BOOK REVIEW: HEART OF A WARRIOR

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Heart of a Warrior by Denna Holm

Heart of a Warrior is the fourth book by Denna Holm in her Immortal Warriors series.

Each book is definitely a standalone. I haven’t read the first three books and I followed this story without any difficulty.

The story, along with the engaging and well-drawn characters, drew me into its pages from the very first start.

In the beginning, we meet Elena Murphy as she prepares her ranch for an approaching storm, but not all of her chills are because of the thunder on the horizon. She thinks of Gabriel, the dark-haired, ancient vampire who often visits Earth from his home planet of Laizahlia. Elena can sense he’s close. Would he show himself to her? He watches over her and protects her, but from a distance.

Elena is expecting visitors – Cami Benton is sixteen and her brother Ryan, who is eight. They’re going to spend the weekend with her. She has a strong connection to the children, partly because their own home life is stressful, with their parents’ divorce. Only when their father Martin, who has driven them to Elena’s home, makes unwanted advances to Elena, does Gabriel appear, a tall, daunting figure, in his black leather of a Laizhalian Hunter.

Once Martin has run away, Gabriel helps Elena get her horses in before the storm hits. Once it hits, the storm brings more than thunder and lightning.

I don’t want to write any spoilers, so let me say from here on is a desperate and urgent journey across the universes, to strange planets with wonderful live forms, some more weird and dangerous than others. We also meet werewolves and shape-shifters.

Denna Holm has imagined these worlds and their inhabitants so fully that I slipped into them as if I were really there.

I also loved the romance and UST (unresolved sexual tension) between Elena and Gabriel.

I highly recommend this book to young adult (the older side of young adult as there are some detailed sexual scenes) and adult readers who love sci-fi, fantasy, vampires and a great love story. There’s plenty of action and excitement to please everyone.

I’ll certainly be going back to read the first three books.

A 5-star read.

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Review: Broken by Ellen Read

Thank you to KattitudeReads for this wonderful review of BROKEN

KattitudeReads

A breathtaking cover. 💜

Broken by Ellen Read is a bittersweetly breathtaking short story of profound loss and the unparalleled healing that only love can bestow.

After a horrific tragedy, Rachel Watson flees her family’s lavender farm, leaving behind everything she’s ever known to escape the crippling pain.

“She’d been a coward and run off…”

Three years later, stifling solitude, workplace bullying, and her big sister draw Rachel back home to Darling Downs. As she returns to where it all began, Rachel is shrouded in grief and shame at abandoning her sister all those years ago. Does she even deserve forgiveness, after what she’s done? Is she strong enough to face what haunts her?

“A purple haze over the landscape…”

It’s amongst the hushed, tranquil fields of lavender that Rachel meets Ebony, a horse drowning in the trauma of her own painful past.

“Something in the horse’s stare reached out…”

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BROKEN – My new short story

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Broken

After the tragic death of her parents, Rachael Watson runs away, leaving her sister to manage the family lavender farm and shop. Three years later, crushed by her unrelenting grief, workplace bullying, and guilt and shame for letting her sister down, Rachael decides to return home.

There, Rachael meets Ebony, a black mare who has been mistreated and beaten.

Rachael realises she is not the only one who has been broken.

I wanted to write a short story about a horse. A lavender farm immediately came to mind, although there’s no obvious link. In fact, horses and lavender seems poles apart, but my idea for the story was one of healing, which explains why lavender came in to my mind. The fragrance of lavender, the soft tones of lavender fields – what could be more relaxing? I saw the farm as a place of restoration and recovery of the soul.

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This story is free on my website as a epub or PDF.

ellenread.com

I hope you enjoy reading Broken.

Book Releases – Jenny Woolsey

I’m very pleased to have Jenny Woolsey, children’s author & speaker, and tutor,  as a guest on my blog. Jenny is also an advocate for facial differences, mental illness and inclusive education.

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M Ed(Hons), Cert IV Youth Work, Cert IV TAE

Children’s Author & Speaker I Tutor I Advocate for facial differences, mental illness and inclusive education

 

Jenny Woolsey

In 2018 I published two children’s novels, Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight, and, Amy and Phoenix. These are two very different novels but exemplify my theme of difference, diversity and disability.

Daniel Barker could be classed as a fun horror, and Amy and Phoenix, a heart-warming fantasy. 

The books are about…

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Thirteen-year-old Daniel Barker has a magical book from Egypt which gives him 99 wishes. The wishes must be used to make the world a better place. If not, the Mummy’s Blight will be awakened.

Dan is like a superhero, until he wishes for a fire at school to impress Charmaine, the cutest cheerleader. Things then start getting crazy and out-of-control.

Is it the Mummy’s Blight and how will Dan stop his favourite teacher from becoming a zombie? 

 

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Eleven-year-old Amy Pringle lives on a farm. She knows all the animals by name and can talk to them like Doctor Doolittle. Amy is looking forward to her favourite ewe, Edna, giving birth. When she sees her dad with his gun, she knows something is wrong. 

Amy must think of a way to save Phoenix, the three-legged lamb’s life. 

After her sister Hannah, posts a video of Phoenix on YouTube and it goes viral, Amy thinks all her problems are solved. Little does she know what is about to happen. 

Will Amy be able to save Phoenix after all? 

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Both of these books sound wonderful, Jenny. Thank you so much for chatting about them.

If you’d like to know more about Jenny Woolsey and her books, or would like to connect with Jenny, please visit her website and go to the social media places, below.

www.jennywoolsey.com

Facebook – @JennyWoolseyAuthor

Instagram – jennywoolseyauthor

Twitter – @Jenny_Woolsey

REVIEW: A Secret Muse by Mandy Jackson-Beverly

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A Secret Muse by Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Blurb

UCLA art professor Coco Rhodes knows little about her family’s association with the ancient clandestine organization The Allegiance and wants to keep it that way. She dislikes secrets—they’re a painful reminder of her childhood experiences that were erased as a result of her parents’ tragic deaths when she was four years old.

After a brutal attempt on her life, and the arrival of a birthday letter from her dead mother, Coco demands explanations from her brother, Christopher, a high-powered D.C. lawyer and member of the Allegiance.

Christopher guides Coco to her birthplace, Italy, insisting she’ll find her answers there. Enter the enigmatic Gabriel, a powerful warlock with a vampire father, and the ethereal Prudence, keeper of the Allegiance.

When a close friend is murdered, Coco’s life takes a dark turn. With only a faded portrait torn from a lost sketchbook, and one of her mother’s unfinished paintings, Coco unravels clues from her past, in the hope of saving those she loves.

My Review

This book surprised and delighted me.

A Secret Muse is a vampire tale with a difference. It is so much more than I expected. The author’s love of art, old masterpieces, music, old buildings and Rome runs in a magical thread through the story, as Coco searches for her lost past. She searches for who she is. Her journey takes her to Italy, with its beautiful Tuscan countryside.

All the characters are amazingly written and are seamlessly woven into the fabric of this story of great love and beauty, and incredibly dark secrets and hatred.

I love history, art and music, so for me this book was amazing.

A real page turner! I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

The Thornton Mysteries Book 4

 

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Kingston, Norfolk Island. The houses in Quality Row and the ruins of the Penal Settlement in the distance.                                                                                                              Photo by Ellen Read

 

While my third book in the Thornton Mysteries series is resting, I’m researching my fourth book in the series.

It’s set on Norfolk Island, which is a small island off the coast of Australia.

Norfolk Island and Pitcairn Island formed at same time when the peaks of two massive volcanoes thrust up from the ocean floor 6,000 kilometres apart. Both stood virtually uninhabited for 3 million years.

Then, in the late eighteenth century, Norfolk became the site of a Penal Settlement and Pitcairn became the hiding place for Fletcher Christian’s mutineers.

The British Penal Settlement on Norfolk was the most depraved and cruel of all penal settlements, even worse than Tasmania’s. The beautiful island became known as a hell on earth.

The similarities between the islands, doesn’t stop there. In 1855, when Pitcairn could know longer support its population, Queen Victoria offered them Norfolk. On 8th July 1856, the entire population of Pitcairn sailed to Norfolk Island. 

The descendants of the Bounty’s mutineers found Norfolk a paradise, with its deep blue seas and mild climate. Even though at times, those seas became treacherous. The Sirius, the flag ship of the First Fleet, met its end on the rocks of Norfolk Island.

I visited Norfolk Island this year and saw their paradise. Visitor numbers are restricted, the top speed limit is 40 km per hour, all animals have right-of-way, and you may not get good wifi. I didn’t miss it at all during the week there.

The Thorntons in my book visit Norfolk in early 1929. They find a paradise, too, although Alexandra is sure she can hear the ghosts of the convicts in the ruins at Kingston, and murder is just around the corner.

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Norfolk Island Pines. Nepean and Phillip Island off-shore.        Photo by Ellen Read. 

 

REVIEW: Death in Provence by Serena Kent

 

Death in Provence

Blurb

When Penelope Kite swaps her humdrum life in Surrey for a picturesque farmhouse in the south of France, she imagines a simple life of long lunches and chilled rosé . . . What she doesn’t imagine is the dead body floating in her swimming pool.

Convinced that the victim suffered more than a drunken accident, Penelope plunges headlong into local intrigue and long-simmering resentments to uncover the truth.

But with a meddling estate agent, an unfriendly Chief of Police, a suspiciously charming Mayor, and the endless temptation of that second pain au chocolat, life in the delightful village of St Merlot is certainly never simple.

 

Review

I so enjoyed Death in Provence.

Although I’m still to visit Provence, I’ve always loved the locale, the colours, and the lavender. This story brings them all out and I loved it.

It’s a light-hearted murder mystery, filled with intrigue and laughs. A loved the characters. The main character, Penelope Kite is a wonderful, older woman, clever, and determined to discover why there was a body in her swimming pool. Not what she expected when she bought a home in the small village of St Merlot.

This is a perfect holiday read. Escape to the sunshine. I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

The Thornton Mysteries – New Short Story

 

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2018 is nearly over but not before I enjoy the Christmas Season with family and friends.

This year has been amazing for me. I was and still am over the moon to have been signed by Crimson Cloak Publishing for four books in The Thornton Mysteries series.

Some of you have read The Dragon Sleeps. Crimson Cloak Publishing will be publishing it, followed by The Inca’s Curse.

Because it will be a while before my books are released, I’ve written a short story, with the intention to write a couple more, featuring Alexandra Thornton and Edith Blackburn.

It’s titled, Alexandra & Edith’s Escapades – The Diamond Ring.

This short story, in a PDF format, is free to download on my website. Simply click on the link and download it.

You can join my newsletter while you’re there or browse through some of my photo galleries but there’s no obligation to do so. 

I hope you enjoy The Diamond Ring.

If you like it, please leave a comment here or on my website.

http://www.ellenread.com

The Thornton Mysteries – Book 3, Draft 2

I’m very pleased to have finished the Second draft of Book 3 of The Thornton Mysteries.

It’s set in the Barossa Valley, northeast of Adelaide, in South Australia, which is an area known for its superb wines. Shiraz grapes are the local speciality.

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Barossa Valley.  Photo by Ellen Read

 

The stone cottages and Lutheran churches throughout the region owe their heritage to a 19th-century wave of German settlers.

My story is also set in Handorf, a beautiful little town, closer to Adelaide. Its German history can be traced back to 1838 when George Fife Angas, a director of a South Australian company, made a trip to London to promote colonisation. During his trip he met Pastor Kavel who was helping German Lutherans, being persecuted by the King of Prussia, to immigrate to safer places.

 

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Photo by Ellen Read

Set in 1928, the Handorf in my story has become Ambleside. Because of the Great War 1914-1918 (World War I), the government changed the name of the town because it sounded too German.

An interesting point I discovered in my research is that Handorf/Ambleside residents were not interned during the war, unless they posed a threat because of strong German allegiances. Anyone who was interned, however, was deported to Germany after the end of the war.

Four days ago at 11.00am on the 11 November, was the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, the agreement that warring parties would stop fighting.

In my book, the Thornton family go to the Barossa Valley as Benedict’s parents have a vineyard and winery. Alexandra wants to discover why they rejected Benedict after he returned home from the war.

This was Benedict’s war and he suffers nightmares from the horrors of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Page – Crimson Cloak Publishing

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I am so thrilled to have my own page on my publisher’s website.

Crimson Cloak Publishing

My first two books are with my publisher.

Book 1 – The Dragon Sleeps

Book 2 – The Inca’s Curse

Book 3 – I’m working on it now.

Book 4 – To follow