#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Close To Me’ by Amanda Reynolds @AmandaReynoldsj #BookReview #amreviewing

Today on #TuesdayBookBlog I’m reviewing Close To Me, a gripping psychological thriller by Amanda Reynolds.

 

Close to me is a gripping psychological thriller and family drama. It is a difficult book to review without including any spoilers, but I’ll do my best.

I read it over a few days, finishing it late one night, because I had to find out what happened in the end. When I completed it, I literally couldn’t sleep, because I had been so wrapped up in the characters and the story, that I found the events both absorbing and unsettling.

The writing and especially the characterisation and plot impressed me so much that it even led me to rethink my own life, and the lives of so many women in their fifties, readjusting to their new situation after their children leave home. I’m about the same age as Jo, the main character, and although my life is nothing like hers, I couldn’t help thinking, what if? How well do we really know our children, our husbands? Or our close friends and colleagues? Even ourselves?

Jo thought she had an ideal family. A doting husband who was an actuary in London, earning a high salary, a comfortable lifestyle, two wonderful, adult children, and she was a stay-at-home mum, who was devoted to her family and her part-time volunteer work.

One day, after having a domestic accident, she forgot everything that had happened during the previous year of her life. Her husband convinced her children that she shouldn’t be informed of what had happened, until she remembered on her own, which, by the way, he hoped would never happen.

Jo gradually pieced together the previous year, which had been her ‘annus horribilis’, without her family’s help, leading to an unexpected and devastating finale.

The story is told from Jo’s point of view, starting with, ‘The day of the fall’, and moving backwards and forwards from that point in time, until her life is finally pieced together, ending with ‘Three months after the fall’.

Jo’s drama, is not unique in many aspects, but the suspenseful way in which the plot is gradually unveiled, and the final twist, leads to a unique reading experience.

Especially for readers who enjoy intense, thought-provoking and suspenseful, psychological thrillers.

US buy link

UK buy link

Find out more by visiting Amanda Reynold’s webpage.

Follow Amanda on Twitter.

****

Check out Luccia Gray’s other reviews.

Check out Luccia Gray’s reviews on amazon

Have you written a great psychological thriller? Let me know about it.

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

#FridayFictioneers ‘The Babysitter’ #FlashFiction

I’m thrilled to be with you yet again on Friday with my Friday Fictioneers story of Alice Pendragon and her adventures, thanks to the photo prompts and inspiration provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields at Friday Fictioneers. Check out this weekly challenge here.

Alice does it again. She always seems to be annoying one man or other, except Billy of course! Today we’ll be meeting her baby sitter…

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Butolt

*

The BabySitter

Wayne looked over the counter at the waitress. “Fancy a movie when you finish here, Cheryl?”

“I’m babysitting tonight.”

“Again, with that crazy kid in her spooky old house?”

“She’s different, special really. She helped me with my French exam and my creative writing assignment.”

“I thought you were dropping out and working full-time here. We agreed to save up for a deposit on a house.”

“I’ve decided to apply for college.”

“Don’t you want us to get married?”

“I do, but I’ve decided to go to College first.”

He shook his head. “That little girl is putting weird ideas in your head.”    

****

All my ‘Alice’ flash fiction written for the Friday Fictioneers Challenge can be read as standalones, but if you’re interested in reading previous stories of Alice’s adventures, here  they are!

****

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

#ThursdayDoors The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Spain. Part I

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon and linking up on Norm’s blog here.

The main door of the outer walls of the Mosque. called La Puerta del Perdón, or the Door of Forgiveness.

There was originally a Visigothic Christian Basilica of Saint Vincent, on this site. Some remains are preserved inside the Mosque.  After the Muslim invasion of Spain, the church was divided into Muslim and Christian halves from 711 – 784, when Abd al-Rahman I, bought it from the Christians, demolished the original church and started building the the Great Mosque of Cordoba.

The Mosque has since undergone numerous extensions until 1236, when the building was repossessed by the Christians and used as a Catholic place of worship. The Christian conversion included the insertion of a Cathedral within the mosque in the 16th century.

More information about the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba here.

A close up of the door knockers.

The Belfry Tower, above the main door, was a Christian addition in the 13th century.

Another view of the belfry Tower of the Mosque-Cathedral taken from a nearby street.

It’s a fascinating place. It’s like looking at hundreds of years of history, offering different and complementing ideas of architecture, art, beauty and religious worship in one building.

The Mosque-Cathedral has many more doors on the outer walls and inside. I’ll be showing you others in the coming Thursdays.

****

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

 

#WordlessWednesday ‘Steel’ #Haiku

Photographed on  my way to Malaga Airport.

Seen in Malaga, on the walls surrounding a Secondary School 

Steel over steel, up

Above the graffiti walls,

Art and Science, steel grey.

****

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

#Writephoto ‘Rolling Stones’ Thursday Photo Prompt #amwriting #Poem

*

Rolling Stones

While ancient arches stare

Wide-eyed, at the languid

Leaves and slippery moss walls,

Stones roll along the stream

Into the vast unknown,

Searching for the distant

Place where restless, merry

Pebbles skip and frolic,

 While gathering no moss,

Even if they know there

is no satisfaction

In trying to escape

the rhythm of the music.

****

Roll on Mick Jagger!

Somehow, today photo prompt took me to The Rolling Stones…

****

This poem was written in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly Thursday Photo Prompt. Check out Sue’s wonderful blog for more information. 

****

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Lie To Me’ by Jess Ryder @jessryderauthor #BookReview #Amreviewing

Today on #TuesdayBookBlog I offer you my review of Lie to Me, a gripping new psychological thriller by Jess Ryder.

Meredith was told her mother had abandoned her and her father as a result of her mental health problems. One day, when she’s helping her father move, she discovers a video recording her mother made of herself when she was four years old. Her father refuses to give her any details, so Meredith embarks on a journey in search of her mother, which leads her straight into an unsolved murder which took place over thirty years ago.

Although the murder mystery is central to the plot, Lie to Me is also a family drama, where lies and mental illness have overwhelmed the parents of a young child in need of answers and in search of the truth.

The plot was believable and well woven, with plenty of twists and turns and a few red herrings, too! The ending wasn’t shocking, but it was unexpected and intriguing. The murder mystery is finally, albeit tragically and distressfully, solved, and Meredith, who was stuck in an emotional and professional rut, is able to move on in a completely new and exciting direction.

The use of present and past tense and first and third person narrator was cleverly done. The events which occurred in 1984 were narrated in the past tense and third person, while the events which occur in the novel’s present time are narrated in the present tense, in the first person, by Meredith. This clearly defines present and past, and the use of the present tense adds pace and suspense.

The characters were realistic and well-rounded, and they all had plenty of flaws, the main ones being dishonesty and selfishness. Meredith sometimes annoyed me for being too indecisive, her ex-boyfriend was too ambitious, Cara too naive, Isobel too manipulative, and Jay too keen to take advantage of others. Her father seemed like a reliable and caring man who spoiled his relationship with his daughter by failing to tell her the truth, or even face it himself.

I listened to the audio version, which helps give each person a unique tone and voice.

Especially for lovers of gripping psychological thrillers.

UK buy link

US buy link

Lie to Me was published on 19th April by .

Follow Jess on Twitter @jessryderauthor

Visit Jess’s Web page 

****

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

 

 

#CarrotRanch #FlashFiction Challenge ‘The Rat Catcher’ @Charli_Mills

This post was written in response to Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch’s weekly Flash Fiction Challenge. May 11, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about trading. Trade away and go where the prompt leads you. Find out more, read other entries or join in here!

I’ve returned to Victorian England once again for my contribution. 

***

Trading Rats: The Rat Catcher

The seller stood with his back to the door holding a swinging cage of squealing rats.

‘How much?’ asked the buyer.

‘A guinea.’

The buyer stroked his beard. ‘Two shillings.’

‘What? I went down the gutters for days risking my life to catch them!’

The buyer looked at the bite marks and blood on the seller’s hands. ‘You need to sell and find a doctor or you’re a dead man.’

The seller leaned back into the door which closed with a loud bang. ‘Two guineas, or I drop this cage, it smashes and we’ll both be devoured for dinner.’

****

Who decides the price in illegal trading? Buyer? Seller? Is it a question of supply and demand, as in any other negotiation? Or is it the person who has less to lose? What happens when the buyer or the seller gets too greedy?

****

Rat Catchers had a lot of work in Victorian England for three reasons.

1- Rat baiting was a popular, albeit illegal sport, which involved a lot of money with rich and poor people betting. In this case, rat catchers caught live rats.

2- Other rat catchers were paid to kill rats in different parts of the country.

3- Finally rich ladies liked to keep rats as pets in squirrel cages. A practice which I have heard is also popular nowadays.

Many of the rat catchers were children. They preferred catching rats to cleaning chimneys, working in coal mines, or hawking wares, because it was easier and paid better.

De-ratting English manors and businesses was often more lucrative as children could earn from two shillings to one pound. By the way, a guinea was 21 shillings.

If anyone is interested in finding out more:

Full Revelations of a Professional Rat-catcher After 25 Years’ Experience

This fascinating book, written in 1889, is a fascinating and informative read.

More information on this web page about Victorian England.

*****

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon

 

#SixWordSaturday Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining #haiku

 

Chasing silver clouds,

Racing over clear blue skies.

Enjoy the challenge.

****

I was thinking about this well-known saying a few days ago as I was walking under a cloudy sky.

Cloudy skies not only bring silver linings, but they’re also more beautiful and inspiring than clear blue skies. In fact, a clear blue sky is enhanced by the presence of beautiful clouds, which are always unique.

Life is like that too. Living within our comfort zone is pleasant and safe, but it’s the moments we move out of this peaceful serenity that life moves on to a more challenging and exciting place where we feel energised.

It would be exhausting to live in a constant state of excitement, but the rush of the challenge undeniably leads to personal and professional growth. Striking the balance between comfort and challenge is the key.

How do you balance living within your comfort zone and challenging yourself?

Follow this link if you’d like to join in #SixWordSaturday

****

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

 

 

#FridayFictioneers ‘The Accident’ #FlashFiction

It’s Friday, time for another of Alice’s stories with Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the weekly Friday Fictioneers challenge and for her photograph. This week the prompt has taken me to a crime story. Alice’s parents have inherited  a mansion and a great deal of money from Alice’s grandmother, but as a result, she is in danger.

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The Accident

*

‘Let me go!’ Alice struggled against her captor.

‘How much is she worth?’ he asked. 

The driver turned towards them in the back seat. ‘Dimitrov’s following us. Keep her head down.’

They were the last words Alice heard before the car swerved, scraped the guardrails and overturned. The noise was deafening, then silence as she crawled out, blood trickling down her face.

‘I’ll take her to the hospital.’ said a smartly dressed man picking her up. ‘Call an ambulance for them.’ He nodded at the unconscious men inside the car.

‘You’re safe now, Alice,’ he said as they drove away.

****

Is Alice safe? Who is Dimitrov? Who were her captors? We’ll see where the following prompts lead Alice.

All my ‘Alice’ flash fiction written for the Friday Fictioneers Challenge can be read as standalones, but if you’re interested in reading previous stories of Alice’s adventures, here  they are!

 If you’d like to join in Friday Fictioneers or read other posts check Rochelle’s Blog for rules and prompts.  

****

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

#ThursdayDoors ‘Patios’ Courtyards in Cordoba

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon and linking up on Norm’s blog here.

 

There’s a yearly Festivity in Cordoba, the town where I live, called the ‘Patios’ or Courtyard Festival. Families who live in traditional houses in the Old Town with central courtyards, open their homes so that tourists and visitors can look inside and enjoy their potted plants, flowers, wells, whitewashed walls and stone, cobbled, or ceramic floors. Here are a few I visited this week.

The front door is usually made of cast iron as you can see above.

Inside the iron gate is the entry and beyond the patio. Notice the columns on either side. I’m not an expert, so I can’t guarantee it, but many of the houses have ‘real’ Roman pillars, perhaps this is one of them…

Cordoba was first settled by the Romans, who named it Corduba, about a century BC. It is not surprising that these houses resemble Roman houses, Domus, which were built in this quarter, over 2,000 years ago. The style, with the central courtyard and rooms built around it has prevailed, along with the cobbled streets, mosaics and tiles.

Green is a popular colour for doors.

Most doors are made of wood and painted brown.

The plants and flowers in the patio are valued for their beauty and the shade they provide. It’s very hot in Cordoba!

Narrow double doors are popular.

This smaller patio door, probably leads to a cellar or store room.

Most houses have two floors. Would you like to walk upstairs to the top floor gallery and see some more doors?

There are many double glass doors.

If you’re wondering how the plants are watered, it’s with a small watering can on the end of a long pole as you can see here. Notice the cobbled floor in the patio. It’s hundreds pf years old!

 

This is a view of one of the streets in the Old town, where you can visit the patios I’ve shown you.

Here I am having fun visiting the Patios with my daughter.

I hope you enjoyed the doors of the patios in Cordoba!

More about the Patios, which are in the list of Unesco’s Intangible Heritage of Humanity sites,

I’m not really sure what that means, but they are a beautiful sight.

****

 

 

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: