tonight, and returned my attention to the letter. What worried me so? The edge of the parchment continued to catch my eye, as though something crawled beneath it. And the longer I remained at my table, the more my belly ached and my fingers trembled. In the distance, beyond the walls of the shop, the bells on a carriage sounded frighteningly similar to the chains on a constable’s belt. But I assured myself that the bailiffs would not come tonight, just as they had not come for the last two decades. My shop, like my poisons, was too cleverly disguised. No man would find this place; it was buried deep behind a cupboard wall at the base of a twisted alleyway in the darkest depths of London.

I drew my eyes to the soot-stained wall that I had not the heart, nor the strength, to scrub clean. An empty bottle on a shelf caught my reflection. My eyes, once bright green like my mother’s, now held little life within them. My cheeks, too, once flushed with vitality, were sallow and sunken. I had the appearance of a ghost, much older than my forty-one years of age.

Tenderly, I began to rub the round bone in my left wrist, swollen with heat like a stone left in the fire and forgotten. The discomfort in my joints had crawled through my body for years; it had grown so severe, I lived not a waking hour without pain. Every poison I dispensed brought a new wave of it upon me; some evenings, my fingers were so distended and stiff, I felt sure the skin would split open and expose what lay underneath.

Killing and secret-keeping had done this to me. It had begun to rot me from the inside out, and something inside meant to tear me open.

At once, the air grew stagnant, and smoke began to curl into the low stone ceiling of my hidden room. The candle was nearly spent, and soon the laudanum drops would wrap me in their heavy warmth. Night had long ago fallen, and she would arrive in just a few hours: the woman whose name I would add to my register and whose mystery I would begin to unravel, no matter the unease it brewed inside of me.

Excerpted from The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, Copyright © 2021 by Sarah Penner. Published by Park Row Books. 

The Lost Apothecary : A Novel by Sarah Penner

On Sale Date: March 2, 2021

About the Book:

In this addictive and spectacularly imagined debut, a female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course. Pitched as Kate Morton meets The Miniaturist, The Lost Apothecary is a bold work of historical fiction with a rebellious twist that heralds the coming of an explosive new talent.

A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

About the Author:

Sarah Penner is the debut author of The Lost Apothecary, to be translated in eleven languages worldwide. She works full-time in finance and is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She and her husband live in St. Petersburg, Florida, with their miniature dachshund, Zoe. To learn more, visit slpenner.com.

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.sarahpenner.com/

Facebook: @SarahPennerAuthor            Instagram: @sarah_penner_author      

Twitter: @sl_penner

Buy Links:

Bookshop.org      IndieBound      Amazon      Amazon AU      Barnes & Noble      Audible

Apple Books      Kobo      Google Play      Books-A-Million      Target      Libro.fm

 

 

#21booksin2021 #2021ReadNonfic Book Review: Father of the Lost Boys by Yuot A. Alaak

I was first told about this book when chatting to a couple at Holden Sheppard’s talk at Koorliny Art Centre. It sounded like a book I needed to read. Learning that Yout A. Alaak was part of our Perth community made me even more interested in reading it. When I saw he was speaking at my local library as part of the Perth Literature Festival, I immediately booked in and borrowed the book from the library.

Yuot A Alaak.jpgAs part of the Perth Literature Festival, I was just lucky enough to go and listen to Yuot A. Alaak the author of the memoir Father of the Lost Boys. Even luckier, his father, Mecak Ajang Alaak, the man the book is about, and his mother were there too. This is one book that should be read widely, one that can open up people’s minds and understandings about the trials refugees face.

Yuot’s father led 20,000 lost boys between the ages of 8-12 1000’s of km through the most dangerous of places to safety and stopped them also becoming child soldiers. More than 20 years on and unfortunately the refugee camp on the border of South Sudan and Kenya is the largest in the world with 180,000 refugees living there because it is still unsafe for them to return home.

His father was asked how he managed to logistically move that many boys. He made it sound so simple, but given the circumstances, it would have been anything but.

Review

As I sit with my feelings about the journey I have just taken, with all that Yout and his family and the 20,000 Lost Boys and thousands more refugees and South Sudanese people went through and continue to go through, I find it so hard to comprehend. To have survived what they survived is remarkable, to keep fighting (not with weapons) for the people of their country is a powerful insight into the strength and courage of these people.

Yout’s father, Mecak Ajang Alaak is an amazing role model, not just for the South Sudanese, but for everyone. The love he has for his fellow countryman regardless of which tribe or area they come from is wonderful. How he kept things together and organised keeping 20,000 boys safe on their perilous journey from one refugee camp to the next is incredible.

I feel honoured to have read Yout and his father’s story, and that of the thousands of people who shared that journey.

The brief history notes at the end of the book were an eye-opener. I truly had no idea of the way the British and the Arabs played their political games with the lives of these people. I had no idea how long they had been fighting to be independent. Another war wages now, it is hard to imagine there will ever be a time of peace, but I truly hope for the people of South Sudan, that they do get there.

 

This is part of the #2021ReadNonfic hosted by Book’d Out to encourage people to read more nonfiction.

nonfiction readers challenge 2021

New Release Book Review: A Week to Remember by Esther Campion

A Week to RememberThis is the third book I have read by Esther Campion, Leaving Ocean Road and House of Second Chances were both very enjoyable reads. This one loosely connects the characters we meet in those two books but is otherwise a complete standalone.

I enjoyed returning to the small Irish town in West Cork where Ellen and Gerry have finally opened their holiday farmhouse to visitors. It is at this farmhouse where the story takes place. 7 very different characters decide to holiday at the farmhouse in that first week. A couple whose marriage is going through something, a middle-aged dentist who has lost the joy in life, a young woman who is trying to determine what she wants from life, and a long lost resident of the town who has spent half her life running from her past.

As I got to know each of the characters and uncover their backstories and see where they were at, I got very involved in hoping that things would work out the best way for each of them. Each one in their own way is trying to determine where their lives and relationships are heading and where they went wrong along the way. It was a joy to travel with these people and see where the stay in this beautiful rugged place led them in their journeys.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

AWW 2021

 

New Release Book Review: Unforgettable by Garrett Leigh

This was a really good second chance romance, it had a lot of angst, something I’m not a big fan of, but it worked OK between Billy and Gus.

I really loved these two guys, both had issues, Billy more so than Gus, but they both had to work through them to get to their second chance.

Billy has really struggled, first as a teenager and then after leaving town. He trusts no one and thinks no one trusts him or truly wants him around. The chemistry and relationship between Billy and Gus were great when they weren’t having misunderstandings.

I loved Gus’s sister, Mia, she was a strong character and not afraid to say what she thought. Billy’s brother Luke, had plenty of issues of his own to work through when it came to his relationship with his brother, learning to communicate with each other was a big hurdle to overcome, but necessary if Billy is going to hang around for good and not run away again.

I didn’t read the first book, Forgiven, in this series, but after enjoying Unforgotten I would like to go back and see how Luke and Mia get together.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin – Carina Press for a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: Feral Fate by Kendall Talbot

Feral FateThis was such a great follow up to First Fate.

After the epic disasters of First Fate, the survivors of the cruise ship were hoping for rescue when they sighted land, alas, that is definitely not what they found when they landed on the tiny island in the middle of nowhere.

It is a fight for survival, and a fight to find out what each individual can endure and who can step up and lead when it is needed. With less than 100 people having survived from the original 1100, the terror and trials they’ve all been through are far from over and not all those who made it will survive.

The dynamics of this group become even more interesting and it was also interesting to see who stepped up and who fell apart. I’m pretty positive after reading this that I am definitely not cut out to be stranded on an island with little chance of survival. Shelter, food, and hope are all things that are desperately needed for these survivors.

Just as the first book ended on a cliffhanger, so does Feral Fate, I can’t wait to see what happens in the final instalment, Final Fate out in March.

AWW 2021

 

New Release Book Review:Cloudburst by Suzanne Cass


I really enjoyed this 4th book in the Stargazer Ranch series.

Penny’s story was a tough one, stalked by an abusive ex-husband, or near enough, what an unbalanced man he was. We meet Clayton again who was in previous books in this series, accused of arson, then charged with attempted kidnapping. He’s back in town, disliked and untrusted, but he’s the one to save Penny, and despite his own issues, he takes on the role of protector. I liked both these characters, their need to realise their own worth and get past their pasts.
I liked that we got to attend Cat and Levin’s wedding, after all they went through in book #1 it was nice to see them still together.

I hope somewhere down the track there’s more drama and romance to be had on Stargazer Ranch.

AWW 2021

New Release Book Review: The Sheikh’s Marriage Proclamation by Annie West

The sheikh's marriage proclamationI don’t read many Harlequin romances, but I can’t go past an Annie West tale.

This was an entertaining read which kept me up past my bedtime as I wanted to know how the drama all played out.

Tara our heroine is feisty and stubborn but caring and innocent. Raif our hero is charismatic, arrogant but also caring and compassionate.

I loved these two together both clearly out of their comfort zones, both with different ideas of what the future holds.

When Raif agrees to keep Tara safe from her cousin, you know where it’s going to lead, but the journey was entertaining and romantic.

Thanks to Annie West for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

AWW 2021

New Release Book Review: REIGN: A Romance Anthology

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REIGN: A ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY

Penny Dee | Bec McMaster | KE Osborn

Nina Levine | Liz Lovelock | Evie Mitchell

Kat T Masen | Emma James | Addison Jane

JA Low | Leesa Bow | Kally Ash | Corinne Mazille

 

 

Synopsis: 

They say that power changes a person.                                                                                    Love changes them more.

Long may they reign… You find them in the boardroom. The throne room. The bedroom. They burn brighter than the rest.                                                                                               They wield power as easily as they breathe.                                                                           They stop at nothing to get what they want.

Royalty, CEOs, mafia kings, demons, and more. When love conquers, will they fall to their knees for the person they can’t live without? Reign is a collection of thirteen brand new romance novellas featuring men and women who rule their empires but not their hearts.

_______________________________________

Review: 

This had some really enjoyable novellas in by some great authors, I haven’t managed to read them all yet, but I definitely plan to.

Though I enjoyed all the ones I have read so far, my favourite was Three’s a Crown by JA Low. I enjoy MMF romances and this one hit all the right buttons. A prince and his bodyguard and a marriage of duty that threatens to pull them apart. In comes a princess who might be all they are both looking for and more. I loved these three characters and I loved that the princess wasn’t afraid to ask for what she wanted. A hot and sexy read.

Stardust by Lisa Bow was a really enjoyable and sweet but sexy football novella that included a motorcycle gang full of really bad guys and a footballer with a hero complex for the one woman he shouldn’t want.

Illusive – The Exiled Eight MC by Addison Jane was about a young single mother, Zoey, who is on the run from some well connected bad guys. Finding a job as an interior designer is her dream, and she lands her dream job, it just happens to be owned by an outlaw motorcycle club who take on the job of protecting her and her daughter.  Zoey falls for the leader, one seriously alpha male who in turn falls for her. Plenty of action.

Little Bird by Kally Ash was not my favourite, but still an enjoyable read. A young woman who needs to pay off her brothers debts to a sex club owner who has a few less than legal side businesses. I liked that she stood her ground about what she was willing to do to pay off that debt. And I liked how confused she made our alpha male.

Surrendered Hearts by Nina Levine, rich mafia families and a serious alpha male, a marriage of convenience, or was it something more. If only these two had just opened up and told each other what was going on and how they felt. I liked that our female mc was damned stubborn and made her fiance lose his mind a little more with each encounter.

I am looking forward to delving back into this anthology full of men and women who rule.

 

Buy Links: Amazon US     Amazon UK    Amazon AU     Amazon CA     Apple    Nook   Kobo

Meet Penny Dee:

Hi I’m Penny Dee! I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first book when I was five. It was called The Goodies and it was about a drive to the shops to get milk. It was amazing. It was also brilliantly illustrated in orange felt tip pen because I was all about the awesomeness when I was five years old.

Skip forward a few decades… and I write romance, erotic romance and romantic suspense. And MC romance. And rockstar romance. And contemporary romance. Hell, if they’re romancing then I’m writing it. I feel really fortunate because I get to meet interesting characters every single day—fictional characters who shock the hell out of me! I never know where their story is going until they lead me there. They’re in charge. They can be bossy and demanding. Sometimes a little impatient and frustrating. And let me tell you, they don’t understand the concept of quiet time.

No. I am not crazy.

When you write fiction, you share your grey matter with a lot of characters. Characters who show up unannounced and demand to be put to paper.

Fictional characters aside, I also like to hear from real humans so don’t be shy, drop me a line and say hi.

I promise you. I am not crazy.

Find out more about Penny Dee at: https://pennydeebooks.com

Meet Bec McMaster:

My name is Bec McMaster and I live in a small country town in Australia with my boyfriend, a noisy cockatiel, and a beautiful dog named Kobe. I grew up either with my nose in a book or writing, and never understood why other people didn’t get to watch ‘all the movies in their heads’. Following a lifelong love affair with fantasy, I discovered romance at the age of sixteen and haven’t looked back.

When I’m not writing I like to read, obsess over food blogs and my attempts at recreating their masterpieces, go hiking with my boyfriend, pore over travel brochures, and go to the gym. I’m addicted to travel, and love to set my books in foreign places. It’s the next best thing to travelling there. One day I vow to see the entire world, whether it’s by plane, paper, or imagination.

These days I can be found sitting at my computer with a hot mug of tea, possibly some chocolate (okay, definitely some chocolate) creating the dark and dangerous worlds of the London Steampunk, Dark Arts or Burned Lands series’ where even the darkest hero can find love. I’m a member of RWA (USA and Australia), and am represented by Jessica Faust of BookEnds; LLC.

I’m so grateful to get this chance to pursue my dream, so thank you to everyone who reads my books. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Find out more about Bec McMaster at: https://www.becmcmaster.com

Meet KE Osborn:

Australian author K E Osborn was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. With a background in graphic design and a flair for all things creative, she felt compelled to write the story brewing in her mind.

Writing gives her life purpose. It makes her feel, laugh, cry, and get completely enveloped with the characters and their story lines. She feels completely at home when writing and wouldn’t consider doing anything else.

Find out more about KE Osborn at: http://www.keosbornauthor.com.au

Meet Nina Levine:

USA Today Bestselling Author Nina Levine is an Aussie author who writes alphas with a side of dirty and sassy women who don’t hand their hearts over easily. When she isn’t creating with words, she loves to create with paint and paper. Often though, she can be found curled up with a good book and some chocolate.

Find out more about Nina Levine at: https://ninalevinebooks.com

Meet Liz Lovelock:

Liz is from bright, sunny, Queensland in Australia. She is a mother of three little monsters, a wife to an amazing husband and an avid reader. Liz always loved books from a very young age, when she began reading Garfield comic books. Then in high school, her passion grew when she was given Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden for an assignment, from that she continued to find new gems. Liz always has a book and notebook beside her bed for when inspiration hits at those crazy hours. She is a stationery and chocolate addict and has a one-click addition. Liz has heaps of new book ideas for the future and looks forward to sharing those ideas with you, her readers.

Find out more about Liz Lovelock at: http://www.lizlovelockauthor.com

Meet Evie Mitchell:

Evie Mitchell is a thirty-something woman who loves dirty books, bad boys and men who know how to treat their woman right. She lives with her husband, their two sausage dogs, and an ever-growing collection of book-related mugs. When she’s not writing, Evie loves curling up in the sun with a good book and a cup of tea. Evie specialises in short reads for curious minds.

Find out more about Evie Mitchell at: https://www.eviemitchell.com

Meet Kat T Masen:

I’m obsessed with the ’80s — hands down THE best years of my life. Granted, I was in the prime of my life, not reaching the double digits yet. Life was nothing but great music, neon-colored tights, and roller-skates that made an appearance at the roller arena each week.

Then I grew up…

Ahh, the ’90s. I’m admitting right here that I’m a 90210 fanatic. The skates were hung up, and dating boys became the norm.

Also, then l began to adult…

Marriage, four boys, and what’s that…I kind of became an author. I combined my love of reading, ’80s bands, and the swoony men on 90210 to bring you sexy.humorous.smut.

But, then I was like, can I do more?

I’m also the founder of Books Ever After Book Boxes & Books by the Bridge Author Events.

So if you don’t find me writing, planning events or packing book boxes, you’ll find me with a plate of nachos binge watching Gilmore Girls for the millionth time. Team Logan all the way.

Oh…and parenting but thats easy, right?

Find out more about Kat T Masen at: https://www.kattmasen.com

Meet Emma James:

Emma James is the author of the completed Hell’s Bastard series, a jaw-dropping, highly addictive, unpredictable, sexy, and very twisted dark suspense/thriller series and also the much-loved Men of Ocean Beach series.

Emma writes in multi-genre and loves to keep the reader guessing with all the twists and turns found in her stories. Always expect the unexpected.

One consistent thing with her stories is love will always rise from the ashes.

Marley, her black Labrador, is the inspiration for Bear in Men of Ocean Beach series. Morrison, the family pet rescue cat, who has many OCDs, will be grabbing some of the limelight in a future standalone because the dude rocks the ‘tude.

She likes Pina Coladas, but not getting caught in the rain.

Emma takes regular zen breaks from her writing to listen to and stare at the ocean because you only live once, might as well stare at the sea when you can.

Find out more about Emma James at: https://www.facebook.com/emmajamesauthor

Meet Addison Jane:

Addison Jane is a born and bred kiwi girl with a passion for romance and writing.

When she gets the chance she enjoys the little things in life such as reading, dancing, music, and Facebook, but her world really revolves around the little girl who calls her Mum. It’s an awkward balance between alpha males and Disney princesses but it works.

Growing up on a small farm next to the beach will always make her a country girl at heart. But since moving away to a small town close to the city she’s discovered a dangerous love for shopping.

Writing stories has been something that’s come naturally since she was young, and with the massive support of her friends and family, she finally decided to step out of her comfort zone and share them with the world.

She enjoys bringing her books to life with strong female leads, sexy passionate men and a rollercoaster of twists and turns that lead to the happily ever after that her readers desire.

Find out more about Addison Jane at: https://www.facebook.com/Addisonjaneauthor/

Meet JA Low:

Hello there, I’m JA Low the writer.

Thanks for taking the time to learn about me. I live in the Australian outback with my husband and my two adventurous boys. I have two crazy Jack Russells, Four chickens that are stubborn and really don’t like cuddles no matter how much I try and make them, I also have a million and one bees.

I love reality tv, give me anything Real Housewives. I’m obsessed with recipe books, even though I don’t use them. I love American modern farmhouse homes and one day I will build one.

Give me a shot of tequila and I’m your girl.

Hope you enjoyed my books and hope to see you around a book signing or two.

Find out more about JA Low at: https://www.jalowbooks.com/

Meet Leesa Bow:

Leesa Bow is a best selling author who began her writing journey years ago when her daughter fell ill. Falling into writing for therapy Leesa now can’t imagine doing anything else. Thankful to be following her passion for romance, she is living out her own happy ever after with her husband in Brisbane, Australia. In her spare time Leesa enjoys watching sport, having beach days with the family, catching up for coffee with girlfriends, and taking long walks. Leesa is a member of Romance Writer’s of Australia (RWA).

Find out more about Leesa Bow at: https://www.leesabow.com/

Meet Kally Ash:

Kally Ash is a USA Today Bestselling Author whose passions include curling up with a good book, devouring chocolate and getting kitty cuddles. Tempt Me is her debut novel, and the first book in a three book series.

Some of her unicorn authors include Sawyer Bennett, Elizabeth Hayley and Haley Jenner.

Find out more about Kally Ash at: https://www.kallyash.com/about-kally-ash/

Meet Corinne Mazille:

My name is Corinne Mazille, and I love to write romance in all different tropes. I started writing a lot later in life, but once an idea formed in my head after reading hundreds of books, I couldn’t stop. Coming up with characters and worlds is so much fun, and I can’t wait until I can do this fulltime.

I never really thought of myself as being artistic, but years ago, I did start a makeup course because I would have loved to work on movie sets, but real life got in the way and a job opportunity arose that I couldn’t turn down. But I still have a massive love of makeup and can very easily spend hours watching make up tutorials on youtube.

And I am blessed with a daughter who I have trained well. She loves to play with makeup, although I do find pieces missing from time to time.

We are also huge Disney fans in this house, and we are currently planning our next trip, this time hoping to get to Disney World.

Find out more about Corinne Mazille at: https://www.corinnemazilleauthor.com/

New Release Book Review: The Ghost Squad by Sophie Masson

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This was a really great read, I’ve been reading a lot more speculative fiction so far this year, a genre I used to read a lot of, but one I seem to have neglected over the last couple of years.

This is the first book I’ve read by Sophie Masson who has a large number of books to her name.

The Ghost Squad was a really novel idea, one I found very interesting. What if you had the opportunity to find out what was really on the other side when you die? Due to a Pulse that wipes out all electronics, there is an unexpected side effect, one that has been kept from the general public, people who one group call the ‘gulls’, a secret that could change everything.  There are two organisations, The Ghost Squad and the Base, both who have their own agendas and both believe they are the right ones. Three different groups of people are discovered after the Pulse, this is the secret that is being kept, (I don’t want to give too much away). Of the three groups of people who come out of the Pulse, I’m not too sure which one I would want to be in, and whether I would want to know if I was aware of them. 

Some of the terminology was confusing at the beginning and I wish I’d realised there was a glossary at the back because I probably would have read this first so I didn’t feel so confused, but everything became clear as the story unfolded.

The three main characters Swan, Polly and Kel all come from differing backgrounds. Kel knows all about the secret, he has one of the unexpected side effects to come out of the Pulse. Polly is part of the general public, going about her own business, completely unaware of what is being kept from society, Swan works with the Base, but after meeting Polly and Kel, his beliefs and loyalty are tested. I liked these characters a lot, especially Kel, I had a soft spot for him.

This book was full of twists and turns, conspiracies, relationships, secrets, danger and action. I really couldn’t foretell anything that was going to happen and it wasn’t always clear who to trust or who to believe. There were plenty of people and factions to be wary of along the way and there were some unexpected allies too.

I recommend this if you are looking for something engaging and different. I feel there should be a sequel because I think there is so much more to uncover and fight for, but I’ve been told there is nothing planned at this point. It does end in a way that is satisfactory, I just want more.

Thanks to Midnight Sun Publishing for providing me with a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

AWW 2021