Hushed by Joanne Macgregor


Hushed by Joanne Macgregor

“Hush!” she hisses at me so loudly that the bearded dragon flinches and starts bobbing his head in agitation.

Hushed, a contemporary romantic retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, is a feel-good, light-hearted, fun read.

“Are you saying there were sharks in that water?”

Set in South Africa’s beautiful Western Cape, the story includes a vital environmental message which packs a punch without being preachy.The few South African words scattered throughout the story adds to its authenticity and don’t worry there is a helpful glossary for those who have yet to experience our unique blend of colloquialisms.

The sky surrenders its last blush, the clouds smudge charcoal against the deepening wash of indigo…

While the characters are post-school, I think Hush reads more like YA (Young Adult).

The trick in life, I think, is to figure out what you truly want and then go all out to get it.

I had a little trouble with…

Spoiler Alert!!

I had a little trouble marrying the Romy in the beginning where she goes a bit overboard on fangirling to her rather more practical and down-to-earth character for the rest of the story.


“No. She told me to keep my mouth shut and my eyes open.”

and I thought…

Spoiler Alert!!

I thought it rather sad that Romy had little connection with her best friend while she was in a relationship.


…”And thank you for saving me. I enjoyed it enormously. Except for the screaming in the cemetery…”

An overall beautifully unique retelling. The perfect summer reading for those in the Northern Hemisphere. And to us down south – A #ProudlySouthAfrican celebration of one of our most talented authors and an irresistible corner of our country. Don’t miss this book.
4 Star


Title: Hushed 

Author: Joanne Macgregor 

Publication Date: 26 March 2017

Publisher: Joanne Macgregor 

Source: Review copy


Purchase this book

Book Depository

Add to your shelf:



18-year-old Romy Morgan desperately longs to escape the boring future her parents have planned for her, and explore the world.

When she saves her celebrity crush, superstar Logan Rush, from drowning, Romy is offered a job as his personal assistant. She strikes a deal to reinvent herself in exchange for entering the exciting world of the movies, and love sparks between her and this prince of Hollywood. But Romy soon discovers that she has traded her voice and identity for an illusion of freedom.

When she discovers a dreadful secret with the power to destroy Logan, Romy must choose between love, revenge and finding her own, true element. — Abstract from

The fact that I received a review copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

The First Time I Died by Jo Macgregor

The First Time I Died

The First Time I Died by Jo Macgregor

Outside myself, I saw my body drifting in the black water, still as death.

The prologue sets the atmosphere, and it wasn’t long before I was falling headfirst into the story.

First-time nerves. Next time I die, I’ll be sure to take detailed notes…

So captivating, I read deep into the night not able to stop until I knew… I had to know.

A prickle of primitive fear rippled up my spine.

Flirting back and forth between past and present keeps the mystery alive, as does Jo MacGregor’s careful and analytic writing.

And if I had my way, I’d never come back.

I loved the paranormal element, it added to the tension and rounded out the characters.

Feeling the pull of the pond, it’s frigid, watery kiss, the embracing darkness.

Jo Macgregor’s adult psychological thrillers are dark and this one is no exception, although admittedly being more of a mystery thriller it’s not quite as dark as her first Dark Whispers which I still get shivers when I think of it.

If you have only read her YA books (written as Joanne Macgregor) and you definitely should if you haven’t, you’ll be surprised at how dark her writing can get, and I love it! Links to my reviews: Recoil Trilogy (dystopian)The Law of Tall Girls – my favourite! and Scarred (contemporary), Hushed (retelling)

We have all heard the saying you should write about things you know, and again Jo Macgregor’s career as a psychologist shines through her new book. She shared her thoughts on this in a guest post earlier this year.4 star tiny flash reviews



Title: The First Time I Died 

The First Time I Died

Series: Garnet McGee # 1

Author: Jo Macgregor

Publication Date: October 8th 2018

Publisher: Jo Macgregor

Source: Review copy


Purchase this book



Add to your shelf:



The first time I died, I didn’t come back alone. 

When Garnet McGee returns to her small Vermont hometown for the holidays, she vows to solve the mystery of the murder which shattered her life ten years ago. 

But then the unexpected happens — she dies in an accident and gets brought back to life by paramedics. 

Now she’s hearing words, seeing visions and experiencing strange sensations. Are these merely symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and an over-active imagination, or is she getting messages from a paranormal presence? 

Garnet has always prided herself on being logical and rational, but trying to catch a killer without embracing her shadow self is getting increasingly difficult. And dangerous, because in a town full of secrets, it seems like everybody has a motive for murder.— Abstract from

Joanne MacGregor – Author Guest Post & Giveaway

Joanne MacGregor

Joanne MacGregor, one of South Africa’s favourite authors, meets us today to describe what her qualifications and experience as a clinical psychologist brings to her writing.

I love Joanne’s books and am always anticipating the next one. To see why I love them check out my reviews of my favourites: The Law of Tall GirlsRecoilScarred and Hushed.

Thank you, Joanne, for guest posting on Crushingcinders.


Meet Joanne MacGregor

Joanne MacGregor


Writers always bring themselves — their hopes, fears, experiences — to their stories, and I am no exception. By profession, I’m a Counselling Psychologist in private practice, dealing primarily with adult victims of crime and trauma. It’s tough work and to combat creeping burnout, I started writing fiction several years ago.

I think that being a psychologist helps me have a deeper understanding of human nature and the problems that can occur. Many of my characters (like many people in real life) have problems of, for example, anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress. And I think I write more accurately about this because I know what it looks and feels like. I think (I hope!) that my writing, guided by my learning and experience, is deeper, more nuanced, more complex and realistic when it comes to psychological issues.

Because I live in a society with high rates of inter-personal violence, I’ve heard the accounts of people who’ve experienced the real thing (or have relatives who have). I no longer have the stomach for graphic violence in books — the sort of “torture porn” that puts you in an almost complicit ride-along with the evil serial killer as he mutilates and brutalizes. I won’t write those books either. Rather, I like to explore the character’s life and psyche after the event, showing the psychological and emotional consequences that victims of trauma are left to deal with. This aspect is often neglected in genre fiction — too often characters are bereaved, tortured, assaulted and experience all kinds of dramatic agonies, but are up and running, and pretty much back to normal by the next chapter. Take it from someone who listens to pain for a living: that’s not how it works in real life.

My own training and experience as a psychologist obviously also influences how I write therapy scenes in my fiction — those, too, are regularly portrayed in very inaccurate ways in fiction.

While my characters are informed by my knowledge of personality types, psychological traumas and psychopathology in general, I’m religious about keeping the specifics of my therapeutic work and my fiction-writing completely separate. My clients’ confidences are sacrosanct – they go into a locked vault in my brain and will never appear in one of my fictional characters or stories. What happens in therapy stays in therapy! I have no difficulty keeping them separate. My parallel jobs of writer and psychologist occupy very different head-spaces in me. I do them in separate physical locations, use different parts of my brain, and even do them on different days of the week.

I do get a kick out of writing characters who are psychologists, and who are not themselves unhinged, callous, or unprofessional in any of the clichéd ways so popular in fiction and Hollywood tropes. My psychologists are ethical experts, though flawed and inevitably impacted by the weight of the pain and cruelty they hear and absorb on a daily basis. It has always bothered me that psychologists in books and movies are so often portrayed as severely dysfunctional, sexually predatory and unethical. Most of us are really nice, compassionate, responsible and (mostly) sane professionals!

Joanne Macgregor  (Author, Psychologist)


Dark Whispers

Joanne MacGregor


Joanne’s latest book is an adult thriller called Dark Whispers and is on sale on Amazon for 99c (US).  This sale ends on Sunday 29 May 2018.


Between the anaesthesia and the awakening, are the dark whispers…

When a patient in hypnosis describes an experience of mental torture and physical mutilation at the hands of a doctor, psychologist Megan Wright decides to investigate. Determined to find out the truth and stop the abuse, but bound to silence by the ethics of confidentiality, Megan will need to confront the dark mind of a dangerously disturbed man in a deadly battle of wits and wills. – abstract from


The Giveaway

Please note that the book Joanne MacGregor is giving away is an adult thriller and not suitable for young readers.

Giveaway 1 (open internationally)

Joanne MacGregor is giving away 2 ebook copies of her new book, Dark Whispers (an Adult Thriller).

Giveaway 2 (open to South African Residents only)

Joanne MacGregor is giving away 1 print copy of her new book Dark Whispers (an Adult Thriller) to a South African resident with a local postal address.

To Enter

To enter the giveaway answer the following question in the comments. Entries close Sunday 6 May 2018 at 24h00 South African time UTC+2

Joanne MacGregor

South African residents please let us know in the comments that you are #proudlySouthAfrican to be eligible to win the print copy.


The scenario in Dark Whispers is of slipping into helpless unconsciousness, knowing you’re at the mercy of a monster. That’s a scary situation! What scares you?


Book Teaser: Recoil by Joanne Macgregor

 Book Teaser: Recoil by Joanne Macgregor

 Book Teaser: Recoil by Joanne Macgregor

Book Teaser: Recoil by Joanne Macgregor


Recoil by Joanne Macgregor is due for release on 14 May 2016.

I am so fortunate to have an ARC and I can’t put it down. If Recoil is not on your TBR list add it now!

There’s more than one enemy and more than one war. The Game is real. Three years after a series of terrorist attacks flooded the US with a lethal plague, society has changed radically.  – abstract from

The teasers…

As gently as though I was touching a raw wound, I squeezed back on the trigger. The recoiling rifle stock slammed into my shoulder. A vicious expletive from down the avenue told me I’d hit something.

“What the hell did you do, Blue?” he said. His voice was a mixture of amazement and confusion.
“I took the shot,” I said, closing the distance of the last few metres to Sarge and Leya.


My full review of Recoil and the sequel Refuse.

Other books by Joanne Macgregor: Scarred, The Law of Tall Girls & Hushed.

Teaser Tuesday reduced


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. Head over to her blog to see what she’s reading.

Alphabetical List of Book Reviews by Author

Alphabetical List of Book Reviews by Author A Cecelia Ahern Flawed Rachael Allen A Taxonomy of Love Adi Alsaid Let’s Get Lost Laurie Halse Anderson The Impossible Knife of Memory Lawrence Anthony The Elephant Whisperer Heather Anastasiu Glitch Jodi Lynn Anderson Midnight at the Electric  Jennifer L. Armentrout Don’t Look Back Elana K. Arnold Infandous Jay Asher The Future of

» Read more
1 2