The Blackhouse by Peter May

The Blackhouse
Peter May


Edinburgh detective Fin Macleod tried to escape a troubled life on the Isle of Lewis, but now he’s been pulled back home to investigate a copycat murder.  Set in the small village called Crobost, an isolated point of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, Fin must confront his painful past, broken friendships and loss.  What follows is an excellent crime story, the first in The Lewis Trilogy, and one which is clouded by Fin’s conflicted character and Scotland’s ever-changing landscape.

The Crobost victim is schoolmate Angel Macritchie, the playground bully who preyed on the weak.  No different now, most in town were not sorry to see him gone, but his brutal murder leaves many questions.  Fin’s investigation is intertwined with the people he knew on the island, and he can’t avoid facing his boyhood friend, Artair Maccines and the girl they rivaled over, Marsaili Macdonald.

Clues point to several suspects, whose stories help depict what life is like in this treeless and remote land, where young and restless teenagers face bleak futures as crofters or mariners.  One of these stories is the ritual of the guga harvest, an annual trip to the rock island called An Sgeir, where a selected group of men spend two weeks killing young gannets to bring back to their people.  The trip through rough seas is dangerous, the time on the rock is treacherous and is a rite of passage for those who are chosen.  Reference to an unspoken tragedy leads the reader through an additional investigation of what happened the year Fin was selected to go.

May tells the story, bit by bit, alternating between the present and Fin’s first-person telling of the events that drove him off the island years earlier.  As Fin uncovers motives and truths, they lead to an incomprehensible finish, explained only in the book’s final pages and suggesting future relationships between its characters.

Mystery and crime readers will enjoy this interesting plot and setting.  I recommend The Blackhouse to these readers and anyone who likes conflicted characters and complicated relationships.  Enjoyed and highly rated by everyone in my library Whodunits Book Club, we are looking forward to completing the series!

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Who’s That Indie Author? Marc D. Crepeaux

Author name
:  Marc D. Crepeaux

Genre:  Crime, Poetry, Letters and Correspondence

Books: Modern Waste; Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common; Letters Never Meant to be Read (collaborative)

Bio:  Marc D. Crepeaux is a curator, editor and writer for Letters Never Meant to be Read. Marc has also authored the gritty, Southern crime novel Modern Waste and the poetry collection Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common. He is from Killawog, NY and spent much of his late-teens and early twenties in NYC where he acted like a maniac. He now works as an English teacher and a Captain in the Army Reserves, among other entrepreneurial endeavors, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing. Marc lives in a more calming environment with his wife, two daughters, two dogs, and two fish in Rome, GA.

Favorite thing about being a writer: I love the ability to work all the jobs and live all the lives I always wanted. I am sponge, a social chameleon with a loose moral code, and a hopeless romantic who often falls in love with the smallest of details. Writing gives me the outlet I need to satisfy all of my cravings.

Biggest challenge as an indie author: Marketing is the biggest challenge by far and a task that can lead any Indie author to the pits of despair. I stand by my work but struggle to get it in front of the right eyes.

Favorite book: Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Contact Information:
Twitter:  @marcdcrepeaux
Amazon Author Page:  Marc D. Crepeaux

Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

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A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

A Spool of Blue Thread
Anne Tyler


Can a house be a character in a book?  I’ve been thinking about this ever since I finished Anne Tyler’s twentieth novel, A Spool of Blue Thread.  Tyler incorporates her favorite themes of family and relationships into the story and her characters are tightly connected to the Baltimore family’s house on Bouton Road, where three generations have lived.  And in that house the big question remains.  If the anchor is pulled, where will they go?

This is only one of the themes in the book, the question of what ties a family together and how this changes as its members move on, grow older or die.  The Whitshank family is both typical and unique in this regard, with its own set of problems and complex dynamics.  When Abby Whitshank becomes forgetful and Red’s hearing worsens, their adult children come together, messily, to help them.  Contributing to this drama is Denny Whitshank, the third child, and the family’s rebel.  He’s perpetually misunderstood, causing all the problems that come with being a wayward son.  But his siblings privately wonder, has he been their mother’s favorite all this time?

Class distinction and getting ahead drove the family’s patriarch, Junior Whitshank, who came from nothing and built a construction business, including the house on Bouton.  That drive only carries to some of the family and is often in conflict with his wife’s down-home ways and his daughter-in-law, Abby’s social consciousness.  Here’s a good example of a common difference in thinking which can pit family members against each other.

The plot jumps back and forth between the lives of Red, Abby and their children and Junior and Linnie Mae’s marriage a generation before.  Learning the backstory after knowing the characters is one of my favorite story structures because I think it resembles the way we get to know people and understand their actions.

I enjoyed this story very much, in which Tyler creates a complicated family, full of undercurrent secrets and an unacknowledged division between its members.  And despite this division and simmering aggression, they manage to maintain their dedication to each other when they pull together, without question, for emergencies, holidays and group vacations.  I felt invested in these characters, developed my own favorites and hoped for the best when relationships took their hits.

I read this book greedily, thinking I knew how it would end, but I was a little disappointed with its uneventful finish, which will no doubt lead to a lot of book club discussion.  Perhaps such an ending is Tyler’s point, that sometimes the buildup to a big decision makes the day it happens kind of ordinary.

I recommend A Spool of Blue Thread to readers who like stories about families.  If you’re an Anne Tyler fan, you will enjoy this one as much as the others and look forward to the next one!

Check out The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler here.

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Who’s That Blogger? Jennifer Kelland Perry


Blogmaster:  Jennifer Kelland Perry

Blog name: Jennifer’s Journal –

Type of blog: is my author website. The blog attached to that is about writing, photography, and all things Newfoundland. I also feature my cats, Maisie and Vivian, under guest posts entitled Vivian’s View from Here.

Where in the world?  The province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.

Blogging since when? I started on New Year’s Eve, 2011.

What’s your story? (why did you start a blog?):

The idea of an online journal came to me as a way to create consistently, in the form of a poem or musing, or in small galleries of my personal, travel and local nature photography. Usually the subject of these posts focuses on something or someone I love, a topic I feel strongly about, or a place I have visited and wanted to share through pictures.

I have also reported from time to time on my first work, a coming of age novel, Calmer Girls. My hope was, by mentioning my writing project in my blog and simply putting it out there, I would become more accountable and motivated to see it through to its completion. I can say, without a doubt, the plan has been effective, as I’ve also recently completed Calmer Secrets, the sequel to Calmer Girls. It will be published on Amazon on March 21.

What types of blogs do you follow?  I follow many different types of blogs, with topics that include food, travel, cats, and lifestyle advice, but I particularly gravitate towards writing advice and book blogs.

Early bird or night owl? (how do you make time for blogging?)

I suppose you’d consider me a night owl most of the time, usually blogging late in the day, in the evening or at night. The exception to this is when I’m creating a first draft in novel writing. I find I’m more inspired to write fiction in the early hours.

Coffee or tea? Both! Coffee (black) in the morning, and green tea after that.

Most recent binge watch:   Ah yes, what everyone seems to be doing these days! My husband and I last binged on two Netflix series simultaneously: Broadchurch and The Fall. How about you, Barbara? 🙂

Check out these recent posts on Jennifer’s Journal:

Unsettled: a Calmer Girls Excerpt
Blogger Bouquet #43 featuring George from The Off Key of Life
Video: Out and About with Vivian

Want to know more about Calmer Girls? Check out my review here.

Hey bloggers!  Are you interested in expanding your blogging world?  Email to be featured on Who’s That Blogger!

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Who’s That Indie Author? A. H. Amin

Author name
:  A. H. Amin

Genre:  Recent novel:  Inspirational, Young Adult, Fantasy, Animals; Previous works: Thriller, Suspense, Fiction

Books:  (From newest to oldest). Kima, Iblis, Psych’s 1st, Psychs.

Bio: A. H. Amin is an Orthodontist by day, and a writer by night… and day. An Iraqi writer who was born abroad, and lived in more than five countries; most recently in China. He was exposed to diversity his entire life, and he embraced it as his corner stone in all his stories. At the moment, he continues to write, restore people’s smiles, practicing his Chinese Mandarin, and trying his best to stay on his diet.

Favorite thing about being a writer: My favorite thing about writing is the re-write; it’s when I revisit my story and almost feel like a stranger reading the book for the first time, while also re-shaping and polishing the rough edges of my tale… in a way it’s therapeutic.

Biggest challenge as an indie author: While most indie authors struggle with spreading their words or finding a literary agent, a pain we all share together, my challenges come from the fact that I’m also living an expatriate life since birth with no country to support me. But still, if wasn’t for that fact, I wouldn’t be blessed with materials for my stories.

Favorite book: That’s too general… I do have a special connection with one book. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one novel I won’t mind reading more than once, I’ve already read it three times. I am spell bound to this particular book in many ways that sometimes I feel that the story is about me.

Contact Information:

Blog: A.H. Amin
Twitter: @AA_psychs
Amazon:  Kima
Instagram: a_h_amin
Facebook:  @authorahamin

Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email for a bio template and other details.

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Hey indie authors – tell your story on Who’s That Indie Author!


Hey indie authors! Are you wondering how to get people to know about your books?  Tell your story on Who’s That Indie Author!

One of the greatest challenges independent authors have is promoting their books.  Some writers are so busy writing their books or working at another job they have little time left for promotions. Others are overwhelmed by the opportunities social media offers. And some writers are just uncomfortable putting themselves out there.

Whether you are uncomfortable with self-promotion or are too busy, Who’s That Indie Author is a great way to tell readers about your books.

If you would like Book Club Mom to post your profile, email me at and I’ll send you the template to complete.

Take a look at these indie author profiles:
Who’s That Indie Author Recap: Sep/Oct 2015
Who’s That Indie Author Recap: Nov/Dec 2015


Click here to read “Book publicity and marketing, what’s an indie author to do?” and join the discussion about indie author marketing and book promotion decisions.

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The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman – great movie too!

The Light Between Oceans – a great story on the pages and on the screen!


It’s a win-win when a movie adaptation is just as good as the book and I found this out when I watched The Light Between Oceans starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander.

Set on an island off Western Australia just after World War I, it’s the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife, who live alone on Janus Rock. One day, they discover a boat that has washed ashore, carrying a dead man and a crying baby.  Heartbroken over their own losses, they are faced with a decision that will shape the rest of their lives.

Despite being isolated from the world, it’s no surprise that Tom and Isabel Sherbourne’s choice ultimately affects a great many people and a complicated story emerges. It is a story of love, marriage, family and sacrifice.

Terrific filming and a great moral dilemma make this movie a satisfying tear-jerker and I felt the heartstrings being pulled from many directions.  Read the book first and watch the movie second?  I think it can be done in either order!

the light between oceans pic

Click here for a more detailed review of The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman.

What are your favorite film adaptations?

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