I picked this up as part of a two for one offer so was not sure what to expect other than it sounded interesting from the blurb…
The Goodreads blurb says about the book…
The reign of Richard II is troubled, the poor are about to become poorer still and landowners are lining their pockets. It’s a case of every man for himself, whatever his status or wealth. But in a world where nothing can be taken at face value, who can you trust? The dour wool merchant? His impulsive son? The stepdaughter with the hypnotic eyes? Or the raven-haired widow clutching her necklace of bloodstones?
And when people start dying unnatural deaths and the peasants decide it’s time to fight back, it’s all too easy to spy witchcraft at every turn.
First, let’s deal with the facts
I really enjoyed this book, first, the narrator, though many of the characters were female the actor reading the book was able to perform each part in a way which allowed you to differentiate between them and not be distracted by the fact it was a man. He read it was enough passion to draw you into the story without distracting from the actual words and I have to say that is something I am discovering to be incredibly important when coming to audiobooks and have already changed my mind about buying some books based on listening to a sample of the narrator’s voice.
I love the overall all story, which I am not going to spoil by telling you, let us just say it is a nice tale of witchcraft. lust and murder. The balance between historical influence and plot is nicely done, I especially like the snippets of witch lore at the beginning of the chapters. The perspective switches from one character to another as you go through the chapters but at no point do you feel like it is repetitive as it can be telling a story from multiple viewpoints, the fact that the speaker is named at the start of each chapter also aids in keeping the story straight.
So the score, part of my wants to give it full marks, but there is something which holds me back, I think it is in part pacing, there are periods where the story moves slower, then you reach the end and it seems to fly through complex revelations, there is a lack of resolution regarding certain characters, which though not affecting the storyline you do wish you had more knowledge of their fates. I decided, in the end, to log it as a four on Goodreads but for this blog, I am going for 4.5 stars out of 5 and would recommend this in audiobook form.
Sorry for the delay in posting these, like everything else I am so far behind it is crazy!
I am going to say when I first opened this I was a little underwhelmed by the contents I was not sure a hand sanitizer was appropriate as one of the five and had concerns about some of the others which as you will see were in part justified.
We may as well start with my biggest concern on initially opening the box, I saw the colour of this and thought they had misread my file and thought my surname was Kardashian, as you can see from this hand swatch it was not a great colour match…
Now the thing is I don’t fake tan, well not more than once a decade, I don’t use creme blushers or contours but I thought I have to give it a go and to be fair when buffed in properly it does actually fade down to quite a nice glow but it did require a lot of buffing. I like my make up to be quick to apply, I do not contour as much as I probably should so I am doubtful I will use this for everyday make up, however as with many things I am sure it will get used up at some point even if it is only as part of a Halloween look. It costs £17 so not exactly cheap however a little goes a long way and if you love sculpting out those cheekbones might be one to try.
This was the one product I was really excited to try this month, it is a two in one type product which promises to be less drying than normal shampoo, it does warn that this will not lather as much, so did it work? Nope! First, it did not lather at all, and I know the lather is psychological to an extent but it does also allow you to be sure you have covered your whole head, especially when you have long hair. Afterwards, my hair felt drier than it does using the two separate products, and to be honest, I felt it needed washing again a lot sooner than normal. I had hoped this product would be everything it claimed to be, if it had, I might not have minded the £14.50 price tag but I certainly would not pay that for it
after this performance.
Okay, this really is a mixed review because, in theory, I loved the concept of this product, it just didn’t quite deliver for me. First the colour…
they sent blonde because that was what my hair colour was when I filled in the forms, and I have not changed it as there is no purple option so most times this still fits with my colouring, but the colour pay off is weak which means lots of going over your brows to really feel like you have made a difference. This leads to my other issue with it, to really be able to use it you need to wind it out a little, but you also need to be very careful as if you wind it out then apply too much pressure it snaps off. I think this could be fixed but just not sure how. What I did like was this bit…
At the opposite end of the powder pencil is a spoolie, I find this so much easier for shaping my brows than a straight brown brush or comb, I also feel it helps brush powder more evenly through the hairs for better coverage. At £7.99 it is not overly expensive, or wouldn’t be if you didn’t waste some getting the application process perfected. I have not checked on the number of shades available so while at the minute I will not be rushing to buy another I would not write it off completely. I should also mention that my daughter has also tried this and she really liked it though the shade was far too light for her.
I had high hopes for this after the eyeliner, (the one my daughter ran off with) so I was disappointed that really this did not deliver. Don’t get me wrong it was an okay mascara and had I paid high street prices for it I would not have been bothered but this one is £24 and for that price, I expect better. Now because I am biased in favour of certain other mascaras I also got my daughter to test it but she agreed, it took several coats to build up to what I would expect of two coats of most mascaras, but maybe if you are looking for something lightweight and natural looking this might do it but when it says Glam I expect lashes to die for.
Now let’s be honest I was not happy to see this as an item in my box, not because of the quality of the product but you know… beauty box! I would have been happier to see this as a bonus item but and this is a huge but I love it! At £2.90 it is expensive as cleansing gels go, you can pick them up at pound shops or supermarkets cheaper but this one smells great and also makes my hands feel good after applying it, no stickiness, no slimy feeling, it just rubs straight in leaves you with an almost velvety feeling.
So that it is for this review, my favourite product ended up being the one I was least excited about.
Look how many amazing names there are on there, if you can get there you should! Then come say hello to me!
It’s not to late, you still have time to grab a ticket and Come and meet all of these fabulous authors at Darker on Saturday 7th October in Peterborough…..,, why not stay for the Darker evening charity event!
A.Meredith Walters / A.M.Irvin
A P Bateman
C J Daugherty
Charmain Marie Mitchell
Claire C Riley
D H Sidebottom
D M Wolfenden
D S Wrights
J G Clay
Jane E James
Laura Morgan / L C Morgans
Mary E. Palmerin
R J Truman
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I know I said I would be back to the proper resolutions set up but to be honest the last couple of months have been a nightmare.
First, there were the issues with my son which I discussed in a post you can read here, then my dad was in the hospital.
There have been times the last two months where I have felt like throwing the towel in, my writing has suffered, most of what I have written over the last couple of months has basically just not been good enough which leaves me two months to complete two novels before Darker. Can it be done? Well. yes, but it is going to take a lot of focus
Can it be done? Well. yes, but it is going to take a lot of focus because it is the school holidays on top of everything else. The reality is this means so much to me that I really don’t want to fail. I have worked out if I write 4k a day then I can still do it, this will mean some late nights no doubt, as given the speed I can type it will equate to around three hours a day on top of other things I need to do.
What does this mean, for me overall, first less time messing about doing other things, I am also guessing a build up of house work lol and less chatting on social media, though I will still be around for various events and to promote #Darker. You will probably get shorter blog posts, though there is a good chance you might get more on time as it will be in my interest to be organised and schedule ahead. There are times I find I work better to a deadline and right now life has given myself a bloody tough one.
I have put some weight back on, so that is something else I need to address, when I am stressed I eat or rather I don’t eat properly and nibble on crap, I lose faith in myself and look for comfort in the wrong ways, it is also school holidays so I don’t have the school run for exercise, struggle to find time to swim and dancing is sporadic. I need to make a point of getting up every half hour/hour and walking about even if only a hundred steps or so at a time.
The last few months life has run away with me but now it is time to grab hold of the reins and regain control.
Okay so you are lucky enough to have got a place at a signing event, you have the books, the swag and are ready, so what is left? Well, what are you going to wear?
So the night do is usually easier, it is normally formal and many times has a theme to help you decide on your outfit this was me with my daughter at the Leeds Event last year…
But it can get expensive, as you start attending more events you will meet up with the same people numerous times which means you cannot invest in one little black dress and re-wear it. On the other hand, unless the day job pays really well or you have hit the jackpot with a best-selling novel you probably don’t want to be buying new dresses every few months that you can only wear the once or at least only once for now and then put to be rotated in a wardrobe. So the alternative as I have been looking into is eBay, as I mentioned on Sunday I have found it to be a treasure trove of dresses bought for weddings, cruises and other suave social occasions that one has the excuse to dress up for. Worn once or twice these end up going for a fraction of the price of the new dress, likewise new clothes with tags show up in abundance, I am guessing like some of the clothes in my wardrobe these are bought but don’t fit and kept with the intention of fitting them one day or they just don’t get round to returning them within the correct time frame.
However, it is not just the ball/evening dress you have to consider, let’s start with travelling, you obviously need something comfortable but also some thing that will make the right impression at the hotel when you show up, then the evening prior to the signing you will need to eat, probably meet a few of the other authors in the bar or just hang out with them.
Then the big one your signing outfit, now I am pretty sure smart casual is the standard, it has to be comfortable enough to wear all day and practical, you don’t want to wear linen and look all crumpled after five minutes. There is though a secondary consideration, and that is your brand, does the way you dress reflect your work and personality? I am not for one second suggesting fancy dress, but if you write medieval fantasy would your readers really expect to see you in a floral, floaty dress. just as you work to bring your image together in terms of covers complementing each other, business cards matching other PR materials then you want to present an image of yourself that will both stick and be engaging. In some ways, it seems to me that it is almost like creating your own personal work uniform, it is the clothing you wear to put you in author mode when you are public.
I have bright purple hair, or to be fair this week it is the end of a dye cycle so it is more a mix of lilac and grey, so I am not what you would consider to be conventional, however, being plus size I am also acutely aware that not all clothes suit me or look good on me, I am also aware that some of the things I might like the idea of wearing would not fit with my writing. While I am not saying that you should role play your characters I do think common sense comes into play, I write medieval fantasy, wearing Steampunk style clothes would possibly send confusing messages even though I love the style.
So what am I going to wear? For me I think it is looking like trousers suits with shirts or blouses, I like the idea of the traditional tweedy look against my purple hair, it allows me to show my personality with my hair but the suit gives a level of professionalism, and, rather than go for plain black, the idea of the tweed or possibly brown pinstripe appeals because it is the twist on the expected.
Of course, I don’t rule out the thought that I am over thinking this, but for me, I like the idea of having separate mix and match type items for wearing to signings.