Happy Publication Day. Dead Line by Chris Ewan.

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So a very happy publication day to Mr Ewan for the terrific thriller “Dead Line”. I tracked Chris down and asked him a few questions – see what he had to say, followed by a review and some linky links.

Dead Line is a terrific thriller. Was it fun to write?

Dead Line involved a real change of approach for me, and doing something new and challenging is always fun (even if it sometimes didn’t feel that way when I was figuring out how to write the book). The biggest change is that Dead Line is the first novel I’ve narrated almost entirely in third-person. Most of my writing before now has been driven by first-person narration, but I enjoyed the third-person sections I wrote for Safe House, so I thought I’d experiment with writing more of a novel in this way. Dead Line is a very dark book, set in the sunshine of Marseilles, and playing with that contrast (as well as visiting Marseilles for research) was a real blast. On top of that, learning more about the somewhat murky kidnap and ransom industry, and some of the individuals who make their living as negotiators, was fascinating.

Which of the Dead Line characters is your favourite.?

Much of the novel is told from the perspective of Daniel Trent, a hostage negotiator who is trying to find his missing fiancee. He’s a tough, uncompromising character, who is willing to go to extremes to get what he wants – pushing far beyond what normal people might do. And writing about a character like that can’t fail to be interesting. But I also really liked writing about Stephanie Moreau, a beautiful ballet dancer who happens to be married to the crook Trent suspects of abducting his fiancee. Stephanie came out much darker, and more damaged, than I’d anticipated.

Do you have any particular writing habits?

I have a bunch of writing habits that I try to stick to as much as I can, which is not as easy as it used to be now that we have a baby daughter to shake things up! What I aim for is to be at my desk by 9am, to write five pages (double-spaced) straight to my computer, then to come back the next day and do exactly the same thing until a first draft is complete. Usually I work seven days a week, although just recently I’ve been taking a day off on a weekend. If all goes to plan, I’ll have a first draft of a novel after something like four months, and from then on I just work as many hours as I can for the next five months, rewriting the manuscript and getting the book into shape. I do a lot of rewrites and revisions before I show the book to anyone. When it’s close to ready, my wife reads it. After that, I usually do a final polish before sending it to my agent. It usually takes me a year from first coming up with an idea to completing  a book. Fingers-crossed the same will be true for the book I’m currently working on!

 

Breakfast: Greasy or Healthy?

Boringly healthy, on the whole. Unless I’m in the States, and then all bets are off — usually meaning pancakes and strong coffee (and then repeat!).

What are you reading at the moment?

 

I’m reading a whole bunch of great books at the moment, including The Shining Girls by Lauren Buekes, Eleven Days by Stav Sherez, and A Willing Victim by Laura Wilson. A book I finished not too long ago, and loved, is The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald.
One thing you would want if stranded on a desert Island?
Hey, I live on the Isle of Man, which sometimes doesn’t feel so different. But a magic portal into a pancake house would suit me.
Thanks Chris!
Review

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

If this sounds like your kind of book clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Line-ebook/dp/B00CR6MNFA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375344157&sr=1-1&keywords=dead+line

 

 

Also available:

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Synopsis

When Rob Hale wakes up in hospital after a motorcycle crash on the Isle of Man, he is told that Lena, the woman he claims was travelling with him, doesn’t exist. The woman he describes bears a striking resemblance to his recently deceased sister, Laura, but has he really only imagined her?

Convinced that Lena is real, Rob sets out to find the answers to who she is and who is behind her disappearance. He is aided in this by Rebecca Lewis, a London-based PI, who has come to the island at the behest of his parents to investigate his sister’s suicide. But who is Rebecca really and how did she know his sister?

Together Rob and Rebecca follow the clues to discover Lena’s fate. In doing so they realise that even on an island where most people know each other, everyone hides a secret, and sometimes your best option isn’t to hide but to stay and fight.

If you fancy that one (and you should) clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Safe-House-ebook/dp/B0086KPYWK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375344459&sr=1-1&keywords=safe+house

My grateful thanks to Chris Ewan for answering some questions for me and for providing me with such a great reading experience!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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.

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 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 Loves Indie Authors…..Its Indie Author Week!

Just a very quick post this morning to kick off Indie Authors week….those unsung heroes of the book world who provide us with great storytelling but are often overlooked by mainstream readers. This week we will hear from a few of them about writing, publishing and the general mayhem that comes with it all. Personally I adore discovering those little gems that are not immediately in the public eye – perhaps during this week you will find some too! Happy Reading folks!

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Books….Then come the movies Part 3: HARRY POTTER!

So there is no way on earth that we can have a week on movies and the books that inspired them without mentioning Mr Harry Potter. The creation of J K Rowling, Harry is now a worldwide phenomenon and it will endure for generations to come, I have no doubt! Admittedly my knowledge in this area is basic – I know lots of people will shout at me but I have never sat down and properly read the books – and the movies have been watched with half an eye with my young boys who of course adore all things Potter! However I’m lucky. My good friend Victoria is what is affectionately known as a Potterhead – so I will hand over to her and she will tell you about all things Potter! (No Victoria I DIDNT edit – your enthusiasm shines!)

Thanks Victoria. To see more of Victoria’s reviews click here : https://victorialovesbooks.wordpress.com/

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This may possibly be my most favourite subject.
Harry Potter is a series that WILL live on forever. JK Rowling is a genius. Nobody can deny this, wether you love or hate her, she managed to write a series of books that got the world, yes world, reading!
Kids that didn’t read started reading, and some of those are huge 500 + page books, adults started to read it also to find out what all the fuss was about.
Kids and adults alike then camped out in order to get their hands on the latest book. How often does this happen? Especially when it comes to kids books!

It’s not often. And how often do you come across a book, let alone series of books, that adults love and enjoy as much as the children.

The reason Harry Potter will live on forever is because of the fan base, the Potterheads, are the most loyal fans there are. We re-read avidly and as we grow up, we then read to our children and the magic of Harry Potter starts all over again for the next generation.

So as a huge bookworm, I’ve always absolutely hated any film adaptions that are made. I’ve sat there and moaned about parts missed or parts that aren’t portrayed right to how I saw it in my head. I’ve even been known to be so angry with certain film adaptions (The Time Traveler’s Wife) that I had to throw it it the bin!

But…. With Harry Potter I adore the films as much as I do the books. Why is that? The films do vary massively to the books yet I’m willing to accept this and still love them.

The detail in the films really are quite outstanding, in EVERY way! The ideas Rowling sets in your head whilst reading really do come alive on the screen. Each character looks exactly like what you expect, it’s incredible. The scenes are set perfectly, but, the castle is surely the most magical. As is the great hall, it’s absolutely spot on.

Now of course the films aren’t exactly perfect when it comes to what we greedily take from the books, but if we are really honest with ourselves, if they didn’t edit things out we would be sat in the cinema for 12 + hours (yes! I hear you Potterheads we would of managed that no problem, but its those muggles, you can’t deny them a little magic!) So of course in order to get them onto the big screen they of course have to do LOTS of editing, which does unfortunately mean we lose some of the best bits!

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What we miss from the books is that the Dursley’s actually treated Harry a lot worse. They sent him the most pathetic Christmas presents, we all remember that year with the dirty sock! (That’s if you read the books).
We don’t get to see the time that Dobby decorated the Room of Requirement in hundreds of Baubles with the caption “have a Harry Christmas” (a personal favourite), or just how big a part Dobby actually plays in the books. He is rarely seen in the films, compared to the books but actually plays a huge part in Harry’s school life, it wasn’t Neville who gave Harry the Jellyweed in Goblet of Fire it was our lovely Dobby. We never even get to meet Winky in the films another BIG part in Goblet of Fire, which is actually so far from the book it’s unbelievable, she is a drunk and sobbing mess. Which then gets Hermione setting up S.P.E.W (no I’m not telling you what that stands for read the books!).
We never fully appreciate Harry’s sarcasm in the films something I find quite sad as its really rather brilliant to Read and inagine. His and Ron’s humour shines through within the book and although we see snippets of this in the films I sometimes feel we could of seen more.
Harry really is an angry little teenager too, we can’t blame him his had such an awful start in life. But of course the books are always so much more detailed and we are told exactly how he is feeling at every stage, whereas in the films we have to work it out for ourselves by how he looks or by what he says.
Hermione’s character is portrayed really well in the films and I wouldn’t say there is too much that is massively different, of course there are some. Hermione is not only a geek, bookworm, nerd, teachers pet, whatever you can think of, she goes out of her way to help people. Remember Hagrid and Buckbeak’s dilemma in Prisoner of Azkaban? Well in the books Hermione goes out of her way to research and spend all of her time getting Hagrid ready to face the “jury”. As well as doing all her work and trying to get to two classes at one time! Lets also not forget those boys wouldn’t of survived without Hermoine and her books.

The relationship between Harry and Dumbledore is really very special and although we do see this in the films, what we get from the books is something so much more. It really is remarkable just how much Dumbledore loves Harry.
It’s the same with a lot of the older characters take for example Mrs Weasley, she really does take Harry on as another son. Another brilliant example of this is, in the Goblet of Fire when the tournament starts, members of the champions families come to wish them luck and Harry has no-one, well in the book it’s Mrs Weasley and Charlie Weasley who are there to support Harry.

We never truly get to know Lockhart (Chamber of Secrets) through the film either. He was self obsessed, arrogant, egotistical and had us being sick in our mouths, yet we loved to hate him. He organised a dwarf dressed as Cupid to follow the kids round the school reading aloud Valentines notes. Poor Harry was rugby tackled to the floor and sat on by him. Missed that in the film didn’t you?
He also pops up in the Order of the Phoenix book, no really he does, see that doesn’t happen in the film either. (Not telling you! Nope, you will have to read them).

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With my favourite book The Half Blood Prince we see Harry spending a lot of time with Dumbledore, which is possibly why it’s my favourite. Even though we sadly lose him (I cried for hours) it’s brilliant to spend so much time with him in the books and gain more knowledge of him. We all remember the part where Harry uses a spell from the Half Blood Prince’s book/film and causes Draco to become really hurt. Well in the book Ginny DOES NOT HELP HIM! He hides it alone. We also don’t see anything that Draco is up to with birds and cupboards in the book, because well, we only ever follow Harry around.

The last two films are very special and I can see why they did it (money) but I also am so pleased they did two because it allowed more of the book to be shown than in earlier books when HUGE chunks were just missing. (Read the end to Goblet Of Fire and you will see just how different it is).
They were different and they missed parts out that still to this day really upset me, for example, when Harry saves the day and all is well, he goes back to Dumbledore’s office and Dumbledore’s portrait is there and has tears down running down his face, and Harry asks him more questions, he then, (and this is the most important) FIXES HIS WAND! I was furious they didn’t do this in the film because that wand was part of Harry. He also tells Dumberdore that he is putting the Elder Wand back where it belongs, but in the film he snaps it and throws it!!!!!!
Let’s also highlight that once Harry comes back to “life” he doesn’t run from Voldemort, he hides under the invisibility cloak whilst Neville is causing a commotion, then starts firing jinxes and curses at any death eater he can whilst trying to find Voldemort. He finds him in the great hall and reveals himself. He and Voldemort then face each other and Harry explains EVERYTHING. He then finishes Voldemort once and for all. The epilogue is pretty fantastic though and ended how it should of so I was very pleased with that.

The books are so detailed and so epic that you really feel as though you are living the story. Nothing will ever come close to them and I don’t imagine we will ever discover anything that will top Harry Potter.

The films although are different and lacking the detail that only books can portray, they are still absolutely magical and bring the story to life that little bit more. The films also help to bring more people to the books (I hope) because anyone who watches them and hasn’t read them, if they like them and it makes them slightly interested in giving the books ago then what does it matter too much if the films are different? Because by making the films they are allowing a wider audience to become part of the Wizarding world and allowing those that don’t read to fall in love with Harry also.

The films are also brilliant for those who maybe haven’t got time to re-read them when they want, but want to go back into Harry’s world and can by watching the movie.

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The films are so enjoyable and I love them dearly but I urge anyone who has only watched the films and never read the books to go out and read the books. They are truly magnificent and so incredibly detailed more than the films ever could be.

So I honestly love the films, yes they miss out my favourite parts or in some of the films, vital parts, but they are REALLY good and I wouldn’t have them changed. I like to think of them as a refresher of the books.

I really could of gone on and on some more (don’t groan!) but I must dash as I have a Potions Lesson with Snape (now you can groan)