#BookReview for The Bus Ride: A Zany Busnapping Adventure by Joanie Chevalier

Pink quill books pick_2020

My review for The Bus Ride: A Zany Busnapping Adventure by Joanie Chevalier, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

What a wonderfully funny, quirky, sometimes sad, often laugh-out-loud novella. Just the idea of someone carrying out a busnapping is enough to make you pick it up, and the promise is fulfilled with the characters the author has created. People from all walks of life, easily relatable, immediately endearing, they add a rich depth to the story.

Each character is given a nickname, and his or her background is slowly revealed as the story develops. What could have been a macabre tale is instead full of emotion, wit, heartache and joy, as the reader is pulled into the characters’ lives, travelling alongside them on their journey of self-discovery.

A well-written novella whose characters will remain with you long after you finish reading it. Highly recommend!

Amazon US
Amazon UK

#BookReview for Amberflame by Lisa Hofmann

Pink quill books pick_2020

My review for Amberflame by Lisa Hofmann, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

What I loved about this magical short story is that I felt as if I already knew the characters and the setting as soon as I started reading. The narrative pulled me in right away, and kept me hooked until the end.

A secret love that is destined to fail, a dragon terrorising the local villages, a young girl willing to sacrifice everything for the people she loves, and a magical twist at the end – this story has everything a great fantasy needs, and is a fantastic read. Highly recommend!

Blurb:

Willa loves Aberlin, and Aberlin loves Willa, but they can’t be together.
Willa has a secret. She is afraid of monsters. She is not afraid to face them, to stand up and fight – but what if she can’t win? Where would that leave the people she cares about?
Enjoy this magical new tale about dark secrets and the power of love.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Looking back on 2019

While everyone’s busy posting their top ten favourite books of the year, I thought I’d take a look back at the last twelve months. (This is mainly because I’ve read so many fantastic books this year that I can’t possibly choose a top ten! Take a look at my book reviews on this blog to find new authors and books.)

So, what have I achieved over the last year? A heck of a lot, as it happens. I published four books: A Dragonfly in Winter (a novella, part of my Innocenti series), The Lost Girls and Shadows from the Past (books #1 and #2 in my Maggie Dupont suspense series), and the Innocenti Saga Collection (books #1, #2 and #3 of the Innocenti series in a box set).

I also proofread a number of indie authors’ books – I’m not sure of the exact number, but there were a few! It’s something I love doing, and have worked with some wonderful authors.

I post regularly on my Facebook page, and love chatting with readers and other authors alike. I’ve made some new friends there, and am grateful for all the support everyone gives me.

After being burned a few times, I managed to open my heart to two fantastic people who brighten my day and lift me up when I get down. It’s not easy to find genuine friends online or in real life, but Kayleigh and Sarah, you are both wonderful, wonderful people!

I’ve read a LOT of books – 168 according to Goodreads, but there are a few more than that. Can you tell I love reading?!

And two months ago, I got a 3-book publishing deal with Bloodhound Books! There’ll be more exciting news in the new year about that, I can’t wait to tell you!

And finally, I’ve got a secret project going on that I’m very excited about – all will be revealed soon!

And let’s not forget Pan, our gorgeous rescue cat who came to us in February, and who we love with all our hearts. Not sure who rescued who, but we are so lucky to have her in our lives.

On that note, I wish everyone a happy new year, and I hope 2020 is going to be a great year for us all!

pan and tree

#BookReview for The Black Fire Chronicles: Dorothy the Dreamer by Kim Rigby

My review for The Black Fire Chronicles: Guardians 1- Dorothy the Dreamer by Kim Rigby, 5/5 stars.

Having enjoyed the first three books in the Black Fire Chronicles series, I was looking forward to reading this new installment about one of the guardians. It definitely didn’t disappoint!

In the first books, we meet an older Dorothy – here, we are taken back to when she is eight years old and meets the Seer for the first time. Dorothy’s life changes when Aunty Colleen looks after her while her parents are working, and she discovers that the world is more magical than she thinks.

Full of time travel, enchanted gardens, weird and wonderful characters, and the evil Hag and her hound, the story draws you in and keeps you turning the pages as you go on a magical journey from past to present and to the future. Highly recommend!

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Book Review: ‘Coming Home For Christmas’ by Helen Pryke — Book Squirrel

Although the subtitle is ‘A Haunting Christmas Tale’, this is far from being scary or spooky. Instead, is it a positive and inspirational story full of Christmas Eve spirit. Without being overly sentimental, this story is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. The reader is invited to witness a very special moment through the […]

via Book Review: ‘Coming Home For Christmas’ by Helen Pryke — Book Squirrel

#BookReview for Terror Bites by Emma Pullar and others

My review for Terror Bites: A Collection of Horror Stories by Emma Pullar and others, 5/5 stars.

A great collection of short horror stories you can dip into whenever you want. Some are creepy, some are gory, and there’s something for everyone who loves horror.

It’s not easy to create a short story that pulls you in and keeps you reading, but these authors have managed to do that!

And even better, proceeds go to a cancer charity – so you get a great read and help donate money to a good cause at the same time.

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#BookReview for Snowflakes and Sapphires by Kristina Beck

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My review for Snowflakes and Sapphires by Kristina Beck, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

What a gorgeous story, just as beautiful as the cover! I’ve read every book by Kristina Beck, and each one just gets better. Well written, with characters you’ll fall in love with, and set in New York at Christmas – what more could you want?!

Sophia and Drew are made for each other, but Drew’s sister Lacey steals the show, in my opinion. I just loved her character and her quirky one-liners. The story draws you in from the beginning, and has you rooting for Sophia and Drew to overcome all the obstacles in their way and find true love.

I highly recommend for lovers of romantic Christmas stories that warm your heart!

Amazon US
Amazon UK

#BookReview for The Honeysuckle Dream by Kate Frost

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My review for The Honeysuckle Dream by Kate Frost, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

Having read the other two books in the series, I was interested in reading this one, written from Leila’s point of view. And I loved it!

Leila is such a wonderful character – so flawed, so feisty, so strong and yet so vulnerable. Abandoned by her family and her lover when she gets pregnant at 18, she’s determined to make something of her life. Her strength of character pull her through her lowest moments, as we follow her journey through the decades.

This story touches all your emotions, as you live through every event with the characters. You can easily read it without having read the other books, but if you’ve already read Sophia’s story, seeing it told through Leila’s eyes enriches the experience, adding depth and layers that intertwine with the past and the present.

Well written, with characters who will enter your life as if they were real friends, leaving you bereft when you finish reading, this is a series I highly recommend!

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Amazon UK

Some exciting news!

Just over two weeks ago, on a normal Monday, I received an email. It’s the kind of email every author dreams of getting, but never imagines will happen to them.

***

Three years ago I self published my first novel, Walls of Silence. Little did I know the hard work that would follow, the roller coaster of emotions as  the critical and complimentary reviews rolled in, the shock as I realised I would have to learn how to market my books as well as write them.

Since then I’ve published two middle-grade children’s books, three books in The Innocenti Saga, a historical fiction series, two books in the Maggie Dupont suspense series, a few short stories, and the Italian versions of most of my books. A great achievement in just three years.

But, like a lot of authors, I get frustrated at my inability to get my books in front of readers. I’ve joined many fantastic groups on Facebook, tried to follow their advice, and get nowhere. Amazon ads worked well for me last year, this year they’re a disaster. I read all the latest information, apply it, and…nothing.

I think many authors will agree with me that it’s like banging your head against a brick wall, only more painful. Years of hard work – yes, writing a book isn’t as easy as it looks, what with research, first drafts to tenth drafts (if you’re lucky), editing, proofreading, formatting, the list goes on. Sometimes it seems it’s all for nothing as you watch your book plummet down the rankings.

***

The email I received was from Bloodhound Books, asking to read one of my books as they’d been following me and were interested in taking me on as one of their authors. To receive an email like that, when you’re mired in self doubt, is bloody amazing.

After I stopped dancing round the living room, I had the difficult choice of whether or not to accept. Difficult, because after three years as an indie author and having complete control over my work, I had to relinquish all of that. As my son pointed out, what would I do with all that spare time, now I could no longer check my KDP charts?!

I’m happy to announce that I accepted their three-book publishing contract, and am now a proud Bloodhound Books author. The hard work isn’t over yet, though – I now have three books to write, within a deadline. But I love a challenge!

This coming year is going to be exciting, and different, and interesting, and probably stressing at times, but it’s something I thought would never happen and I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can.

You can check out my author page at Bloodhound Books here.

There are some amazing books by indie authors out there, many of which deserve to be taken on by publishers. If you love reading, check out my reviews here on my blog and take a chance on any that you think you might like – you will definitely be surprised!

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