6 Books that made me Cry. Sob.

So today I’m going to tell you about 6 of the books that made me cry. When I can I’ll tell you why…but its not always easy to put your heart into words…sometimes you cry just because. Its touched on something personal in your life, or it has simply just spoken to you somewhere that you can’t quite see.

These are not the only books to ever make me cry, but they are some of the most recent, and the most memorable. So here we go. Simply put…..

 

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Lets start with Tony Black, His Fathers Son. Mr Black is better known for his brilliant crime fiction but with this novel he went another route. And did so in an amazing way. You can find a review for this under “Coming Soon” and on its publication day there will be a whole blog post talking about this one.

Why did it make me cry? Well its beautiful, evocative, a story of a family in tatters – and it touched on things going on in my personal life. I too am sorting through the aftermath of a change in my family unit so this families story touched on MY families story. The wife in the novel suffers depression – known in wider circles as the “Black Dog” – and hey. So do I. Her story and that of her husband tugged at my heartstrings. So yes I cried. Not least because I saw it from the other side – Joey has to deal with many things in order to hold his family together. To find out if he succeeds you will need to read the book – and I would because even if you don’t have a personal connection to the story its a darned good read!

 

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Now. The Book Thief. What on earth can be said about this magnificent novel. You cannot find a review for it on this site as yet – I didnt have the words – that lovely friend of mine Sharon Sant is going to guest review it for me as soon as she has time so you’ll have to wait for her thoughts. I never even considered reading this – then Will Carver mentioned it during a “top 1o books” discussion a while ago and I took his word for it. Thank Heavens! Athough I DO blame him for the tears. Thanks Will!

Cleverly told from the point of view of “Death” we follow Liesel Meminger as she traverses the waters of war torn Germany, collecting books along the way. Its her story – and that of Death who is ever watchful. At the end of this novel I had tears streaming down my face, they lasted a while. Having spoken to other people who have read this novel, it has affected them all in the same way. Its a sad tale but an uplifting one. If you havent read it please do  – it doesnt matter which genre is your favourite. This one is a novel for anyone who simply likes to read.

 

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Next on my list is Tom Vowler’s “What Lies Within”. Review can be found here. http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/liz-currently-loves-what-lies-within-by-tom-vowler/

Another family story this touches on nature v nurture and what constitutes the REAL meaning of family. It also tackles a serious subject in a sympathetic and realistic way…something that touched my heart. Anna’s story is both happy and sad – perhaps the fact that Anna is very much finding herself was the reason for my tears. But I’m not sure. There are many aspects to this wonderful book that could cause a tear or two. You should perhaps have a read and find out whether or not it will speak to you…..

 

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The Madmans Tale is an older read of mine from years ago. No review available as yet, its on my re-read list in order to add a review to site, and having thought about it in order to write this blog its just moved up the list. So hopefully I  can provide you with a full review soon.

This is crime fiction in a way. But then not really. Following the recollections of Francis Petrel as he looks back at his time in a mental hospital – a time when a killer stalked the corridors and he was drawn into the investigation – this is really a story of hope. And redemption. As Francis suffers flashbacks and hallucinations he believes his madness is returning. It makes for a stunning read – with a mystery at its heart. I cried for Francis, I did. The end left me in pieces. Happy ending? You’ll have to read it to see but there are no guarantee’s…….

 

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Candlemoth. Oh Candlemoth! The first book to make me cry and realise that sometimes a book CAN touch your heart, I look back on this with great fondness. Also on my reread list to add to Mr Ellory’s page here, it was certainly one of the books that turned me into the prolific reader I am today.

Candlemoth tells the story of Daniel Ford. Sat on Death Row with only 30 days until his execution is set, he looks back on the events that lead him there – and so begins the story of a friendship that was supposed to be forever. Daniel’s story is a sad one. It is. It speaks about how life catches up with you – how events in life can change who you are. So yes, tears. Tears for Daniel and for his friend Nathan. A beautiful story….

 

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Finally, we come to The Humans. This will be short and sweet. I have already spoken about this novel a lot in various blog posts going back to when my site was first up and running. The tears I cried over this book were cathartic tears. Life affirming tears. Dealing with MY depression this novel spoke to me in a way that I can’t put into words.

My “support” network of friends and family have mostly all now read this wonderful book. In honour of that on Tuesday 6th August you will be able to find a new article about The Humans which will include a small paragraph from a few people closest to me about why they loved this book – because this, like “The Book Thief” is a book for anyone that reads. Find out why from me AND others on Tuesday. And if anyone reading this has read it and would like to contribute do let me know.

 

So there you go. 6 books that made me cry! I’ve shown you mine…how about you show me yours? Is there one book that had you in floods or many?

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

 

Liz REALLY loves…..A Good Twisty Tale. **No Spoilers Please We’re British**

So today I’m going to talk about terrific twisty tales but before I do note: There will be NO spoilers anywhere in this article beyond the fact that the books I am going to talk about do, in fact, have a twist to the tale. As a reviewer and a reader I believe its ok to say that the book has one (or in some cases many) as long as no information is forthcoming about the details – because some readers are looking for just that type of story. Often a book is marketed on that very thing!  However if you prefer to not even know there IS a twist or that the tale you are about to dive into is a twisty one, then please read no further.

Still with me? Ok then. To my mind there are two kinds of twisty tales available. The first type are those novels that send you first down one path, then another, constantly making you question what has gone before until ultimately you get a resolution. The second type – which are my favourite – are what I call “Game Changer Twists” – those books where there is one major incident or “reveal” that makes you pretty much fall off your chair with surprise, even if you knew there was something coming….the best of this type are the ones that can then continue on after that and offer you a brilliant and satisfactory resolution and only the most clever of authors can achieve that. So here we go – one more warning before you continue – I will now be talking about my favourite twisty tales and I will be saying which category they fall into. So again, if you don’t want to know, stop reading. However I reiterate my promise – you will find no details that will ruin your enjoyment of the novels. What I HOPE to do is ensure you don’t miss out on some absolutely terrifically clever writing!

 

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Lets start with Tina Seskis and the book “One Step Too Far”. Now this novel was actually marketed on the fact that there was a twist to the story – “No-one has ever guessed Emily’s secret – will you? ” it told me and before I started reading it I was saying “Of course I’ll get it very little surprises me these days its all been done before”. Well. No. It hasnt. Not only has Ms Seskis managed to write a story that absolutely doesnt NEED a twist to make it superb, she has also stuck one in there that I promise you – you will never see coming. I’ve recommended this to a lot of people and they have all come back to me with the same look on their faces….HOW did she manage to do that? Well folks, I don’t know – but she did. I don’t know how many novels I have read over the years where I’ve been told there is a twist and I’ve seen it coming a mile away – its difficult to fool me I promise you – but Tina managed it and then some. Mainly because of the intelligent writing it has to be said – and because in a very strange way, its a simple one. Read it. Love it. And tell me if you get it. Anyone that does is definitely clever! I don’t think you will though….and it doesnt matter. Emily’s story is fascinating in and of itself. Yes this is a “game changer” novel but it may well have been that anyway  – twist or not.

You can follow Tina on Twitter here : https://twitter.com/tinaseskis but don’t ask her because she aint telling!

If you think it sounds like your sort of book – clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Step-Too-Far-ebook/dp/B00C9IW9OQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375175571&sr=1-1&keywords=one+step+too+far+by+tina+seskis and its currently in the Summer Sale so get your hands on a copy today!

Incidentally her second novel – A Serpentine Affair – is also brilliant. Another twisty tale but in a very different way. You might want to have a look at that one also.

 

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Now then Ms Erin Kelley – queen of the super twisty tales that suck you in and spit you out – what DID you do to me with “The Burning Air” I wonder? Well. It was the first book I read that when I hit the “game changer moment” I literally shouted out loud “NOOOOOOO really?” A few people were in the room with me at the time watching some tv and they all jumped out of their skin..it was the first time I actually understood what the phrase “jaw drop” meant – mine was on the floor. Up until then I had been enjoying an amazingly good story about family and the ties that bind.. After that moment I was rabidly turning the pages desperate to know the outcome and wondering what the heck was going to happen – woe betide anyone that dared to try and interrupt me while I was discovering the truth. Amazing writing, terribly clever misdirection and again, like Ms Seskis, a book that didnt NEED a twist to make it simply stunning. It was just the cherry on the top so to speak. In fact looking back now I’m stunned all over again!

You can follow Erin Kelley on Twitter here : https://twitter.com/mserinkelly but again she won’t be telling – you’ll have to read it!

If it sounds like your kind of book clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Burning-Air-ebook/dp/B0091LLZZI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375176169&sr=1-1&keywords=the+burning+air+erin+kelly

Incidentally another of Erin’s novels – The Poison Tree – is a book that I loved with a fiery vengeance mainly because the ending was probably the most satisfying ending I have ever read. You may want to check that one out!

 

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So we come to Gone Girl. Of course. THE twisty tale of all twisty tales – the one that went viral, that I think pretty much everyone on the planet has read by now and the book that almost every twisty tale that came out afterwards referred to in its blurb. “This years Gone Girl!” I read quite often. And yes I LOVED it. But I’ll let you into a little secret. I saw that twist coming from 100 miles away and it was no surprise to me. Still it WAS a game changer yes. But in this readers honest opinion it is not nearly as clever or as good as the two books I have mentioned above – and more recently “Precious Thing” from Colette Mcbeth which I’m not going to talk about again in this article but that will be having its own blog day coming soon. Gone Girl was its own thing – a brilliantly imagined tale of a marriage between two people both of whom held secrets – and that for me was the beauty of it, NOT the twist in the tale that everyone raves about. The thing I loved about Gone Girl was the characters. Ones you will love to hate. Its a great book – it deserves its success without a doubt. And I hope that Gillian Flynn can top it with her next novel which I will certainly be reading. However I say again – The Burning Air and One Step Too Far are better. They are. A feat that is not easy to achieve!

If you are one of about 3 people who have not yet read it clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gone-Girl-ebook/dp/B007ZXK08C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375176967&sr=1-1&keywords=gone+girl

Its definitely worth your time and hey, that twist is twisty and a whole lot of fun!

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Finally I’m going to talk about just one of Sophie Hannah’s many novels – my favourite of the Simon Waterhouse books – and a brilliant example of the other kind of twisty tale – the type that twists and turns all the way through, giving you smartly dolled out pieces of information until finally you can see the whole. In this particular book miscarriages of justice are the topic – and they are brilliantly done. My favourite because the protagonist is a girl after my own heart, the twists and turns in this book were stunning.  The absolute beauty of Ms Hannah’s writing lies in her ability to tell the tale not only from the Police point of view – And Mr Waterhouse is a detective like no other, trust me – but also from the point of view of the people embroiled in whichever case he happens to currently be investigating. In fact MOSTLY from their point of view a lot of the time. Sophie writes characters that I adore – the “usual suspects” Charlie and Simon and The Snowman – never disappoint but each separate book also gives you at least one more character you can adore! Or hate to the point of wanting to get into the book and strangle them sometimes – I’ve had that with the odd one especially a particularly well written and insanely annoying character from her latest Simon Waterhouse tale “The Carrier”. Ms Hannah’s ability to misdirect you and make you THINK you know whats going on, only to completely flummox you again a couple of pages later – is terrific. And it happens every time – she changes the game just enough with each novel that no matter how many you read you are always going to be swimming in a sea of confusion until she decides to finally let you know the truth. Therein lies the reason that I will never stop reading them as long as she keeps writing them. If you havent yet had a go pick yourself up a copy of “Little Face” – and take it from there.

You can follow Sophie Hannah on Twitter here https://twitter.com/sophiehannahCB1

If you want to start at the very beginning clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Face-ebook/dp/B002VHI8DG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375177684&sr=1-1&keywords=little+face+sophie+hannah

 

So there we go. My mini guide to all things twisty and turny. I hope you have enjoyed it and that you may have found something there that you would like to try – twisty tales are the most fun you can have with a book and sometimes they really will mess with your head! Do you have a favourite? Please let me know…I don’t want to miss out!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

Harrogate – A readers tale.

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So I may have been extremely disappointed not to have been able to attend Harrogate after all due to ill health, but I was very lucky that a lovely friend of mine, Steph Rothwell WAS going and agreed to write me up a little diary/observation piece on how she got on. Next year it will be me for sure folks along with my other good friend Hayley but for this year here is what Steph had to say!

 

Friday
I arrived late Friday morning at my first crime event. For the 1st day I was on my own and was getting more nervous by the minute on the way up to the hotel. It was an absolutely beautiful day and when I arrived there were many people listening to the Dead in Deutschland  panel and many more all sat about  on the lawn. There were two huge tents on the lawn, one for refreshments and one where the bookshop was and signings done.
More or less straight away I spotted Mel Sherratt who had previously told me to join them. I went over ,passing Val McDermid on the way and she quickly introduced me to Rebecca Bradley, Nic Ford, David Jackson, Pam Mcllroy and Elizabeth Haynes. I stayed with the little group until it was time to go into my 1st panel.
I had booked in for four panels on the Friday: Victorian Crime Fact or Fiction, Social Media Who Are You, Touching Evil and Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. After each of the events had finished the authors who had taken part would then go into the tent to do the signings.
I knew that the authors would sign books but didn’t think there would be just one book shop. I had expected different publishing houses to have their own stalls. All the authors who participated in the event had books for sale in the shop.
Part way through the day I collected our goodie bags which we received for booking all day Saturday. Big mistake! Carrying 2 bags containing a dozen books and two bottle of Theakstons old Peculier in 80 degree heat was a bit of a challenge.
I enjoyed all the panels I attended today but Social Media and Standing on the Shouders of Giants stood out. The former for the row that broke out after a challenge from an audience member over events that happened last year. The latter? I now need to read every book by everyone of the authors that took part.
Saturday
My husband came with me today and when we arrived shortly before the 1st panel everywhere looked very quiet, nobody on the lawn or in the tent. When we want into the hotel we realised why. Everybody was in the queue to get into the ballroom to see Ian Rankin in conversation with William Mcllvanney. This was probably one of the most popular panels and was the only one that I attended that finished with both clapping and cheering.
My favourite panel of the weekend was up next, Val McDermid talking to Sue Black. It was funny, quite graphic, and both participants had great respect for each other. I will be reciting bits from this for weeks to come.
My remaining  two panels of the day were New Blood ( more books to buy) and Vera another which was very popular. We finished our weekend with a glass of pimms on the lawn whilst Ann Cleeves and Brenda Blethyn sat signing books for a very long time.
I came away from the festival with 3 bags crammed with new books, memories of great panels and memories of people I had met. Hopefully when we go next year for the full weekend we will have many more.
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If you would like to follow Steph on Twitter clickety click here  https://twitter.com/sjroth21
Thanks Steph! Sounds brilliant and I can’t wait to find out for myself.

Liz Currently Loves……Precious Thing by Colette Mcbeth

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Coming this week from Headline

First of all a huge thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Rachel and Clara meet at school and form an unshakeable bond. Best friends, they know everything there is to know about each other…or do they? Years later Rachel is a successful tv reporter with a loving boyfriend and a great life, while Clara has not had such a happy time of it. When Clara goes missing Rachel begins to question everything she thought she knew about her best friend…..

I loved this very much. The story is told by Rachel in the form of a letter, or diary if you like, to Clara and has a taut, expressive narrative that is not only terrifically compelling but is also quite dark in its tone – as Rachel hovers between obsessive worry about where Clara might be and slow forming terror as she comes to realise the horrific possibilities, you are drawn right into that place and time with her. Slowly revealing the course of their friendship from the day Rachel sat down next to Clara in the classroom and leading us up to present day you will never be quite sure what the outcome might be.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I DO love a clever book. This was clever and then some. Sadly I can’t say very much because its difficult to tell you WHY it was so clever without giving anything away – And I am certainly not going to do that so you will just have to trust me fellow readers, it IS extremely clever. Intelligently written, almost poetic prose in places which changes depending on Rachel’s mood – I love the slight bitchiness that sometimes enters her “voice” – if you love a good twisty tale that you really can get your teeth into then this one is certainly for you.

Brilliantly done from Ms Mcbeth I can’t wait to find out what she has in store for us in the future.

You can follow Colette McBeth on Twitter here https://twitter.com/colettemcbeth

 

Not part of the review as such but one readers opinion

Just a little personal opinion – this novel is getting the inevitable comparison to “Gone Girl”. While I understand the marketing ploys that are used to entice readers of certain genres into purchasing a book, and that can work don’t get me wrong, I’ll let you into a little secret. The only book that is “like Gone Girl” or is as good as Gone Girl is Gone Girl itself. My belief is that THIS story – Precious Thing – will in years to come be quoted on the cover of many a twisty tale – I can see it now “This Years Precious Thing”. Again though. The only book that will be “Like Precious Thing” or as good as Precious Thing is…yes…you guessed it…Precious thing itself. This book is going to get great reviews and I imagine a great reputation. Fellow readers please enter its pages with no preconceptions – you will have MUCH more fun that way I promise!  Because this is terrific stuff.

 

 

Coming Next Week to Liz Loves Books.

So its after midnight and Indie Author week is officially at an end. Thank you so much to Sharon, Simon, Jack and Terry for taking part and having such fun with it. I will run another one in a few weeks where you will be able to hear from the tremendously talented Rachel Abbott amongst others. Keep an eye out for that!

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Thats for later though so I  thought I would let you know whats coming next week – and perhaps ask some questions of you, those readers who end up here, to help make the next batch of blogs just as fun.

On Monday you will be able to read the Harrogate Diary of Steph Rothwell – a lovely friend of mine who agreed to jot down some of her experiences when it became apparent that I would too unwell to attend after all. Thanks to Steph and a lot of other people including the lovely author Leigh Russell, I felt like I was there a lot of the time anyway. As a first time visitor Steph had great fun. Look out for that on Monday.

On Tuesday I will be talking about twisty tales – I DO love a book that floors you at some point with a major twist that you just didnt see coming. Now don’t worry – no spoilers will be found in this piece – whats the point of a jaw dropping twist in the tale if someone tells you about it first? I will however be telling you about a few of the books that have literally blown my mind and given me those “facepalm” moments so you can enjoy them for yourselves. And possibly drop a few hints about reviewing books and not dropping spoilers. A rant I went on a while ago – I’m sure it can be found in the archives somewhere! Included in this will be Erin Kelley’s “The Burning Air” , Tina Seskis and THAT book “One Step Too Far” amongst others. And of course no twisty tale story would be complete without a nod to Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”. What one book made your jaw drop to the floor? Do tell.

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On Wednesday I will tell you about 6 books that made me cry. Real tears. For a long time. How often does a book make YOU cry? And which one book would you say really tugged at your heartstrings? Two of the books I will mention are very recent reads – from Tom Vowler and Tony Black. Then you have The Book Thief. Of course. Anyone who DOESNT cry at The Book Thief has no heart. If you want to know what the other three are then join me next Wednesday.

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On Thursday its publication day for Chris Ewan and Dead Line. Join me then for a Q & A with Chris, see a review of the book and why you should be reading it. Also on Thursday there are two other great books released – One I’ve just completed and one I’m reading right now – Lie Still by Julia Heaberlin and Precious Thing by Colette Mcbeth. I will direct you to reviews on those and let you know when you can read more about them. But Thursday will be mostly about Dead Line – and yes I will talk about the ending but No I will not be giving ANYTHING away. Trust me though  – its worth the wait.

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Finally on Friday I will be all about that wonderful writing duo Mark Edwards and Louis Voss. Join me for a Q & A with them and see a review of their latest release “Forward Slash” which you can get hold of now if you don’t want to wait! Also I will look at some of their other books – and of course I’m not going to be able to resist talking about “The Magpies” again – Mr Edwards solo novel and some of you may remember how much I liked that one! So that should be a great ending to the week.

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So there you go – going to be a fun week for me and I hope for you too. Have a great weekend folks and I’ll see you next week.

Happy Reading!

Indie Authors Week – Sharon Sant.

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So the final day of Indie Authors week is upon us and today you can hear from the lovely (if a little Wicked!) Sharon Sant, author of the Sky Song Trilogy and Runners. As before I posed the same questions to Sharon and here is what she had to say.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always made up stories. I’m not sure if that’s the same thing! I remember reading books even as a youngster and thinking how amazing it would be to make other people feel the way they made me feel, but the conscious desire to become a writer didn’t come until much later on, when I was in my teens, and even then I didn’t imagine I was capable of it.

How difficult is it to get your books out there?

Incredibly. I push myself to work long hours – a typical weekday sees me get up at 6am to get the kids to school, go to my day job myself, come home, do the evening meal and then get the kids to bed at around 9.30 when I start to work on my books until around midnight. I have a couple of days a week off from the day job and I spend the majority of those writing too. I’ve been working to this schedule since January when I first released Sky Song. In the beginning most of the time I set aside for writing was spent actually writing, but now, only a tiny proportion of that is spent writing new books, and the majority of it is spent promoting the ones I have already released.  I’m not saying this to bleat about it – it’s something I love doing and I think it’s worth the sacrifices – but to illustrate the level of commitment you need to show to make any headway in a publishing world that has new authors coming out of its proverbial ears. The marketplace is saturated with authors as talented and committed as you are, you just need to keep your eyes on your own lane and keep running and hope that you can cross the finish line alongside the best of them.  And even with all that work, I still don’t envisage a day in the near future where I’ll be earning enough from writing to match even my part-time salary so that I can quit the day job.

How important are book bloggers and reviewers when it comes to attracting readers?

To be frank, they’re an author’s best friend and a valuable connection between writers and readers.  Without book bloggers and reviewers, I might as well just leave my books on my hard drive and settle down to a nightly Coronation Street Omnibus.  I’ll be honest about sales too – a lot of the time you don’t really see a huge increase in sales after one good review, but what I think happens is that if you keep getting them across different sites then people will start to remember you, and then they’ll take notice the next time you pop up and maybe take an interest, and then maybe even check out your book.  My good friend Mel Sherratt made a lovely analogy for this; she said it’s like spreading a breadcrumb trail across the internet for people to find you.  The more breadcrumbs you leave out, the more likely it is that someone will end up at your door. So, for that to work, we need to be seen in as many places as possible. That’s what the growing army of fantastic book bloggers helps us to do. For readers, book blogger sites are the go-to sites for book info after the book merchants themselves; readers know that they can trust the opinions expressed by the people who run these sites as they’re passionate about literature.  Even big publishing houses realise their value, so quite often you’ll get a mix of reviews on any given site for both traditionally published and indie published books. From an indie’s perspective, this is a fantastic place to be seen.
ALSO: give me a short “me” paragraph telling me about you – perhaps hobbies or interests outside of writing.

Now you’ll find that I’m not quite as literary as I would like to pretend! I love cult TV shows and films, the geekier or cheesier the better!  I have a particular obsession with BBC’s Merlin, which ended last year and I’m still not over that! I love music and any chance I get to watch a live band I will, though it’s not as often these days as I would like. It goes without saying that I read a huge amount. I also run, again, probably not as often as I’d like – last year I ran the Stafford half marathon to raise money for my niece, who has cerebral palsy, to have an operation in the US that would help her to walk. Afterwards I said that I would keep up my training and do it again for another charity, but good intentions went out of the window! I also love travelling (when money allows), socialising, going to the theatre, eating out (a lot of eating out!) and generally living life to the full.

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You know I used to be stupid enough to think that the YA genre was just for Young Adults quite literally – and sadly I am no longer one of them. Then someone forced me to read “The Hunger Games” and I thought, well, lets just hang on a minute…since then I have devoured many many YA novels, mostly completely briliant, occasionally oh so terribly bad. This one comes under the “completely brilliant” category it has to be said. Jacob wakes up one night to find a stranger in his bedroom (and a stranger stranger you are unlikely to meet!) telling him all sorts of weird and wonderful things about his true identity.It seems that he is from quite a long way away. So starts his adventure and what an adventure it is. I’ll leave it at that. No really, you need know nothing else – except if you choose to read this book you will be oh so very far away from that land called “disappointed”. Enjoy.

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Once again the wonderful Mr Jack Croxall provides the following review for Runners.

 

Runners begins with teenage Elijah and a band of other tearaways (or Runners) struggling to get by in the ruins of an old house. The group dynamic, with its varied mix of personalities and ages, is fascinating from the off and the snippets of information concerning how the novel’s dystopian world came to be such a wreck are intriguing to say the least.

Of course, the group’s situation quickly becomes about more than merely feeding themselves and Elijah and his friends soon find themselves stuck in a dismal situation engineered in no small part by the sinister Mr Braithwaite. On top of this, a chance discovery in a mysterious woodland (an exciting interpretation of a hypothesised spatial phenomenon) catapults them right into the heart of an even bigger menace and, by the end of the book, the numerous plot threads really do intertwine beautifully.

The book’s crumbling world, with such bleak scenery as dilapidated windmills, sparse marketplaces and grim work camps, is exquisitely described by the author and this is one of those novels that really pulls you into the setting, making you feel as though you’re right there with Elijah and the other Runners as they deal with the torrent of problems that come their way. It’s lucky, then, that Elijah is such a well-crafted character and sharing time with him is something you will certainly look forward to doing, despite the bleak nature of the book’s world.

Other characters deserve a mention too, teenage girls Rosa and Sky seem poles apart but are both utterly mesmerising and it’s testament to the author’s writing that you care so much about secondary characters, even with so much else going on.

Runners is exactly the sort of novel a YA title should be; engrossing, thought-provoking and brimming with grizzly situations that develop in a realistic manner.

To find out more about Sharon click here. http://sharonsant.com/

To follow her on Twitter click here https://twitter.com/SharonSant

To purchase Sky Song clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sky-Song-trilogy-ebook/dp/B00B0CQWV8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374797653&sr=1-1&keywords=sky+song

To purchase Runners clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Runners-ebook/dp/B00DD5TNJI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374797699&sr=1-1&keywords=runners+sharon+sant

Thank you Sharon!

Well that brings us to the end of Indie Author week but its been so popular I will be doing it again sometime later this year. Keep an eye out!

Next week on the blog you will be able to read a diary from a first time visitor to Harrogate, my good friend Steph. Also there will be an article about those twisty turny tales we all love and later in the week you can find out about the 6 books that made me cry. Have a great weekend.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

Indie Author Week……..Terry Tyler.

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Today on Indie Author week meet Terry Tyler, who I affectionately refer to as “Queen of the Coffee Cups” and a lovely lady who also happens to be a terrific writer. As with previous posts I posed the same questions to Terry and here is what she had to say.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No.  I used to write stories alot as a child, and in my 20s, but I haven’t always wanted to be a writer as such, I just liked writing stuff, as opposed to drawing stuff or sewing stuff or cooking stuff, I suppose!  I can’t pretend it was a major yearning or obsession.  I wrote my first novel 20 years ago; I wasn’t working at the time and I just thought, I wonder if I could write a novel.  I discovered I could!  I’ve always written stuff to amuse my friends, though.  I’ve got stacks of daft sketches and funny poems and articles knocking around.  Of course, once I’d written the first novel I had those ‘getting published and becoming an internationally best-selling author’ fantasies like we all do, but I think there’s a big difference between wanting to write, and wanting to ‘be a writer’.

How difficult is it to get your books out there?

Very.  Is that enough?!  Oh, okay, I suppose you want me to elaborate!  It’s all about realising that you have to spend a lot of time on it – time that before you self-published you might have spent watching telly or in the pub or whatever.  You have to try different things, not plug away at things that don’t work, think ‘outside the box’, research, have a bit of initiative.  It gets harder and harder all the time – there must be 10 times as many self published books out there now as when I started.

How important are book bloggers and reviewers when it comes to attracting readers?

I’d just like to say that book bloggers are totally wonderful human beings, ha ha!!  To be honest I don’t know how important they are in attracting readers, as I don’t know where most of my sales come from.  I would expect they contribute a lot, though.  I remember once, a while back, Maria Savva interviewing me on her blog about my first book, You Wish, and the sales rocketed for the few days after she posted it.  Few things sell a book better than marvellous reviews – and the ones from book bloggers tend to be of a very valuable quality, because you give a little of the story and discuss its strengths and weaknesses in such a way that someone like me who reads a book for enjoyment only probably wouldn’t!  Book bloggers and reviewers – we love you, and sing your praises long and loud!

ALSO: give me a short “me” paragraph telling me about you – perhaps hobbies or interests outside of writing.

I don’t really have any hobbies as such.  Writing is what I do.  When I’m not writing I like to go for long walks, though I don’t do so very often.  I like visiting places of historic interest, but I hardly ever do that, either.  Mostly, though, my relaxation tends to involve a bed, some pillows, and a crime/historical drama/thriller TV series.  Most evenings I spend half an hour sitting in the back porch and smoking tabs whilst playing backgammon on my Nexus 7 – does that count as a hobby??!!

 

 

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I’ll be honest – I would never have picked this book up if I hadnt “met” the author on Twitter and found her to be a lovely person – its not really my sort of thing. Or so I imagined. Well I was wrong. It was wonderful – a great day’s reading. Five women and a “Wishing stone” form the basis for this story, Ruth having obtained the stone by nefarious means finds herself in all sorts of trouble! Its insightful writing and it has a great style – you immediately feel comfortable with the prose. The leading ladies are women you can relate too – My favourite was Petra but they all have everyday issues and worries. There are some twisty turns and it may not turn out quite how you expect. Lovely. I’d better get Ms Tylers other books pronto!

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This review comes from a previous contributor to this week – Mr Jack Croxall

We’ve all fantasised about being rocks stars; the bellowing roar of an arena filled with thousands of adoring fans, smashing up expensive guitars on stage, epic champagne-fuelled parties – surely it’s the dream existence? Well, in Terry Tyler’s Dream On, a group of wannabe rockers realise the music scene isn’t all glitz and glamour.

Having spent a large proportion of my formative years playing guitar in a small-time band, I immediately identified with central character and band member, Dave; his lusting over Gibson Les Paul’s and recurring daydreams of playing Wembley are very reminiscent of my (and I’m sure many others) mindset when I was practicing dodgy chords in my teenage bedroom.

Throughout the novel, the grimy side of the music industry is portrayed perfectly and the pressures of ‘real’ life versus musical ambition is an enthralling theme, transmitted through some excellent writing.

Of course, this isn’t just a novel for wannabe rockers, the characters are written superbly and there will almost certainly be at least one any reader can identify with. The book also has some excellent funny moments too; so often comedy in books falls short of the mark but not here.

Overall, a brilliant read – give it a try, you won’t be sorry you did!

Also available by Terry Tyler: Nobody’s Fault. The Other Side. Full Circle.

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To find out more about Terry click here. http://terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/

To follow her on Twitter click here. https://twitter.com/TerryTyler4

To purchase any of her amazing books clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1374736301&sr=1-2-ent

Thanks Terry! Tomorrow to finish off Indie Authors week the lovely Sharon Sant, author of the Sky Song Trilogy and Runners. Happy reading folks!

 

Indie Author Week – Simon Jenner.

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Today our Indie Author week is all about Mr Simon Jenner – author of the brilliantly entertaining Ethan Justice series of books (reviews later)  and yet another all round nice guy. As with Mr Croxall yesterday I asked Simon the same series of questions. Here is what he has to tell us.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I always enjoyed writing stories at school but mostly I think I just wanted to shock my English teachers by pushing the boundaries.  I started to write my first novel when I was eighteen and so have definitely always been attracted to creative writing.  Unfortunately I have never been good at seeing tasks to their conclusion and the minute boredom set in I dropped the project and moved on to my next ‘big thing’.  This pattern was repeated over and over again during which time I began at least fifteen novels that were never completed.  At the ripe old age of 48, my 10 year old son asked me to write him a story about some mystical animals he had drawn pictures of, and this fun exercise seemed to rejuvenate my creative juices. I actually had it printed as a book for him using the wonders of Print-On Demand and seeing the finished  object was so satisfying that I’ve not been able to stop writing since. Better late than never.

How difficult is it to get your books out there?

In a word ‘Hell’.  Self-publishing has leveled the playing field somewhat but it is a double-edged sword. It is easy enough to hit ‘Publish’, but it’s also easy for every other writer out there which makes the playing field immense. When I self-published my first book, I thought having written it and then having it edited and formatted meant the work was done. Amazon’s huge marketing machine would do the rest, surely? Unfortunately not.  The realisation that marketing is harder and more time consuming than the creative process is a hard pill to swallow and the work required to get the word out is not to be underestimated.  There are so many avenues to investigate, to try, to tweak, to move on from. Where are the readers who might like my books? Who do they listen to for their book recommendations? How can I reach them? It’s a needle in a haystack and I’ve barely scratched the surface despite a lot of time trying! Still I’ve met some great people along the way so that’s the upside and it makes the world of trying to write for a living a less lonely place.

How important are book bloggers and reviewers when it comes to attracting readers?

They couldn’t be more important.   For an indie author (without a budget) to make an impression he/she needs the assistance of anyone willing to spread the word.  The fact that book bloggers and reviewers are willing to invest their precious time in reading and sharing their opinions still amazes me and I couldn’t be more grateful. With so many books for readers to choose from, discoverability is a huge problem for indie authors so this is where book bloggers really help out. By getting the word out to their followers who trust their opinions, there is hope for the author that their book will not just sit collecting dust on the virtual book shelves. Reviews are also a key factor in a reader’s decision making process, especially for indie authors, so bloggers and customers leaving reviews can make all the difference as to whether a reader takes a chance on a book or not. To anyone reading this, please make an indie author’s day and leave a review after reading their book!

A short “me” paragraph telling me about you – perhaps hobbies or interests outside of writing.

Childhood: at 8 years old, I was shipped off to boarding school – was I that bad as a child? You’d have to ask my parents, although I did burn down the house (accidentally) and fracture my skull by jumping on a car as a teenager. I hope my son is not as wayward.

Work: I trained as a Civil Engineer, then got made redundant. I qualified as an accountant, then got bored so set up my own accountancy firm – why? Who knows. I started writing seriously – ie, I now finish books – and love it, so please check out my books, shameless I know.

Spare time: who has any? When I’m looking for inspiration to work harder, I’m an avid tennis fan. When I’m looking for creative inspiration, I’m a huge movie fan. I did take up karate aged 40, but it turns out that was too old, so now I just coach my son. Other than that, I enjoy time with my family, the odd bit of DIY and putting the world to rights over a glass of wine.

Learn more about Simon here : http://simonjenner.com/

Follow him on Twitter here : https://twitter.com/simonrjenner

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One of my blogposts talked about Genre Reading and getting out of your comfort zone, and occasionally trying something a bit different. Well thats what I did with “Ethan Justice” a novel that perhaps I would not have picked up in the ordinary course of things but now I have I’m glad I did. It was one of those enjoyable books that kind of flows over you, pulling you along with it and when you are finally done you realise you’ve had a great time! John Smith, pretty much living off his parents and basically drifting from day to day, suddenly finds himself having to reassess his life. Then a night of drunken debauchery with a high class prostitute sends him tumbling into a whole new world – one of shadowy goverment agencies, pyschotic killers and well, just general mayhem.

The writer has a great style – it took me  a few pages but then it kicked into high gear and we were off. The only time you hear a “first person” side is from the most evil of the characters…so evil you will LOVE him and that is a clever tactic that works really well within the context of the rest of the novel. Savannah the stereotypical “hooker with a heart of gold” turns out to be perhaps less stereotypical than you would expect and John Smith – yes you heard me, and yes that humour is worked well into the book – is interesting and engaging. I’m not sure what genre you could put it in safely – a lot goes on in this book and its all highly entertaining – spy thriller might be the closest I could come but really its just terrific fun and if you’ve got a rather boring Sunday ahead, this would be the perfect solution.

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Relentless, the next in the Ethan Justice series of books started off great and then just got better and better. If anything I liked it better than the first one (always a good sign for things to come!) and once more we have a terrific adventure, peppered with humour, drama and of course a dark side…

This instalment finds Ethan and Savannah investigating a missing person and an underage sex ring and finding themselves in all kinds of trouble as usual. Once again Ethan finds himself facing a psychopath of epic proportions and in a deadly battle it is unclear which of them will emerge victorious…

I really enjoyed this yet again – although I’m going to have to have words with Mr Jenner if he persists in writing stuff that keeps me up all night – it was worth the rather accident prone day that followed whilst I wandered around sleepy eyed. Some dark yet current topics were covered in this novel, I would say in a realistic way. I love both Ethan and Savannah – a dynamic duo if ever there was one. Fast paced and unpredictable with a few twists in the tale its perfect summer reading. The bad guy is terrifically bad, the good guy is rather inept at times which makes for some highly hilarious moments and I look forward greatly to many more adventures.

If you would like to purchase Ethan Justice clickety click here. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ethan-Justice-Origins-ebook/dp/B0087S6AA6/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374654032&sr=1-2

If you have been clever enough to read that one already then clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ethan-Justice-Relentless-ebook/dp/B00DSDLYOM/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374654032&sr=1-3

Thank you kindly to Mr Jenner for taking part. Tomorrow you can hear from Terry Tyler – Coffee Cup Queen, lovely lady and amazing writer.

Happy Reading folks!

 

Indie Author Week – Jack Croxall

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Meet Jack Croxall – author of the wonderfully inventive “Tethers” (review a bit later!)  and all round nice guy. This week I’ve asked all my lovely Indie Authors who are taking part the same questions…Here is what Jack had to say about publishing and other stuff…..

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

As soon as I read His Dark materials by Philip Pullman, (I think I was about fifteen) I wanted to be a writer. To create worlds like that and inspire vivid emotions in people is something I want to devote my life to trying to achieve. I’ve actually written a whole article on this very subject before!

 

How difficult is it to get your books out there?

It’s funny, as a first time author, I thought that, once Tethers was available on Amazon it was out there. How wrong I was! In reality, once your book is published, that’s when the real work begins. You have to get people reading your stuff any way you can, and that means free copies, giveaways, review copies etc, but also, you need to showcase your writing on other platforms. I write a lot of freelance articles and I also run a bookish blog (www.jackcroxall.co.uk). Whilst I love doing it regardless, I do hope that if people enjoy my writing, they might just look into my books as well.


How important are book bloggers and reviewers when it comes to attracting readers?

The online bookish community has been by far and away my most valuable marketing asset. After I released Tethers I found lots of lovely book bloggers who were willing to write honest reviews in exchange for a free copy, and hence spotlight my book to their extended network. On top of that, friends of online friends were also able to help me to achieve coverage for my novel that I wouldn’t have believed possible: features in local magazines, newspapers, BBC Radio appearances and even a review on the huge and most excellent website, MuggleNet. In short, any promotional success I have is really their success!

ALSO: give me a short “me” paragraph telling me about you – perhaps hobbies or interests outside of writing.

Gosh, I’m so used to writing about Karl and Esther that a ‘Me’ paragraph has caught me a bit off guard! Let’s see, well, I live in rural Nottinghamshire with my chocolate Labrador Archie. I like doing outdoorsy things, and obviously reading as well. I suppose my main hobby is playing the guitar, though – I play my six string without fail every day. I’ve been tinkering since I was about fourteen, and even went through a Rock phase in my late teens where I played a few gigs in a local band. Needless to say, we never took off!

 

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Review

So, my latest foray into the world of YA fiction, brought me here, to the Victorian setting of “Tethers”, an absolute gem of a tale, not only to read for yourself but as a story to read to others. In it we meet Karl and Esther, two friends who find themselves on a grand adventure having discovered a notebook with strange notations and a mysterious gemstone. Chased by those with nefarious purposes they embark on a journey to find a missing girl, and to discover the true nature of the gem..with some help from a glorious cast of supporting characters. This journey forms the basis for the book. I loved it I have to say – I may have been saying that in a lot of my reviews lately but it just goes to show that I’m picking the right books from the myriad of choice I have open to me. What I loved: Karl and Esther are terrific. Esther is a girl after my own heart with her flashes of temper and great insight. Karl, a little calmer, more likely to look before he leaps, is the perfect counterpart and they compliment each other beautifully. The story itself is well imagined, paced just right and has a real sense of place and time. I can’t actually find fault with it..if you want a negative – here’s one. It was over too quickly! Hoping the second in the series is not far away. I look forward to meeting Karl and Esther again.

 

If you fancy giving Tethers a go – and you should – clicky click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tethers-Jack-Croxall/dp/1484959833/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1374565490&sr=1-1

Available as paperback or Kindle download – so all readers should be happy. Thanks Jack!

 

Tomorrow Simon Jenner will be with us – author of the Ethan Justice novels and another terrific person to know. Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves……Dead Line by Chris Ewan.

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Coming 1st August from Faber & Faber

Having loved “Safe House” I was very much looking forward to this novel from Mr Ewan and I was very excited to receive a copy from Netgalley – thank you kindly.

Daniel Trent works in the dangerous field of hostage negotiation…along with his fiancee Aimee. When Aimee goes missing herself, Trent has a good idea of who is responsible…but then his chief suspect is kidnapped and so begins a desperate search for answers. Can Trent save the kidnap victim and find Aimee?

Well what can I say…fast paced and amazingly addictive this novel rushes you headlong into Daniel Trent’s world and what a world it is. Cleverly strung out, my desire to find out what happened to Aimee soon matched Trents own…and I breathlessy followed him through all the twists and turns of the story to the final resolution – and that resolution my reading friends was clever, unexpected and brilliant.

I adored Trent as a character. Single minded, hell bent on the destruction of anyone who gets in his way no matter the consequences made me add him to my list of “literary characters I’d certainly marry”…in fact perhaps a future blog piece can talk about all those guys – he’ll be somewhere near the top. The rest of the characters played their part admirably – trust no-one would be my advice and even then you’ll be surprised at what happens. My favourite character by far was…ok I’m not going to tell you. You tell me when you get a chance to read it and we’ll compare notes! No spoilers here.

I adore a good page turner and this novel certainly falls into that category. There are rare restful moments – make the most of them because shortly you’ll be on that rollercoaster again. Don’t fall off! Enjoy. Happy Reading Folks!

Find out more about Chris Ewan here : http://chrisewan.com/

Follow him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/chrisewan