Sunday, 25 February 2018

Young adult horse novel

Can’t wait for the blog tour for my young adult horse novel, Rafferty Lincoln Loves... Find out more about the novel from the link below. Keep checking post for updates on blog tour dates and reviews, thank you! :-)



Review of Christopher Joyce - The Creatures of Chichester

Review of Christopher Joyce


The Creatures of Chichester - The one about the curious cloud 


As a royal prince takes his first breath, strange things happen to the Twolegs of Chichester. It's something to do with the swirling purple cloud that has suddenly appeared above the cathedral.
A little deaf girl and her pet rabbit, Plectrum, have no idea about the danger they are in - or how their lives will change forever.
Once again, Button and Stitchley, the intrepid spiders from North Street call on the creatures of Chichester to solve the mystery as they battle with the starving foxes howling in the night.
If you enjoyed The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann; your children are too old for Julia Donaldson but too young for David Walliams or Michael Morpogo then you'll love this book.

Buy the novel here

My review

I really enjoyed this lovely animal centred story which starts with a purple cloud appearing above the cathedral in Chichester, where the series is based. It’s the second book in the series that I have read and I highly recommend this fantastic set of children’s books. The mysterious cloud is causing all sorts of problems for the people and creatures of Chichester. The twoleg girl and her pet rabbit Plectrum are in danger and slowly the mystery unravels as to why, which I won't give away! This story had me on the edge of my seat, really sympathising for the creatures and their dilemma. I love how the spiders take charge and this also gives them a great status for developing a positive relationship with the audience of children. I love seeing them portrayed in a good light that will dispel any fear children may develop.

The animals were great characters and you really feel for them as their lives are changed forever by the mysterious cloud. They all have wonderful names which I know children will particularly enjoy. This is definitely a story for all those children that love animals and they'll be delighted by all the different characters and desperate to find out what happens. There is enough mystery and intrigue for any reader to enjoy.

The author has a unique talent of bringing creatures to life through strong characterisation and enables the reader to develop empathy with the characters, although the starving foxes were particularly scary! The story ends with a great moral message, which would make this a interesting discussion read for schools. It’s great that the twolegs finally listen to the animals. The story encompasses all elements from humour to mystery and makes a exciting all round read. I would highly recommend. Another great read from author Christopher Joyce and I look forward to reading more from this series. With lovely illustrations to match the story, this is a great treasure of a series to find!




About the author:

Christopher Joyce, winner of the Cornish Writing Challenge 2017, is a Twoleg from Chichester in West Sussex, England.

He has been a teacher, marketing director, waiter; once made Venetian blinds, worked in a steel works and has run a garden design business.

He has written six books about The Creatures of Chichester. The latest book - the one about the golden lake is out now. For more information visit:
www.creaturesofchichester.com or keep up to date on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/creaturesofchichester/

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Review of Castle of the Heart by Sapphire Jones

Review of 'Castle of the Heart' by Sapphire Jones



A Professor of Philosophy, with an oblivious husband and a disturbingly perceptive five-year-old daughter, Bethann is satisfied with her life. More or less . . .

She knows that the erotic and romantic fireworks of youth are just that: things we all age out of; phases we go through; dreams that we let go of.

Then, attending an academic conference—held in an island castle, on a lake, in the Italian Alps—she encounters Dov: the lover with whom she’d repeatedly played “catch and release,” in college and beyond.

For reasons both mundane and tragic, they’ve had no contact for more than ten years; it takes less than ten seconds to reignite the firestorm of their love and their passion.

In the past, they’d never been able to “make it stick.” Can they do it now? Is Bethann willing to blow up the life she’s built for herself? Can Dov surmount the scars and the wounds of his past, some of them inflicted by Bethann herself?

Or is there a 2% Solution, an erotic and romantic space that they can carve out, just for each other, during a single week, every year?


Review 

A short romance story; but don't let the erotic element in the title put you off (if you're that way inclined) as this is more of a romance than an erotic story. The erotic-ness part is rather mild but enjoyable all the same. This novel was shorter than I thought, and as a trilogy could have been made into one novel with three parts, rather than spread over three short novellas but still together as one book. That confused me. However, what is there to read is good and the novellas do flow together to form one, albeit short, novel. Perfect to fit into a short gap in the day. With my busy life, I am liking the short story more and more at the moment. Especially a good one that passes the time easily, so this was perfect for that.

Witty and amusing, the story will have you laughing out loud from the outset. The author has an excellent grasp of dialogue and uses this well throughout the novel. The momentum and pace are excellent. Great idea for a story and well-written, the plot keeps the pages turning. This has an excellent premise for a full-length novel. I won't keep banging on about the length, but because I was enjoying the read so much, I didn't want it to end so soon!

Enjoyable read and if you're looking for a short romance with a hint of eroticism to fill a moment in the day, this trilogy is for you.

Review of 'A Queen's spy' by Sam Burnell

Review of 'A Queen's spy' by Sam Burnell




 “It combines murder, mystery, and intrigue in a most masterful way.” Rita Kroon - Author of "Letters from the Past"

As Tudor England erupts following the death of Edward VI, can one young spy protect his queen? International bestselling author Sam Burnell takes us deep into the treacherous world of powerful monarchs, intrigue, murder, and treason with this magnificent new epic, A Queen’s Spy.


In 1553, England is torn apart by religious conflict. Power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and commoners clash, testing friendship, loyalty, and brotherly love.

Richard Fitzwarren, caught in the middle of a cruel family feud, wants nothing more than to make his own way in the world. A childhood friend of the Princess Elizabeth, he cannot forget his loyalty in her time of need. Pressured by her sister, Mary, Elizabeth’s continued existence remains precarious throughout her reign. The divide between Catholic Mary and Anne Boleyn’s Protestant daughter Elizabeth is a deep one.

Jack Fitzwarren, Richard’s displaced bastard brother, seeks a place at his brother’s side. Impulsive and hot headed, his attempts to gain his brother’s acceptance and approval often end badly.

Finally the brothers are brought head to head when Richard tries to foil a plot against Elizabeth. Will Richard accept his fate and fight? Or will he run? Can Jack murder his brother to save a woman he’s never met?


My review

History novels aren't the genre of novel I'd usually read, however, this story swept me in straight away and I was hooked. Although the plot was a little confusing at times and I had to re-read or stop until I had more concentration, once focused I was immersed in the storyline. A developmental editor could easily sort out these dips in the plot and provide a smoother read, but as it is, it is still a very enjoyable story. Tudor fans probably wouldn't struggle with this as would have more of a clue than I about the period in history. The characters are well portrayed and with depth, especially the Fitzwarren family. The teenage Catherine is developed well and is an interesting character and a definite highlight of the story. 

The author has a talent for writing vivid fight scenes that keep you gripped! There is plenty of history in the novel to keep historical readers going as the book develops and plenty of intrigue for readers like me. With a few tweaks here and there this novel has the making of a good solid read and I think readers would enjoy this and others in the series.


About the author...


Sam Burnell lives in the North East of England and has had a passion for history and archaeology all her adult life. Originally trained as a Solicitor, whilst studying for a law degree at Durham University she discovered a love for legal history. Various jobs followed, including researcher for a local museum, public sector audit work and finally now running her own successful scuba diving business both on-line and in a bricks and mortar store. During a career break a return to University was possible where she studied Archaeology, and Sam is never happier then when she's stood in a castle wondering what when and why and trying to unlock the secrets in the stones.

Sam Burnell's passion is the Tudor period, and her fiction is meticulously researched, and her historical fiction has the true flavour of the period. The Tudor period is replete with mystery and intrigue ready to be turned into entertaining fiction that also provides the reader with a greater insight into the history of the period.

'The Tudor Heresy,' serves as an introduction to Sam Burnell's Novel 'A Queen's Spy,' and provides an opener to the series and an introduction to the main characters in the series. The next book in the series, 'A Queen's Traitor,' will be available in September 2017.

Her favorite reading material would be Phillipa Gregory, CJ Sansom and Alison Weir, all Tudor historical fiction, and medieval mysteries and medieval fiction.

Sam Burnell loves to hear from her readers and if you have any comments please leave a review on Amazon, or email her at samburnell@hotmail.co.uk.
 

Friday, 23 February 2018

Review of 'Through the Mind's Eye' by Joseph Willson

 Review of 'Through the Mind's Eye' by J.P. Willson


Depression, self-loathing, unemployment, and destroyed relationships: the effects of drug and alcohol addiction run so much deeper than the morning-after hangover. However, awareness alone will not save the struggling addict, as J.P. Willson reveals in his fearless examination of substance dependency; recovery means doing the mental and emotional work to look inside oneself and discover a way to live as a sober, fulfilled individual in an often challenging world.

Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery is a thought-provoking and honest examination of the emotional, psychological, and physical ways someone must enact their own healing. As a recovering alcoholic, Willson courageously shares his own story of addiction, as well the ups and downs he experienced along the road to recovery. Packed with astonishing insights about our culture’s relationship to alcohol, as well as the lies we tell ourselves in order to keep using, this book will change the way you view addiction. Willson has no qualms about telling the reader how difficult recovery is—and how there is no quick cure-all—but his compassionate, candid reflections help foster the knowledge and will to change.

My review

This was a very raw and honest story of self-discovery. Sometimes difficult to read due to its ups and downs harrowing content and ebb and flow style, this story follows the authors own struggles when battling addiction. It is blunt and vivid with no holds barred, if you want to know about the darkest depths of addiction then this book is for you. But also there is hope and the author leads you on a story of self-discovery as he battles with his recovery from alcoholism.

An insightful read and would be an inspiration for anyone going through the journey themselves and acknowledging the immense difficulties along the way. This book is about personal experience and therefore could be different for other individuals. However, could also be a useful read for those with relatives and friends going through similar issues so can understand from an insiders perspective about what is going on. Although it comes across as a manual in style at times, its the personal touches that make this book what it is. A courageous book to write by the author.


About the author: 

J.P. Willson is a writer and chef living on the west coast of Canada. Growing up as the shy, quiet child in a large middle-class family, he has always been an observer, a thinker, and a wonderer. He has worked as a Red Seal chef for twenty-five years, and is highly skilled in his trade. However, despite his accomplishments, his life has not been easy. J.P. struggled with alcoholism for nearly thirty years, which resulted in homelessness, unemployment, loneliness, and spiralling depression. Having done the soul-searching and continuing work required for recovery, J.P. decided to share his experience and knowledge to help others along their own journeys. Through the Mind's Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery is his first publication. J.P. is deeply grateful for the love and support of his family, counsellors, and friends....

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Review of 'The Pas De Deux'

Review of 'The Pas De Deux' by Erin Bomboy

Dance.
That was their instruction.
But fate tripped them up, and they fell in love.
  
Under the fluorescent sun of ‘80s Hollywood, aging ballerina Peridot “Peri” Jones and her new partner, young Mark Maroulis, Jr., ignite a chemistry onstage that brings a dying ballet company back to life.
Although wary of their age difference, they begin a highly charged love affair offstage. They keep the romance a secret because artistic director Mr. D considers Peri to be his. When Mr. D discovers their relationship, he wrenches Mark and Peri far apart. Will they be able to dance themselves back together?
Lyrical and poignant, the story unfolds through the structure of a classical ballet grand pas de deux. It delves into themes of toxic masculinity, the sacrifices that art exacts from its practitioners, and the challenges of an inverse May/December relationship.
The Pas de Deux combines the classical ballet setting of Billy Elliot and Astonish Me (Maggie Shipstead) with the upside-down romance of On the Island (Tracey Garvis-Graves). It draws parallels among three genocides of the 20th century—Armenia, AIDS, and the Holocaust—and a suggestion rooted in dance practices to address intolerance.

My review

What a beautiful story and so delicately told. It is a sad story covering difficult themes, which draws you into the characters lives instantly. I really connected with the character of Peri and felt the chemistry develop between her and Mark as the story progresses. I'm not one for enjoying ballet or dance usually, but despite that I found this to be an extremely interesting and enjoyable story. 

The writer clearly has a brilliant grasp on the subject matter which flings you right into the heart of the dance. This is a story with a harrowing issues raised about the stigma of the time. Enthralling read and I recommend this to both dance and non-dance readers.
 

About the author:


Erin Bomboy trained as a classical ballet dancer before spending a decade as a professional ballroom dancer. She works as a writer, editor, and teacher in the dance field in New York City where she lives with her husband and daughter. In her free time, Erin enjoys bacon, books, cats, and wine. 

Author Interview
  
What draws you to this genre?
  
Romance embodies the Hegelian dialectic, which is a super fancy way of saying the genre presents two contradictory worldviews (the hero and heroine’s) and then unifies them. This is why some of my favorite novels (from Pride and Prejudice to A Knight in Shining Armor) are romances.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
  
Accurately portraying the ‘80s. While the decade isn’t that far away, it took a lot of research to ensure everything from clothing to a Guns N’ Roses show that occurs at climactic moment was period appropriate.

Why do you write?
  
Fiction offers access to another person’s headspace, which can broaden our understanding of what makes somebody tick. I consider dance to be my genre, and that allows me enormous leeway in tone, content, and style in all my books.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Review of Chantelle Atkins - This Is The Day

Review of Chantelle Atkins - This Is The Day



At the age of sixteen, Danny was sent to prison for committing a violent and brutal crime. Eight years later he is released, determined to put his disturbing past behind him.
He wants to lead a normal, decent life, with the friends who stuck by him and his teenage sweetheart Lucy.
Life is complicated enough, and he soon realises the past has not finished with him yet. His loved ones have all been damaged in different ways by his crime, a nosy reporter is desperate to hear the whole sordid story, and someone else does not think he has been punished enough. As a sinister hate campaign starts to target him and the people he loves, Danny is forced to face the reality of the decision he made eight years ago. Who is out to get him, and what do they want?

This Is The Day is the sequel to The Boy With The Thorn In His Side.


My review 

I love returning to characters that I know well, and slipped back easily into this story. This sequel is every bit as good as the first novel and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Danny again. The author portrays such vivid characters and rich descriptions. Gripping and effortless read, this book will certainly keep the pages turning. There were so many questions raised about Danny and his family as the story progresses and I couldn't wait to find out what happens next. Tense and emotional, it makes you think about your own choices in life.

I have been a fan of all of Atkins' novels and this is just as good as the rest. I love that Danny wants to put the past behind him and was desperate for him to succeed. I was caught up with the plot of this story and couldn't put it down until I'd finished. Another great read by Atkins. I look forward to her next.

About the author:




 Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to both reading and music, and is on a mission to become as self-sufficient as possible. She writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere.