#FlashbackFriday December 2022

Hi, and welcome to my Flashback Friday feature 🙂

On the first Friday of each month I like to have a look back at the books I was reading during the same month in previous years, since starting my blog.

Please do join in, if you have the time!

Here are my reviews from December 2021 (clicking the cover image will take you to my review) + a link to previous December FBFs –

Have you read any of the above?

#OutNow In Cases of Murder by Jan Edwards @Jancoledwards #BookPromotion @BoBookPublicity

When the body of Laura Jarman is discovered crammed inside a steamer trunk and dumped on a Brighton railway station platform, her wealthy industrialist family is shouting for answers, but their reluctance to co-operate with the investigation arouses suspicion. Shortly after, a second body – Laura’s flatmate Kitty – is discovered in similar circumstances. What links Laura and Kitty to the private gentlemen’s parties held in a country house on the edge of sleepy Wyncombe village, and what is Laura’s family so desperate to conceal? Bunch Courtney and DCI William Wright find themselves racing along a convoluted trail through munitions factories and London clubs to a final shocking end.

In Cases of Murder (A Bunch Courtney Investigation Book 4)

by Jan Edwards


For your chance to win one of 5 digital copies of ‘In Cases of Murder’ see our GIVEAWAY posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

The Shadows of Rutherford House by CE Rose @CazEngland #BookReview #BlogTour

Darkness lies at the heart of this family…

In 1959 Milly starts her new life as a housemaid at Rutherford House, working for the aristocratic Rutherford-Percy clan. Entranced by her new mistress, Vivienne, she becomes deeply embroiled in the household and the keeper of dark secrets the family conceals beneath the mansion’s grand exterior.

In the present day, Christie is working as a psychiatric nurse when she meets troubled patient Lillian Percy, Vivienne’s granddaughter and heiress to Rutherford House. They soon bond over the loss of their mothers
– Lillian’s died when she was a child; Christie’s mysteriously disappeared over twenty years ago – and Christie finds herself increasingly fascinated by
Lillian’s family and their imposing ancestral home.

As Christie learns more about the Rutherford-Percys, she finds a shocking clue that could help her uncover what happened to her own mother. Desperate for answers, Christie puts her job, her family and even her very life on the line. But how much of the truth does she really want to know?

The Shadows of Rutherford House

by CE Rose

my review

Wow, this is a story and a half!

CE Rose is the pen name of Caroline England and I have loved every book I’ve read of hers, so far, including The Shadows of Rutherford House.

There are quite a few characters to keep track of throughout this book which did make me wonder, at first, how they could possibly be linked. I was easily hooked and couldn’t wait to see where the story would lead.

I love that the story is told from the perspective of different people in different decades, from Milly in 1959 and Christie in the present day. I really enjoy books where each chapter is a different character. I think it adds to the suspense and builds tension. I found this book very difficult to put down at night. I was reading way past my bedtime!

If you love a well written mystery, which is full of intriguing characters with fascinating stories to tell, then you will love this book. This is a very character rich novel, and I could happily chat about them all day. I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone though. You’ll just have to buy it and find out for yourself. If you’re anything like me it will keep you guessing until it’s jaw dropping conclusion.

An easy five stars for me!

**Many thanks to the author and publisher for my review copy**

treat yourself!

Follow, like, and share the book love with these awesome book bloggers

happy reading! 🙂

A Common Woman @a_commonwoman by @MaryRensten directed by @margiebarbour @KingsHeadThtr #Play #Theatre #December

A Common Woman

by Mary Rensten

Directed by Margie Barbour

Kings Head Theatre Club, Upper Street, Islington

Sunday 18th and Monday 19th December at 7.00pm.

Rehearsed Reading with Lindsey Coulson, James Barriscale, Grace Coulson-Harris, and Frankie Golding.

Revival of original production to commemorate 40 years since Embrace the Base at Greenham Common.

*Followed by a 30-minute Q&A about the Greenham Common Peace Camp*



Follow on social media –

Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100086533173940

Twitter – https://twitter.com/a_commonwoman

Instagram – @a_commonwomanplay

The Kings Head theatre, and the area around the theatre, feature in ‘Her Almost Perfect Husband’, a novel by Mary Rensten.

Copies of the book will be on sale at the theatre on the 18th and 19th of December.

Can’t make the play? Buy your copy of ‘Her Almost Perfect Husband’ here –


Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up: A Thorough Primer for the Writers of Fiction and Nonfiction by @MarthaEngber #BookPromotion @BoBookPublicity

Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up: A Thorough Primer for the Writers of Fiction and Nonfiction 

by Martha Engber 

As Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up states, character development is the most important facet of any character-based book, whether fiction or nonfiction, because “readers won’t follow for long if they find the people you’re writing about dull, one-dimensional or unbelievable.” After listing the three attributes of a great character, the 248-page book takes readers through a step-by-step process that shows them how to develop their characters from start to finish.

A Must Read for all Writers….

As a Canadian, any book I order from the United States is subject to high shipping costs and exchange rates. Consequently, when I finish the book, the number one question is always: am I satisfied?

I read Martha Engber’s “Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up” in one day. By page 60, I had a pencil in my hand, a notebook on my lap, and knew without a doubt that I would come away a better writer for having read her book. Yes, I was satisfied!” – Amazon reviewer

Just awesome!

Delivers on the title’s promise “a thorough primer” by providing tons of practical advice, memorable examples, and images. Totally helpful and it’s actually fun to read!” – Amazon reviewer

“A must-have for fiction/nonfiction writers….

The most intimidating (and essential) part of writing a story is making your characters, however minor, consistent and believable. Setting the groundwork for each character’s role in a story is a daunting enough task to make even the most seasoned writer freeze up. Thankfully, Martha Engber has created an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide on how to painlessly develop characters. She gives organization strategies that help a writer to brainstorm, encouraging us to experiment in order to flesh out the people who will occupy our story. She offers up things like the “one-sentence test” along with other invaluable exercises, tools, and examples of how to create the best possible character for your particular story. “Growing Great Characters From the Grown Up” is written as if by a close friend offering up some pointers. Its easy style and readability is a huge plus as one will be inclined to refer to it over and over again.” – Amazon reviewer

“Know your characters….

Martha Engber advises the writer: Get to know your characters. How else can you write convincing dialog? How else can you make their responses fit situations in your story? Learn to make readers love or hate your characters. If you know your character, so will your reader, and he’ll keep on reading. Martha shows you how.” – Amazon reviewer

“Important Lessons for Every Writer….

Martha Engber’s book is insightful and inspiring. Ms. Engber instructs with practical exercises and examples, as well as humor. She suggests creating a Think Log to jot down thoughts prompted by your character’s development; what a fun way to emote about the daily challenges or triumphs when in the process of creating a character! There are many important lessons in this book. My favorite is how and why to introduce a character via his or her defining detail because “everyone has a reason for being who they are.” Which reminds me why I write: to know myself.” – Amazon reviewer

Available now….

Happy reading & writing! 🙂

See How They Run by Tom Bale (Audiobook – Unabridged)

It’s often said that when tragedy strikes, the victims were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. But not Harry and Alice French.

Assaulted by masked men looking for a mysterious package and a man named Renshaw, Alice and Harry manage to convince them that there has been a terrible mix-up.

But nothing prepares Alice and Harry for the web they find themselves trapped in after their assailants leave. Especially as Alice hasn’t been completely honest.

After Harry is approached by a woman named Ruth who seems to know more than she’s letting on, Alice and their baby, Evie, disappear. When Harry realises he’s become a prime suspect in their disappearance, he seeks refuge with Ruth and demands answers, knowing keeping out of police clutches is the only way he’ll track his family down.

But how safe really are Alice and Evie tucked away in Gloucestershire with the mysterious Renshaw?

See How They Run

Audiobook – Unabridged

Tom Bale (Author), Kris Dyer (Narrator), Audible Studios (Publisher)

my review

I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Audible edition of See How They Run.

The story starts as it means to go on. Fast paced and full of suspense, it demanded my attention from the very beginning and held my interest throughout.

When we meet Alice and Harry, they are home with their new-born daughter adjusting to parenthood. They should be blissfully happy, and they are until they are confronted by masked men in the middle of the night. It’s seemingly mistaken identity but they are not prepared for the danger they will face in the days to come.

The story that follows is scary and disconcerting to say the least.

There’s an underlying tension throughout this book. I didn’t know who I believed, who I could trust, or where it was all going to lead. I loved it!

Brilliant writing and excellent narration. I very much recommend!

treat yourself!

happy reading/listening! 🙂

Winter Light by Martha Engber @MarthaEngber #BookPromotion @BoBookPublicity

2021 IPPY Gold Medal Winner in Young Adult Fiction

Winter Light

by Martha Engber

WINTER LIGHT is the story of 15-year-old Mary Donahue of suburban Chicago, a kid on the cusp of failure during the brutal blizzard winter of 1978-79, the end of a hard luck, hard rock era sunk in the cynical aftermath of the Vietnam War.

The language of WINTER LIGHT is simple and stark as Mary’s internal landscape. Though a smart, beautiful kid, she’s a motherless girl raised by an uneducated, alcoholic father within an extended family of alcoholics and addicts. Aware that she’s sinking, she’s desperate to save herself and so reaches out to an unlikely source, Kathleen, a nice, normal kid from English class.

But when the real storm hits, the full force of a harsh adult world almost buries Mary. Only then does she learn that the only difference between life and death is knowing when to grasp an extended hand.


Amazon universal link: https://tinyurl.com/2h33mdd9

Bookshop.org (independent bookstores): https://bookshop.org/books/winter-light/9781925965445 

indibound.org: https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=winter+light 

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/winter-light-martha-engber/1137293647

Google Books: https://books.google.com/books/about/Winter_Light.html?id=b76SzQEACAAJ 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/winter-light-by-martha-engber 

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/gr/book/winter-light/id1524375706 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gr/en/ebook/winter-light-4 


Martha Engber is the author of WINTER LIGHT, a 2021 IPPY Gold Medal Winner in Young Adult Fiction, which enjoys 5-star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. She’s also the author of THE WIND THIEF, a novel, and GROWING GREAT CHARACTERS, a resource for writers. She’s had a play produced in Hollywood and fiction and poetry published in the Aurorean, Watchword, the Berkeley Fiction Review, and other journals. A freelance editor, workshop facilitator and speaker, she lives in California with her husband, bike, and surfboard.


Website/blog: https://marthaengber.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martha.engber.1 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marthaengber

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marthaengber/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martha-engber-a2a429a/

Facebook fan page (Martha Engber’s Creatives): https://www.facebook.com/MarthasCreatives/

GoodReads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/674291.Martha_Engber

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCISxGw4d3NVpr_ImzXzvZ9A?view_as=subscriber

5.0 out of 5 starsBrilliant book – a fully immersive experience” – Amazon reviewer

5.0 out of 5 stars Heart breaking and absorbing” – Amazon reviewer

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read…. an absolute education in complexity” – Amazon reviewer

5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute triumph!” – Amazon reviewer

“5.0 out of 5 stars – Warning: You won’t be able to put Winter Light down. Sleep will be missed.” – Amazon reviewer

“5.0 out of 5 stars – Realistic, haunting” – Amazon reviewer

“5.0 out of 5 stars – A fantastic book well worth the read” – Amazon reviewer

Amongst The Mists: Some Ghost Stories are True… by M.L. Rayner #BookReview

It was the most anticipated summer break of their young lives.
For Bran Lampshire, that summer of 1986 would be far different. The lure of a wilderness adventure sends him and his friends on a troublesome journey that would see them far from home and into the isolated shadows of the Sleathton Estate. In a forgotten land where nature thrives, an unexplained mist settles upon the shaded grounds. And stories were told of events so chilling, they were forcibly buried over time.

Lose yourself beneath the endless trees. And discover that legends are sometimes so much more than ghost stories.

Amongst The Mists: Some Ghost Stories are True… 

by M. L. Rayner 

Amongst The Mists is a brilliant read. I got stuck into it over the weekend and found myself increasingly absorbed in the story.

We follow Bran, Marcus, and Jack as summer begins and they ride off into the woods. I admired their sense of adventure although there is no way I would have let my children do that at their age. I don’t think I’d be comfortable with it now to be honest and they’re in their twenties. Lol! This was the 80s though and times were very different then.

The lads are all excellent characters. The banter between them is sometimes laugh out loud funny. Typical boys of that age but all with very different personalities. They are also very brave. Braver than I would ever be. What they experience that summer is nothing short of terrifying.

This book has a very ‘Stand By Me’ feel about it for me. It gave me goosebumps. I loved it!

I can’t wait to read what M.L. Rayner writes next.

Treat yourself


Happy reading! 🙂

Twisted Lives (Allie Shenton 6) by Mel Sherratt #BookReview #TeamSherratt

Honour among thieves. Keep your enemies close. Loyalty is everything.

When DI Allie Shenton is called out to a murder suicide, it quickly becomes clear that it’s a double slaying, and there is a killer on the loose. The bodies are found in a property owned by local entrepreneur/drug dealer Kenny Webb. Several young women are staying there, they are refusing to talk and one of them is missing.

While she waits on forensic evidence, Allie decides to do what she does best. She takes to the community to see who will talk. Right now, she’s the only one who can get answers. But then a third murder rattles everyone. Another known dealer is taken out.

With lives and lies being twisted, Allie needs to work out how everything is connected. It’s clear someone is out to finish things. Can she and her team rid the streets of Kenny Webb and his gang of merrymen, once and for all? And in doing so, stop the top man, Terry Ryder, from getting out of prison?

Set within the gritty streets of Stoke-on-Trent, this fast-paced British detective novel is a dark murder mystery with an emotional pull.

Twisted Lives is the sixth book in the Allie Shenton series of crime thrillers from the million selling British author, Mel Sherratt, is perfect for fans of Helen Durrant, DS Butler, LJ Ross, Angela Marsons, Joy Ellis, Rachel McClean, Caroline Mitchell and Meg Jolly.

A gritty, authentic, fast-paced read that you won’t want to put down.’ Caroline Mitchell

Mel Sherratt is the new queen of gritty police procedurals.’ C L Taylor

Sherratt is a unique voice in detective fiction.’ Mail on Sunday

I love all Mel Sherratt’s books.’ Ian Rankin

Twisted Lives (Allie Shenton 6)

By Mel Sherratt

My review

Twisted Lives is a brilliant addition to the awesome DI Allie Shenton series. I have LOVED it! I was so sad to hear it is to be the last.

Catching up with Allie and the team always feels a bit like catching up with old friends. They’re such a good bunch! I love the professional relationships they share as well as the close friendships that have developed as a result of working so closely together. They do make an excellent team. I’d certainly want them on my side if I needed help from the local police. And they are local to me as I live in Stoke-on-Trent. Well, close enough, in Newcastle-under-Lyme. I love it when I recognise the place(s) mentioned in a book. At the very beginning Smallthorne roundabouts are mentioned which are very near to where my dad and step mum live. For me, this always adds to the excitement of Mel Sherratt’s books.

People are at the heart of this story. People are always at the heart of Mel Sherratt’s stories. The team as well as the public they serve. This is one of the main reasons they are so gripping in my opinion. I find myself invested in the characters every single time, especially the vulnerable ones who find themselves dragged into dangerous situations for fear of what might happen if they refuse to comply. There are some proper dodgy characters in this book, some we have known from the beginning of the series. Some who seem to think they own the city and everyone in it. I’m sure there are people like this living not far from me, or from most of us for that matter. It is a terrifying thought.

Such characters do make for an excellent story though.

This is a fast-paced, gritty, crime thriller which kept me on the edge of my seat once again.

I loved how Grace is still involved too.

I also love how Allie and her husband are now helping the community in a much more personal way. Such a sweet ending.

I really hope Mel changes her mind and brings Allie and the team back again at some point. I’d love that.

**Many thanks to Mel Sherratt for my review copy – my apologies for taking so long to publish my review**

Treat yourself

Happy reading!

#FlashbackFriday November 2022 #BookReviews

Hi, and welcome to my Flashback Friday feature!

On the first Friday of each month I like to have a look back at the books I was reading during the same month in previous years.

Please do join in if you have the time. I’d love to see your posts 🙂

Here are my reviews from November 2021 + a link to previous November FBFs.

Have you read any of the above?