Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Don't Look Back by E L Lindley

I didn't think I was going to like the main character Catherine much as she came across as very self absorbed to start with but I ended up warming to her and her situation. The subject of adoption has been honestly tackled in this fictional tale by E L Lindley. She has taken a difficult subject and given her character Catherine true to life responses to a decision which changes the lives of everyone touched by it.

Catherine had an intense holiday romance with Bill, resulting in a pregnancy and a baby she just wasn't ready for. She made the decision to give the baby up for adoption and move on with her life in the way she thought she wanted it to be. Eighteen years later and she is still drifting but then her son turns up. Now she has to decide on the right thing to do because this time it isn't so easy to move on and pretend nothing has happened.

This was an absorbing read with well developed characters which acted true to their respective roles. Catherine, Bill and Harry are the main cast but they are supported by others who really add to the story. What I particularly liked about this book was the strong personalities of the supporting characters. While I sat and wondered about Catherine's attitude, her friend Jenny came in and said exactly what I was thinking. When Bill's father, Stan, could see things not working out he stepped in and proactively put a stop to the nonsense. I loved that!

This is an engaging read with a good dollop of romance, family angst and characters which can be related to. Mix that all together with a story which flows and is very well written and you have a fabulous read!



Twitter: @LindleyE

Monday, 29 July 2013

Blue Heaven by Cynthia Harrison

Blue Heaven is one of those books which is best read when you have time to sit down for a few hours. I got carried away with the story and have just spent the best part of a day reading it.

Eva Delacroix is determined to carry out her grandfather's dream and renovate Blue Heaven, the holiday home of her childhood, to his original specifications. When she arrives in town to start renovations she goes to the local bank to get finance and meets Daniel Bryman, whose grandfather co-designed Blue Heaven. He seems to have big ideas on exactly how those renovations should be done. He calls it a restoration but Eva isn't so sure. Eva needs to get the cottages in the grounds ready to let out as holiday homes if she is to meet the loan repayments and she isn't entirely certain if Daniel's motives are pure.

This is the second book of Cynthia Harrison's I have reviewed and again it was a pleasure to lose myself in one of her stories. Well written with believably flawed characters, this is a book for women who like romance with a hint of a mystery.

This is the first book in a series but stands alone quite comfortably.



Twitter: @CynthiaHarriso1

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Authors: Would you like your book to be reviewed?

I am now accepting submissions again for book reviews on my blog. If you would like to submit for review then please contact me through DM on Twitter (@bodiciasapple).

I can't promise to review every book I receive but, if I do review it on my blog, I will post reviews on Amazon UK and US. I will retweet your links to your book on occasion and also to my own review. 

If I don't review your book it may simply mean it didn't work for me personally. I love a book which reaches the emotions and stimulates imagination and these are the types of books I am interested in. I will let you know if I intend to review or not and will give feedback on my reasons if asked to do so.

I don't have a favourite genre and will read most things but I won't review erotica novels or anything too explicit on my blog as I want it to be family friendly. 

I have a particular interest in Indie authors and giving attention to those books which deserve to be seen by more people. 

I have always had a love of books and appreciate how hard it is to get your book seen and 'out there'. I decided I would use my blog to review books in my free time and I have discovered some fabulous authors whose work really does deserve more recognition in my opinion. I only review books which I would give a four or five star review to as I don't feel it is necessary to slate a book so if it is on my blog then I genuinely found it a pleasure to read.

My preference is to communicate directly with the author of the book in question and I therefore don't accept submissions from representatives for review submissions of single or multiple authors.

I reserve the right to not accept a book for review regardless of whether or not I have previously reviewed a similar book.

Thank you for taking the time to read this :)

Friday, 19 July 2013

Tilly Lake's Road Trip by Francis Potts

There is something very endearing about this book. It's not exactly true to life, the people in it are far too open and kind to each other, but in this case I don't think that matters.

I have to warn you, it is slightly erotic but in a very mild way. There are no rampant bed scenes, more a slight whisper of suggestion, but there is a fixation on the female chest area which you could compare to looking at an oil painting of a few hundred years ago.

Tilly, the main character, is at work when she learns of her husband's death. They had been married for decades and reached the stage of comfortable companionship and deep love. She learns he died in the arms of another woman but takes this news exceptionally well and with curiosity more than anything else as she knew he had the odd liaison and was happy he was content. This is about the stage in the novel where I would imagine most women, including myself, would look at Tilly and raise an eyebrow at her apparent lack of self worth but there is more to this story than what is right or wrong, it is purely about what is.

Tilly finds herself comfortably off financially and decides to go on a road trip. She buys a large classic car, hires a driver from outside the local job centre, leaves the house in the care of her husband's mistress, (Anka, a homeless immigrant from Russia) and embarks on the road trip she dreamt of as a child with her handsome Prince Charming who is more than happy to wear her pink pyjamas. They travel together around Britain, meeting people along the way who could be likened to the flower children of the 1970's for their openness and welcoming nature. However, it isn't drug use which makes the people they meet so open minded, it is love.

Francis Pott's has stripped away reserve and replaced it with a total acceptance and need for physical human contact. He has taken a woman who didn't enjoy sexual contact with her husband, her only lover, and has given her the ultimate comfort, a physical journey of healing where touch and kisses from people she meets are as acceptable as a sympathy card on the mantelpiece.

Tilly rescues everyone who needs it. Even her husband's mistress. She went from a woman I wanted to shake to a woman I began to understand. This story is almost feminist in the telling but written by a man. Interesting.

Well written, emotional, heart warming yet slightly dreamlike and, if you can see past the first layer to what's underneath, rather like a beautiful oil painting.



Twitter: @fpotts

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Pressure and Pleasure of Hunting Happiness

There are a lot of articles on the internet about the subjects of happiness and positive thinking. Positive affirmations crop up on Twitter on a daily basis and I have retweeted some of the better ones myself. It set me thinking about the pursuit of happiness itself, the expectations these days that we must bombard our minds with positivity daily and, if we don't, then we are somehow lacking.

The last millennium was all about perfecting the body; going to the gym, eating healthily, jogging before breakfast and lunch hour Pilates. This millennium is all about training the mind; positive thinking, the power of suggestion, expanding mental horizons, thinking ourselves to wealth and success.

For some, these new expectations add to the pressure of trying to be more than we are. We are expected to do it all; have a career, have children (educate and expand their minds with extra curriculum activities, the more the better), go to the gym three times a week, keep the home looking nice and make sure the Jones' aren't doing better, push for that promotion, network-network-network and then the hardest thing of all, think positively and present a balanced, healthy, happy, content front. All the time.

The number of people with stress and stress related illnesses has increased. This is unsurprising. It takes a rare person to be all things to all people. Then comes the guilt because of the perceived failure of suffering from stress and the thoughts of self-loathing. In the past we would share our concerns and worries with our families, who would all live in arms reach and a problem shared was a problem halved. Now, of course, families tend to be further apart geographically from each other and often we find ourselves handling everyday life alone with our thoughts. We are told we are weak minded if we can't handle life. We are told to be positive. Look at the positives. There are always people worse off. Count your blessings. In other words, put up, shut up and go and get therapy.

I do believe in meditation, the benefits of alternative therapy such as reiki and massage and the value of positive affirmations. I count my blessings and have gratitude for my life, my family and the people I love. I just can't subscribe to the theory we have failed if we aren't permanently positive, ambitious, seeking self improvement and enlightenment and are a size 6. I measure my worth through the happiness and contentment of the people I love, not my material possessions and self ambition.

I believe it is okay to take time to breathe. It is okay to have a bad day. It is okay to eat a piece of chocolate cake covered in fresh cream. It is okay to indulge in 'me' time. In short, it is okay to take the time to be yourself and to stop trying to live up to the media and others expectations.

1. Give yourself permission to be true to yourself and be kind to yourself.

2. Give yourself permission to be human with all the flaws, pleasure and gratitude that embodies.

3. Find time to meditate and relax. Quieten your mind, even if you only close your eyes in a quiet room and think of a peaceful place.

If you can do this then balance, happiness and contentment will find you eventually but don't force it, don't try and be perfect, don't try and live up to everyone else's expectations. Do something every day which makes you feel as if you have achieved something worthwhile and makes you feel good about who you are. It can be as simple as getting round to clearing out a cupboard, phoning a friend in need of an ear or taking a walk by the sea.

As the saying goes 'a cup is filled drop by drop'.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Red Written by P T Mayes

This novel from Philip Mayes had me in two minds so I wrote to him and got a very nice email back answering my queries. I haven't done that too often but this novel felt worthy of the extra time. Having reread the novel, I can see what the author was trying to do and it added to the whole concept for me.

The story of humankind being 'unmasked' by forces unknown and having their sins written on their faces for all to see is a brilliant concept and the story itself is descriptive and interesting. As usual, we humans fail to pull together and there is civil unrest, to put it mildly. People attack each other, murder and make judgement on those whose sins are the worst but there are those 'in power' who escape simply because they can, their former jobs and status giving them a certain leverage. Most hide behind masks, refusing to reveal themselves to others and families are broken apart by revelations of adultery and worse. Paranoia, mistrust and self preservation are rife and Michael, the main character, is caught up in some of the worst of it. 

The twist at the end is very good and this is a novel which will make you sit and think.

What sins would your face reveal?

Lantamyra: A Tapestry of Fantasy by Susan Waterwyk

After an initial slightly shaky start, this book took off and kept me intrigued and eager to find out what happened next. Lantamyra has many strong characters which admirably support the main ones, Tylya and Josh. This story is not fast paced and action packed but instead is almost a record of a journey to a world which is believable and fascinating in its possibility. In other words, there seems to be a truth to it all which I found absorbing. This was helped by the authors attention to scientific detail in her book which I found, (as someone with an interest in the subject), added a deeper sense of reality to the tale.

Tylya and Josh are two young people who are at the beginning of a close relationship. When Josh joins Tylya in the canyon to prospect he finds out it is not gold she wants but her grandmother's lost treasure of a very different kind. The discovery of the treasure leads the three of them to Lantamyra where they are surrounded by dragons, magic, crystal power and the need to understand more. The price for knowledge is high and they must choose whether to go ahead and become more than they are but lose each other in the process.

This novel is beautifully descriptive and it is easy to see Lantamyra through the eyes of the author who has created a wonderful world. There is a second book coming out in the autumn which continues the story. This is a longish novel but it really is worth persisting with it to the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this and will definitely be reading the continuation.

Twitter @waterwyk