Sunday, 28 April 2013

An Affair of Deceit by Jamie Michele - Romantic Thriller

I am certainly spreading my wings as far as books go recently. Also I know the blogs have been coming thick and fast. As a writer I am also aware that I need to feed my passion for reading and I have being doing that this weekend. I am taking a break from the reading to review this book as I liked it so much.

This is the first one of Jamie Michele's books I have read and it certainly wont be the last. This is a top notch thriller which can certainly hold it's own in the genre.

Abigail Mason's father has gone missing, which is a bit of a surprise to her. This is because, as far as she is concerned, he has been missing for 20 years. Now he has completely dropped off the radar and the CIA are looking for him. In comes Agent James Riley who is tasked with finding him. As this is a romantic suspense it will not come as a surprise to learn that the pair have an increasing attraction to each other. This, however, fits in well and the two stories work together. There are thrills and spills aplenty and the action takes place worldwide.

Mason demonstrates a good knowledge of the locations and describes them well. There is definitely tension and suspense in this book and some things I just did not see coming. An explosive finish adds to the overall excitement of the book. I found I wanted to keep reading and could not put the book down.

The only thing I would say that in this book there are a couple of sections of adult content that you need to be aware of. The adult sections are not my cup of tea but I passed over them and didn't miss any of the action in the process. Otherwise this is an excellent book which I would highly recommend.

As I am still on my reading frenzy I am sure I will see you again soon. Until then curl up with a good book and forget the world.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Word Up by Marcia Riefer Johnston - Grammar and Writing


Buy from Amazon US

My blog this week takes another turn from the normal and reviews a book on Grammar and Writing. This is not just aimed at authors but anyone who wants to improve their writing.

No matter what type of writing you do from School assignments to novels, this is the book for you. If I say the rules of English Grammar can be somewhat trying then I am sure I speak for the majority of us. However, help is now at hand in this clearly laid out guide. The chapters are short and sharp but pack a powerful punch. The examples are excellent and so clear that they are easy to understand. I am sure you will have several eureka moments throughout the book. I am currently writing a novel and I found myself regularly running to my computer to make changes. I even changed the previous sentence based on having read Word Up. A ture sign that the book has impacted on my writing. Marcia Riefer Johnston provides clarity in the often puzzling world of grammar and sentence structure.

Marcia herself has an excellent writing style which is light and fun. However, so not let this fool you into thinking that this is not an excellent book. It covers an important topic in such a way that it is easy to understand.

A welcome entry to the market which I would highly recommend everyone read. This is a reference book, a resource which you will want to keep for many years to come.

As an added bonus if you go to Marcia's Website How to Write Everything with blogs about writing and exercises teachers can use with the book. This is a very professional and useful site so a great resource.

I was fortunate to be given an advance readers copy of this book. However I was not asked to provide a positive review. The review is honest and fair based on my enjoyment of the book and my perception of its usefulness as a resource.

Please note this book is currently only available from Amazon US. As this changes I will update the blog with the appropriate link. However, if you are in the Uk and want this book more quickly I do think it is worth the cost of purchasing from the states.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

All Things Writing

I know this is a book review blog but every so often I update you on my life as a writer. Regular readers of this blog will know that it is some time since I have done this.

My first novel, Killers Countdown, is now completed and has been drafted, redrafted and edited. It has been read by three beta readers, all of whom said they loved it. I have entered it in to the Dundee International Book Prize and am currently waiting to see if I have been shortlisted. This involves a lot of patience and hope. 

I have now started on my second novel which I am calling Killers Craft at present. This is the second in the DI Shona McLeod Mysteries set in Dundee. Now the fact that it is set in Dundee has caused me somewhat of a problem with this second book. Whilst I was writing the first one Shona McLeod was in the CID in the Tayside Police. On 1st April this year the police in Scotland were reorganised into one Scotland wide force and everything was renamed. However, the police in Dundee have come up trumps and my local police Sergeant is coming round to see me next week to give me a complete overview of all the new arrangements. How helpful is that? 

Whilst talking about being helpful I have been so fortunate in terms of people helping me out. Proofreading and content editing have been carried out and a graphic designer has designed both digital and print copy covers. These covers are excellent and highly professional. The reason that I am not showing you these is because whether they are used or not depends on whether I go down the traditional or self publishing route. I am extremely grateful to all those who have helped me. 

At the moment I am doing a lot of research into my next book and reading several books on writing. These have really helped me to develop my writing. I have also done a couple of online writing courses through Universal Class. You can access these free through your local library and they are on a number of topics. I did Introduction to Creative Writing and Mystery Writing 101, both excellent courses. I am currently doing one on The Rules of English Grammar. I thought I was fairly good at Grammar but I take it all back. 

In terms of planning my novel I am using an App for my iPad called Index Card. This basically allows you to post index cards to a virtual pin board. It is excellent and helps me to keep track of my characters and the plot of the story. Essential when writing a mystery. 

All in all it has been a heady journey so far. Writing is exciting and so much fun and I am having a whale of a time. I only hope my readers get as much enjoyment out of it as I do. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Errol Come Home by Harvey Rooster - Children's Book

Anyone familiar with my blog will realise that this weeks offering is a completes departure for me as I do not review Children's books. However, a friend of mine who usually writes murder mysteries, asked me to have a look at this one which he initially wrote for his own children

Simon Swift, whose name for writing children's fiction is Harvey Rooster has come up with a lovely little tale here. It is the story of Errol, a cute little black cat, who is loved and cherished by his owners. Then something unexpected happens and Errol leaves home. I can't say too much as I don't want to give the story away but, suffice to say, I had a lump in my throat at times.

The simple illustrations by Jacoba Dorothy are extremely effective and enhance the story well. Children, up to the age of about seven, will love this book and adults will enjoy reading it to younger children.

This book will be published mid April 2013 by Black Feline Publishers and will be available to buy online.

See you soon for the next offering from my library but until then keep reading.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Social Media Just for Writers by Frances Caballo

I've been on a bit of a social media frenzy recently, hence the second posting of a social media book in a few days. However, I make no apologies for having included this book in my blog and once you have read the blog I am sure you will understand why.
Although this may be a rather niche book it certainly packs a punch for all those writers who want to extend their social media reach. It does not try to overextend itself but focuses on the following social media channels
  • Facebook
  • Twitter,
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Blogging
I think this is a good thing as it goes into each of those in depth. This means that you will be able to use each of these social media channels to their full extent if you follow the advice.
The book takes you through each of these in clear stages outlining ways in which the writer can maximise their use for reaching readers and marketing. The book drills down as far as how to change settings to ensure that each channel is optimised for maximum reach. However, it does not do this at the expense of privacy.
For each social media setting there is also a list of apps which can be used to support their use by writers. These can be free to expensive but an explanation is given for each. The author is not trying to sell you on any one of these but merely explains how they can help.
Hints and tips are given throughout the book and their are clear and detailed screen shots to support the text. Social media etiquette is also covered and particularly how this relates to writers. I thought the hints and tips on all chapters were excellent but the section on blogging was particularly good.

The last chapter goes further than social media and talks about other ways in which you can market your books. This again is choc full of good advice.
Because of the screen shots I have included the links to the print copies of these books. However, it is also available for kindle at a reduced price. I would highly recommend this book for all writers. I would consider myself extremely social media savvy but I learnt a lot from this book. As I have not yet published my novel some of the advice will have to wait. However it will allow me to prepare and I will be good to go when my book is published.
If anyone knows of any other great social media books then it would be great if you could mention them in the comments. I usually finish my blog by saying have a good week reading but I suppose in this case I should say;
Have an awesome week writing and ramping up that social media marketing