Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Beyond the Pale by Senan Gil Senan

It is good to be back reading books, especially if its an enjoyable book like this one. I rated it 5 stars.
Beyond the pale on Amazon.com

Senan Gil Senan has created in Beyond the Pale a very believable world, were two sets of humans have evolved in two very different ways. The character of River; a young Native American or outlander who lives a hidden existence outside of the city bounds and its controls; is the embodiment of the group that have re-embraced a more tribal way of life. He seems to be in tune with his environment and his own body. The differences between the groups become clear when River saves Nathan Carlson; a security officer from the fortified city of New Denver. Even though Nathan is grateful for River saving his life, he can’t avoid him being taken captive by the cities forces. He does however succeed in taking custody of River and he brings him home to live with his family. Here the differences become even clearer when we see how the somewhat dysfunctional Carlson offspring deals with life.  Both children had their intelligence artificially enhanced at birth, but in their society social skills seem less important. Anton the son is so involved with all his gadgets that he rather deals with a virtual woman than a real girl.  Audrina is the epitome of a hedonistic society that needs technology, drugs and sex for entertainment. River falls in love with Audrina and a relationship develops. It doesn’t make for comfortable reading, when Audrina plays games and pushes River into her dysfunctional world. Here our hero shows his moral fibre and stands up to her.
There is plenty of action in this book and I found it hard to put down. I wanted to rush to the end to find out how River ended up. The descriptions of the new ‘advanced’ world are vivid without overwhelming the reader with techno-babble. The writer also brought the Colorado landscape (or the outlands) to life for me. There are plenty more questions to be answered at the end of the book and I’m pleased that there is already a follow up to this book; The Fifth Seed.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Seer of Souls by Susan Faw

I'm happy to announce that Conversations with Tom is finally finish and has been send to my editor Penny Hunter. I'm sure there are still some things that need to be changed, but we are on the home straight. I hope I'll now have a bit more time to read and review, but also to get some more exercise. Sitting typing does nothing for the waistline or general condition. The weather here is warming up and I look forwards to many fine walks and swims.
This time I'm reviewing an fantasy adventure, fantasy is not my favourite genre, but I do enjoy a good adventure. This one was action packed and a good read. I gave it five stars.
Seer of Souls by Susan Faw

If you’re a fan of fantasy adventure stories set in a magical kingdom, then you’ll like this. I have to admit that I was bored to tears by the Hobbit as it had at times overlong descriptions of the things found in Middle Earth. Seer of souls thankfully doesn’t do this, the pace is fast and there is lots of action. I could have actually done with a bit more explanation as there remain many questions; like who exactly is the evil Queen Alcina, where did she come from, and what made her go to the dark side? There is a second book planed so I think we’ll get to know the kingdom of Cathair more in depth. I liked the character of Cayden as we see him developing from simple farm boy who likes to carve flutes, to reluctant leader of men. I look forwards to reading the next book as I want to discover more about these magic lands, the primordial people and Avery, Cayden’s twin. I hope the follow up in the Spirit Shield saga is equally action packed and exciting. This impressive debut novel is well written and edited and I think we will hear more of Susan Faw in years to come.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Reblogged from Lurking musings

I've been busy doing many things to promote the Language in the Blood series. One of these was doing a guest spot and interview on the following blog. You can read my interview on the blog and I copied my guest spot below.
Lurking musings

I mentioned in my interview that I’m not very comfortable with self-publicising. It was about two years after publishing my first book that I decided to put a headshot on my author page. If I can give one piece of advice to a new writer, it’s to be conscious of your and your book’s image. Readers want to know who you are, what you look like and preferably what your pets look like too.vampire cat
So here is a picture of Clicquot the cat, and me, reluctantly venturing into the limelight. He was also reluctant to dress up as a vampire bat, but mummy’s career demanded it.
Before you shout ‘animal cruelty!’ I’ll tell you that the wings and tie only stayed on a few seconds; just long enough for the photo.
It’s my little revenge for him getting us up at 4am most mornings.
The biggest mistake I made early on is trying to do everything myself. (Except editing, I knew I needed help there!) This is no problem if you’re good at everything book related. If you decide to go the self-publishing route there are so many jobs you then need to do. Graphic designer, web-page designer, blogger, editor, marketing and advertising expert are just a couple of skills you’ll have to learn.
catI soon realised I was out of my depth. The best decision I’ve made, probably, is joining an independent writers’ group. This group was very open with sharing their experiences and when I saw some of the covers my colleagues were using I knew I had to change mine. My group recommended several avenues and after a few emails I went with Paradox Book Covers. If you shop and ask around you’ll find that professional is not always expensive. People really do judge a book by its cover, so make sure yours stands out.
I’m next hoping to tackle my website, because you’re not just a writer, you are a brand. If your reader loves your books they want to know more about you, so make sure you present you, the writer, in the best light.
Amazon author page: Author.to/authorpage
Blog: http://languageintheblood.blogspot.fr/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CruftsloverAkaCameronBlair/?ref=hlSlide1
Twitter: @LitBCameronB
Webpage: http://www.cruftslover.adzl.com/

The Bio
Angela Lockwood-van der Klauw was born in the Netherlands. She learned her trade as a jeweller and gemmologist at the Vakschool Schoonhoven before moving to Edinburgh as an apprentice jeweller. There she met and later married her husband Adam. Angela ran her own jeweller’s shop in Edinburgh for ten years before she and her husband moved to the south of France in 2011. Like her vampire character Cameron, Angela prefers the climate there, but often thinks about the town she left behind and its people. Cameron’s story was born in the spring of 2013, a very wet spring during which Angela found herself climbing the walls, frustrated that she couldn’t go out and have her usual long walks along the seafront. Seeing his wife’s frustration, Adam suggested ‘Why don’t you write a book?’ Angela thought about it for a few days, then switched on her laptop and started writing Language in the Blood. Blood Ties is the second book in the series and Angela has also published a collection of short stories Something Short with her friend, Elspeth Morrison.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Touching the Wire by Rebecca Bryn

I can't believe my last post was nearly a month ago. I've been reading but this time to help another author. This has been the best thing about publishing as an independent author; there is a wonderful community of supportive writers out there. Helping each other with promotions, book cover design and reviews. Three wonderful writers have taken the time to Beta read my next book; conversations with Tom. I've taken their advise to heart and are making the necessary changes. In turn, I did a Beta read myself.
I've also been busy with book promotion; it's a never ending job. One promotion that is coming up is a Kindle countdown deal from the 13th to the 16th of February. Blood Ties will be reduced to 99c for .com customers.
Blood Ties on Amazon.com

Of course book 1 remains free.
Touching the wire is the second book of Rebecca Bryn I've read. She's a very talented indie writer and I would recommend giving her books a try.
Touching the wire by Rebecca Bryn on Amazon

Touching the wire is a story told in two parts. Part one is narrated by Walt, a grandfather of seven year old twins Charlotte and Lucy. He is plagued by the memories of his time as a doctor at Auschwitz. Through a number of flashbacks we find out about his struggle to keep patients alive and his blossoming love for a young Jewish woman; Miriam. Part two is told from the perspective of Charlotte, his granddaughter who we catch up with several years later. This book raises many interesting questions like; what are we willing to sacrifice to save the ones we love and is standing by without acting the same as giving consent? I liked the structure of the book and thought the telling of the story through flashbacks, diary entries and present day events worked well. The often harrowing details of camp life and medical experiments were handled sensitively although at times graphic. Horrendous things happened at Auschwitz and the author is justified in going into the gruesome details. We need to keep writing about the holocaust, so that younger generations will not forget.
I liked the first part of the book very much and I got swept up in the budding romance against all odds of Walt/Chuck and Miriam. I did have some problems with the second part. We now have Charlotte narrating. She is a married woman with a complicated love life. I found the change of pace, setting and main character a little unsettling, but reading on I found myself being captivated by Charlotte’s quest to unearth her grandfather’s secrets.
  I gave this four stars.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Welcome: and other Sci-Fi stories

I love and hate Sci-fi almost in equal measures.  I don’t understand tech- babble at the best of times, add to this warp-speed, phasors and other futuristic tech-speak and I’m completely lost. What I do love is where the writer’s imagination can take you. Sci-fi is a wonderful blank canvas to paint your own colourful picture. In The Welcome: and other Sci-Fi stories, Tom Benson and his six guest authors have used their canvas well. If Techno-babble is used it is to quickly outline a futuristic world and to set the scene.  I loved that each of the guest authors had chosen a completely different theme and style; which makes this book a great show case for Sci-Fi writing. This is selection of short stories that is easy to read, with something for everyone. (Even for fans of erotica!) I gave this 5 stars.
The Welcome: and other Sci-Fi stories on Amazon

Monday, 11 January 2016

Updated Layout

You might have noticed that I have changed the page a little. When I initially set up the blog I was led by what other bloggers were doing. Even though I review a lot of books my blog is not a reviewers blog but a writers blog. I found as such that adverts were not appropriate and I have removed most of them. You might have also noticed a new logo to the side. If you click on it it will take you to a treasure chest full of independent books. The group has it's roots in the facebook group started by Paul Ruddock. My thanks go out to Tom Benson and Ian D Moore who have worked so hard on this website and I will hope it will put my fellow indie writers and I on the map.
Indie Author Support and Discussion

Friday, 8 January 2016

A Noble Pair of Brothers (The Underwood Mysteries Book 1) by Suzanne Downes

Firstly happy new year to you all. I can't believe it has been nearly a month since my last blog. In my defence; I've not had much time to read so it took me a while to finish this book, even though it was a cracking read. I have been busy with writing and Conversations with Tom is reaching completion. For the first time I will be using Beta readers. Three very kind fellow writers are reading the draft and will hopefully come back with some constructive criticism. I'm hoping for a release date in April. So as for resolutions. I thing I hope to achieve is to establish myself more as a brand, not an easy task as my short stories and now Conversations with Tom are so very different from the Language in the Blood books. Maybe I should release Tom under a different name? Maybe I should do a 3rd Language in the Blood book? Now the first book in the series is free and the readership is increasing this seems a logical thing to do. Lots to think about in 2016, now the review:
A Noble Pair of Brothers by Suzanne Downes on Amazon

I liked this book very much. At times I felt myself transported to a Victorian front room, snuggled up in a velvet house coat in front of a roaring fire. Only to put my kindle down, and blink against the harsh sunlight. (As I live in southern France.) Suzanne Downes really brought the 1820’s to life for me with her use of language and attention to period detail. The romantic story line and how the Underwood brothers interact with women reminded me a lot of Jane Austen. Like Ms Austen this book is witty but also shows the plight of women in the early 1800’s; Ms Chapell, the Governess, who after the death of her father has no option but to take a post at the tyrannical Sir Henry Wynter household, where she is disrespected and bullied. Then there is Charlotte Wynter, Sir Henry’s pretty, but spoiled daughter that is keen to marry, as this will be her only escape from her alcoholic father.
The murder plot brings this book firmly into the modern era. It had me guessing to the last and the unsavoury details surrounding the murder are certainly not something you would find in an Austen novel. The Underwood brothers are two very complex but also very English characters and I understood their actions. I’m intrigued to find out where the second book takes us as neither brother had set out to become a detective. (Yet!) I’m delighted there are seven books in the series as I want to read more by this writer. A must read for fans of mystery and period drama.