Monday, 13 October 2014

The Elementalists by C. Sharp My rating: 5 of 5 stars Review by annmarie

The ElementalistsThe Elementalists by C. Sharp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chloe has never been popular more like invisible, but after the holidays going back to school she knows it will be like all the rest just work hard and get good grades, but her first day turns out to be a mega fail the most popular girl hates her. She is know known for being struck by lightning during the holidays that's bad on its own, but other weird things are happening to with worldwide disasters like earthquakes and tornadoes happening all the time and on top of that the bad weather seems to follow her about like an oman along with some creature that she keeps seeing that, can't be real and the memory lose either the world is coming to an end or she is going crazy either way trouble is coming!

When I started this book I was not really sure what to expect if I'm honest, but within second of starting I knew that this book was going to blow me away and it did.

The storyline is phenomenal it was unlike any book I had read I loved that you saw the family drama with Chloe and her mum and getting a clear view of school life, but it was the prophecy and world disasters that got me the most. The author took so many things that I thought there was no way you could mix together, but the author did and made the book spectacular. The book made me think about things in real life about the way people flatten forests and put toxins in the water about how we are now and the book really made me think and I really loved that.

The Author added great detail to everything and I felt like I was seeing everything through Chloe's eyes and feeling everything she was. Chloe is a wonderful character she was likeable and down to earth. I loved the fact she was not popular or stuck up and struggled with the normal day to day things and was not the best at social interaction. She was kind and determined and I liked that about her.

The book was so easy to follow and it flows like water there was no patches that dragged or got boring the whole book had me glued and I found nothing that bugged me and for me it was perfect

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Friday, 10 October 2014

Tortured Souls by Kimber Leigh Wheaton My rating: 4 of 5 stars by annmarie

Tortured Souls (The Orion Circle #1)Tortured Souls by Kimber Leigh Wheaton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I read the description and saw the word ghost I knew I wanted to read the book. I'm always looking out for books with ghosts in the hopes the book will end up being spooky.

Tortured souls intruded be before I even started the book and once I got started I was not disappointed. The book was nicely written I did get a little lost the first page or two and I felt like what's happening, but apart from that I zoomed through the book.

The book had a great ghostly factor that added some darkness in the book that made me want to read on, but the book also had a great amount of mystery and romance and normal every day family drama mix with supernatural problems. I really enjoyed how the storyline progressed through the book and it did not feel rushed it felt like I was going through each event with Kacie rather than speed running though it all like some books do. I was overwhelmed by the mystery and darkness that was in this book I was so pleased with the book over all.

teen drama, romance, Ghosts and mystery a book with hidden depths a good read.

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Interview with Tracy M. Joyce author of Altaica

A massive welcome to Tracy M. Joyce the author of Altaica. 

About Tracy

Tracy M Joyce is an Australian author of speculative fiction. Her debut novel, Altaica: Book I in The Chronicles of Altaica, is published by Odyssey Books. Tracy has long been a fan of the fantasy genre, but particularly likes novels that deal with deep characterisations and that don’t flinch from the gritty realities of life. This and her fascination with the notions of “moral greyness”, that “good people can do bad things” and that we cannot escape our past provide the inspiration for her writing. Combine that with her love of history, horses and archery and you have Altaica.

She grew up on a farm in rural Victoria, in a picturesque dot on the map known as Glenburn. She spent half of her childhood riding horses and the other half trying to stay out of trouble - the only way she did that was by reading books and writing stories. She now lives in Melbourne with her husband, two cats and two (very) lazy greyhounds.

Tracy holds a BA (Hons) from Monash University, spent many years in a variety of administrative roles and fortunately never gave up on her childhood dream to become a writer. In her spare time she tutors a select and unlucky group of students in English.

“Look at her – she’s Hill Clan. Even the Matyrani don’t like them…”

Isaura – little is known about her race, but much is whispered. Born to refugees, she grows up enduring racism and superstition within a community that fears her. She has few friends, and those she treasures. Trapped, she longs for escape to a different life. 

Escape is only the beginning of her troubles. Having fled an invading army with her friends, Isaura is faced with heinous choices in order to survive. Secrets from her past emerge to torment her and threaten to destroy all she holds dear. Her struggles forge a bond with an ancient power – a power which may transform or consume her. Old hatreds and superstitions are renewed and at her most vulnerable she learns the true nature of those around her.

Her only hope lies in a foreign land – a land rich in tradition; ruled by three powerful clans. A land with a history marked by warfare; where magic as we know t does not exist. Instead what is here, in abundance, is a more primal power.
Survival carries a high price.
Welcome to Altaica.

Buy it now

1. Five facts about yourself?

1 I’ve only been overseas once, but I’ve got a long list of where I want to go.

2 I grew up in the country & went to a tiny primary school (barely 20 students in the school) and a very small High School (barely 200 students in total) 

3. I hate being told I “can’t” do something. 

4. I’m actually shy and struggle with big gatherings of people.

5. Sometimes I’d like to throw my mobile phone in the river. 

6. I dislike intellectual snobbery.

2. Have you always wanted to be an author? 

Yes, I’ve always enjoyed writing stories and creating fictional worlds. I can remember at about the age of 12 being asked what I wanted to be and I answered, “A writer.” The reply to this was, “You can be a journalist.” When it was explained to me what a journalist did, I replied, “No, I want to write books.”

3. What job did you have before getting into writing? 

I’ve had a variety of jobs. I worked my way through university doing everything from tutoring children, to cleaning. After university I was a practice manager for a psychology clinic, a PA, worked for the public service and ran own garden design and maintenance business. Finally I took the chance to write full time which was the best decision I’ve ever made.

4. Altaica is an amazing book where did you get the idea from? 

Thank you, I’m overwhelmed and excited that so many people are enjoying it. It sounds really clichéd but I had a dream which formed the basis for the plot of what will be the second duology. After I planned that novel, I thought to myself, “Well, how did this begin? What is the history behind these characters? From that came Altaica.

5. What's the hardest part of being an author?

The hardest part of being an author is juggling marketing (social media, etc.), household stuff and writing. I also feel the weight of responsibility to my readers and publisher to do a good job on my stories and not let them down. That being said the readers who are becoming fans are simply the best part of writing by far. To know that what you write and enjoy is being loved by other people is hugely rewarding and to receive their emails and support is wonderful and I honestly didn’t expect it. I mean to say I hoped people would like it, but the support I’ve received has been amazing and I’m really grateful.

6. Out of all the characters in you book which one would you say your most like and why?

Well, I can tell you that I didn’t write any of them with the intention of having them be like me in anyway. However ALL my friends will tell you that Asha and Isaura ARE me!

7. What was your favourite book as a child?

As a child one of my favourite books was entitled “Wrigley” by Rosemary Barnes. It was the story of a young boy who meets a pixie / elf and who goes on adventures with him. It was a really old book then – some sort of family relic I think, as it was published in approx. 1920. It had the most beautiful glossy colour pictures which I adored. I still have the book, complete with the pages that I tried to colour in.

8. What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on Asena Blessed which is the sequel to Altaica. This book finishes the plot arcs with Isaura as the main character in this series of books. She will pop up later, but not as the main character. I want the first draft of this finished by the end of the year. After this will be a standalone book which takes place back in Isaura’s homeland. Following that another duology is planned.

9. Do you ever experience writers block?

Sometimes, but most often the problem I have is having several choices and not being sure of which is the best one to pursue when I write. I sometimes write out each choice or plot path and then pick which I think works best or I jump on the phone to my main beta-reader, Bronwen, and discuss ideas with her. 

10. Apart from writing what else do you love to do any hobbies? 

I love archery. I’m getting back into it after a couple of years off and slowly building my arm strength up. The first time I went back after the break, I swear my arms had the all the strength of limp noodles. I read, knit, cycle, and I used to horse ride, but sadly had to give that up due to health reasons.

11. How would you describe Altaica to someone that has not read the book yet?

Altaica is epic fantasy, aimed for teens through to adults. I recommend approx. 15 yo and upwards because it does deal with some fairly dark moral issues. It is classed as a crossover novel – meaning it is not strictly YA or Adult. Romance does not drive the plot as it does in many YA novels.

Isaura, the main character of Altaica is an independent young woman, born to refugees within a community that fears her kind for they are rumoured to be magic users. Isaura has few friends, but is fiercely loyal to those she does have. She is often uncertain and has a lot to learn about herself and others. She has to make some horrendous moral choices, yet she still keeps trying to help her friends. One of my reviewers pointed out to me that she is a young woman who doesn’t need a man in her life to make her “complete”. I hadn’t thought about this, but it’s totally accurate. I like strong female protagonists – there will be no swooning in my books!

It is a rollicking good yarn that works from multiple points of view. I hope it shows the effects of very serious issues war, loss, deprivation, racism while still being the kind of story you can get lost in. Several readers have told me that it is a really good introduction to high fantasy and though not regular readers of this genre that they have loved it. 

12. How did you feel when Altaica was published and out there for people to buy?

The e-book came out first and I “rushed” to websites to see it sitting in there for sale. It was the culmination of so much work and waiting to be published it was a wonderful feeling. However the real impact came when the paperback landed on my desk a month or so later. WOW! That was amazing! To actually have a copy of the “real thing” in my hands. I nearly cried! That made everything feel complete. I’m so happy about it and grateful that my publisher had faith in me.

13. What was it like when you got you first review of the book? 

I was really lucky as the first review was great, so I was very excited and relieved. I say relieved because when you put your book out there you know it will be reviewed and criticised and you just hope that the criticism is constructive and fair. (It isn’t always, but you lean to deal with that.) If that first review had been bad, I would have felt awful. Of course, I would have got over it, but I’m just so glad the reviews have been very positive.

Thank you so much for taking the time to let me ask you questions and its be great having you on the blog. I can't wait for you next book I thought Altaica was amazing

Here is a little bit from my review Altaica 

"The book was simply Phenomenal with a completely engaging storyline and memorable characters."
Check out my full review Review of Altaica

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Puppet by Pauline C. Harris My rating: 5 of 5 stars review by annmarie

PuppetPuppet by Pauline C. Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first word that comes to mind when thinking about this book is unique. The whole book is different, but in the best way. I love picking up a book and it exceeds your expectations and this book did that for me.

The storyline is interesting throughout. From the start it was weird and wonderful and carried on becoming better and better throughout the book Surprising you at every turn and delighting you with such weird things like marionettes.

Penelope for me was a kind of beacon in the book. With her hard back ground and need to just fit in and be loved she was so strong and wild at times yet soft and vulnerable. She was a great main character to follow. I like watching her change over the book and interacted with other characters.

The book managed to pull you in and make you care about the characters you were reading about and keep you incased within its pages until the very end. It was a fast yet completely enjoyable read with rich detail in every page from the start to the end.

To sum up this book up a I would say it was unique and colourful with none stop progression the whole way through.

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Monday, 6 October 2014

~Guest Post~ The Glass Heart Girl by Michelle Diana Lowe

My biography – Michelle Diana Lowe

My name is Michelle Diana Lowe. I started writing stories from the age of six and published my first book professionally in January 2014 at the age of 29.
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature with Philosophy from Roehampton University and a recognised UK qualification in Information, Advice and Guidance. With this IAG qualification, I am able to give advice and guidance to clients in my job as a Children’s Centre Administrator. Often, I offer advice and support to women, particularly vulnerable women, who have experienced gender, sexual or domestic violence. I usually refer and signpost them to counselling, Family Support services and other relevant services and agencies. My first full length novel, The Glass Heart Girl, was inspired by the courageous women I come into contact with on a daily basis.
Originally, I published The Glass Heart Girl as an indie author in July 2014. But less than 2 months later, I was discovered by UK publisher, Britain’s Next Bestseller. This amazing publisher supports my mission to stop the violence against women and girls.
Not only is my mission to stop this violence. It is also a call to educate young people and adults more on this issue, increase services for victims and to end the stigma and humiliation, which is often pinned as a mark of shame, to survivors of gendered and sexual violence. 
You can visit my website here:

The Glass Heart Girl
Michelle Diana Lowe

What Is The Glass Heart Girl About?
The Glass Heart Girl tells the moving story of 20 year old university student, Alena Pavlis, a brave young survivor of gendered violence, who is on the emotional and challenging journey to recovery. Studying at the University of Leicester, Alena meets her soul mate, the gorgeous and honourable Phillip Gregson, whose love for her is so deep and true. Phillip, and best friend, Becca, become Alena’s support network, helping her to heal and move on. But since the horrific experiences she suffered as a teenager are still affecting her psychologically and preventing her from living a normal, healthy life, it is so hard for her to let go and embrace Phillip’s love. But ultimately, Alena must find a way to banish the past forever on this momentous journey towards recovery and welcome Phillip’s love, before it is too late…
Can she fight to save her future? Or will she be lost forever, eternally plagued by the ghosts of yesterday?  

Why Did You Write The Book?
My whole life, I have always had a strong desire to help others, to champion under-represented groups in society and to raise awareness of important subjects such as gendered violence and equal opportunities for women.
When doing background research for The Glass Heart Girl, it shocked me to learn that in the UK, 400,000 women were victims of sexual violence in 2013, 85,000 of these women being rape victims. Furthermore, the statistics show that 1 in 5 women (aged between 16 - 59) have been sexually assaulted at some point in their life from the age of 16. (Figures from Rape Crisis England and Wales). These are absolutely horrendous figures! Discovering this made me even more determined to get the message across that gender and sexual violence is not only immoral, but illegal too, and it needs to stop now! No woman should be threatened with violence and no woman should ever be faced with violence either. 
In my job, I see first-hand what violence can do to women. Being victims of such terrible acts can affect women physically, emotionally and psychologically, leaving them vulnerable, nervous and unable to trust again. In some cases they can have physical as well as mental scars, as a result of the violence carried out. It makes it ten times worse when the woman knows her attacker, or is in a relationship with that person. Whether or not a woman knows the perpetrator, the process of healing and recovery can be a difficult journey. A proportion of these women can also develop mental illnesses and psychological conditions, as a direct result of being attacked or abused. Nevertheless, with the right help and support and a good support network around them, many of these victims can successfully rebuild their lives.
So, raising awareness of these courageous women’s experiences, giving them a literary voice and empowering them is so important. Society needs to do more to protect women. But before we find the cure, we need to identify the problem. The Glass Heart Girl elucidates how and why sexual violence happens and how women can overcome their fears and traumas. But it also tells society what it needs to do to ensure women are better protected from these horrible acts of violence.

Character Analysis of Alena Pavlis

ALENA PAVLIS (The Protagonist)
Age: 20
Height: 5’ 8’’

Hair Colour: Brown

Eye Colour: Green

Place of Birth: London, England

Nationality: British

Ethnicity: Greek

Relationship Status: In a relationship with Phillip Gregson

Best Friend(s): Becca and Emma

Place of Study: The University of Leicester, United Kingdom

Subject(s) of study: Psychology

Favourite hangout: The Botanic Gardens, where she lives at the university.

Home Town: Her original hometown is Brent Cross, North London. But her family had to move to Sutton, Surrey, after being shunned and ostracised by the community, following the harrowing adolescent experiences that Alena had.

Important fact(s) about this character: She is a victim of gender-based violence, who is trying to recover and rebuild her life. But letting go of the past is not as easy as it sounds.

More about Alena's character:

Alena Pavlis is a beautiful but broken 20 year old woman, a somewhat introverted female, who is trying to heal from a traumatic childhood. She is a young woman, previously attacked by a high school teacher at the age of fifteen and left for dead on the sidewalk... She could have died that fateful night, if it wasn’t for a kind young man who saved her life. Now in her early twenties, Alena is trying to forget the terrible events of her past and move on. Though getting the ghosts out of her head and life forever, is proving very challenging, because she is haunted by what happened to her by Brent Cross Station half a decade ago. No matter how hard she tries, Alena is unable to move forward and let go of the pain. The psychological scars of the abuse she suffered are evident throughout the novel. But also, her desire and determination to banish her demons is so touching and inspiring. She won’t give up, even when it seems all hope is lost.

Whilst attending the University of Leicester, she meets the man she’s been waiting for her whole life, the dashing and undeniably delightful, Phillip Gregson. Nonetheless, Alena’s dark fears are consuming her – and these anxieties and apprehensions have led to her developing both genophobia and agoraphobia. Still, there is a fighter in this young woman, and she will keep working on getting better and having a regular life, where abuse no longer defines who she is.
The support network around Alena is the key to her recovery. Not only is her boyfriend able to support and bolster her, as the relationship faces its tests and trials. But also, Becca, her best friend, who she has a deep and strong connection with, is able to guide and succour her, slowly coaxing Alena out of her incapacitating and claustrophobic shell. Alena can confide in Becca more than she can Phillip, as she feels safe and comfortable with opening up to another female close to her heart.
If The Glass Heart Girl ever becomes a movie, the celebrity who should play Alena Pavlis is: 

Elizabeth Gillies

Why should you read my book
This book gives gender violence survivors a real voice, for the first time in a long time. By reading this novel, you are helping to bring these brave women’s experiences to the forefront, and helping to reduce the stigmatisation and marginalisation that gender violence victims can face in their communities, as well as in the wider society. Reading this book could help a survivor or help to support a survivor. This book could even help to break the cycle of violence and save a life.

Where My Book Is Available
I have signed a Publishing Agreement with Britain’s Next Bestseller. If 250 people pre-prefer my book by 28th November 2014, it wins a publishing contract. The Glass Heart Girl is such an important book that highlights the growing problem that is gender violence, and gives hope to survivors. Please get behind this book and help it win the book deal. This is not just a book; it is a statement to our society. Women have the right to be safe without the threat or fear of violence, and women deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Please help raise awareness of gender violence and pre-order The Glass Heart Girl today from BNBS:
What I'm working on now . . . .
I’m working on the follow up book to The Glass Heart Girl, which shows Alena’s life a year on. Will her life be perfect in a year’s time? Or will a familiar face from the past come back to win her heart? A kind face she secretly admired, but didn’t realise it before. A face that she could never forget… 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Altaica by Tracy M. Joyce My rating: 5 of 5 stars review by Annmarie

Altaica (The Chronicles of Altaica, #1)Altaica by Tracy M. Joyce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's been a while since I read this kind of fantasy I sometime struggle getting into these kinds of book, but with Altaica that was not the case.

The book starts in a epic way a load of action and I really like that you felt like you had jumped into Isaura life at the most dangerous time of her life and I was going along for the ride of my life. The storyline was amazing and I loved the fact the book did not just stick with one character, but cut between many so you could get a better understanding of each character in the book.

The book so was exciting I was biting my nails through some hairy parts of the book sometime the book had me feeling sad and other time I was overjoyed and happy and it was so refreshing to find a book that not only took your interest from the beginning, but also had a way of playing with your emotions and making you feel like your heart was on a roller coaster ride.

I was ecstatic about the level of detail and the amazing world the author wove and it held me to the book the whole way though. I enjoyed each twist and turn that both shocked and excited you while you read along. By the time I was half way through I was sad that I would soon become to the end I just want the story to go on and on.

When I got to the end of the book I just wanted more I had the simply need to know what happens next I really don't know how I'm going to wait until the next book.

The book was simply Phenomenal with a completely engaging storyline and memorable characters.

Review by Annmarie

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