Saturday 31 December 2016

2016: My Year in Review

Last Updated: 19 May 2024

I think most of us can agree that, on the whole, 2016 has been an awful year. I know that for me personally, it's been pretty terrible, to say the least. However, some great things have also happened this year. Maybe not enough to counteract the bad things, but enough to build that silver lining.

Reading Round-Up: Nov/Dec 2016

Last Updated: 17 May 2024

Well, I don't know about you, but I can't believe that it's the end of another year already!

Friday 30 December 2016

My Top 10 Books of 2016

Last Updated: 17 May 2024

As we've come to the end of the year, it's the perfect time to do a round-up of all the books I've read and enjoyed during 2016. According to my reading challenge stats on Goodreads, I've read a grand total of 51 books this year, though I'm hoping to make it to 52 before the year is out! As ever, it's been an eclectic mix, ranging from children's to romance to thrillers to non-fiction, but I've managed to come up with a shortlist comprised of my top ten books of the year.

Thursday 22 December 2016

Poetry Block: Patchwork Poetry by Mel Finefrock

Last Updated: 17 May 2024

Thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response to the first edition of Poetry Block, today I'm pleased to bring you the second of the series.

This time I'm featuring the poet Mel Finefrock, who is here to share with us one of the poems from her anthology Patchwork Poetry as well as her thoughts and opinions on some of the common misconceptions about poetry.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Interview: Robert Uttaro

Last Updated: 17 May 2024

Today, I have an interview with the author Robert Uttaro, about his writing and how his work as a rape crisis counsellor has influenced his work.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Why I Write Psychological Fiction by Tam May

Last Updated: 17 May 2024

Authors get asked all the time what genre they write in. It’s sort of the be-all and end-all of questions, along with “Where do you get your ideas?” and “Do you write about what you know?”

I tell people that I write psychological fiction.

But what is psychological fiction?

Monday 19 December 2016

Book Review: Cairn, A Dragon Memoir by Rebecca Ferrell Porter

Last Updated: 17 May 2024

Cairn A Dragon Memoir by Rebecca Ferrell Porter book cover

AD* | What do murderous whales, an orphaned fawn, and tattooed dragons have to do with the Northern Lights? Everything.

Troika never knew life in the lair. Orphaned the night of his hatching, he trudges through the world painfully unaware of what it truly means to be a dragon. Then the voice invades his dreams, and he knows what must be done. Ignoring Aurora is unthinkable, but Troika has already fulfilled his destiny, and he has no reason to risk his life for dragons he barely remembers. Still, nobody denies an Elemental, and certainly not a dragon of the Sapphire clan. But is she calling him home to die, or will he expose the brutal killer before he becomes the next murder victim?

Saturday 17 December 2016

Interview: Michael Michaud

Last Updated: 17 May 2024

On the blog today, crime author Michael Michaud stops by for a chat about his latest novella The Introvert and how he became a writer.

Thursday 15 December 2016

Book Review: Tinsel Town, Zak & Jen's Astronomical Adventures by Natalie Page and Chris Rivers Nuttall

Last Updated: 17 May 2024

Tinsel Town by Natalie Page and Chris Rivers Nuttall book cover
AD* | Zak flew to Jen's planet and giggled with glee, he was so excited for what they might see...

Best friends Zak and Jen are off on a Christmas adventure with their special umbrellas. This time, the pair fly to a new planet, but where is everybody? Enjoy the magic as Zak and Jen make some new festive friends and discover how important it is to make the most of every day.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Interview: Jeanne Burrows-Johnson

Last Updated: 17 May 2024

Today, the author Jeanne Burrows-Johnson has stopped by the blog for a nice long chat about everything bookish. So grab a drink, make sure you're sitting comfortably, and read on!

Firstly, tell me a little about yourself and your background.

I was born in California and raised in Oregon. As a child, I studied Scottish Highland Dancing and theatre arts. In high school, I was active in the performing arts and worked as an assistant to the drama instructor in my senior year. After a couple of years as a performer in the Portland, Oregon, arts community, I moved to Hawai`i where I helped run Highland Games. In addition to teaching performing arts classes, I became a member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing, Highland Division, and served as the coordinator of volunteer actors for the Honolulu Police Department’s final phase of recruit training for a short while. When I returned to college, I obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the University of Hawai`i with Distinction and was accepted for membership in Phi Beta Kappa. I subsequently became a teaching assistant in the University’s World Civilisation and a member of Phi Alpha Theta.

Throughout my years of working in the performing arts, I produced print, audio, and sometimes visual program and event promotional materials. When my husband John (a naval officer) was transferred to Newport, Rhode Island, I began working as a freelance writer and promotional consultant. After a short return to Hawai`i, John accepted a final assignment in Phoenix, while I moved both our home and my business to Tucson, Arizona. In 2012 I served as artistic director and a co-author of the print and audio anthology Under Sonoran Skies, Prose and Poetry From the High Desert, which was recognised by Southwest Books of the Year as one of the year’s top 50 picks. Since that time, I have built upon the prologue to Prospect For Murder which appeared in USS. While slowly seeking a literary agent and publisher, I have completed three books in the Natalie Seachrist mystery series. I am a member of Arizona Mystery Writers and Sisters in Crime.

How did you first become interested in writing?

As with many writers, my love of writing lies in my love of reading. Equally significant was my enrolment in what today would be called “advanced placement” classes in English and Social Studies during high school. In those courses, I was required to spend part of my days in creative writing exercises, which I came to anticipate with great joy. Since I also participated in community and high school theatre programs, I was regularly exposed to and inspired by dramatists such as William Shakespeare, Edward Albee, and Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Molière.

What draws you to writing mysteries?

Mysterious people and events are key elements in most of the books I read and many of the movies I watch. In recent years I’ve been disappointed in the violence of many of the thrillers and police procedurals that dominate the overall mystery genre. At the same time, I have found many works in the sub-genre of “cosies” lacking in substance and detail. Eventually, I decided to dip my quill into the realm of modern mysteries that I would enjoy reading myself. I knew that I would include numerous historical and multicultural references, plus meaningful relationships that could be enriched throughout the Natalie Seachrist series. I hope that my readers will feel I have accomplished my own goals. In my second book, Murder on Mokulua Drive, the protagonist has moved into a serious relationship with Keoni Hewitt as they enter life in an ocean-side cottage. In the third, Murders of Conveyance, the couple participates in a scavenger hunt across the island of O`ahu, while exploring two deaths separated by sixty years. In the fourth, Yen for Murder (which I’m now completing), Keoni revisits an unsolved case from his career with the Honolulu Police Department.

Tell me about Prospect for Murder.

Set in the sensory-rich environs of Hawai`i, Prospect for Murder offers a variety of readers and listeners a mystery filled with multicultural and historical references. This is the debut print, audio, and ebook in a continuing series. In it, journalist Natalie Seachrist and Miss Una (her silent but fleet-footed feline companion) explore the inexplicable death of Natalie’s grandniece. Spurred by evocative visions and the cautionary help of retired homicide detective Keoni Hewitt, the protagonist moves to the Honolulu foothills apartment where she envisioned Ariel’s body draped over a vintage Mustang. There she discovers the fascinating Shànghăi origins of the elderly Wong Sisters who own the complex…and more than a little discord between the family and staff. Will Natalie be able to solve the puzzle of the girl’s death before the police close their investigation without an arrest? Or has she put herself in the way of a murderer who’s willing to kill again to hide their secret? To hear the audio version of the Prologue to this mystery, please visit my website.

How do you get inspiration?

I realise many authors consciously select the settings for their work. In my case, since the majority of my academic life and many of my professional activities have taken place in Hawai`i, there was no question of where I would centre my mystery series. Additionally, part of the inspiration for the first book came from an unusual dream I had that occurred in the type and location of the apartment building I have used for Natalie Seachrist’s exploration of her grandniece’s death. As to inspiration in general, I find it everywhere—visits with friends and strangers; books, television, movies, the Internet; on shopping trips; in obituaries, as well as news stories. Whenever I have an idea for an article, blog, book, etc., I open a file and input my ideas. I then date and name it and place it in an appropriate folder.

Prospect for Murder by Jeanne Burrows-Johnson book graphics

What’s your writing process?

Accompanied by Miss Satin (a lovely black and white cat), much of my writing is simply done at my computer - morning, noon, or night - overlooking a sago palm and a paloverde tree in my bricked courtyard. Often my best writing occurs late at night, seated in a recliner while applying my pen to the backside of old printouts. Concurrently, I may be watching whodunit television shows which provide exotic details of mayhem, death, and autopsies. In terms of the elements of my writing, I usually write my blogs and book chapters consecutively. While I work from a rough outline, I must confess that most of my work is simply written as I feel inspired. Nevertheless, there are a few organisational techniques and materials I employ.

  • I keep comprehensive folders of each book’s research. If the potential for reusing the material is limited, it remains in that book’s general folder. But, since much of the information on Hawai`i is likely to prove useful in the future, it may be moved to a Natalie Seachrist series research folder
  • Once I have written a chapter, I use a spreadsheet program to record details of time frame, characters, and the main points of action
  • I write chapter summaries, sometimes right after completing the writing. But more often, when I’m shifting material from one chapter to another due to errors I’ve caught, or to harmonise the length of them. This is the basis for writing an extensive book summary, and subsequently shorter summaries that will be used in numerous ways
  • I keep a file with images and descriptions of elements I wish to see included in each book’s cover art and audio CDs. It’s interesting to compare early ideas with the final art

What’s the hardest thing about writing?

For me, the most difficult aspect of writing is filtering, prioritising and addressing feedback from colleagues and proofreaders. The key is to contemplate the taste of my target market of well-educated, history and multi-culture-loving readers who enjoy an unfolding cast of characters, unusual food, and detailed description. In short, I have to consider whether the feedback I receive is pertinent to the international audience I am seeking. Sometimes how a person expresses their response to a work in progress is not as important as the individual kernels of the content of their remarks. For instance, because some readers are not interested in menus, I am going to use my website as a place for readers to find recipes, rather than embed them in the books. And, knowing that readers may or may not wish to explore the specialised and non-English vocabulary I use, I have placed a short description for pronouncing Hawaiian words, as well as a detailed glossary, at the back of each book.

What do you love most about writing?

Writing allows me to weave snippets from my own life experiences into aspects of the many chapters of my education…hopefully yielding stories that may delight, haunt, or inspire a readership that may not otherwise partake of them.

Which authors inspire you?

I have no single favourite book. I am fond of: the melodious sonnets of Shakespeare; the deviousness of Agatha Christie; the complexities of classics from James Lee Burcke, Richard North Patterson, Scott Turow, and Irving Wallace; newer works by historically-oriented authors like Sarah R. Shaber; the inspirational thoughts of Maya Angelou and Wayne Dyer; and, of course, the surprising work of members of my writers’ salon.

Jeanne Burrows-Johnson author photo

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Study and write unceasingly. Many people do not realise they can audit continuing education and college courses, which means that they don’t have the pressure of fulfilling course requirements for credit. As to the writing…YOU CAN ALWAYS HIRE AN EDITOR! WHAT YOU MUST DO IS TO CAPTURE YOUR CREATIVE THOUGHTS AS THEY ARISE! In short, don’t let your ideas go unrecorded. That means keeping a notebook near you whenever possible, including on your bedside table. When you reach a point of non-inspiration, turn your attention to the nuts and bolts of your projects and your future as an author. Consider writing a summary of each project in advance of completing it. Have you written descriptions of each character and the physical elements of each scene? And what about you? Do you have a strong bio and resume? Have you considered how you will structure your author’s website? Finally, what about those hardcopy and electronic files and folders that may have confusing names and overlapping contents? Putting a date in their names can alleviate the stress of the sorting and disposing process! 

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I would be very pleased to see the next three Natalie Seachrist Novels published as a trilogy. And, of course, it would be lovely to find my protagonist’s adventures presented in movies for the small if not the large screen.

If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you’d be doing?

I’ve been a writer for decades, but usually, my work has focused on polishing the work of others and structuring promotional materials for executives and their profit and non-profit organisations. If I weren’t creating my own works, I’d be exploring the ever-expanding shelves of others’ publications.

What are you currently working on?

I’m nearing the seventy-five per cent mark in Yen For Murder. For the most part, I’ve completed researching Japanese Buddhist sects and the offerings and operations of international auction houses. I’m now steering Natalie, Keoni, Miss Una and HPD Lieutenant John Dias and other expanded characters through the final phases of determining who murdered a Buddhist priestess while stealing a priceless golden statue of the Buddha from a temple in the hills of Honolulu.

Do you prefer e-books or traditional books?

Definitely traditional books - preferably hardcover, with margins wide enough to facilitate comfortable reading.

Do you prefer self-publishing or traditional publishing?

Having worked with both methods of bringing fiction and non-fiction to the public, I remain neutral on this issue. Would I like to work with a large publishing house? Yes, most definitely! But I am competing in a publishing world crowded with unsophisticated writers and publishers focused on their bottom line financially. Success, now more than ever before, rests on sheer luck…

What are you reading at the moment?

Recently I’ve been perusing books I’ve won in drawings at meetings of Arizona Mystery Writers and the Tucson chapter of Sisters in Crime. As usual, most fall into the categories of police procedurals and thrillers, which I don’t find so thrilling. But I’ve just started John Connolly’s The Lovers, and am enjoying the elegance of his use of language and the flow of his character studies.

Where can my readers go to find out more about you and your work?

I invite those seeking more information about my work and the Natalie Seachrist mysteries to visit my author website. Prospect for Murder is available to buy now (paid link; commission earned).

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Spotlight: White Spirit by Lance and James Morcan

Last Updated: 17 May 2024

After escaping from Australia’s notorious Moreton Bay Penal Settlement, Irish convict John Graham finds refuge with the Kabi, a tribe of Aborigines who eventually accept him as one of their own. Attempts to recapture Graham are orchestrated by a variety of contrasting characters working for the all-pervasive British Empire. They include Moreton Bay's tyrannical, opium-addicted commandant Lord Cheetham, the dashing yet warlike Lieutenant Hogan, native tracker Barega and the penal settlement's captain, Tom Marsden.

Monday 12 December 2016

Book Review: A Christmas Surprise by Emily Murdoch

Last Updated: 16 May 2024

A Christmas Surprise by Emily Murdoch banner

AD* | Every year for thirty years Lord Robert, the Viscount of Marchwood, throws a Christmas Ball. But this year the Marchwood Christmas Ball holds extra importance. 

His daughter, Lady Audrey, has just turned eighteen, and it is time for her to be introduced into society. It is Audrey’s first, best, and potentially only chance of securing a husband. Especially seeing as there are rumours that the Marchwood money is running dry. But headstrong Lady Audrey is not sure she wants a husband. Ever since her mother died she has been left to her own devices. Though she is very close to her father, it was often the servants she turned to for companionship, particularly Thomas, who, five years older than her, was always the person she depended on for conversation. She is not ready to leave everything she knows, and the thought of abandoning her father breaks her heart. She is determined that only someone truly special will take her away from her home.

But with the ball centred around a masquerade theme, everyone is in disguise. And a handsome stranger threatens to steal Audrey’s heart. Could he hold the key to her heart?

And when she unmasks him will it be a good, or bad, Christmas Surprise?

Saturday 10 December 2016

Interview: Emily Murdoch

Last Updated: 16 May 2024

This Christmas, I'm participating in the #WYChristmasReadathon (check out the badge in the sidebar!) and I will also be taking part in the blog tour for Emily Murdoch's festive novella A Christmas Surprise (paid link; commission earned). Don't miss my review of the book, coming soon!

To start getting us all in the Christmas spirit, Emily has kindly agreed to answer a few questions.

"Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells..." Still too early?

Friday 9 December 2016

How Being A Sword and Shield Fighter Influenced My Work by Christine Talley

Last Updated: 16 May 2024

I’m Christine Talley, also known as Clotilda Warhammer. I was a sword and shield fighter for nine years and I’m the author of a romance/science fiction novel, The Girl in the Bird: Romance and Alien Power in the Current Middle Ages. 

Thursday 8 December 2016

Book Review: Beloved Sacrifice by Lorraine Carey

Last Updated: 16 May 2024

Beloved Sacrifice by Lorraine Carey book cover

AD* | A dark family secret is about to unleash itself. An old gypsy curse was cast long ago and is about to rear its ugly head when Faith Bennett, a descendant from the D’Amici family, learns she is to give birth to the seventh daughter in the family. Faith’s child will be born with a heightened sixth sense and regarded as the ‘enlightened one’. A vengeful tribe of the Romani Cult has been waiting hundreds of years for this event. Diabolical plans have been made that include kidnapping the child and attempted murder.

Danger lies at every turn as this young mother-to-be finds herself holding the key to a power she never knew lay deep within her. Unseen forces take root as she embarks on a perilous journey of deceit and entrapment when an unknown enemy emerges while trying to save her marriage, her life and that of her child. Faith will be forced to perform a dangerous ritual on sacred grounds. This Paranormal tale will take you from the small town of Pacentro, Italy, hidden deep in the Apennine Mountains in the early 1900s to modern-day, Orange County, California, with its racy lifestyle. In this tale of betrayal and sacrifice, curses know no boundaries.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Interview: Morland Matthews

Last Updated: 16 May 2024

Today I have a very interesting interview with travel writer Morland Matthews to share with you. Morland and his wife travelled across Japan and Taiwan last year. His new book, Taiwan and Japan In Ten Days: Don't Forget the Kit Kats, documents their experiences, with a particular focus on what it was like to travel to these countries as people of colour.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Writing from a Place of Grief by John Sibley Williams

Last Updated: 16 May 2024

Though my poetry often varies in structure, setting, and narrative style, I cannot help but write about the themes that have haunted me since childhood. Love. Family. Grief. Emotional distance. Perhaps all authors, regardless of genre, are in some sense trying to better know their demons, their ghosts, all while exploring and perhaps even celebrating the fear that caused them. In my case, I’ve always been enthralled by the contrast of love and mortality, how the more we love the more we have to lose, and how different people react to highly charged emotional situations.

Monday 5 December 2016

Extract: Gazore! by Will Hallewell

Last Updated: 16 May 2024

Gazore by Will Hallewell book blog tour graphic

Today I have an extract from Will Hallewell's new children's book, Gazore!, to share with you. Read on for the extract and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!

Book Review: Thin Air by Michelle Paver

Last Updated: 16 May 2024

Thin Air by Michelle Paver book cover

AD* | In 1935, young medic Stephen Pearce travels to India to join an expedition with his brother, Kits. The elite team of five will climb Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain and one of mountaineering's biggest killers. No one has scaled it before, and they are, quite literally, following in the footsteps of one of the most famous mountain disasters of all time - the 1907 Lyell Expedition.

Five men lost their lives back then, overcome by the atrocious weather, misfortune and 'mountain sickness' at such high altitudes. Lyell became a classic British hero when he published his memoir, Bloody, But Unbowed, which regaled his heroism in the face of extreme odds. It is this book that will guide this new group to get to the very top.

As the team prepare for the epic climb, Pearce's unease about the expedition deepens. The only other survivor of the 1907 expedition, Charles Tennant, warns him off. He hints at dark things ahead and tells Pearce that, while five men lost their lives on the mountain, only four were laid to rest.

But Pearce is determined to go ahead and complete something that he has dreamed of his entire life. As they get higher and higher, and the oxygen levels drop, he starts to see dark things out of the corners of his eyes. As macabre mementoes of the earlier climbers turn up on the trail, Stephen starts to suspect that Charles Lyell's account of the tragedy was perhaps not the full story...

Friday 2 December 2016

Interview: Jennifer Samson

Last Updated: 16 May 2024

The lovely Jennifer Samson has dropped into The Writing Greyhound today for a chat about her writing and her latest book Sin City!

Thursday 1 December 2016

Book Review: The Potion Diaries & Royal Tour by Amy Alward

Last Updated: 16 May 2024

The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward book cover

It's two book reviews for the price of one today, as I share my thoughts on both The Potion Diaries and Royal Tour by Amy Alward. Keep on reading for the reviews!

Monday 28 November 2016

Book Review: How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss

Last Updated: 10 May 2024

How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss book cover

AD* | Our memories are what make us who we are. Some are real. Some are made up. But they are the stories that tell us who we are. Without them we are nobody.

Hattie's summer isn't going as planned. Her two best friends have abandoned her: Reuben has run off to Europe to 'find himself" and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile, Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with endless drama around her mum's wedding. Oh, and she's also just discovered that she's pregnant with Reuben's baby.

Then Gloria, Hattie's great-aunt who no one even knew existed, comes crashing into her life. Gloria's fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery - Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past before they are erased from her memory forever and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

A Journey to Help Save Lives by Paul Spelzini

Last Updated: 10 May 2024

I wrote My Wonderful Fran originally as a legacy to record Francesca’s life and times for posterity.

It was not until 2012 that I felt capable of starting to write Francesca’s story, but it was slow progress at first. That can be a detailed process which takes time doing research, as with any book. In this case, it also involved a steep learning curve about ASF (Asperger’s Syndrome), psychosis, depression plus schizophrenia.

Monday 21 November 2016

Interview: E.H. Nolan

Last Updated: 10 May 2024

Today the lovely author E.H. Nolan is stopping by to answer a few questions about her writing, inspiration, and her new book Like a Closed Fist.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Last Updated: 10 May 2024

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult book cover

AD* | Ruth Jefferson is a labour and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family - especially her teenage son - as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others - and themselves - might be wrong.

Friday 18 November 2016

Writing Out of Your Comfort Zone by Marie Lavender

Last Updated: 10 May 2024

When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a novelist. I knew from a young age that storytelling was my thing. Scenes played out in my head, and it was my job to get them on the page. I was that girl, going around telling everyone, “I want to be a writer!”

Thursday 17 November 2016

Interview: Russell Atkinson

Last Updated: 10 May 2024

Russ Atkinson, author of the Cliff Knowles Mysteries series, has stopped by The Writing Greyhound to answer a few questions ahead of the release of Behead Me, the sixth book in the series.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Book Review: The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison

Last Updated: 10 May 2024

The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison book cover

AD* | What happens when a tale with real magic, that was supposed to be finished, never was? This is a story about one of those stories...

Midge loves riddles, his cat, Twitch, and ‒ most of all ‒ stories. Especially because he’s grown up being read to by his sister Alice, a brilliant writer.

When Alice goes missing and a talking cat turns up in her bedroom, Midge searches Alice’s stories for a clue. Soon he discovers that her secret book, The Museum of Unfinished Stories, is much more than just a story. In fact, he finds two of its characters wandering around town.

But every tale has its villains ‒ and with them leaping off the page, Midge, Gypsy and Piper must use all their wits and cunning to work out how the story ends and find Alice. If they fail, a more sinister finale threatens them all...

A rich and twisting tale of magic, riddles and talking cats, from a classic author.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

The Key to a Fabulous Life by Amanda Akalonu

Last Updated: 10 May 2024

Hey Fabulous,

People's definition of a fabulous woman vary. Some define her as the woman with the most expensive piece of jewellery or designer shoes, who walks like the world is her runway. Others say she is the lady who rocks social media with her picture-perfect face. While there is nothing wrong with the above women, I would hate to limit them to the definition of a fabulous woman.

Monday 14 November 2016

Jewellery Loves: Hungry Unicorn and Emma Kirkham Glass

Last Updated: 10 May 2024

Recently I've noticed that when I've been shopping, I've found myself trying to buy from small businesses and independent retailers wherever possible. I like to show my support for smaller outlets and I think it's important to try and keep independent shops afloat - just look at the state of our high streets if you don't think independents are necessary!

Supporting small businesses doesn't just have to happen in person on the high street, however. You can also fight against the increasing dominance of the big chains online, and still choose independents over conglomerates from the comfort of your own home.

Saturday 12 November 2016

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Last Updated: 10 May 2024

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book cover

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play received its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Friday 11 November 2016

How to Write Fantasy and Have Fun While Doing It by Amie Irene Winters

Last Updated: 05 May 2024

It wasn’t until I stopped writing for the market and started writing what I really wanted to write did I realize that I was writing fantasy. And the more I wrote, the more I loved writing about magic, other worlds, and supernatural creatures. Simply put, I was completely in love with the limitless possibilities for imagination. But how does one write a fantasy book exactly? Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned on my publishing journey.

Thursday 10 November 2016

Spotlight: First Taken, Last Released by Howard Fields

Last Updated: 05 May 2024

Donald Trump's calls for interning Muslims and the upcoming 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that prompted the time when America did intern an entire class of people make First Taken, Last Released: Overlooked WWII Internment a timely read.

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Poetry Block: The Golden Despair by Shubhi Raghav

Welcome to the first-ever edition of my brand new blog feature, Poetry Block! 

The aim of Poetry Block is to banish the preconceived ideas a lot of people have about poetry and to introduce a fresh wave of exciting and innovative poets, and their work, to you, my lovely readers.

Kicking us off is 16-year-old poet Shubhi Raghav, sharing one of the poems from her debut anthology, The Golden Despair.

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Introducing the Locations Behind the Books by Jeff Widmer

In fiction, when does setting become character? When does location move from background to foreground?

Saturday 5 November 2016

In the Darkest Hour, Can Time and Love Truly Heal All Wounds? by Leslie Bowes

In the darkest hour, can time and love truly heal all wounds? That is the question that Catherine, the main character of my novella, Heart Healer, has to ask herself a few times.

Monday 31 October 2016

Reading Round-Up: Sept/Oct 2016

Happy Halloween!

It's time for my penultimate reading round-up of the year. If you missed the last one, you can catch up here.

Friday 14 October 2016

Extract: Overcoming Daily, My Story of Surviving Cancer by Glen Kirkpatrick

Today I'm pleased to be able to share an exclusive extract from a very personal biography with you.

Wednesday 31 August 2016

Reading Round-Up: July/Aug 2016

Well, that's another two months gone, which means it's time for my July/August reading round-up. If you missed the May/June post, you can find that here.

Friday 12 August 2016

August Blog Challenge - Day 11

August blog challenge day 11: What's in your make-up bag?

I know I'm a day late with this again (oops!) but 4.15am starts coupled with family birthdays and a day of training for a new job apparently don't mix well with keeping on top of blogging!

But anyway - on with the post.

Thursday 11 August 2016

Book Review: Tamar by Mal Peet

Last Updated: 04 May 2024

Tamar by Mal Peet book cover

When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War -- and unravelling it is about to transform Tamar’s life forever.

From acclaimed British sensation Mal Peet comes a masterful story of adventure, love, secrets, and betrayal in time of war, both past and present.

Monday 8 August 2016

August Blog Challenge - Day 8

August blog challenge day 8 - A song to match your mood.

Just a quick post today! I wouldn't say I'm in any particular mood right now, so completing today's challenge is proving a little problematic...

Sunday 7 August 2016

August Blog Challenge - Day 7

August blog challenge day 7: Your dream wedding.

Today's challenge is a difficult one for me to write about. Unlike most girls, I've never really put much thought into my dream wedding. I know girls who have had their future weddings planned out right down to the tiniest detail from the age of 10 - but I'm not one of them.

Friday 5 August 2016

Miss Jean Louis: The Kale Years

Miss Jean Louis gish

Every gisher worth their kale has heard of Miss Jean Louis. They've heard tales of how she managed to corner a lone Misha in the wild, how she took him to Gish HQ and over many years taught him to understand the basics of human living. Admittedly he still wears pineapple shoes and will only eat from a dish weaved from the stems of fresh flowers, but it's a credit to her extraordinary stamina and determination that he is even able to integrate into society at all.

When Only Cupcakes Will Do by Daisy James

When Only Cupcakes Will Do by Daisy James book cover

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Daisy James to the blog. Her latest novel When Only Cupcakes Will Do was released just yesterday, and she's kindly taken time out of her schedule to write up a guest post for TWG.


Wednesday 3 August 2016

August Blog Challenge & Life Update

The Writing Greyhound canal bridge

I can't believe it's August already - where has this year gone?

I've been a little lax with my blogging over the last month or so for one reason or another, so this month I've got a great way to make sure you're getting more regular content - I've decided to take part in the August Blog Challenge!

August Blog Challenge - Day 3

Last Updated: 02 May 2024

Day 3 of the August Blog Challenge, and time for an update. In case you missed my post explaining what the August Blog Challenge is all about, you can find that here.

Friday 29 July 2016

Book Review: Red Lights, Black Hearts by Fabiola Francisco

Last Updated: 02 May 2024

Red Lights Black Hearts by Fabiola Francisco book cover

AD* | Darkness can be stained by light. Light can outshine the darkest of corners.

Behind a window in Amsterdam’s desired Red Light District, Samantha practises the art of seduction. Man after man, she controls them, seeking what they both want. But behind the façade of the glass, lies her truth waiting to be uncovered. An inner battle of light and dark takes place as Sam learns to release the past and truly live the beautiful tragedy that is life.

Red lights and black hearts collide in a tale of heart and soul.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Book Review: Valentina by S.E. Lynes

Last Updated: 02 May 2024

Valentina by S.E. Lynes book cover
AD* | When Glasgow journalist Shona McGilvery moves with her partner Mikey and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, they believe that all that lies ahead of them is happiness.

But with Mikey working offshore, the frightening isolation of the Aberdeenshire countryside begins to drive her insane...

That is until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina.

She has the perfect home, the perfect man, and a charismatic new best friend – or does she?

As her fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood becomes the least of her fears...

A hauntingly intelligent, addictive psychological thriller from debut author S. E. Lynes.

Thursday 14 July 2016

Book Review: Summer Days and Summer Nights

Last Updated: 02 May 2024

Summer Days and Summer Nights book cover

AD* | Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

Monday 11 July 2016

Book Review: The Silver Child by Nancy Norbeck

Last Updated: 01 May 2024

The Silver Child by Nancy Norbeck book cover

AD* | Maia Starfield is on the run, having successfully hidden her ability to create silver just by singing - until government thugs arrived to take her away. Her mother sent her out the door just in time, giving her only one piece of advice: Find Dr Martus.

Albert Martus has no idea why Maia was sent to find him - the doctor who delivered her 17 years ago. But from the moment she turns up, his story becomes intertwined with hers... as it has been since before she was born.

Follow this unlikely team as they discover the truth about the past and their present, the regime known as the Brotherhood, and the magical and ordinary power they each carry deep inside.

Friday 1 July 2016

20 People to Restore Your Faith in the UK

I'm not usually one to talk about politics, but it's not hard to see the poor state the country is in after the results of the EU referendum and the subsequent fallout from the Brexit vote. For everything else it has done, the referendum has pretty much split our country in two.

Thursday 30 June 2016

Reading Round-Up: May/June 2016

The Writing Greyhound book stack

It's scary to think that we're now halfway through the year already, but that also means it's time for the May/June reading round-up! If you missed the March/April post, you can find that here.

#Blogival - Book Review: Tim Connor Hits Trouble by Frank Lankaster

Last Updated: 01 May 2024

Clink Street Publishing Blogival

AD* | Tim Connor Hits Trouble defies conventional genres. It is funny, occasionally violent, intelligent, controversial and full of sexual twists and turns.

We meet Tim Connor just as his marriage hits the rocks and as he is about to 'escape' to a new job in the Social Science Department at Wash University. Far from finding tranquillity, Tim 'hits trouble' in Wash both personally and at work. Now on the loose, he has several interesting and 'unusual' encounters with women. At work, Tim finds himself drawn into a conflict between an old rebel academic, Henry Jones, and the ambitious Head of Faculty, Howard Swankie, that culminates in a tense and dramatic climax. 

Within the novel's lively narrative, characters argue, sometimes angrily, over the direction of contemporary higher education - making this a relevant as well as a gripping and highly enjoyable novel.

Monday 27 June 2016

Cover Reveal: Red Lights, Black Hearts by Fabiola Francisco

Today I'm super excited to reveal the amazing cover for author Fabiola Francisco's latest book, Red Lights, Black Hearts.

Friday 24 June 2016

#Blogival - Extract: A Father's Betrayal by Gabriella Gillespie

Clink Street Publishing blogival banner

Continuing with the Clink Street #Blogival, today, I have an exclusive extract from A Father's Betrayal by Gabriella Gillespie to share with you.

Thursday 23 June 2016

The Extra Smile Back Project

AD* | What makes children smile?

New research has found that the thing most likely to make a child smile is a bedtime story. The survey (commissioned by Wrigley's Extra) found that it's the simple things in life that really make children happy, with the top 3 results being 'pulling silly faces', 'reading stories', and 'playing hide-and-seek'.

Wrigley's Extra commissioned the survey to coincide with the launch of their Extra Smile Back Project. The project aims to protect children's smiles by donating money to children's charity Action for Children from every packet of sugar-free gum sold during the promotional period. They plan to use the money to run workshops alongside the Oral Health Foundation, aiming to protect the smiles of over 10,000 children across the UK.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Book Review: Tiger Days and the Secret Cat by Sarah Lean

Last Updated: 01 May 2024

Tiger Days and the Secret Cat by Sarah Lean book cover

AD* | Meet animal lover, Tiger Days! A brand-new young fiction series about animals, friendship and adventure by bestselling author Sarah Lean. Beautiful black-and-white illustrations throughout.

When nine-year-old Tiger Days stays with her grandmother at Willowgate House she never knows what might happen… new friends to meet, animals to rescue and problems to solve!

Tiger’s grandmother looks after animals in need and on her first visit, Tiger quickly learns how to feed a baby warthog and keep it safe. Tiger already has her hands full, but then a mysterious sound leads her to another little animal…

At Willowgate House, no day is ever dull for Tiger!

Saturday 18 June 2016

Book Review: Dotty Detective by Clara Vulliamy

Last Updated: 21 June 2021

Dotty Detective by Clara Vulliamy book cover

AD* | Meet Dorothy Constance Mae Louise, or Dot as she prefers to be called! Dot loves super-sour apple sherberts, running fast and puzzles - especially if they're fiendishly tricky. And with the help of trusty sidekick, Beans and TOP DOG, McClusky, she is always ready to sniff out a mystery. So when mean girl Laura seems set on sabotaging the school talent show, Dot is determined to find out how and save the day...

Thursday 16 June 2016

Book Review: Rent a Bridesmaid by Jacqueline Wilson

Last Updated: 8 June 2021

Rent a Bridesmaid by Jacqueline Wilson book cover

AD* | Tilly can’t believe it when her best friend Matty is asked to be a bridesmaid. In Tilly’s favourite daydream, she’s kitted out in the most beautiful bridesmaid dress, walking down the aisle behind a beautiful bride. The one wedding she’d really like to attend is her own mum and dad’s. But as that’s never going to happen, it’s time for Tilly to make her own dream come true – and put her bridesmaid services up for hire...

A fabulous, funny and moving story about the power of friendship from the mega-bestselling author of Tracy Beaker, Hetty Feather and Katy. Full of beautiful illustrations by much-loved illustrator, Nick Sharratt.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Book Review: Katy by Jacqueline Wilson

Last Updated: 8 June 2021

Katy by Jacqueline Wilson book cover

AD* | Katy Carr is a lively, daredevil oldest sister in a big family. She loves messing around outdoors, climbing on the garage roof, or up a tree, cycling, skateboarding, swinging... But her life changes in dramatic and unexpected ways after a serious accident.

Inspired by the classic novel, What Katy Did, Jacqueline Wilson creates an irresistible twenty-first-century heroine. 

Friday 10 June 2016

#Blogival - Book Review: We Never Let Go by Tracy Peppiatt

Last Updated: 8 June 2021

Clink Street Publishing Blogival

AD* | It is said that a picture paints a thousand words but unless those words are revealed the viewer has to make their own interpretation. A family photograph like thousands of others may give a clue to the location and time through clothing and scenery, but what is not apparent is the thoughts, aspirations, and life of those portrayed. This is a story of a working class family, whose voyage through the rapidly changing society of the 60s and 70s, was probably like many others.

But the difference with this story is that despite the often genuinely desperate situations that they found themselves, they persevered throughout with love and mutual dependence but primarily because there was little choice. The bond that holds us all together through all of life's twists and turns and ultimately determines how we turn out in later life is the underlying story that is revealed. However, as we are the product of our response to our experiences through life, we ultimately never let go.

Saturday 4 June 2016

Book Review: Happily by Sophie Tanner

Last Updated: 2 January 2023

Happily by Sophie Tanner book cover

AD* | How far will you go for your Happily Ever After?

Chloe Usher’s had enough of being asked why she's still single; people can’t seem to understand why she’s not freaking out about the slippery slope to spinsterhood. But, as far as Chloe’s concerned, life is sweet; she’s happy, she loves her job, her friends and her flatshare next to Brighton beach. One summer evening, after being told that she will never know what love is until she has children, she decides to say ‘actually, I do!’ and announces to her friends that she’s going to marry herself. 

She’s not quite prepared for the huge reaction to her news on social media and finds herself thrust firmly into the public eye; suddenly she’s a spokesperson for every crazy cat lady out there. With the warm support of her colourful extended family, Chloe attempts to justify her self wedding and the events that unfold take her on a bumpy journey of self-discovery - making exciting new connections and settling old ghosts.

This is a cheeky, original and light-heartedly subversive tale that challenges the notion of ‘settling down’.

Friday 3 June 2016

#Blogival: Why it's Important to Tell the Story of the Battle of Narvik

Clink Street Publishing Blogival Logo

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Ron Cope to TWG as my first offering for the Clink Street Publishing Summer Blogival.

Ron Cope is the author of Attack at Dawn, a fascinating novel about the First Battle of Narvik in World War Two, released to mark the 75th anniversary of the battle. Attack at Dawn focuses on the bravery of the young naval officers, including Ron's own father, who were behind this dramatic military campaign, telling their story through first-hand real-life experiences.

Thursday 26 May 2016

Book Review: The Lost and Found Life of Rosy Bennett by Jan Birley

Last Updated: 8 June 2021

The Lost and Found Life of Rosy Bennett by Jan Birley book cover

AD* | Rosy loved her London life – her job in a designer shop, her gorgeous West London family house and of course her gorgeous family (although young sons are enough to test anyone at times). All that disappears when, one unremarkable morning, after one unremarkable school run, her husband collapses on a crowded tube carriage and dies.

As she struggles her way through the grief, she discovers her husband’s secret life: secrets accounts, secret deals that their solicitor knew nothing of, secret debts and what looks like a secret “very close friend” at least.

Totally unprepared and suddenly in debt, Rosy is forced to leave London to start a new life with her incredibly reluctant boys in the countryside. Can angsty urban teenagers cope with farm life, let alone enjoy it? More to the point, can their mother? It’s certainly not going to be easy but when you are at rock bottom the only way is up.

Monday 16 May 2016

Book Review: Something Old, Something New by Darcie Boleyn

Last Updated: 8 April 2024

Something Old Something New by Darcie Boleyn book banner

AD* | Will you marry me…again?

When Annie Thomas agrees to give her ex away at his wedding to his boyfriend, she thinks she’ll be fine. With her three children at her side, she can handle anything. Then she finds out her gorgeous first ex-husband Evan Llewellyn is flying in from his glamorous life in New York to attend as well!

An unexpected pregnancy ended their relationship and as she stumbles through the ups and downs of life as a working single mum – helping everyone else find a happy ending along the way – Annie refuses to believe their old and incredibly hot spark can still exist.

It’s only when she and Evan are forced to face up to the past together that they’ll discover if they can have their own happily ever after too!

Sunday 15 May 2016

Book Review: City of Shadows by M.J. Lee

Last Updated: 5 June 2021

City of Shadows by M.J. Lee book banner

AD* | A family has been found murdered in the heart of 1920s Shanghai. But what could have compelled them to open the door to their killer?

Inspector Danilov has always taken a unique approach to solving his cases. So, when he’s asked to investigate the violent death of a fellow police officer, killed in action, he doesn’t think twice about turning his attention to a different case altogether: the brutal murder of the Lee family, found massacred in their own home.

How could the deaths of an ordinary family account for a shooting halfway across the city? And what clues lie with the letter found clasped in the dead girl’s hand? Inspector Danilov’s instincts tell him he’s close. But when the investigation reveals deep corruption at Shanghai’s core, Danilov faces a choice: probe further, and expose the evil underbelly of the city? Or shy from duty…and keep the few people he loves safe?

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Book Review: The Beach Hut by Cassandra Parkin

Last Updated: 5 June 2021

The Beach Hut by Cassandra Parkin book cover

AD* | A novel about love, loss, memory, and family relationships.

It is autumn time and on a peaceful Cornish beach, Finn and his sister Ava defy planning regulations and achieve a childhood dream when they build themselves an illegal beach hut. This tiny haven will be their home until Ava departs in midwinter for a round-the-world adventure.

In the town, local publican Donald is determined to get rid of them. Still mourning the death of his wife, all he wants is a quiet place where he can forget the past and raise his daughter Alicia in safety. But Alicia is wrestling with demons of her own. 

As the sunshine fades and winter approaches, the beach hut stirs old memories for everyone. Their lives become entwined in surprising ways and the secrets of past and present are finally exposed.

Friday 6 May 2016

Book Review: Diamond Boy in the Rough by Helen Faul

Last Updated: 5 June 2021

Diamond Boy in the Rough by Helen Faul book cover

AD* | What if he couldn’t control it? What if he didn’t want to?

Alfie Diamond, flat on his back, chilled to the bone in the freezing, unforgiving snow.

Shocked, dumbfounded but even so secretly excited, still tingling from the thrill, if that was the correct word to use, from his near-death experience but then again maybe it was just the mind-altering effects of hypothermia, who knew?

The images that had flashed before him during his “first” mind-blowing Awakening were alien to him, jumbled, super-fast messed-up glimpses of things to come and things of the past, but whose past, certainly not his, he would remember, surely, wouldn’t he?

The faces didn’t register, the language fell on deaf ears and yet he inexplicably felt connected, suddenly his life gained a sense of direction, no more bobbing about like a cork in the open ocean.

Purpose and motivation were coming his way, that much he had acutely been made aware of as the nerve endings of his brain cells fizzed with adrenaline-infused blood.

He was on a precipice, he could lay there and continue to stare up at the descending snowflakes, let the raw, biting cold take him or he could grab this adventure with both hands steamrolling into a new unknown future, a future born of a secret so far back, so distant into the past it would surely send him to hell and back.

Evil would seek to destroy him, Good would look to him as a saviour, him a naive, curly-haired East End boy, youngest of six children, average school grades, slight misfit on the outer edges of the obligatory social groups, not fit enough to be considered a 'Jock', not clever enough for the nerds and certainly not fashionable in his tatty t-shirt, shorts and scruffy trainers to be one of the 'beautiful people', a square peg in a round hole, well this square peg had been enlightened, today Alfie Diamond was reborn and if he ever got up onto his feet again, his first steps would be into a dangerous new world, a world he hoped included the beautiful stranger whose silken long hair trailed across his face as she hovered over him as he slipped in and out of consciousness, a world he hoped would not chew him up and spit him out.

Saturday 30 April 2016

Reading Round-Up: Mar/Apr 2016

The Writing Greyhound book stack

It's the end of another two months and time for my second reading round-up! If you missed the Jan/Feb post, you can catch up here.

Thursday 28 April 2016

Reread Book Review: The Harry Potter Series (Books 6-7) by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter Gryffindor Common Room

Today marks the final instalment of my three-part series rereading the wonderful Harry Potter books. This time I'm sharing my thoughts on the final two books in the series - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 

If you need a refresher on the rest of the series, you can find books 1-3 here and books 4-5 here.

Just before we move on to the reviews, just a quick little reminder of what the 'reread book reviews' are all about:

Writing a book review for Harry Potter seems a bit of a pointless exercise; surely everyone must have read the books by now? That's why I've decided to document my journey through the wizarding world here. It's not like my usual book reviews. These are written with the impression that you, the reader, have also read the books. Think of it more as a recap - a reminder of why Harry Potter captured the nation's imagination and never let it go.

WARNING: There will be spoilers ahead!

Thursday 21 April 2016

Reread Book Review: The Harry Potter Series (Books 4-5) by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter wall sconce

Today I'm continuing my three-part feature rereading the fabulous Harry Potter series - and this time I'm sharing my thoughts on books 4 (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and 5 (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) with you.

If you missed the first instalment of the series (books 1-3) you can catch up here.

But before I crack on with the reviews, just a quick recap of what the 'reread book reviews' are all about:

Writing a book review for Harry Potter seems a bit of a pointless exercise; surely everyone must have read the books by now? That's why I've decided to document my journey through the wizarding world here. It's not like my usual book reviews. These are written with the impression that you, the reader, have also read the books. Think of it more as a recap - a reminder of why Harry Potter captured the nation's imagination and never let it go.


Friday 15 April 2016

Interview: Jeannie van Rompaey

Ascension by Jeannie van Rompaey book blog tour poster

Today is my stop on the Ascension blog tour, and in addition to my review of the book, I also had the chance to interview the author, Jeannie van Rompaey. Read on to find out all about Ascension, her writing process, and why Pride & Prejudice is Jeannie's favourite book.

Book Review: Ascension by Jeannie van Rompaey

Last Updated: 5 June 2021

Ascension by Jeannie van Rompaey book blog tour

AD* | Meet the mutant humanoids. They may look a little different from us, but inside they're much the same as you and me. Left on a diseased Earth, they live in windowless compounds, safe from the contaminated wilderness outside. Safe, yes, but their lives are restricted.

When the mutant humanoids discover that some complete human beings, completes, have also survived and are living greatly improved lives on satellites, they determine to rectify this imbalance and claim their share of Earth's heritage. Three-headed Ra rules the humanoids with ruthless precision, but others are involved in a power struggle to depose him. Who will succeed in being the next CEO of Planet Earth?

Sixteen-year-old Mercury plans to start a new life on Oasis. Will it prove the Utopia he expects it to be?

Thursday 14 April 2016

Reread Book Review: The Harry Potter Series (Books 1-3) by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter statues

If you know me at all, you will know that I'm a massive Harry Potter fan. I love anything Harry Potter - I've read the books and watched the movies countless times, I own all manner of Potter-related merchandise, and I've even been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour... twice.

So with that in mind, what better books to pick up when I hit a reading slump? Due to various reasons, I haven't felt much like reading lately, so to get back into reading again (my tbr pile is still growing at an ever-expanding rate, even if I'm not reading anything!) I decided to reread the whole Harry Potter series again, for what seems like the 100th time!

No matter how many times I read these books they don't get old. Every new read reveals a hidden detail or clue I hadn't noticed before, and I still enjoy them as much as I did the first time.

Writing a book review for Harry Potter seems a bit of a pointless exercise; surely everyone must have read the books by now? That's why I've decided to document my journey through the wizarding world here. It's not like my usual book reviews. These are written with the impression that you, the reader, have also read the books. Think of it more as a recap - a reminder of why Harry Potter captured the nation's imagination and never let it go.


Thursday 7 April 2016

Book Review: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

Last Updated: 1 June 2021

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

AD* | Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same grey slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam's possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he's never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife's secret life before they met--a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places. 

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life's infinite possibilities.

Thursday 24 March 2016

Book Review: Beneath the Surface by Heidi Perks

Last Updated: 1 June 2021

Beneath the Surface by Heidi Perks book cover

AD* | I don't know where you are...

I don't know what I've done...

Teenager Abigail Ryder is devastated when she gets home from school to find her family gone. Nothing makes sense. Things are missing from the house and her stepsisters' room is completely empty. But the police think she's trouble, and when grandmother Eleanor tells her to forget them all and move on, there's no choice other than face the future - alone.

Fourteen years on, Abi and Adam are a happy couple on the verge of parenthood. But when the past comes back to haunt Abi, the only way forward is to go back and uncover the truth - and reveal the dreadful secrets a mother has been hiding all these years.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

5 Foods to Eat After Dental Work

Last Updated: 17 January 2022

Last week I had to have some dental work done, which resulted in an aching jaw, sore teeth and half my mouth being numb. I'm sure many of you will have experienced something similar at one time or another, but it got me thinking - what foods can I eat while my mouth is healing?

Everyone usually heads for the go-to staples like soup, yoghurt or ice cream, but what if you want to try something else? I am by no means an experienced nutritionist or healthcare professional, but here are 5 foods I recommend for the days following dental work.

Saturday 12 March 2016

Interview: Kara Keen

Romancing Vegas by Kara Keen book blog tour banner

As you may know, this week I'm participating in the blog tour for Romancing Vegas by Kara Keen. You can read my review of Romancing Vegas too, but today I have the pleasure of interviewing the author herself!

Friday 11 March 2016

Book Review: Romancing Vegas by Kara Keen

Last Updated: 1 June 2021

Romancing Vegas by Kara Keen book cover

AD* | Three sizzling affairs began on a cruise ship... But what happens in Vegas might be more than the lovers bargained for!

Oksana must transform herself from victim to confident choreographer and producer of the sexy Las Vegas show she’s always dreamed of creating. Primo, who loves her, is with her all the way, risking his own life in a deadly grudge fight to finance the show. Will Oksana rediscover the passionate soul she learned to hide, or will the dark realities of her recent trauma drag her down, pulling the lives of her loved ones along with her?

Tania knew she was in love with Cole a few days after they met. They love hanging out, having fun, and working together to help Tania’s sister Oksana develop a successful show. They also love exploring the electrifying edges of desire together. So what will it take for Cole to say those three little words, “I love you?”

Daniella didn’t plan to fall for Jack, but she can’t stop thinking about the crazy, sexy times they’ve shared. He’s into fast, edgy living and so much fun – but is he ready to ditch the Peter Pan act and be her Number One?

What none of them know is that an old enemy lurks in the background, waiting for the right moment to take his revenge.

Thursday 10 March 2016

Review: Online Art Lessons

The Writing Greyhound pastel artwork

Interested in art? Want to improve your art skills? Always wondered how to get that painting or drawing just right? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then read on!

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Book Review: You Can't Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet by Juliette Harper

Last Updated: 1 June 2021

You Can't Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet by Juliette Harper book cover

AD* | Wanda Jean Milton discovers her husband, local exterminator Hilton Milton, dead on her new shag carpet with an Old Hickory carving knife sticking out of his chest. Beside herself over how she’ll remove the stain, and grief-stricken over Hilton’s demise, Wanda Jean finds herself the prime suspect in the case.

But she is also a member of “the” local Study Club, a bastion of independent Texas feminism 1960s style. Club President Clara Wyler has no intention of allowing a member to be a murder suspect during her administration. Aided by her younger sister and County Clerk, Mae Ella Gormley; Sugar Watson, the proprietress of Sugar’s Style and Spray; and Wilma Schneider, Army MASH veteran and local RN, the Club women set out to clear Wanda Jean’s name — never guessing the local dirt they’ll uncover in the process.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Book Review: Twisted Mind by Mia Hoddell

Last Updated: 1 June 2021

Twisted Mind by Mia Hoddell book banner

AD* | GP2 race car driver Dustin Coates has been made irrelevant…

For the past year, Dustin helped his best friend, Raine Wilkins. It was a good diversion from his twisted life. Now she’s settling down with his brother, and without the distraction from his own toxic relationship, Dustin is rapidly spiralling out of control.

​​Everyone warned him to leave his girlfriend, Elora, yet they knew nothing about the baby…

It’s up to Dustin to protect the innocent life hanging in the balance and to do that he must endure Elora’s twisted games of manipulation and violence. However, when she does the unthinkable, Dustin finally snaps. Leaving her, the light-hearted jokester people have come to love is replaced with a grief-stricken man intent on one thing - earning a Formula One contract.

​​Everything changes when Tazia Nixon moves in next door…

Dustin clings to the Latin beauty who soothes his aching heart and helps him forget. But beneath her eternal optimism is a distressing past she refuses to share. Dustin must decide if he can risk his fragile heart a second time. She might ease his pain, but she could also break him like no one else.

​​Will Dustin be able to overlook the deceit to find his forever with Tazia, or will he see nothing more than a ​​​​Twisted Mind?