In Conversation with author Natasha Murray

Hello everyone!

I have the pleasure of hosting author Natasha Murray on my blog. Her latest book, 58 Farm End was released in Dec 2020 and has been getting some pretty good reviews!

In this blog post, we talk about her latest book, the inspiration behind it and also get to know her a little better! I love how interactive and enthusiastic Natasha is and this inspired me to spice up this blog post and convert it into a conversation instead of an interview. 

Thank you Natasha for reaching out to me and for connecting with me! I look forward to reading more of your books in future!

———————x———————–x————————

Connect with Natasha:

 Author website

https://cutt.ly/5fR483w

Book marketing journey and guest author website: www.nmurray.moonfruit.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NatashaMurray3004 or

Twitter https://twitter.com/UKBookShow_2018

Instagram @natashamurray1426

———————x———————–x————————

 

Namrata: Thanks for joining us! Tell us a little about yourself.

Natasha: I grew up in North London in Crouch End which has in recent years become a trendy place to live. My best subjects at school were art and English. These subjects I excelled in and I wanted to become an animation artist for Disney. This was not to be. Home life was turbulent so at the age of eighteen, I moved out into a mansion house flat and took on various administrative jobs to pay my rent and survive. My dreams of becoming an artist slowly faded as children came along and the desire to write took over. As the years went by, I drifted south and I now live by the sea in Little hampton with my husband and soul mate, Martin. I work at night picking shopping at a supermarket and after a morning snooze, I write, publish, market my books and read and review. My dream is to sell enough books so that I can write full time.

Namrata: So, what inspired you to start writing books?

Natasha: I have always loved writing stories, plays and poetry. Writing is both a compulsion and a pleasure. I decided to write my first book when my son was about ten and was having difficulty moving on from reading the Captain Underpants series. He wanted to read a book that didn’t have wizards or magic in it. He wanted to read a story that was believable and could actually happen. His need to read a book like this inspired me to write 3004 a dystopian adventure story. It took me six years to write this book as I had two children to look after and an alcoholic partner (not Martin) The Book Guild published my book 3004 in April 2011. My son didn’t actually read it until he was eighteen. He said he liked it but preferred to read autobiographies! 3004 is permanently free on Amazon and thousands of copies have been downloaded.

Namrata: Oh my! That’s quite a journey! Let’s talk about genres! How or why did you choose to write in the Mystery and Thriller genre with a dash of Romance?

Natasha: Last year I decided to experiment and write in a new genre. I chose Romantic suspense and hoped that my book would appeal to more people. I got carried away and wrote two books during lockdown, 58 Farm End and Julia’s Baby. The third book Waterfall Way is being written at a slower pace as I really don’t like saying goodbye to my characters. These three books form the Waterfall Way series. I really enjoyed writing these books and crafting thrilling twists and turns. 58 Farm End was published on 18 December 2020 and is getting some really great reviews. Thank you Namrata for your wonderful review!

Namrata: You are quite welcome! I did enjoy the way the story was written! Let’s continue to talk about 58 Farm End, where did you get the inspiration for the plot from?

Natasha: 58 Farm End came to me in an early morning dream. In my dream, I actually watched the two main characters play out chapter two. I could hear Julia Bridgewater and Seth Hearn talking to each other. There is a road near to me called Long Furlong and there are farms along this road. In my dream, Julia and Seth live on similar farms next to each other and in this chapter they meet in the lane for the first time and Seth helps Julia stop his brother and Ivy Brown from riding Julia’s old pony. I woke up and wrote everything down. The rest of the book just unfolded. This may sound crazy but sometimes Julia and Seth tell me what is going to happen or if I think of a twist and they don’t like it then they will suggest another path. I really am quite sane.

Namrata: Wow! That must have been quite some dream! It’s interesting how you remembered it. One point that intrigued me is the title of the book. Without giving away too much, could you tell us why you decided to specify the number ‘58’ in the title? 

Natasha: Oh dear, 58! This number has haunted me since I was a child for the same reason Julia’s Dad had trouble with it. I will say no more!

Namrata: That’s a good one! So, moving to the people in the story, let’s talk about the inspiration behind the lead characters. How did they happen?

Natasha: As I said Julia and Seth appeared in my dream. Jules is petite with wild curly blonde hair and Seth is tall, dark and handsome.

Namrata: Ah yes! I am quite a fan of Seth!

Do you base any of your characters on people you know? If yes, would you share an example?

Natasha: Seth’s family remind me of a distant Irish connection I had many moons ago. This large Irish family were the kindest people you would ever wish to meet but many of them were quite crazy. Perhaps they influenced my writing.

Namrata: When you started this book, did you plan out the entire series at the beginning or did it evolve as the story evolved?

Natasha: I never plan my storyline and yes my books do evolve organically. I do however think about the next chapter and what I am going to write. This usually happens when I am picking shopping for customers. I see what is going to happen and then play out the scene like a movie in my mind. I get home and write an email to myself and type out the chapter on my phone. I then send it to myself copy and paste it into my book and edit it at my desk. That way I can write anywhere I want to. On the bed or by the sea are good places to write. I usually write half a chapter a day.

Namrata: I find the way you approach writing to be quite unique! So, what is an average writing day like for you?

Natasha: Being an administrator for so long, I like to be organised and I have a daily planner to keep to. This way I don’t forget to do the dreaded marketing side of things. Here is my weekly plan.

85 MONDAY

WRITE

TUESDAY

WRITE

WEDNESDAY

WRITE

THURSDAY

FULL WRITING OR EDITING DAY – GET LOST IN YOUR PARALLEL UNIVERSE

 

WRITE AN ARTICLE OR BLOG POST AND PUBLISH IT ON YOUR BLOG AND LINKEDIN. SHARE WITH FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

 

FRIDAY

WRITE

SATURDAY

 

SUNDAY

 

EVERY WEEK AFTER

THANK EVERYONE FOR REVIEWS AND SHARING ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 

CREATE A VIDEO AND THREE STILL FACEBOOK & TWITTER POSTS AND SCHEDULE THEM FOR THE WEEK & LINK THEM TO LINKEDIN

 

PUBLISH ANY REVIEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 

FIND REVIEWERS ONLINE WILLING TO REVIEW YOUR BOOK

 

PROMOTE YOUTUBE TRAILERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA (MONTHLY)

 

COMMENT ON FACEBOOK GROUPS

GO OUT SEE PEOPLE, EXPLORE AND GET INSPIRED TO WRITE.

 

TAKE PHOTOS TO

POST BOOKS, TRAILERS & ART PHOTOS ON INSTAGRAM  USING 30 HASHTAGS  LINK TO FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

 

MONITOR YOUR ADS, CREATE OR REPLACE

EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS WITH NEWS AND OR OFFER BOOKS FOR FREE. CALL TO ASSIST YOU TO PROMOTE & REVEIW YOUR BOOKS.

 

GROW YOUR SUBSCRIBER LIST ON SOCIAL MEDIA OFFERING FREE GIFTS FOR EMAIL ADDRESS

LIVE EVENT

 

BOOK

SIGNINGS

FAIRS

MARKETS

BOOK SHOWS

READINGS & CHATS

 

IF NOTHING IS BOOKED SHARE A SOMETHING PERSONAL ABOUT BEING AN AUTHOR WITH SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

DAY OFF

 

READ READ READ READ

 

Namrata: WOW! That is wonderfully informative and great of you to share some of your planning. I wish I could be as organized! Thank you for this glimpse!

Let’s move on to lighter topics! What are you currently reading?

Natasha: I read and review books too. I am currently reading Meat Ladder to Mars by San Jose satirist Eugenio Negro. It is about pigs being transported to Mars. My mission this year is to read and review my two hundred books in my ‘to be read’ pile. I have got so behind because the desire to write keeps taking over.

Namrata: I have a huge TBR too and I am trying to work my way through it. It is not such an easy task, but I wish you all the best! I do read a lot of different kinds of books and would love to know which is your favourite genre?

Natasha: I love a psychological thriller or a classic book like Wuthering Heights

Namrata: That’s amazing diversity. Who is your favourite author?

Natasha: I read a lot and I think my favourite author is D.E. White. She writes crime fiction and I really love her Dove Milson series and her descriptive writing.

Namrata: I am going to add the books to my ever-growing TBR! If you had to pick one book to take away with you on vacation, what would it be?

Natasha: This is hard. I find it very difficult to read a book a second time so I would probably write my own.

Namrata: I can very well imagine you sitting down to write and enjoying a beautiful view! To wrap up this conversation, what message would you like to share with your readers?

Natasha: I hope that you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoyed writing them. If my writing makes you emotional then I have done my job. A good book feeds the soul. Happy reading.

———————x———————–x————————

Do share your thoughts and check out 58 Farm End, a romantic suspense story!

Book Review: Murder in the Snow (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #4) by Verity Bright

This is going to be my last book review for year 2020! WOW! It has been a  wonderful year with respect to books and reading for me!

About the Book:

Murder in the Snow (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #4)

An English Christmas has mince pies, cheerful carols, a twinkling tree… and a murder? Thank goodness Lady Swift is on the scene!

Winter, 1920. Amateur sleuth Lady Eleanor Swift is feeling festive. She is playing host to the entire village at Henley Hall for gifts, games and gingerbread. She’s also purchased perfect presents for each of her household – not forgetting the biggest bone in the butcher’s shop for her partner in crime, Gladstone the bulldog – and is looking forward to celebrating her first English country Christmas.

As snowflakes fall, Eleanor is cheering on contestants in the traditional Christmas fun run in the grounds of the Hall. But tragedy strikes when one of the runners drops dead at the finish line. Dashing Detective Seldon is convinced it’s just a heart attack, but Eleanor isn’t so sure. When she finds a rather distinctive key where the man fell, Eleanor knows she’ll never rest until she finds out the truth about what happened in her own home.

Next the vicar is taken ill with what looks like poison and Eleanor starts to wonder if the two cases are linked. When someone tries to frame her by planting poisoned berries in her own kitchen, she knows speed is of the essence. But the entire village was at Henley Hall for the festivities and Eleanor has enough suspects to stuff a town full of turkeys. Can she nail the true killer and clear her name in time for Christmas?

Christmas won’t be complete without it! A festive treat for fans of Agatha Christie, TE Kinsey and Lee Strauss.

My Thoughts:

I requested for and was approved a copy of this book on NetGalley thanks to the publisher Bookouture!

Murder in the Snow is the fourth book in the Eleanor Swift mystery series and thankfully can be read as a standalone. The story, set in the winter of 1920, follows Eleanor as she plays host to the entire village, bringing everyone together for Christmas celebrations. What she does not expect is for one of the contestants to collapse and be declared dead from a possible heart-attack. As her investigative instincts kick in, Eleanor starts to figure the whole thing out when her butler agrees that it seems suspicious.

There are minimal references to her adventures and previous mysteries solved, but these do not take away from the story, nor do they create any confusion for the reader! With a lot happening in the book, the reader is in for unexpected surprises as Eleanor proceeds with her investigation, many times in the most unladylike manner for the 1920s. However, this just adds to her endearing character and makes the reader fall in love with her. The other characters in the book are charming and the best is Mr. Clifford! I adore how he handled the house and supported Eleanor in spite of just being her butler. His connection to her late uncle seems to add some intrigue to his character.

The story is very well-written and mixed in with festive cheer. I enjoyed reading about how the people amused themselves in this rather picturesque setting. This murder mystery is definitely worth the read and I look forward to reading more about Eleanor’s adventures!

Round-up of the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2020!

At the beginning of the year I had planned to read around 50 books (keeping in mind my work schedules and timelines). However, as a result of the pandemic and work from home situation, I was able to increase this number up to 74!

As per the Goodreads stats, the longest book I read was Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer (671 pages), Edwards take on the events that occur in Twilight.

The shortest book read, with just 24 pages was a delightful children’s book titled Dinosaur Adventure: A Field Trip to Remember (Let’s Learn While Playing #2) by Kelly Santana-Banks

It also turns out that my average rating is 3.5 stars!

I love how Goodreads has summarized the books and my year. Check out my list here.

MY 2020 BOOKS
The Tower Lord by Anthony RyanA Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid KemmererShadow Trials by Isla FrostFirstborn Academy by Isla FrostFirstborn Academy by Isla Frost
The Selection by Kiera CassThe One by Kiera CassThe Elite by Kiera CassHouse of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. MaasTwo Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Inebriated by Katey TaylorLegendary by Stephanie GarberDragon Connection by Ava RichardsonFinale by Stephanie GarberSunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten WhiteQueen of Corvids by J.C. McKenzieRescuing Lord Inglewood by Sally BrittonPrejudice Meets Pride by Rachael AndersonA History of Hexing by Evie Wilde
Keep Forever by Alexa KingaardThe School for Good and Evil by Soman ChainaniThe Girl in the Corner by Amanda ProwseA Torch Against the Night by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa TahirAsh Princess by Laura SebastianLady Smoke by Laura SebastianEmber Queen by Laura SebastianWrong Place, Right Time by E.B. Roshan
Summer at Hope Haven by Kristin HarperLucy's Last Chance by Elle SweetMidnight Sun by Stephenie MeyerWho Threw Draco Down the Chimney? by Smita BhattacharyaThe Damned by Renée Ahdieh
The Beautiful by Renée AhdiehThe Guilty Die Twice by Don HartshornThorne Bay by Jeanine CroftProject Hackathon by Arushi AggarwalTwo Murders Too Many by Bluette Matthey
Return to Virgin River by Robyn CarrThe Pigeon Whisperer by Motaz H MatarHinterland by L.M. BrownThe Tech by Mark RavineDinosaur Adventure by Kelly Santana-Banks
Aunt Ivy's Cottage by Kristin HarperPrism by Nina WalkerThe Pageant by Leigh WalkerThe Gala by Leigh WalkerFracture by Nina Walker
The Finale by Leigh Walker337 by M. Jonathan LeeTen Days with a Duke by Erica RidleyThe Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet NathRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt HandlerBeyond Belief by Ronald CrouchThe Eye of Ra by Ben GartnerSol Invictus by Ben GartnerThe Case of the Smuggler’s Curse by F.S. Dawson
Murder at the Lakeside Library by Holly DanversThe Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie MidwoodNever Say No by Elizabeth NeepA ​Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir58 Farm End by Natasha Murray
Across the Lake by Nancy LiPetriWedding Bells on Victory Street by Pam HowesForever Your Duke by Erica RidleyChronicles of a Spell Caster by J.J. SingletonSummer of L.U.C.K. by Laura Segal Stegman
Midnight Train to Prague by Carol WindleyThe Lost Village by Daniela SacerdotiAlessia in Atlantis: The Forbidden VialMurder in the Snow (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #4)

Do share your thoughts on the books I’ve read and don’t hesitate to leave recommendations for books to read in 2021!

Book Review: Murder at the Lakeside Library by Holly Danvers

About the Book:

In this series debut perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James, Rain Wilmot must discover the killer, before the book closes on her life.

Rain Wilmot has just returned to her family’s waterfront log cabin in Lofty Pines, Wisconsin after the untimely death of her husband. The cabin is peaceful compared to Rain’s corporate job and comes with an informal library that Rain’s mother, Willow, used to run. But as Rain prepares for the re-opening of the library, all hopes for a peaceful life are shattered when she discovers the body of Thornton Hughes, a real estate buyer, on the premise.

The community of Lofty Pines starts pointing fingers at Willow, since she has been unusually absent from the library this summer. A fishy rumor surfaces when Rain learns that Willow had been spending a lot of time with Thorton. The town even thought they were having an affair.

While theories swirl about Thorton’s death, Rain takes it upon herself to solve the case to exonerate her mother. As more clues surface, Rain will have to piece together the mystery. But if she isn’t careful, she may be the next to end up dead in the water in Murder at Lakeside Library the first in Holly Danvers’ new Lakeside Library mysteries.

My Thoughts:

I requested for and received a copy of this book from NetGalley. The below review is my honest opinion.

Murder at the Lakeside Library follows Rain, the protagonist as she arrives at her family’s log cabin in Lofty Pines. Dealing with personal loss, Rain is emotionally unstable, but feels that this break will do her good. As we follow Rain while she re-discovers friendships, deals with having to run the library connected to the cabin and tries to find some peace in general, a dead body is found near the outhouse on the family’s property. From here the reader is pulled into the investigation of the murder and Rain’s attempts to find out the truth.

The story is well-written, but at times I was a little confused as to where it was going. With a lot of the focus on Rain and her reactions, we are not provided a lot of insight into the murder investigation until the very end. This is something that I did not enjoy as I wanted to understand what was happening as the story progressed.

However, I enjoyed the dynamics between Rain and her friend Julia. The characters were well developed and some were even endearing. I particularly enjoyed the twist in the story at the end and this redeemed some of the story for me. I would recommend this as a cozy mystery which is simple to read and enjoy!

 

 

Book Review: Two Murders Too Many by Bluette Matthey

About the Book:

Two Murders Too Many

Barn burning in a sleepy farming community is a serious enough matter, but a grisly murder or two in a small midwest town is a showstopper. Throw in a serial blackmailer who has his claws in some of the town’s leading citizens and you have one big recipe for disaster.

Charlie Simmons, newly sworn in as Shannon’s policeman, takes on the challenge of investigating this cauldron of crimes in stride, untangling one thread after another from the fabric of the town of Shannon to find the simple truth.

 

My Thoughts:

The story follows Charlie Simmons as he investigates the unexpected spree of crime and murder in a small midwest town. The story is very well written with a myriad of characters each with their own quirks. At first, it is a little difficult to understand where the book is going with every chapter focusing on a new character and how they fit into the fabric of the town. However, once the events start to unfold however, the reader is pulled into the investigation, contemplating who could be behind the murders and the cause of unrest.

I enjoyed reading about Charlie: how he handles the investigation, systematically working his way through the evidence and tackling the residents of the town. Some character introductions seemed quite drawn out to me, but on the whole, the plot flows well and the ambience of the town was very well described. A quiet and simple town where every person knows the other and everyone’s business is common knowledge, it is indeed shocking to have to deal with murders and mysteries.

The ending is definitely a little unexpected and it is quite interesting to watch as Charlie works through each clue one by one to reach a conclusion! The book is well worth the read!

Book Review: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

About the Book:

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as Le Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sèbastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of Le Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sèbastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

My Thoughts:

The Beautiful has to be one of the most talked about books! I was quite intrigued by the book cover and premise that I had to pick it up! It is a dark and sultry romance with murder, mystery and thrills all thrown into the mix!

At first, it took some time to get into the book and understand the context and setting. We are introduced to Celine, our main protagonist, a very strong-willed woman who keeps her own council and is not afraid to speak up. At first we see her struggling to conform to the rules of the convent where she has been taken in in New Orleans, having fled from Paris. However, she catches the eye of first Odette and then Sèbastien Saint Germain, all part of a group simply known as Le Cour des Lions. Little does she know that she has stepped into a completely different world, shrouded in darkness and surrounded by the dead, quite literally!

A very well written tale, the setting of New Orleans is very well described, especially the streets and nightlife. The characters are intriguing and well developed. At times, I must admit to getting a little annoyed with Celine, but it was not enough to pull me away from the book. As we are introduced to the creatures of the underworld and Celine starts to discover the existence of the paranormal, a series of murders leads to questions of motive and who the real target is. Not to be left out, Celine tries to conduct her own investigation having the feeling that she is indeed a target.

The developing romance between Celine and Sèbastien is both natural and forbidden and is interesting to see develop. The courtship (a suitable word for the time in which the story is set) is not without it’s problems and when murder and mayhem are thrown into the mix, we have all the ingredients for an entertaining story! The story is a roller-coaster of a ride as we navigate the sub-plots and various supporting characters who add such flavor to the story!

Though there were some ups and downs with the story, it is definitely worth the read!

Book Review: Who Threw Draco Down the Chimney? by Smita Bhattacharya

A huge thank you to Smita Bhattacharya, author of the books in the Darya Nandkarni’s Misadventures Series, for reaching out to me and introducing me to her wonderfully eccentric character, Darya.

Read on to know my thoughts on her upcoming novel in the series, to be released in November 2020.

The review is my own honest opinion of the book.

About the Book:

Who Threw Draco Down the Chimney? (Darya Nandkarni's Misadventures #3)

Sibiu, Romania. 1947.

A boy’s dead body is discovered in the chimney of an abandoned farmhouse.

Sixty years later, more bodies are discovered in the same place.

Who did it then? Who is doing it now?

Can it be the same killer, or is it another, inspired by the first?

A backpacker is missing. Impressed by Darya’s past exploits, the owner of the missing boy’s hostel tasks Darya to look for him.

After some digging, Darya leads the police to an old farmhouse. They find the backpacker’s two-week-old dead body wedged inside the chimney. Along with two others.

The locals think it is the devil’s work. Darya knows not to trust local superstitions, of which there are many. But the crime is so diabolical, so unique, it begs the question: who could be doing this?

Darya needs to find out urgently before she is forced to leave Sibiu. And as she races to solve the mystery, she has to make sure she doesn’t let new friendships or the town’s insidious secrets get in her way.

The book’s Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Threw-Draco-Chimney-Nandkarnis-Misadventures-ebook/dp/B08FR4JL3J

The book’s Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55024921-who-threw-draco-down-the-chimney

My Thoughts:

This is the third book in the series based on the eccentric character of Darya Nandkarni. Darya is a an accidental and amateur detective who seems to find her way towards mysteries or do they find her? That is a question for the reader to ponder!

Who Threw Draco Down the Chimney? is a very well-crafted mystery filled with the right amount of intrigue in a wonderful setting. Smita introduces the reader to the town of Sibiu in Romania. It is easy to imagine the town even without visiting it thanks to the detailed descriptions and precise explanations of the setting, the people, their mannerisms and lives! She paints a wonderful picture that draws the reader in and would even make the reader want to visit and explore this place!

What sets the book apart are the characters. Each one is shrouded in mystery, suspicious, hiding something and anyone could be guilty! I also enjoyed reading about how they band together and support one another. They are also welcoming and make outsiders feel very much as home. At every point, the reader is forced to pause and wonder at the involvement of each character in the death of the backpacker. It is not clear until the very end with an unexpected twist.

I particularly enjoyed how Smita weaves the past and present, narrating the story in two timelines: one in the weeks leading up to the particular incident that kickstarts Darya’s involvement in the investigation; the second in the present day when Darya is explaining the outcome of her investigation and discussing her findings. A lot of research seems to have gone into the plot line which is well represented through this book.

Smita handles the story and characters very well, with detailed descriptions and a steady pace that takes the reader until the very end. The story can be read as a stand-alone one even though there are some minor references to cases that Darya solved previously and to her family.

This is a must read for everyone who enjoys mysteries set in unique places and with wonderful twists and turns!

Book Review: The Truth About Gretchen by Alretha Thomas

About the Book:

Gretchen Holloway, in her final year of graduate school, is in the throes of auditioning actors for her thesis film, inspired by a murdered young football star who has haunted her dreams for two years. Gretchen believes making the movie will be cathartic. But instead of freeing her, embarking upon the film production unleashes a sequence of events that lead Gretchen to conclude that she’s the reincarnation of the young man.

Regina Wilson has always wanted to be an actress. When her agent gets her an audition for a role in Gretchen’s film, which eerily mirrors one of the worst events of her life—the unsolved murder of her older brother, Robert—she’s hard-pressed to go through with it. Upon fleeing, she leaves behind a keepsake that features Robert’s photo. Gretchen sees the picture and recognizes Robert from her dreams. She tracks down Regina, and after being rebuffed and called crazy, Gretchen’s unexplainable knowledge of events in Robert’s life eventually convinces Regina that Gretchen is Robert reincarnated.

The two decide to have his case reopened, but their significant others are dead set against it, and the police, who believe that Robert’s death was gang-related, are less than cooperative. However, Gretchen is desperate to get justice for her former self, and Regina wants justice for her brother. The women piece together the final week of Robert’s life. And the deeper they delve into his past; one shocking revelation follows another, leaving them wondering who they can trust and if they’ll live long enough to find Robert’s killer and bring him to justice.

Amazon link.
Social media links for the Author:

My Thoughts:

Note: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

This book brings to the reader the concept of re-birth or re-incarnation. The plot is intriguing whereby the protagonist has dreams of someone who was murdered. Initially, she is not aware that it is about a real person and she embarks on a journey to turn these dreams into a film.

The story follows Gretchen as her path crosses with Regina, Robert’s sister. At first resistant to the whole concept, Regina starts to believe that Gretchen might be able to uncover and solve the mystery behind her brother’s death. The story is well thought out, but at times it seems a little stretched. At times it was even difficult to connect to the main protagonist, but it becomes easier as we progress through the book. Her strong sense of justice and the need to help prevail.

Overall this book is a decent read depending on the tastes of the reader!

Book Review: Mom’s of the Missing by Steffen Hou

I was provided with an ARC of the book in exchange for my honest review. I normally do not read a lot of non-fiction, but I am truly glad to have read Mom’s of the Missing.

I would like to express my gratitude to Steffen Hou for reaching out to me.

 

About the Book:

 

Release Date: 10-15-2019

Paperback: 262 pages

Genre: True Crime

ISBN: 978-1-54397-972-5 (print)

ISBN: 978-1-54397-973-2 (ebook)

Publisher: BookBaby

 

 

“Oh my God, we found a dead body.” The man’s voice, calling from a mountain trail in Cleveland National Forest, was frantic. “Please hurry. I’m so scared. It’s a little kid.” When police arrived, they were met by a horrific sight. The girl was naked and had been positioned in such a way that detectives believed the murderer had seen his kill as some kind of a trophy. As if he were showing off his “work”. The little kid was Samantha Runnion, a five-year-old girl who had been abducted while playing in her parents’ garden the day before.

Samantha is just one of too many American kids who disappear. Almost half a million children are reported missing every year. And all across America parents are searching for their missing children or—if the worst case scenario has come to pass—the person who killed them.

Moms of the Missing investigates ten abduction cases. Through personal and heartbreaking interviews with the victims, it describes how parents maintain their hopes of one day finding their children—some of whom were taken by a stranger, a family member, or human traffickers. And two survivors tell what it is like to be held captive.

Moms of the Missing explores the principal types of abductions, and—not of least importance—who’s most likely to become a victim of the epidemic of missing children.

About the Author:

Steffen Hou (born 1975) is a Danish author and filmmaker. As a true crime author he
has written about topics such as innocent Americans on death row, human trafficking,
and the white supremacy movement. Moms of the Missing: Living the Nightmare is his
third book.

Contact the author: steffen.hou@houmedia.dk

Website: steffenhou.com

Facebook: facebook.com/steffen.hou

Twitter: @steffenhou

My Thoughts:

As clearly stated in the synopsis, this book deals with facts and investigates ten abduction cases. Through each case we are introduced to the kinds of abductions that exist and how they can happen. This is presented to us through interviews with family members who have had to deal with the loss of a child.

Each experience shared is harrowing and scary, difficult for most of to understand, but necessary for us to be aware of. It is sometimes difficult to digest the kinds of cruelty out there in the world, but through this book, Steffen Hou and the affected people would like to bring about an awareness. Awareness is a must to be able to take preventive actions.

The book is very well structure as explained by the author in the prologue. The reader is introduced to the type of abduction, followed by a description and the authorities or body(ies) to be alerted. This is then followed by a detailed account of an experience. What happened on the day of the abduction? The nature of the child in general and their relationship with their family. The heartbreak and trauma the family faces when the child is missing. The support or non-support of the authorities. A step forward and a few backwards everyday towards trying to find an answer. And then a conclusion, good or bad, but with a strong message.

I would like to share that I respect those who have come forward to support this book and share their stories. It is definitely not easy to have your life taken apart and then to talk about it. The main message of the book is to keep up Hope and to contact the right people if a crime has already been committed and a child is missing. It is also about the prevention of such crimes and the steps we can take to educate ourselves, our peers and our children.

Though this was a difficult book to read, my heart goes out to all the victims and their families. I strongly recommend this book to everyone as it brings about an awareness on a very important topic that could help any one of us in the world today.

We are all in this together and we should learn to support one another. Also, please be aware and sensitive towards other people!

Thank you Steffen for bringing your book to my notice!

Book Promo: Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

About the Book:

 
A gripping psychological thriller with chilling twists, from a unique new voice.
Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.
This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?
 
Book Links:
 
Read an Excerpt:
 
Chapter 1
Killer Road
April 2007
They died, Rebecca Brown’s mum and dad. They were killed on a road with a big reputation. Rebecca could only imagine it. She was hundreds of miles from the scene of the crash when it happened. When she thought of that road, she pictured it covered in ice, black ice, since the accident took place on a bitter December night. The A42, was the road’s alphanumeric name. The Killer Road, they called it back then in the papers. The Killer Road has struck again! The headlines came into Rebecca’s mind like a voice, like Vincent Price, as if the road arched up into vertical life, a tarmac monster stalking its victims.
Rebecca Brown was four years old when she became an orphan, alongside her sister, Colette, and her brother, Austen. Rebecca was the youngest. She couldn’t even remember the moment she was told. What had they said? ‘Mummy and Daddy have had a terrible accident, dear. In the car.’ At the time, she knew little more than the fact. They were gone. They’d been there all the days of her life, and then they were not. Of the circumstances and detail, she knew next to nothing. Perhaps Rebecca hadn’t thought to ask questions. Perhaps there was little more to say to a child so young. As Rebecca grew, though, so did her thirst for knowledge. But it seemed that, even if there had been a window of opportunity to make her enquiries, that window got bricked up years ago. There was a solid wall now between Rebecca Brown and the truth.
Julia and Stephen, her parents had been called. ‘Julia and Stephen,’ Rebecca liked to say aloud when she was alone in her garret bedroom. She could barely remember them but she thought they sounded really nice. She was sure that they were kind people, with ready smiles and lovely clean clothes.
It was their grandparents who raised the Brown children. It was the Grands who took the youngsters into their care at Taransay, a red sandstone mansion in the north of Scotland. Taransay was only partially restored. It had vast, austere rooms and draughty, wood-panelled corridors; a real Amityville Horror of a home, scary even on a cornflower sky summer’s day, and a weird contrast to the heavenly Highland surroundings. They lived high up on a plateau that could have been made for a view. There was an imposing tree-lined driveway and the steading, as Rebecca’s grandfather Ralph liked to call it, overlooked the magnificent Morar Sands. The golden beach met the Atlantic Ocean which unfurled itself like ruffled navy silk on the calmest of days, but the fierce ones were just as precious to Rebecca, as she stood at her dormer window looking out across the sea’s tossing and turning. She loved it best when the gods got angry down there in the depths and rose up, throwing the spray right at her face.
The land surrounding Taransay was mostly meadow, with the churn and splat of their cattle’s hooves and excretions. Their cowhand, Murdo Hendry, tended the animals. They had mostly Friesians but some Jerseys whose milk was creamier with more butterfat. And they had five Swedish Reds, the strongest and healthiest of the herd, and Rebecca’s personal favourites. They sold their high quality milk to a premium ice cream manufacturer but the income from such a small herd fell considerably short of supporting the Brown clan.
Murdo also tended a half acre of vegetable patch which their grandmother Primmy was inclined to call ‘the potager’. She was often found to use French substitutes for every day words. Austen told his younger sisters that this habit of their grandmother’s was part of her general denial and dislike of where they had ended up. He claimed that her French references were a deliberate barrier to assimilation. Primrose Anctillious Brown described herself as English to the core and it had not been her choice to relocate to Scotland.
The henhouse was Rebecca’s domain. They had a couple of dozen hybrid laying hens which produced far more than they could ever eat, so they supplied their excess to Moss Mills Nursing Home which made them all feel they were doing their bit for the community. However, the Browns were utterly insular and rarely met the community. It was Murdo Hendry – himself a man of very few words – who delivered the eggs.
The perimeter of their land was marked with stone dyke walls, upon which Rebecca could balance, even on the windiest of days. She was certain that this was a skill which would be good for something.
In many ways, the Browns were living in paradise, albeit a rather unpredictable one weather-wise. The blot on the landscape was really the house which was such a strange hulking abode. There was barely a smooth exterior surface. The builder had lumped on every possible feature: turrets, balconies, oriels, buttresses, corbels and a dozen chimneys. And all of the downstairs windows had metal bars fitted on the outside. Not the pretty ones you get in Spain, but the kind you get in gaol. Taransay looked more like a Rhenish correctional facility than a family home. No, this abode was not for the faint-hearted and yet the bereaved children were brought to its huge oak door, for re-settlement; like little refugees with their suitcases and their sorrow.
The rambling, shambling, freezing house was often cited as the reason that guests could not join them. They had moved into the sprawling mansion after the accident, so that there would be room for all of them. And there certainly was. A small regiment would have found it spacious. The house was only partly restored and some years into their tenure, it had become obvious that not only would Taransay never be finished whilst under their guardianship but that nobody had the slightest ambition to try.
About the Author:
Jenny Morton Potts was born in a smart, dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone else’s life. Escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health. Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and living with inspirational child in Thaxted, Essex.
 
Contact the Author: 
 
Giveaway:
2 Digital Copies of Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js