Tuesday, 31 July 2012

I would like to welcome, a very special guest on my blog, author Julia Hughes

Watching the Detectives.

It's a pleasure to be amongst the first authors to appear on this very popular review site. Nikki's warm personality shines thorough even in cyberspace, as does her love of reading and books.

I contacted Nikki about a year ago, asking if she had time to read and perhaps review my first foray into independent publishing. A scary step, and if I'd known then what I know now, A Ripple in Time might never have been attempted. With two time lines, three points of view, a splash of paranormal activity and a major tragedy, it isn't a run of a mill romantic adventure. Happily, most people were willing to forgive the novice errors, and even more amazing, readers interpret the story in different ways.

Nikki not only read, but also said publicly that she enjoyed the read – and that was all the encouragement needed! The Celtic Cousins; Rhyllann – (aka Annie) and Wren appear fully formed in A Ripple in Time, and obviously have a history. Some readers picked up on references made to an earlier Celtic Cousins Adventure. In this story, the boys were younger, and so rejected by conventional publishers as being too young for a main stream audience. Having already braved the indie waters, A Raucous Time was polished to a high degree, and this prequel published not as an afterthought, but with high hopes. To hedge bets slightly however, Detective Crombie moved a little more centre stage.

It came as a delightful surprise when readers emphasised with the fat old bloke. He's a typical white hat wearing copper – but understands human fallibility. With four daughters and slightly overbearing wife, I get the feeling he quite welcomes the uncomplicated shenanigans of the cousins. The latest adventure to feature Crombie and the Cousins An Explosive Time will be free to download August 5 – 7, so no excuses not to join in the fun!

Julia's bio:
My first job after leaving college was at the BBC helping to write scripts for their schools' programmes. After a varied career, it is a dream come true to be  writing for myself, and the reader I'd like to be. For the past sixteen years I've lived in the last of London's villages, concentrating on supporting my two sons as they achieve adulthood. Any spare time I have is spent cycling, playing tennis or swimming. Drop by my website anytime, all visitors welcome! Julia Hughes.

PS: Nikki has been kind enough to review The Bridle Path, a complete change of pace for me, because that's the way she rolls. Thank you again for all your hard work Nikki, as both a reader and indie author it's always a treat to browse your site looking for my next great read.

Monday, 30 July 2012

I would like to welcome, a very special guest on my blog, author Victoria Connelly

I’ve always wanted to be a writer.  I started my first novel when I was fourteen and used to pass it under the table for my friends to read during Maths lessons.  It once got confiscated and the teacher, Mr Rowan, started to read it which was highly embarrassing but, luckily, it didn’t put me off writing.

When I was trying to get published, I kept hearing this phrase ‘USP’.  Your book has got to have a USP agents would tell me – a ‘Unique Selling Point’.  I’d written a romantic comedy which got me a lot of attention but it didn’t have that ‘USP’.

It was shortly after this that I came up with the idea for Flights of Angels - a story about a young widow called Claudie who has her own group of tiny guardian angels to take care of her.  Angels, I thought - that was my USP!  I was so excited about this because I truly believed I’d found the secret of success and, when I sent that novel out into the world, I waited with baited breath.

And then the rejections came and I felt so silly for having dared to be too different.  In fact, the rejections got to me so much that I stopped writing the novel until a dear friend read the beginning and told me that I had to finish it because it was the best thing she’d ever read.

So, I finished the book and I’m so glad I did because Flights of Angels was my first novel to get published although, bizarrely, not in the UK.  The publisher was in Germany.  I believe it’s rather unusual to have your first novel accepted by a foreign country but Germany did an amazing job and it was even turned into a film and my husband and I got to fly out to Berlin and were invited to be extras – an experience I’ll never ever forget.  And I wish you could see those little guardian angels on film – they were adorable!

Then came two more magical romantic comedies.  Unmasking Elena Montella about a woman who is given a magical Venetian mask which helps her choose which of her three (yes – three!) fiancés 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.

I had so much fun writing these books but they were never published in the UK even though they’d done so well in Germany.  So I’ve decided to make them available on Kindle where you can buy them individually or as a trilogy called It’s Magic.

I love rom coms with a touch of magic and have been influenced by films like Blithe Spirit, The Ghost and Mrs Muir and Truly Madly Deeply and I hope my own magical rom coms can give readers some of the happiness that these films have given me.

To buy Flights of Angels click here

To buy It's Magic click here

Twitter - @VictoriaDarcy

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Shades of Appley Green by Miriam Wakerly

A modern village novel

Steph is a kind, warm hearted, caring young woman. Ted Devonish had seen this and knew she would be the perfect person for his new mission. A charity called SSS Special Support for Seniors. Set up to help lonely, isolated and housebound elderly people. Steph was happy to work for the charity; the job was paid work, which as a single parent with two children to support was ideal for Steph.  Steph would go out and do home visits in the local community and surrounding areas, offering help and support and she had just come up with a brilliant idea of setting up a computer class at the local community hall for her clients.

Greg was her boss, the manager of SSS. Although at the moment there are only Greg and Steph working for the charity. Greg likes things done according to rules and regulations, much to Steph’s annoyance. Steph does not seem to trust men and when Greg starts to hang around looking in to the work Steph is doing, Steph is not happy. Steph knows that she has not been able to keep to all the guide lines Greg as set out for her.  Greg also as concerns about Steph and particularly about how much time and dedication Steph seems to be giving to an elderly gentleman called Jackson who is suffering from Parkinson disease.

By watching and chatting to Steph about her work will Greg learn more about Steph and why she seems to be obsessed with caring for Jackson?

Shades of Appley Green is a wonderful, moving and emotional, touching story about a young woman who as to come to terms with her past, before she can move on into the future. Set in the fictional village of Appley Green, Steph’s story slowly unravels throughout the story, keeping the reader intrigued and unable to put the book down. Miriam Wakerly as a beautiful way of writing that makes the reader care and feel involved. I very much look forward to reading more books by Miriam Wakerly.

To buy this book from Amazon.co.uk, click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0955843227

Friday, 27 July 2012

No Gypsies Served by Miriam Wakerly

No Gypsies Served is set two years after the story of Gypsies Stop tHere. Kay is now settled living in the village of Appley Green and she has made lots of friends. One of the people she has become particularly close to is Dunstan. Kay first met Dunstan when she employed him to help out with her gardening. Kay and Dunstan had ended up spending a lot of time together and become really good friends. Dunstan suddenly becomes distant towards Kay and she can not understand why and Kay really needs her friends right now, she has been receiving threatening letters and a phone call that is of great worry for her. Then when the grand opening of the Appley Green Gypsy site that Kay had successfully campaigned for, does not go to plan and there are problems, where is Dunstan when she needs him?

Dunstan is busy writing about his past. Dustan’s childhood was spent as a Gypsy. Dunstan had eventually broken away from his family and his Gypsy upbringing. But he still feels pulled back to his traditional roots.  Writing his memoirs bring back some emotional memories. But what is keeping him away from Kay?

No Gypsies Served is another wonderful read by Miriam Wakerly. Although this book is a sequel to Gypsies Stop tHere, this story can be read without reading the first book. I really recommend reading them both though because they are both excellently written and great stories. I just found myself really involved in the story and I have become really fond and care a lot about the character of Kay. All too often in literature Gypsies are presented almost as fairy tale sort of characters, very stereotypical and clichéd. In Miriam Wakerly books she really portrays Gypsies and Travelling people as individual characters and you get a more real life account of what life is really like living in these communities.  It is what makes Miriam Wakerly books well worth reading.

I am looking forward to returning to Appley Green in Miriam Wakerly’s novel Shades of Appley Green.

To buy this book from Amazon.co.uk, click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0955843219

For more information about the author, click here http://miriamwakerly.blogspot.co.uk

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Gypsies Stop tHere by Miriam Wakerly

After a family tragedy, Kay Brackenbridge moves from London to live in the country, in a village called Appley Green. Kay soon discovers all is not peaceful and quiet, in this rural setting.

Kay soon finds herself involved in the local dispute involving the community of Romany Gypsy Travellers. Kay helps out a young girl called Lena, and her two small children. Will helping Lena out with her problems not only help Lena, but help Kay come to terms with her emotional past?

Gypsies Stop tHere is just a delightful story about different people’s attitudes. The issues covered in this storyline very much still happen a lot in today’s society, and these issues are covered in a sensitive and thoughtful way, that show both points of view, and make this book a very interesting read. Author Miriam Wakerly has really done her research and presents the story really well. I really enjoyed this beautiful story, and I will now go straight on and read Miriam next book No Gypsies Served.

Miriam Wakerly has had short stories and articles published in magazines. Gypsies Stop tHere is her first novel and was launched the day after she retired in 2008; No Gypsies Served followed two years later. In 2012 she published Shades of Appley Green the first of a new series of Appley Green village novels.

To buy this book from Amazon.co.uk, click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0955843200

For more information about the author, click here http://miriamwakerly.blogspot.co.uk

Sunday, 22 July 2012

DIVA by Carrie Duffy

All Dionne Summers wants is to escape her poor background living in Detroit. Dionne dreams of making it as a supermodel. She is a confident, determined young woman, who is not afraid to go after what she wants

Shy and quiet Alyson Wakefield, also is desperate to escape her background. Brought up in Oldham in the north of England, she has been the primary carer for her mother since her father walked out with her younger brother almost a decade ago. Innocent Alyson does not know how beautiful she is. Alyson gets a chance to follow her dreams and to live her own life. She takes it.

Dionne and Alyson both end up living and working in Paris sharing an apartment. They also share with an up and coming fashion designer called CeCe Bouvier. Three girls all full of ambition and determined to make it to the top. Friendships are made; pacts are formed to help each other along the way. But what will happen along the way when the girls have to face broken promises, jealousy, love and tragedy. Will their friendships stay strong?

This is another smash hit of a novel from talented author Carrie Duffy. Once again strong female leading characters with bucket loads of ambition, make this book a compelling read. This book differs and stands out from other Chick Lit books in many ways; the characters don’t have to have a man in their lives and a loving relationship for the happy ever after. I like the way that the characters are independent and have the determination to stand on their own feet to make things happen and to get what they want out of their lives. 

To buy this book from Amazon.co.uk click the following link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0007421532

For more information about the author, click the following link: http://www.carrieduffy.com/

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

A chance meeting for the young innocent Ana Steele with the attractive successful entrepreneur Christian Grey leads to a strong attraction, but when Grey warns Ana that he is not the right man for her and to keep her distance from him, Ana just can not resist.

As Ana gets more and more involved with Grey and they begin a passionate affair, she learns of Grey’s deeply hidden secrets and his need to control. Just how far into Grey’s darker side of life is Ana prepared to go into to keep her man?

Fifty Shades of Grey is the trilogy that everybody is talking about. It would seem this book is like Marmite, either people love it or they hate it. Even the people who have not read the books have an opinion about it. So I decided to read the book for myself to see if I could find what is so special about this particular book and what could be behind all the hype that as propelled this book into popularity and is making people go out and buy it.

Yes it is full of sex scenes and my first thought is this why the book sells? But when you actually read the book there is nothing too shocking about these scenes. It reminds me in the eighties there was a lot of hype about the film Nine and a Half Weeks, all sorts of stories went around about the content of the film and then when you watched it, it was not that exciting really. Well it is the same with this book. There is not a great deal of storyline, the main theme seems to be if two people can compromise, if Grey can conquer is demons and how far Ana is prepared to cross the line, not very exciting really. I could take or leave this book. I did not love it or hate it. Would I rush out and buy book two in the trilogy? The answer is no, but I will probably get around to reading it sometime in the future.

The positive side to Fifty Shades of Grey is that it is getting people reading. I think it is through people’s curiosity that the books are selling and if that brings forward more readers then that is what the best thing about it is.

To buy this book from amazon.co.uk click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0099579936

To buy this book from amazon.com click here  http://amzn.com/0345803485

Monday, 16 July 2012

Under the Queen’s Colours: Voices from the Forces 1952-2012 by Penny Legg

To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this book is a wonderful collection of stories told by people who have served in each of our armed forces. Army, Navy, and Royal Air Force who have served under the Queen during her reign in the past sixty years.

The stories start from the start of the Queens reign the 1950’s and go through six decades bringing us up to the present day. Ordinary people share their experiences and memories of their time they spent in the services. Some of the stories are told with great humour, some are moving and touching. In this book you get a first account of what life was like serving the Queen and country.

This book is a fascinating read, I like reading books about real people and this book really does give you an idea of what life must have been like in the services. From just general duties to serving during times of conflict and much more, the stories are a great collection and are accompanied by some great colourful photographs. Penny Legg has a wonderful warm way, of capturing history in anecdotes and memories from real people. 

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the Royal Navy & Marines Charity and the ARF the Soldiers Charity.

To buy this book from amazon.co.uk, click the following link http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0752469959

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Full Circle and Other Stories by Mary O’Sullivan

Full Circle and Other Stories is a wonderful well written collection of short stories. From the very moving and touching tale of Into the Whiteness about a woman who is left in a coma after an accident caused by a drunk driver. This story is so beautifully written the words flow in a poetic way that really touches your heart. The other stories are all equally as good, they include stories involving crime, murder and mystery. To stories like Stronger than this that show the very best in human behaviour. 

I really enjoyed reading all the stories in this book. The stories really draw you in as a reader. The book can be read in one sitting. What I liked about the stories is that Mary O’Sullivan is such a clever writer, and although the stories are short ones they do come to a satisfying conclusion, and some even have an added twist that you don’t see coming. In this book we also first meet Jack whose character started off as this short story featured in the book and was later developed into the novel Fire and Ice.

I have said it before I am a big fan of Mary O’Sullivan, her writing never disappoints. It made a nice change for me too to read a collection of short stories, this is the first I have read and reviewed. I would certainly be interested in reading more short stories now, and I do hope Mary O’Sullivan will be writing more in the future.

Irish author Mary O Sullivan tries to be a wife, mother and writer. Sometimes she succeeds. Mostly she muddles along in a welter of multi-tasking, eating chocolate and painting in times of crisis. She lives in Carrigaline, County Cork, with her husband Sean.

To buy this book from amazon.co.uk, click here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0089XJIAI

To buy this book from amazon.com, click here:  http://amzn.com/B0089XJIAI

For more information about the author, click here: http://www.maryosullivanauthor.ie/

Friday, 6 July 2012

Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley

When Tansy Poole inherits a run-down shoe shop, this happens at just at the right time for her, she is in a relationship that just does not seem to be working out, and when a further revelation is revealed, the shop provides Tansy with the perfect way to escape from the relationship and living in London. Tansy moves back to the Village of Sticklepond in Lancashire where she grow up and was raised by a loving Aunt. Tansy’s dream is to turn her Aunts Bright Shoes shop into Cinderella’s Slippers. Providing the perfect wedding shoes for bride’s to be. Along with special chocolate shaped shoes too. The shop is soon a huge success.

In Tansy’s home life things are not so good. Tansy finds herself in a situation that is a little similar to Cinderella, due to her also having two appalling stepsisters, who go out of their way to meddle and cause trouble in Tansy’s life. When a handsome actor called Ivo Hawksley moves in next door nursing a broken heart and playing depressive classical music night after night adding to Tansy’s worry. But when Tansy and Ivo find they have something in common and become friends, could there be a chance for a happy ever after for Tansy after all?

Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues is just one of those great stories that give you great pleasure to dip into, and find yourself in another place, and into the lives of some very likable characters, and to take some time out and lose yourself in a heart warming story, that is well told with some good humour, drama and suspense to what family secrets will be revealed. This is the first book I have read by Trisha Ashley, and I really enjoyed reading this book, and will definitely be reading more of her work.

Trisha Ashley was born in St. Helens, Lancashire and now lives in the beautiful surroundings of North Wales. She has written twelve romantic comedies and her last novel, The Magic of Christmas, was a Sunday Times bestseller. A Winters Tale and Wedding Tiers have been previously short listed for the Melissa Nathan award for romantic comedy. Every Woman for Herself was voted one of the top three romantic novels of the last fifty years.

To buy this book from amazon.co.uk, click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1847562779

For more information about the author, click here http://trishaashley.com/