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Book Review – Oil & Water by Lara Ann Dominick

I wrote this 5 star review for Chic Lit Café

A spellbindingly scrumptious paranormal love story, Oil and Water is slick, sophisticated and gritty.  A real Vampire masterpiece!

Normally, I like to start with the characters but… the plot – wow, I loved it!  The twist wasn’t obvious and when I saw it coming, I sighed with satisfaction.  Ancient vampires move in the shadows, mixing with humans but keeping their identity hidden, well most of the time!  The Vampire Council has set up rules which are broken upon peril of death.  Weaving their way through the council and breaking rules in secret are the deadliest of the ancient ones.  A story as ‘old as time’ that starts in the 1700s, flows through time and erupts in the modern day blurbs of Tampa, Florida.

Elsie, a lovely twenty-eight year old nursery assistant is enjoying her life when she accidentally bumps into a hunk wearing sunglasses at The Watering Hole.  Until this moment, she had been dreaming that her life would be anything but commonplace.  Cyrus – the hunk, is sweetly mysterious and oh so handsome and before you can say Peter Rabbit Elsie is falling in love.  Elsie is a strong woman, who has her flaws but also knows right from wrong.  Straight away the reader is rooting for her as she comes face to face with unprecedented events.

Oil and Water is a true Vampire-fan’s delight.  All the elements to a great paranormal are here, including Vampire hierarchy and new conversions.  But, there is much more to this story than sucking blood.  Stella characters bring the pages to life and make this a book you simply won’t be able to put down! Lara Ann Dominick’s writing is smooth and easy-to-read.  Oil and Water is hands down the best vampire story I’ve come across since ‘Interview with a Vampire’.

Review warning: Before you rush off and buy any book that someone reviews you should read the free sample chapters provided on Amazon, this way you can decide for yourself if this book is your cup of tea or not.  Happy reading everyone!

If you would like to know more about editorial reviews, please contact Chic Lit Cafe

Amazon, Book Clubs, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – Top Producer by Laura Wolfe

I wrote this review for Chic Lit Cafe

Totally engrossing, fast paced, and super suspenseful Top Producer is one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2020!    Laura Wolfe had me on the edge of my seat! 

Twenty-four year old Mara Butler has had a string of misfortune including being dumped by her boyfriend and fired in the same week.  Even her mum and dad don’t hold out high hopes for her.  She’s a young woman who’s a bit of a klutz, struggling to pay a mortgage (for an apartment she should never have got) who attracts negativity wherever she goes.  But she has a dream.  Glued to programs about real estate, she’d dreaming of becoming a big time realtor.

Lying at her interview, saying she had walked out of her last job when really she’d been fired gives her interviewer a glimpse into her personality.  Add to that shoes that don’t fit and mismatched clothes, and Jacqueline Hendersen can see two things, Mara needs money and she lies – making her perfect for the job!  Becoming Jacqueline’s personal assistant at Greystone fills Mara with hope of fulfilling her dreams.  Tipping her last twenty bucks into the homeless guy’s lap, and determined to make money to help with her sisters medical bills, Mara is all set, sleeves rolled up, notebook open, ready to fly.

The trouble with flying high is that there is a long way to fall.  Things aren’t quite how Mara expected them to be.  Some deals seem a bit shady and her boss is extremely demanding.  Add to that the constant warnings about Jacqueline, and Mara reluctantly takes off the rose-colored spectacles.  I mean just how ‘creative’ can one get when selling property while still remaining within the law?  Can the lure of earning big and having success turn a good person bad?  Maybe that person always had a little gray inside them just longing for an outlet?  The real question is, what line is Mara willing to cross?      

Laura Wolfe’s story-telling is crisp, clean and well-written.  Top Producer is indeed a novel of suspense.  It is a gripping page-turner that comes highly recommended by Chick Lit Café.

Review warning: Before you rush off and buy any book that someone reviews you should read the free sample chapters provided on Amazon, this way you can decide for yourself if this book is your cup of tea or not.  Happy reading everyone!

If you would like to know more about editorial reviews, please contact Chic Lit Cafe

Amazon, Book Clubs, Goodreads, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books

Box Set Review – Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere – based on a book by Celeste Ng

What makes a woman a mother?  Does every mother deserve to be one?  Big, big, big issues are dissected in this truly amazing story. Looking at relationships from different points of view, how daughters see their mothers. How mothers see their children.  Image is smashed apart with a sledge hammer in this thoroughly gripping series.  I can’t rate it high enough.

In a way I wish I had read the book first, because now I’ve seen the series I don’t think I can read it.  The series was just that good.  The acting was brilliant, and my husband and I were on the edge of seats throughout the whole thing – which we binged watched!  When the final credits went up Andrew said, ‘I think that’s one of the best things we’ve ever watched’ so it’s not just for women.

Stunning Kerry Washington (who plays Mia Warren) had me in tears repeatedly.  The story is so moving, and the acting so real.  When my toes start flicking up and down it’s because I’m trying to rein in the tears.  Let’s just say my feet were hardly still!

Quick synopsis:  Mia Warren and her daughter Lexi turn up in the sleepy town of Shaker Heights.  Obviously on the run from something Mia won’t sign a year’s lease, on an apartment she rents from Reese Witherspoon’s character, Elena Richardson.  Both women have daughters… and problems.  Elena is ‘Miss Adorable’ of Shaker Heights, beautifully turned out, beautiful house, beautiful children, wonderful husband, her life is just perfect!  But perfection turns out to be an image that needs smashing, because her children are struggling to be… normal.  Mia, a stunning, creative artist/photographer, has a secret that’s eating her up and stealing her joy.  Sparks fly as these two very different, strong women get to know each other.

Reese Witherspoon does a wonderful job of showing us who Elena really is.  I literally yelled at her at one stage I was so worked up… that’s great story telling.

So read the book or watch the show, but whatever you do… don’t miss out on this amazing story.

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Book Review – The Shining by Stephen King

As part of my research for Hope in Blackshaw Moor, which is a Romance-Thriller, I decided to do a little light reading… and dived into Stephen King’s 1977 The Shining!

I am not a fan of horror or anything bloody or gory, so I planned to ‘skim-read’ through and just get a feel for the book opposed to a concentrated read.  Well best laid plans and all that don’t always go as imagined and I ended up reading the whole book from front to cover.

I was pleasantly surprised for the Shining book is a lot meatier than the film.  I confess to seeing the film in my early twenties before I firmly made up my mind to steer clear of horror.  The film had my pulse racing until quite frankly I felt sick.  It was one of three films that put me off horror for life.  As the film was released in 1980 I should imagine that most horror fans of today would find it laughably tame, such is the fall of our innocence.

Without the dramatic, pulsating boom of background music that allows you to prepare for the frightening stuff in a film, the book was far more enjoyable.  Firstly, not picked up in the film (obviously in an hour and a half there is only so much story you can portray) is the fact that this book’s main character actually isn’t (honey I’m home) Jack, it’s his son Danny.  Btw ‘honey I’m home’ doesn’t feature in the book.  Danny has the Shining, a seventh-sense that gives him glimmers of the future.  The story dives into depth about the relationship between Danny and his father, that alcoholic, bad-tempered man who broke his arm, yet who he idolizes and loves as any son loves his father.  Stephen King takes his time building the characters of this family, making all three of them very real, which ultimately becomes the true psychological horror of the story.  For how can a loving father turn into a man who wants to slaughter his wife and son?  Is it the ghosts that roam through Overlook Hotel or is it the hotel itself that’s haunted… or could it possibly be the horror that resides inside a person is released in the right (or should we say wrong) circumstances?  Danny sees it all happen way before it actually occurs, yet clings to the fact that he knows his father loves him and would never hurt him, right until the end, and that is impetus behind this well told story.

What I didn’t like, (remember it was written in 1977) is that thoughts are inserted mid-sentence, throwing you off balance and making you re-read to fully understand.

What I loved, the love that Danny held for his father despite everything, and the ending, which is much, much better than the film.

This book is so old that if you fancy reading it you probably know someone who has it on their bookshelf gathering dust so you could borrow a copy.  Or charity shops are bound to hold several dozen copies of it.  However, if you’re a kindle fan here is the link below to Amazon.

Review warning: Before you rush off and buy any book that someone reviews you should read the free sample chapters provided on Amazon, this way you can decide for yourself if this book is your cup of tea or not.  Happy reading everyone!

Amazon, Book Clubs, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – Cancionero by Randolph Parrish

I wrote this review for Kids Lit Book Café

Before I start the review, I just want to take a moment to mention reviews given on Amazon and othe platforms by the grammar-police. If I had gone off the reviews on Amazon I might not have picked this book, and what a shame that would have been! It could use a bit of old spit-and-polish, but then quite honestly most books do. I am so glad that I am able to see beyond the layout to engage with the beautiful story painstakingly told for us, the readers.

What a delightful gem Cancionero is.  Suitable for 5th grade upwards to adults, this engaging tale grabs your imagination.  Fantastic characters make this a wonderful ‘Children’s Western Historical’.

The glue that keeps you gripped to a good story is the protagonist.  Without that highly-liked and memorable person a story will fall flat.  No chance of that here, for in the small town of Cancionero – a place so hot that ticks and fleas die by roasting, there is a plethora of great characters, including a boy that no one wants.  Jeremy’s only possession when he turns up at the orphanage is his raggedy teddy, and his memories.  Immediately bullied by fellow orphan Shackle, Jeremy tries his hardest to slip into the background, a hard thing to do when it’s discovered he has the voice of an angel!

Randolph Parrish’s descriptions of the one horse town and all the people within it, capture the imagination and make it clear to see everything.  Besides loving the depth of personalities in this story, I thoroughly appreciated the story behind the words… that everyone (including a poor orphan boy and a drunk) has the right to be someone.  With encouragement, anyone can rise out of the situation and turn things around.  My favorite line from the book is when money obsessed Aloysius Twilder major of Cancionero, thinks God has answered his prayers with the arrival of Jeremy, for surely by sending the choir on tour he can not only get rid of the orphans for a while, but add money to his hoard!  Such are the creatures within this Western tale, that there is hope, even for the major.  I would love to be with a group of children who had just read this book and ask them what they might learn if they looked deep into the story.  Would they like me, see forgiveness, tolerance, acceptance and redemption?

Randolph Parrish has an almost artistic touch to his writing, the story burbles along like the flow of a sparkling stream, and seems almost like a string of sonnets.  This is one of the most pleasurable tales I’ve read for a long time, and therefore Cancionero comes highly recommended by Kids Lit Book Café.

If you would like to know more about editorial reviews please contact: Kids Lit Book Cafe

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Book Review – Best Foot Forward by Bea Stevens

I wrote this review for Chick Lit Café – Check out their site for reviews & book marketing.

Imagine Bridget Jones pretending to be Miss Marple, while working at Fawlty Towers and you have a good idea of what you can expect from this totally fun romantic comedy come cozy mystery by Bea Stevens.   

Liberty Lawrence (Libby to her friends) is on a who-done-it mission.  Hare-brained Libby is a day-dreaming expert, shoe-obsessed gal who is reeling from a cheating ex-boyfriend.  Money has been stolen from the hotel safe, and she’s pretty sure she knows who took it!  But who would listen to her when she points the finger at the woman who stole her man?  She definitely has trouble in convincing the handsome Sergeant James Harper to believe her.  With her bestie and roommate Cassie, she must hide the truth from two snooping reporters; appease her ever-crotchety boss Mr Partington, and somehow manage not to cover the guests in peas or trample on their dogs!

There is a plethora of laugh out loud moments in this jolly romp, my best laugh coming from the scene where Libby is covered in cream, lying on the bed listening to Whale music when Sergeant Harper bursts in on her.  Her response, in an accent somewhere between Spanish and Russian, of ‘no Libbys here’ had me in stitches, but the situation doesn’t seem to put off the Sergeant who thinks she’s beautiful, even if a little accident prone.  Will the thief be caught?  Will Libby ever find true love?  And will she ever own a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes?Bea Stevens has crafted a thoroughly charming and easy-to-read cozy mystery/sweet romantic comedy.  Best Foot Forward is a delightful, engaging funny novel that I’m sure you will love.

Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – Eating the Forbidden Fruit by Roland Page

I wrote this review for Chick Lit Café – Check out their site for reviews & book marketing.

Sold our souls for greed – made mistakes without learning – death clears our vision (reminding us that life has a time limit).  These are some of things we encounter in Eating the Forbidden Fruit.  Although this is a piece of fiction, it reads like an autobiography, and readers of that genre will love it.  Roland Page has put together a gripping family/crime fiction that moved me to tears several times.

As I read this novel I was struck with the thought ‘what makes me qualified to review this?’ I’ve never felt that about a book before, it caused me to sit back and contemplate on what I was reading.  I am a middle-aged, white, suburban housewife from England.  This is a story about a young black man living in the US, in a world I know nothing about.  Then I saw it.  We are the same.  We live.  We bleed.  We die.  Our blood runs through our veins making our hearts beat while supplying oxygen to our brains, so that we can – think, feel, love and hope.  Whoever we are, wherever we live, we are the same.  That is how thought-provoking I found this.

This is a story about hope, and what defines a person.  Is it the choices we make?  Roland starts his life off not always making the right decisions, one day some of those choices come back to haunt him.  This book begins and ends with a court case, what happens in-between those chapters are the steps that lead up to that courtroom.  Like many things in life the pivotal catalyst of this event, is not one but many things.  We all fall from grace now and again, but it’s how we get up and move forward that defines us.  Without these struggles we might never appreciate the things we have.  This theory is highlighted in this marvelously gripping book.  Two worlds collide when Roland joins St Louis Metropolitan Police department, a shady past of drugs that’s entwined with the love and fierce loyalty of his family and friends, and his dedication to justice and doing the right thing in the force.

For me the underlying heartbeat of this novel, isn’t the troubled upbringing and crazy choice making, it is that having the love of a person that’s true and altruistic is stronger than the pull of the world, stronger than drugs, stronger than childhood ties and even stronger than habits.  Without love everything is meaningless.  My favorite line from the book is: Wherever Tracey laid her head was home to me.  A close second is: I wasn’t a complete asshole, just a part-time one! Roland Page bravely reveals his thoughts to us in this touching and tenderly-open story.  If you appreciate honest autobiographies, crime or family stories you are going to drink this up, enjoy the tale but then, if you’re like me, you might get to reflect on your own choices.

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Book Review – The Line Between by Tosca Lee

I wrote this review for Chick Lit Café. Check out their site for book marketing and great reviews!

The Line Between is an exciting, gripping thriller you won’t be able to put down!  Tosca Lee has now been firmly added to my must-read list, and this book sits with pride on my bookshelf. 

What a character Wynter Roth is: young, brave, loyal and determined.  I was mesmerized by the dramatic events that came her way.  Outwardly, submissive and accepting of the cult’s rules, yet inwardly wondering what freedom might be like.  If she could disappear with Jaclyn and her niece Truly, she’d risk crossing that line and would escape ‘New Earth’ taking her chances amongst sinners.  Her sister won’t leave now she’s married, so Wynter keeps her thoughts to herself and determines to stay and be content, so long as she can spend time with Truly.

Things don’t go smoothly, and someone’s plotted against her.  Now her dream of a free life has turned into a nightmare, as she’s thrown out of her home, passed through the security gates and into a world she doesn’t know.  She’s crossed over.  One and a half feet, the distance of a step, that line between Heaven and hell or a single leap of faith.  A face from the past, her mum’s friend Julie, turns up like a guardian angel to whisk Wynter to her home, offering Wynter a life she’s suddenly not sure she wants.  If this wasn’t dramatic enough, something is going on; something that scares Wynter to death as she begins to dread ‘the end’ has come.  People are getting ill and going crazy.  Slowly, a virus is oozing its way across America.  Fear levels rise.  Survival mentality kicks in and all hell breaks out.

The plot thickens when Jaclyn turns up in the middle of the night, carrying an extremely valuable secret.  The race is on.  Wynter ignores danger and sets off on a mission of vital importance, heading into a world she doesn’t know at a time when panic is spreading.  Will she make it in time?  Will she make it at all?  And who is Chase and can she trust him?

Lots of research make this story (frightening) a real possibility.  Life is stranger than fiction, they say, and actual events are the inspiration behind this fabulous piece of fiction.  Enthralling, smart, page-turning and unforgettable!  The Line Between is a thriller that grips you to the pages and keeps you wanting more.  After writing this review I’m going straight to pick up book two, A Single Light, I’m so excited, can’t wait to start reading to find out what happens next!

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Book Review – On Twilight’s Wings by Ariel Paiement

Blurb

She is the key to everything.
Until a few months ago, Cat’s only worries were about her foster parents and whether she’ll be shipped off to another boarding school over the summer. Dealing with a painful past and a friendless existence were at the top of her priority list.
All of that is about to change.
Shortly after she finds out that she’ll be remaining home for the summer, the visions, headaches, and terrible pains start. Then a new guy shows up in her quiet neighborhood, and, suddenly, her visions are showing events surrounding him and other strange beings.
Nothing is as it seems.
In this new world, nothing is the way it was, and everything requires her to become more than a frightened foster kid trying to make it through the day. She’s determined to get answers, but the more she sees in her visions, the less certain she is that she wants those answers.
But answers are coming.
Like it or not.

My Review of On Twilight’s Wings (The Eclesian Chronicles Book 1)

4/5 stars

This is a well written, enjoyable YA fantasy, with strong characters and an interesting storyline.  I love stories about Angels and really enjoyed the love story between Cat and Gabe.

The reason for 4 stars instead of 5 is purely because of my past I struggle with stories of abuse and prefer more upbeat books so I can hide away from reality. There is also no ending which was disappointing, but glad to see this is book one and more will follow as I’d like to know what happens next.

Definitely a story young adult females will love.

Find out more about Ariel Paiement and check up on her reviews of other fantasy books on her wonderful blog.

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Book Review – Marriage and Ministry by Amanda Kai

For fans of Jane Austen, Marriage & Ministry by Amanda Kai is a must read. The author excels in making her writing style feel like a natural flow-on from Austen’s beautiful book Pride & Prejudice. Did you ever wonder what married life was like for Charlotte and William? Well wonder no more. Amanda Kai has woven together a beautiful Christian story, not only reflecting on historical attitudes but on Christian values.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the moral behind this story is how do we, as Christians, see other people who may currently test our grace and mercy? This book is so well written and beautifully edited. With wonderful characters, a great story line and values to boot, I can honestly recommend this as a great book. Also, I find a lot of Christian ebook novels really over priced, and I can’t afford to buy them. I am pleased to say that this is very reasonably priced at only $3.99 – a steal for such a beautiful book. Why not encourage this author by buying her book today? I’m sure you’ll love it as I did.

Born to Be

REVIEW:FAITH IN ABERTILLERY BY TRACY TRAYNOR

Susan, thnk you so much for such a wondeful review you have made me happy and given me so much encouragement to continue writing, thank you.

Susanlovesbooks

49987777._SX318_SY475_MY REVIEW:

Okay, for the first time, Tracy Traynor owes me a box of tissues! Wow, she just ripped out my heart, stomped all over it, and I didn’t even see it coming! Keep the tissues close by as you are reading FAITH IN ABERTILLERY .  She will have your emotions all over the place. I have never read any other books by Tracy Traynor before but I know FAITH IN ABERTILLERY won’t be the last! Wow! What an awesome story. Once I started reading, it was very hard to stop! Tracy makes her readers feel every emotion her characters are feeling to the point where you feel as if you are right there, struggling along with them.

Faith needs to find a job and quickly.  Her mother relies on her as well as Bertie.  She begins working for Lord Geoffrey Driscoll as a maid.  Before that, she was a…

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Born to Be

Faith in Abertillery by Tracy Traynor

Thank you for a lovely review 🙂

Lisa Everyday Reads

Historical Romance

With ‘An Officer & A Gentleman’ feel, and a Christmas Day ending, this is a perfect festive season, feel-good book. She’s given up on love. He’s marrying for money. But God has other plans…

South Wales, 1905. Faith only believes in the certainty of pain and suffering. Born with a club foot and harboring a dark secret, the barmaid can’t escape her sinful past. But after the country’s religious revival puts her out of a job, hope sparks when a handsome aristocrat gallantly offers her a second chance.

Lord Geoffrey Driscoll fears his estate will run out of money before he can find a suitable bride. However, the devout nobleman can’t keep his mind off the stunning redhead despite her lowly status. As the attraction between them grows, Lord Driscoll is torn between his need for a wife of means and his heart.

As Faith falls for Lord…

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Angels and Demons, Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Reviews

Book Review – From Witchcraft to Christ by Doreen Irvine

Wow – what a book! I wasn’t expecting to be so emotional or brought to tears so many times as I was.  Doreen recounts her life story in this book in a very matter-of-fact way, despite having a very dramatic life she tells her story plainly and simply, in easy to read and easy to understand language.  Whereas, ‘This Present Darkness’ is an author’s artistic license to interpret the Bible’s teaching on spiritual warfare, ‘From Witchcraft to Christ’ is the real life happening of spiritual warfare within a person’s life.  Astounding, astonishing and moving beyond words.

Doreen Irvine

As a person who has never come face-to-face with the supernatural (and hasten to add that I am happy for it to stay that way) I do acknowledge the Bible as true in its entirety.  What that means is… I cannot discount the parts that I am a little afraid of and more than a little don’t really want to believe.  But the verses are there for all to read and believe.    

Ephesians 6: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Jesus himself cast out demons from people, do we believe this?  I have to say yes because I can’t break up the Bible into section and only read those verses that I feel comfortable with.  Matthew 8:28-34:  When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.  “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”  Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”  He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

I don’t want to dabble in the dark, nor do I wish to come face-to-face with a demon in order to cast him out.  But, I have felt the call to prayer.  Both of these books from my ‘research’ list have touched and moved me to tears and prayer.  I am burdened with the ever-growing oppressiveness of evil seeping – seemingly without opposition, into the world that is slipping steadily into immorality, where people seem blind to notice the loss of innocence.  I know a great many Saints are praying, if they weren’t we would be lost already, to those prayerful warriors go my eternal thanks.

From Witchcraft to Christ by Doreen Irvine on Amazon.com

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Book Review – This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti

In research for my next novel I selected 10 books to read, ‘This Present Darkness’ was book no 2 on this list.

Well, wow, what can I say?  I certainly hope my next book ‘Hope in Blackshaw Moor’ turns out to be a page-turner like this book by Frank Peretti!

This is one of those books that, although it starts interesting, it starts slowly.  Then it builds and builds into a tense crescendo that explodes towards the end.  I loved the pace, the steady build had me on the end of my seat, and by the time I was two-thirds of the way through nothing was going to make me put the book down!

The characters are very real, and our main protagonists are thoroughly lovable, whereas the antagonists are easy to ‘boo’ at.

Although first published in 1986 (some 33 years ago) this book hasn’t aged.  In my opinion it is quite a classic thriller.

Taken from Eden.co.uk website:  Ashton is just a typical small town.  But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful pastor begin to compare notes, they suddenly find themselves fighting a hideous New Age plot to subjugate the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. This Present Darkness rivals The Screwtape Letters with its keen insight into spiritual warfare and the necessity of prayer.  It is fast-moving, riveting reading, ranking with the best thrillers on the bookshelf.  Readers have picked up more than 2.5 million copies since its publication in 1986, and, with its companion volume Piercing the Darkness, it has sparked great interest in spiritual warfare over the years.

If we only knew the reality of spiritual warfare I am sure our churches would be full.

I was captivated by the angels and demons that fight over the town and the people.  I really enjoyed the way the people (with a couple of rare exceptions) never saw the spiritual warfare going on all around them.  I was completely emotional at the end when the town’s believers rally together for prayer.  What an image!  This is well written and very biblically correct.  I can’t recommend it enough, this is simply a fantastic read.

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Born to Be, Christian Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Fairies, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Oracle's Quest, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

5 Days to a #1 BestSeller

I thought I might share how I recently got to be a Amazon UK BestSeller. Below is a graph showing the dates, who I used to promote, how much I was charged and how many sales I received. Hopefully, from the below you will be able to ascertain whether running consecutive promotions is something you might consider.

Promoter Cost UK     USA CA AUS Total
Weds 11th Book Raid $2.16 2 4     6
Thurs 12th Reading Deals $29.00          
& Books Go Social $39.50 1 7   1 9
Fri 13th Fussy Librarian $24.00          
& Book Cave $25.00 1 34   1 36
Sat 14th BookBub (not on in USA) $188.00 78 6 18 21 123
Sun 15th Books Go Social $39.50 7 4 3 2 16
All 5 days Amazon Ads $25.00   2     2
Total promotion cost $370.00 89 57 21 25
Total Sales 192

I reduced the price of ‘Idi & the Oracle’s Quest’ from $2.99 to $0.99 on Tues 10th Sep. On the 10th I received 3 sales and this can confidentally be accounted for by friends on FB sharing my post and also tweeting. Throughout the entire 6 days I tweeted numberous times and it is hard to know if any sales came from these tweets. I use Bitly to monitor link clicks on Twitter and in total I had 122 clicks, whether a few of these resulted in sales is hard to determine. I also can’t be 100% sure if the sales on the lines match the promoter as there would of course been a merging of promotions at certain times. This time round what was dissappointing for me where the two Amazon Ads I ran, normally these bring a much higher amount of sales.

Although I didn’t break-even during this promotion, let alone make a profit, that wasn’t the object of the exercise. The point of this campaign was exposure, to which end I am very confident to having received a measure of success.

The biggest success, of course, comes from the BookBub sales in the UK which took me to #1 and awarded me the Best Seller badge, which I can assure you I was over the moon about and opened the champagne to celebrate!

With a book only earning $0.34 per sale you can see I only received back a 5th of output. However, besides the books sales I received 6 audio sales, at a far better rate of return, and had many downloads with KDP Select, some days hitting over 3500 pages read, which in turn generates a fair income.

The last thing that upped my return were sales on my other books in the series, both book 2 and 3 sold 8 copies each at full price of $2.99.

Do I think the promotion was successful, and would I do it again – yes and in a heartbeat. It’s only been a couple of days since the promotion stopped and I’ve already had a review, just can’t beat that.

Born to Be

My Review Of IDI &The Oracle’s Quest (Born To Be-Book 1) by TN Traynor

Thanks so much to Katrina for this lovely review.

Katrina Marie

My Review Of

IDI &The Oracle’s Quest (Born To Be-Book 1) by TN Traynor

IDI & The Oracle’s Quest is a magical story with many different and wonderful characters. This is the perfect book to read when you have a free day and a long evening. I felt that this book expresses that everyone is special through the character IDI an Orphan living a life where he doesn’t feel loved or understood and doesn’t feel special at all. But life and growth can make all the difference.

The story itself follows Marcus and the band of brothers as they prepare to meet the chosen one. However, Marcus is sent by a magic oracle to help IDI discover he is magical and special and hopes he will help him discover the chosen one. However, will Marcus convince IDI of his hidden powers? Will they go on a journey to find the…

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Amazon, Book Clubs, Fairies, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – In For A Spell by Sharon Clare

Magical, enchanting, romantic, heartwarming… just a few words to describe this lovely book. Ever since I was little I have loved fairy tales. The magic, the mystery, the happy-ever-after. In For A Spell is definitely an adult (quite adult in one particular section!) fairy tale – and I loved it!

Finn, the interfering Elf, reminded me so much of Rumpelstiltskin it just made me smile every time he turned up on a page. This book is, however, much more than a fairy tale. For a start it’s a time-travelling romance, and a really good one at that. Maisie Armstrong is a wonderful character. I loved reading about the virtues that we nowadays would consider ‘old-fashioned.’ And who wouldn’t want to travel back in time to a place where honour was held in high regard? Especially if there was a tall, handsome, complicated laird Thane McKendrick waiting to sweeep you off your feet? This story is told really well, it flows smoothly and held my attention on every page. The theme takes you on a debate as to what really defines love and it’s importance in society in general, rather than just in your own life. Quite thought provoking. If you’re an adult, who like me, still loves a bit of magic, then this is a book you should read.

Sharon Clare has written other books and I really look forward to reading them. She is also an artist and offers book cover designs for authors. Sharon’s web page

Born to Be

Author – Narrator Interview

TRACY TRAYNOR – STEVE WHITE

Hi Steve

I need to start by saying thank you for narrating my books.  I think you do a wonderful job of portraying my characters and bringing the stories to life.  I never could have afforded to pay up front the recommended thousands of dollars for the narration of my books.  Without royalty share, I can honestly say I would have no audiobooks.  It really was a good day when you popped a comment onto Facebook saying you would narrate my books for me.

I have been looking into how you promote audiobooks and during that process I came across some facts about narrating which I didn’t know.  This instantly made me appreciate you, and Stevie Zimmerman (who narrated Grace in Mombasa) so much more.  I say more, because in all honesty I did already appreciate both of you already, today just increased it.

This got me to thinking about why you might choose profit share and so I decided to invite you to this short interview, so that I and others, can learn what motivates narrators.  So here we go…

What first drew you into narrating as a possible way of making a living?

Narrating was an idea initially for my good friend Harriet, more of a hobby than a living really.

What do you most enjoy about narrating?

The challenge of different accents, the chance to read great stories and have the characters come to life,

I understand that it can take a narrator up to 5 or 6 hours to produce 1 hour of audio, so for example, Idi & the Oracle’s Quest is 7.15 hours long, meaning this could have taken you 40 hours – a full weeks work, to narrate and produce.  With this in mind why were you happy to accept royalty share when there is no guarantee of making your weeks pay up?

I enjoy narrating – it’s a good hobby. I make a penny or two here and there but in the end it’s a good hobby. I also get to practice voices – which I can then use if in a stage production.

How do you select the books you want to narrate?

Reading the blurb can do it, reading the author’s bio can do it. There are some stories that I always wanted to have a go at such as Sherlock Holmes – one audiobook would have been good – so far it’s about 90!

What attracted you to the ‘Born to Be’ series?

The story sounded full of life and didn’t disappoint.

How did you decided on what kind of accents my characters would have?

They seemed to come to mind as soon as I started reading. I tried to group the witch clans with a certain region and as new characters are introduced, pick what seemed to be appropriate based on their speech.

With book 1 & 2 narrated on Audible, what has inspired you to carry on and narrate the last in the series, Idi & the Sirocco Witch, when we really haven’t had many sales for the other two books yet?

Can’t do book 1 and 2 and leave 3 out. The sales will come to this series once people start to get the word.

Are you enjoying book 3, and if so, what is it that you like?

Very much – all the characters are great, even the naughty.  As the build from book 1 and 2 has gone, Idi is indeed becoming what we expect. The story continues as though you had never stopped writing, sometimes sequels can have you wondering what is going on.

What acting choices do you make when you’re going to narrate a book?  When you narrate are you expressive with your hands and face, do you feel like you become the characters or are you simply reading?

I do fling the arms and thankfully don’t have a mirror to hand so see the faces I pull.

What advice would you offer to people who want to become narrators?

Pick a few small (30-60min) projects first. This will allow you to gauge the time required to produce a 7+ hour book. I use a spreadsheet with each chapter listed – the start, end and total pages and current progress, a 1 for record, edit, listen and upload. This allows you to gauge the time required a chapter – so perhaps 5 pages will take you 15 minutes or so – 15 pages 45 etc. this could allow you to record out of sequence based on time spare on a given session. Depending on the pagination, 5 pages can seem like a lifetime to record.

Also, if producing older material, it will be good to have a lookup for words that have fallen out of use.

Do you think the ACX royalty share scheme is good?

(NO)

It allows for authors to get an audiobook published without an upfront payment.

It allows the narrator to want to do a good a job as possible to ensure that the book sells

What other books have you narrated?

Many – up to 150 now. Lots of Sherlock Holmes stories – published by MX Publishing and Belanger Books. Quite a number of Horror titles, and so far 13 Hotdog Man books which are fun to do.

Where can authors find you if they would like to approach you to consider their books?

Via email or my Facebook profile, look for “Steevin White” – this spelling is also due to my friend Harriet – it’s how she spells my name.

Or my audio page “Steve White audio work” (https://www.facebook.com/SteveWaudio/).

Thanks Steve!  It was really interesting to get the POV of the narrator and to learn a little more about the hard work they put into producing an audio.  I think I have been very lucky to get my books out there via royalty-share, so thank you very much for picking up my books.

Born to Be

AutoCrit ~ what a marvelous tool

AutoCrit

When you’re someone like me, who struggles so much with grammar and the rules of good writing, then this tool is a lifesaver!

The above is my score for Faith in Abertillery before sending it to the professional editor. This is amazing for me.

If you score over 85 and apply for a Quality Mark from BooksGoSocial you could get a gold badge! This is a good thing to have to show people that the quality of your book is to a certain standard.

My score used to be appalling, however, using AutoCrit is teaching me what to look out for and how to improve my writing. It is like having a teacher as far as I am concerned.

Just the Grammar section alone, is worth every penny, but there is so much more to this tool that I just can’t recommend it more highly. The very first time I ran my first book through summary I discovered I had used the word ‘lovely’ 138 times!

The pacing tool is also fab, showing you where your chapters run slow or too fast. There is also a comparrison tool to compare your books to well known authors. I have been using it for a year now and don’t know how I managed without it. I am learning more and more every day.

You can get a 10-day trial for $1 and for anyone thinking about it I think this is a fab service, if you play around for 10 days and decide it’s not for you all it’s cost you is $1!

Anyway, I’m just that happy with it I wanted to share it with you. 🙂

Whatever tool you use to help your writing I hope it works for you, good luck everyone, knock some cracking stories out!

Amazon, Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books

Faith in Abertillery ~ The Blurb

Not only do I hate writing blurbs, but I’m awful at it. I don’t think I’d even want to buy a book after reading a blurb I’d written.

So what do you do when you can’t stand doing something? Well you get someone else to do it for you of course! And that’s exactly what I did for Faith in Abertillery. I can’t afford to get all my books done professionally, in fact out of six releases I’ve only paid for 3 blurbs. Time will tell whether it’s is beneficial and actually does help sales.

The below blurb was created for me by Best Page Forward

Hoping to launch the book in the beginning of August 2019, watch this space for updates.

Amazon, Book Clubs, Epic Fantasy, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – Darkspire Reaches by CN Lesley

Ok, I admit it, I’m a fantasy fan through and through. What I’m an even bigger fan of is, fantasy books that are both gripping and easy to read. This means that, Darkspire Reaches has to go onto my list of really enjoyable fantasy books.

Raven is a wonderful heroine, a witch, who from the first page, brings the story to life and makes you want to know what happens to her. The author carries Raven’s story from start to end in a smooth, page-turning way. Poor Raven has it tough, her life seems to take her from the frying pan to the fire, over and over. Someone weaker might have been destroyed, but Raven uses it to mature her character. Diamonds are formed by heat and pressure, right? She isn’t the only main character though, and one of my favorites is Kryling, the endearing Firedrake who just simply has a great personality!

Oh how I enjoyed this well-written book! I can’t wait to read more books by CN Lesley.

I loved how the author took her time in explaining everything, while at the same time never once writing anything not necessary or boring.

The story line is unique – something quite hard to do when just about every story line possible to write has already been done in some way or another. Darkspire Reaches is filled with a rich tapestry of characters that just make this a really great fantasy read.

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Epic Fantasy, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Reviews, World Building

Book Review – The Crimson Deathbringer by Sean Robins

Do you think the Akakies will visit us soon? I do love a good joke.

Well wow, you would not believe that this was Sean Robins first book! At the end when I read his short bio and discovered he’s a teacher, that made sense – because the book, especially for a first novel, is beautifully edited, easy to read and well-structured.

If you’re a SciFi fan then you’re going to love this big book. It’s meaty (long and detailed) bringing all the characters to life, making you like and care for them. They’re real people, in hopefully, not so real circumstances. Normally long books lose me, but not so this one. Each chapter kept bringing everything to life, definitely could see it as a mini TV series. Loved the alien humour – who’d of guessed that four legs and antenna could host a joke prankster? 
I really enjoyed that you saw the ‘bad guys’ (aliens) through their own eyes so you could see each aspect of the story as it came together. Well I could go on and on, because as you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed this story – highly recommend. ps also loved the GOT references, nice touch 🙂

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

Free tools for creating media posts

I just found a new tool – absolutely free, for creating 3D images of your book covers. Love it, love it, love it. So easy to use, unlimited use and great PNG transparent images for using on ads. Want to try it out? Here it is 🙂 https://diybookcovers.com/3Dmockups

The other tool I use, to upload my pics and create ads, is Canva. Also free to use, although they have reduced the amount of stuff you can do for free it is still an amazing free tool. https://www.canva.com

This little ad just took me five minutes to create using the above two links. Why not give it a go?

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books

Coming soon…

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Manchester, Mombasa, Promotion Values, Reviews, World War 2

Sale alert – Grace in Mombasa

Hi everyone From today until 21st May ’19, Grace in Mombasa ebook is discounted from $4.99 to $0.99! Why not watch the 2 min video clip below to see if this is a book you might be interested in?