Book review: Wrapped up for Christmas by Katlyn Duncan

The festive reads continue with a new author for me, Katlyn Duncan.

Book Review: Wrapped Up for Christmas by Katlyn Duncan

Wrapped Up for Christmas_FINAL

Title: Wrapped Up for Christmas

Author: Katlyn Duncan

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Festive, Romance

Release Date: 1st October 2019

Blurb

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but not for Angie Martinelli…

Having lost her boyfriend, job, and apartment all in the space of a week, Angie has no choice but to leave California and return to her family in New England.

Determined not to let life weigh her down, Angie finds work at the local mall where she worked as a teenager. After an embarrassing run-in with a handsome stranger, Nick, she’s convinced her luck is about to change.

But Nick has secrets of his own… and as the first flakes of snow begin to fall, Angie can’t help but wonder if she’ll ever find love.

Purchase Links

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NGuQyc
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2HBoxs2
B&N: http://bit.ly/32fCF1R
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2NGvUlG
iBooks: https://apple.co/2LmsotI
Kobo: http://bit.ly/32jrSUl
Books2read universal link: http://bit.ly/34deOBH

My Thoughts

I loved the overall Christmas feel of this novel with the decorations, trees and festive food leaping off the page but it was the shopping mall which resonated with me most. In my student days, my first job was working in a mall at Christmas and I loved it – the atmosphere, people watching and helping shoppers with their retail experience. Katlyn Duncan has captured the essence of that perfectly as Angie returns to the mall she once worked. She is a character I could relate too and Nick along with his dog, Charlie makes a good love interest. Their chemistry meant I was more than happy to have a duvet day to continue reading to discover how family feuds and trust issues played out.

It is heart-warming, reminded me of the important things about the festive season – love, charity and goodwill – and more importantly, gave me the tingle of anticipation that soon it will be time to decorate my own tree.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. It is entertaining, heart-warming and pure escapism allowing you time away from soggy days and gear up for the Christmas period which is on its way.

Author Biography

Wrapped UP Author Photo

Author Katlyn Duncan

Coming from a small town in Western Massachusetts, Katlyn Duncan always had her head in the clouds. Working as a scientist for most of her adult life, she enjoyed breaking down the hows and whys of life. This translated into her love of stories and getting into the minds of her characters.

Currently, she’s a full-time author and freelance writer. When she’s not writing, she’s obsessing over many (many) television series’.

She currently resides in Southern New England with her family. Check out more about her writing and current TV addiction in her newsletter, and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

SCBWI & RWA Member.

Social Media Links –

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorkatlynduncan/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/duncankatlyn/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katlyn_duncan

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/duncankatlyn/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7060690.Katlyn_Duncan

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katlyn-duncan

Newsletter sign up: https://www.subscribepage.com/q6i5n1

 

Thank you Rachel Random Resources, and HQ Digital for an advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion. It was a pleasure to read.

Happy reading!

Love

Wrapped Up For Christmas Full Tour Banner

Book Review: Writing Fiction by James Essinger

Book Review: Writing Fiction by James Essinger

Today I am reviewing something slightly different to the usual books found on this blog. When I am not reading, blogging or sleeping I write fiction. Like many readers, I dream of seeing my book in a book shop surrounded by authors I love so when I was offered a chance to review this book on writing fiction I knew I had to take it.  My writing journey can be found here.

Book Review: Writing Fiction A User-friendly Guide by James Essinger

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (1)

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide

Title: Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide

Author: James Essinger

Genre: Non-fiction, Writing

Publisher: The Conrad Press

Release Date: 1st August 2019

Blurb

‘Writing Fiction is a little pot of gold… Screenplay by Syd Field for film, Writing Fiction by James Essinger for fiction. It’s that simple.’

William Osborne, novelist and screenwriter

Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a must-read if you want to write stories to a professional standard.

It draws on the author’s more than thirty years of experience as a professional writer, and on the work and ideas of writers including:

  • Anthony Burgess
  • Joseph Conrad
  • George Eliot
  • Ken Follett
  • Frederick Forsyth
  • Dan Harmon
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • David Lodge
  • Norman Mailer
  • John Milton
  • Ben Parker
  • K. Rowling
  • William Shakespeare
  • Martin Cruz Smith
  • R.R. Tolkien

The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including: devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.

Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Future movies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster  Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Writing-Fiction-user-friendly-James-Essinger-ebook/dp/B07VYY9XH9/

https://www.amazon.com/Writing-Fiction-user-friendly-James-Essinger-ebook/dp/B07VYY9XH9/

My Thoughts

James Essinger is a novelist, non-fiction writer and publisher so he has the experience to write a writing guide. This is a concise, useful and easy-to-read book for beginners and breaks down the important elements of fiction writing. Examples are given to illustrate the advice with links to Back to the Future, Titanic and The Day of the Jackal.

I enjoyed learning about how the oral tradition of telling stories around the campfire has evolved through time to Dickens, Conrad and more modern novelists like Ken Follett and the importance of picking a role model suitable for today’s readers. He gives a good overview of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey which gives a story a solid structure. There are several tips that will help my writing but as a writer of women’s fiction and magical realism some suggestions were not applicable. If I had read this before learning the expectations of readers from those genres, I think I would have come away disheartened after trying to fit my manuscript to all the points given and failing. The bias to male authors made the book less relatable to what it could have been.

Would I recommend?

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide is useful and the length makes it ideal to read  between writing your own chapters. It is worth reading for writers of crime and thrillers.


Author Biography

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (2)

James Essinger

James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019). His novels include The Mating Game (2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project (2019).

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/james.essinger  

https://twitter.com/jamesessinger

 Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and The Conrad Press for the copy of Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide to review and give my honest opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

 

 

Book Review: Four Christmases and a Secret by Zara Stoneley

It is officially Autumn which means it is time to prepare for dark evenings, warm duvets, hot chocolate and seasonal reads. This is my first Christmas book review of the year. There are so many festive books to tempt bookworms you have to start early to fit them all in. Last year I enjoyed No one cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley  so I was excited when Rachel’s Random Resources  invited me to this blog tour for her new Christmas novel, Four Christmases and a Secret. 

Book Review: Four Christmas and a Secret

Four Christmases and a Secret Cover

Four Christmases and a Secret

Title: Four Christmases and a Secret

Author: Zara Stoneley

Publisher: Harper Impulse and Killer Reads

Genre: General Fiction, Romance

Release Date: 27th September 2019

Blurb

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Except for Daisy Christmas means another of Uncle T’s dreaded Christmas parties, complete with Christmas jumper and flashing antlers.  And Oliver Cartwright.  Gorgeous Oliver Cartwright. Who she hates.

Every year Daisy has to face insufferable Ollie and hear all about how BRILLIANT he is.  Whereas Daisy has no job, no man and no idea how to fix things.

This Christmas however Daisy is determined things will be different.  There will be no snogging Ollie under the mistletoe like when they were teenagers.  No, this year she’ll show Ollie that she’s a Responsible Adult too.
 
But as the champagne corks pop, and the tinsel sparkles, Uncle T has news of his own to share…and it could change Daisy’s life forever…

 Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07QRTC5JC/

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QRTC5JC/

My Thoughts

I knew I was in for a treat when the early scenes of this novel, set in an atmospheric bookshop oozing with Christmas magic instantly drew me in. As a bibliophile I find it hard to resist novels where bookshops play a significant role and the addition of Christmas makes this book a winning combination.

Daisy was a likeable character treading water while everyone else is succeeding in their dreams especially her childhood best friend, Ollie.  I had sympathy for her as she is dragged into the competitive battle between her Mum and Ollie’s mother adding to her belief she is a failure. Adult Oliver is the hunk who leaps of the page making me swoon when he appears in the chapters. The chemistry between the two characters, other memorable characters like Uncle T and the antics of her smelly dog, Stanley made this an  enjoyable festive read about self discovery and learning to fly.

It made me chuckle, cry and made me get in to the Christmas mood. What more do you need in a festive rom-com?

Would I recommend?

This is an entertaining novel, ideal for lazy cold evenings or weekends. If you enjoy the  Bridget Jones’ festive scenes you’ll enjoy this.

Author Biography

ZaraStoneley authorpic

Zara Stoneley

Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of ‘The Wedding Date’.

She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Born in a small village in the UK, Zara wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years, and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true. She now writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘No One Cancels Christmas’, ‘The Wedding Date’, ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’.

Social Media Links –

Website: http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley

Instagram: zarastoneley

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/zara-stoneley?follow=true

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B007WK307G

 

A big thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Zara Stoneley for the chance to read an advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

What books have you got on your Christmas TBR pile?

Happy reading and weekend!

Love

Four Christmases and a Secret Full Tour Banner

Book Review: The Lost Daughter by Sylvia Broady

Book Review: The Lost Daughter by Sylvia Broady

This is my second review this month from a local author though Sylvia Broady writes a different genre to the last. The Lost Daughter is classed as a saga which I rarely read but when I read the blurb, I was desperate to read it. Scroll down to see what I thought.

Book Review: The Lost Daughter by Sylvia Broady

The Lost Daughter Cover

The Lost Daughter

Title: The Lost Daughter

Author: Sylvia Broady

Genre: Saga, Women’s fiction

Publisher: Allison and Busby

Release Date: 22nd November 2018

Blurb

Hull, 1930. A terrified woman runs through the dark, rain-lashed streets pursued by a man, desperate to reach the sanctuary of the local police station. Alice Goddard runs with one thing in her mind: her daughter. In her panic she is hit by a car at speed and rushed to hospital. When she awakes, she has no memory of who she is, but at night she dreams of being hunted by a man, and of a little girl.

As the weeks pass and her memories gradually resurface, Alice anxiously searches for her daughter, but no one is forthcoming about the girl’s whereabouts – even her own mother is evasive. Penniless and homeless, Alice must begin again and rebuild her life, never giving up hope that one day she will be reunited with her lost daughter.

Purchase Links

From 22nd – 29th August, The Lost Daughter will be at the bargain price of 99p.

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Daughter-Sylvia-Broady-ebook/dp/B07F3KPN1J

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Daughter-Sylvia-Broady-ebook/dp/B07F3KPN1J

My Thoughts

I loved this book in many ways – the style, voice, time frame, and locality of the setting but mainly the story. I am a huge fan of The Long Lost Family, a British TV programme where relatives find those separated by adoption, trauma and other turns of life. The real life stories are fascinating and heartbreaking; ideal inspiration for writers. A box of tissues is needed throughout. If the novel was based on a true story it could easily be featured in this series.

The blurb caught my imagination but the main character, Alice Goddard captured my heart and as her story developed I had to keep reading. She is everything I would like to be – kind, compassionate, determined and strong. This novel is an emotional journey of a woman’s life and the search for her child, Daisy. Beginning in 1930’s it is believable that a child could easily get lost in the care system at a time when the stigma of being classed as an unfit mother ran deep and there was little compassion in the authorities.  My heart broke reading the accounts of both characters missing each other. The outbreak of the Second World War adds further emotion and take Alice to places beyond her imagination.

This well researched book opened my eyes to the realities of war on the home front as well as the unsung heroes of the nurses. The location of Hull, East Yorkshire gave this book more meaning as it is a city I have recently discovered. When there I am always intrigued by the many beautiful buildings and quirky architecture mingled between the modern ones. It brought home to me how much must have been lost and the true devastation the place and its people endured during the blitz. The novel also touches on other local places such as Bridlington and Scarborough, so every time I visit them I can visualise Alice and others walking close by.

Would I recommend?

Yes, The Lost Daughter will proudly sit on my forever shelf. It has rekindled my love for sagas and made me realise how much I enjoy learning about the changes in society and lives of people in history through fiction. You see the growth of a person over a longer time span than other genres which tend to provide you a quick snapshot of the protagonist’s life.

I am looking forward to Sylvia Broady’s future releases and her previous books have been added to my TBR list.

Author Biography

Sylvia Broady was born in Kingston upon Hull and has lived in the area all her life, though she loves to travel the world. It wasn’t until she started to frequent her local library , after World War 2, that her relationship with literature truly began and her memories of war influence her writing, as does her home town. A member of the: RNA, HNS, S of A and Beverley Writers. She has had a varied career in childcare, the NHS and East Yorkshire Council Library Services, but is now a full-time writer. Plus volunteering as a Welcomer at Beverley Minster to visitors from around the world, and raising money for local charities by singing in the choir of the Beverley Singers, both bringing colour and enrichment to her imagination and to her passion for writing.

Social Media Links

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SylviaBroadyAuthor

Twitter https://twitter.com/SylviaBroady

Website: https://sylviabroadyauthor.com

Giveaway

I am pleased to share a chance for you to win 2 x paperback signed books of The Lost Daughter and The Yearning Heart (Open Internationally).* Good luck.

Click here to enter

The Lost Daughter GIVEAWAY 3

Giveaway Prizes

Thank you Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and Sylvia Broady for the advanced copy of The Lost Daughter so I could give my honest, unbiased opinion. If you life to find out more about Sylvia Broady and her book,why not visit other blogs on this tour.

Happy reading!

Love

The Lost Daughter Full Tour Banner

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Book Review: Farewell to a friend by Steven Turner-Bone

I hope the summer is treating you well. I have had a few visits to the sea which is always good.

Today, I am sharing a review for Farewell to a Friend by Steven Turner-Bone, a local writer. It is always uplifting to read a book with connections to places you know; the shared link helps immerse you into the story and bond with characters. The Mathew Fletcher novels began in Beverley, East Yorkshire which is one of my  local towns and now every time I visit I recall snippets of his life.

This is the third book in the series and the main character, Mathew Fletcher, a surgeon has moved down the country to Shrewsbury.

Book Review: Farewell to a Friend by Steven Turner-Bone

farewell to a friend cover

Farewell to a Friend

Title: Farewell to a Friend

Author: Steven Turner-Bone

Publisher: Independent

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release date: 3rd July 2018

Blurb:

King Charles has raised his standard at Nottingham declaring war against his parliament and consequently his own people. Mathew and his friends are caught up in the middle of it all. Mathew refuses to give up his search for the last of the murderers of his beloved Elizabeth and so they must all follow the King as he crosses the country enlarging his army.
The road Mathew now travels leads him to Shrewsbury and his showdown with John Franks, but whoever it was that said ‘vengeance is sweet’ had never tried to kill anyone, let alone a ruthless murderer.
Changes take place within Mathew’s group of friends as they learn Shrewsbury is not to be their final destination and that the Earl of Essex, with a large parliamentarian army, is in close pursuit.
Torn between returning home and following his career as surgeon to the King, Mathew has to make decisions that will inevitably change his own life and affect the outcome of the civil war in England.

My Thoughts

It has been a while since I read the first novel, Friends and Enemies so I was grateful for the recap in the first couple of chapters. Set in 1642 amidst the English Civil war between the Royalists and Parliamentarians, fiction is blended with real events leading to a plot which is in places stranger than any author can believably invent.

In the first book, Mathew Fletcher finds himself moving away from his hometown, Beverley in East Yorkshire to hunt for three men who slain the love of his life. The need for revenge led him to be a spy and work as a surgeon for the military. This book follows him as he moves down the country where he finds himself pulled in different directions by his ambition, revenge, political pressure and desire to go home for a quiet life. I enjoyed reading the twists of his life as the consequences of his initial decision to take revenge unfold and how it develops his character.

As with many historical novels, there are many personalities in the background driving the story forward. They are crucial because a decision made from the King or leader of the opposition can have a big impact on the plot so there is a complex web of people to remember. There were times I became confused by which side people were on but I believe this is more to do with brain fog and unfamiliarity with history than anything else. Once I reconnected with Mathew and his sister-in-law Mary, this did not matter. I wanted to know what happened next. Mary is one of the most fascinating characters and it is always good to catch up with her.

One thing I love about historical fiction is the ability to close the book with more knowledge than you started with. This book is no exception, Steven Turner-Bone’s passion and knowledge of the era shines through especially when it involves the medical side of Mathew’s life. This adds credence to his character, actions and story.

Would I recommend?

Yes, though I suggest you start at the beginning of the series so you are aware of the characters’ full back story. It is ideal for those interested in the local history of East Yorkshire, Shrewsbury, Warwick and the Civil War.

Steven has just released a standalone novel The Firebird Inheritance which I am eager to read after listening to several extracts. The premise surrounds a package with links to  the last Russian Tsar. Why not check it out here?

Author Biography

Me with books (2)

Steven Turner-Bone

Steven was born in Hull many years ago, and always loved history and stories. After having successful career in catering and IT he met his wife, Sue and started a family. Sue’s career as a computer programmer blossomed and it very quickly led to him staying home to look after the children whilst she hit the jet-set life of flying around Europe on work-related matters. He took on short term jobs whilst the kids were at school.

The family were close, so when it came to finding a hobby for them all fate came knocking, and they joined a 17th century historical re-enactment group. It added enormously to his knowledge of history, as well as them all being able to visit castles, stately homes and historical sites free of charge. It even led to him appearing as an extra in many television programmes and one film.

After being made redundant from the Probation Service as an admin clerk, and reading a novel on the English Civil War, he happened to make a comment to Sue about how poor the story was in the book.

‘Then you write one,’ came the reply. So he did, and it sold, and it kept selling, so he wrote book two, and book three, and book four, and now he is currently writing book five. Steven believes he has found what he was destined to do with his life and he loves it.

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/surgeonsteve/

Website: https://steventurnerbone.co.uk

Thank you Steven Turner-Bone for a copy of your book so I could give my honest and unbiased review.

Love

Book Review: A Cornish Affair by Jo Lambert

Book Review: A Cornish Affair by Jo Lambert

The children have broken up from school and people are heading off to their summer holidays which makes it a perfect time to read coastal books. I love the Cornish coast line so I could not resist reading this debut by Jo Lambert, A Cornish Affair. Thank you Rachel, Jo Lambert and Ruby Fiction for inviting me to this tour and an advanced copy so I could give my honest, unbiased review.

Book Review: A Cornish Affair by Jo Lambert

Cornish Affair - cover shot

A Cornish Affair by Jo Lambert

Title: A Cornish Affair

Author: Jo Lambert

Publisher: Ruby Fiction

Genre: Women’s fiction, crime

Release date: 18th June 2019

Blurb

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cornish-Affair-Jo-Lambert-ebook/dp/B07S4M3JNC

US – https://www.amazon.com/Cornish-Affair-Jo-Lambert-ebook/dp/B07S4M3JNC

My Thoughts

When you can’t go on holiday, books are an ideal way of having a break without leaving the duvet. I enjoyed my time at Carrenporth.  Jo Lambert’s description of the landscape and settings made it is easy to imagine being there walking along the beach or being a guest at the hotel watching the attraction between the main characters, Cat Trevelyan and Luke Carrick grow. At times the amount of detail slowed the pace but the dynamic between Cat and Luke kept the story moving forward. Once the secrets and rumours surfaced I needed to know more.

For someone as young as she is, Cat is a determined strong character who knows her own mind and not easily swayed by gossip and others which is crucial when faced with the gossip surrounding Luke. All the characters, even the minor ones are well-developed which allows the twists to be believable when revealed .

Predominantly a romance, this novel stands apart from the other summer reads with the thread of family secrets, discrimination and scandal to keep you turning the page.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a good holiday read for those who enjoy a romance with a difference.

Author Biography

A Cornish Affair Photo

Author Jo Lambert

Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.  She has been writing since 2008. Her first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in West Somerset, was followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain followed in 2017,

In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her debut A Cornish Affair, set in North Cornwall, has just been published. Jo is currently working on another coastal romance, this time set in South Cornwall.

When she isn’t writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog.  Jo loves travel, red wine and rock music and she often takes the odd photograph or two.

Social Media Links –

Website: http://jolambertbooks.com

Blog: http://jolambertwriter.blog

Twitter: @jolambertwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jolambert185

Linkedin: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jo-lambert-6 4644530

Instagram: jolambertwriter185

What books are on your holiday reading list? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love

 

Book Review: Hamartia by Raquel Rich

Last month, I was lucky enough to meet Raquel Rich to talk about her book Hamartia, and her writing and I was given a copy of her book to read. The post can be found here. I have finished Hamartia and excited to share my honest and unbiased review with you.

Book Review: Hamartia by Raquel Rich

Hamartia Book Cover

Title: Hamartia

Author: Raquel Rich

Genre: Sci-Fi, fantasy

Publisher: Words Matter Publishing

Release date: 15th August 2018

BOOK BLURB:

Grace’s nine-year-old son, Jordan, is dying. First, the Metagenesis disease will tear his soul from his body, and then it will kill him. Desperate for a cure, Grace agrees to take part in an illegal clinical trial cloning souls. Supported by her best friend Kay, the two embark on the ultimate “Vegas Vacation” to the past in search of the right soul to clone, racing against time to save Jordan’s life. But someone is trying to stop them and when they discover why, Grace must make a choice: let her son die or kill her husband. If she kills her husband she triggers widespread Metagenesis, sealing the fate of the human race with a new plague. Humanity is counting on Grace choosing to let her son die.

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hamartia-Raquel-Rich-ebook/dp/B07GJXT4SG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

My Thoughts

My first thought as I finished this book was “Bloody hell, what a ride!”  quickly followed “How do I review this?” It is quirky, clever and overwhelmingly unique. Time travel is difficult topic to get your head around and the addition of the theory of reincarnation  should have made this novel complicated but it is told in a way that makes perfect sense. The descriptions of how Grace goes back in time are vivid and highlights the strength of Raquel Rich’s imagination. The pace quickens as the hunt for the cure progresses and the novel twists and turns in many unexpected ways; I was kept on edge throughout. I have never read a book like it. It thrilled, questioned my morals and made me consider what I would do in the same situation.

This is a story of love, soul mates who meet time and again in different life times and the strength of maternal love. The first couple of chapters require the reader to suspend their disbelief and go with the flow until a connection is formed with Grace, Kay and their predicament. It is heartbreaking and emotional. With time travel books I have a habit of  getting confused with paradoxes and my mind gets filled with what ifs and implausibilities so I decided to just read which added to the enjoyment and the questions I did have were answered as the story developed.

The pair go back to the year 2000 and it is scary how much things have changed in the last nineteen years. Her vision of the future, eighty years from now is in some ways reassuring as I watch programmes on plastic and climate change but horrifying in others. The terminal disease Metagenesis sends shivers down my spine and even now, days after I have finished this novel, it unnerves me.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. This is a gem of a book which deserves to be shouted about, seen and not hidden by obscure Amazon algorithms. If you love quirky, thoughtful reads and the premise of reincarnation sparks your interest, grab a copy, and then comment below as I would love to chat. It would be an amazing book to analyse, dissect and discuss at a book club meeting because there is so much to say.

It is on my forever shelf and I am desperate to read her next book when it is released.

Author Biography

DSC_3993

Author Raquel Rich

Raquel Rich is the author of the award-winning novel, Hamartia. She loves to travel, suntan, walk her dog, and is obsessed with all things Beauty & the Beast. She despises cold weather, balloons, and writing about herself in the third person but noticed all the real authors do that. Born and raised in Canada to Brazilian parents, she lives in the Toronto area with her family. Married to the guy she’s been with since she was fifteen (her baby daddy), her superpowers include being a mom to their two awesome grown-ass boys and one fur baby.

Social Media links

Raquel’s website: https://www.raquelrich.com/hamartia

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41397476-hamartia

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRaquelRich/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rich.raquel/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaquelRiosRich

 

Happy reading!

Love

Book Review: Dead & Talking by Des Burkinshaw

I am pleased to share my review for Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation as part of a blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources.

Book Review: Dead & Talking by Des Burkinshaw

Dead & Talking Kindle sleeve FINAL DES

Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation

Title: Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation

Author: Des Burkinshaw

Genre: Supernatural  historical thriller

Publisher: magnificent!

Release Date: 10 Mar. 2019

Blurb

If a ghost appeared from nowhere, rescued you from suicide and then ordered you to start solving crimes to help dead people, what would you do? When it happens to Porter Norton, he just wants to put his head in his hands and have nothing to do with it. But now he has to atone for the family curse that has seen all the men die at their own hands for five generations. The Gliss, the sarcastic spirit that rescues him, says he can now and see and hear the Dead – if he’s close to their remains. Porter has to use his unwelcome gift to clear up past injustices. Or else. Forced to investigate the murder of a WW1 British Tommy executed for spying in 1917, he begins to suspect the case has links to his own family history. Along the way, Porter enlists the help of a bickering group of misfits, who struggle to stay involved – because only fools believe in the supernatural, don’t they? Full of pop culture references, banter and twists, the story takes us from present-day London and Flanders to scenes from World War 1. As Porter, The Gliss, and friends, get deeper into the explosive case, they discover their own lives and sanity are at stake. An evil from WW1 pursues them all.

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PLLNB4M

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PLLNB4M

My Thoughts

I’m not sure what I was expecting but this novel exceeded my expectations. It wasn’t a book I wanted to rush but longed to savour each scene. This is unusual for me as I am a reader who likes to gallop to the end if I am immersed in the story. I enjoyed the style, pace and Torchwood-like content – full of distinctive characters, supernatural battles, suspense and danger. The pose was a good balance of description, dialogue with banter and action creating vivid, highly visual scenes. It is easy to imagine the story on the screen.

There are many memorable characters to love. Despite descriptions to the contrary, I visualised and heard The Gliss as the Max, the robotic commander in The Flight of the Navigator which added an extra surreal element to this wonderful book. The dynamics between the characters move the plot forward because of their different personalities  particularly Porter and his sister Cherry. It highlights the contrast between how siblings can react to a common upbringing which affects their adult life.  My favourite person has to be Feng for his unique, unhinged view of the world which is needed to add lightness because the book delves into the dark subjects of depression, suicide and horrors of World War One. Some readers may find some scenes distressing.

Would I recommend?

If you love supernatural thrillers with unforgettable and quirky characters, yes. This is one of my favourite supernatural books, on par with the early  Peter James books so I will be following this series and author closely. I would be pleased to have this book on my forever shelf as I suspect it is one which will improve with each rereading.

Author Biography

Dead and Talking - DES DARK

Des Burkinshaw

Born in the middle of the Summer of Love on a pre-fab council estate in Luton, teenage bitterness and a chance viewing of the Watergate movie, All the President’s Men, made him vow to become a journalist and bring down the government.

First he had to pay for his journalism course, so he became a civil servant. Literally the day he had enough for his fees, he packed it in.
Twelve years on from watching the film, he was a journalist at The Times and had a big hand in bringing down John Major’s government. News ambitions sated, he packed that in too.

Several years of working for Channel 4, ITV and the BBC as a senior producer saw him working across the world, but he eventually got fed up with asking bands how the new album was coming along, and packed it in.

He set up his own production company magnificent! in 2002 and simultaneously worked on the BBC Live Events team for another 10 years. But then six years of work on the Olympics came along, so he packed the BBC in. Again.

Des has jammed with many of his heroes from Paul McCartney to Brian Wilson, Queen to Nancy Sinatra. He has interviewed many A-listers, including David Bowie, Michael Caine, John Cleese and even Noam Chomsky.

He has directed/produced a fairly long list of people – Muse, Coldplay, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, produced BBC3’s Glastonbury coverage for a couple of years, made films about leprosy in India, comedy shorts with Miranda Hart and Lenny Henry and played guitar for Chas and Dave at the Hackney Empire.

He has made 300+ short films for the Queen, MI5, the BBC, Sky, Discovery, EMI, the British Academy and dozens of authorities, charities and private sector firms. His most recent publication was a series of interviews with leading academics like Mary Beard on the state of the humanities which was published as a standalone magazine by the British Academy.

Fed up with travelling and determined to be a half-decent dad, he now works in London as often as he can. He runs the Young Directors Film School making movies with young people and is about to head up the Digital Film and Video MA at Tileyard. An avid musician and producer, he releases his third album as Romano Chorizo (he plays drums, bass, piano, guitar and really bad sax).

He hates to be pigeon-holed, thinks creativity is a learned state of mind and wishes they would teach people memory and learning techniques at school.

Dead & Talking is his debut novel, the first in a series of Porter & The Gliss investigations.

 

Social Media Links

Website www.desburkinshaw.com

Twitter twitter.com/DesBurkinshaw,

Facebook facebook as Des Burkinshaw

Giveaway to Win 3 x Signed Copies of Dead & Talking (Open INT)*

I am pleased to offer you the chance to read this book.

Click here to enter

Reading this book reminded me of why I love book blogging; it gives the opportunity to discover an author and series which may have slipped under my radar otherwise. I loved the hours I spent immersed in Norton and Gliss’ investigation so thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to the tour and free ARC to read.

Good luck and happy reading!

Love

Dead & Talking Full Tour Banner

Other blogs on this tour

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Book Review: How Not To Write Female Characters by Lucy V Hay

I am a writer – mainly for fun though I am currently writing my first novel. If this ever gets released into the public domain you will be the first to know. Quite often on social media there are cringe worthy threads showing examples of how not to write female characters so I was pleased to be invited to take part in this book blitz tour so I do not fall into the same trap.

Book Review: How Not To Write Female Characters by Lucy V Hay

How Not To Write Female Characters by Lucy V. Hay

How Not To Write Female Characters Book Cover

Title: How Not To Write Female Characters

Author: Lucy V Hay

Genre: Non-fiction, Writing

Purchase link: Amazon

Blurb

Female characters. When fifty per cent of your potential target audience is female, if you’re not writing them in your screenplay or novel? You’re making a BIG mistake!

But how should you approach your female characters? That’s the million-dollar question … After all, women in real life are complex, varied and flawed. Knowing where to start in creating three dimensional female characters for your story is extremely difficult.

So … perhaps it’s easier to figure out how NOT to write female characters?

Script editor, novelist and owner of the UK’s top screenwriting blog http://www.bang2write.com, Lucy V Hay has spent the last fifteen years reading the slush pile. She has learned to spot the patterns, pitfalls and general mistakes writers make when writing female characters – and why.

In How Not To Write Female Characters, Lucy outlines:

•WHO your character is & how to avoid “classic” traps and pitfalls
•WHAT mistakes writers typically make with female characters
•WHERE you can find great female characters in produced and published content
•WHEN to let go of gender politics and agendas
•WHY female characters are more important than ever

Lucy is on a mission to improve your writing, as well as enable diverse voices and characters to rise to the top of the spec pile.

REVIEWS FOR LUCY V’S WRITING ADVICE:

‘A timely guide to creating original characters and reinvigorating tired storylines. ‘
– Debbie Moon, creator and showrunner, Wolfblood (BBC)

‘Lucy V. Hay nails it’
– Stephen Volk, BAFTA-winning screenwriter: Ghostwatch, Afterlife, The Awakening

‘Packed with practical and inspirational insights’
– Karol Griffiths, development consultant and script editor, clients include ITV, BBC, Warner Brothers

‘A top-notch, cutting-edge guide to writing and selling, not just practical but inspirational. Lucy’s distinctive voice infuses the entire journey. Quite brilliant. Here’s the woman who’ll help you make things happen.’
– Barbara Machin, award-winning writer & creator of Waking the Dead

‘Delivers the stirring call to arms that writers must not only write, but take their work to the next level themselves, making sacrifices and taking risks if they want to see their stories on screen.’
– Chris Jones, Filmmaker, Screenwriter & Creative Director at the London Screenwriters Festival

‘Writing and Selling Thriller Screenplays is a must-read for any writer, producer or director looking to create (or in the process of creating) a thriller production. It could also be immensely useful for those generally curious about the genre or looking to learn more.’ – Film Doctor

‘Lucy V Hay explains what a script reader and editor’s role in filmmaking, tells you to work on your concepts and that dialogue is the last thing to work on in her new book.’ – Brit Flicks

My Thoughts

As a writer at the bottom of the learning curve in this craft, I welcome any advice. This short book is ideal for novice and experienced writers. It is informative in a humorous way so you don’t make the females in your novel stereotypical and one dimensional. Luckily, I read many books written by women with female protagonists which helps see examples of Lucy Hay’s words in action though some stereotypes still creep in. All characters deserve to be rounded and developed. Her words of wisdom guide the way to make this happen.

Would I recommend?

It is a quick read, perfect for those on a deadline this July with Camp NanoNoWriMo. It serves as a reminder for writers on the importance of female characters in fiction and am happy to have it on my writing forever shelf for future reference.

Her blog is worth bookmarking too for handy tips and information.

Author Biography

How Not - hands in the air, looking up

Lucy V Hay

Lucy V. Hay is an author, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts. Lucy’s also the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS.

Social Media Links –

Thanks Rachel’s Random Resources for bringing this book to my attention and inviting me on this book blitz tour.

Are you a writer? What do you think are the big no no’s in writing a female character?

Happy reading and writing!

Love

Book Review: The Boy in the Photo by Nicole Trope

It is the weekend and I am pleased to share with you my review for The Boy in the Photo by Nicole Trope. I have never read one of her books before but as soon as I read the gripping blurb; I knew it was one for my TBR pile. Luckily, Bookouture invited to this blog tour so could read it before the release date – thank you.

Book Review: The Boy in the Photo by Nicole Trope

The-Boy-in-the-Photo-Kindle

The Boy in the Photo by Nicole Trope

Title: The Boy in the Photo
Author: Nicole Trope
Genre: Psychological thriller, suspense
Publisher: Bookouture
Release Date: 28th June 2019

Blurb

She becomes aware of the silence at the other end of the line. A prickling sensation crawls up her arms. Her heart speeds up. ‘Found who?’ she asks, slowly, carefully, deliberately.
‘They found Daniel.’Six years agoMegan waits at the school gates for her six-year-old son, Daniel. As the playground empties, panic bubbles inside her. Daniel is nowhere to be found. Her darling son is missing.

Six years later

After years of sleepless nights and endless days of missing her son, Megan finally gets the call she has been dreaming about. Daniel has walked into a police station in a remote town just a few miles away.

Megan is overjoyed – her son is finally coming home. She has kept Daniel’s room, with his Cookie Monster poster on the wall and a stack of Lego under the bed, in perfect shape to welcome him back. But when he returns, there is something different about Daniel…

According to the police, Daniel was kidnapped by his father. After his dad died in a fire, Daniel was finally able to escape. Desperate to find out the truth, Megan tries to talk to her little boy – but he barely answers her questions. Longing to help him heal, Megan tries everything – his favourite chocolate milkshake, a reunion with his best friend, a present for every birthday missed – but still, Daniel is distant.

And as they struggle to connect, Megan begins to suspect that there is more to the story. Soon, she fears that her son is hiding a secret. A secret that could destroy her family…

A heartbreaking, emotional and poignant drama about a family in turmoil. Fans of Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty and Linda Green – this moving and stirring novel is for you.

My Thoughts

The blurb drew me in and I was not disappointed. The wonderful writing and characterisation of Megan immersed me into her life as I shared her emotional pain and turmoil when she loses and finds her son. The unimaginable scenario captivated me as the novel took me on a roller coaster of emotions; the past is cleverly revealed in successive anniversaries of his disappearance and shows her emotional journey through grief while always clinging on to hope. As a mum, it broke my heart in places as the fairy tale reunion she dreamt of fails to come true and the reality of the missing years sinks in.  The underlying suspense and dread as the truth is revealed carries the story forward despite having suspicions of where it could possibly lead was going. 

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a well written, heart breaking story full of suspense.When I first started reading I was unsure whether it was a family based drama or psychological thriller but it is a good blend of both and would appeal to fans of both of those genres.

Nicole Trope is worthy of the title Australian’s Jodi Picoult as mentioned in the tag line. This is an author I will be following closely and reading her back catalogue.

Author Biography

_12A5603

Nicole Trope

Nicole Trope went to university to study Law but realised the error of her ways when she did very badly on her first law essay because-as her professor pointed out- ‘It’s not meant to be a story.’ She studied teaching instead and used her holidays to work on her writing career and complete a Masters’ degree in Children’s Literature. After the birth of her first child she stayed home full time to write and raise children, renovate houses and build a business with her husband.
The idea for her first published novel, The Boy under the Table, was so scary that it took a year for her to find the courage to write the emotional story. Her second novel, Three Hours Late, was voted one of Fifty Books you can’t put down in 2013 and her third novel, The Secrets in Silence, was The Australian Woman’s Weekly Book of the month for June 2014.
She lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.
Social Media links:

 

Thank you again, Bookouture and NetGalley for inviting me on this blog tour and an advanced copy so I could give my honest, unbiased opinion.

Happy weekend reading! Have you read any Nicole Trope’s novels? I would love to know your thoughts.

Love

The Boy in the Photo - Blog Tour