1. Monday · Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Living a lie, Part One By M.L. Kacy

Because I have so many book reviews to get done I am going to do a second one on a Tuesday until I catch up…

 

In your early adult years, you think that you know it all. Well that’s how I was looking back on my life. Nearly nineteen-years later, it’s true what they say, you always learn by your mistakes, mistakes make you into a stronger person. Boy, did I make a hell of a lot of mistakes. I never thought that my life would turn out the way that it did. There are only four things that I would never regret, my four beautiful children. They were, and still are, my saving grace, my redemption of sorts. When the darkness became too much, thoughts of them would pull me into the light.

This is my story, it’s not a story that is all sweetness and light. It’s a story of love, regret, devastation, darkness and maybe a little redemption.

So here we are, I shall start from the beginning.
Part One

***Disclaimer- Some of the content in this book can cause triggers for some. Also, contains profanity, erotic scenes and only suitable for readers 18+***

This book is biographical of an extraordinary woman who has overcome so much in her life. Reading this as just a reader you cannot help but fell so much empathy for the main ‘character’ Rhea, I don’t want to say too much but she goes through events which are so traumatic and it is so well written that you do feel her pain and empathise with her.

For me reading this as someone who actually knows the author it adds another level of heartbreak and you want to run over to her and give her a big hug. The only issue I have is that I only bought part one, I strongly recommend buying the newer versions with part one and two together.

I give this a heart wrenching five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
1. Monday · Book Reviews

Book Review – Behind Closed Doors By Karen J. Mossman

For transparency I received this book as a prize for being selected as the best story in the Dandelion Anthology’s Love Ever After which I am part of, it in no way has affected my review or influenced the final rating I give it…

We begin as always with the blurb taken from Goodreads.

Kerry tries to protect her sister but she can’t protect her mum or herself from Bill, her stepfather. He’s mean and volatile and likes to drink.

When she meets Tommy, they fall in love and she finds out his last girlfriend brought trouble to his nice normal family. Not wanting to jeopardise their relationship and do the same, Kerry tries to keep her secrets behind closed doors.

Eventually, the bruises and the lies tell their own story. She can’t hide the fact Bill is wrecking their family and deeper family issues threaten to destroy the best thing that ever happened to her – Tommy.

A coming of age story set to a backdrop of seventies music and fashion.

I was born in 71 so although my teenage years were spent in the 80’s there are many things that were not that different, Although there was no abuse in my house, I can certainly relate to a time where dad held all the family finances and mum received an amount of cash each week to pay the bills and take care of the house. I remember the cheesecloth tops, and my dad telling me I was not leaving the house when he judged a skirt to be too short, the reality for my generation as well as the previous ones was that it was normal for a parent to give you a backhander or a clip round the ear, that parents demanded respect and the phrase ‘living under my roof’ was one every teenager heard at some point,

Luckily Kerry finds a knight in shining armour, not a trope I normally like but I fully appreciate in this time it was almost impossible for a female to escape an abuse patriarchal figure alone. I was fully immersed in this book and read it in one sitting, however there were two small niggles.

First, was Howard, he is introduced as Kerry’s boring boyfriend, a complete contrast to the sexy hero Tommy, but within  few days of their break up he is suddenly at a house party thrown by friends of Tommy, it just jarred slightly because if he had been the party type Kerry might never have looked at Tommy (well okay she might still have had a sneaky peek but she wouldn’t have dumped Howard and flirted). The second was the Irish Issue, it is brought up that they are on opposite sides of the religious divide, yet neither set of parent raises this issue, and as Catholics I would certainly have expected Tommy’s parents to at least talk about it even if the were not practising Catholics, especially when he moves to join her in Ireland and proposes, this is the 70’s after the Bloody Sunday Massacre, so even if neither parent cared about their different religions they would certainly have been scared for them.

All that being said, these were not niggles that I thought about until after I finished the book, and let me say, it should have a warning on the front, telling you to grab the tissues befoer you start reading, because you are going to need them.

So the final rating is a blubbering five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews

Talk to Me by Roseanne Beck

The last thing Laura wants is a relationship.

The only thing Austin needs is his independence.

Sometimes love sneaks up on you when you least expect it.

Austin’s car accident shattered his life and his leg. His main focus is on proving his independence. Figuring out how to shut up the new voices in his head would be an added bonus. They like to converse at the most inopportune times.

Laura’s built a wall around her heart. Everyone she loves ends up leaving her. She’s still reeling from the death of her brother and business partner. Seems like he might not be ready to completely give up the ghost yet, though.

And then there’s Aunt Marge, a world-class meddler with a penchant for oversharing. Can she manage to nudge Laura and Austin toward each other? Or will her recipe for love fall flat?

If you like sparkling, witty banter and strong characters with a hint of the paranormal, you’ll fall for TALK TO ME, because humor and love conquer all.

 

I flew through this book, it was easy to read and fun. The main characters are relatable and likeable, you find yourself rooting for them even when you get a little exasperated with them.

The plot is interesting and the paranormal twist adds to what is more or less a rom-com. This is a great choice for a beach read, or would be if anyone were getting near a beach this year, however, it will work just as well sat out in the garden. I read it on Kindle which I find myself doing more and more lately with these sorts of books, it is not a book you are likely to read over and over again, so buying the paper version is not a must.

I give this 4.5 stars out of five, the only reason for the drop of half a point is that it has been a while since I read it and it really did not stick in my mind enough for me to write this review without going back for a quick scan through.

Book Reviews

Book Review – Beautiful Freaks by Katie M. John

The edition I purchased came in two books and the cover is different to the one pictured below…

we begin as always with the Goodreads Blurb…

**** A PARANORMAL GOTHIC DETECTIVE TALE ****

From the Amazon bestselling writer of ‘The Knight Trilogy’ comes the stand alone novel fans have been waiting for. ‘Beautiful Freaks’ is a decadent tapestry of all things fairytale, dark and murderous.

Between these pages you will find yourself transported back in time to the high Gothic. Victorian London.

The year is 1899 and both the century and the Queen are dying. As the London populace is gripped by a terrifying series of paranormal murders, eighteen year old Kaspian Blackthorne finds himself on a decadent journey of self discovery.

Victorian London is a place where appearance is everything, but sometimes
appearances can be deceiving. Behind the grand houses, carriages and silks, London is a dark labyrinth of sorrow and violence. Amongst the gambling dens, dancehalls, and brothels you’ll find No 7, known to its members as Eve’s; the most exclusive club in London, infamous for its ‘Palace of Beautiful Freaks’. Each exhibit has a history, each their own unique story.

First, I would like to discuss how this is written, there is, of course, an overriding arc, however, it is the detail given to each individual story within the narrative which really brings the Gothic feel to the fore. This book could have easily have been printed back in Victorian times as a Penny Dreadful or as a series as favoured by Dickens.

The individual tales based on various myths and legends are each well written and each given equal attention, over the top of all this you have the main detective story, though it could equally be described as a love story, the author weaves together love, lust, obsession, and death in a dark journey through alleyways and boudoirs alike.

I highly recommend this book, the chapters make it easy to pick up and put down without losing track of where you are but the reality is you won’t want to put it down.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
2. Tuesday · Signings & Events

The Darker Side Of Fiction 2019

I can’t believe it has been a whole twelve months since I did my first signing event at #Darker17 .in other ways it also seems like a lifetime ago as I have gone on to do a  few more since then but #Darker will always have a special place in my heart and even if there comes a time when I am not on the invited authors list it is the one event I cannot imagine not attending now.

So #Darker18 is in a new venue and has a host of new authors I have not yet met as well as friendly faces that I am looking forward to seeing again.

The main thing to remember about signings is that it is not just about the books, it is your chance to meet other authors but also to meet and interact with the readers. To connect with them on a personal level and let them learn more about you, your books and how your mind works. Luckily, at #Darker18, there will be people as twisted as I am.

This year I already have a few pre-orders and I am really glad I came up with the idea of personalising them to the events, I have a pile of signed books and so far I remember meeting each other to get each one however in a few years that may be harder so I want to be sure that in ten years time if someone opens a book they pre-ordered from me they get a reminder of the day.

I have ordered one new piece of swag for this event and that is some magnetic bookmarks, I have one myself that I got years ago and they are perfect for using when on the move, these ones are for the Queen of Ages books and will only be available when you buy one of those books.

If you are in the UK and can travel to Peterborough there is still chance to get tickets to come and see me and the other authors at the event you can buy them here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-darker-side-of-fiction-author-event-2018-tickets-42628859065

Next week I will be talking more about the process of getting ready for a signing the whole issue of what to take how to get there and so much more.

8. Vlog Time

Vlog Time #115 – Getting my image together

I don’t know how I managed to add a load of dead air after the video but sorry just switch off after the thank you, actual video is about seven or eight minutes long xxx

My Books

Voices Across The Void Review

I am going to begin getting the posts back in order next week but I wanted to share this awesome review I got on Goodreads.

If you’re into mystery, suspension, with a touch of scary then ‘Voices Across The Void,’ is the book for you. This book will give you all of that, and some surprise emotions as well.
There were several stand-out stories for me; The Cottage is one of them, this is a story about redemption, closer, and self-evaluation. At least, that’s how I felt when reading it. The Hospital was another; although tragic, it was beautiful at the same time. Finally; The Bluebell Woods, I don’t have enough woods in me to express how this story made me feel, the emotions I felt while reading it surprised, and shocked me a little. I went from fear to anger so fast that I stopped reading the book for a while. I knew that I had to finish The Bluebell Woods just so that I could have some peace, that story stuck in my head! My worst damn nightmare as they say! I cried, became bitter, laughed, and rejoiced finally at the conclusion of the story.
This was a great book; it kept me entertained during the holidays and cold, blustery days and nights. I would read this author again, just to see if she can pull that emotion from me again!

it is always such a good feeling to get good reviews but even better when you know you evoked such strong feelings with your book. If you have not had chance to read this book yet you can find it here myBook.to/VoicesAcrossVoid and remember it is free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

 

Resolutions 2018

Resolutions 2018

The start of a new year means one thing! Yes, it is time to make a load of resolutions that I will fail at during the year! To be fair last year we a strange year and though I failed to meet my goals for the year I did learn a lot about myself, I also learnt not to dwell on the failures so rather than rounding up last year I shall focus on the positives, things like I did my first book signing and I became a grandma, those two things meant more to me than anything else that happened last year so let’s get straight on with our new goals and look to the future.

1.  Release Queen Of Ages Book Two; Reawakening

I have already begun work on this book and am hoping to get it finished quickly, I did get distracted at the end of last year by the arrival of my grandson but now I need to focus on getting back into a set writing routine and meet my aim of three books per year, I am really excited to get this series out there especially after the reviews and feedback I have been getting from the first book.

2.  Lose four stone in weight

I know I said this last year and while I did not lose weight last year I didn’t put any more on. I need to start doing this not for how I look but for my health I am getting older and obviously the more weight you carry the greater the strain on your bones and organs, I am aiming to take it slowly and yes, I need to lose more than the four I have stated but I want to do it at a rate where not only does it have a better chance of staying off but it also reduces the risk of ending up with baggy skin after. Plus I bought some awesome suits   in the next couple of sizes down that I want to be able to get some wear out of 😀

3.  Blog at least four times a week consistantly

I tend to either blog every day or not blog at all so for this next year I am going to take the pressure off myself a little, Mondays will still be book/audiobook/dvd reviews, I hope to get back to throwing some author interviews in there as well once more. Tuesdays will be the posts about events and my experiences with the writing/publishing experiences, these will also include my personal feelings about my writing journey. Wednesdays will be WIP in progress and my book promotion days, I will share reviews on the books I have already published as well as discussing the books I am working on and my ideas for future works. Fridays will still be vlog day though I am looking to make changes there as will be discussed later. Sundays will be lazy sunday posts where I will just chat with you fill you in on my week and a little more or my personal life, of course if you want to know more of my day to day goings on my Faceook page or Instagram are probably the best places to keep up with me.

4.  Release Queen of Ages Book Three: Redemption

As with the first resolution I am determined to up my output this year and get into a pattern of two to three releases each year, this year I am aiming to get the remaining parts of this trilogy out and possibly look into a hard back ominbus edition for the festive period next year however that ties in with other resolutions so it remains to be seen what the options are.

5.  Walk 50k steps per week

Previously I had the target of 10k steps a day totalling 70k for a week however I am now being more realisitic, I struggle on work days to fit in all my steps at times so by giving myself more leeway I believe that this goal is more achievable I am also determined to use the apps on my phone, xbox and my cross trainer more to increase the amount of exercise I am doing and try to add in doing one of my dance/exercise videos once a week.

6.  Publish four Quarterly newsletters

I swapped from monthly to quarterly because I was struggling to get the content worth sending out, now I have changed to quarlerly I just need to iron out the timing for the newsletters in terms of tying in with live events which I may wish to utilise in terns of the giveaways be that either collecting things to put in the prizes or offering chances to win tickets.

7.  Release Dragon’s Mark, Book One of the Raven Seer Chronicles

This would be the third release of the year and to be fair it is a quarter done already. I had initially intended to do this as a stand alone book however as I worked on it I realied the potiential for this to be an on going fantasy series.

8.  Vlog once a week

Like the blogging I have been hit and miss with the vlogs so my goal is this year to not only produce one a week but to also include more footage from my week and make them more interesting, not just me sat talking at a screen for five minutes unprepared. I also want to increase the production quality of the vlogs and make them more exciting for those who supoprt me by watching them.

9.  Write 1k fiction every day

This year I attempted NanoWriMo and failed miserably, yes there were other things which affected my writing time but if I want to make this my living then I need to focus and make it happen. By writing just 1k per day I could easily write three books a year, the only person stopping me is me.

10.  Fix Office hours for my writing and stick to them

I tend to get distracted, I turn FB on or stop to get up and go do other things so the answer is simple I need to set up my office hours and stick to them, now to be fair they cannot be the same every day as I work different shifts and have other commitments, and once my daughter goes back to work I will also have extra childcare considerations but I have a timer I use which uses the Pomodoro method, work thirty minutes on and then a fifteen minute break so when I have blocks of time I can sit at the computer I will use the timer and only look at FB etc during the fifteen minute breaks, I will also use that time as well to get up from my desk and move around trying to fit in a few extra steps each hour.

11.  Work on reducing the minus balance in my accounts

Right now if I were trying to exist purely on my writing as a business I would be bancrupt, thankfully the day job is still there to pay the bills but I need now to step up my writing game. As I increase the number of signing events I wish to attended the greater the expense so it becomes all the more important to start making them pay, this means more books to sell, more swag for sale and working out better ways to do giveaways and swag etc. I am realistic enough to know this does not happen over night, I am just over a year into a five year plan, I might not be in as good a shape as I would like but I have learnt lessons and am working on it, I am still positive my long term goal is possible.

12.  Set up Ravens Rest Press

Using Createspace has many positive and negative points, one of the harder pills to swallow is the cost of shipping books from the US I have no idea why they cannot print them in the UK as they print the books bought via amazon here on demand, the main thing about using other outlets is the fact you buy your own ISBN numbers  which means you can set up your own print imprint and get your books into libraries and book shops easier. You can also get expanded distribution networks for the books you have with them, I believe there is also the possibility of hardback issues which I would love to be able to do for the trilogy and maybe special editions of other books.

13.  Update all published works edits and biograhies regularly

I have got into the habit of updating all my social media posts to match, what I have failed to do is go back and update the also by this other sections of my previous books, alter the odd typo that I find and update the images in the books, this is something that I need to get into the habit of doing more often so that when I have a new book come out I know that the others will only require the minimum of alteration.

14.  Meet someone special

So this one is one I cannot actually make come true, and at the minute I am not really in a position to actively seek someone but rather this is more about allowing myself to be open to the idea of meeting someone, to not send out negative vibes when approached and to be open to the idea that a relationship does not have to be negative. I finally feel like I have shed the emotional baggage from my previous relationship, and while it will still take someone very special to make me invest my emotions in them I am not totally averse to that idea any longer, for me that is already a huge step.

Book Reviews

Book Review – Attic Of The Mind by Hemmie Martin

This is a book I picked up at #Darker2017 and was looking forward to reading…

As Always we start with the Goodreads blurb…

The time is right for Lilith Fields to seek revenge. Twenty-five years have passed since the sadistic abuser tortured the patients of the psychiatric ward, and now Lily has decided he must meet his final judgment. As her plan unfolds she discovers she is not the only one with a dark secret. Now, only time will tell if Lily’s demons will be vanquished, and just how many people are really involved.

The first thing I need to comment on is the size, and let me state this is not something that I consider as part of the review just personal preference, I print my books as 5 x 8 inches, this book is printed in 6 x 9 inches. I picked up a couple of books this size when I was at #Darker and I think it is partly to do with which formatting and printing services the author uses, while it does not make a great deal of difference and it will not stop me buying a book I really want to read I do find them quite cumbersome to hold. While they are closer in size to a hardback they do not have the rigidity and flap around in your hands, like I say this is personal preference but has also been interesting to me as a writer because I did at one point contemplate printing in this size so I would be interested if anyone has any feedback on that.

So onto the book itself, I loved the story. Every character you meet has their own secrets and flaws, it is hard to really judge any of them morally as this book challenges the reader to judge cause and effect, where the line between retribution and revenge lies. It is hard to feel real empathy with any of these characters, even the enigmatic Lilith is difficult to pity, this does not take away from the enjoyment of the book, it makes them more real, more lifelike.

I like to be careful not to give away spoilers however it becomes apparent very quickly who the main antagonist is, the former charge nurse Finlay Walker, if I had to pick up on one thing to criticise it would be his back story. Part way through we are given a brief insight to his childhood, I think I would like to have seen this avenue developed a little more, while it is not necessary to the plot in some ways the fact it was introduced does raise the question of if there is more to know, there is the potential for a prequel or a spin-off regarding the past and the influence other characters may have had on the overall outcome of this story.

As I have stated before it is hard sometimes judging a book by an author you have met, liked and you respect but in this case it is easy, the book was an excellent read that I have no problem recommending to anyone who is interested in dark, psychological dramas, there are twists and turns and just when you think you know where you are with everyone you can still find yourself falling down another rabbit-hole. I give this 5 out of 5 stars.