Saturday, 27 April 2013

Same Face, Different Place: Beginnings by Helen J Christmas

This is the first in a series of books which span several decades, this one is set in the 1970's when the streets of London were particularly susceptible to corruption and gang warfare.

The central character, Eleanor, is the daughter of Ollie Chapman, a right hand man of Sammie Maxwell, one of the East End of London's feared bosses. Sammie sits comfortably at the top of his particular tree, thinking all is well when news reaches him there's a younger man in town. A man who incites so much terror that Sammie's patch begins to dwindle. Dominic Theakston begins to take over and Sammie is forced to retaliate. When Eleanor's father shoots Theakston's number one in the ensuing battle, killing him instantly, Theakston locks eyes with him and is set on the most terrible revenge possible. Chapman puts his precious daughter in Sammie Maxwell's care then leaves town, intending to return when things calm down, but Theakston has back up from powerful sources and things escalate in a way nobody saw happening. Eleanor is left with only her guile and the realisation that everyone has their price.

Helen Christmas gives us a thriller which explores love, hate, fear, terror, revenge, lust, betrayal and fortitude and this fast paced story really was difficult to put down. Eleanor is a fabulous character. At the tender age of 16 she is forced to grow up very quickly and lives in fear of her life but still she finds love and a reason to never give in. The background of life for some in 1970's London was very well described which gave the story an edge of truthfulness.

For a first novel this was written with a passion and consistency I would have expected from a more experienced writer and I really liked it. The only thing which gave me pause was wondering why Eleanor's father seems to have completely abandoned her but perhaps that will be explained in book two which, I have been informed, is due out late Summer 2013!

Twitter: Helen Christmas @SFDPBeginnings

Friday, 26 April 2013

The Goddess Workshop by Margaret K Johnson

I think Margaret's book, 'The Goddess Workshop', tackles a problem which some women tend to avoid talking about and she does it in a fun way, bringing together four women who probably wouldn't have met otherwise, in a story where they each re-evaluate who they are and how much they value themselves.

I liked it for it's honesty, its female solidarity and its friendship. 

Janet, Reenie, Kate and Estelle are all very different women, at different stages in their lives who are missing one vital component...sexual satisfaction. Three of them decide to attend a class on the subject at a local church hall, not quite knowing what to expect. The fourth, Janet, goes with her very proper neighbour Gwen, and they think they are there to attend a gardening class but it's not the flowers which are blooming! Gwen, horrified, walks out immediately in disgust and tries to drag Janet with her but Janet makes a stand and stays. As the four of them sit waiting for their tutor they contemplate a rather large...picture on display and start to wonder why on Earth they thought it was a good idea to attend.

I felt for Janet the most. Hers is an old story of a long marriage to a controlling husband and her need to find some self esteem again.

Margaret tackles this subject well. The story flows along and I felt empathy for the characters. I think this is a story with a bit of a message to all women - girls, don't settle for almost :)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Orion Chronicles: The Journal of Forgotten Secrets by Jeremy Shory

I have to say I am very taken with this book, the first in a series. The author has built up a whole world and created an enchanting story which is really going to appeal to young teenagers to fill the void which a certain well known young wizard has left. I didn't think anything would really match Harry Potter but this book could be a contender.

Orion's father dies unexpectedly under very strange circumstances. After Orion follows a boy he sees in the forest near his home, he finds himself suddenly immersed in the world of Furtayman, the home of Fangtooths, Razorbacks, Paranormals, Spellcasters, Sandshifters, Waterbogs and more. Together with his new friends, Grayson, Cremmel and Zora, he discovers who he really is, whom he can trust and who is not what they seem.

Jeremy Shory is a great storyteller. His writing draws you in as you meet believable characters and visit a fantasy world you can clearly imagine, thanks to his vivid descriptions. The world of Furtayman is magical and there is a cracking story being told by this talented writer to appeal to all lovers of fantasy fiction...not just the children.

This is a well written YA fantasy tale which will stand on its own for fans of this genre.

Jeremy has a website which is dedicated to the series and can be found here

Friday, 19 April 2013

13 British Horror Stories by Rayne Hall

A special mention has to go to Rayne Hall for this collection of spooky stories.

Horror is not a genre I would normally choose to read but I spotted these on Twitter and decided to give them a go as I do like a good short story.

My favourite was "Take Me to St Roch's", a really eerie tale which should make even the bravest person think twice before picking up a hitchhiker...

"Never Leave Me" was also very good. I could still picture her an hour later!

Rayne has a gift for description and for finding those fears you may not know you have.

For a woman who is practically a horror virgin (!) they were a perfect introduction to the genre without the blood and gore of some stories.

And, of course, the tales are British...which probably means one or two of them are true...think on that before you pack your raincoat for tea with the Queen ;)

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Full Circle by Terry Tyler

Well, it was no good at all. As much as Melodie irritated me in 'Dream On' I just had to see what happened to her and the rest of them.

I had been waiting for 'Full Circle', the sequel to Terry's 'Dream On', and I grabbed a copy pronto on the day it hit Amazon. I wasn't disappointed and devoured it in one sitting.

Although Ariel and Dave are more central to the story, it was Janice who pulled at my heart strings. Her struggle to keep her relationship with Max going, after Dave let her down so badly in 'Dream On', was really heart wrenching and I willed her on all the way. Ariel and Dave really are meant to be together but he can't bear to leave another child without a father and Ariel really wants to make it big in music. She was all set for stardom in America and left Dave in 'Dream On' when a chance meeting opened the door for her. Now she's back but he has moved on. Shane is up to his old tricks again and Melodie has married above her station and is bored with her life of riches and comfort and yearns for someone more...earthy. I actually warmed to Melodie in the end. I think it is just her nature and the girl can't help it!

Terry isn't afraid to include difficult issues in her stories and handles the emotional side well. She exhibits her usual gift for observing people and it's a real feel-good story, with characters who resemble people we have all known; the wannabe, the trier, the Romeo and the one who drinks too much.

There is a bit of a surprise near the end which I wasn't expecting and more than one happy ending for this cool group of people.

Terry's writing is as superb as ever and she has nailed the conclusion of the tale of Dave, Ariel, Janice et all very well.

P.S. I secretly think Terry watches Jeremy Kyle and may even have a bit of a crush because he often gets a mention but I haven't had this confirmed...yet ;)

Twitter: @TerryTyler4

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Authors...would you like the chance to be reviewed?

If you have a book you would like me to consider reading and possibly reviewing on my blog then please contact me through this blog or follow me on Twitter (@bodiciasapple) and DM me.

I can't promise to review every book I receive but it won't necessarily mean I think it is a bad book. It may simply be it isn't my type of book.

If I do review your book on here then I will also put a review automatically on Amazon UK and Amazon US. I will, of course, also put a link on Twitter a few times to my review and, on occasion, retweet your own links to your book.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Here are a few blogs I rather like...

I have finally updated my blog/website list to share with you all, all laid out beautifully down the side of the page.

Included, for your perusal, are the words of the Lion Hearts project writers, A V Barber and Maree Ward-Russell. I recommend a good look around A V Barber's site and the essays therein as they are wonderfully emotive.

I have also included a few author blogs as they do some interesting articles and interviews. Thought Scratchings is the blog of Craig Stone...slightly controversial (I like that) but he tells it straight (and I like that, also).

Matt Haig, has created a video for his upcoming book, The Humans, with help from his Twitter followers. It's actually very good and can be found here -

I hope you enjoy all these blogs as much as I do :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Champagne Toast by Melissa Brown

I have to admit this book took me by surprise. I was expecting a gentle romance but instead I found myself very involved with the characters and practically chewing at the bit to shake both of them, like an aging agony aunt of some 1970's weekly magazine.


This book takes two people who are very meant for each other and looks, in turn, at their points of view on why it went wrong. It's an old story of past baggage getting in the way, of hurt resurfacing and the way humans can't always shake it off when they enter a new relationship. It's a story of miscommunication. It's also a story of hope. I half wondered whether the author was writing from personal experience as it was all there, the anguish and the passion. Can they go back? Should they move on?

As Evan and Kate discovered, it can be a long road. Faith and trust is the key. Can they live without each other and instead just hide behind the walls they have built up?

Melissa Brown on Twitter - @lissalou77

The Personal Pleasure of Book Reviews

I have always loved reading. When I was a child, one of my greatest pleasures was reading Enid Blyton's Famous Five and Secret Seven books. When I was a teenager, I discovered James Herriot's books in the school library and another love was born. These days I continue to read every day and enjoy discovering new authors to add to my reading list. Reading is, for me, an essential part of life. To discover. To lose myself. To feel emotions brought by another's words. To be inspired by their life and to add meaning to my own.

Being on Twitter has opened up a world of Indie books to me. Books which deserve to be seen. Writers who have spent months crafting their words and then having the courage to upload their book for others to see, critique and enjoy.

There are so many books to choose from in the self publication market a good book can go unnoticed just because of, for instance, a bad cover. I don't know the authors, I have found the ones I have chosen through Twitter and other various websites.

I will usually seek an author out if I plan to do a review and add them to my Twitter list so I can let them know I have done a review when I post it up. I have noticed the difficulties of self promotion which authors have. Twitter is a fabulous tool for self promotion but authors get criticism for overdoing their book plugs with constant tweets citing Amazon links etc to their work and for the retweets they do for other authors doing the same. Book reviewers blogs are the key for authors and allow them to showcase their work modestly. I hope my blog will add to the help these authors need to get noticed.

One thing I can say to self publicated authors on Twitter is this -

Please put 'author' in your Twitter name so people like me can find you easily!

Often authors will put their details at the end of their book but it's not enough to get noticed or found by the general population, in my opinion, especially in a place where many people have the same name as them! It also encourages people to find out what you have written, if they are as nosy as I am...

I read several books a week and review those on my blog which I feel deserve to be seen. It's only my opinion, of course, but I love the idea of spreading the news of a book which has made me think and tugs at my emotions or is simply a well told story.

I just love a good story and if it reaches my emotions then it reaches my blog :)

Monday, 1 April 2013

Swan Loch by Randy Mixter

This is a tale of mystery, murder and of hope. An alternative where things are the same but not quite. Where people exist or existed. I rather liked it.

Chris Hayward is a sheriff in the small town his father was before him. Practical yet emotive, he likes logic, he likes facts. When he receives a list of people who disappeared within a few days of each other, in towns which seem to be getting closer and closer by the mile and by the year, he is forced to admit there may be more to it and is horrified to see his town is next. With the date getting nearer, the FBI pour into the area but it doesn't stop citizens acting out of character. Those who know wait but the wind carries on blowing...

Bit of a drumroll moment but no spoilers ;)

Randy Mixter writes well with just the right amount of suspense and emotion. The ending gives hope and comfort to those who will need it most.

Twitter: @Northwooder1