We Were Salt of The Sea by Roxanne Bouchard. #Review #OrendaBooks #TeamOrenda #Orentober


Description As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters.


Many thanks to Orenda Books, the writer Roxanne Bouchard for the ARC of We Were Salt of The Sea in return for an honest review.

We Were Salt of the Sea is different to your traditional thriller, in that the main focus is on character rather than events. It moves along at a much slower pace than you expect and its heart is firmly based in the people of a remote fishing village in Quebec and their reactions to the death Marie Garant. Don’t let this put you off reading it though, because its uniqueness is what makes it so special and a haunting. The characters don’t so much leap of the page, they slowly and bit by bit, seep into your consciousness like they have always been there, old friends who memories soon become one with you the reader. I found my heart breaking for the loss of a great love, laughing at the dramatic gossip of the bistro owner, while sharing the irritation of poor DS Morales. Each character in the book is so beautifully drawn that you can visualise them in your mind’s eye and step with them into long suppressed memories.

The setting is perfect. For the mistrust of outsiders to work effectively, the story needed to be set in a small town, one whose bond with the sea is for some like a shackle them weighs them down and for others the liberation that frees them for the pain of the past. Here is a little village in which the characters are able to hide secrets, limit Catherine Days access to their memories and frustrate Morales efforts to search for answers around Garants’s mysterious death. This atmosphere is only possible because Bouchard has created a small community whose inhabitants are connected in ways they wouldn’t be in a bigger community and she imbues their connection with an emotional element that excludes both Day and Morales.

Special mention must also go to David Warriner whose translation is superb. He has produced a translation that celebrates and conveys Bouchard’s story for the reader with almost effortless grace.

We Were Salt of The Sea is another outstanding offering from the Orenda family of authors.

We Were Salt Of The Sea can be purchased from Amazon.

A little bit about the author


Ten years or so ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspe Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. We Were the Salt of the Sea is her fifth novel, and her first to be translated into English. She lives in Quebec.

About the Translator
David Warriner translates from French and nurtures a healthy passion for Franco, Nordic and British crime fiction. Growing up in deepest Yorkshire, he developed incurable Francophilia at an early age. Emerging from Oxford with a modern languages degree, he narrowly escaped the graduate rat race by hopping on a plane to Canada – and never looked back. More than an decade into a high-powered commercial translation career, he listened to his heart and turned his hand again to the delicate art of literary translation. David has lived in France and Quebec, and now calls beautiful British Columbia home.

After He Died by Michael Malone. #Review #TeamOrenda #Orentober

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You need to know who your husband really was… When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed… When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger. Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets… .

‘A stark, gripping storyline’ Scots .

‘A fine, page-turning thriller’ Daily Mail 


I would like to thank the author, Orenda Books for the ARC in return for an honest review.
After He Died is a story about family, love and relationships. It asks the reader do we ever really know those we love? It is also a superb thriller and a very addictive read.
What did I love about this domestic noir?
The characters for one! Paula is a grief stricken widow, who in the face of almost unbearable loss, must fight protect herself and the memory of the man she married. Her grief is powerfully written, it is all consuming on times, yet on others she is able to function at some basic level. You can feel both her loss and her strength, which allows her move forwards, even when grief threatens to wrap her in its wretched embrace, drowning her is waves of desolation and malaise. It’s a outstanding depiction of the many stages of morning a person can go through and yet the story is never allowed to be swamped by it, Paula is more than the grief that consumes her, she is a women with an inner strength that she draws from to try to survive another nightmare her life is being consumed by. Then we have support characters like Joe, her brother-in-law, a flawed and vulnerable man, a priest and fascinating in his own right. Often writers make the mistake of not fleshing out the less prominent characters, but not Michael Malone, who understands that if a novel is to work, each character, however minor a role they play, needs to be absorbing enough for the reader to invest in. I loved his story, however minor, as much as that of Paula’s and that shows the depth of great characterisation in After He Died.
And then there is the story itself. Great characters need a story to inhabit and this is certainly worthy of them. Packed with thrilling twists and turns that keep you guessing right to the end, After He Died is a real page turner. But it is also has a clever and intricate storyline that is not swamped by the thrills, or defined by them. It builds like a classical thriller over the cause of the book, as the layers of the story and slowly peeled away revealing a web of betrayal and lies. Multiple threads are combined together to form the story and they draw together perfectly leaving me astounded at the web of treachery all the characters had been caught up in.
Why would I recommend this book? Because it is a top quality thriller, which left me wanting more from this writer.

You can purchase After He Died from Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author

thumbnail_Michael Malone

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In- Residence for an adult gift shop. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge: Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage and The Bad Samaritan. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number one bestseller. Michael is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

The author can be followed on TwitterFacebook and his website.


Review – A Spooky Tale, A Walk With Our Teacher by Sue Wickstead. #BlogTour #ChildrensFiction


When the teacher decided to take the class out on a walk the children did not want to go …But…What could possibly go wrong?why did the class not feel well?Read the book to find out.


I would like to thank the writer and blog tour organiser for the ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

Having read a number of this author’s books, I was really looking forward to reviewing A Spooky Tale.

I have a close friend who is a teacher and I have heard that taking the class out for a walk can be an eventful time!

What I loved about this book, was the way the writer captured the sense of adventure felt by young children, embarking on a few hours of excitement from the classroom. Now admittedly these children aren’t keen to go, but it does turn out to be a wonderful experience for the reader, because they come across many different creatures, spooky moments and thankfully get back safely. What’s important about this story, is the sense of peril and menace, will make the story attractive to young children, whose natural sense of mischievousness will be held spellbound by the heightened feeling of adventure.

Given that children learn from what they see as well as what they read, illustrations always need to be beautiful, pop of the page and straight into their imaginations. They certainly do in A Spooky Tale! The illustrations are bright, beautifully drawn, colourful and compliment the story perfectly. Each child is given their own personality through the illustrations and any child is going to be fascinated by their reactions. Partner this up with a fun story, with easy to understand vocabulary and you have a wonderful children’s read.

I would recommend A Spooky Tale parents to read to their children and as a first independent read for young readers. It’s fun, attractive and will capture the imagination of children and families alike.

You can purchase this book from Amazon

About the author.

A Spooky Author

I am an author and a teacher and have written six children’s picture books, all with a bus included somewhere.
Having been able to share my first book, ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, it was time to think about writing a book for younger readers.
While visiting a local school the children were writing stories about a journey, we read Jay-Jay’s book and then I remembered a book that I had written some years before and I read this to the class too, and they loved it.
The original story was based on a walk with my class around the neighbourhood of Bewbush, Crawley. The walk had led to map work and sequencing. Then together with the class I wrote an imaginative adventure.
The events we imagined were put into a class book. The book was shared with many classes and it was always a favourite.
Now years later I decided it was time to update, improve and look at publishing the book.
There is indeed a walk around the district of Bewbush. and following the publication of the book I went back to see if and how the neighbourhood had changed.
‘Oh, I see you have written a book without a bus!’ commented a friend.
But, look through the pages and you will see there always has to be a bus!
The neighbourhood of Bewbush was a new estate built in Crawley town in the 1970’s. The area was built without any shops, school or safe places for children to play. It was an area of high need and was supported by a special playbus which offered a much-needed playgroup venue.
I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share my stories. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.

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Weave of Love by Rachel J Bonner. Choices And Consquences. Book Three. #Guest Post #BlogTour

Weave of Love correct front

What if the choice you have to make has devastating consequences for others?
How can anyone know the right thing to do?
Leonie chose to sacrifice everything to save other people. Now those around her have to face the consequences – and those consequences are not what they expected.
Prospero must deal with his own guilt. He was the one who gave Leonie the tools she needed – her life was in his hands. To make the most of what she did, he will have to face up to all the family issues he has avoided for so long. Whatever he chooses to do, someone he loves will be hurt. For Leonie’s sake, is he now strong enough to make the choice he couldn’t make before?
The crisis predicted by Lord Gabriel has come and gone. But his task isn’t over. Leonie’s very existence may be out in the open but Gabriel discovers that the past is never what it seems – and nor is the present. How can he use what he now knows to bring together those who have been enemies for as long as anyone can remember? If he fails in this, everything he’s had to do so far will be in vain.

Guest Post 

An Introduction to Some More Characters

In previous blog tours I’ve introduced you to Prospero, Leonie, Andrew, Gabriel, Eleanor, Chloe and the Them. All those characters reappear in Weave of Love and if you missed the original blogs you can read more about them here http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/sofblogs.html.

Much of Weave of Love takes place at Deep River Farm, which is the home of Prospero aka Perry’s – family. So I thought I’d introduce you to them.

Mary : Mary is Perry’s mother. She’s not much taller than Leonie – about 5ft 6” but she has a big personality and manages to keep order among her family with no trouble at all. She’s the youngest sister of Lord Neville, the High Lord of Great House Tennant, but they haven’t spoken for many years. They argued over her choice of husband and way of life but the final straw was when Lord Neville chose her oldest son, Perry, to train as one of his potential heirs. Mary enjoys baking, just as Leonie does, and is well versed in the use of herbs in both cooking and medical matters. She doesn’t like telephones – which are rare anyway – and won’t have one in the house. She’s happily married to:
Michael : Mary’s husband and Perry’s father. Michael is tall and dark – Perry looks very like him – and quietly competent. He doesn’t like arguments and confrontation, but he’ll face up to trouble and stand his ground when he considers it necessary. More often, he’ll just quietly get on with doing what he believes to be the right thing in the background. He doesn’t speak a lot, but he’s always there when one of his family needs him and really, he’s the glue that holds the whole family together.
Matt : Matt is the second oldest son, a year or two younger than Perry, who is the oldest. He and Perry look alike, too. Matt is impulsive and energetic and, like Perry, tends to dive into things without always thinking them through. He feels things very deeply although he tries to hide this and takes his feelings out in his work around the farm. He specialises in the arable side of the farm. He’s handfasted – a form of preliminary or temporary marriage – to Chrissy who teaches at the local school.
Sam : Sam is the third son, a couple of years younger than Matt. He’s the tallest and broadest of all the brothers, and fair where the first two are dark. He usually moves more slowly and patiently than his older brothers, thinking things through before he acts. Like his father, he’s calm and quiet which helps when he’s working with the farm animals. He’s handfasted to Lizzie who works as a nurse practitioner and midwife at the local surgery.
Jack and Eddie : Jack and Eddie are identical twins, never apart. They even talk as one, taking it in turns to utter a couple of words in any sentence. No one but their parents can tell which is which. Having each other, they don’t seem to need anyone else. They run a horse breeding and training business in a small yard to one side of the main farmyard.
Jonny : Jonny is the youngest son and there’s a bit of an age gap between him and the twins. Their only sister, Jenny, was born between them and she died shortly after birth. Jonny looks like Perry, Matt and their father. He’s only just developing his mental Gifts, but the signs are that he’s going to be very Gifted, just like Perry. He’s very cheeky, saying things that others won’t, and like many youngest children, he gets away with far more than his older siblings. He’ll be off to college shortly, where he plans to study veterinary science. His girlfriend is Emlee, who’ll be off to college at the same time, although she plans to study medicine.
The other member of the family mentioned in Weave of Love is Amber, Perry’s dog. Amber’s breed is never defined, but I think of her as a golden brown border collie.
There’s quite a large cast of characters throughout the whole series. If you’d like to know who lives where, who is related to who, or just need to check on someone, you can find a list at my website http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/people.html .
I hope you enjoy reading about these characters as much as I have enjoyed writing them and that you’ll continue with me to the end of the series.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author

Weave of Love Author Photo

Rachel J Bonner is the author of the compelling and enthralling four book Choices and Consequences series. The first book in the series, Strand of Faith, was published in November 2018. Book 2, Thread of Hope, released on 2nd May 2019, followed by Weave of Love on 24th October, and Cloth of Grace at the end of February 2020.
Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in fantasy or romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun. When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club. Shooting targets only, honest. Nothing to worry about. (Okay, sometimes we shoot Polo mints. Or cabbages. Still nothing to worry about.)
She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary. It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.
You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk.

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The Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux #Extract #BlogTour #TheSecretSanta

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A lavish party.
An isolated mansion.
Two hosts who will do anything to protect their secrets.

When husband and wife Henry and Claudine organise their company’s Christmas party in a remote mansion, they expect it to be a night to remember.

But the festive mood quickly turns sour when a sinister gift is unwrapped in the Secret Santa gift exchange.

As heavy snow traps the guests inside the mountainside lodge, it quickly becomes clear that one of the party is out for revenge.

It’s no longer just about enduring the evening. It’s about making sure you get out alive.

A lavish locked-room mystery with a seasonal edge, THE SECRET SANTA is packed with twists that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Today I am delighted to welcome author Trish Harnetiaux’s  to booksaremycwtches with an extract from her debut novel The Secret Santa. 


For a moment Claudine almost didn’t tell her about the Secret Santa. She could just cancel it. Her employees would be glad. She knew how much they dreaded it each year. At most holiday parties, the game was a light-hearted romp. Cheap gag gifts. Ten- or twenty- dollar limit. Claudine’s version was different. In introducing the annual game, she had neglected to include a price limit. After a couple years, a spirit of one-upmanship had been established, along with an expectation that each employee should bring a lavish gift, one that reflected how well they’d performed over the year, how much they’d racked up in commissions. The purpose had originally been to make people laugh, to reward the most clever. After a few years of observing the tradition, however, it was clear that their light-hearted, team- building holiday game served only to create competition, cause jealousy, and stir rivalry among her staff. Claudine encouraged a level of competition, but even she would admit that including Zara in this year’s Secret Santa would make the team even more uneasy and desperate to impress.
“Ooh, I love party games!” Zara said. “Entertaining is my jam, and it’d be nice to see the space full of people.”
Having it at the house posed a few problems. Sure, it was available. That wasn’t an issue. Mr. and Mrs. Lions— the first and only owners— had already moved to Scottsdale. And the place was still furnished. The moving company wasn’t coming until after the holidays. But switching the party from the office to Montague House meant Claudine would have to make it a more extravagant affair. Catering. Florals. A piano player would be a nice touch, given the Lions’ gorgeous black Steinway grand. She’d need to invite a few more people to fill out the space. And invitations. No matter how intimate, a proper soirée required a proper invitation. Claudine was willing to make certain compromises, but not when it came to etiquette.
The biggest problem was Henry. He had been so distraught over her taking the listing. Of course, he didn’t come out and say so. Too quiet. Never said much of anything. She was the talker, the salesperson. He expressed himself through his designs. Yet it was hardly a coincidence that right after she told him the Lions had asked her to sell Montague House, he wound up in the hospital. She knew what the mention of the house must have stirred up. The unspoken. If business wasn’t so bad, she wouldn’t have dared— would have told the Lions to find another broker. They did not have that luxury. They couldn’t refuse any listing. At least it was one of theirs. If things didn’t pick up soon, Claudine would have to consider branching into listings for houses Henry hadn’t designed. That the Alpine brothers hadn’t built. That Calhoun + Calhoun hadn’t overseen from the dig to dinner with the new owners.
Taking the listing was one thing. Asking Henry to come to the party at Montague House was another. He hadn’t been back since they finished building it and turned the keys over to the Lions. He wouldn’t even drive past it, taking long detours to avoid catching the slightest glimpse of the property. To go back there after all these years, to once again step through those large oak doors into the marbled foyer, into the past . . . who knew what that might do to him?

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About  the author

Trish Harnetiaux Author Photo

The Secret Santa is Trish Harnetiaux’s debut novel. She is a Brooklyn-based playwright whose published works include Tin Cat Shoes, How To Get Into Buildings, and If You Can Get To Buffalo.
Follow her on Twitter @TrishHarnetiaux 

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Crazy For You by T S Hunter #Review #BlogTour #SohoNoir #LGBT #RedDogPress


It’s 1987, and Soho is in the grip of another hot summer. While working part-time in The Red Lion, Joe finds himself agreeing to help a notorious gangster search for her missing girlfriend.
Antonia “the Gecko” Lagorio is daughter to the ruthless but ageing gang boss, Tony “the Lizard” Lagorio. When her girlfriend, Charlotte Fenwick, goes missing, Antonia turns to Joe for help, believing her to have been kidnapped by a rival gang.
Charlotte Fenwick is daughter to multi-millionaire, Charles Fenwick—who also happens to be one of Freddie Gillespie’s bigger clients. Keen to keep any hint of a scandal out of the public eye, Charles Fenwick had already asked Freddie to recruit Russell and Joe to help him find his daughter discreetly.
With both of them on the case, Joe and Russell find themselves trying to stop a turf war between the two rival gangs while uncovering all manner of dark secrets about the missing heiress and her troubled life.
Meanwhile Freddie Gillespie has a run in with an old foe that could see him lose both his job and his relationship with Russell.


Crazy For You is the fourth instalment in the Soho Noir series by T S Hunter. It’s as fabulous as the other three and a delight to read.

Once again we are lucky to be spending time with friends and flatmates Joe and Russell, but this time we have the added romance between Russell and lawyer Charles Fenwick.

What I loved about Crazy for You was the way the individual story arcs work together to create a well balanced, exciting read. The romance between Russell and Charles, ties in perfectly with our hero’s investigation into the disappearance of the daughter of multi millionaire Charles Fenwick. Quite an achievement to take the multiple threads and get them all to work in a novella without it feeling cluttered and rushed. Many authors struggle in full length books, so to do it so well in a short story shows the skill of T S Hunter as a writer.

The relationship between Russell and Charles gave the story added drama and romance. It’s not all mushy, but is actually full of angst and misunderstandings. I know it seems strange to say this, but I revelled in the knot of anxiety that took hold in me, wondering if their relationship would survive. Don’t we all love a story that leaves us all antsy over the love of characters we really care about?

The story feels dangerous and dramatic, so much so that I was so nervous at times, I had to read on and on, to get to the end as fast as possible. At one point when Joe enters a club, looking for Charlotte Fenwick, I caught myself holding my breath. There he is smack in the middle of a turf war between rival gangs and his life is in real danger. It’s an edge of your seat moment, in a long line of potential dangers our hero’s face to find the heiress.  It is all just so bloody thrilling.

Crazy For You even keeps up that sense of community I have come to love about these books. I takes the LGBT characters and makes them an essential part of the story, integral to it. There is one scene where Joe uses his friends, a group of drag Queens to create a distraction while he looks for Charlotte. I loved their involvement, especially as you rarely find something both so funny, yet at the same time so dramatic involving such a wealth of LGBT characters. This book gives them a story they can thrive in and says we won’t be side-lined to a niche shelf in the bookshop, we deserve to be out there on the general fiction counter. On the tables the booksellers use to highlight must read fiction, because they as characters are as good as any you’ll read in those books.

Oh and when will we see these characters in a TV drama, I want to see T S Hunters Soho Noir series adapted for TV!

You can buy the book directly from the publisher Red Dog PressWaterstones and Amazon

About the author 

Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.
He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.
He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction.
He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as @TSHunter on Twitter.



Self Portrait by Elisebeth Horan #Extract #BlogTour #Poetry


Self Portrait by Elisabeth Horan
Inspired by Frida Kahlo
Published by Cephalo Press September 30th 2019
I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone,
because I am the person I know best. – Frida Kahlo

This book of poetry explores the life and work of Frida Kahlo, suffusing the intensity of her life into a dual-language collection. In her love of language and Frida, emerging poet Elisabeth Horan offers a beautiful meditation on art and that which inspires it. Her connection to Frida is drawn out through the vivid poems and imagery, embedding the personal into a life-story that has become well-known. Horan’s collection illuminates a new approach to Kahlo’s life in its emphasis on shared experience and poetic tribute.


Today I am delighted to welcome Elisabeth Horan once again to booksaremycwtches. This time I’m sharing a poem from her new collection Self Portrait.


Empty Banner 1930

Anarchy is just fine take a lap-

around the pool

taste the other types of water


Travel communists

need linguists


Need your short bob –

ike my cupid doll –


Canary on a balcony.

Marx knows, I know


The way a woman’s tongue can do

things golden dust cannot


Skeleton tape – beware-

come visit me not in San Francisco-

no te permito seguirme ahí   not allowed to pursue me there


There – I long to hiss along her back

be a bone in her vagina


You know her

you know about syringes


Body cast imprints

catheters; orgasms


La Serpiente Verde – The Green Serpent


Within this skin

little blue bird


Sparkled as sky

flies home to D.F.


Without having said



You can purchase Self Portrait from the publisher and Amazon..

About the Author

Elisabeth Horan is an imperfect creature from Vermont advocating for animals, children and those suffering alone and in pain – especially those ostracized by disability and mental illness. She is Editor in Chief at Animal Heart Press, and Co-Editor at Ice Floe Press. She has several chaps and collections coming out this year including Bad Mommy / Stay Mommy at Fly on the Wall Press, Odd list Odd house Odd me at Twist It Press, Was It R*pe, from Rhythm and Bones Press, and Just to the Right of the Stove, with Hedgehog Poetry Press. She is a poetry mentor and proud momma to Peter and Thomas. She recently earned her MFA from Lindenwood University and received a 2018 Best of the Net Nomination from Midnight Lane Boutique and a 2018 Pushcart Nomination from Cease Cows. Follow her @ehoranpoet  & ehoranpoet.com  Her other books are available to buy from: https://www.ehoranpoet.com/my-bookstore.html

Self Portrait Blog Tour-2







The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby #Review

Cora Burns Cover

To believe in her future, she must uncover her past…

Birmingham, 1885.

Born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse, Cora Burns has always struggled to control the violence inside her.

Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of scientist Thomas Jerwood. Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora…?

With the power and intrigue of Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions and Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done, Carolyn Kirby’s stunning debut takes the reader on a heart-breaking journey through Victorian Birmingham and questions where we first learn violence: from our scars or from our hearts.

‘Even at its darkest it is beautifully written, the research is meticulous and the complex Cora makes a flawed but affecting heroine. A great historical novel with bite’ – Sunday Mirror

‘Kirby writes with skill and gusto’ – Times

‘This richly woven Gothic tale is an atmospheric treat’ – Heat Magazine

‘Perfect for fans of Sarah Waters, this book took me into Cora’s world so expertly I experienced it with every sense’ – Cass Green, author of The Woman Next DoorIn A Cottage In A WoodDon’t You Cry

The Conviction of Cora Burns is a striking debut. Rich in gothic darkness and period detail, the brutality of Victorian Britain is exquisitely drawn. A beautifully-written story which enveloped me from first page to last’ – Amanda Jennings, author of Cliff House and In Her Wake


Today I’m reposting my review to celebrate the publication of the  paperback of The Conviction of Cora Burns. The ebook is on offer at 99p until the 10th of November as part of the celebrations. 


I would like to thank the author and publisher for the ARC in return for an honest review.

At its heart The Conviction of Cora Burns is a complex main character, Cora herself, who even at her most disturbing is facinating. She is an incredible creation, full of both light and dark.  To describe her as a violent misfit, does her an injustice, because the layers of her character, slowly revealed to us, shows she is both good and troubled. It makes for a compulsive read, when all you can think about is getting back to the book and finding out what really makes Cora tick.

Besides having such wonderful main character, we have an exquisitely written dark gothic drama. It is hard to imagine that this is a debut novel, so beautifully is it written and so powerful and emotional the story depicted.  I experienced an incredible range of emotions reading this tale from sadness to joy, from anger to loss, that it left me feeling a little bereft when it was finished.  It has a bite, this is not a cosy drama, it peels away the layers from Victorian society, exposing the seedier side of its obsession with science and attitudes to crime and punishment.  The atmosphere she creates made me feel that I was there, caught up in Cora’s nightmare and her search for answers about her childhood, as she pursues a path, that I prayed would not reflect the darkness that enveloped her past.

The writer made me care deeply that redemption is possible for any of the characters, but especially for Cora herself. She also while entertaining me with a story full of secrets and reveals, made me think about what leads some to violence, as a reaction to life and experiences.  Is it nature or nurture, was Cora born with the anger within her or had life in the jail and the workhouse created and shaped her.  I also loved how she took this myth of Victorian society as moral and forward thinking and created a story that took me as a reader down below ‘polite society’ and revealed the hidden nightmare of poverty and exploitation.  It gripped me as a reader and when finished, I wanted to take another journey with the writer, who meticulous research created a world so real, it felt that by stepping into its pages we too had walked back into the past.

This book is definitely going to be among my recommended reads for 2019.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author

Carolyn Kirby Author Pic

Originally from Sunderland in the UK, Carolyn studied history at St Hilda’s College, Oxford before working in social housing and then as a teacher of English as a foreign language.

Her debut novel, The Conviction of Cora Burns has achieved success in a range of competitions including as winner of the Bluepencilagency Award and as finalist in the Mslexia Novel Competition. It was chosen as a historical fiction book of the month by The Times in March 2019.

Carolyn has two grown-up daughters and lives with her husband in rural Oxfordshire. 

You can follow the author on her FacebookTwitter and her Website.

Ebook promo

The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me by Barbara Quinn #Extract #Blog Tour

The Summer Springsteens Sogs - BRUCE FINAL COVER

The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me
Coming home to catch her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects—and on today of all days. So, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing never to look back.
Seeking solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbor, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits.
In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.

I delighted to welcome author Barbara Quinn to booksaremycwtches with an extract from her book The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me.


Sitting still becomes impossible. I jump up and stride rapidly towards the water. On the boardwalk I sit on one of the benches that line the ocean front and work hard to catch my breath, hoping the sounds of the sea might calm me. Instead apprehension takes root. The waves crash and gulls caw overhead. I grip the wooden slats beneath my thighs until my fingers grow numb.
My thoughts spin wildly. What folly it was to stay with Jerome and his cheating ass for so many years. The signs of his dalliance pass through my brain. At the gym Christmas party, Jerome left to get me an Irish whiskey and when he failed to return I searched and found him at the bar chatting with Mandy. I ordered my own glass of Jameson and joined them. Agonizing awareness gripped me as Jerome’s eyes strayed and lingered on the swell that rose from Mandy’s holiday red T-shirt. Ho, ho, ho.
The gulls laugh, and I turn up the music. Running from Jerome isn’t the best of ideas. But staying with him is worse.
The strains of “Dancing in the Dark” fill my head again. The lyrics offer no solace. I lean back, allowing sadness to grow. A dark curtain lowers, and chilling grief covers me.

You can purchase this book from AmazonBarnes and Noble and Waterstones.

About the author 

The Summer - Author Photo

Barbara Quinn is an award-winning short story writer and author of a variety of novels.
Her travels have taken her to forty-seven states and five continents where she’s encountered fascinating settings and inspiring people that populate her work.
Her many past jobs include lawyer, record shop owner, reporter, process server, lingerie sales clerk, waitress, and postal worker. She’s a native New Yorker with roots in the Bronx, Long Island, and Westchester. She currently resides with her husband in Bradley Beach, NJ and Holmes Beach, FL. She enjoys spending time with her son and his family and planning her next adventure. She wants to remind everyone that when you meet her, SHE’S NOT SHOUTING, SHE’S ITALIAN.

You can follow the author on her WebsiteTwitter and Facebook.

The Summer Springsteens Songs Saved Me



Good Samaritans by Will Carver. #Review #TeamOrenda #Orentober #GoodSamaritans


One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach.

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans. But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home… And someone is watching… Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices. 


Good Samaritans is an utter triumph.

Sexy, dark and twisted, it delves into the darkest recesses of the human mind and finds the tortured souls of those, for whom death and murder are like a game of cat and mouse. Characters that find sexual gratification in the suffering of others and addiction from the pleasure it brings them.

Thrillers are meant to set your heart racing, freak you out and this superb novel does all of these in spade loads.

You think you are ready for whatever is coming, but your not! Will Carver weaves a tangled web of misdirection. Gives you characters that seem ordinary and then, will make you avoid the bleach isle of your favourite supermarket forever!

It sent tingles down my spine and was full of twists I never saw coming. It left me shocked and catapulted me to reading seventh heaven. Filled me with wonder at a tale created with such skill, that it’s surely set to be a classic, that will electrify readers for years to come.

The characterisation is astonishing, in that you just never know who they really are, or what they’re truly capable of. Each is multi faceted and what makes this novel so twisted and chilling, is that it could be your neighbour, it could be anyone that you know, or accidentally become acquainted with that decides to watch you. I thought that each character was so fascinating it became impossible to think of anything else while reading it. They made me gasp out loud, laugh, while wondering if laughing was appropriate and yet at the same time be so floored by the intensity of their thoughts and actions, that by the end, I was left feeling like I had been thrown by a bucking rodeo ride. I had to stay calm and carry on, because the ride was worth it and the characters so rewarding that investing in such a disturbing mindset is a delicious experience.

I’ve not read Will Carved before and I hope I won’t have to wait too long before I can read another by this incredibly gifted writer.

Good Samaritans can be purchased from Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles, BlackwellsKobo.

About the author. 

View More: http://razialife.pass.us/vanessa-and-brendans-wedding

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

You can follow the author on Twitter

Final Good Samaritans BT Poster

This review was written from an ARC provided kindly to me from Orenda Books. The views are entirely mine.