Review Bonanza


Tina-Maria Miller, The Chateau of Second Chances

A Retreat to New Openings

Chateau Fontaine gives a retreat to suffering humanity. Some of them live there, and some come to visit, but everybody transforms their outlook and lives.

Valentine prefers being incognito and has nothing against being taken for the gardener. Will he come out of his shell?

Millie has called off her wedding for what seems to be the perfect reason. Will she change her mind?

Andrew doesn’t know what to think or do. Will he find a solution to his dilemma?

India must choose between being the life and soul of the party or taking life seriously. Will she survive?

Many quirky characters assemble at the Chateau of Second Chances. They will all be taught lessons that can transform their lives. It is up to them to follow their hearts and/or minds, but they must confront their demons.

This setting is perfect for Tina-Marie Miller’s sense of humour and insight into humanity. She writes with her usual panache and vision. The chateau of Second Chances is the perfect setting for Miller’s unusual brand of romance with a twist.


CS McDonald, Murder on Pointe

Beware of Merciless Ballerinas

Fiona Quinn ended a promising ballet career because of a skiing accident. She’s a happy kindergarten teacher.

Silja Ramsay, Fiona’s best friend, is a prima ballerina. She’s back in town to star in the ballet Coppelia.

Together, they discover the murder of one of the other dancers.

Enter Homicide detective Nathan Landry. He recruits Fiona as an undercover agent in order to solve the case.

This is the premise for Murder on Pointe. McDonald writes a delicious and wicked murder intrigue with lots of dancing and scheming dancers. There are hilarious moments as well as spine-tingling incidents.

From Fiona’s home to the theatre backstage, the reader must hold his or her breath, even if it is difficult, especially when laughing out loud.


Anna Casamento Arrigo, House Built on Fog and Sand

Poetry about Life, Death, Love, and Falling

If you want consonance and assonance, you can’t go wrong with House Built on Sand and Fog. In this collection of poetry, Anna Casamento Arrigo shows many aspects of life, love, despair, and contentment. 

A powerful journey awaits the reader; here are poems to make you laugh and cry. Poems to make you think. Poems to uplift.

The illustrations give powerful visionary expression to the words.

How do we cope with grief and loss? How do we survive abuse?

Yet, there are plenty of heartening and delightful moments to find on these pages. Anna Casamento Arrigo does more than that: she holds life up for us to inspect and come to terms with. Moving and profound, this is a book to cherish.


SS Bazinet, A Mother’s Love (A Light so Bright book 1)

Love is the Moving Force in the Universe

A tale of bigotry and chauvinism hides in the pages of Bazinet’s wonderful book about the birth and life of the Holy One.

Mixing biblical atmosphere with fantasy and legend, A Mother’s Love presents the reader with grief, intolerance, trials, and joy.

Bazinet’s parable reminded me of writings such as Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha and Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Poignant and thought-provoking, A Mother’s Love unfolds in poetic language and spiritual reflections.


CW Hawes, In the Shadow of the Mountains of Madness

High Octane Paranormal Investigation

Pierce Mostyn and his team land in Antarctica to investigate the destroyed Vostok Research Station. They must agree that there is a great danger to humanity lurking under the ice cap.

The Mountains of Madness, visited in Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, present a challenge that they must meet.

Those who know Roerich’s paintings will recognise the atmosphere in Hawes’s writing. The chilly colours of the paintings, the lurking danger, the Shoggoths, and The Elder Things cannot fail to create a hair-raising read.

Be prepared to shiver during pitched battles and savour the lifelike characters’ plight.


Rob Corn, The Titanic Paradox

If Time-Travelling, You Will Face Consequences

Dan Hunt has an absorbing interest in Titanic’s history, but he doesn’t expect to end up taking part in the doomed ship’s maiden voyage.

John Franklin wakes up in the twenty-first century and must find answers to help him cope.

Around these two hapless heroes, a drama plays out that will reset the weft of time. It seems to be up to them to bring the world back on course.

The gallery of characters is extensive, but Corn manages to present their feelings and actions believably. That is if you accept that time travel is possible. Certainly, there are enough theories to be found in modern physics to vouch for the probability of such a scenario.

The Titanic Paradox deals with the repercussions of interfering. The Chaos Theory, the Butterfly Effect, and the Grandfather Paradox all play a role in Rob Corn’s first full-length novel.


Anna Casamento Arrigo, A Child’s Love

The Cycle of Life

How does a mother’s love influence her child? Does it make a difference if the child is a daughter or a son? How much does our gender mean in relation to our mothers?

One thing is clear, in A Child’s Love, Anna Casamento Arrigo presents a poetic and touching relationship between two women. Mother and daughter build up a special relationship that blossoms between them no matter what life throws at them.

This is done in beautiful illustrations and lyrical words that make you laugh and cry.


Lindsay Townsend, The Snow Bride

Fairy-Tale of Fear and Loss, Hope and Love

Being a witch, Elfrida expects to be able to take care of everything and everyone. When a fierce beast abducts her sister, she offers herself as bridal bait.

Sir Magnus, scarred for life and battle-hardened, returns from the crusades with little hope for a normal life.

Together they take on the search for and rescue of Elfrida’s sister.

Ms Townsend doesn’t sugar-coat her fiction. On the contrary, the action unfolds in raw expressions that fit the period. Elfrida comes to life as a strong but sensitive human being, and Sir Magnus’ plight is striking, etched on the reader’s mind with fierce pen-stokes. All in all, The Snow Bride presents a believable and fierce world that bowls you over and makes you think.


John Dolan, Land of Red Mist

Love, Loyalty, Treachery, and Philosophy

I can’t imagine a John Dolan that doesn’t make you think. I have yet to read all of the Time, Blood, and Karma series, but that is just an accident. I’m looking forward to devouring those I haven’t read.

The protagonist, Edward Braddock certainly does that. A young man, unwilling to settle and work on his father’s estate, goes to Malaya during the turbulent years after WWII and until the country is finally free of colonial rule.

He must grow up quickly to answer the challenges of his work for his uncle, Seb.

Many questions emerge as the political climate includes racial divisions, insurgence, and the end of British rule.

Add to this the exotic scenery, the enigmatic Malayan beauties, the uprising in another country, and you have a full-flavoured John Dolan novel. His writing is superb, the research accurate, and the plot captivating. Books that force you to think are the best.


Kathleen Harryman and Lucy Marshall, The Promise

Delicate WWII Romance

Rosie finds warfare repugnant. She feels betrayed when her friends sign up to fight the moment war is declared.

Will feels compelled to enlist. He must enter the brotherhood of his family to take up the mantle of his father.  

Jimmy will go with his friend anywhere and may be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Both Will and Jimmy love Rosie.

Set in a seaside town in Yorkshire, The Promise begins just before the second world war is declared and stays the course of the fighting.

It is possible to discuss whether Rosie is selfish or just loves her friends too much. Will she remain true to her love?

Will Jimmy be true to his promise? Will, too, faces unexpected challenges.

War changes lives and creates turbulence, not only in the fields of honour but in hearts and minds. This is the base for Kathleen Harryman’s wartime novel, The Promise. The first-person narrative, told by each of the main characters is revealing and efficient.


© HMH, 2023






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