2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 6 books toward her goal of 240 books.
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Book Review: The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

Wow.

This title was recommended to me by the publisher and I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it. It sounded a little too dark and depressing, and as the mother of a daughter I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish it. I am so glad I overcame that initial reluctance and read it, as this was an absolute powerhouse of a story. It is brutal and gut-wrenching and insightful and nuanced. The writing was fantastic, as was the characterization. I thoroughly lost myself in the story, even when I didn’t want to be where the author was taking me… Continue reading Book Review: The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

Book Review AND Author Q&A: The Darkness We Hide by Debra Webb

About the Book
In the thrilling conclusion to The Undertaker’s Daughter series, THE DARKNESS WE HIDE, Doctor Rowan Dupont has been staring death in the face for so long, she’s willing to meet it for the secrets it holds. Death has followed her back to her hometown of Winchester, Tennessee, ten months ago, cloaking the walls of her family’s Victorian funeral home like a shroud. In investigating the mysterious deaths of her loved ones, Rowan has unearthed enough family secrets to bury everything she’d previously thought true. But each shocking discovery has only led to more bodies and more questions; the rabbit hole is deeper than she ever imagined.

Despite settling into a comfortable life with Police Chief Billy Brannigan, Rowan knows dangerous serial killer Julian Addington is still out there. She can’t let her guard down now. Not when she’s this close to ending it once and for all. But with a storm brewing on the horizon, she’ll get only one shot before the impending darkness takes hold, threatening to wipe away every truth she’s uncovered—and everything she holds dear.

My Review
Back in October, I shared my review of the prequel and first two books in Debra Webb’s new Undertaker’s Daughter series. The books were fantastic. The tale is a dark psychological trip into one woman’s quest to find out why horrible tragedy keeps striking her family, and if the mysterious deaths of everyone are related – but more importantly, how and why. Continue reading Book Review AND Author Q&A: The Darkness We Hide by Debra Webb

Guest Post: Who Are You? by Diana K. Robinson

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Diana K. Robinson, whose new novel Who Are You? is a dark look at marriage and the secrets people keep about who they really are… To set the stage, you’ll first see the description of the book, then her guest piece on writing it. She is offering us a peek behind the curtain – a perspective I always find fascinating – and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

About the Book
Born and raised on a remote farm in South Africa, Elisabeth Pieterse, a young, naive trainee nurse meets Dion Du Toit, a wickedly handsome salesman whose suave exterior hides a monster within that she discovers only after their wedding.

His addictions, adultery and insatiable desire to be in the limelight turn their lives into a roller coaster of erotic highs and death-defying lows leaving leading psychiatrists confused and Elizabeth shattered.

She knows instinctively that if she wants to stay alive it is safe to remain with him.

Finally, in a courageous but ill-advised attempt to quickly resolve her company’s financial problems, caused by Dion, Elizabeth then fails to answer the one telephone call that would have changed the course of the life forever.

How the Book Came Into Being
by Diana K. Robinson

I felt Elizabeth’s heart wrenching story had to inspire others; what to do and what not to do when faced with extreme adversity.

After an unfortunate incidence with a staff member in my business I began the tedious task of interviewing. ‘Elizabeth’ was the third person I interviewed, and we clicked immediately. I sensed she was holding onto trauma but of course one doesn’t ask. Elizabeth completed her three-month probation with excellence. Just the sensible, down to earth, reliable person I needed to manage my factory.

We were sitting together one day during a lunch break after having cut out thirty horse blankets. She indicated there was something personal she felt compelled to reveal and prudent to be honest about her past before I heard some twisted version through rumour. She shattered me by explaining she’d spent time in a Japanese jail. Instead of feeling guarded, having unknowingly employed a criminal, I felt instant empathy for her, wondering how she’d come out of a life so traumatic and was still so grounded, caring and authentic.

She asked if I would write her story. What an amazing honour but could I do it justice? I’d only ever written articles on horses for magazines and local newspapers.

‘I love writing, but I’m not trained with the skills to write such an epic story, Elizabeth.’

She was convinced I could do it and three years later this inspiring story of a mother’s powerful love of her children and the need to protect them from their father, risking her own life with such commitment is truly admirable, and then, to come out of jail with a heart full of forgiveness and love is an example of an exemplary human being.

My next inspiring novel is also based upon the true story of a truly powerful and inspirational man who lost the use of his legs in a polo accident and raised three very young children after losing his wife to cancer only months after his accident. ‘Muchingura’ an African name given to him, has a dual meaning- one who stays or one who sits. There will be a sequel to this novel.

About the Author
Diana is a country bumpkin at heart, born and raised on a farm in Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe, then Lived in South Africa for the better part of her adult life. Since then, Diana is now happily living in England, where all her family are originally from.

Diana’s qualifications are in the Equine world and the only writing she has ever undertaken is articles for various newspapers and magazines on her equestrian practices and even her own amazing horses. Furthermore, the topic of her next book plays into this very theme, a manual called the ‘Equus Soul Technique’. This technique developed over many years and grew organically when Diana ran workshops for CEO’s mimicking the herd leadership skills and putting them into practice in business to enhance productivity and unity within the work force. Her four-day equine-facilitated therapy workshops for traumatised women opened the door to evolving the technique into healing traumatised horses and grew from there.

“One could say I was just about born on the back of a horse.”

Diana’s father, a farmer, owned racehorses and played polo for many years until his accident on the polo field that put him into a wheelchair for life.

Book Reviews: The Xana Bard Tarot Mysteries (Books 4-6) by Bevan Atkinson

As I told you last week when I introduced this marvelous series, this is a two-parter – today I’m covering the last three books in the series. If you missed the other post, you can find it here. If you’re all caught up, dig right in!

The Empress Card
They just keep getting better! Continue reading Book Reviews: The Xana Bard Tarot Mysteries (Books 4-6) by Bevan Atkinson

Book Review: Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths

This is such a great series! I’m really impressed with how Griffiths has managed to transition her characters from the Magic Men of the early books into an aging (gracefully of course!) cast of still fully engaging and constantly evolving characters whose lives (and plot lines) move on appropriately with time… The misdirection and drama of the early stories continues to play a role in the later ones, albeit in different directions. So many times authors seem to feel compelled to keep their characters in the moment of their introduction – both psychologically and in terms of the action they encounter – and it feels forced because, well, it is. Time passes, people age and their lives change – so to, characters. When an author manages that transition well, as Griffiths does, the result is a series with longevity that continues to provide new opportunities for character development and story lines that don’t feel like rehashed tales of days gone by… Continue reading Book Review: Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths

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