blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Devil’s Poetry – Louise Cole

Today I’m hosting a review stop on the blog tour for Louise Cole’s The Devil’s Poetry.

Questions are dangerous but answers can be deadly.

Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends will be sent to the front line. Many of them won’t come back.

When a secret order tells her she can bring peace by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution – too easy. Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies.

The Order is every bit as ruthless as the paranormal Cadaveri.Callie can only trust two people – her best friend and her ex-marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides.

She must decide: how far will she go to stop a war?Dare she read this book? What’s the price – and who pays it?

Commended in the Yeovil Prize 2016, this is an action-packed blend of adventure, fantasy and love story.

Goodreads

Amazon

Louise Cole has spent her life reading and writing. And very occasionally gardening. Sometimes she reads as she gardens. She can be seen walking her dogs around North Yorkshire – she’s the one with a couple of cocker spaniels and a Kindle. She read English at Oxford – read being the operative word – and hasn’t stopped reading since.

In her day-job she is an award-winning journalist, a former business magazine editor and director of a media agency. She writes about business but mainly the business of moving things around: transport, logistics, trucks, ships, and people.

Her fiction includes short stories, young adult thrillers, and other stuff which is still cooking.

Her YA and kids’ fiction is represented by Greenhouse Literary Agency and she is also published on Amazon as one of the Marisa Hayworth triumvirate.

My thoughts: I wasn’t too sure about this book when I started it, ending wars with poetry is something I can get behind but also know it doesn’t work (see the WW1 poetry and the almost non-existent effect it had).

But this book ramps up the action from the moment two teenage girls blow up a barn to escape the creepy Cadavari.

A lot happens very quickly and the writing is pacy and plotting neat.

I liked the routing the more fantastical elements in reality, from the North Yorkshire setting of much of the story to the pop culture references. It made it much more relatable and easier to connect to the characters, especially Callie and Amber.

The sequel On Holy Ground is also out now, which hopefully will explain a bit more about the background of the Order and the sinister Cadavari.

blog tour, books, giveaway

Blog Tour: Something Changed – Matthew Williams

Today I’m hosting a stop on the blog tour for Matthew Williams’ Something Changed, his debut novel.

Life can change forever in a moment…

In the aftermath of marriage breakdown how do we pick ourselves up and start again?

In August 2014 Matthew Williams was forced to do just that. In Something Changed he navigates us through his journey with wit and wisdom, taking in divorce, dating and self-discovery while facing the dark spectre of depression.

Hopes and fears, laughter and tears – all are encountered along the way to learning some important lessons about love, loss and life.

‘Have you ever noticed how life’s biggest lessons are also the most painful? Maybe that’s just life’s way of making sure we don’t forget them…’

Needle in a Haystack – Dating for the Divorced

Who’d have thought dating could seem so much like, well, hard work?
Now, the obvious point to highlight from the off is that I can only speak for myself; if Brad Pitt or, errrrrrr, Harry Styles somehow found themselves on Tinder or Plenty of Fish, chances are it might not be much of a chore. But, for this forty-something from Middlesbrough, it ain’t easy, I can tell you. Even for a Brian Cox lookalike.
In the first flush of single life entering the brave new world of online dating (well, new to someone that has been in a relationship for nineteen years anyway), the overriding sense was one of excitement and possibility. And, in spite of an odd detour (dating, bloody hell…) my first experience of online dating – where I met a wonderful woman very quickly – turned out to be far from representative of the reality of seeking your perfect partner online.
Cards on the table time – I’m a bit weird. Although I’m not detecting many sharp intakes of breath here, let me explain what I mean by that: I’m not really designed for casual relationships and one night stands. I know, I know, I’m a bloke but what can I say, faulty wiring, I guess. I’ve always been the same, I prefer to get to know somebody and want to meet somebody that I can really connect with, someone that I can laugh with as we navigate life’s ups and downs together. Someone whose presence in my life makes me a better person and brings out the best that I have to offer. So you see, basically I’m soft as shite.
Anyway, so far she’s not on Tinder. Or Plenty Of Fish. Or OK Cupid… Hell, I’m getting depressed just typing those out. And really, I haven’t done too badly, I suppose. I’ve met eight or nine women for dates. One week I had dates with three woman planned (separately I might add). To many that might sound great, but you know what? It isn’t. Well, not for me anyway, because it’s not about numbers, it’s about meeting somebody that’s right. And that’s harder than I guess I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met plenty of nice people. I don’t really have any dating disasters to speak of (sorry to disappoint you) and I’m glad for the experiences that I’ve had – in the end you learn from them and when one day in the future I am with that special person I expect I will appreciate her all the more. But when you are looking for that special someone, especially at a relatively advanced age and after nearly nine years of marriage, it can all get… dispiriting. The dating treadmill has tired me out, many times. And not in THAT way.
There are only so many times that you can get to know somebody new, only so many times you can go on a first date, only so many times you can have the same conversation with different people, and there are only so many photos of forty-something women pouting (or suffering the effects of drinking vinegar?) that I care to see.

Goodreads

Amazon

Matthew Williams is an author, blogger, speaker and coach. He lives in the North East of England with his two young children. Matthew is passionate about positive change and turning life’s challenges into lessons for creating a better future. He hopes that by writing about his own experiences he will be able to inspire others to make positive changes in their lives.

Something Changed is Matthew’s first book. More of his writing can be found at his blog, Love, Laughter & Truth.

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To win a copy of Something Changed and a £10 Amazon voucher (two prizes available) click here and follow the instructions.

beauty, beauty boxes, cruelty free, haircare, latest in beauty, make up, reviews, skincare

Beauty Box Review: Winter Glamour by Latest in Beauty*

One of the worst things about winter is once Christmas is over the glamour quotient disappears. The velvet, glitter, sequins all gone.

But when Latest in Beauty sent me their Winter Glamour box it brought back a little sparkle.

This box is rammed with treats – and I’ve already played around with a lot of it.

Max Factor Creme Bronzer in Light Gold – I’m not great with bronzer, I think I get a bit confused about whether it should be like blusher or highlighter in terms of application but this is very pretty and shimmery.

This Works Plus Hair Elixer – this spray goes on your hair at night to improve its quality. It smells quite herbal and I definitely want to see if it helps my grumpy hair.

Nude by Nature Radiant Loose Powder Foundation – I’ve never used a powder foundation before – my bad skin as a teenager required thick cream/liquid and I’ve mostly used various liquid bases since then. I think this is lovely and silky and could work quite nicely over the worst patches when my liquid foundation isn’t enough.

Rodial XXL Lip Liner in Nude – I don’t really use lip liner as the lipsticks I wear don’t really seem to bleed but some of the newer ones I’ve bought are a bit feathery so this might be useful. And as a nude tone I reckon it’ll work under most shades.

Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Leave in Conditioner – I haven’t used this yet because I haven’t washed my hair this week, and it says it should be smoothed through damp hair but having used a similar CW product before I know it was quite nice on my hair.

Moroccoanoil Treatment – argan oil is my hair’s best friend so this will get used quickly.

Ecotools Perfecting Blender Duo – I have these sponges so extra are always welcome. I love a blending sponge.

Kitsch Hair Ties – these are so sparkly and cute. Sometimes I feel like I collect hair ties, I have so many.

The Vintage Cosmetic Co. Duo Pencil Sharpener – this is very helpful, I don’t know what happened to my last sharpener.

Most of the items are from cruelty free brands, with one or two exceptions (I like to check on this website and via Google before I buy).

This is a really nice mix of products, some boxes can be heavily weighted to certain types of products, and I like the inclusion of the beauty tools and hair ties.

*I was gifted this item for review but all words and opinions are my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: Death in Shetland Waters by

Signed on to a tall ship Cass Lynch is sailing from Norway to Ireland as part of a race. Things are about to take a nasty turn and Cass will need to keep her wits about her as there’s a stowaway on board and it could turn deadly.

I didn’t realise this was number 6 in a series but I think you can read it as a stand alone without too much trouble, although there are a few references to previous books.

My favourite characters were easily Cat and Rat, I loved the idea of these two buddies hanging out amidst the human drama.

The setting was also intriguing, the Scottish islands, including Shetland, are fascinating and in my day job I have to know a bit about ships (although not so much tall ships).

I think if you’re after a crime thriller that isn’t Scandi noir but still has clever twists, and is a fairly easy going read, then this book and its predecessors will do the trick.

books, reviews

Book Review: Woman Enters Left – Jessica Brockman

With her acting career on the wane Louise Wilde heads off to Las Vegas to make a film that will keep the wolf from the door.

She gets diverted by memories of her past and the notebooks she inherited from her mother’s old friend Florrie Daniels.

Instead of Vegas she takes off on a road trip from the past.

Alternating from Louise’s drive to the one her mother Ethel took years before this book offers a glimpse into the past and the people who live there.

I found this really interesting, with Ethel and Florrie’s story being told in the form of notebooks and a rough film script, which gives you the thoughts of two women driving from New Jersey to California via Nevada, the camp grounds, the meals and the friendship laid out in pen and ink.

I actually found their journey far more interesting than the one being made by Louise I struggled with her as a character, mostly because I felt she was acting all the time. Being someone else and I couldn’t connect with her.

lifestyle

Book Review: The Belles – Dhionelle Clayton*

Today’s review is part of the blog tour for new YA novel The Belles.

In the queendom of Orleans people are born with grey skin and red eyes, as a punishment from the jealous God of the sky, the Belles possess special gifts that enable them to make people beautiful – and beauty is everything.

I really enjoyed this book, it was inventive and clever, well written and the world building is genius – I loved the mythology and the teacup animals – who wouldn’t want a miniature elephant or tiger.

The characters are well rounded and distinct – protagonist Camille is sympathetic and driven, if a little naive.

YA fiction is where some fascinating writing and story telling is happening and Dhionelle Clayton has contributed a fresh new voice to the ever growing pool of talent.

The Belles story will continue – and I for one can’t wait.

Check out the rest of the blog tour

*I was gifted this book in exchange for a review but all opinions and words are my own.

happy mail, lifestyle, reviews

You don’t send me flowers… *

I don’t live with a romantic – in fact C is the opposite – so I don’t expect much on Valentine’s Day but for those of you with a more romantic streak a great way to say “I love you” is with flowers. These roses from Prestige Flowers are gorgeous, deep velvety red. The bouquet is wrapped in red and boxed so the flowers don’t experience any damage during delivery. My table doesn’t normally get a centrepiece this lovely. It comes with a teddy and a box of chocolates, although you can send just a bouquet or add a bottle of wine. I often think bouquets like this are tiny works of temporary art. The red roses contrast beautifully with the green and gold painted leaves. It looks rather lovely on my table. Sometimes I don’t think I agree with cut flowers, but my little pot plants don’t look quite as majestic somehow, and my patio compost will eventually benefit too. I would be delighted to receive a bouquet like this, although I probably won’t, if C bought flowers they’d be the sad looking ones from the petrol station or corner shop on his way home *sigh*.

All Valentine’s bouquets will be entered into a prize draw – so surprise your Valentine this February with a beautiful bouquet and who knows, you could win free flowers all year. Now that would be romantic!

*I received this product in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and words remain my own.