Book Review - SWEETPEA by CJ Skuse

I have always been fearful of reading any kind of crime/thriller novel, simply because I consider myself to be somewhat of a literary wimp who gets scared easily. But there was just something about ‘Sweet Pea’ by CJ Skuse that grabbed my attention.

Funnily enough, I was in my workplace (Waterstones) browsing books after my shift when I started to get pulled in the direction of the thrillers. Sweet Pea ended up in my hands and then I bought it. I started it as soon as I got home, and let me tell you, this has to be one of the best books I have read in a long time.

It has been labelled by Red Magazine as ‘Bridget Jones meets American Psycho’ and there couldn’t be a description more apt for this book.

It isn’t your average crime thriller in that it is told in diary form from the perspective of a female serial killer. Rhiannon is an anti-hero who despite all the murder, you just end up rooting for her. this book was so funny, dark, and crude which may or may not be words that have been used to describe me, so it comes as no surprise that I got on with this book very well. I am also pretty sure that if I ever met CJ Skuse, I think we would get a house on fire, only we would be the ones who would have set the fire.

This is a very well written book, that explores the human psyche after trauma and how it can shape a person. It is done in such a clever way that many of the twists and turns that happened within the book, I couldn’t have predicted.

The many different strands that wove together to create a solid story were brilliant. The relationship Rhiannon has with her boyfriend (who is a bit of a dick), her relationship with her PISCO’s (read the book and you will get this, btw they are all dicks!). I also loved to see Rhiannon in her work environment, I am pretty sure many of us have thought about our colleagues the same was our Anti-Hero thought about ours. Although I doubt we would resort to murder, hopefully.

All I can say is that this book is a must read if you love dark, crude humour. I had to keep stopping reading to show my husband funny lines from the book, and he would look at me half concerned that this book was giving me too many ideas.

I give this book a thrilling dark, funny and fabulously crude Five out of Five.


Read it NOW!!!!!

BUY THE BOOK:


About the Author

C.J. Skuse is the author of PRETTY BAD THINGS, ROCKOHOLIC, DEAD ROMANTIC (Chicken House) as well as MONSTER and THE DEVIANTS (Mira Ink) and SWEETPEA (HQ/HarperCollins).


Born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England, C.J. has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Young People. Aside from writing novels, C.J. is a Senior Lecturer in Writing for Children on the M.A. at Bath Spa University.

C.J. loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and Sylvanian Families. She hates carnivals, hard-boiled eggs and coughing. The movies Titanic, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Ruby Sparks were all probably based on her ideas - she just didn't get to write them down in time.

Before she dies, C.J. would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Tom Hardy present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Back in the Game, Hopefully.


So, I think it is about time I got back into blogging again. I have been a bit MIA for a while due to health reasons. I am sure many of you are aware that I have battled with my mental health for a long time now, and as well as Anxiety and Depression, I am unsure if anyone is aware that I can now add PTSD to the list. Not fun.

Well, another thing has cropped up, and as you can imagine I am a little infuriated with myself and my body. I now have an instability syndrome which basically effects my muscles, joints and my mobility. Also, the pain is also something I have to contend with.

I am not saying any of this for sympathy, I know that we all have things that affect us every day. I just wanted to let people know why I had basically disappeared.

But I allowed all this to stop me reaching out and being interactive online. I have unfollowed people and stopped socialising online which I guess is what I needed to do at the time, but in the long run is ultimately unhealthy.

So now I am trying to proactive and have decided to get the blog back up and running again. I am feeling excited and very positive about it.


So here’s to many more days of exciting blogging. 

BOOKOUTURE Cover Reveal: The Rising Storm by Ceri A Lowe

Oh my goodness you guys, I am so EXCITED for this reveal. It's something I know a lot of us have been waiting for, I know I have. This has been teased to me over the past few weeks/months and I am so happy to be involved in revealing the cover for The Rising Storm by Ceri A Lowe. Check it out below.

ABOUT THE BOOK

An addictive and gripping dystopian series, perfect for fans of The Girl Who Dared to ThinkThe Hunger Games and The Gender Game.

What if the end of the world was just the beginning?

15-year-old Alice Davenport was a loner and an outcast before the Storms swept away everything she knew. Saved from the ravaged remains of London by the mysterious and all-powerful Paradigm Industries, her fierce independence and unique skills soon gain her recognition from the highest levels of command. But their plans to rebuild civilisation from scratch mean destroying all remnants of the past – no matter what, or who, gets left behind.
Alice must decide if she will fight for the old world, or the new…

Decades later15-year-old Carter Warren is woken from the Catacombs after years of cryonic sleep. He’s determined to do whatever it takes to climb the ranks to Controller General - until he realises the Industry’s control methods have become harsher than ever. The Barricades make sure nothing from the Deadlands can get in to the Community – and no one can get out. And a shocking discovery about his own family causes Carter to question everything he’s ever known…
As Alice becomes entangled in the Industry’s plan for the future, and Carter delves into the secrets of his past, they must make sacrifices which threaten to tear them apart. And both of them are forced to confront an impossible question…
Would you dare to risk it all for the perfect world?

PRE-ORDER IT HERE: 
AMAZON UNIVERSAL LINK: myBook.to/TRSSocial
ABOUT THE AUTHOR



When Ceri isn’t writing, she’s a self-employed project management consultant specialising in financial services. She lives in Bristol, England and has various obsessions including all things Spanish, renovating houses, travelling and her dog, Pablo.

In the last few years she’s won the Exeter Short Story Award, Global Short Stories annual prize, the Flash 500 Award, the Story Star Publishing Prize and the Writers’ Forum Short Story competition


Book Review: Magic Calls | Miriam Greystone

One of the great things I have discovered over the past few months is the power and talent of the indie author community. I have been reading some excellent Urban Fantasy books and series and it is one of the genres where I go to the indie authors for first. I was super happy when I got the chance to read and review an Arc of a book from an author who is new to me. Miriam Greystone allowed me to review an advance copy of her new book, and I am very grateful that she did.

BLURB:

A war is brewing beneath the sidewalks of Washington, DC . . . and Molly just sang her way into the middle of it.

Molly doesn’t know there’s anything unusual about her voice—she only knows that performing with her band makes her happier than anything else in the world.
But everything changes on the night that Molly does more than just entertain her audience—she accidentally entrances them, and narrowly avoids setting off a riot. 
Now, she’s being hunted by a mysterious group that believes she is descended from the Sirens—and that she’s unworthy of the power she possesses. To survive, she must plunge into a secret world of human-Siren hybrids, where there’s no easy way to know who to trust.
With time running out, Molly must learn to wield the power inside her, before the hunters can silence her forever.


MY REVIEW:

Ok first I need to mention how amazing is the cover of this book? I am obsessed with gorgeous book covers as any good book nerd is, and from reading this book I will say that it suits this story perfectly.
This is an amazing book and I was sucked right in from the beginning, and I can honestly say it was a refreshing take on mythology and the Urban Fantasy genre. Molly is a fantastic protagonist who is a wicked singer fronting a very cool band and she is just living her life as best as she can, while running from a very troubled past.

I loved the characters in this book from the main players to the lesser characters, everyone served a purpose whilst having their own fleshed out personality.

The relationship with Jake was wonderful and as fair as we are aware he has no ties with the supernatural community. He is a recovering heroine addict and despite his issues, he and Molly have a connection which I think is explored wonderfully.

I adored Molly’s friendship with Bea as well, you could tell they has a true bond and connection. Bea has a terminal illness, and this is handled sensitively and really adds to the story. What is so great about this is that not every problem in this book is supernaturally related, it has a good mix of magic and real-world issues which is wonderful. Although I must say I am very excited to find out what happens with Bea and her future, just read the book and you will see what I mean.

Molly’s life is turned upside down when she accidently unleashes her gift of her siren abilities when she literally entrances her audience. That is when all the supernatural trouble starts, and we are taken on an epic adventure where Molly and us the readers have no idea who we can really trust. I love a book where you constantly question the authenticity of character and are left unsure as to whether they are good or bad. It gives the book so much more depth and anticipation.

This was a wonderful book and Miriam is now an Author who I will be reading everything from. Once again thank you to Miriam for the opportunity of giving my honest opinion on her new book, I am now a permanent fan for sure.

I gave this book an entrancing 5 out of 5.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Hi! I'm urban fantasy author Miriam Greystone. I live in Silver Spring, Maryland with my supportive husband, my beautiful kids, and my badly behaved Australian Shepherd. I am a small business owner, a Doctor Who fan, and a person who consumes an insane amount of Diet Coke on a regular basis. I grew up in South Dakota (where much of TRUTHSIGHT takes place) but have lived in a number of places since then, including Minneapolis, Cleveland, and Jerusalem.
 Books, and in particular fantasy books, have always been a huge part of my life. In my home, standard dinner conversation includes discussions of how long it might take a hell-hound curse to take hold, and techniques a pixie might use to take down a larger opponent. If you read my novels, you'll see how many of those conversations sooner or later find their way into my writing.

Find more about Miriam here:

Book Review: TIN MAN | Sarah Winman


I literally finished this book an hour ago, and here I am compelled to tell everyone about it and tell everyone to read it now in the same breath. Even halfway through this book, I was telling friends and my fellow booksellers in Waterstones that they HAVE to read this beautiful book.

It has to be one of the most beautiful books I have read in a long time, and it reminded me in many ways of ‘What Belongs to You’ by Garth Greenwell. It had that same lyrical and emotive prose that broke my heart a number of times, in the best way possible that only a book like this can.

It’s about love and friendship, and denial of one’s true self while your true identity is screaming to be released. It’s about life and loss, death and living and human nature and sexuality.

As a Gay Man myself there were many aspects of this book that resonated with me, such as misplaced and lost familial relationships and the constant need to be loved and sometimes simple just to be ‘seen’. I feel that this is a very powerful book and deserves recognition for its obvious literary merit.

I have never read anything by Sarah before and her skills as a writer are wonderful. The way she crafts her sentences and fills them with emotion and the simplicity of everyday observation is simply wonderful. That has to be the one word that sums up this book, wonderful. Just wonderful.

This book made me feel so many things, and at the end of it, I just feel grateful to have been able to read something like this. Trust me, I could go on for pages and pages about just how fantastic this book is, but all I will say is this – This book is equal parts endearing and heartbreaking, a true tale of love, friendship and identity. This has to be one of my top books of 2017 for sure.

The unforgettable and achingly tender new novel from Sarah Winman, author of the international bestseller WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT and the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller A YEAR OF MARVELLOUS WAYS.
'An exquisitely crafted tale of love and loss' Guardian
The unforgettable new novel from Sarah Winman, author of the international bestseller WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT.
'Her best novel to date' Observer
'A marvel' Sunday Express
'Astoundingly beautiful' Matt Haig
It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things.
And then there are two boys, Ellis and Michael,
who are inseparable.
And the boys become men,
and then Annie walks into their lives,
and it changes nothing and everything.
Tin Man sees Sarah Winman follow the acclaimed success of When God Was A Rabbit and A Year Of Marvellous Ways with a love letter to human kindness and friendship, loss and living.

Biographical Notes 
Sarah Winman grew up in Essex and now lives in London. She attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to act in theatre, film and television. She has written three novels, WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT, A YEAR OF MARVELLOUS WAYS and TIN MAN.
Buy Links:

Author Interview: Sean Fay Wolfe | The Elementia Chronicles


Today folks, I am super excited to welcome the author of 'The Elementia Chronicles' (an unofficial Minecraft Fan adventure, here to answer a few questions. Sean Fay Wolfe is the author and he is one of the main inspirations for me writing my own Minecraft series. You can find book one here on Amazon US & Amazon UK.

But enough about that, let's get on with the interview, I have been excited about this one for a while so I hope you enjoy it.

Hi Sean, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview. I am super excited to have you here and pick your brains. I understand you’ve been very busy right now, what have you been up to?

I'm doing well, thanks for asking. I'm in a bit of a transitional period now that the Elementia Chronicles trilogy has concluded. Many fans have asked me for more Elementia books, and so I've started a new series that takes place in Elementia... sort of an Elementia Chronicles sequel series. I also have several other non-Elementia related writing projects that I'm working on, one of which my agent is currently pitching to publishers. Beyond writing, I'm entering my third year of college, and I'll be changing majors to focus on film. 

So I would love to hear about your journey to publication, how did you go about getting traditionally published with Harper Collins?

My journey through publication was unorthodox. I didn't write Quest for Justice with the intent of publishing it; I only self-published it after my younger brother reacted very positively to it. I had no idea what I was doing at first, and my family and I sort of figured it out as we went along. We mainly focused on social media promotion at first, and then after receiving a letter from a local student I started giving presentations about the writing process to schools, which further broadened my reach. On top of this, I joined the Association of Rhode Island Authors, and through connections made in that group I landed an interview with Publisher's Weekly. This article was what changed everything; I was approached by several agents and publishers immediately after my story was published. My series had several qualities which were very attractive to publishers... it was a series by a young author, about a popular video game, and already had a following with a sequel about to be published. I signed a contract with HarperCollins in March of 2015. Quest for Justice was published in July of 2015, The New Order in October of 2015 followed by Herobrine's Message in January 2016. I was self-published for a little over a year before  being picked up by HarperCollins, and in less than a year after that, all three books were published... that's an insanely fast turnaround in the publishing world.

So how long did it take you to write each book? They’re quite big books as well, was it easy to do or did you struggle every now and then?

It took me about two years to write Book 1, one year to write Book 2, and eight months to write Book 3. Although it did get easier as I got more experienced, I did experience frequent stretches of writer’s block, which still happens to me today. I'm the type of author who writes in explosive bursts, where sometimes I'll be blocked for weeks and other times I'll write a hundred pages in 24 hours. So all in all, I'd say that while there was some frustration with the writer’s block, it was mostly enjoyable.

What can you tell me about your writing process? Are you a planner and plotter or do you just sit down at your computer and go for it?

I'm definitely a planner when it comes to writing. I had all 91 chapters of the Elementia Chronicles series planned out before I finished writing Book 1. I like to know where the story is going so that I can add in points of continuity for observant readers to pick up on. That being said, I don't treat the plans like the word of God or anything... if I feel like something needs to change mid-story, I'll adapt the story around the changes.

Obviously, your books are inspired by Minecraft and the gaming world, where id the actual idea for the ‘Elementia Chronicles’ come from?

The idea for the Elementia Chronicles came from my own experiences playing Minecraft online. I would often see new players being picked on by the older players, and I thought that the story of a war between the old and new players would be an interesting concept for a story.

The final book in the ‘Elementia Chronicles’ came out January of 2016. Do you have any more plans to write and release more books? If so can you tell us what you are working on right now?

I already mentioned some of the new projects that I've been working on, but I'd like to reiterate how thrilled I am to be working on new projects. I loved writing the Elementia Chronicles, but I'm ready to bring some new stories to life in the world of Elementia, and I'm particularly excited to be working on my new series.

I would love to hear more about your gaming company, how did that come about and what are your plans for the future?

I originally created Diamond Axe Studios as a platform to host some online games I made. However, now I am using it as a production house for all of my future endeavors. While I haven't done a ton with the company yet, I have some big plans, including a YouTube network and several other ideas.

Thank you so much, Sean, for taking the time to answer my questions. It has been wonderful having you on my website.

Thanks for choosing to interview me. If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask.


For more information about Sean and his book check out the links below:

(all links will open in a new window)

Website
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Instagram
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Blog Tour: Death Plays a Part | Vivian Conroy



I don’t really read crime as a rule only because it doesn’t really do it for me. Also if it happens to be a bit gory and a bit bloody then I avoid because I am a big wimp.

But this mystery from Vivian Conroy is an enjoyable and exciting romp through the investigation of who actually killed the most hated man in the village. With a brilliant cast of characters including the wonderful Dolly the Dachshund, who is very sweet and I wish she was real. And that she was mine.

The world building and the setting was well done, and it really gave me many wonderful mental visuals of the fictional Cornisea and many people who lived there and featured in the story. I adore villages and towns that have this very rural kind of setting and this is what Cornisea was for me.

Guinevere is a fabulous character and a wonderful protagonist, and she has a wonderful name as well. She is feisty and determined and makes it her priority to get the bottom of the crime. She works well with Oliver and this pairing is great and adds so much to the story.

I must say that I hate to be wrong, but this book made sure I was wrong at every turn and that is a good thing. I had a bit of a tough time trying to figure things out, as well as trying to figure out the clues and I was thrown off the scent a million times and found myself getting frustrated with my ineptitude as a detective. I am not a detective and never will be, but this book had me guessing and getting very invested in the story which is a credit to the skills of Vivian as the author.

Everything moves along at a good pace and I must say I never found myself getting bored. It was a wonderfully cosy mystery, that I must say really lends itself to reading on a rainy evening with a massive mug of hot chocolate which is what I did.


A lovely and cosy mystery, I gave this book 4/5 Stars.

Buy it HERE

Vivian Conroy Amazon Page HERE