Love You Dead by Peter James – Book Review

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Here is my no-spoiler review of: Love You Dead by Peter James. (5/5 star rating)

I don’t know why I’ve read so many detective books lately but this one didn’t disappoint!

Click the picture to purchase your copy! (Affiliate)

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is back chasing another suspect down. Jodie Bentley, a serial black widow, who is trying to marry and murder her way up the social hierarchy. Roy Grace is struggling with his own personal life and the past that he thought he had laid to rest. Jodie is trying to make a life for herself in the only way she thinks possible, she is manipulative and smart, she uses this to her advantage.

Detective Grace’s late wife Sandy has been missing for over ten years, presumed dead when suddenly she arises from the surface in France. Grace is struggling to deal with this new information, and how to explain it to his new wife Cleo. He’s trying hard to not let his personal life take his mind off his duties to the citizens of Brighton.

The first thing I noticed about this book and loved was the fact it had a map at the beginning. I’ve never been to Brighton and I felt it helped me visualize the city better in my head.  I also noted that the novel is written in short chapters making the reading easier as you are flipping from character to character and each chapter is titled with a date in chronological order.

I started this book at the beginning of February and I’m slightly irritated that it took me so long to finish it considering I read half of the book in one day. I felt like I didn’t know how this novel was going to turn out because I didn’t know certain things from previous books, but James has written this novel in a way that without any back story (from previous books) you are still kept in the loop, therefore, he is attracting new readers and still giving his old readers what they want.

I really like Detective Grace, I feel like this novel really did focus on his personal emotional turmoil, whilst still having a mystery in need of solving by Grace and his team. He is a relatable character trying to deal with a lot of personal problems as well as do his job of protecting people. I loved his sense of humour and how he tries to remain positive even though his superiors are hanging on their seats waiting for him to slip up.

At times, I found myself feeling sorry for Jodie after finding out what she’s been through, that made her the way she is. Jodie’s family made her an outcast, she felt unloved and constantly compared to her sister which drove her to jealousy and wanting to prove to her family that she was worthy. With most of the character’s I felt like there was enough background to feel an emotional attachment too. I usually dislike novel’s written from character to character but this was a great exception.

When I reached the final quarter of the book, I had no idea how Peter James was going to catch Jodie out. She truly is a devilish character who is cunning and murderous! Every piece of information in this novel, worked hand in hand with creating the ending of this book. Each character had a part to play to help bring Jodie down, and put an end to her murderous streak.

I honestly was so overwhelmed in the last few chapters that I had to re-read them!

I like that despite the fact the Ray Grace books are a series, you can also read them as stand-alone novels. I am wanting to read the next novel within the series. I felt like I was left with a lot of unanswered questions after I finished reading like what happened after Jodie has been caught which I hope will be answered in the next novel.  I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good detective novel, I am definitely going to read some more Peter James in the future and review for you all. I have Billionaire at the ready and I will probably read that around Easter.

I liked that any technical police work is explained in the back in a glossary it really helped me as someone who has no idea about detective work. I can appreciate the amount of research put into this book and I was overall blown away by this novel which is why I would rate it 5/5 stars.

I’ve been featured on Golden Bloggers talking about how to stay motivated whilst blogging. You can read my advice among other bloggers here.

I also had a guest post over at LeaBellaBlogs taking about what books I recommend to take on holiday with you. You can read that here.

 

 

Cold Justice by Lee Weeks – Book Review

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Cold Justice – Lee Weeks ( 4/5 star rating)

This was the first novel I have read by Lee Weeks, and I have to say I was not disappointed. I don’t usually read detective books so it was very different from the books I am used to.

Click the picture to purchase your copy! (Affiliate)

The story follows a couple Toby and Lauren Forbes-Wright and the disappearance of their young boy, Samuel, who has been kidnapped from London on the day of Toby’s father Jeremy’s funeral. Jeremy Forbes-Wright was a prominent MP who spent a lot of time in Penhal, Cornwall. A lot of the funeral attendee’s were friends of Jeremy’s from Penhall leading the search there.

Detective Inspector Carter and Detective constable Willis are set on finding Samuel, uncovering dark secrets in search in Penhal. The community of Penhal seem like any other small town, everyone knows everyone and all of their business. When Carter and Willis come searching for answers, the community form a stronger bond to keep their secrets from being exposed.

Carter and Willis uncover an alleged attack that happened in 2000, involving Toby and a young woman from Penhall. The alleged attack was never investigated which led to more questions about what happened in Penhall over 14 years ago and whether Samuel had been kidnapped in revenge.

If you want a mystery, that leaves you guessing page after page, this is the book for you.

Cold Justice is very suspenseful until the very last page. I struggled at the beginning to get into it as I do with most books. I felt like there was a short period in the middle where I felt like it started to lose it slightly but then those final chapter’s where the most thrilling ever. I was turning page after page with curiosity, things take a very unexpected turn and a domino effect happens. Everyone’s secrets come out and the people of Penhall start to turn on each other.

I’m still unsure on how Weeks kept the mystery going for so long, every time I felt like I knew who it was I was proven wrong. Lee weeks did a great job at letting us see the story from every point of view but I did feel like we lacked a bond with the characters. I felt no attachment to any of them as the novel flips from detective to victim and then to suspect.

I am not a detective and I really appreciate the detail this story goes into behind the scenes of the police work going on. It feels pretty accurate in my opinion and it was nice to read from that point of view. I don’t read many 3rd person novels because I always feel like they’re not consistent but Cold Justice is and I really loved the writing style.

The storyline of this novel is a 5 star from me. The only thing I felt let this book down was the silly mistakes that hadn’t been corrected in publishing. In the third quarter of the book, one of the Character’s name changed from Mawgan to Megan only briefly but I did confuse me because I had no clue who Megan was. This among some other petty mistakes has made me give an overall total of 4/5 stars.

Overall, I rather enjoyed this novel to start the year of reading off and I would probably get another story by Lee Weeks within this series of detective books and I recommend this to anyone who loves a mystery/crime novel.

What can we learn from published authors?

If you follow my blog, you will know I love to interview authors one of the main reasons I enjoy doing this is to pick at their brains for knowledge. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be an author, so if you’re like me, wanting to get your own novel published we can use their insight to help us.

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One of the questions I love to ask is: Is there a piece of advice you were given when writing that you feel would help other aspiring authors? Could you share it with us?

Samantha Webb, the author of The Cornlings and Glub, told us:

“I was advised to get a copy of The Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and I am so glad that I did. It answered so many questions that I had and made the process seem a lot less daunting.”

Click the name to read the full interview.

Sherry Christie, the author of Crash Bang Ooooooo and the Orangutan with a chip on his shoulder, told us:

“My one piece of advice is, make every word count. I spend a great deal of time searching for the best adjectives and restructuring sentences to cull unnecessary words. It really lifts the writing to a different level.”

Click the name to read the full interview.

Poppy Chase, the author of The Story of Dinosaur School, told us:

“The only advice I received from professionals in the world of publishing was discouraging. Essentially, people told me that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for an unknown writer to have his/her work published. When I asked if they knew anyone that I should approach for advice, all I would hear is that literary agents, editors, and publishers of children’s picture-books are overworked and few and far between. One literary agent that I approached required authors to have a large online presence, to have been published on “high traffic sites,” and to have an impressive calendar of speaking engagements during which he/she sold a few thousand books. Usually, however, the rejection was (is) quite brief, “I am closed to submissions and cannot take on another thing. I’m sorry.”

So my advice is this: In your (our) pursuit of a long and faithful relationship with a literary agent and/or publisher, wear strong shoes, and do not give up. Rejection notices are painful nose-bumps, but keep marching and keep writing!”

Click the name to read the full interview.

Rebecca McDowall, the author of Regan, told us:

“Don’t allow rejection letters to distinguish your drive. I can’t tell you how much this piece of advice helped me. I received some rejections which were your bog standard email, and others that told me they loved my work but as a new author, they weren’t prepared to take a risk on me. It took about a year of rejections before I received an offer and signed with Vanguard Press.

Don’t just sign any old contract either. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of receiving an offer but try not to get ahead of yourself.  I rejected three offers as the contracts were not right for me.”

Click the name to read the full interview.

Nelou Keramati, the author of The Fray Theory, told us:

“Make it about the characters. Exposition and descriptions of scenery can be beautiful, but nobody will care if they haven’t become emotionally attached to the characters. For this, your characters need to have what Peter Russell (Hollywood Script Doctor) calls a ‘Core Wound’. Something emotional the character must deal with/a wound they must heal in order to be able to reach their goals. If a character is perfect or has no inner obstacles to overcome, they’re not real, so why would we care?”

Click the name to read the full interview.

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To simplify it so we can utilise it:

Think about your storyline, map it out. – If you don’t map out your story properly it may become incoherent.

Think about how you write, make sure every word in your novel accounts for something.

Research publishing – If you don’t know anything about publishing, research it before you apply for a contract.

Read all contracts you receive properly! – You do not want to get yourself into a publishing contract that doesn’t fit your needs.

I hope this has helped some of you when you are thinking about writing a novel.

It’s my 1st Blogiversary

I can say with great pleasure, that I did it. I stuck to it and my blog is officially 1 year old today. It has been hard at times and I will admit, that there were times when I wanted to give up. I cannot believe it and I can not thank you all enough for supporting me and encouraging me to carry on. I would not be sharing this today if it wasn’t for my readers, supporters and followers. You all mean the world to me.

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I thought I would use my blogiversary as a time to tell you all what I have planned for this year. I haven’t had the best start to 2019, but I plan to push past that and get back out there.

Of course, I plan on sticking to my New Years resolutions so I have some book reviews coming up starting with Cold Justice by Lee Weeks which I’m almost finished. I also hope to do a few more DIY posts, I would love to hear some suggestions from you all. I am thinking of introducing a guest blogger this year, which will be different.

Today, I am going to spend enjoying the rainbow cake I have made and reflect over the year I have had blogging. Thank you all for following me, supporting me and of course, for reading my posts. It has been a pleasure to share my crazy life with you all for 1 year, here is to many more.

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Let’s talk about Mental Health

I think it would fair to say that at some point in every person’s life they have a moment where they struggle with their mental health. There are so many different types of mental health issues that people face every single day of their lives, and it can be a long recovery for most.

I asked Instagram if they could send a message to people suffering a mental health problem, what would they say?

Here are some of the responses I received:

‘I know it’s hard but keep going’

‘This feeling won’t last forever! Take it one day at a time and you’ll get through anything.’

‘You are never alone, there are so many people out there who are just like you!’

‘There is more than one way to help, just because one thing doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean nothing will.’

‘We all have an issue with our mental health at some time in our lives but it’s only the strong ones who can admit it. And only a superhero can admit it and seek helve. p.’

‘You are worth more than you believe. If you aren’t seeing it, others are, don’t give up.’

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You’d be surprised at how many people understand exactly what you are going through. You are never alone and you are all warriors. You can fight it and you will survive it, don’t give up hope.

Surround yourself with positivity – Yellow Roses are a symbol of good cheer and optimism. They are known to lift spirits and promote general well-being.

For most, finding a hobby has become very useful, as it occupies the mind. A hobby can be anything you find enjoyment from, and there are so many to choose from. Don’t be afraid to start something new,  some of the most creative people I know all suffer from Mental Health issues and they are all fantastic.

Colouring always helps me as a way to de-stress and be creative at the same time. I love this new mindfulness colouring book by Emma Farrarons.

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If colouring isn’t your thing, you could try photography, it allows you to step outside your comfort zone and search for beauty within life.

I swear by reading, reading allows you to escape your life for a while and step into a world of complete fantasy. Get lost and fall in love with someone else’s imagination

Don’t be afraid to speak up about Mental Health, there is someone out there waiting for you to tell them. If someone confides in you to talk about their Mental Health, please try to be supportive and understanding and appreciate that they confided in you.

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Let’s work together to make that smile on your photo’s a genuine smile, learn to fall in love with being alive. Smile through the rain (or snow).

If anyone ever wants to chat about anything, I am always available at my email address – whatsinmywonderland@gmail.com. I check my email’s everday and they go straight to my phone so I promise you, you will get a response.

 

Author Interview with Sherry Christie

I’m back again with another Interview with Sherry Christie, Author of ‘Crash Bang Ooooooo!’.  The children’s novel Crash Bang Ooooooo! is about a rabbit who really wants to win a medal or trophy in the Golden Olympics. His journey leads him all around the world in the hope of finding a talent that can earn him his medal. He is a very optimistic rabbit who is willing to try anything. Sherry Christie lives in North Cornwall with her family and has a degree in Criminology with Psychology including Child Psychology. She has worked with children in Preschools and youth clubs. She loves all wildlife and writes some of her novels to raise funds for Wildlife charities!

Click on the photo to buy your copy of ‘Crash Bang Ooooooo!’ (Affiliate)

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Where did the inspiration for Crash Bang Ooooooo come from?

The title came first with Crash! Bang! “Ooooooo”. Years ago, my eldest daughter, then aged two, was describing how someone had fallen. “She went, crash, bang, Oooooo,” said my daughter, shaking her head sorrowfully. It really made me laugh. When we were reminiscing one evening last year she said it again and I thought, that is a great title for a book.

I love the message this novel sends out to children. You can’t be good at everything but everyone is good at something. I love how Rabbit doesn’t give up trying, what was the main message you want children to take from your novel?

I love Rabbit’s perseverance and self- belief. He rolls with each disaster and never loses faith in his ability to be a winner. “Believe in yourself,” is a very important message. I deliberately chose a rabbit for my hero, to show you don’t have to be the biggest or strongest to be the best.

Rabbit travels around the world to attempt some of the records he wants to break at the Animal Olympics, how did you choose where Rabbit was going to visit?

I began by thinking of the most visually interesting sports in the Olympics. This then led to researching the best places in the world to train. Fortunately, this provided a lovely diversity of mountains, beaches and the city. I hope it inspires children to want to explore the world.

Was there a particular moment in which you realised you wanted to write novels?

I have been making up stories, creating characters and writing for as long as I can remember. It was how I played as a child. In that respect have never grown up. I have endless lists of imaginary friends, half-finished stories and ideas that go back decades. In the last couple of years, I decided it was about time I submitted some finished projects to a publisher.

Why did you choose to write a children’s novel rather than adults?

I like to play with words, I love rhyme and alliteration and the way words can sound together. There is so much more scope for this in children’s books, especially as they are more often read aloud. Children’s books are so fun to write too, in that you can completely lose yourself in fantasy.

You volunteered to work with children in preschools and youth groups, has this inspired your writing?

Definitely. I learn a lot from listening to children play and get inspiration from their imaginative games. Their perspective and priorities are very different from us boring adults. Very often a child will say something fun that I scribble down for later thoughts. Working with children has also given me an opportunity to see where my books can help children with their social development and what positive messages I can help reinforce.

Is there any advice you would give to other aspiring authors? Or any advice that you were given that you would like to share?

My one piece of advice is, make every word count. I spend a great deal of time searching for the best adjectives and restructuring sentences to cull unnecessary words. It really lifts the writing to a different level.

What are your hobbies/ favourite pastimes outside of writing?

Four children ranging from 15 down to 4 certainly keeps me busy. We are fortunate that we live in North Cornwall by the coast. So, we have the beautiful Cornish moors beaches and woods to explore. I love to be around nature and encouraging it into my garden.

Now that Crash Bang Ooooooo! has been published are you planning any other novels?

Plenty. I have, “The Orangutan Who had a Big Chip on his Shoulder”, coming out in February and have submitted more to my publisher for this year’s list. I also write books to raise funds for wildlife charities.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Is there anything that you would love to have accomplished?

I have for many years been working on a longer novel about a fairy who believes in humans. I hope one day to finish that. At the speed I am going, five years might be a bit ambitious.

What is your all-time favourite book and why?

My all-time favourite book would be Alice in Wonderland because it is so bonkers. It taught me at an early age, there are no limits to imagination

What is your favourite quote and why?

My favourite author is the late Sir Terry Pratchett and my favourite character is Granny Weatherwax, so to quote her, “Everything has a story in it, change the story, change the world.” That feels empowering.

amelia crash bang ooooooAnd finally, if you were stranded on a desert island, in which you could only take 3 items, what would you take and why?

How exciting! Unlimited paper, a pen and a camera would keep me entertained for months. I could write undisturbed and look for exciting wildlife to photograph. I am thinking positive and assuming I’d be rescued… eventually. No need for them to hurry though.

We loved this story, Rabbit is very inspirational and also very comedic  and I hope you all can enjoy it too! Don’t forget to pick up your copy!

New Year’s Resolutions 2019

Since this is my first post in 2019, I would love to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

‘New Year’s Resolutions’ is the tradition where an individual decides to change an unwanted habit or to accomplish a personal goal. I personally try to participate every year, admittedly not every year goes to plan but it’s always nice to have goals. I try to set realistic goals, something that I know I can achieve if I put the work in.

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So in this post, I’m going to share with you, my new year’s resolutions. Both personal and for this blog.

  • Believe in the impossible.

The most important –  my main goal in 2019. I have thought many things are ‘impossible’, I never thought I would be able to play the keyboard! I proved myself wrong! So this year I would like to be able to think of something and not brush it off straight away but to actually think logically and of course, try it out.

“In your wildest dreams you could not imagine that such things could happen to you! Just wait and see!” – Roald Dahl , Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

  • Build upper body strength.

Shamefully, I’ve always been strong-minded but weak bodied.  I am 5ft1 and I can not physically lift my own weight. So I’ve already started by doing push up’s every day (another thing I never thought I could do) and I will continue to do my yoga.

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“Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be clever. Some people are born clever the same way some people are born beautiful. I’m not one of those people. I’ve had to work at it.”― David Nicholls, Starter for Ten.

  • Read more books!

This is most definitely on my list every year but this year I am going to be using Goodreads for the 2019 reading challenge. Every book I read in 2019 will be reviewed and posted on here under the Books category and on my Goodreads!Camera books.jpg

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin

  • Take more time for me.

It is way too easy to get sucked into doing things that you can forget that you need to take time for yourself. Self-care is so important and if this isn’t on your list, you should all add it.

“Self-care is how you take your power back.” – Lalah Delia

I have been distant in my blogging these last couple of weeks because I have been trying to plan as much as I can for 2019. I’m hoping we are going to see a lot more stuff about books on my blog, and hopefully some crafts as well as the usual.

What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions/goals for 2019? Let me know in the comments!

Wishing you all the very best wishes for 2019!