About Me

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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Review of Ruby Dawn by Raquel Byrnes

Ruby Dawn by Raquel Byrnes




Back Cover Blurb:
A Painful Past.
A former street kid, Ruby now reaches out to runaways through her medical clinic in the worst part of the city, but her escalating battle with a gang leader puts that in jeopardy.
 A Love Returns.
Cavalier, a risk-taker, charming… Ruby’s first love is now on the right side of the law and the center of a dangerous DEA sting involving her clinic.  Tom’s disappearance ten years ago broke her heart and rattled her faith. As their romance relights, memories of what it costs to love him flood her with fear.
A Desperate Plan.
Ruby’s battle with the gang ignites a firestorm of danger, and a pattern of lies from within her own camp emerges. With Tom’s life in the balance and her world cast in shadows, can Ruby trust God as she once did…or has she strayed too far, for too long to ever return?  

Excerpt:
     “Shhh,” Tom whispered. He took my hand in his and kissed my palm sending a ripple through me. “Its okay, I know what you meant, Ruby. And you’re right about what you said the other night too,” he breathed and leaned closer.
     Barely able to think, I stood frozen by his nearness. “What I said?”
     He smiled, so close now that I could feel his lips move. “You said that I don’t know you anymore. That I need to get to know you all over again.”
     “I’m pretty sure that’s not what I said,” I breathed.
     Tom’s hand slipped to my face, cupping my cheek in his palm. He ran his thumb over my bottom lip and it sent heat thrumming through me. I gripped his sleeves, my fingers digging into the material.
     A wayward warning flittered somewhere in the back of my brain, but I closed my eyes instead of moving.
Tom brushed his lips against mine, barely touching, his breath soft.
     Up front, Lilah shouted. “This place is a wreck!”
     Startled, I pulled away from Tom. Lilah had either rotten or impeccable timing. I hadn’t decided which just yet. “I – I’m back here,” I shouted back. “I’ll be right out.”
     Tom groaned and let go of me. He looked up at the outer door with frustration. I followed his gaze to Lilah rooting through the debris making enough noise for three people.
     Reluctantly, I turned from Tom and walked back down the hall to the front lobby. “It looks worse than it is, Lilah.”
     “What are you talking about? This place is jacked-up!”
     She spun slowly around with her arms out at her sides. Behind me, I heard the rear door swing shut and turned to look for Tom. My heart sank. He was gone


My review:
5/5 stars
Recommended read

Ruby is an ex street kid, put into a detention centre as a teen through no fault of her own. Tom, a kid she meets there. Their story is woven through a series of flashbacks throughout the book. When they meet again, Ruby is a doctor, holding down a job in a hospital, refuge and a clinic. Tom is now bad kid made good and undercover. Just as he reappears, Ruby’s life falls apart.

This book had me hooked from the beginning. Tossing the reader straight into heart stopping action, Ms Byrnes skilfully keeps you riveted to the pages. A whirlwind of a ride, this book is everything and more that the back cover promises. 

If you only read one book this month, this is the one to read.

Buy links



Friday, 27 January 2012

After the Fire book trailer

The Book Trailer for After The Fire
Coming Feb 17th 2012


Review - Mattie's Meltaways by Mary Manners

Mattie's Meltaways by Mary Manners



Blurb:
Mattie Spencer has spent the last decade raising her three younger and grooming Sweet Treats Bakery into a thriving business. Over the years, she's watched her sisters grow into beautiful women and find the men of their dreams. Now it's her turn, but, at thirty-five, she feels too old to dream of a husband and children of her own. Tyler Jacobs, a firefighter in the small town of Mount Ridge, keeps busy raising his seven-year-old daughter. The death of his wife during three years ago still haunts him, but morning stops into Sweet Treats, along with a dose of conversation and a handful of Mattie's delicious mint meltaways, kindle a desire he thought was extinguished forever. Now Tyler has just one goal--to convince Mattie that love knows no age

Excerpt:
    Tyler was thankful for the bite of a cold breeze as he trekked across the square to the fire hall. The chill cleared his head and brought his heart rate under control. Seeing Mattie did weird things to his insides…things that felt unsettling and pleasant at the same time. He couldn’t put his finger on it. But the brush of her hand kindled a need buried deep in him…how long had it been since he’d felt the gentle touch of a woman?
     And Tessa, asking him to feel the baby growing in her belly…it brought back memories of Lydia , and the devastating childbirth that took both her and his son. Jessie should have a baby brother, but she remained an only child—and motherless, to boot.
     Tyler tried not to dwell on the loss. Three years had passed since he’d lost Lydia and Noah. He’d stumbled through all the classic stages of grief and shaken his fist at God more times than he could count. There were no answers…he simply needed to trust. And he did. Yet sometimes the loss still burdened his heart.
     But not around Mattie. No, never around Mattie. She filled something in him that was missing. He wanted more, but he didn’t know how to go about asking for it. He was nearly twenty years out of the dating scene, and the game was beyond terrifying. But he’d asked her to dinner, and she’d said yes. Tyler picked up the pace, his chest suddenly a bit lighter. Maybe it wasn’t so bad…navigating through the dating waters.
     But was it a date? Did Jessie’s birthday party count? He shook his head, the slight bit of confidence shattered. Oh, well…
     He delved into the pastry bag, took one of the square meltaways and tossed it into his mouth. The chocolate—smooth with a hint of mint—dissolved on his tongue and left him longing for another taste.

Review: 5 stars
It's not often we celebrate the release of a new book with a feeling of sadness, yet today Mattie's Meltaways comes out, completeing the Sweet Treat's Bakery series. In this series Ms. Manners has given us a wonderful assortment of characters to fall in love with and her latest book is no exception.

Mattie gave up everything to raise her three sisters, including her career and any chance of love. Until firefighter Tyler Jacobs comes along and steals her heart. But when they have very different things they want from the relationship, can the obstacle be overcome?

A short story, weighing in at 80 pages, it is packed with emotion and heart pumping action to keep the reader glued to the pages. A fantastic end to a wonderful series, Ms. Manners leaves the reader with a surprise I didn't see coming. (no jumping to the end to read it because you'll miss out on a great story if you do.)  Just make sure you have a tissue to hand, because you'll need it. The entire series is already back in my TBR pile.

(Oh and Mary - my Jessie at 12 still leaves me almost identical notes with yes and no ticky boxes. Including ones that say do you love me --yes --no)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

review - Purple Knot by Raquel Byrnes

Purple Knot by Raquel Byrnes



A killer strikes. A love rekindled. A life-altering choice.
When her best friend, is murdered, Reyna Cruz doesn't believe the police have the whole story. An investigator by trade, she has the talent to track Summer’s killer, but when clues lead to a family connection and a vicious gang, she suddenly becomes the hunted. At the end of her rope, Reyna must decide to trust the God she believes abandoned her. 

Wanting justice for his sister’s murder, lawyer Jimmy Corbeau agrees to help Reyna—even though she’s his ex-fiancé, and their break-up devastated him. Romance is reawakened, but so are memories of their tragic undoing. Jimmy must decide if he will fight for a future with Reyna or allow their past to derail the investigation and his second chance at love.

When the investigation goes awry and Summer’s infant daughter is kidnapped, Reyna must put her life on the line. Will Jimmy and Reyna survive the desperate measures it takes to recover his niece, catch a killer, and secure a happily-ever-after for them all?

Excerpt:

 “Why didn’t you tell me about the phone call and the flowers?” Jimmy appeared in the doorway with concern and utter exasperation on his face.
I froze.
He reached out and tucked hair behind my ear.
“I…should have. I just didn’t want you to worry.”
“You didn’t want me to worry?”
I heard the change in his voice. I looked up at his gray eyes and saw the anger flare behind them.
“Then why, after that kind of warning, did you come here alone, Rain? What were you thinking?”
He was angry at me?
“What was I thinking? I was thinking that maybe it should be safe for me to come to my own place of business! What were you thinking? Why were you creeping around outside this time of night? You could have been shot!”
“I nearly was, thanks to you, Annie Oakley!”
“How do you even know about the phone call and flowers, anyway?”
“Salem called me this morning. He thinks you’re being reckless. I tend to agree. What are you doing, Rain? This isn’t a game!”
“Oh, so this is my fault? I should have what? Run over to Salem’s for protection?” I waved my arms in the air, growing furious with Jimmy.
 “No, that’s not what I’m saying, and you know it. But maybe, when someone threatens you, you go to a hotel for the night.” He stepped toward me, his voice almost a growl.
“I’m not going to turn tail and run at the first sign of a threat,” I shot back. “I’m not going to cower in the corner, Jimmy. I’m not--” I stopped when my brain caught up to my mouth.
“What, Rain?” Jimmy shouted. “You’re not Summer?”

Review:
5 stars. A recommended read.

As a private detective, Reyna tracks down people for a living. However its different when the victim is her best friend and she finds herself at the heart of the case in more ways than one. And having to work with her ex-fiance, the brother of the victim, only adds to her problems.

Wow. This book is a nerve tingling read from the very first page. Impossible to put down, just when you think you've solved the mystery, along comes another twist that leaves you sitting, jaw open, yelling 'you can't do that!' I love books that get me yelling at them, crying and laughing. This book does it all. A fantastic mix of thriller and romance, Ms. Byrnes is an author to watch out for.

Buy Links:





Review - The Covering by Dana Pratola


The Covering by Dana Pratola

Blurb:
What do a woman of faith and a heathen biker have in common? The devil, of course. Tessa is moved to intercede for a man she's never met. When they do meet, she's stunned. Gunnar is gorgeous, charismatic, and driven. He's also hostile, self-destructive, and an unbeliever...and she's drawn to him like no other. The temptation she feels is as dangerous as it is alluring. She wants to stay away, but God has other plans. He reveals the devil's intent to destroy Gunnar, and commissions Tessa to keep him covered in prayer. Can she rely on God to keep her from falling...in love, and into temptation? Or will the devil claim them both?

Excerpt:
Tessa kept her eyes closed. Physically, she stood at the bathroom sink, her hands curled around the sides of the basin. In her spirit, she occupied that place where utterance slipped through the thin veil separating this world from the other. Where speech fell on holy and unholy ears alike. Where words were transformed into power. She was in prayer.

Head bowed, Tessa prayed first for her brother, Dominic, then her father and mother. After several minutes she paused, but the urgency intensified.

Her skin care routine abandoned, she went into her room and fell on her face at the side of her bed and with great distress, prayed in the spirit as she had nearly every day for the past two months. As though a life depended on it. She didn’t yet know whose, only that it was a man and that whatever his need, time was running short.

When at last she felt the burden easing she took her Bible and notebook and sat cross-legged on the bed. She perused familiar passages and listed any verses that came to mind. There was nothing mystical in the process itself, but it helped her focus, hopefully revealing what God might want to show her.

“Can’t You tell me who I’m praying for, Lord?” she asked. “Is it someone I know?”

Some moments later Tessa felt directed to turn to a specific though unfamiliar verse in the twenty-seventh chapter of Job. She ran a finger down the fine paper of the page, stopping at verse nine. “Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?” she read aloud. From there she turned to a verse she’d read the day prior in Psalm thirty-four. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”
She knew before asking, “He won’t cry out for himself, will he?”

So it fell to her to be his voice. But try as she might, she couldn’t think of what to say.

It didn’t take long to see the problem. She was trying to use her reasoning to grasp the situation and as a result grew more confused. Confusion was not of God.

She commanded the devil to stop messing with her thoughts, then began to pray in earnest for blessings, health, and protection on the man’s behalf.

Strength to withstand.

The words came unexpectedly, an urgent impression on her mind. At last she had a bearing.

Review: 4½ stars
A burden for prayer for someone is something most Christian's experience at one time or another. Like a hand on your shoulder, this person fills your mind so completely, there is nothing you can do until the burden is lifted, except pray. It's normally for someone we know.
Tessa doesn't even know the name of the man she has to pray for. Yet she obeys the instruction anyway.
The Covering by Dana Pratola holds your attention from start to finish. With something for everyone, and characters that at first glance seem poles apart, and enough sexual tension to make the room crackle, this is a Christian novel that pushes the boundaries. Well worth reading.

Buy Link

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

hmmm

I thought blogging every day was supposed to bring readers in. Or so I was told. But my advent calendar of daily blogs resulted in my dropping readers. Its hardly worth blogging at all anymore.

So you'll get reviews of what I've read and might stick my book releases up.

But... as for anything else...

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Hidden Embers by Stephanie Mayfield

Hidden Embers by Stephanie Mayfield
Blurb:
Sometimes love doesn't want to settle with just being friends.  Trayce and David have tried over the years to remain just friends and ignore the constant pull of something more.  Caught in the daily grind of their day to day lives, these two firefighters are mainly intent on keeping the people of their town safe, until one small turn of events pulls them both into a life and death game with a man they both know very well.
After a large warehouse explosion threatens to take away the man she loves, Trayce must make the decision to stay and fight for their love, or turn away from it.  Twists and turns take them on a roller coaster ride of close calls and even closer moments to remember, paving the way toward a future neither one would have ever dreamed of.

Excerpt:
I knew my weakness had started to show, and I had begun to visibly tremble. David stepped forward and wrapped his arm around my waist. “We need to get you inside. Hold on.”

By the time we made it through the bay doors, I had developed full body tremors. “I’ll be all right, I’m cold. I just need to sit down,” I chattered, trying to step away from him.

He ignored my protest and led me up stairs to the shower room at the end of the hall. Dave has worked with me for five of my six years at East Crest, and he knew that I always took a hot shower after a call. It was my way of coming down from the adrenaline rush that always came with each call. We all have our ways to cope beyond the debriefing, and I hadn’t had the chance to come down yet. I had hit the peak of the rush and I was crashing hard.

“Hang on, we’ll fix it. Just stay with me for a few more minutes,” He was muttering to me as he turned the water on as hot as it would go. Fully clothed, he picked me up and stepped in to the steaming spray and kicked the door closed. I was shivering so hard that my teeth were chattering together as we stood there under the hot spray. Closing my eyes, I began to drift, letting what happened to me that night wash away with the water.

I don’t know how long we stood there when I was jerked suddenly back to reality by the stations tones sounding off. I went to step out of the spray when Dave stopped me. “That’s not ours, baby,” he whispered as I turned to him. The shivering had stopped for the most part and the water had started to cool.

I couldn’t deal with the feelings that were still swamping me and as I looked into his eyes whatever threads that where holding me together snapped. “Dave, make it stop. Please, I’m so cold, make it stop,” I pleaded with him. Tears began to fall, and I suddenly felt completely drained.

Not saying a word he pulled me to him, framing my face in his hands, and I saw the hurt and worry that he’d dealt with cloud his eyes as he searched my expression, trying to figure out how to stop my tears. Then he did the only thing he knew to do, he pulled me closer and kissed me.

The tenderness of his kiss robbed me of what breath I had left. Slowly the cold that had been seeping into my bones began to recede with the gentle trace of the tip of his tongue. With a groan he pulled back, and I suddenly realized that the water was still running and had turned cold. Reaching around me he turned the knob, killing the shower and placed his hands on the wall beside my head.

I had never felt more out of place than I had at that moment. Dave and I had always shared a special kind of connection, but he never showed that he thought of it more than a close friendship. I, on the other hand, had never told him how I really felt. I played it off to myself as being afraid to hurt him anymore, but all along I was just afraid of losing him.


Review:
Set in and around a fire station, Hidden Embers is an action packed read that draws you in from the first page. Ms. Mayfield balances the details of fire fighting enough to pull you in and immerse you in their world, without bogging you down. Add to that the mystery, romance, and heart stopping action, supplemented by a cast of well-rounded characters, and you have gripping book you don’t want to miss.



Friday, 6 January 2012

Lost in Lone Creek by Mary Manners






Today we have author Mary Manners and the first in her new series Lone Creek Ranch.


Blurb:
Carson Merrill loves only one thing more than Lone Creek Ranch—high school sweetheart Jessica Tate. He has plans to marry her, until one fateful night a devastating accident nearly kills her brother, James, and claims the use of his legs. Jessica flees to Nashville, blaming Carson for her brother’s paralysis, and avoids him—and James—for more than a year. Jessica returns to Lone Creek as one of the top producing land developers in the area, and she has one goal—to banish Carson forever from her memory while taking what he still loves—Lone Creek Ranch. But God has other plans—to draw the two together in a development project that will satisfy both their desires, and help them to reclaim the love they once shared.


Excerpt:
    The clean, familiar scent of Carson’s soap mingled with sweet feed and hay as Jessica wound through the paddock toward her SUV. The scents brought back memories that tangled her belly. Carson’s touch, his coaxing voice, washed over her, warm as the sunshine that kissed her face. She tried not to think about how good he looked in faded jeans and a snug black T-shirt, with a cowboy hat tilted across his forehead to frame dark waves of hair and eyes the color of new charcoal. She turned to glance back at the barn. It could use a good coat of paint, and plenty of TLC. But soon that wouldn’t matter…if she had her way.
    She saw the loft through the open doors, and a sudden tightness filled her throat as memories rushed in. How much time had she and Carson spent there as teenagers, dreaming of what the future might hold? Her pulse quickened at the thought of stolen kisses as horses nickered softly from the stalls below…the nervous rush as Carson’s hands twined through her hair. Their friendship had grown into so much more over the years that followed, and then shattered one night, the result of a single devastating choice. Jessica pressed a finger to her lips, and then shook her head to chase the happy memories away. Those days were gone. Over, for good. Carson had made sure of that.
    She lifted the sunglasses from her head and propped them on her nose, then tugged at the sleeves of her jacket, slipping from the stifling linen as she approached the SUV. One of her spike-heeled pumps caught in a divot and she heard a sharp snap as the heel cracked away from the sole. She stumbled into the driver’s door and the glasses slipped from her face.
Her eyes burned at the sudden shock of sunlight. A lightning bolt of pain coursed through her knee as it slammed against metal, but the physical pain was no match for the fissures that riddled her heart. She knew there was a reason she hadn’t returned to Lone Creek Ranch since the fateful evening following James’s accident, when they all knew he’d never walk again. The way she saw it, the accident was Carson’s fault, plain and simple, and she’d hardened her heart toward him. After all that had happened, how could things be any different? Yet, seeing Carson again was…unsettling to say the least.
    Jessica massaged the flashpoint of pain from her leg as she glanced back to see if Carson was watching. She saw no sign of him. Probably still sulking in the barn. Good, better for both of them if they kept things purely business. The next time she saw him she wanted it to be over a contract for Lone Creek Ranch.
    She groaned and yanked what was left of the broken shoe from her foot before pulling open the car door and slipping in to crank the engine. Music blared from the radio, startling her. She tossed the shoe into the backseat and fumbled with the radio dials. Her fingers slipped on the knob, and music roared from loud to deafening. Ignoring the growing throb at the base of her skull, Jessica stomped the accelerator with her bare foot. Tires ripped the gravel as the SUV lunged forward into brilliant morning sunlight that seared her eyes.
    A quick glance in the rearview mirror told her the sunglasses she’d spent a good chunk of money on were scattered in pieces across the road. So much for indulgence. She sighed and lowered the visor. Jessica gripped the wheel as the SUV gained speed. Oh, why did she have to fall in love with Carson Merrill? And why did things have to end…the way they did?
    And how was she going to face her brother again, now that she was back? She hadn’t talked to him in…well…way too long.
    The thunder of hooves did battle with the stereo, and a flash of movement caught Jessica’s attention. She turned to see the huge stallion, the one Carson had called Troublemaker, racing alongside the car. One eye, the deepest onyx, like a smooth, round stone, fixed on her as his mane fanned like a feathered kite on the wind.
    She gasped and clenched the steering wheel. Such beauty and grace…Jessica was lost for a moment in the sheer strength of the animal. She imagined Carson in the saddle, two powerful creatures moving in perfect synch.
    The stallion veered right as they came to the main road, and Jessica slammed the brakes as he nearly sideswiped the SUV. The car skidded, fishtailed, and went airborne for the slightest moment before it slammed back to the road and jackknifed into a culvert, shattering the windshield. The airbags deployed, punching the breath from her, and a cloud of dirt engulfed the cabin.
    The last thing Jessica heard was a bloodcurdling scream.
    Then the world went black.


Review:
Lost in Lone Creek by Mary Manners


The first in a new series of novellas from Mary Manners launches onto our kindles and computers today with a tempest of dust and gleam of metal. Jessica Tate, a blast from the past, swings back into Carson Merrill’s life and turns it upside down with an offer than no sane man can refuse. The problem is he is determined to refuse, even if it means history repeats itself and she leaves again.


As always Ms. Manners doesn’t disappoint. Her vivid descriptions and winsome characters pull the reader into the heart of the story. What I loved was not being able to work out the end of the story half way through the book. Along with the wonderful cover, her writing brings the characters to life right before your eyes.  A short read, at only 74 pages, this book is high on emotion and gripping story telling. I can't wait for the next three in the series.


Buy Link:
http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/lost-in-lone-creek
Visti Mary at:
http://www.marymannersromance.com/

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year / Tuesday's Child

Well 2012 is officially here and I've had this cough all year. Ha ha. Actually the whole of yesterday was spent making really awful jokes.
"Mum I'm starving. Haven't eaten all year."
"Can I have a drink? Haven't drunk anything all year."

Writing wise. I've so many WIP's on the go right now, it's lucky I'm able to keep them straight. Think that comes from being able to read six books at once and not get confuzzled. There's the firefighter one - almost finished. The paranormal one - on a go slow. And a Christmas one. Yes I know, but the deadline for that is April, so needs doing.

I also filled in the manuscript info sheet for Tuesday's Child.
Preliminary blurb (cos we all know how rubbish I am at them lol)

Deaf from the age of five, Adeline Munroe now runs the local dolls hospital with her best friend Jasmine and constant companion, hearing dog, Ben. Haunted by visions, she 'sees' each murder either as or just before they happen.
Detective Sergeant Nate Holmes is investigating the herbalist serial killings. Things are complicated when he falls for one of the witnesses. As more women die, and Adeline becomes the prime target, is time running out for them both?

Honestly i find it amazing that I can write a 40-60k novel easily. Asked to summarize it in 700 words...just about. In 150 words - no way. And in a 60 word or one sentece tag line-- ummm nope.


My cast list for Tuesday's Child.
Jamie Bamber as Detective Sgt Nate Holmes. Trying to raise his orphaned niece and hold down a full time job in CID. He's investigating a spate of murders and when a psychic witness comes forward he's skeptical, but his faith keeps him open to other options.





Deanne Bray as Adeline Munroe. The deaf owner of the dolls hospital. Witness and the one person who can identify the serial killer.





Ben, her hearing dog, is a King Charles Cavalier spaniel. In not just for the cute factor - no kids we're not having a dog. Don't care how cute he is - but because dogs like him do a really important job.

OK so maybe i'm type casting, but at least I didn't use Yannick Bisson as the cop :P
Oh and in case you were wondering - yes. Nate's partner is played by Bradley Walsh. Guess I watch too many cop shows in my spare time.