Monday, 31 December 2012

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Merry Christmas


Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and New Year
Lots of Love
J x

Friday, 26 October 2012

Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party


To celebrate the launch of Janice Horton's new novella, How do you Voodoo, I am taking part in the Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party. The idea is to choose your ingredients from a list on Janice's blog, then make up a spell for your heart's desire.

So here's my spell recipe for inspiration

sprig of Scottish heather
pixie dust
three wild rose petals
pink candle

Oh hear me please you powers that be
Send inspiration to wash over me
With NaNoWriMo drawing near
Fill my mind with ideas clear

As I dwell on characters and plots
Please keep me from getting in knots
And when the panic starts to mount
Keep me focussed on wordcount
With harm to none, so mote it be

To find out what Janice and other bloggers and tweeters are cooking up, pop over to janicehortonwriter.blogspot.co.uk or follow the hashtag #voodoo on Twitter.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Book Review: Reaching for the Stars

Reaching for the Stars
by Janice Horton
Published: December 2011
Format: ebook
ASIN: B006ICFIZG

Summary
Scottish celebrity chef Finn McDuff is media stalked and disillusioned after winning his third star and losing his third wife. He decides he’s had enough of all the food campaigns, the TV cookery shows, the constant frenzy surrounding his private life and, after giving up all his accolades and closing down his restaurant, he disappears.

With the enfant terrible of the kitchen missing, two rival newspapers, having lost their media meal ticket, compete against each other to whip up further public curiosity in the missing chef. Love him or hate him, everyone is out looking for Chef McDuff. Who will find him first and whose side will you be on...?
Review
Right from the first page, this book had me hooked. Celebrity chef McDuff seemingly has it all, but faster than a soufflé can sink he loses it. His third wife has just walked out on him. That's a wife he's lost for each Golden Star. He is at the pinnacle of his career but willing to give up his coveted 3 stars to save his marriage.

Rival journalists, Raine and Ross, pursue poor Finn, each trying to out-scoop the other. Raine struggles to maintain her integrity, but Ross will do whatever it takes to get ahead. Then there is the fragile Anna, who has her own issues with Finn.

Finn is a real hero and I absolutely loved him. He reminded me of my favourite Scottish chef, the adorable Tom Kitchin. Finn is a gentleman and will go to enormous lengths not to let the people he cares about down. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be adding Ms Horton's other novels to my TBR list.

Rating
I loved this book and give it 5 out of 5. It made me smile and left me with that satisfying 'aaah' feeling at the end.

A big thank you to Ms Horton for sending me this book to review.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Welcome to Victoria Connelly

It's my pleasure to welcome multi-published author Victoria Connelly. Today, Victoria's going to talk to us about how she came to write her trilogy, It's Magic.
Over to you Victoria.

My husband and I got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales. It was a fairytale-like day – I wore a Tudor-style dress with long trumpet sleeves, we had a harp playing by the fireplace in the great hall, and a bat flew down from one of the towers and circled the dance floor. But what wasn’t quite so romantic was that my husband was sent into a war zone just six weeks later in his role as a television news cameraman.

I panicked and truly believed I was going to become one of the world’s fastest widows and, as soon as that thought crossed my mind, I couldn’t help thinking, wouldn’t that be a great idea for a book?

Once my husband was safely home (later admitting that a bullet had grazed his shirt sleeve!), I started writing a book about a young widow who has her own group of tiny guardian angels to take care of her. It was called Flights of Angels and it was to become the first novel I would have published but there was one drawback – only Germany ever published it and, despite it even being made into a film over there, the UK have never published it.

Two more magical romantic comedies followed in Germany. Unmasking Elena Montella about a woman who is given a magical Venetian mask which helps her choose which of her three (yes – three!) fiancĂ©s is the right one for her. And Three Graces about a young woman who marries a duke and goes to live in his ancestral home only to find it’s haunted by a rather opinionated eighteenth-century ghost.

But there was still no UK or US publisher so, whilst writing non-magical romantic comedies like A Weekend with Mr Darcy and The Runaway Actress, I decided to make my magical trilogy available on Kindle where you can buy them individually or as a trilogy called It’s Magic. 

I really loved writing these three novels. Writing magic is so much fun and the scenes involving Claudie’s naughty guardian angels, Elena’s magical mask and Georgiana the ghost are some of my favourite, and I really hope that readers enjoy It’s Magic as much as I loved writing it.

You can find out more about Victoria at www.victoriaconnelly.com
@VictoriaDarcy

Saturday, 4 August 2012

On My Wishlist #7

On My Wishlist hosted by Workaday Reads

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by the lovely Sarah over at workadayreads.com. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It's also an event that you can join in too. If you want to know more click here.

On My Wishlist this week are three books by indie author Karice Bolton. I came across the first book in The Watchers Trilogy as a free read on Amazon and have now added the other two books to my ever growing wishlist.

Awakening
Karice Bolton
Published: 27 September 2011 by Bulldog Press
Format: Paperback & ebook
ISBN-10: 0615535186
ISBN-13: 978-0615535180
Summary:
Alone in snowy, remote Whistler village, Ana tries to build a new life since losing her parents. With a cozy condo, a sweet-faced bulldog and an evening job to leave the days free for the slopes, life slips into a great routine. If only she could shake the guilt for not remembering anything about her parents and banish the night terrors that haunt her every dream.
On a whim, Ana goes out with Athen, a guy she’s just met in the Grizzly Pub... The only problem is that she feels like she already knows him.
Within 48 hours of meeting Athen and his family, Ana’s world implodes. She falls for Athen quickly and before she knows it, a past life begins to resurface. As thrilling as the revelations appear at first, she fights against the chilling information that Athen is from the underworld. Soon she begins to struggle as her own supernatural gifts are slowly unveiled, and she realizes that the nightmares she’s been having might be premonitions and not dreams at all.
It is up to Ana to decipher between fact and fiction before it is too late, and her new love, Athen, follows in her same fate - one that is lost between two worlds.

Legions
Karice Bolton
Published: 12 December 2011 by Bulldog Press
Format: Paperback & ebook
ISBN-10: 0615579930
ISBN-13: 9780615579931
Summary:
As the magical holiday season is disrupted with an afternoon of horror, it becomes apparent that the Legions have begun their uprising around the globe, and Ana does her best to stay strong even though her world has been shattered. It is up to Ana to find the strength within and not fall prey to the dark side as she begins her chase to reclaim what’s rightfully hers.
Realizing that Ana’s visions alone are not enough to protect them, her family begins her training immediately before she is targeted once more. The Legions will not quit until they get what they want, and they have made it clear that mortals will not be spared, leaving Ana little time to figure out what it is the demons are after.
As Ana balances her time between chasing after her destiny and spending her time relearning how to fight demons, she learns something about her past that could change why she’s fighting for anything at all. Clues continue to unfold in the form of yellowed letters she finds from Athen buried within an old Tudor home; and her future is signaled in a lone, white rose left for only her to see giving her the strength to persevere. She is determined to not give up faith that she will have it all once more.

Cataclysm
Karice Bolton
Published: 29 May 2012 by Bulldog Press
Format: Paperback & ebook
ISBN-10: 0615625444
ISBN-13: 978-0615625447
Summary:
When it becomes obvious that the dark side will stop at nothing to control the mortal world, Ana is faced with a decision that could determine the fate of Fallen Angels everywhere.
Determined to not use mortals as pawns, Ana does her best to prepare for the battles ahead while protecting the innocent souls around the world.
As danger looms at every turn, she realizes that the ones she thought were prey might actually be the predators, and it will take an army like never before to stop the wickedness from spreading throughout the world.
* * * * * * * * * *

So that's what is on my wish list this week - I'd love to hear what you've got on yours.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

I Should be Writing

Today I'm mostly procrastinating...

I've been editing my manuscript and everything was hunky dory while I was cutting out all the verbiage that I didn't need. But now it's getting harder as I need to cut scenes that I love but which serve no purpose in the story. So it has been filed under 'too difficult' for a couple of days. Then I will brace myself and be brutal.

In the meantime, I have been amusing myself looking at the sort of covers I would love for my book and have gone down with a serious case of book cover envy :D

Just love this cover designed by Croco Designs. I'm a big fan of Frauke's artwork.




Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Book Review: The Untied Kingdom

The Untied Kingdom
by Kate Johnson

Published: 1 April 2011 by Choc Lit Limited
Format: Paperback & ebook
ISBN-13: 9781906931681

Summary
When Eve Carpenter lands with a splash in the Thames, it's not the London or England she's used to. No one has a telephone or knows what a computer is. England's a third world country and Princess Di is still alive. But worst of all, everyone thinks Eve's a spy.

Including Major Harker who has his own problems. His sworn enemy is looking for a promotion. The general wants him to undertake some ridiculous mission to capture a computer, which Harker vaguely envisions running wild somewhere in Yorkshire. Turns out the best person to help him is Eve.

She claims to be a popstar. Harker doesn't know what a popstar is, although he suspects it's a fancy foreign word for 'spy'. Eve knows all about computers, and electricity. Eve is dangerous. There's every possibility she's mad.

And Harker is falling in love with her.
Goodreads

Review
The Untied Kingdom is an exciting read and a great page-turner. I fell in love with Major Harker right from the moment he turned up on the page. He is a cross between Sean Bean and Richard Armitage. What could be better?

The London Eve falls into is very different to the one she left. England is a third world country and at war with France. She is suspected of being a spy and even starts to doubt her own sanity.

Ms Johnson's writing is a joy to read. She has a fantastic imagination to have come up with the concept of the alternate world in this book from something as simple as a conversation about a BCG scar.

Rating
I absolutely loved this book, and the characters stayed with me long after I had finished it. I give The Untied Kingdom a well-deserved 5 out of 5. I read this book last year and it was my favourite book of 2011.


Monday, 30 April 2012

Book Review: Into the Darkest Corner

Into the Darkest Corner
by Elizabeth Haynes
Published: February 1st 2011 by Myriad
Format: ebook
ISBN: 9780956559982
Summary
Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic, spontaneous - Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But there is a darker side to Lee. His erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, and trusting no one, she plans a meticulous escape. Four years later, struggling to overcome her demons, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe from harm. Until one phone call changes everything. This is an edgy and powerful first novel, utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, and a tour de force of suspense.
Goodreads

Review
I read this book after seeing it on a repeat of the Channel 4 TV Book Club. The panel raved about it and I have to say I absolutely agree with them. This book is an unputdownable tense read right from the opening chapter.

The story is told in two different timelines - 2003 Catherine and 2007 Cathy. Catherine has changed so much in the intervening years that it is like reading about two different women.

Lee seems too good to be true when Catherine first meets him and it tuns out that he is. The abuse starts subtly - he tries to control what she wears, distances her from her friends and chips away at her self-confidence. To make matters worse, no one believes her. All her friends think Lee is the perfect boyfriend.

Catherine's story is disturbing, violent and at times upsetting to read. Ms Haynes deals with the subject of domestic violence without coming across as judgemental. I can't say I enjoyed this book - given the subject matter that doesn't seem the right word to use, but I was certainly gripped by it and read it in two sittings.

I was surprised to read at the back of the book that this was a debut novel - it's enough to make an aspiring wannabe writer give up now.

Rating
I would thoroughly recommend this gripping crime thriller and give Into the Darkest Corner 5 out of 5.


Monday, 2 January 2012

Book Review: Build a Man

Build a Man
by Talli Roland

Published: 5 November 2011 by Notting Hill Press
Format: eBook
ASIN: B00642BCX2


Summary
Slave to the rich, rude and deluded, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she's a high-flying tabloid reporter. Unfortunately, every pitch she sends out disappears like her clients' liposuctioned fat, never to be seen again. Then she meets Jeremy Ritchie -- the hang-dog man determined to be Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between -- giving Serenity a story no editor could resist.

With London's biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy's progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success, even going undercover to gain intimate access to Jeremy's life. But when Jeremy's surgery goes drastically wrong and Serenity is ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, she must decide how far she really will go for her dream job.
Goodreads

Review
I treated myself to this book after enjoying Ms Roland's The Hating Game. I certainly wasn't disappointed and found it hard to put down.

Serenity has to be one of my favourite heroines and I think there's a little bit of Serenity in all of us. She tries really hard to turn herself into someone she is not. She tries to be tidy and behave the way her boyfriend wants her to, but he shows more affection towards his snooty cat.

I fell in love with Jeremy almost straight away. I was expecting him to come across as a bit pathetic, but he doesn't. Ms Roland manages to make him both vulnerable and sexy, and I was rooting for Serenity to wake up and realise how she feels about him.

Serenity's journey as she chases her dream to be a tabloid reporter is very funny and has many laugh out loud moments. I absolutely loved this book and my only tiny criticism would be that it finished a bit too abruptly. But this was made up for by finding out Ms Roland is writing a sequel. Can't wait for Construct a Couple.

Rating
This is the perfect holiday read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and give Build a Man 5 out of 5. If you enjoy Sophie Kinsella's books, give Ms Roland a try. You won't be disappointed.


Sunday, 1 January 2012

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