Wednesday, 27 April 2016

There Must be Horses by DIANA KIMPTON @dianakimpton

I just read the most wonderful story about horses and a 12-year-old girl hoping to get fostered. I had to share it with you and hope you get the chance to download and read.

It is currently on offer... so what are you waiting for?

"What a wonderful story! Suitable for older readers and adults alike, this is the story of Sasha, a 12 year old girl who has been traumatised by constant moves and an unsettled upbringing. However, when she goes to live in a temporary home in the countryside she finds herself surrounded by the one thing she loves - horses!

When she meets Meteor, a horse troubled by his own mixed past, she must overcome her own fears and learn to trust again.

I loved it and had a tear in my eye at the end...

It did help that my daughter rides so I have picked up a few things watching, but I think this story is suitable for anyone who doesn't know anything about horses too.

Highly recommended for both the story-line and beautiful writing."

Get your copy via Amazon now...

Thursday, 21 April 2016

HALF BAD Trilogy by Sally Green @Sa11eGreen

My daughter, aged 12, bought these books via Waterstones recently with vouchers from her Birthday. She is a voracious reader and I struggle to keep up with her since I do try to write myself - try being the operative word at the moment (sighs).

She took the last book, Half Lost, with her on holiday and was reading away in the car. I turned to look in her direction and noticed her face had dropped, as tears started to stream down her face. I hugged her to console her, but knew whatever it was it had really got to her.

Obviously, I was worried... and then she told me it was the book. Someone had died!

I had not read any of them so I tried to understand - but, as any reader knows you can't until you read the book.

So, I decided to read this trilogy and find out what had got her into such a muddle. I did try to read the last book first, but it does not make sense this way and I got annoyed - Nathan complains a lot at first in the last book.

So, definitely has to be read in order.

Here is the link to the website, HALF BAD, where you can find out more about the books before you read my reviews. There is a lot of information on here about the characters - black & white witches, half-bloods, etc. 

If you don't need any of this, read on...

I started Half Bad and I found it hard to get into. The writing style is different to others, and like Divergent, Hunger Games, etc it was brutal! I thought a lot of Girl with a Dragon Tattoo at one point.

My 3 star review on Goodreads

Let's start with the good... Obviously, I enjoyed this book since I read it in a day. The style is quite unique and I am amazed this was written by a female writer. Even though many times I could easily have placed the main character, Nathan, as a girl!

But, I do have issues. It just goes on and on... Torture, more torture, and yet more torture! How much can a kid take, even if he can heal himself?
It seriously made me think of some existing best sellers.
  • He is an orphan & a witch - rings of Harry Potter
  • He in obsessed with a white witch (who he barely knows) and has to drink blood to change - Twilight themed.
  • There is a LOT of brutality, even though he is a child, by those in control (white witches) who are obviously not so pure - Hunger Games anyone?
So, yeah, I will read on. My daughter bought the set on paperback and is raving about it. 
I really can't stand too much violence........

From this you can gather than I was interested, but not impressed by some of it. My brain had not engaged yet and started to think... I love books that get me wondering. The Lord of the Flies, Maze Runner, and other books like it are also pretty brutal. My son (aged 13) is a fan of the Gone series and I could not read past the first few chapters of the second book, after a horrific scene where a boy gets eaten by worms! Authors have wild imaginations.

Anyway, the second book, Half Wild, was something else. Now, we get into alliances, etc. I start to think of the Second World War, Star Wars, X-Men. Also, how society has changed and evolved over time and people don't always agree on this. How some have and others don't... the obsession of certain individuals on purity - illustrated in Divergent by the Erudite hunger for control and knowledge. But, I have to admit that I thought of Jacob in the Twilight Saga - especially how he went off on his own and lived as a wolf when Bella decided to marry Edward. Sometimes, reading other books taints how you view another.

My 5 star review...

OMG. I was not convinced by the first book, but this is something else!

So much going on. I can't help thinking about WW2 and the effect it had as I read this. But, there are so many threads alongside the theme. On to the next one... :)

Anyway, I was hooked on the story, so off I zoomed to read the last book, Half Lost.

I read until midnight last night & finished it in floods of tears....

My 5 star review this morning.

Wow... I do not want to give too many spoilers, but the ending to this book took my breath away.

I have read some of the reviews on Goodreads which hated it and I can see what they mean, BUT we will all die eventually unless you are a ... Read the book!
Nathan and Gabriel will be together for eternity, and if you believe in the soul this is the perfect ending.

I also suspected about Annalise all along and am happy it ended this way too. She was never a bad person, just confused and she made a bad call. Or did she? When in a war, both sides argue their case, or do they not?

There were so many threads in this trilogy. life & death, sacrifice, torture, true love, diversity, the role of men & women, the need to experiment, etc.

If you read Hunger Games or Divergent and want something different read this, but I warn you it is not what you expect. I have to admit the first book took a while to get used to, but the writing is addictive.

Like I said on my first review, I have to be honest, Nathan felt like a girl to me. But then, isn't that the point? We all have masculine & feminine qualities. Is it fair to say that we should not judge? For example, I have been told myself that I write like a male writer... What does that mean?

If a books makes me think as much as this one did it has to be a winner! Highly recommend.

So there you have it. Something unique and different
Vanessa :)

Sunday, 21 February 2016


I am amazed this is the first Thomas Hardy book I have ever read, and can't believe it took me this long to read one by this fantastic author! My husband gave me the DVD of "Far from the Maddening Crowd" and I decided to read some of his other works, this being one of them.

The plot of "The Trumpet-Major" is fantastic, with so many twists along the way that I was shocked on the last page at the outcome!

To summarise, Anne is a woman sought out by three different men... two brothers and the detestable Festus! The scenes where Festus gave chase made me laugh out loud and cringe at the annoying man's insistence!

The two Loveday brother's are the "Trumpet-Major", John and Robert (Bob), an able seaman.

Anne had her heart set on Bob before he leaves for a career at sea, and finds that he is to marry on his return. However, the woman he intends to marry, Matilda, is known by John to be not "honorable". To save his brother from a bad marriage he puts her off the marriage, and then tells Bob what he has done. Bob seeks Matilda out, but then gives up the chase and stays at the Mill to help his father - and in so doing decides that Anne is the girl for him after all.

His brother, John, is heart-broken since he had already tried to obtain Anne's hand in marriage to no avail - whilst Festus continues his pursuit.

Bob eventually gets the call back to sea (out of duty and honour - and the fact he does not really like working at the Mill), where his heart truly lies, and ends up on HMS Victory on whence Lord Nelson tragically died in the Battle of Trafalgar. Due to his bravery, he becomes a lieutenant and then, after another foolish encounter with another woman, decides to try to get Anne back! Now considering himself more worthy of her hand by his promotion.

But, unbeknownst to him, John had nearly managed to convince Anne that he was worthy of her hand after saving her from scalding water. However, when John finds out that Bob wants to secure Anne's hand he decides to let him have his go. Always thinking of what Anne might want...

Against these events, Uncle Derriman has been hiding his possessions from his nephew, Festus, and needs Anne's help to hide his precious documents.

Ultimately, who does Anne choose, and will Festus become a rich man on his Uncle's demise?

I have to admit that I did not expect the ending at all and leave you to read it to find out.

Considering that this book was published in 1880, I found it easy to read and gripping! Highly recommended and free to download via Amazon.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

FREE TO BE TEGAN by Mary Grand


"I have to admit that I was totally hooked by this book after reading the preview in the free eBook collection by the same author.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read, but it did slow down in pace in the latter part of the book. It did have a great ending and I was glad that Tegan found her way.

I was brought up as a Roman Catholic and as a teen I was lured into attended prayer groups & retreats. Therefore, I understood some of the "brainwashing" techniques that can be adopted. Although, I never saw anything like is described in this book.

The idea of being brought up in a "cult" of this nature is frightening. But, its amazing how easily you can be made to think that everything you do is evil and how quickly you can start to judge people.

Thankfully, I left when I realised that I had nothing to apologise for! But, I have to admit that the sense of community and "love" you experience is something I have struggled to find again. Support groups and prayer groups can be a positive experience for many overcoming abuse. It s a shame some people choose to exploit the weak and lead them into these communities.

I recommend this book as great value for money in a time when eBook prices for known authors seem to be sky rocketing. On a slightly negative note, I did find quite a few grammatical errors that started to annoy me on the latter part of the book. Excusing those, a fantastic read."

READ the Author Interview with Mary Grand by clicking HERE

Friday, 29 January 2016

A TALE OF MORAL CORRUPTION by @marshacornelius

WOW... this is extreme & definitely an 18+ read.

Having read "Losing it all" I expect nothing but emotion and a "shock factor" from the author, but this took it to a new level. It is almost like watching a slow-moving picture of the steady decline of humanity (through the MC, Mason), with a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I admire the fact that this book was written from a male POV. This helped to get that unique perspective. So many emotions that Mason felt are mirrored by woman today and in the past.

This story is a twist on feminism. What would happen if women were in charge and men were second-class citizens? What if women could have children via an artificial womb? Would women rule in a fairer society, ensuring the rights of all?

According to Ms. Cornelius - NO!

Women become harsh, lack any maternal instinct, only want to work, consider sex & BDSM sport, and enjoy watching men hack each other to death! WOW...

Don't misunderstand me though - this is a MUST read. I was hooked and gawped at many scenarios, whilst laughing out loud at others. It reminded me of how I felt when I read books like "Girl with a Dragon Tattoo". It's the gruesome bits that made me want to stop reading, but meant I just had to read faster!

Overall, I could not give a 5 because I could have done without some of the details, and Mason (like many of us) just needed a good shaking every now and again. Either way, a worthwhile read that is different from the norm.

Get your copy via AMAZON

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

SUMMER'S DARK WATERS by Simon Williams @SWilliamsAuthor

I have to admit that I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this book. Having read a lot of YA, children's books (especially with my children), I thought this was great!

I recently read another children's book that reminded me of "Lord of the Flies" the gruesome elements of the story made it harder for me to enjoy. I wonder why some authors make their stories so dark.

In contrast, even though this book does have some "darker" moments, Summer's Dark Waters is very entertaining and the story-line had me hooked.

The main character, Joe, is someone you want to like. A bit quiet, shy, different. In contrast to his friend, Amber, who wants to look out for him and is inquisitive and no push-over. Together, they discover that something is not right and Joe is special. The creation of a secret society to save the world from chaos is not a new concept, but worked very well here. I am intrigued about this group, which seems twisted in its ideals.

To save themselves, Joe manages to bridge the gap between our world and a new world, which the author creates. It is slightly reminiscent of Narnia... no animals, but strange folk all the same. A collection of the "Lost", a strange melee of individuals. Some from different worlds.

As an added bonus, the author included illustrations within the book, which added an extra dimension.

This book leads nicely on to a follow up, which is fab for children. You want to get them hooked on reading and this works brilliantly for me. Highly recommend.

*~I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review~*


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Friday, 8 January 2016

TALON by Carian Cole

I absolutely loved this book. Again, I was impressed by the style of writing of Carian Cole and this book was the perfect companion for STORM - a book I also loved.

Asia (love the name) is a woman with a troubled past who seems unable to meet her dream man. Talon is a rock star known for his "reputation" with women, who is fed up with the usual one night stands and disappointments that follow from them.

Both are ready for a new start and become willing guinea pigs for a social experiment. They agree to marry without meeting first... it's a modern "arranged marriage" come science experiment. The idea is funny and interesting. Trademark to the previous book I read, Storm, the attraction at first is non-existent, but as they get to know each other sparks fly - sizzling in some parts!

But, the story, which has an unexpected twist, and writing is fantastic and I got drawn into this world SO easily!

I would personally LOVE to see the whole Ambers & Ashes series as a TV series and hope someone takes note. It's time for a new kid on the block - move aside vampires, open the doors to rock stars! As far as I know it has never been done and I think its time for stereotypes to be cast aside.

Another fantastic novel - a MUST read in my books. But, take note this is for 18+ only due to the sexual nature and swearing! (I might add that even though I hate swearing in this case it makes the main character, Talon, cute & funny at times - weird, I know!)


Enjoy, Vanessa :)

Friday, 1 January 2016

SWAYING by Lucinda Blanchard

*~NEW RELEASE on #KindleCountdown deal~*

I met this local author recently and have started reading her book - a world I never knew existed... enjoy & Happy New Year! 

Vanessa :)

'Swaying' is Lucinda Blanchard's debut novel which is set on the Isle of Wight. Charlotte has one desire in life - she wants a daughter. But you can't choose what you have... can you?

Desire soon turns to obsession as Charlotte embarks on a difficult and controversial journey to sway the odds to have a girl; even though it threatens her marriage, her sanity, her two sons happiness and her friend's life.

How far is she prepared to go, and at what cost?

'Swaying' is available from Amazon in paperback and kindle. The kindle version is currently reduced to 99p/99c offer ends 5th January 2016.

Amazon - UK - US -

Social Media links - FacebookTwitter - Goodreads

My Review... 3 Stars

I have just finished reading this and I feel emotionally drained...

When I first found out about this book, I had my reservations about reading it, since I knew it would hit  a sore nerve. However, since I had met the author at the local library and I saw it on a KDP Countdown deal for only 99p I thought I'd give it a go.

Now, I have to say up front this is a very hard review to write. I know that getting a review that is a 3 may be considered by many authors to be a failure BUT let's be clear that this book is well written and an incredible debut. The problem is the subject-matter was one I found hard to stomach for personal reasons.

The premise of this story is about swaying the odds to have a girl not a boy.

When I found out I was having a baby I was over the moon and frankly did not care what it was. My parents were desperate for a boy and got three girls! When I found out I had had a boy after a difficult caesarian section I was overjoyed. But, in this book the character, Char, goes into a meltdown.

Char's relationship with her husband is so strange and I did not like him one bit. I could understand he was frustrated by her reaction, but I could not see what was special about their relationship. Ultimately, this is why we have children, isn't it? To have a family? I found their relationship hard to understand...

Then when she falls pregnant again after "swaying attempts" she again finds out its a boy. Now, at this point I'll admit that I had a girl - after another horrendous caesarian experience! Again, personally, I was glad that I was fine and that the baby was okay - the girl bit was a bonus (although a part of me felt bad for my son not having a brother)!

In this story, Char is scarred... she loves her boys but wants her girl!

I know of many couples who have had to resort to IVF and then adoption to have children and I find the whole premise of this book hard to swallow. However, I admire the author for tackling this head on and giving us an insight into the world others live in. Unfortunately, the damage caused by these obsessions is not always irreversible. 

I felt so sad when events unfolded and will not say more to not give too many spoilers. There are so many children looking for a good home in England at the moment. Is going to the expense of having a child, or in this case swaying, worth it? The pain caused by the need to have the perfect baby is surely not worth it... Parenthood is about more than having the perfect child. I know I always wonder how other parents do what they do, and many look at me wondering how I do what I do, and you know what? We all do our best.

In China, I believe parents prefer boys, so obviously in every culture, your personal upbringing, circumstances, etc, dictate what you view to be ideal. No-one ever seems satisfied! I missed my career for many years...

I am glad I read the book and hope you understand why for me it had to be a 3. When you have seen someone lose a child, or be unable to conceive... the sex of the child is irrelevant! Either way, like I said this is an incredible debut novel. I will be interested to see what the author comes up with next.