Friday, 30 March 2018

Review of Jessica Titone 'Stolen'

Review of 'Stolen' by Jessica Titone

Ella’s no stranger to sacrifice. Pursuing a professional career in ballet demands that she risk everything, including remaining in war-torn London to continue her training. Dancing has always been her singular desire, until reserved American Jesse Cohen transfers to her school. When partnered in a production of Giselle, Ella glimpses a new side of Jesse. A tentative friendship blossoms into romance, but happiness is not theirs to keep.

Jesse mysteriously vanishes, confounding the authorities. When all searches fail to locate him, Ella takes matters into her own hands. She begins with the attic - their secret meeting spot - where a strange melody pricks her ears. Its call leads her through an unusual attic door, down a dark path, and into an idyllic, magical realm called Arcadia.

A gruff forest dweller named Wren teaches Ella survive in the new world. Safety is guaranteed as long as she follows two simple rules : Don’t eat the red berries and steer clear of the mountain queen’s forces. Over time, Ella comes to suspect that Jesse is in Arcadia. Armed with nothing but a strong conviction and the knowledge that all boys end up at the mountain, she vows to find him. Her will is strong, but her path is plagued by crippling self-doubt, hidden treachery, and resistance from a powerful foe. A substantial sacrifice must be made to secure Jesse’s safety, but Ella’s unsure if her heart can withstand it.

My review

I enjoyed the delicate opening to this novel; the budding relationship between Ella and Jesse as it develops through their love of dancing. When, suddenly, he disappears I was desperate to find out what had happened. Then, the novel takes a sharp and magical twist and I was thrust into a different world. A world that took my breath and left me page-turning desperately to find out more. Wow, the book stepped up a gear at this point from being a charming romance to something completely engaging. I won't spoil what happens but I wasn't even thinking of something like this. It's rare a novel throws me.

The book crosses many different areas and is hard to define, but overall a really enjoyable young adult novel with elements of fantasy, romance and history. I wasn't expecting a story like this from the description and was very pleasantly surprised. I do feel, however, I wanted to know a little more about the characters as feel there was a lot of mystery left and I craved some more depth. I enjoyed this novel as a sweet romance novel with certainly a surprising difference.

More about the author: 

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Review of 'Letters to the Pianist' by S.D. Mayes

Review of 'Letters to the Pianist' by S.D. Mayes


In war torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the terrifying bombing of their family home. They believe their parents are dead, their bodies buried underneath the burnt remains – but unbeknownst to them, their father, Joe, survives and is taken to hospital with amnesia.

Four years on, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist and is struck by the resemblance to her father. Desperate for evidence she sends him a letter, and as the pianist’s dormant memories emerge, his past unravels, revealing his true identity – as her beloved father, Joe. Ruth sets out to meet him, only to find herself plunged into an aristocratic world of sinister dark secrets.

Can she help him escape and find a way to stay alive?

My review

This novel was certainly emotional. Thrust back in time to 1941, you are immediately amongst the bombing and tensions of the time. The novel revolves around the family rebuilding their lives as Ruth tries to find out information about her father. here are hidden secrets along the way that are revealed breathtakingly at the end.

There is emotion dripped at every stage and sometimes I found this overwhelming but was so enthralled by the story and Ruth's story that I found this a page-turner. I very much enjoyed the character of Edward and how his story unfolds. The author cleverly portrays her unique characters and keeps you gripped until the end, which leaves you with a clever twist. Clearly well-researched and originally written, this will be an author to watch out for.

About the author...

S.D. Mayes worked as a journalist for nearly twenty years before turning her hand to fiction. Inspired by the bizarre but factual events of Hitler’s obsession with the supernatural, along with her mother's terrifying wartime memories, Letters to the Pianist is her first historical suspense novel. Originally from the West Country, she currently lives in Berkshire, United Kingdom. More information about the novel...

LETTERS TO THE PIANIST is a compelling page turner packed with drama, intrigue and suspense. If you loved The Book Thief, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas or The Pianist, then you will love this exciting new novel.


Letters to the Pianist has a gripping and multi-layered plotline, authentic characterisation, which had me fall in love with Joe by the conclusion. Fascinatingly informative on the strength of Fascist sympathizers in wartime London society. This book is a five star read.'

— The Daily Mail

Letters to the Pianist is a taut and suspenseful tale of wartime intrigue.

— Readers Favorite

One of the best novels I’ve ever read. Mayes has written a masterpiece that you’ll want to take your time and read, savor the words slowly, and let the pages turn themselves.

— John Darryl Winston, award-winning author of the IA trilogy

I found the plot to be exceptional and unique…a book with mass reader appeal which took me on an emotional journey that I will never forget. An exceptional novel that will remain with me for a very long time. I give this book 5 huge stars! S.D. Mayes is an author to discover and watch if you haven’t already. A rising star!

— Booklover Catlady, Top ranked Goodreads reviewer

Wartime bombings, fractured families, murdered journalists and English Nazi sympathisers meld into a riveting page turner, impossible to put down. Mayes's Second World War suspense novel is a thrilling read interwoven, throughout, with the theme of family and love. An absorbing, fast-paced And easy-to-read novel.

— Julie Ballard, Author and Journalist

There really aren't enough superlatives to sum up this absolute treasure of a novel. I was emotionally drawn to the diverse characters from page one. SD Maye's expertly weaves a rich velvety plot full of intrigue, fear, love, loss, hope, evil and deceit in a tale which tugs at the heartstrings leaving the reader quite unable to put it down.

— Isabella May, Author of The Cocktail Bar

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Review of 'The Winner: A ballroom dance novel' by Erin Bomboy

Review of 'The Winner: A ballroom dance novel' by Erin Bomboy

The most prestigious ballroom dance competition in the United States.
Two dancers need to win.
Only one can.

Nina Fortunova wasn't supposed to end up almost thirty, divorced, with her dreams of winning shattered. She teams up with Jorge Gonzalez, a hunky and hard-working Latin dancer, to reinvent the flashy Smooth style.

When the Chairman of the Judges offers to throw the competition in their favor, Nina must decide how far she will go to win, even if it means losing Jorge.

Carly Martindale is doing everything she's been taught not to do--placing her happiness first by dancing with Trey Devereux, the former champion who's returned to competition for mysterious reasons.

Carly falls deeply in love with Trey, but beneath his good looks and Southern manners lay a tortured soul. She allows him to control her every move at great risk to her emotional health. How far will Carly go, so Trey and she can win?

Co-workers, then friends, and now arch competitors, Nina and Carly faceoff to determine who will be the winner--in love and in dancing.

Bright, emotive, and told through dual narrators, The Winner examines the costs associated with winning, the internalization of parental ambition, and the effect of gendered roles on and off the dance floor.

The Winner is a literary romance that's perfect for readers who love Dancing with the Stars, Strictly Come Dancing, So You Think You Can Dance, and the classic elegance of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Start reading TODAY the novel that readers call "beautifully written," "a great read," fantastic," "a roller coaster," and "a true winner."

 My review

I had already enjoyed another novel by author, Erin Bomboy so couldn't wait to read this second novel. I wasn't disappointed. Despite being a complete non-dancer and knowing nothing at all about the dancing world, the author has the ability to sweep you into the story regardless.

The story is told between the two characters, Nina and Carly. It took a bit of time to get the hang of the POV turn-taking between chapters, which - at first - made me long to skip chapters to get back to the character I was more familiar with, however within a few chapters I'd got to grips with this  (and became equally fond of each character) so settled into this well-written and page-turner of a novel.

Nina and Carly are a bit chalk and cheese with the stages they are in their life but both equally determined with their dancing. The author was able to intertwine the passion of dancing through these two strong characters and you really feel how much it means to them. I especially loved the character of Trey and was swept up into the romance of it all.

The author has fantastic descriptive writing which enables you to visualise the dancing almost as if you are there.You really, as the reader, get caught up in the emotions of the story and feel every move that the girls do. Very enjoyable reading. A perfect novel for the dance lover or anyone wanting a great read.

About the author...

Erin Bomboy trained as a classical ballet dancer before spending a decade as a professional ballroom dancer. She works as a writer, editor, and teacher in the dance field in New York City where she lives with her husband and daughter. In her free time, Erin enjoys bacon, books, cats, and wine.

Author Interview

Why did you choose to have dual narrators?
I wanted to give readers a taste of what it's like to be a judge. When Carly and Nina faceoff, who should win? More importantly, WHY do you think one should win over the other? Is that decision based on what you know about their dancing or what you know about them as people? To me, the best type of reading is when I get in touch with my values.

What could readers take away from The Winner?
I wrote The Winner to function as a multi-level meditation on winning. There's the obvious takeaway that's encapsulated in the tagline: "Step in to step out." You can't win if you don't take the chance of losing. Then, there's what may be the most interesting thing I try to say about winning. Winning matters when it matters to other people, specifically future dancers. Forging a dance legacy is tricky since the idiom exists in the present tense. Inspiring another generation of dancers, to me, is the epitome of winning since your legacy is carried in their bodies.

Who's your favorite character?
I love them all, but I have a special fondness for Trey Devereux. I imagined him as a Louis XIV type who finds himself adrift in and damaged by the modern world.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Review of Patricia Feinberg Stoner 'At Home in the Pays d'Oc'

Review of Patricia Feinberg Stoner 'At Home in the Pays d'Oc'

 This is the story of how a small brown and white spaniel turned the lives of two English holidaymakers upside down.
Patricia and her husband Patrick are spending the summer in their holiday home in the Languedoc village of Morbignan la Crèbe. One hot Friday afternoon Patrick walks in with the little dog, thinking she is a stray.
They have no intention of keeping her. ‘Just for tonight,’ says Patrick. ‘We will take her to the animal shelter tomorrow.’ It never happens. They spend the weekend getting to know and love the little creature, who looks at them appealingly with big brown eyes, and wags her absurd stump of a tail every time they speak to her.
On the Monday her owner turns up, alerted by the Mairie. They could have handed her over. Instead Patricia finds herself saying: ‘We like your dog, Monsieur. May we keep her?’
It is the start of what will be four years as Morbignanglais, as they settle into life as permanent residents of the village. “At Home in the Pays d’Oc” is about their lives in Morbignan, the neighbours who soon become friends, the parties and the vendanges and the battles with French bureaucracy.
It is the story of some of their bizarre and sometimes hilarious encounters: the Velcro bird, the builder in carpet slippers, the neighbour who cuts the phone wires, the clock that clacks, the elusive carpenter who really did have to go to a funeral.

My review

I loved being swept up into this story. The dream of moving abroad and experiencing another culture and lifestyle is one that I have always been fascinated with and hope to do one day soon so this story came along at the right time for me. As France is our destination of choice too, I couldn't wait to start reading. As an animal lover, I totally would have done the same as Patricia and Patrick with the little dog and loved this part of the book. The story is well-written and engaging and draws you right into the atmosphere of France. Packed with information and anecdotes this creates a realistic vision of what expat life would be like. 

The author paints a great picture of the pace of life, the old house and local cafes, I could almost imagine being there as I was reading. The book is light-hearted and follows a relaxed pace as you explore life abroad with the couple. The beauty of France and the way of life is vividly portrayed and you can see why they become right at home there. I wished the ending could have been slightly different from my own fantasy point of view but nonetheless an enjoyable read. This is a great book for curling up in front of the fire with and dreaming of your own adventures in France that could be...

About the author...

Patricia Feinberg Stoner began her career as a graduate trainee with the Liverpool Daily Post.

Quickly discovering she was a terrible reporter, she switched to feature writing and since then her career has revolved around the written word, as a journalist, advertising copywriter and publicist.

For many years she was international press officer for Granada Television, leaving to set up her own publicity business, The Good Word.

Once a dyed-in-the-wool Londoner, Patricia now lives in West Sussex with her husband Patrick, also a writer, and a lunatic Brittany spaniel who loves cats. She is the leader of the Arun Scribes creative writing group.

Her first book, 'Paw Prints in the Butter', is a collection of humorous verse about cats, sold in aid of WADARS, a local animal rescue charity. She followed this with 'At Home in the Pays d'Oc' which, she says, is the story of two accidental expatriates in the south of France. The aforementioned lunatic Brittany may have had something to do with their expatriate status...

November 2017 will see the publication of Patricia's third book - The Little Book of Rude Limericks. Despite the title, she warns that not all of the limericks in the book are rude: in fact, some are perfectly polite. However, there are exceptions.

Patricia welcomes visitors to her Facebook page, Paw Prints in the Butter, and to her blog You may occasionally find her on Twitter @perdisma.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Review of 'Spaghetti head' by Sarah Tyley

Review of 'Spaghetti Head' by Sarah Tyley

 Journalist Nell Greene is intelligent, beautiful and quirky – but a failure at relationships, thanks to her untrusting and disruptive inner voice. She has received The Award, and refusing to help repopulate the earth can seriously complicate your life: it is time for Nell to change.

In a world where greed, war, and an environmental disaster have massively reduced the population, survivors have introduced a new system of governance - led by women but delivered by robots, and designed to promote peace and remove opportunities for abuse of power. Or at least that was the intention…

Will Nell overcome the challenges of life in a post-apocalyptic world to find happiness, or will the System win?

Spaghetti Head is Sarah Tyley's debut novel that addresses issues of modern womanhood, environmental devastation and the impact of technological advances on our freedom, relationships and mental health

My review

I loved the character of Nell from the outset. She was quirky and unique and made for really interesting reading. She reminded me sometimes of myself as she over thinks every situation and lets it play out in her head. With her best friend the robot cow bot and an inner voice (SID) interrupting her every thought, Nell struggles at relationships. I'm not sure I'd cope as well as Nell with such an annoying inner voice but was enthralled reading the battle between them. The world that Nell lives in was really intriguing to read about and I loved learning about the new government system and 'The Award' that she had received to help repopulate the earth. I love novels like this! I find it really exciting to read about how our world can change for better or worse and the author captured this skillfully in her writing. With age not on her side, Nell has a lot of decisions to make and she needs to make inner peace with SID - fast.

I really longed for Nell to find her perfect match and the annoying voice inside to let her be happy. With the distrusting opinions being thrust at her at every opportunity, Nell really struggles to find happiness with anyone. This well-written and interesting story nicely builds up to a great ending. Great characterisation and well plotted, this novel is a recommended read for anyone that loves novels set in the future, quirky romances and stories with a lasting impact.

Review of H.L. Roberts - 23:27

Review of H.L. Roberts - 23:27

23:27 is a beautifully written novel about how stressful situations are not always what they appear to be. H.L. Roberts takes you on an emotional journey keeping you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
23:27 touches on the very sensitive topics of suicide and mental stability when the pressures of society get too difficult to handle for even the most stable individual. Lilith Rose is the lead singer of the popular rock band, United Misfits. and she is tired of all the lies, secrets, and heartache that came with the price tag of stardom. After years of dealing with forced contracts, she does the unthinkable and flees to a small run-down hotel on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where she hosts her tell-all Livestream. Finally, the truth is out there, and Lilith has a decision to make. Life or Death…

My review

This story features the lives of central characters, Lilith and Alec. Lilith, torn away from her true love ends up leading a lie with manipulating, Markus. The author leads you on a turbulent path of emotions as the book explores sensitive subjects, such as suicide and mental health. Lilith is living on the edge and is struggling and you can't help but emphasise with her and follow her journey in anticipation. The book is truly a page-turner. It is, however, a touching story and the author cleverly leads you through these emotions as Lilith comes head-on to an important decision. The author faces these topics head on, without shying away and cleverly explores these within her characters as the plot develops.

Although I wouldn't usually pick up a novel about musicians, the book is strongly plot and character driven and I found myself immersed in the well-written dramas immediately. I love the way you experience Alec's point of view during the novel too. This is a romance novel with hidden depths and a recommended read. An ending to leave you stunned! Great read.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Review of ‘That’s Not fair,’ by Dave Seaman

 Review of 'That's Not fair!' by Dave Seaman

What's not fair? To a young child, practically everything!

Phoebe complains about going to bed on time, clearing up the mess she makes, learning to read, having a bath,,,
But when aliens take her away, she finds out what is REALLY not fair, and can't wait to escape back home to her mummy and daddy!

This ebook, beautifully illustrated throughout, is primarily aimed at children aged 5- 8.

My review

This is a charming little book that looks at life through Phoebe's eyes, and most of it isn't fair! She complains about what normal young kids complain about with her whine, 'That's not fair!' However, when whisked away by aliens she learns the real meaning of 'not fair' and finds the experience eye-opening. My son really enjoyed this book. He is three but found it easy to understand and follow, and he enjoyed joining in with the 'it's not fair!' parts of the story. The story flowed well and was easy to read aloud to my son. It would make a great easy first read for a child starting to read too. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book to my son. The only thing to mention would be the illustrations which were a little on the dark and arty side for my son to really engage with, but the book was aimed at slightly older children so this probably wouldn't be a problem for the age range of the book. 

A lovely read for young children with a great message.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Review of Destination Unknown by Kathleen Ballantine Watson

Review of Destination Unknown - A Tale of Time Travel
by Kathleen Ballantine Watson

Beth Nielson doesnt need any more drama in her life. Her hectic job at the Willis Mortgage Company has become unstable, leaving her with a shaky future. Whats more, shes dealing with a violent ex-boyfriend who is stalking her, and now a serial killer is on the loose in her cityand the monster is killing women who look just like her.

Meanwhile, her brother Russ has dedicated his life to building a time travel machine; hes now completed it and is ready for experimentation. Beth hates the contraption and wants no part of it; she fears that possible paradoxes may tear their lives apart. Russ promises his sister that while traveling through time, he will not intermingle with the inhabitants of the past or the future, nor will he change history. Unfortunately, when Beths stalker threatens her, she flees by the only method available - the time machine. It sends Beth to a farm in the year 1860. With a broken-down machine, only time will tell if she can survive this challenging life while she waits and hopes that her brother will find her.

My review

I really enjoyed this fast-paced and well-researched novel. Beth is a likeable character and the other characters are portrayed strongly. Beth is going through a hard time in her life, made worse by her violent ex and brother's crazy invention. Unfortunately for Beth, she has to flee from the violent ex through the one invention she wants nothing to do with - the time machine. I loved the time travel elements to the novel and how Beth is transported back in time to the 1860's to a farm. I very much loved this part of the novel and learning more about the 1860's.

This was a fascinating read with great narration, which left the reader wondering...would Beth travel back to the present or prefer to stay in the 1860's? I found this book to be an immensely enjoyable read as the author expertly weaves together a romance with sci-fi, keeping the reader on their toes.

About the author:

Kathleen Ballantine Watson is the author, under the name Kathleen Ballantine, of According to His Will, an exploration of the wealth of Gods promises that transforms the scriptures into powerful prayers. This is her first novel. She currently lives in Florida.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Rafferty Lincoln Loves... is 99p this week!

 99p on Amazon all week!

Rafferty Lincoln Loves... my new YA debut novel is 99p/99c all this week. All proceeds go to charity, the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre to help rehabilitate Thoroughbred racehorses. Buy now and support this amazing charity!

A sensational and compelling, coming of age story for older young adults and not-so-young adults. Foreword by Frankie Dettori MBE.

Rafferty Lincoln doesn't like horses. Not one bit. But when the popular high school girl of his dreams, Liberty Ashburn pulls him into a world of lead ropes and horse brushes, who is he to say no?

Except this isn't any old horse. This is the missing racehorse, Profits Red Ridge. The horse Rafferty and three of his friends are hiding from the world. And Liberty Ashburn isn’t just any ordinary high school girl. How far will Rafferty go to win her over?

An intense, witty and powerful coming of age story with startling consequences.

Praise for Rafferty Lincoln Loves...

‘Thank you, Emily, for writing this novel in support of our work at the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre. The story is an exciting read, full of twists that will leave the reader wanting more.’ Gillian Carlisle, CEO, British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre

‘Liberty Ashburn may be a fictional character, but she embodies a very real emotion – the love of horses – a passion that so many people will be able to identify with. It is a passion we see every day with the horses at the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre as they are prepared for new, fulfilling and exciting futures. Well done Emily Williams for bringing this so eloquently to your readers in this terrific novel.’ John Sexton, Chairman, British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre 

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

How to write and publish a best selling book - REVIEW

I was delighted to join the blogtour for this book. I then realised I had a couple of Richard McMunn's 'How to become...' books in my bookshelf already so was even more excited to read this one! This book was going to be right up my street, being an author myself so I got stuck in straight away!

How to Write & Publish a Bestselling Book: My journey from firefighter to bestselling author, and how you can do it too!

How to Write and Publish a Book: My journey from firefighter to bestselling author, and how you can do it too! iswritten by bestselling author Richard McMunn, who has written and published over 150 books. 

In this book, he covers everything you need to know in order to write and self-publish your own book in print and ebookformat, and also how to get your book on Amazon and in high street stores such as Waterstones.

To write and self-publish a book, you need no prior experience of the publishing world. This might seem surprising, but it’s actually really simple! What you do need is a willingness to learn, and a mentor (someone who will help you). This book is divided into 3 sections: sections 1 & 3 cover Richard's incredible and inspirational story from being a firefighter to discovering the publishing world and how he went on to publish over 150 bestselling books through his publishing company.

Section 2 covers the different steps you need to take to not only get your book written and published, but also to achieve bestseller status.

In Richard's book you will learn in a simple, step-by-step format:

- How to write a book in any genre;
- How to give yourself the best possible chance of writing a bestseller;
- Understanding how the Amazon bestseller rank works; 
- How to get your book ready for publishing, including critical elements such as proof-reading, editing, typesetting, e-Book formatting, book cover design, book descriptions, and more; 
- How to create high-quality, professional artwork for your book, both digital and physical, ensuring that it stands out from the crowd;
- How to self-publish your book and start selling it on Amazon;
- How to effectively market your book to increase exposure;  
- How to get your book stocked in Waterstones;
- Plus LOTS more!

Richard McMunn is a Number 1 bestselling author, Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year and Nielsen Digital Marketing Award Winner.

Ideal for any aspiring author, this book is an essential read for anyone looking to get their book written and on sale to millions of readers worldwide.


This book was of great interest to me. Not only have I published two of my own novels, I thought the advice might come in useful or could confirm things I already knew. Obviously, for that reason, a fair bit of the book wasn't new knowledge to me, but I had already picked it up along my own publishing journey, but for the newcomer, it would be so handy to have all this advice in one place. As the book unravelled, I was really interested in the chapters on marketing and promoting the book after the publishing process. There were new ideas and I found them fascinating to see how they worked in practise. With an easy going manner and style to this book, you find yourself drawn in to McMunn's story. Despite my own experiences, I came away learning something new from this book and with new ideas to try out. Therefore this book would suit both the newcomer and established author looking for new ways to write that bestseller. 

The most enjoyable part of the book I found, however, was the back story of how Richard created his own bestselling story. I found it really inspirational to read about his journey from firefighter to author and how he kept up his work in the fire service for all those years as he built his business. A great book to make you really believe in yourself with the underlining word about never giving up on yourself. I hold those words to heart as I continue with my own journey. An enjoyable read.

About the author:  

Based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Richard McMunn is the bestselling author of the ‘How2Become’ series of career guides and the founder of his own unique VIP author mentoring programme. After leaving school in Lancashire with just 3 GCSEs, Richard went on to join the Royal Navy — serving four years onboard HMS Invincible as an aircraft engineer. After leaving the navy, Richard took up a childhood ambition to become a firefighter with Kent Fire and Rescue Service where he served for seventeen years. Today, Richard works as a full-time author and publisher and to date has authored 150 books and helped over 100 aspiring writers become published authors. He has also been awarded the IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year and the Nielsen Digital Marketing Award.

Monday, 5 March 2018

First stop on my blog tour for Rafferty Lincoln Loves...

 Blog tour!

Thank you so much to Sue Featherstone for hosting me for my first stop on the Rafferty Lincoln Loves... blog tour! Please read the article below and find out more about my first blog tour spot!

Many thanks
Emily x

Read my story on the BTRC page...

Please click on link to read the story, and share the post below to support the young adult novel Rafferty Lincoln Loves... for the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre.