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The Murmurs by Michael J Malone #Review #Giveaway

  I am delighted to be on another great Orenda tour to celebrate Michael J Malone's gothic thriller , The Murmurs . There is also the chance to win a print copy (UK only). Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post.    In the beginning there was fear. White-hot, nerve-shredding fear. Terrifying premonitions of deaths. And then they started… The Murmurs… On the first morning of her new job at Heartfield House, a care home for the elderly, Annie Jackson wakens from a terrifying dream. And when she arrives at the home, she knows that the first old man she meets is going to die. How she knows this is a terrifying mystery, but it is the start of horrifying premonitions … a rekindling of the curse that has trickled through generations of women in her family – a wicked gift known only as 'the murmurs'… With its reappearance comes an old, forgotten fear that is about to grip Annie Jackson. And this time, it will never let go… A compulsive gothic thriller and a

Sing me a Secret by Julie Houston #Review #Extract

I am happy to be returning to Westenbury for Julie Houston's contemporary novel, Sing me a Secret. You can read my review of A Village Affair here. I also have an extract to tempt you.
The four Sutherland sisters have all had very different paths in life, but one secret and a slighty tense production of Jesus Christ Superstar are about to bring them all back together again...

When the news that pop-superstar Lexia Sutherland is returning to Westenbury, not everyone is thrilled by the news –including Lexia. There are too many memories she doesn’t need to face –or need re-surfacing. Meanwhile, Juno Sutherland just wants a little peace and quiet. 

As the local village doctor, she’s got her priorities in order; kids, job, husband, tenacious pony, a role in the village musical... So when the sexy new locum turns up –and steals her office –the last thing she needed was to be hit with rising temperatures and an over-active imagination. Will these sisters be able to uncover the past, deal with the future and put on the performance of a lifetime? 

 Return to Westenbury this spring and find out


     Juno had been working three days a week as a GP at Westenbury surgery for the past two years, ever since Fraser, her husband, had landed his dream job at PLK Chemicals just outside Leeds, moving them down from Aberdeen to head up the research team there. While Fraser was a Scot, born and bred in Glasgow, Juno was back on home territory in Westenbury, her parents having moved to this rather beautiful part of Yorkshire from Oxford when she was just six. She’d not particularly wanted to come back to Midhope, the large town bang in the middle of Leeds and Manchester –she’d been away since she was eighteen, first at Aberdeen University studying medicine and then, once they’d married, settling with Fraser and the kids on the outskirts of Aberdeen itself –but they’d not wanted to live in Leeds and, with Juno’s mother and two of her sisters still here in Westenbury, they’d just sort of drifted back this way.

    Izzy, Declan’s wife and partner at the surgery, popped her head round the door as Juno started to divest herself of coat, scarf, gloves and fleece. ‘God, Juno, how many layers have you got on? I’d have thought coming down from Scotland you’d find Yorkshire positively tropical.’ 

    ‘I need something hot now I no longer have a man to keep me warm at night.’ Juno pulled a pitiful, poor little me face.

    ‘How’s it going?’ Izzy smiled sympathetically. 

    ‘You know, first weekend on your own and all that?’

    ‘Bloody marvellous.’ Juno grinned. ‘Nobody snoring in bed, the TV control to myself, no having to make a big Sunday lunch, no being reminded I shouldn’t be eating all the chocolates left from Christmas, no having to put the loo seat down in the bathroom; the list is endless. Do you know, I went to bed on Saturday night in my old winceyette pyjamas and bed socks and watched Pretty Woman while I worked my way down a whole pack of M&S Millionaire Shortbread and a big mug of hot chocolate.’

    ‘I’m so jealous. That sounds like utter heaven.’ Izzy pulled a face. ‘Mind you, I hope you cleaned your teeth after that lot?’

    ‘Nope. I just snuggled down and had randy thoughts about Richard Gere.’ 

   ‘Are the kids not missing Fraser?’

    ‘No, not at all. It’s only been five days, and Tilda is so in love with both Mr Donnington and Harry Trotter, neither Fraser nor I ever really got much of a lookin anyway.’

    ‘Mr Donnington and Harry Trotter?’ Izzy frowned.

    ‘Mr Donnington’s her year six teacher –he’s the new deputy at Little Acorns –and Harry Trotter is that damned pony of hers. It’s a vicious little sod. I keep well away from it, but Tilda has the upper hand –she’d have been totally at home in the Gestapo, jack booting about in her riding boots and wielding her crop at anyone daring to cross her.

    ’Izzy laughed. ‘She is a bit formidable, that daughter of yours. 
 What about Gabriel?’

    ‘No idea. I don’t think he’s spoken more than twenty words since his twelfth birthday. He grunted a bit when we told him Fraser would be spending the year in Boston but he just re-plugged himself into whatever device was to hand at the time and said, “Cool man, I can go with that” and that was it. As long as I keep the fridge stocked and take him down to football practice twice a week, he’s happy.’

    Izzy laughed again. ‘Tell me about it. Robbie’s no different. These adolescent boys just seem to change overnight, don’t they? One minute they’re your gorgeous little boy wanting good night kisses and making you laugh with terrible jokes and the next they’re all arms and legs, big noses that don’t fit their face anymore and stinking of sweat and hormones. Right, Juno, importantmeeting at lunchtime.’


    ‘We need to ask you something. Bring your sandwich.’

My Thoughts
Most of the characters in this story, it seems, have a secret. Certainly the four sisters do and it is great fun to unravel just what those secrets are. The dynamic between the four siblings seems to grow as the book progresses and their different personalities become clearer. I enjoyed the village feel with everyone knowing everyone elses's business and there are lots of humorous moments, often the result of the younger generation's observations on what their parents are getting up to. 

    At the beginning, the focus of this story seems to be the state of Juno's marriage but it opens out to include some secrets which involve the other sisters. It is an ingenious plot which certainly hooks you in. It was good to glimpse the Little Acorns Village School again with its link to A Village Affair.  I can see a lot of potential in this village setting. I am sure there are plenty more stories to unearth.

In short: Family values and sisterly bonds

About the Author

 Author Julie Houston is the author of The One Saving Grace, Goodness, Grace and Me and Looking for Lucy, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle Number1 bestseller. She is married, with the two teenage children and a made cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.

You can follow Julie here: Twitter   | Facebook   |  Website 

Book links: Amazon UK   |  Kobo  |   Google Play 

 Aria Books: Website  |  Twitter  |   Facebook  |  Instagram

Thanks to Julie Houston and Victoria Joss and Aria Books for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 

Check out the rest of the tour!


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