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A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village by Michelle Vernal #Review

  Michelle Vernal's A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village was published on September 27th by Bookoutre . Ava Kelly loves returning to Emerald Bay for Christmas. Snowflakes fall on the green rolling hills and mulled wine fills The Shamrock Inn with the smell of winter spice. But this year, the Kelly family is hoping for a miracle… When twenty-four-year-old Ava Kelly and her adventurous twin Grace return home to The Shamrock Inn, their Ma’s favourite baubles bring back so many memories of Christmases past. They have always done everything together, even leaving their little Irish village for the excitement of London. But with the locket her handsome ex Shane gave her hanging just above her heart, Ava has just one wish this festive season… After a year stuck in a job she can’t stand and going on dreadful dates, Ava longs to be back with Shane. Curling up in front of the fire with him, the brooding fisherman everyone else sees melts away as his blue eyes meet hers.

Quicksand of Memory by Michael J Malone #Review #Giveaway


I am delighted to be on the final day of another great Orenda tour to celebrate Michael J Malone's Quicksand of Memory . There is also the chance to win a print copy (UK only). Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post. 

The darker the memory, the deadlier the obsession…

Jenna is trying to rebuild her life after a series of disastrous relationships. 

Luke is struggling to provide a safe, loving home for his deceased partner’s young son, following a devastating tragedy.

When Jenna and Luke meet and fall in love, they are certain they can achieve the stability and happiness they both desperately need. 

And yet, someone is watching.

Someone who has been scarred by past events.

Someone who will stop at nothing to get revenge…

Dark, unsettling and immensely moving, 
Quicksand of Memory
 is a chilling reminder that we are not only punished for our sins, but by them, and that memories left to blacken and sharpen over time are the perfect breeding ground for obsession, and murder…

 My Thoughts

This psychological thriller certainly keeps you on high alert with the twists and turns in the plot. You have to follow your instinct as to which characters are reliable and as the title suggests, memories can be changeable and shifting. What appears on the surface may not be the truth. There are some flawed characters. Early childhood experiences have moulded them and never left them. Families can be destructive experiences for some vulnerable people and yet family ties can also be strong.

    Luke's relationship with his unofficially adopted son gives you an insight into his true character and there is a great feeling of penance and restitution through nurturing him.  The main focus of the story seems to be Luke and Jenna who both share a great and hidden regret for actions in the past. There is a complexity in the characters and you never feel that events are plot driven. They arise through the characters' desires. With dark moments, it is nevertheless a story of renewal and hope for a better future.

In short: a complex story of loss, regret and revenge

About the Author


Michael  Malone  is  a  prize-winning  poet  and  author  who  was  born  and  brought  up  in  the  heart  of  Burns’  country.  He  has  published  over  200  poems  in  literary  magazines  throughout  the  UK,  including  New  Writing  Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically  acclaimed  House  of  Spines, After  He  Died  and  In  the  Absence  of  Miracles  soon  followed  suit.  A  former  Regional  Sales  Manager  (Faber  &  Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

You can read my review of House of Spines here and After He Died here and In the Absence of Miracles  here. and A Song of Isolation here

You can follow Michael here: Twitter  |  Website  |  Facebook 

Book link: Amazon UK 

Thanks to Michael Malone, and Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.  

                                                              Follow the rest of the tour!
Giveaway (UK only)

To win a print copy of Quicksand of Memory, just Follow and Retweet the pinned tweet at @bookslifethings and good luck!

Closing date is 3rd May 2022 and there is one winner.    
*Terms and Conditions –  UK only.  The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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