Welcome To My Blog

Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Woman Walks Into A Bar by Rowan Coleman

Woman Walks Into A Bar

by Rowan Coleman

A while ago I did a post about Rowan Coleman releasing 'Woman Walks Into A Bar' in order to raise money for Refuge.  You can see that post here.

I've since read the book and just wanted to tell you a bit about it.

'Woman Walks Into A Bar' is the story of Sam, a woman who has survived an abusive relationship and is now looking for love again, aided and abetted by her friends and her daughter. Can she find love again, and will she need to face up to her past first?

In that sense it is a story of abuse, surviving it, and rebuilding your life. But it explored a lot of other issues tied up with abuse as well. An important theme was self esteem and all the ways this can be knocked, leading to vulnerability. I found this one of the most fascinating aspects of the story.

I also loved Sam's relationship with her daughter, Beth, and the way she watches over her - looking out for signs that she may also suffer a blow that will knock her self esteem and make her vunerable. The family relationships between these two, and Sam's own mother are delightfully drawn.

So as well as being for a great cause, this book is also a fabulous read that covers some really important issues, but still manages to be upbeat and entertaining.

As an added extra, you also get a taster of Rowan's upcoming novel The Memory Book, which looks heartbreakingly good. I can't wait to read that one!

You can find out more about 'Woman Walks Into A Bar' here.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Confessions Of An Undercover Cop by Ash Cameron

Confessions Of An Undercover Cop

This is the sixth book in the bestselling ‘confessions’ series from The Friday Project. I haven’t read any of the others yet, but I was very happy to get a chance to read this one.

‘Confessions Of An Undercover Cop’ is warm and authentic. It captures the life and work of a female police officer, starting in the 1970s, in all its hectic, challenging, and sometimes uncomfortable, glory.

The book has a good balance of light and shade. Some of Ash’s experiences were hilarious, and she isn’t scared to laugh at herself, but some of them are heartbreaking. In particular, her accounts of child protection work are not for the fainthearted.

It also gives an interesting social commentary on the times she lived and worked through. Life as a young woman making her way in the police force of the 1970s could not have been easy.

What shines through most is her love of ‘the job’ and concern for the people she served.

I recommend this to anyone who’s interested in an honest account of life as a professional working with some of the most damaged, and some of the most damaging, people you’re ever likely to hear about.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

M J Hyland Writing Course

I've been sent the following information, which may be useful to anyone who can get to Cambridge and fancies an intensive writing course. Follow the links at the bottom for more information.

Booker-nominated author- M J Hyland, will be in Cambridge at the end of the month for the Festival of Ideas - she will appear on a literary panel discussing genre and digital publishing (Oct 31st). She will then run a small writing workshop at a special festival rate. We currently have a couple of spaces available and are looking for keen writers to join the class - details below.  Writers working on short stories or novels are all welcome. 

 M J Hyland in Cambridge - Fiction Workshop 
November 2-3rd

Inspiring and transformative workshop that will bring out your very best writing. Each writer will have 2,500 words of their fiction reviewed, work-shopped and edited by M J Hyland. 

During this workshop, you'll learn every important trick. You'll find out how to write compelling fiction: how to begin, how to structure, how to build a story, how to create a strong narrative, how to write memorable and credible characters, how to write plausible dialogue, how to cure writers' block, and much more. The atmosphere will be fun and energetic, with plenty of in-class writing exercises. There will also be  practical advice to help writers polish and hone their work to publication standard.

Visit the website for more course information www.editingfirm.com or email info@editingfirm.com 
Price: £275.00 (Unique Festival of Ideas Price - usual Masterclasses £400.00)

Friday, 11 October 2013

Competitive Edge

From the January 2014 issue of Writers' Forum, I'll be taking over the competition page from the wonderful Sally Quilford who has been running it for five years now. We've decided to rechristen the pages 'Competitive Edge', because that's what we're hoping to give readers of Writers' Forum through the information and competition listings.

As I prepare to take over the page, I want to hear from you!

I want to hear from people who are entering writing competitions and have something to say about them. I want to hear from people who have won or been placed in writing competitions about how they did it, and how it has helped them with their writing career. I'd particularly like to hear from people who have unusual stories. Maybe you had a story you couldn't give up on and rewrote and sent out several times before getting a win or a placing. Or maybe you had a go at a competition that took you right out of your comfort zone and ended up doing really well.

Please also feel free to get in touch with any questions you have about the subject of writing competitions. I'll try to cover as many of these on the page as possible.

I also want to hear from organisers and judges who have great competitions to promote. So please get in touch (three months in advance) if you'd like to request for your competition to be listed. I'd love to hear about any unusual or innovative competitions out there as well.

If you want to get in touch you can email the competition pages at competitiveedge(at)writers-forum(dot)com

Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A Stitch In Time by Amanda James

A Stitch In Time

‘A Stitch In Time’ is another fabulous book from Choc Lit publishing, who are going from strength to strength at the moment.

What I liked about this one was that it’s very different from most romance stories and has a really interesting time travel twist.

The story follows Sarah Yates, a history teacher whose life has been turned upside down by circumstances she wouldn't have chosen, as she is approached by John Needler, handsome and mysterious, with a proposition that Sarah can hardly believe.

This is only the beginning of her adventures, which take her back in time to the Blitz, the time of the suffragette movement and the Old American West. In each period the historical details are created confidently, but not intrusively, and enhance the telling of the story.

‘A Stitch In Time’ has a bit of everything: a really emotional romance, lots of adventure, and quirky trips to historical times and far-flung places. All this combines to create a satisfying and gripping novel. Sarah’s story is skilfully handled so that we don’t know what the final outcome will be for her until right at the end, and it’s an outcome worth waiting for.

Overall, I found this a satisfying, enjoyable and intelligent read which I would highly recommend.

Many thanks to the author for a copy of this book.

You can find out more here.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Jersey Kiss by Georgina Troy


A Jersey Kiss 

I’m very lucky in my writing friends, and was privileged to get a sneak preview of this book before it came out. I’m glad I did, because it was a very enjoyable read.

I loved the romance thread running through the book. The hero was the sort that readers fall for as well as heroines, and the ‘will they, won’t they?’ tension was really well done.

Add to this the dilemmas that the main character, Bea’s, friends and family bring to the story, and you’ve got a gripping novel with many strands to be brought together at the end. You’ll care about all these characters and want to know how their bit of the story turns out.

The beautiful setting of Jersey is also used to full effect in the telling of the tale. I’ve only been to Jersey once, but the various parts of the island were brought to life to such good effect that I could almost feel I was back there.

If you like your romance with a rich story full of intrigue, moral dilemmas and difficult choices, then this is the book for you.

It’s good to see that more books are planned in the ‘Jersey’ series from this author. I’ll certainly be looking forward to reading them.

You can buy a copy of A Jersey Kiss here.