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And the magic word is?

Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets Book Cover Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets
(The Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries) #2
Holly Bell
humour, fantasy, female sleuths
Independently published
(24 Dec. 2018)

Amanda Cadabra, asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch with irascible feline familiar, always said that was no place for a research centre. The lost village in Madley Wood, where the leaves don’t grow, and the birds don’t sing.

An old secret. A new build. A body. Only one witness. Only one person who can see that witness: Amanda Cadabra.

Only one place that can tell the story: the Cellar of Secrets, in 1940. And only one person who can go there: Amanda Cadabra. With, of course, only one grumpy cat.

Only one person who might help: the personable but intractable Inspector Trelawney. But this is a peaceful English village … who would do anything as criminal as murder? Will she find them before they find her?

Please note that to help the reader to be immersed in Amanda's world, this British-set story, by a British author, uses British English spelling, grammar and usage, and includes accents, dialects and a magical language.

Well not abracadabra of course… What a strange name, but of course, one that is very memorable.

So we have a cosy mystery novel set in a strange village with ghosts and witches and hidden secrets.

At times, I thought I was reading a book for teenagers or for US readers who wanted to have a traditional English village with all the traditional English characters in it. Including funny names and so on.

That said, it was an enjoyable and humorous tale with engaging lead characters – Amanda herself and her feline familiar and the detective who can’t know the real truth about witch-craft, but sort of knows about ghosts.

Very light reading but ..

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When you need to be vigilant

Vigilante Dead
A Kate Jones Thriller: Volume #8
DV Berkom
Thriller, Detective, Crime, Female Sleuth
Duct Tape Press
(26 Nov. 2016)

Death. Lies. Revenge.After years of running, Kate Jones is finally putting her past behind her. Between restoring ties with her younger sister, moving in with Sam, a cop-turned PI, and working as a PI herself, she's learning to live life without looking over her shoulder.Then Kate lands a case that changes everything: a young college student with no history of drug abuse dies of an overdose, and the parents come to Kate demanding answers. Soon, Seattle is reeling from dozens more deaths, all with the same chemical markers. At first, police assume that the victims are closet junkies who got a hold of a bad combination, but after someone close to her becomes a victim, Kate believes something far more sinister is going on.The deeper Kate digs, the more she uncovers about the deadly drug’s origins, forcing her to choose between doing what’s right… and getting revenge

I read ‘Bad Spirits’ (book #1 in this series) some time ago and meant to follow it up but didn’t. I just may have read the last book in the series and missed all the ones in between… but still, DV Berkom hasn’t disappointed.

 And I could follow enough of the series’ storyline for this book to stand alone.

Kate thinks she has finally left her nemesis behind and is free of being hunted, but by deciding to interfere in a drug case, she finds more people who want her dead. The story about the drugs gets complicated as more unsuspecting people die from tainted pain killers.

A good suspense and thriller story, which doesn’t get too technical and gives some handy hints for women about self-defence.

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How often do you Lie? Jody discusses this.






I Never Lie Book Cover




I Never Lie





Jody Sabral





psychological, mystery, thriller, literary fiction




Canelo




11th June 2018




Kindle

Is she the next victim? Or is she the culprit?

Alex South is a high-functioning alcoholic who is teetering on the brink of oblivion. Her career as a television journalist is hanging by a thread since a drunken on-air rant. When a series of murders occur within a couple of miles of her East London home she is given another chance to prove her skill and report the unfolding events. She thinks she can control the drinking, but soon she finds gaping holes in her memory, and wakes to find she’s done things she can’t recall. As the story she’s covering starts to creep into her own life, is Alex a danger only to herself – or to others?

This gripping psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Fiona Barton, B A Paris and Clare Mackintosh.

An Interview with Jody Sabral

Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

I think the topic chose me in a way. I lived with an alcoholic for a year and felt the need to write about it in a realistic way. To capture the absolute denial of it and what the impact of that can be on everyone who comes into contact with it. I think it’s unique in the sense that I lived up close with it and therefore have a real passion for the issue. I’m not just using it as a plot ploy in a flippant manner. I hope it starts a positive conversation around alcoholism as I feel it’s something that is lacking in this country. I’ve always felt that literature and art can have a much longer lasting impact than that of news, the other business I’m in, so I guess I wanted to bring this to my novel, which I hope is also extremely entertaining. I still recall scenes from books I read ten or fifteen years ago and they make me think differently about the world we live in.

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

 Not really, for me it’s a very organic process. I think we all have themes in our lives that we feel strongly about for one reason or another and my writing is born from that. I’ve just completed a screenplay in which the main themes were born out of reading an article in the newspaper and a conversation with my niece. I felt strongly about the issues so I wanted to write about them.

3. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

It depends. I tend to pull off my experiences and those of friends. I’m not writing police procedurals. Yes, I have an investigation and an investigator but the emphasis is on the characters affected by it and the impact it has on them. So I tend to write about people’s emotions, which I think is about connections and the human condition. People fascinate me, so my writing is born out of conversations with others and observations about how people deal with a crisis.

How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

As a journalist I’ve always found them very helpful and happy to cooperate. I have contacts who will read to see if it’s plausible and they will tell me if it’s not working.

5. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

I’m proud to say upwards of sixty-five rejections in my writing career. Obviously with this novel it was different as my agent handled those rejections. But with the two earlier books, the first CHANGING BORDERS I sent it out to almost thirty agents and got a heap of rejections. The second, THE MOVEMENT, which I won the CWA Debut Dagger for got me lots of interest from agents, yet many more rejections. I met my agent on the back end of those rejections. He had the foresight to ask me what I was working on next and a partnership was formed. He’s been with me since the conception of I NEVER LIE and it’s a very supportive and nurturing relationship. Finally I have someone behind me, believing in my work. What I will say to aspiring writers is just keep at it, at some point something will give.

Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

I think you self-publish because you want to put it out there. To move on to a new project. To draw a line under it. But self-publishing has its pitfalls. Selling a book is a full time job.

Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

I found self-publishing to be a very tough sell even though I had an audience of millions at the time that I wrote CHANGING BORDERS because I was a foreign correspondent on TV regularly. I write. I’m not a marketing person so I found that part of it tricky. It depends on your skills. If you’re good at sales and marketing I suppose you’d be in with a better chance than me. I don’t think there’s one perfect route. It’s a personal journey, but the important point is that you keep writing because at the end of the day it’s the words that will eventually pay off and resonate with someone. I like the support I have with an agent and publisher behind me because writing is a solitary job.

Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

Not yet. This is my first novel to be released via a publisher, so let’s see!

What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

I haven’t done a book tour yet, so not sure I can answer this. But some interesting people have a copy of my first book. Sir Patrick Stewart has one via someone I met on a plane, and the musician Moby. I inscribed on Moby’s copy, ‘if you like it Tweet it!’ Obviously he didn’t, but you have to be your own ambassador for your work in a competitive environment. Maybe one day he’ll tweet about I NEVER LIE, who knows!

What do you read when you are ill in bed?

I don’t get ill very often. I write a lot in bed though.

 What is your favourite genre?

Crime obviously. I like Sci-fi too because it makes you think about the bigger questions in life as in ‘why are we here?’

If you recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

That’s tough because there are so many amazing authors dead and alive. J G Ballard is my all time fav. Living, there’s just so many. It’s like asking me what my favourite song is, it changes all the time. I really love Gillian Flynn, S J Watson, Nicki French, John Le Carre’s earlier works…. I mean the list just goes on.

Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

Dan Brown possibly? I’m not a literary writer. It’s pacy and not overly descriptive. I don’t read as much as I used to, which may shock some people, but that’s because I find that other writer’s voices get into my own and presently I’m trying to hone my own, which I think I did with I NEVER LIE. I found my voice with this book and that’s a very satisfying feeling.

In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?

I think the best comedy writers of the moment for me are Sharon Horgan and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, oh and Charlie Brooker, but they write for TV, which I’m also attempting to do after attending an evening class in screenwriting. I tend to watch more comedy on TV than read it in books.

Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

When I was retraining from journalist to novelist during my MA at City University I used to copy sentences from Raymond Chandler’s books word for word into a notebook then change the adjectives for my own, I did this so I could try to capture the show aspect of writing rather than tell. As a broadcast journalist I’ve had to work on my description a lot because news writing is stripped back and we don’t use a lot of adjectives. I think Chandler’s writing is all about the atmosphere, which he creates through even just describing the materials in a room. He is my guru of descriptive writing.

What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

Sadly, they’ve been lost over the years as I left home at sixteen and moved endlessly to a million different flats and many countries. So if you find a diary in a charity shop somewhere one day that has me name in it, please return it to me!

About the Author

Jody Sabral is based in London, where she works as a Foreign Desk editor and video producer at the BBC. She is a graduate of the MA in Crime Fiction at City University, London. Jody worked as a journalist in Turkey for ten years, covering the region for various international broadcasters. She self-published her first book Changing Borders in 2012 and won the CWA Debut Dagger in 2014 for her second novel The Movement . In addition to working for the BBC, Jody also writes for the Huffington Post , AlMonitor and BRICS Post .

Twitter: @jsabral

I Never Lie will be followed by Dont Blame Me in early 2019, which will explore the dark side of instant celebrity culture and the deadly  consequences of overnight success.

Canelo books can be found on Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Google Books – some books will be limited to UK publication places only:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

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Don’t run in the sun!






See Her Run Book Cover




See Her Run




Aloa Snow #1





Peggy Townsend





Fiction, crime, female sleuth




Thomas & Mercer




2018-06




268



Running for her life could leave her breathless. A former reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Aloa Snow knows what it means to be down and out. Once highly respected, she's now blackballed, in debt, and dealing with the echoes of an eating disorder. Until she gets one more shot to prove that she has what it takes--with a story some would die for... After the body of a promising young athlete, Hayley Poole, is recovered in the Nevada desert, authorities rule it a suicide. But when Aloa discovers that the girl's boyfriend died in a similar accident only months before, her investigative instincts are on high alert. It turns out the girl was on the run from secrets that could kill. This case is murder for Aloa, and Hayley won't be the last one to suffer. Someone very powerful forced Hayley to run for her life. Now Aloa must do the same.

A story that draws you into a complex web of connections and proves conspiracy theorists are right! Some capitalists don’t care. Except for money.

The story also explores what character trait makes people undertake extreme sports whether it is walking, running or climbing. i  wish I knew the answer to that definitively as our son is determined to run the Marathon des Sables, one of the top ultra marathons in the world – across the desert in searing heat! Heb has already run the entire length of Hadrian’s Wall in one day… So I do get some of this desire to compete with yourself not just with others and to go faster and further than before. he seems such a normal person our son, until you mention marathons!

In this intriguing novel we meet a large number of the world’s misfits – of all types and varieties, and yet it is these very misfits, who because of their very belief in conspiracy theories, uncover a real one…

I am giving it a 5 for the story line, but the writing style was somewhat confusing at times and the story was perhaps over complicated? So 4 for the style. Although this is the start of a series i shall not follow up the remainder as Aloa didn’t ‘attract’ me enough.

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What Katie Did






Cross Her Heart Book Cover




Cross Her Heart





Sarah Pinborough





Fiction, suspense, thriller, psychological




HarperCollins UK




May 14, 2018




384



The explosive follow-up from Sarah Pinborough, author of the NUMBER ONE Sunday Times bestseller Behind Her Eyes.

‘Cross my heart and hope to die…’

Promises only last if you trust each other, but what if one of you is hiding something?

A secret no one could ever guess.

Someone is living a lie.

Is it Lisa?

Maybe it’s her daughter, Ava.

Or could it be her best friend, Marilyn?

This book kept me hooked.

You think you know the story but you don’t – the twists and turns and slow reveal of the real truth behind, was very well done.

You have tears in your eyes when you find out Charlotte’s childhood story and then Daniel’s is revealed and oh how you hope that their parents are in prison. And never coming out.

But you never suspect what Katie did. Not until her history is revealed too and her mother’s action causing such a reaction.

An excellent, cleverly crafted story, well told with empathy and understanding of how childhood trauma can affect future behaviours.

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