Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: Sweet Deception – Angel Nicholas

23528197Mystery Thriller BlurbAlly Thompson’s life is perfect. Calm, quiet, some might even say boring. The sole survivor of a tragic accident, she’s not the adventurous type—something she’s decided to change.

One roller-coaster ride…

A murder and a detective in disguise shatter Ally’s first attempt at “fun.” Detective Greg Marsing is everything Ally knows better than to want. The gun-totting, tattooed scumbags trying to kill her are almost a welcome distraction from her pointless attraction.

Blows her world wide open…

A contract on Ally has every lowlife for miles gunning for her. Sparks fly while she and her unlikely hero scramble to unravel clues. As the deadly game escalates, Greg has to decide if self-preservation rates higher than a love worth dying for.

Mystery Thriller Buy Links
Amazon UK

Amazon
Mystery Thriller My Review

Sweet Deception‘Sweet Deception’ is a dichotomy. The first half of the story is full of action, suspense and romantic heat. The suspense in the early chapters is well written and powerful. It makes you hold your breath and peer through your fingers.

The sparks that fly between the hot shot detective Greg and the gutsy heroine Ally result in great chemistry and lots of snarky humour mitigating the real danger Ally finds herself in. Ally is a likeable heroine and I was cheering her on as she strives to conquer her fears and lack of self-belief. The fast paced plot and vivid characters make this story an entertaining read for the most part.

Half way through the story’s mood changes; there are heartbreaking scenes of sexual assault and sex trafficking. The scenes are disturbing and for me didn’t fit with the rest of the story. Ally’s reactions after her gut wrenching encounter with the world of vice didn’t ring true, she recovered too quickly. After these harrowing scenes the story’s mood returns to the action packed thriller with a strong thread of passionate attraction of the early chapters.

This is a sophisticated thriller with realistic characters and nice touches of humour to tone down the suspense and danger that the heroine, Ally attracts. The vice scenes in the middle of the story are also sensitively written but they jar with the tone of the rest of the story. This maybe the intention but for me, it took the edge off a great romantic suspense.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Sweet Deception by Angel Nicholas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Sweet Deception by Angel Nicholas

Angel Nicholas

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5*Review: Kate and Alf – Carrie Stone

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Blurb -2Kate loves Alf. And Alf loves Kate… Doesn’t he?

Kate can’t wait for her long-term boyfriend Alf to propose. So he might be a bit of a control freak who’s obsessed with his career … and he also seems to have conveniently forgotten their two-year plan to get married, buy a bigger house and have children. But Kate’s sure that ring will be on her finger soon.

When her thirty-second birthday ends in humiliating, proposal-less disaster, even Kate is left wondering if Alf really is The One. Then Alf’s friend, Marcus, needs a place to stay. With his dark eyes, easygoing manner and kind concern for Kate, Marcus is everything Alf is not – and it’s not long before Kate begins to wonder if there’s more to life than diamonds.

Buy Links -2Amazon UK

My ReviewKate & AlfIt’s important to remember ‘Kate and Alf’ is women’s fiction not romance. The story centres on Kate’s and details her growth and empowerment. The romance is significant but not central to this story. The characters Kate encounters are as important as Alf, the focus for Kate’s romantic aspirations.
Alf is a difficult character to like he puts the ‘self’ into selfish but he does illustrate vividly the point, you can’t help who you fall in love with.
Kate puts up with Alf because her life is plagued with loss. She can’t bear to be alone again. I want her to be more assertive at times but it adds to the story’s realism that she isn’t. I empathise with her journey and applaud her courage as she takes the steps she never thought she could.
Megan and Marcus are well written and likeable. They cleverly highlight important stages in Kate’s life. The give and take in Lillian’s and Vivian’s rapport with Kate highlights Kate’s and Alf’s one sided relationship.
The story’s slow pacing mirrors Kate’s life and makes the good things impact in a meaningful way. I did wonder if the book would be easier to read if it was broken up into parts to coincide with these changes. The unexpected plot twists in the last few chapters make experiencing Kate’s angst ridden life worthwhile for me.

‘Kate and Alf’ is a story of self discovery. The ending perfectly reflects Kate’s emotional journey.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Kate & Alf by Carrie Stone

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Kate & Alf by Carrie Stone

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Posted in Blogging Community, Writing Journey

Is #Wattpad the way to get noticed?

Wattpad ButtonI have been a member of Wattpad for about five months now but not really active. I have read a couple of stories written by my writing friends but I haven’t posted any of my stories.

Drop in the OceanEvery Indie author faces the same problems when promoting their books and themselves as an author. You are a minute ripple in a huge ocean. Even authors savvy with social media, struggle.

#Wattpad and it’s possibilities has crept up on me in a number of ways:

The Dangerous Gift BlurbSo today I decided to complete my Wattpad profile and I am seriously considering  uploading a few chapters of The Dangerous Gift, rewritten in a serial format, short chapters with a cliffhanger ending to make people want to know what happens next.

DSCN1091Promoting published books is also possible on #Wattpad and I am interested in sharing a few pages of The Dragon Legacy and The Revenge Masquerade in this way if my publisher  Crimson Frost Books agrees.

THE REVENGE MASQ-LARGEI’m a notorious ‘sit on the fence’ person, always balancing the pros  and cons so I could do with some input from my fellow bloggers and followers on how they feel about #Wattpad.

My concerns are:

  • Will posting part of a book I am subbing to publishers damage my chances of getting it published?
  •   Will it be vulnerable to piracy?
  • I suppose my third fear is that either no-one will read it. Or if they do they won’t like it , but that is a risk a writer takes every time they publish and I’m prepared to take that risk.

So what do you think? Should I share my story with the #Wattpad community, which is reputed to be 35 million?

Posted in Book Review

5* Review: Falling Angels Among Us – The Complete Series – Linn B Halton

22917661BLURBCeri thinks she sees angels … everywhere. She struggles to keep separate what feels like two very different sides to her life. As a manager in an advertising company she’s been working with the gorgeous Alex for two years. The have a friendship based upon the image she portrays whilst she’s at work and it helps to keep her sane. One mad, crazy night spent sharing their secrets and a lot of wine result in them ending up in bed together and their relationship changes. When Alex explains that the reason he doesn’t date is because someone broke his heart, how can Ceri admit that she feels a deep connection to him?

Ceri knows she’s different. What she doesn’t fully appreciate, is that her task in life is to correct a series of incidents that affect some of the people’s lives with whom she comes into contact. She’s simply putting right little errors that could ripple outwards and change the course of their destiny. When she finds herself getting pulled into things that happen around her, how can she prove that she really has made a difference? Is it all in her head?

She’s alone for a reason; she’s not meant to fall in love in her earthly life. Alex is supposed to cross paths with her and help Ceri during a phase where she begins to question the signs she’s being given. It’s meant to be a turning point for them both—but in opposite directions. They are destined to travel very different paths … but Ceri doesn’t know that and neither does Alex …

This is the complete Angels Among Us Series. It contains bonus chapters taking the series beyond ‘The End’ of the first three novellas (Falling, Forbidden and Forever).

Buy LinksAmazon UK

My Review -1

Falling Angels Among Us The Complete SeriesI originally read the Angels Among Us Series in the three separate novellas: Falling, Forbidden and Forever. Read my 5* review of these, posted yesterday, by clicking on the link:

5* Review of Falling Angels Among Us #1-3

 Then I found out the complete series version contains bonus chapters, which tell us what happens next. So here is my review of those and my thoughts on the whole series.

 Falling Angels Among Us The Complete Series by Linn B. Halton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Falling Angels Among Us The Complete Series by Linn B. Halton
Linn B. Halton

Additional scenes.

My initial thoughts when I read the first page of the bonus chapters was disappointment. Then I realised what happened only concerned the last chapter in ‘Forever’ and not the whole story.

The story continues with angst and heart-rending scenes that make a happy- ever- after, for Ceri and Alex seem impossible. Thankfully this isn’t an ordinary story.

I recommend this series, in its individual parts, or the complete series, with the additional scenes.

It’s a must read for those of us, who don’t need to see to believe, the true romantics.

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5* Review : Falling (Angels Among Us #1-3) – Linn B Halton

21327939Paranormal Blurb
Ceri thinks she sees angels … everywhere. She struggles to keep separate what feels like two very different sides to her life. As a manager in an advertising company she’s been working with the gorgeous Alex for two years. The have a friendship based upon the image she portrays whilst she’s at work and it helps to keep her sane. One mad, crazy night spent sharing their secrets and a lot of wine result in them ending up in bed together and their relationship changes. When Alex explains that the reason he doesn’t date is because someone broke his heart, how can Ceri admit that she feels a deep connection to him?

Ceri knows she’s different. What she doesn’t fully appreciate, is that her task in life is to correct a series of incidents that affect some of the people’s lives with whom she comes into contact. She’s simply putting right little errors that could ripple outwards and change the course of their destiny. When she finds herself getting pulled into things that happen around her, how can she prove that she really has made a difference? Is it all in her head?

She’s alone for a reason; she’s not meant to fall in love in her earthly life. Alex is supposed to cross paths with her and help Ceri during a phase where she begins to question the signs she’s being given. It’s meant to be a turning point for them both—but in opposite directions. They are destined to travel very different paths … but Ceri doesn’t know that and neither does Alex …

Paranormal Buy LinksAmazon UK

Paranormal My Review

Falling: HarperImpulse Paranormal Romance Novella (Angels Among Us, Book 1)‘Falling’ is the first in a trilogy about Ceri, whose name gives us a clue to her true identity. The connection with Ceri is immediate; she’s a good person, who wants to make a difference but struggles because she feels like a cuckoo in the nest. Ceri experiences extraordinary contact in an understated, believable way. Like Ceri, you are aware something out of the ordinary is going on but it’s in your peripheral vision and you can’t quite make it out. It’s scary, if you don’t acknowledge it; maybe you can put it down to a daydream.

Ceri’s relationship with her twin Seb, is interesting, they are yin and yang. Seb struggles to understand the ‘other’ side of Ceri but loves her anyway. Alex is a work colleague but their bond is stronger than that, even though they don’t socialise out of work. Desperation makes Ceri share her secret with Alex who has one of his own which he can’t share with her. The ending is happy for now but you question how long this will be the case with Ceri last experience.

This is a feel good, easy to read story about faith and love in all its forms. I’m looking forward to ‘Forbidden’ the second in the series.

Falling: HarperImpulse Paranormal Romance Novella by Linn B. Halton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Falling  HarperImpulse Paranormal Romance Novella (Angels Among Us, Book 1) by Linn B. Halton

18687861Paranormal Buy LinksAmazon UK

Paranormal My Review

Forbidden (Angels Among Us, #2)Ceri’s realises her true identity but is saddened. It threatens her future with Alex, who she accepts is not the same as her, although he does possess special qualities and is important to her future. Ceri and Alex respond in a totally human way to their situation and the reader is right there with them. hoping they can beat the odds.

Ceri’s new found knowledge makes her gifts more understandable as she begins to fulfil her destiny. There are some wonderfully poignant passages in this story.

Fate intervenes and reveals Alex’s secret. Dramatic irony means the readers know what it is but Ceri doesn’t.

This story has another crescendo ending making me pick up ‘Forever’ the last in the series straight away. I have to know what happens.

 I received a copy of Forbidden from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review. I have included it with my reviews of the other two books in the series, which I bought.

Forbidden by Linn B. Halton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Forbidden (Angels Among Us, #2) by Linn B. Halton

18749522Paranormal Buy LinksAmazon UK

Paranormal My ReviewForever (Angels Among Us #3)The final part of the trilogy picks up where ‘Forbidden’ ends. Alex can’t find Ceri, he should have shared his secret and now the truth has lost him his soul mate. Ceri’s psychic encounter with Alicia bought everything into painfully, clear focus. Ceri can’t cheat destiny. Ceri’s hopelessness in the early chapters of ‘Forever’ is tangible. Her ability to help others becomes the focus of her human existence and mitigates her emotional distress. The story’s poignancy continues and intensifies in this last part and it’s hard to predict, which way fate will take Ceri and Alex and if they have any control over their future. The ending is unexpected and fulfilling but there is a final twist that echoes the title.

I loved reading this uplifting, perceptive series and look forward to the continuation of Ceri’s journey.

Forever by Linn B. Halton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Forever (Angels Among Us #3) by Linn B. Halton

Linn B. Halton

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Can Authors Be Book Reviewers Too?

Book Reviewer I’m a regular reader of Kristen Lamb’s Blog , her posts are full of useful information about writing and social media and her anecdotes are amusing.  Last week I read her post entitled ‘Three NEVERS of Social Media for Writers’ , it’s an interesting post  and one I recommend you read. The three ‘nevers’ appeared commonsense to me but a point she made in the ‘Never Write Bad Book Reviews’ ‘Our BRAND is AUTHOR, not “book reviewer”.’,was thought-provoking and got me thinking.

DSCN1097In her post, she refers us to an earlier blog post; ‘Is it FAIR for Authors to Review other Authors? Do we ruin the Magic?’ so I read this too.

Briefly, it examines the differences between critique and review. Paraphrased,  it asks the question,  do writers know too much about the logistics of story writing and risk unmasking the illusion that all story tellers weave, if they review books?

I personally don’t read reviews before I read a novel or watch a TV programme. I didn’t even before I wrote. I like to make my own mind up. Reviews for every product and service are popular now with the growth of e-commerce and many people like to read reviews before they read the book.

WellnessBadgebadge_80In a saturated market ,reviews seem key to a book’s success. It’s the quantity not the quality of the reviews that appears to sell books and that’s a shame but not something that’s likely to change.

If a writer reviews a book without allowing themselves to be immersed in the fiction,seeing only the mechanics of story’s creation. Any negative comments on point of view, grammar or flow they make, are likely to shatter the creative illusion for other readers.

My Review -1All reviews, like everything else in the publishing world, are subjective, an opinion. Useful reviews shouldn’t contain many if any ‘spoilers’ and should highlight the story’s positives.

DSCN1091I don’t offer a critique or review as a writer. I’m new to writing but I’m a reader of almost 50 years 🙂 I read  fiction and I reviewed over 130 books in 2014. I review the story and how it effects me. The feedback on my reviews from other readers and authors is usually positive. They find them useful and surely that’s a good thing?

Mystery Thriller My ReviewSo to answer my original question ‘Can Authors be Book Reviewers too?’One of the points Kristen makes is that there is a  conflict of interest. Authors that are book reviewers risk alienating their peers if they give critical reviews. Or their reviews are full of platitudes, so’s not to offend.

It’s a fine line to walk certainly, but I rarely find a book that I can’t say something positive about. You don’t have to be unkind. If you can only find a few positives, the review is short.The inference is, the book wasn’t for you but you are offering an opinion in positive terms, whilst still being honest. If  I find a book I don’t like, I don’t finish it and don’t review it.

Most authors that are also book reviewers, do it because they enjoy it. If that makes me less cutting edge, as an author that’s fine  I write because I love it and book reviews are writing too.DSCN1366DSCN1380

What do you think?

 

Posted in Book Review

3* Review: Global Predator – Jack Maclean

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Mystery Thriller Blurb
High above the mountains of the North West Frontier, a Global Predator circles waiting to unleash its Hellfire missiles. The trail of Osama Bin Laden’s deputy, the elusive Egyptian terror master, Ayman al-Zawahiri has gone cold until a chance recording identified by a translator at the National Security Agency offers new clues. A special intelligence team assembles and plots to catch at him at a meeting with other high ranking al Qaeda leaders. In Pakistan’s beautiful Swat Valley, the local Taliban have been stepping up their attacks on anyone educating girls. English aid worker Sally is taken hostage while visiting one of her schools. When Wilkins, escaping his reckless trading mistakes at his London bank, is forced to rescue her, he finds himself trapped in a world of blind fear and terror. Only one person can now make sense of what is happening and stop a massacre of innocent schoolgirls.

 

Mystery Thriller Buy LinksAmazon UK

Amazon

Mystery Thriller My Review

GGlobal Predatorlobal Predator is a fast paced, detailed political thriller, exploring contemporary terrorism in a remote, hard to reach region of Pakistan. Interwoven with themes currently popular in the media; the inequality girls’ face to receive even basic education; the vulnerability of aid workers, the lack of regulation in investment banking and the use of drones to launch missile attacks on suspected terrorists.

It doesn’t contain overly graphic violent scenes, which is unusual in a thriller of this type, but the story is still vivid and keeps you guessing. The multi points of view used to tell the story are well written and keep the pacing tight, removing the need for unnecessary narrative. The characters appear stereotypical at times, especially the terrorists. Even so, the story is easy to read and suspenseful enough to keep you turning the pages.

I received a copy of this book from Author Buzz Legend Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Global Predator by Jack Maclean

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Global Predator by Jack Maclean
Jack Maclean

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Valentine’s Day – Commercialism versus Romance

Happy Valentine's Day 2
So do you see February 14th as the most romantic day of the year or just commercialism at its worst?

For many businesses, notably confectioners,florists, lingerie shops and restaurants, it can be one of the most profitable days of the year.

Valentine

As a romance writer you would expect me to be a staunch supporter of Valentine’s day and in many ways I am. I love that couples go out on date nights and lovers make an effort to surprise their partners with a gift but neither of these things have to cost a fortune. Most people truly in love would find a handmade gift or a home cooked supper the most romantic gift of all.

What I dislike about Valentine’s day is the hype, the insistence by the commercial world that if you don’t spend a fortune, your Valentine’s gift it isn’t worth anything.

Well take it from someone who has been married for almost 32 years the money doesn’t matter it’s the thought that counts.

So be a true romantic this year and ignore the pressure from advertisers. Give your loved one your time, help with the chores, so you can enjoy more ‘us’ time  and have a delicious home cooked Valentine treat à deux.

 Here’s my Valentine’s gift to my husband.

DSCN9589 DSCN9600

Oops there goes the New Year diet 😦

NewsletterI have included the link to sign up for my newsletter on this post, it’s also on the sidebar of my website. I have decided to relaunch it  and include book news, blog highlights and exclusive subscriber giveaways.

SUBSCRIBE TO MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

 Here’s the link for the first giveaway.

To enter click on the image below:

Rafflecopter Giveaway -1 This month’s prize is 

The Revenge Masquerade eBook.

The Revenge Masquerade Cover  October 26 14Happy Valentine's Day

 

 

 

Posted in Blogging Community, Character Interview

Valentine’s Eve Treat – An Interview with Lady Fury

 An early Valentine’s  treat for  you all.Love HeartAfter last week’s author interview with the fabulous Shehanne Moore, if you missed it you can read here, I have the redoubtable Lady Fury on my blog today. She allows us a rare glimpse into her complex life. Thankfully she isn’t aware Shehanne was here first , so don’t tell her will you?

18469995It’s lovely to welcome you to my blog  Milady Fury.

Now forgive me for saying but anyone who has read your story; ‘The Unraveling of Lady Fury’ knows you are a little obsessive about rules. Do you have any other obsessions/secrets you’re prepared to share?

Moi? Obsessive? Oh not at all.
You have read my story; you know how awful Flint can be and that rules with him are a must. As for other obsessions? I have none. Have I shown you this picture of Flint?

 I can see  the attraction.

Are you really the driven, often heartless woman you seem to be? If so what made you that way?

Not at all. Indeed, did you not say yourself, I was a delight???? I do admit that being dumped on a quay, in a strange city, without a penny to my name and a baby on the way, AND narrowly missing that trunk Flint flung at me, I may have become a little driven in terms of securing my future. Wouldn’t you?

When you put it like that I think I might be, which leads on to my next question. Would you consider Flint your weakness and if so why?

Oh…very well, Milady, you do drive a hard bargain. I think it is fair to say that Flint and I go back a long way. He was my first lover and there were times when we were very good together. I admit that I was younger then and a very different person from what I am now. So there were aspects of the not so good moments, I probably should have done differently and yes, these things can haunt. Like trying to bring that parakeet aboard the Calypso for example, which got me heaved off it. He is Storm’s father. I think women find it hard to walk away from that. I suppose he got under my skin and no-one else compared and not just because he’s good in bed. Flint’s not good at being humble and a cat probably had a better upbringing, so even when he’s bad, I can’t help but forgive him.

If you lived in the twenty- first century what type of woman would you be?

I’d like to be better educated. The opportunities for women that way are just so much better, although I suppose that being brought up in a brothel, had its uses. I’d hope to be less driven. And of course, I’d be just as nice and amenable as I truly am.

Mmm , how insightful you are Milady.Who’s your favourite character in Shehanne’s other stories?

18284672You mean apart from myself? Well, I do admit that her Black Wolf of Lochalpin, Callm McDunnagh the hero of His Judas Bride, is rather tasty. Yes. He is very ruthless and thinks nothing of taking the odd throat out, then there’s his appalling sarcasm every time he opens his mouth. But the lovely Milady Aimee Duffy said he ‘is as terrifying as he is intriguing,’ while the equally lovely Milady Erin Moore summed him up by saying “Callm is a tortured and twisted alpha male, yet underneath is a big marshmallow.’ And I think that’s it with Callm. He is prepared to lay down his life for Kara and I do not think it gets more romantic than that.
Kara is also a very damaged woman—let’s be clear, Shehanne wrote this—but he get totally gets that and knows he is going to have his work cut out with this woman.
So I do admit to something of a soft spot for Milord Wolf. Indeed I wish Shehanne had written him for me…..

Just one lookHow interesting…I promise not to tell Flint. Now for all the romantics amongst us. Do believe in love at first sight?

Well, it is that romantic time of year isn’t it? So I suppose I should say that when I looked at Milord Wolf…sorry, I may not believe but it is very clear to me that Flint does. I mean in his own way, when he first saw me on board the Calypso, wearing his dead lover’s dress, it was perfectly plain, it was love. He just found it hard to admit, as we all do, that such a heart stopping thing can happen. You can find your partner in a glance.

Lady Fury's Book Club You’ve travelled all over the world with your ‘book club’. Where in the world would you most like to live?

Hmm… Really Milady, so long as it’s with Flint, and isn’t any of the places we are wanted, anywhere is good.

Apart from Flint? Do you have a favourite crew member?

Apart from you good self, Skipper Jane, I am very fond of Myrtle, probably because if there is one thing Flint loathes it is parrots.Myrtle the Parrot

SO she has her uses, although we do have to hide her from him quite a bit and pretend we are doing all the squawking.

Two HeartsDo you believe in ‘Happy Ever After’? 

I believe in ever after. Yes indeed. Any ‘ever after’ requires working at in order to keep it happy. If you waltz off into the clouds with unrealistic expectations, it’s a long drop down.

Thank you  for visiting me here today Milady its been an unforgettable experience. Before you go, have you one of your wonderful recipes to share with us today?

My favourite Valentine’s dish apart from Flint? Oh, indeed, I have a special Valentine’s Day…. Sugared Nuts.

img045Do serve with my cocktail.

zkDSCN9181Mmm both of those sound delicious. I will be making a red velvet creation, a cake of course, which I will share with you tomorrow Valentine’s Day .

If you would like to read Lady Fury’s story or meet Callm McDunnagh,Wolf of Lochalpin, here you go:

Buy  Links 3

18469995Amazon UK

Amazon

18284672

Amazon UK

Amazon

20604093

Amazon UK

Amazon

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