Sunday, 23 July 2017

Latest review for Letters to Eloise


Review from Books in my Handbag Blog



Thank you so much to Jessie for the lovely review for Letters to Eloise on her fab blog 'Books in my Handbag Blog'. I do treasure each and every review. Thank you!! Visit Jessie's fabulous book blog below to explore other books she keeps in her handbag!



See the review below and see other books in Jessie's handbag:

http://jessiecahalin.com/my-reading/#LettersEloise

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Letters to Eloise FREE on Amazon!

Only a few hours left on offer!!


Letters to Eloise is FREE today! Don't miss out. Need a holiday read? This love story will win you over. Click on the link below to Amazon and download now for FREE!


Letters to Eloise is the incredibly warm, witty, poignant and heart-wrenching debut epistolary novel by bestselling author Emily Williams; a love story of misunderstandings, loss, and betrayal but ultimately the incredible bond between mother and child.



http://amzn.eu/2HUyeZk

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Download Letters to Eloise for FREE today!

Only a few hours left on offer!!


Letters to Eloise is FREE today! Don't miss out. Need a holiday read? This love story will win you over. Click on the link below to Amazon and download now for FREE!


Letters to Eloise is the incredibly warm, witty, poignant and heart-wrenching debut epistolary novel by bestselling author Emily Williams; a love story of misunderstandings, loss, and betrayal but ultimately the incredible bond between mother and child.



http://amzn.eu/2HUyeZk

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Review - Using dictation software to write again

Please Dragon help me write again!

For those who are regulars to my blog you maybe aware that I suffer from numerous joint/wrist complaints. After a car accident (as the pedestrian) over ten years ago and then a riding accident several years ago, I have suffered from numerous injuries in my arms/hands such as tendinitis, recurring nerve problems, joint cysts, cubital tunnel syndrome and now investigations into rhuematoid arthritis/autoimmue disease. Writing is a challenge. More than a challenge most days. But I'm a writer and that won't change. I need to write. I need to get those thoughts from my head, so I have looked for solutions.

Software for speech recognition has been suggested and I have being researching into this. Reviews are mixed, but I was willing to give anything a try. So far I have been practising using the downloadable free software onto my Iphone. I wanted to get a feel for dictating before I invested more in this idea and purchased the computer package (which has questionable reviews). Here are my findings from the Dragon dictate app for Iphone.

Review into Nuance Dragon Dictation App

I'm going to divide this review into pros and cons, which I feel suits this review better, with an overview of the results are the bottom.

Pros
  • I don't have to use my arms at all. Well that is the theory, not in practise yet. Only my thumb for copying and pasting the finished writing into what ever program I'd like it in e.g. email or text message or copied across to put into word
  • My voice seemed to work well with the app and there were few words 'substituted' when the program wasn't sure what I said.
  • You can talk faster than you can type so should produce quicker writing, however see below in cons as it doesn't work this way.
  • I can write anywhere that I have my phone.
Cons
  • The large amount of errors. Apparently this will improve as I get used to using the program and more competent. However at the moment a lot of time is spent going back to correct the errors, which means using my hands.
  • Having to remember to say ALL the punctuation. This is very time consuming and slows down the writing considerably.
  • Writing speech marks etc is very difficult due to the punctuation.
  • Stilts the thought processes. I found it hard to make the writing flow. I have to concentrate too much on remembering to say things (punctuation) that the writing became stilted. This wasn't such a problem for emails and texts and shorter passages of text.
  • Speaking out loud seems to limit my creativity. Hopefully again this will improve as I get used to the software.
Dragon Dictation is FREE in the Iphone app store or can be purchased on Amazon at:
http://amzn.eu/fOtMCoh
Warning: Make sure the version that you buy is compatible for your software/computer.
Next steps and verdict

This is the best recommended speech software out there but at the moment I'm not completely sold that it will help solve my problems. The software has clitches that if dont improve over time and gaining competency, mean I would use my arms nearly as much as I would before or would make writing twice as time consuming. My next steps are to try the software on my laptop to make it easier to write larger passages of text for example during my novel writing processes. If Stephen King can apparently do it, so can I! And if it works, it will open the whole world up again for my writing. So watch out, my novels will come thick and fast!

If you have had any experiences with this software, I'd love your thoughts in the comments below.

Letters to Eloise my debut is available to download on KindleUnlimited or on ebook/paperback here:
http://amzn.eu/cTRL8Yy



Book review of Fun and Games at the Zoo by Kevin Price

Review of 'Fun and Games at the Zoo' by Kevin Price


We were lucky enough to meet the lovely author Kevin Price at the South of England showground and he kindly signed the books to our son Elliot. (We felt guilty afterwards as we'd totally forgotten about our daughter, so she missed out on having her name there too! Oh well, if she asks, we'll tell her she wasn't born at the time we went to the show!). Our son loves to roar extremely loudly whenever the book is near as Kevin Price wrote 'How loud can you roar?' when he signed the book!

Our son loves the books. Anything to do with animals and he gets excited. Zoo animals are particular favourites. Add in a dinosaur and you may have him hooked for life! This review is for 'Fun and Games at the Zoo' but we will also review the other book we bought, 'Feeding time at the Zoo', at a later date. Both were real winners.

The review




A fun, rhyming story featuring the popular Maisie and Bertie characters from The Beauty Contest at the Zoo
Children can join in with the games that Maisie and Bertie play with the animals; they can race with the cheetah, bounce with the kangaroo, swing through the trees with the chimpanzees, roar with the lion, dive with the penguins, pull funny faces with the monkeys, hang upside down with the fruit bats, slide down the elephant's trunk, and roll with the porcupines before snuggling up with the bear in his den at bedtime.

We quickly realised that this is not a book to read at bedtime. For once, our son became far too excited and secondly, the book has various actions on each page that you just have to get involved with. Perfect for rolling around hilariously on the floor being an animal! Cries of 'again, again', would come after each action. Without giving away too much of the plot, the story will have you running, jumping and climbing...be warned!

A lovely story follows the energetic actions. If the actions put you off, just ignore the action box or cover it with hand (if your children are young enough to be fooled!) and you're still left with an entertaining story that you'll want to read again and again. Elliot loved the porcupines although he called them 'hedgehogs'! Luckily the book ends with a snuggle down in bed for a nice rest as the bear goes to sleep in his den.. A great idea for calming down the little ones and trying to encourage bedtime (if you've made the mistake of choosing to read it then!).

We thoroughly enjoyed this charming book. I am so glad we bumped into Kevin at the show, thank you! We are really looking forward to your next books and hope to meet you again at the show next year to buy our signed copies!

We will be reviewing this book, by Kevin Price, next on the blog


More about the author
Kevin Price hasn’t always been a children’s author. In fact, until very recently he was the Managing Director of a company that supplies construction materials, having spent his working life in the construction industry. However, after the loss of his much-loved daughter Maisie, he found that writing poetry helped him to express his grief. One day it was suggested that he should have a go at writing a children’s story. Having spent a week or two thinking about this, Kevin sat down and wrote his first rhyming story, The Beauty Contest at the Zoo. This would become a book which features Maisie as one of the central characters and provides a lasting celebration of her short life.

Having written the draft for The Beauty Contest at the Zoo, Kevin spent the next few weeks writing solidly and many more stories and rhymes appeared, including The Silly Solar System and Crazy Creepy Crawlies, both of which have become books in their own right.

Kevin has now left the construction industry and is a full time children’s author and the proprietor of KAMA Publishing. He plans to publish many more books in the near future, including more zoo stories which feature Maisie and her father Bertie and sequels to The Silly Solar System and Crazy Creepy Crawlies.

Review of Jungle Jam in Brazil

 Read with Mummy review 

Review of Jungle Jam in Brazil by Louise and Noam Lederman - with many thanks to the authors for the lovely picture book copies of Jungle Jam and Jungle Jam in Brazil.



 "The band is getting ready for their biggest show yet. They are going to Brazil in a jumbo jet." Gina the Giraffe loves being part of the Jungle Jam band but she is nervous about leaving her home and trying new things. Follow Gina on her courageous journey and learn about the fabulous music and culture of Brazil. This sweet, captivating rhyming book is designed for young children as an introduction to new sounds, cultures and musical instruments. Jungle Jam in Brazil shows children that they can do anything they want if they simply try their best and be 'brave and strong'.

We were thrilled to receive both Jungle Jam books through the post. My two children were delighted when the books arrived and couldn't wait to get stuck in. What a lovely treat it was for us to receive these lovely books. Animal books are always a favourite with the children.

Excited to have the first book Jungle Jam

We have read and reviewed the first in this series 'Jungle Jam' and are pleased to bring to you the review of the second book in the series 'Jungle Jam in Brazil.' In this book it follows the same beloved characters from the first book, with gorgeous bright coloured illustrations. 

As we were already familiar with the characters, this book felt like coming home to old family friends. We settled down with the book and immensely enjoyed it. My son was thrilled by the music and culture of Brazil. Although he's possibly a little young, at two, this delightful rhyming book had us hooked and learning. We followed the story learning all about new sounds and musical instruments as Gina the giraffe learns to be brave. The spot the instrument game at the end was a lovely touch. My son loved naming the different instruments as he found them hidden in the picture.

A lovely story to tell children. I'm sure we'll be reading this again and again, and we'll be looking out for any more in this series.

Buy the book here: http://amzn.eu/0Zv9xlK

Book review - The Art of Hiding - Amanda Prowse

I was delighted to receive an advance review copy of this fabulous new book by Amanda Prowse. I have read several of Amanda's books and this book met my high expectations. It was deliciously and heart breakingly good! The Art of Hiding is out on the 18th July.



Nina McCarrick has it all: a loving husband, two beautiful boys, a well-appointed home and more time than she knows what to do with. Life is perfect. Until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.
Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.
But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.


Review of The Art of Hiding

The story follows Nina and her perfect life which unravels after her husband is killed in a car accident. I loved the character Nina. I totally invested in her during the novel, and cried along with her at the turmoil her life after Finn was killed. Prowse writes with such strong emotion, it's hard not to be deeply affected by the plot. The marriage between Nina and Finn is perfect, although we don't know Finn that well, which makes my sadness for Nina and her lovely children rather than for Finn as a character. I did feel I'd missed out on knowing Finn apart from in Nina's reflections.

A fantastic novel to delve into what makes you really happy in life. Very thought provoking. Prowse has again created a novel packed with high emotion and fast paced to keep me gripped right until the last pages. Despite the sadness of the storyline, I was left feeling an optimistic hope. Prowse is a gifted storyteller and I cant wait until her next one.

Thank you to NetGallery for the copy.

Pre-order a copy of this novel here: http://amzn.eu/fYFZ6LZ

About the author


Amanda Prowse likens her own life story to those she writes about in her books. After self-publishing her debut novel, Poppy Day, in 2011, she has gone on to author sixteen novels and six novellas. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and she regularly tops bestseller charts all over the world.
Remaining true to her ethos, Amanda writes stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined. The most prolific female contemporary fiction writer in the UK, with a legion of loyal readers, she goes from strength to strength. Being crowned ‘queen of domestic drama’ by the Daily Mail was one of her finest moments.

Amanda is a regular contributor on TV and radio but her first love is and will always be writing.

You can find her online at www.amandaprowse.com, on Twitter @MrsAmandaProwse, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amandaprowsenogreaterlove.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Parliament of the Profane

Book review of The Parliament of the Profane by Justin Bohardt


I wasn't sure about the title of this novel and when reading the book, I still wasn't sure the title totally sold the novel in it's best light i.e as a superhero novel. However, I enjoyed the novel far more than I thought I would. I love superheroes (though mainly from films not from reading) and I did find myself getting sucked into the storyline quickly. I find superhero powers and strengths fascinating to learn about. It was well-written and absorbing. There were some minor editorial/proofreading issues that could be addressed quickly in further revisions. The high amount of sexual violence in the book did throw me at some points, as often it didn't move the story forward and could have been toned down or avoided. However, I understand that this is just the nature of the book, just not for me!

I'm not sure I fit totally into the box that this book was aimed at therefore I will give my opinions on how the book met it's intended audience. This book would be right up the street of a superhero/comic fan. It was face paced, graphic and violent. I did find myself totally confused at several points, but fans of how superhero comics are written maybe able to understand the flashback style. The plot had enough action and adventure to keep me going right till the end.

Overall, for a comic book fan, this book would hit the mark. Despite not being this, I did enjoy reading the novel and that is down to the authors engaging and fast, action packed style of writing.

Buy the novel here:http://a.co/93KhXU4

More about the author:



Justin Bohardt became a writer because he realized early in life that creating alternative realities was infinitely preferably than living in the existing one. A former reporter, he moonlights as an auditor for a Fortune 100 insurance company while crafting new worlds in every second of free time that he can find.

He is the author of the Parliament of the Profane trilogy, the ongoing Invasion of Miraval series, and 111 Souls. His fiction has appeared in magazines such as Hungur, Outposts of the Beyond, Potter’s Field, The Drabbler, and Micro 100; while his poetry has been featured in Scifaikuest, Aoife’s Kiss, The Martian Wave, and Champagne Shivers. Bohardt also contributes to the occasional trade publication and teaches the occasional class. He resides in Iowa with his family.

Please visit him online at: http://gggeflat.wix.com/justinbohardt
On Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/theauthorJustinBohardt/
Follow him on Twitter- @gggeflat

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Review of Madam Tulip by David Ahern

Book review of Madam Tulip by David Ahern


Out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell is young, talented, a teeny bit psychic … and broke. Spurred on by an ultimatum from her awesomely high-achieving mother, and with a little help from her theatrical friends, Derry embarks on a part-time career as Madam Tulip, fortune-teller to the rich and famous. But at her first fortune-telling gig - a celebrity charity weekend in a castle - a famous rap artist will die.

As Derry is drawn deeper into a seedy world of celebrities, supermodels and millionaires, she finds herself playing the most dangerous role of her acting life. Trapped in a maze of intrigue, money and drugs, Derry's attempts at amateur detective could soon destroy her friends, her ex-lover, her father and herself.

Madame Tulip is the first in a series of Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

I found this story a great fun crime read. I'm not usually a crime fan (I mainly read literary/romance) but I was drawn in by the storyline and really warmed to the characters as the novel progresses. This is the first book in the Madam Tulip stories and I am already looking forward to reading the next in the series!

I liked Derry and her alter ego Madam Tulip. I was worried about the fortune telling/psychic element, and how much this would impact into the story (and take it into the realms of ridiculous) but pleased this was toned down during her crime solving days. A thrilling read that kept me on my toes right until the end. This is a carefully constructed read with enough twists and turns; Ahern writes well. I really got a sense of place from the Irish setting to the novel. Ahern also writes his secondary characters in great thoughtful depth, with Derry's parents taking a charming part in the story.

Enjoyable fun crime solving read for readers looking for a lighter crime novel.

Buy the novel here:  http://amzn.eu/131ceQi

More about the author:  


David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate and taught in major Universities but could never explain to his granny why he didn’t own a stethoscope. Finding the challenge of pretending to know things exhausting, David Ahern shaved off his beard and absconded once more, this time to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series. He won numerous awards but found nobody was much impressed. For want of a better plan, David Ahern took to writing fiction. Madame Tulip isn’t his first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’s ever had with a computer. He is now writing the third in the series and enjoys pretending that this activity is actual work. David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud. Why not sign up for the Madam Tulip Newsletter to hear about new releases, launches and everything Tulip? 

You can connect with David Ahern on his website, on Facebook and on Twitter www.davidahern.info https://www.facebook.com/davidahernwriter https://www.twitter.com/daveahernwriter

Book review - Watermarked by Jessica Titone

Book review of Watermarked by Jessica Titone


Jack Keller lives by the book. His primary goal has always been to make his parents proud, from excelling at childhood piano lessons to writing for the school paper and graduating with honors. Nearing the end of his college career, Jack meets Audrey at a party. She fits nicely into his picture of a perfect life. As Audrey begins to deteriorate, Jack finds out how much he’s willing to sacrifice to save her.

Audrey Beck is starting over. Leaving her demons behind in England, she accepts a photography scholarship in New York City and falls in love with the honest and kind Jack Keller. She’s happier than she’s ever been, but “happy” has never been Audrey’s strong suit. She wishes she could be more like her beautiful and bold flat mate, Ray.

Ray Rossi is a party girl who hasn’t quite managed to grow up. At her father’s request, she’s working on a business degree at NYU, but has never seen herself as the “office” type. When Ray was sixteen, her mother died and took with her Ray’s dream of being a professional dancer. Even now, ballet remains only thing she’s ever truly loved – except maybe Flynn.

Flynn Conlon is good at two things: making paintings and bedding pretty girls. In his loft overlooking the Hudson, he’s cultivated a bachelor lifestyle that effectively masks the wounds of an old love affair and his secret addiction. But all of his hard work could be destroyed the moment that Ray inserts herself into his life.

Watermarked chronicles a year in the life of four twenty-something New Yorkers as they forge emotional connections and meet the future head on.



When I read the blurb of this book, I knew I would enjoy reading the story and glad it didn't disappoint my high expectations!. I like literary fiction with its own unique quirkiness (as this is the style I like to write in) so the format drew me in straight way.

I loved the style of this novel, told by four different people. The novel captures the gritty real life situations that these unique characters face. The characters all had their individual flaws that I found made them more realistic and endearing. Although I did find it hard to warm to the immature Ray. The story totally sucks you into the New York City world, and I enjoyed being part of this world. I found Watermarked to be a thoughtful read, seeing how your actions not only affect others but how they are seen in others eyes. Sometimes this way of portraying the characters POV makes you lose the overarching storyline, but I enjoyed how I was able to see the characters from views of others and think the author worked hard to keep the thread of the story alive.

I would have liked to have seen more romance develop as this was truly gritty and painful at times to see how the characters muddle their way through their lives, however maybe this would have made the book lose its impact on me. The end did leave me still having questions and wanting to know more, but maybe there is a sequel on its way.

Good, thoughtful read and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Buy the novel here: http://amzn.eu/bNdgwxA


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Book Review - Read with Mummy - Jungle Jam

Read with Mummy book review!

Jungle Jam - Louise Lederman and Noam Lederman



I was so thrilled to receive a copy of Jungle Jam and it's sequel 'Jungle Jam in Brazil' through the post. My sons face lit up when he saw the cover as he is a massive fan of anything to do with animals so this was right down his street. He couldn't wait to read the story and wanted to share the sequel to the book 'Jungle Jam in Brazil' with his sister. He was very protective over his own copy though! We managed to sneak in a quick read before bedtime and then read the picture book again in the evening. The book is very well loved already!

Follow Mikey the Monkey on his journey as he hears some incredible new sounds and meets some friendly musical animals along the way who invite him to sing and play with them.

"How are you making that beautiful sound? What is this music you have found"?


Mikey is a singing monkey who embarks on a musical adventure to find global fame but discovers along the way that he must work with others to make his dream come true.


On his journey, Mikey the Monkey meets Larry the Lion, Ella the Elephant, Ziggy the Zebra and Gina the Giraffe, each of whom play a musical instrument they teach him about, and then invite him to sing with them. Each time he declines and continues on his journey to find fame. Finally he hears an incredible sound and sees all of the animals playing their instruments together and realises that when people work together, dreams can come true.


This sweet, captivating rhyming book is designed for young children from 0-5 as an introduction to musical instruments and sounds. It even has an activity page to show you how to make your own instruments at the end and also shows children how working together as part a team is always best!
Jungle Jam is the first book in a series of books currently in development so watch this space!

The review

The book is a very easy read, with words and sentences that flow nicely together. As a teacher, I am used to reading many books aloud and usually I have to fill in words here and there, but Jungle Jam flowed extremely well. Even though the story was probably slightly complex for my two year old, he listened with full concentration and really enjoyed exploring the illustrations and pointing/naming the different jungle animals.  Mikey learns that being part of a team is the best as he is reluctant to sing with the other animals. Lovely story. With each read of the book we have talked together about different elements of the story.

He loved the activity page at the end and we are very excited about making a musical guitar! The activity at the back of the book was a fantastic idea to get children enthusiastic about musical instruments. Overall we enjoyed reading this book together and I'm sure it will become a book we read over and over again.

Looking forward to sharing our review of the sequel very soon!

Buy the book here: http://amzn.eu/46B0CiG

About the authors:

Noam Lederman is a musician, educator and author and has built a successful music career combining performance and writing. He has written more than 100 music publications that have sold over a million copies worldwide. In 2014 Noam Lederman founded the company VVinner Music. In April 2015 he was appointed as the Principal of The Academy of Rock - an award-winning franchise of music schools in Asia. Louise Lederman spent many years working in Marketing, PR and Events, predominantly for charities and education companies. She worked for numerous disability charities including the National Autistic Society, Sense and Langdon, and feels she has a deep understanding of disability and SEN (Special Educational Needs). With her experience and knowledge, Louise Lederman has a vision to tailor Jungle Jam for children with SEN.

Book Review of Love, Life and Dreams - Rebekah Louise

Review of Love, Life and Dreams - Rebekah Louise


Thank you to Rebekah for kindly allowing me to read and review her lovely new book of short stories Love, Life and Dreams. I have become a lover of short stories since having children. Previously I always would read an entire novel in one go, usually with my feet up in the garden. However with a baby and toddler running around, this is impossible! So when I was asked to read the short stories in the novel Manipulated Lives a while ago, became a fan of the short story!

When Rebekah kindly asked me if I'd like to read her book, I jumped at the chance. With short stories I can read an entire story in one sitting and not feel like I have to put the book down when I get to an exciting bit, as I usually have to with a longer novel.

Love, Life & Dreams is a collection of five short stories. Each story is unique and is ideal for enjoying whilst on holiday or for escapism.

In Doctor’s Orders, meet sisters Emma and Alice. Alice comes to her sister’s rescue after her marriage breaks down. Little does Emma know what the future holds for her.

In Julie, meet Tom, a successful businessman and a loving father, that is until Julie shows up at his office.

In Live the Dream, meet Louis and Emma. Share in their moving story about the wonders of love and imagination.

In Off the Record, meet James. He is a top radio DJ who makes a mistake that leads him to consider his behaviour.

In Suite 200, meet Ania, a cleaner of a five-star hotel. Life for Ania is arduous and her future looks bleak, that’s until she meets a guest that will challenge her view. 

The review

What a lovely collection of short stories.

I enjoyed reading every single one of these delightful snippets into peoples lives. I have a particular fondness for Live the Dream and Doctors Orders. These are definitely stories to read when relaxing by the pool or on the beach. Would make a great holiday read or to be snatched in moments of free time.

I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Louis and Emma and found it incredibly moving. I thought that the stories would all be really light-heated given the title and the cover but they were all very different, sad, poignant and touching in places, fun and humorous in others. This was an unexpected surprise and it made me think about the stories long after reading them. There was depth to the characters and conseqences to their actions so you could really invest in the stories. I will look forward to reading more short stories from this author.

More about the author:

Rebekah Louise is 32 and lives in Worcestershire with her husband and young son. When she is not busy chasing her son around or writing, she enjoys reading, Pilate's and spending time with family and friends preferably in cafes sampling the coffees and cakes.

Love, Life & Dreams is her first collection of short stories that she has published.

Buy the novel here: http://amzn.eu/ebyG2dy



Book review - The Archbishop's Amulet

Book review - The Archbishop's Amulet by Watson Davis


Caldane, a slave and the last survivor of his clan, knows he can’t endure more of the dark rituals performed to harvest his magic. Learning the mother he thought dead still lives, he escapes but opens the gates to Hell. His slave master hunts him. A giant seeks to ensnare him. Caldane faces the choice of saving himself or saving people who don’t realize they’re slaves.
In this stand-alone novel in the Windhaven Chronicles, Watson Davis weaves a ripping yarn of adventure and self-discovery, a coming-of-age tale set in a dangerous world of tribes battling empires, of fantastic creatures and infernal magic.


I was delighted to be given the opportunity to read and review this novel as part of a Goodread's review group. The group has given me such varied reads and I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences with the group.

The book follows the adventure story of Caldane. An amazingly vivid and somewhat frightening, fantasy story that sucked me right into the narrative. Watson creates fantastically gory visual worlds which make you almost believe that you are right there with Caldane as he battles to save himself. The world is seen through Caldane's eyes, which makes it all the more poignant and I really invested in the characters. Wonderfully written story that I enjoyed right up until the end.

Watson has made me a lover of a genre I wouldn't usually choose myself. I have always thought of fantasy as too complex with the odd place/character names etc but I was completely won over by this story. The novel twists and turns to keep you thoroughly wrapped up in the adventure until the very last pages. Overall a great read that I would recommend.

More about the author:



Watson Davis discovered fantasy and science fiction, magic and technology, Isaac Asimov and Robert E. Howard, when he was a young, impressionable boy in Houston, Texas. He wrote his first robot apocalypse short story at eleven, delved many a dungeon and battled many a vampire while pursuing a degree in mathematics, and penned books of swords and sorcery and military space opera. He now lives in Spain in a villa overlooking the Mediterranean.

Buy the book here: http://amzn.eu/dqi2Qfc

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Q&A with author Jennifer Weeks

I was lucky enough to read The Perils of a Literary Life by Jennifer Weeks a few weeks ago and I found the novel to be a thrilling read. Jennifer was kind enough to join me on my blog to answer a few questions about her writing processes.


 
What was the inspiration behind The Perils of a Literary Life?

I think I've always been fascinated by the way literature has embedded itself in our national psyche, particularly the classics. People regularly make references to great writers; indeed the words of Shakespeare, for example, are frequently invoked by everyone - yet many will not realise that, when they speak of being 'bloody-minded', of a 'laughing stock' or of 'fair play', they are using phrases created by the Bard himself. We are also influenced by ideas in the books we read, and so I thought, 'What if the works of literature formed the basis of a person's life, allowing them to guide her thoughts, not necessarily appreciating that the tremendous powers of the imagination could lead to trouble!'

I've also been intrigued by the phenomenon of  identical twins - what must it feel like to have someone who looks exactly the same as you and could be mistaken for you? How does it affect your sense of individual identity? And what sort of sibling loyalties does it perhaps create?

Another source of interest for me has been the whole concept of acting - people pretending to be who they're not. In Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, there is the clear concern that acting out the play, Lovers' Vows, could break taboos in the performers' psyche, and so lead to evil. Could performing the part of, say, a sadistic tyrant, as Alice speculates, 'leave bruises on your soul'? 

All these thought-provoking aspects of life have helped to inspire The Perils of a Literary Life.

Is Alice similar to you in character?

I do share Alice's Romantic attraction to the countryside and her idealistic vision, another Romantic ideal at least as old as the Ancient Greeks, of finding a soul-mate. I don't think I'm quite as dreamy a person as Alice, though.

Why did you choose the Yorkshire Dales to be the location for your novel?

I moved to the Yorkshire Dales at the age of 6 from Birmingham and it had a huge impact on me. We lived in a huge Victorian house built from millstone grit hewn from the quarry on the moor above the house. After years of going for a walk in the local park on Sundays to being able to roam freely over the beautiful moors, this experience was hugely important to me. The love for the countryside is a common one, particularly reflected in the numerous magazines, such as 'Country Living' and TV programmes like 'Escape to the Country'. Maybe this vision of a country idyll is false, as Mr Locksley claims, but it has a potent attraction in people's lives and is one  which I wanted to explore in The Perils of a Literary Life.

Are you a town or a country girl?

That's a difficult one to answer as my husband and I love walking long distance walks, such as the Coast to Coast, the Cotswold Way and the Glen Way. but I also enjoy days out in the city, visiting art galleries, museums and the theatre. I really couldn't do without either!

How did you think of your characters' names?

I chose the name Alice because of the connotations of Alice in Wonderland - a way of enabling her sister, Becky, to attack her for her dreaminess.

Are you working on another novel?

I've already written a children's novel called The Witch Who Wouldn't (about a witch who defies her fellow witches in her bid to do good)  but I am now working on another adult novel -  although it'll be a while before it's ready for publication - but watch this space.
 
Thank you so much Jennifer for joining me today on my blog. I have really enjoyed listening to you talk about your novel and the inspirations behind it.
 
Buy Jennifer's novel 'The Perils of a Literary Life' here: http://amzn.eu/4b3xB39 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Book review - The Perils of a Literary Life by Jennifer Weeks

Book review - The Perils of a Literary Life by Jennifer Weeks


I was thrilled to be able to read and review this book on NetGallery. The blurb of the book intrigued me and I knew that I would enjoy the plot. I loved the title!

I really enjoyed the dynamics between the two sisters, Alice and Becky, and how different they were. The author was great at creating memorable characters.  Alice is more a dreamer, lost in her books than her sister who lives in the fast lane in the city. There are a lot of literary references in the novel but these don't bog down the storyline. After moving to the Yorkshire Dales, Alice meets the handsome William. The descriptions were vivid and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the county that Alice moved to. It made me want to move there too! The plot slightly lost me in the middle as the paced slowed down considerably, but then picked up again to keep me on the edge of my seat, desperate to find out what was happening next.

As tragedy occurs, Alice is lost to as is what happening and who she can trust. She is using her experiences from reading books to try and understand the dramas that are happening around her. This part really gripped me and I felt for Alice. I did wish that the tension and romance between Alice and William could have developed more as I wasn't sure that I particularly liked William and was more routing for Alice to give up on him and find someone else.

Overall a powerful, chilling story that I enjoyed right until the end.

Buy the novel here: http://amzn.eu/6n0WIoE


An exciting and gripping novel exploring the effects of losing your grip on reality. Profoundly influenced by romantic literature and striving to escape her possessive twin sister, Alice moves to the Yorkshire Dales to teach and live an idyllic dream in a moorland cottage. There she meets William, her elderly neighbour's nephew and professional actor, and is instantly attracted to him. William and Alice's friendship blossoms and Alice falls madly in love with William, believing they're soul mates. Alice overhears a row between William and his uncle over William's severe debt from gambling. When William's uncle dies after falling from the moorland crags above her cottage, Alice suspects William pushed him. Soon after, William's aunt Annie is taken ill and Alice suspects that William has poisoned Annie as a result of witnessing his uncle's murder leaving Alice to fear that she will be next. The Perils of a Literary Life is ultimately a romantic love story set in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales combined with the fast-paced nature and tense climax of a chilling thriller. As Alice, the heroine, becomes unable to distinguish between reality and fiction, this novel shows the fascinating impact of fantasy and literary fiction upon the psyche.

About the author - 

Growing up on the Yorkshire Moors, a place of great beauty, Jennifer Weeks went on to become a secondary school English teacher where she went on to inspire her students in London and Buckinghamshire with her passion for literature.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Book review - Snapdragon by Kilby Blades

Book review of Snapdragon by Kilby Blades


I really enjoyed this fast paced novel. The premise of the story is that a man and woman meet, both are extremely attracted to one another, but agree, due to their high flying careers, to make it casual. Using the word 'Snapdragon,' they can break it off at any point.

Darby is a well rounded character, mainly because the story is told from her point of view, but I found it more difficult to warm to Michael. I felt like I wanted to know the characters more than I feel I did to be able to understand their insecurities. However, the plot was extremely enjoyable and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel. The story is well written and superbly plotted. I feel the subtitle could have been left off to leave me wondering more about the ending, however there is a sequel told from Michael's perspective which still leaves me wanting to find out more..

Without giving too much away, the story leaves you second guessing throughout whether the word is going to be said! Definitely worth a read and I shall be looking out for the sequel to answer some of my questions!

Buy the novel here: http://amzn.eu/1G9RQaw


The rules are simple: unattached companionship, toe-curling sex and a clean break whenever it ends. Darby’s groundbreaking medical research will launch her into career stardom. Michael’s status as an architectural wunderkind will send him to a far-flung locale. Either one can say the single word that will break it off: Snapdragon. But soul-deep sex is just the beginning. Michael becomes a fierce ally against her misogynist boss, a light to chase away the shadow of her notorious father, and the antidote to her crushing loneliness. And Darby must fight hard not to fall in love. After all, choosing love over ambition is the one thing she said she’d never do. And their wayward feelings may not change Michael's endgame. So she’ll walk the tightrope of their relationship, even though she fears the fall may kill her. For people like them, love doesn’t always conquer all. GET READY TO FALL IN LOVE WITH SNAPDRAGON Deeply meaningful, desperately sexual, and inevitably bittersweet, Snapdragon deals with the quandary of choosing love over career, the weight of adulthood and the complexity of modern work-life. It rewrites the book on what a 21st century relationship should look like and keeps the reader wondering how it will end.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Living with arm pain - Can I still be a writer?

Living with cubital tunnel syndrome amongst others.

Today, I am struggling; I am struggling to see a future with writing. I have chronic hand, wrist and arm pain due to a riding accident a few years ago. It not only affects my day to day life but everything else from my career as a teacher, to hobbies and passions. I haven't ridden the said horse in a number of years, but one day I hope that the future maybe rosier. I hope there will be a way forward in what appears to be a very limited existance at the moment.


I love to write. I always have. It's something inside of me that has to get out. Letters to Eloise, my debut, practically wrote itself, the story was so desperate to escape.

 http://amzn.eu/8lAtMCf


It's the same with my next two novels, they're bursting to escape from me. But I am finding writing near on impossible. Having two useless arms when I am desperate to write it extremely frustrating. I have tried hand writing but that has caused another ganglion cyst to rear it's ugly head in my writing hand. Typing just encourages my wrist joints to balloon and sharp nerve pain. I'm on the long NHS wait to see yet another specialist consultant, as my consultant doesn't know what to do with me anymore. There is only so much surgery they can do.


Anyway, on a bright note and with help from my lovely partner with the typing up of notes, I am over half way with my next novel; a charity YA novel entitled The Subtle Art of Keeping a Racehorse. The story follows a group of teenagers as they embark on a pact to keep a missing racehorse.

 Four teenagers. A missing Racehorse. 
Rumours, secrets and lies. 
What could possibly go wrong?

Rafferty Lincoln doesn't like horses. But if liking horses means winning over Liberty Ashburn,
 the girl of his dreams, he is willing to try anything. But what Rafferty doesn't know is the tragic consequences that follow the decision to keep the horse that neither of them owns.

 The proceeds of this novel are being donated to the Thoroughbred Retraining Centre.
My next adult novel, the emotional psychological thriller 10 Ways is also developing nicely. There is plenty to look forward to despite the doom and gloom of not being able to use my arms at the moment! Hopefully one day I can invest in some dictation software and life will become easier!

Until then, happy writing and reading everyone!


Interview with Corine Dehghanpisheh - #Babylove

Welcome Corine to my blog! I had the pleasure of reviewing your lovely children's book a few weeks ago and I'm delighted to have you again on my blog. I am looking forward to learning more about you and your writing processes.

A curious toddler loves to play…especially with his mommy's smartphone!  When Mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment. Mommy reminds her little one that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention. Her simple reminder: Put down our phones.

What inspired the children's book #BabyLove My Toddler Life?
  
My life experiences as a mom and aunt mixed with a little imagination inspired this second book in the #BabyLove Book Series. The ideas for #BabyLove: My Toddler Life came from the interactions that I experienced with my nieces and nephews and smartphones. Whenever they had the opportunity to grab a phone, they would take it and run.  I always had a laugh when I found the many, many photos and videos the kids took of themselves.  

I can relate to the book even more now my daughter is at the age where she is starting to get more curious and wants to play with our phones. As a mom, I have quickly realised that it's not only important to find balance with technology but to help kids understand their relationship with it as well.  

What other authors have inspired you?
  
I am inspired by children’s book authors such as Mo Willems, Dev Petty, and Ame Dyckman. 

Do you use your own phone too much? I definitely feel guilty of this! 
  
Yes!  For sure on certain days I feel like I use my phone too much.  I use it for everything. I try to explain to my daughter what I am doing, but she is still too young to understand. So when I tell her I am sending a message for work, I am googling information, or I am posting a picture up to a social media account it doesn’t make a difference.  All she knows is I am on my phone again.  

I think it’s interesting that she says, “Put your phone down Mommy!”  When she wants attention or for me to play.  

Sometimes balancing everything is such a challenge. 

Have you any other children's book ideas at the moment?
  
I do have other children’s book ideas that I am working on slowly.  One idea I am working on will be part of the #BabyLove series and the second is something completely different.  

Is writing your full time job?
 
Eventually I am hoping that writing and illustrating will become a full-time job.  Right now, I am enjoying creating my books on a part-time basis while raising my daughter.  











Thank you so much to Corine for joining us today to chat, it's been a pleasure to have you on the blog. Best wishes for writing your next book and I hope you'll join us again then.


Friday, 16 June 2017

Review of #Babylove My Toddler Life

Book review - #Babylove My Toddler Life



I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to read and review this children's book by Corine  Dehghanpisheh.

My son really enjoyed this story and chose it independently himself to read too (after we'd read it a couple of times together). All toddlers seem fascinated by phones, so he enjoyed seeing the pictures on the phone and comparing them to things he had done also. He loved the illustrations, especially the dog!

The message, although subtle and doesn't really interfere with the story, is an important one. One I feel strongly about and need to do more often. Obviously the message went completely over my sons head, but it wasn't aimed at him anyway. He just enjoyed seeing the little boy and the photos the Mummy had taken. Great for talking about not taking your phone too! Overall and enjoyable story that my son seemed to really like.

A curious toddler loves to play…especially with his mommy's smartphone!

When Mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment. Mommy reminds her little one that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention.

Her simple reminder: Put down our phones

Buy the book here:    

More about the author:



Corine's fourth book, #BabyLove: My Toddler Life is now available. It is the 2nd book in her #BabyLove Book Series. Her first book in the series, #BabyLove: My Social Life is the Next Generation Indie Book Award winner (Picture Books 0-5). 

Corine's inspirations for writing and illustrating come from everyday life. When Corine is not busy being creative, she is most likely having fun taking pictures of her daughter and husband in Dallas, Texas. Her debut children's book Can We Play Again? is a Mom's Choice Awards(R) Silver Recipient and a Next Generation Indie Author Finalist. The inspiration for this book came from her work as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist in NYC.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Review of My Father's Kingdom

Review of 'My Father's Kingdom' - by James W George


Review of 'My Father's Kingdom'

This is a historical fiction and extremely atmospheric book. I found this quite a heavy book that took a lot of concentration. At first I struggled to get into the story, but I found once I became immersed into the language and drama that was unfolding, I began to enjoy reading. This book is extremely rich in both it's characters and language. I loved the depth of the characters. George has a great skill in story telling. He writes well, and with great power to his writing.

Although I didn't know anything at all about this period in history, I felt that the book was very well researched and interesting. There were some complicated character names that threw me off a little and like I've said, this book requires quite a bit of concentration. Once I'd overcome this, the story flowed for me more. The book gathered pace as it progressed and I was able to immersed myself in the world of 1671 New England. Overall, I enjoyed reading 'My Father's Kingdom,' and feel that I have learnt a lot along the journey as history was brought vividly to life.

Thank you so much to the author for the copy of the book.

The year is 1671 and New England is in turmoil. Fifty years after the Pilgrims’ miraculous alliance with the great Massasoit and the Wampanoag nation, friend has become foe. Thrust into the center of events is Reverend Israel Brewster, an idealistic young minister with a famous grandfather and a tragic past. Meanwhile, Massasoit's son Metacomet, known as "King Philip" by the English, is tormented by both the present and the past. He is watching the resources and culture of the Wampanoag nation fade away at the hands of the English and desperately wishes to restore hope and security to his people. In a world of religious fervor, devastating sickness, and incessant greed, can the alliance of their forefathers survive? Or will New England feel the wrath of tragic, bloody war?

 Buy the book here: 

More about the author:


James W. George is a military veteran and debut author currently residing in Virginia. He is a graduate of Boston University and a lover of history and historical fiction.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Book review - Finding a Friend - Carol Thomas

Book review 
Finding a Friend - Carol Thomas



I was so delighted to receive a paperback copy of this lovely children's picture book. My children were so excited when the book post arrived! It was read twice straight away and then we read it again at bedtime!

When Little Pup finds himself at the shelter,
he doesn't know quite what to do.
Big dogs all around, feeling lost and alone,
Little Pup needs a friend... but who?


As an experienced primary school teacher and mother of four, Carol Thomas knows the importance of inspiring a love of books from an early age. In Finding a Friend Carol brings her knowledge of developing early literacy skills together with an understanding of creating characters young children will connect with. The language of the text is purposely rhythmic, rhyming and repetitive, inspiring children to join in, anticipate and repeat words and phrases. The effortlessly emotive illustrations ensure that young children will be able to interpret and discuss the puppy's range of thoughts and feelings. From the engaging language to the charming illustrations, Finding a Friend is a book created to encourage young children, aged 0-5 years, to actively participate in the reading experience.

Book review

Lovely book and story to read with the children. This book has a wonderful story about a puppy needing a new home after being taken to the shelter. The puppy was frightened and lonely and it was great to talk about emotions with the children. My children really enjoyed the story and I found it a lovely book to read with it's rhyme and gentle rhythm. 


My son really enjoyed getting to name the puppy at the end of the book - what a lovely touch. With delightful illustrations throughout, this book kept us all engaged. It is a firm favourite and has already been read many times.


More about the author:


 Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively young Labrador. Carol has been a teacher in the primary sector for over fifteen years and works part-time as a copywriter for commercial websites. She has a passion for reading, writing and people watching and can often be found loitering in local caf├ęs working on her next book.

Carol writes for both adults and children: Her contemporary romance novels, have relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads; while her children's books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.

Book review - Circumstantial Truth - Ian Welch

Book review - Circumstantial Truth - Ian G Welch


A failed relationship, betrayed by his best friend and framed for a crime he did not commit. A multitude of different people with their own conflicting agendas is swirling around Zack Carmichael. He is left broken and confused. What do you do when your best friend betrays you and steals the girl you were destined to marry? Zack Carmichael withdraws within himself, Shadow, his dog has become is new best friend. But she is also responsible for a catastrophic discovery which now threatens to destroy him. 

The evidence is damning, Zach’s quest to prove his innocence seems a distant forlorn hope. The witness who gave false evidence has mysteriously disappeared. A bumbling police inspector who is dealing with his own demons believes he already has his man. Everyone is operating to their own personal unrelated agendas and conspiring to suppress the truth. Prison is a debilitating place for someone used to the wide open spaces of country life. And is it the place to rediscover love and seek help establishing his innocence? 

A compelling emotional journey against almost insurmountable odds unfolds. Circumstantial Truth transports the reader through a swirling series of confusing sub-plots, mixing the ingredients together in a bubbling cauldron of intrigue, to finally reach its climatic conclusion.

Book review -

I found Zach a really unique and interesting character and really enjoyed reading about his relationship with Shadow, his dog. The circumstances leading up to Zach being put into prison were gripping and kept me hooked. I enjoyed reading about his relationship with his new cell mate and how other relationships in his life were formed and lost. Zach felt very real and his concerns about Shadow continued even with him being put inside. I found the middle a little confusing, with a series of new characters and subplots away from Zach added, but it kept the interest enough to keep reading. I found his thought processes interesting as he headed towards his parole hearing. I needed to know whether it would work out for Zach, whether he'd get the girl, be released from prison and be reunited with Shadow. Overall a satisfying ending, with the loose ends tied up.

I enjoyed reading this novel and found the descriptions of the outdoor and lifestyle of Zach very interesting.

Buy the novel here: US http://a.co/gtEwKUs

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Book review - The Mess of Me - Chantelle Atkins

Book review - The Mess of Me
Chantelle Atkins

A big thank you to Chantelle for providing me with a copy of this fabulous novel in exchange for an honest review. I was delighted to receive the copy and couldn't wait to get stuck in!


Book review:

I really enjoyed reading this lovely coming of age novel. The characters were really intriguing and the storyline had me hooked from the start. If I wasn't on holiday with the kids at the time, I would have been unable to put the novel down! I really felt truly a part of the story due to Atkins use of first person for her lead character as she tackles some really troublesome gritty themes. I loved the dynamics of Lou and Joe and their blossoming relationship despite the angst of the dramas unfolding around them. I loved the description of the dog!

The character of their friend Marianne really intrigued me and I wanted to find more about her issues, which unfolded as the story developed. The brothers were just vile as were a few parental characters in the story! Lou's mum was a godsend. I was pleased to see some characters developing morals or getting their comeuppance as the story progresses! All this leads up to an exciting climatic ending. Completely hooked from start to end. The novel is graphic in terms of its language use and painful issues but in that respect and knowing teenagers, it is very true to form and eye opening. I loved how Atkins tackled these dilemmas head on.

Great novel and I really look forward to reading more from Atkins in the future. I am also looking forward to reading some of her previous novels.


‘I remember my Nana once saying everyone should have at least one good summer in their lives, one summer that they never forget. I think this is not a bad way to start my sixteenth year. This is not a bad way to start our summer. And I give Joe a slow smile.’Sixteen year old Lou wants to be thinner. Joe is her best friend and last night they found something they shouldn’t have in his older brothers’ wardrobe. Leon and Travis are shady figures, living shadier lives, and one summer, Lou and Joe find themselves mixed up in the drama, the confusion and the violence. Will Lou’s weight loss obsession spiral out of control? Is Marianne, her self-harming friend, really her friend, or an enemy in disguise? And will Lou and Joe ever be more than just best friends?Reluctant drug running, extreme dieting, kissing the wrong boys, family drama and first love. Lou Carling is about to have one messy summer.
 
Buy the book UK:http://amzn.eu/3W4DRjv
Buy the book US:http://a.co/4u4Ez4M
 
More 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, This Is The Day and has recently released a collection of short stories related to her novels called Bird People and Other Stories.