Sunday, 28 June 2015

Things Fall Apart by Tracy Black

This book brought back many memories for me as I moved to Edinburgh in 1991, just a few years after the year the story is set in. Edinburgh at that time was the drug capital of Europe and it was a rude awakening for me to discover that the beautiful city I had moved to had such a seedy underbelly. I quickly learned to recognise a junky. Working in the jewellery trade, a runny nose, glassy eyes and an unkempt appearance made us extra alert. It should have made Mandy, the mother in the book alert too, but she didn’t realise her two eldest were using drugs until one ended up in hospital to have her stomach pumped. Her son was by this time a frequent Heroine user. A lot of people might be baffled by her naivity, but I think Edinburgh’s drug and AIDS problem got so out of hand because people in 1986 were not as knowledgeable as we are today. What I found harder to believe was the fact that Mandy couldn’t see that her youngest son was having problems of a different kind. Her neglect of him, led him to act out by shoplifting. She should have realised that he needed her too and that his problem was easier to fix than the drug use of the other two. I thought the book was well written, and even though the subject matter was harrowing at times I had no hesitation in reading on. I can’t say that stories like this don’t happen anymore in Edinburgh, but a lot of the areas in the book have improved, especially The Shore. In the book it is an area where street walkers ply their trade. These days it’s full of trendy bars and expensive restaurants. Read Train Spotting and this book as it will give you a good insight into Edinburgh of the 80’s and 90’s, but don’t let it put you off visiting this beautiful town.

Facebook/Twitter versus Advertising part 2

The Verdict: Advertising does work and I think it was value for money. I managed to give 175 copies away so it doesn't beat Facebook and Twitter. However the previous give away was run over 2 days. On day 1; I gave away 150 Copies and day 2; 56 copies. I also used a post boost on facebook that was paid for. This does put advertising in a better light especially as it was cheaper than facebook. The site I used was and cost me $13.95
Probably the next giveaway I'll do will include goodkindles and the choosybook worm which was free this time but I don't think they ran the add as the free option is not always available on the day. They have only 2 free spots a day and I couldn't see mine there. Their paid option is $18 and I will consider this for the next time.
I now have a lot more followers on Twitter and Facebook so that option I would certainly use again, but not a paid boost.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Facebook/Twitter versus Advertising

My recent flurry of activity is paying off. I know have over a 100 followers to my Language in the blood page and about 350 Twitter followers. The blog itself had over 5000 hits. Although this has raised my public profile, sales are still a bit thin on the ground. I decided to spend a little more on advertising. Not much, just about 14Euro's but I had heard good things about the two sites I'm using. Especially got rave reviews.
Tomorrow the 27th I'm giving my book Language in the Blood away FREE.
The giveaway is very low key and I won't tweet it and just mention this blogpost on Facebook, as I want to get a clear picture of how well advertising works. Advertising has a 199 free copies to beat!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Trout Fishing for Bodies by Robert K Swisher Jr

This book I've bought myself as a wee treat. I liked the first book in the series and when I finished it I bought the follow up. I do like Robert K Swisher's easy style. I also like when you can really tell where an author is from and with Robert you can taste America. Book 2 didn't disappoint and gets a deserved 5 star.
Trout Fishing for Bodies by Robert K Swisher Jr

I was a big fan after reading the first book in the Bob Roosevelt series; A Bucket Full of Lies, so I looked forward to reading the second book. I wasn’t disappointed; it’s as good as the first if not better. Even though this is book 2 in the series, you won’t be lost if you read this one first.
After a trying case where Bob Roosevelt got himself in a lot of trouble and danger, he and his trusted Volkswagen beetle head for Colorado. He hopes to find some calm, fishing for trout in the Colorado hills. What he catches is more than he bargained for. His obnoxious guardian angel, warns him to get out of dodge but Bob is determined to solve this murder. This book has a fine cast of characters that get up to all sorts of shenanigans. Barbara, the victim had been turning the heads of some local married men and there is no shortage of suspects. Bob and I were none the wiser as to who did the murder until near the very end. Unlike Bob, I did not get shot at while we were trying to figure this crime out.  
Again, the wise cracking between Bob and his guardian angel is great fun, but I have to wonder by now why Bob doesn’t listen to his angel a little more as he seems to be on the money most of the time with his warnings. I suppose if I had a lecherous, hateful monk whispering things in my ear, I might just do the opposite to spite him. It certainly adds entertainment for us, the reader.
Clever, witty and entertaining. Definitely not a weak second. If you liked A bucket Full of Lies, you will love this.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday by Jason Ayres

This was a rather clever time travel novel, I hugely enjoyed reading. I like when a writer really thinks about the logistics of an unusual situation. It was one thing that attracted me about writing about a vampire. How you manage being not quite normal. I gave it 5 stars.

My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday by Jason Ayres

Jason Ayres has created a very intriguing book set on a simple idea; what if I lived my live backwards? Thomas Scott, begins his life on his deathbed and finds himself everyday a little further back in a past he doesn’t remember. When he puts some of the pieces together he knows 3 things; I died prematurely of lungcancer, I have a daughter, and my wife was taken too soon in a road accident.
This is a fascinating tale of an ordinary man playing detective in his own life. Armed with the the knowledge of how things turns out he sets about making changes, whilst making sure he doesn’t mess up the good things.
What I liked most about Thomas Scott, is that he is so normal. He discovers that his daughter and wife are the most important things in his life and the scene of his wife’s happiness at their daughter’s birth, juxtaposed with his depression at soon seeing her for the last time was heart breaking. Thomas is lovable and easy to relate too. I especially related to his journey back through music and technology as I’m practically born in the same year as this character.
This is a time travel novel with real warmth and depth and it was a joy to read.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Green Book by Penny Luker

This is another author i'm honoured to soon be sharing the pages with in the forthcoming anthology: You're not Alone. I've perviously reviewed the Thruthfinder by Penny luker.
This is the first time I'm reviewing a children's book. Even though it was a very easy read, the review is much harder. It's a long time since I was a 10 year old and as I live in France I couldn't get an opinion of a young child. I personally would have liked the children to have been way more irresponsible with the magic book. Apart from asking the book to provide a third helping of ice cream and getting punished for it things don't get out of hand any further. But this book is not aimed at me but at the 5 to 10 age group and you don't want to stray into the occult or have kids setting bad examples. So I decided for a 5 star as for the very young ones they will be nice bed time stories, without nightmares to follow.

The Green Book by Penny Luker

A spell book appearing one day in your room is a dream for any ten year old, especially if you just been told to tidy up that room. Alana is the lucky girl with the book. It must have chosen her as she is really very responsible; choosing not to use her spell book when it asks her if she wants it to magic her exam. I’m not sure I would have withstood the temptation. I also doubt that my friends would have given me a moment’s peace if they had discovered that I had a book of spells. But Alana and her friends learn a lesson early on; if you misuse magic it will have consequences. This is a short and entertaining book for young children. I think this would make a good book for bed time, as it will leave you having sweet dreams about having a spell book that makes all your troubles go away.

The Oscar Dossier by Lesley Hayes

I have the great honour of soon to be sharing the pages with this author in the upcoming anthology: You're not Alone. I look forwards to reading her contribution to this. Here is the review to an excellent but very short collection.

The Oscar Dossier by lesley Hayes

I recently came across two stories by this author. They were so well written and clever that I was more than keen to try another selection of shorts by Lesley Hayes. The Oscar dossiers didn’t disappoint. I do love an English eccentric, and Oscar is a fine specimen. Flamboyant and loud but also riddled with insecurities. He always falls for the same type, thin broken women that are oddly robust in blocking his advances. This is a book of four short stories, about Oscar, a parrot and some of the people in his life. The stories are well written, witty and entertaining. If I have one quibble it would be that the book is very short and that a larger than life character like Oscar could have generated more material. I do hope Lesley will revisit this character and add some more pages to the dossier. However this book left me very hungry to read some more of this author.
Highly recommended, if you like colourful characters and a quick, easy read.