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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 – 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 – 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 – 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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Coming soon…

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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?

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Why are Christian books so expensive?

I love a good book with a good story, and if that book happens to promote Christian morals and standards then I am doubly-happy.  It is therefore, rather distressing that so many good books by Christian authors are priced out of my price-range.

Who is it that set a kindle book at $8 – $15?  Seriously, you can buy paperbacks for that amount of money in the UK.  Other genres don’t have their books priced so high – does this mean that Christians are greedy and money grabbing, or just good business men and women?  Bestselling authors set their prices really high, bleeding their readers dry because they know they will buy regardless of price.  So, does that mean that every Christian author thinks they are a bestselling author?

What on earth is going on?

I can’t set my book at that price; I want as many people as possible to be able to read it, so currently mine is set at $3.99 probably going to $4.99 next year, which I think is a reasonable price for an e-book.  And, 50% of my commission is being donated to Barnabas.

Please let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below, would love to hear what other people think about it.

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Grace in Mombasa – two endorsements

I’m so excited to say that I will probably have the kindle of Grace in Mombasa up by Friday 23rd November – a whole week early!

Grace in Mombasa 1 (1)

I’d like to share with you the two endorsements that I have had for the book.

Tracy Traynor’s writing transports you from World War 1 and 2 England to the courts of heaven, via Mombasa. With characters which pop off the page and straight into your heart, this is a book you will remember for a long time.  Wendy H Jones, author and member/webmaster of Association of Christian Writers.

The story of Grace captures the experience of many others who, though quite ordinary by themselves, find that the love of God propels them towards quite extraordinary endeavours.  Tracy is the author of Grace’s story but the inspiration was Moira Smith and the author of her story was none other than God himself, described in the Bible as the ‘author and finisher of our faith’.  I commend Tracy’s book Grace in Mombasa to you in the hope that, inspired by the story of Grace and Moira, you will become hungry for a story of your own and that you will turn to the great author of all our lives.  He already has a story prepared for you”  Sean McIntyre, missionary with Barnabas and now minister to the Assembly of God Church in Colchester.

author of our faith 2

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Only 3 weeks to go…

I'm not rubbish

When you’ve spent most of your life… and you’re 57 so that’s a pretty long time… thinking that you’re stupid and rubbish and an idiot, it can be hard to change.  I do believe I’ve come a long way to getting over low self-esteem but then in times like this, that old nagging voice “you’re an idiot” returns to throw me into chaos.

What is causing this sudden panic attack that I might not have changed after all?  The release of my new book. Aha, you may say, really? that all?  Unfortunately, yes.  I have poured myself into my latest book ‘Grace in Mombasa’ and the fear of rejection is making me ill.  I have to wonder why I put myself through it.  Writing the story itself was quite fun and even relaxing, but then editing started and demanded sweat and tears from me in an effort to get it to a level that people could enjoy it.  Then all the expense comes, professional editing for someone with dyslexia like me is crucial and must be paid for.  Then there is advertising and promoting to be done.  I’m sure my friends must be sick of hearing about my books.

And now when I am waiting for the first reviews to come in, there is nothing left but feeling sick.  Maybe I should give writing up and leave it to the more hardy people out there.

you_know_you_re_a_writer611

I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that people will enjoy Grace’s story, and until release date of the 1st Dec ’18 I am just trying to keep myself as busy as a bee and trying my hardest to switch off the anxious button!

Good news, getting an article in the local newspaper about the story – also keeping my fingers crossed to have a feature on Christian Premier Radio.

From war torn Newton Le Willows - to historical Mombasa

 

 

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Grace in Mombasa – release date 01/12/18

 

Release Date Sat 1st December 2018

I am happy to say, that Grace in Mombasa is now with a professional editor being polished.

The release date on Amazon will be Sat 1st December 2018.

I’m so excited and can’t wait for people to read it and find out what they think.

53 days to go….

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Grace in Mombasa ~ update

I’m happy to say, that I am now just about at the halfway mark of this beautiful story.

Inspired by true events ~ A book in two halves

The first half of Grace’s life is in England between 1912 – 1953.  The book picks up when Grace is 27 and WW2 has just begun.  Living in Newton Le Willows in England (half way between Liverpool & Manchester) Grace still lives with Richard, her father who is the local vicar.  Her Fiancee has joined up, and Eleanor, a land-army lady from London has moved in with them.

Land Army Lady

The story is portrayed through Grace’s eyes and we experience a tiny bit of what it was like here in the North West during the war.  Writing about the Manchester Blitz of 1940 was quite emotional after all the research I did about it.

manchester blitz

The book is going slower than I would have liked, but I just can’t skimp on the research, it is vital to make this story as authentic as I possibly can.

Still, I am longing to start the second half of her life which is lived in Mombasa, Kenya.

This story is fictional but totally inspired by Moira Smith, a lady I met in Mombasa, who briefly told me a small part of her life.

I am very happy to announce that I will be giving 50% of all my proceeds (from the sale of this book) to Barnabas Outreach Mombasa, so that in some way, the good works that Moira did may continue in her name.

I’m praying that Grace in Mombasa will bless them abundantly.

I’ll keep you updated on the process, if wishes came true it would be finished in time for Christmas.

Barnabus