Author Interview: Kristin Ward

Welcome to my first ever author interview! I’m hoping over time I can bring more to you, so I hope you like my first attempt. Hopefully I didn’t embarrass myself too much!

Q1: I read both After the Green Withered and Burden of Truth within like a week (I really should have been studying but let’s gloss over that detail!), how long was Enora’s story in your head until you started writing it?

Studying be damned! Just kidding. Honestly, I’m incredibly happy to hear the story hooked you! There is no greater compliment for an author.

The journey of my first novel, from inception to publishing, was a long one. I actually began to craft the framework for the story when I was working on another project in 2011. I didn’t actually begin the writing process until a year later.

While I dabbled in the actual writing for many years, I became really serious about finishing the book in 2017. Yep. You read that right. Five years later. You see, I’m a procrastinator and, as such, I tend to let things sit for longer than I should. Plus, I do have a full-time career and am raising three sons.

The final catalyst for completion of the first book came in late 2017 when a read an article about the water crisis in Cape Town. At the time the piece was written, it was predicted that Cape Town’s water supply would run out in April of 2018. Not some far off, let’s not worry about it future, but 2018. I needed to tell my story because it is relevant. So, I buckled down, let the laundry sit and the housework pile up, and finished the book.

Q2: Wow, I remember reading about that crisis, it made me wonder if that would ever happen to my home city since our main dam never sits about like 4% full. What is your favorite part of Enora’s story?

The path set before Enora is not an easy one. She is confronted with realities about her world, things that had been kept hidden from her when she lived in her insulated town. Therefore, my favorite part of her story is the ending in the sequel, Burden of Truth. It is at this point that everything she has seen and been a part of comes together and, because she has such strength, she accepts a truth she could never have anticipated.

Q3: I remember reading that scene and sitting in disbelief for a few minutes. I kept thinking there had to be more to it than it seemed.Burden of Truth was published within 6 months of After the Green Withered, will there be a 3rd book coming out soon?

This is a great question! To be honest, I hadn’t anticipated writing the story in two books, to begin with, but as I crafted the first novel it became apparent that I couldn’t tell the story in one book. When I wrote the sequel, I actually started with writing the last scene of the book. The entire sequel is crafted around this scene, a place I knew I was going when the idea took root all those years ago.

As for a third book, a few readers have asked me if I was going to continue Enora’s story and I have told them that her story has reached a conclusion with Burden of Truth. However, I have toyed with the idea of writing another book in the same world. This work would be Ander’s story and would include some appearances from characters in the original storyline.

Q4: Well I guess I’ll just have to wait for Ander’s books and hope it gives me some answers I want! Tell me a bit about your writing process, do you map out the relationships and the skeleton of the story and then flesh it out? Or do you dive right in and write it as it is in your head and edit later?

I’m a total panster. In fact, I can’t help making a face at the thought of creating an outline with Roman numerals and bullet points. I feel stifled by too much planning. I prefer to start with an overarching idea and let the story and characters take me where they will. I have a definite ending in mind and I know how various relationships will work along the way to that culmination, but my characters often take little side trips I never anticipated. As for editing, I tackle that along the way, infusing new ideas and fleshing out scenes. Truthfully, the editing is never done. Typos and dirty laundry are the banes of my existence!

Q5: I feel you there with the editing! Between my work (I design training courses, at the moment it’s purely online courses) and this blog the editing never ends. I feel like I was too blinded by the amazing writing to notice, but were you always working towards Enora and Springer being a couple?

Aw, thank you! In short, yes. I began the book knowing the outcome of their partnership. However, I wanted Enora and Springer’s relationship to grow slowly and naturally. They both come from backgrounds rife with hardship and are rather guarded people as a result. I also didn’t want romance to detract from the heart of the story I am telling. In this way, their growing affection for each other came about through shared experiences, when their internal walls finally came down.

Q6: I think that’s great. It does feel like some writers push the romance like it’s a box to tick, and it felt right that this wasn’t like that. I loved how unique the first book was, what would you say to people who suggest your series has similarities to other series like Hunger Games or Divergent?

While I wanted to create a unique vision of a devastated world and craft a story within it, there will inevitably be comparisons to other dystopian works. I really enjoyed both The Hunger Games and Divergent and feel both series have strong messages for readers to reflect on and consider. This is my goal as well. I welcome fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent to check out my novels and enter a terrifying world of man’s making.

Q7: Before I can ask my next question, I need to know, I saw you wrote a graduate course in environmental education; can you explain what this is coz I have no idea? And this played such a huge part in your version of dystopian Earth.

Back in 2011, I was contracted to write a graduate course for a university that offers a master’s degree in environmental education. This is a growing field for educators who want to infuse traditional science curriculum with environmental science. As we see various shifts in the sciences, STEM and environmental studies are becoming more popular as there is a global need for people with these skills.

My course included concepts regarding earth’s history and, within this, I learned a great deal about the impact humans have had on the planet. As I studied and composed the content for the course, an idea began to germinate.

What if there was a global drought due to the impact humans have had on the planet? What is water became the global currency?

Q8: That is a scary truth I feel like most Aussie farmers are facing when the government sells rights to the water from the river in their property to some cashed up international company that dams it and stops any of the farmers downstream from getting access to water. How much of these books were based in scientific research? I imagine understanding the food processing plants and the genetic stuff you’d have to either know or have done quite a bit of research?

A great deal of both books resulted from the research I completed before and during the writing process. This truly began with the course I wrote as I was immersed in environmental topics. As a precursor to writing the novel, I created a list of ideas I wanted to research and include either in the prologue or within the story itself. My goal was to create a world that doesn’t feel that far removed from where we are today. In order to really understand Enora’s perspective and appreciate her growth over both books, you need to be grounded in the science of how her world evolved. This makes the prologue of the first book essential.

In addition to the environmental impact research I conducted, I also did a great deal of prep to write different parts of both books. For the genetic portions of the story, I researched things ranging from genetic mutation to attributes of animals living in desert ecosystems to food cultivation practices. Realism is an important idea in the books because it relates directly to the message of the story.

Q9: I could see this pay off throughout both stories and it really did add that realism that makes it believable. If a drought to that level occurs, do you think humanity would go the way of this series? Including creating beings like Anders?

I believe we are in a precarious time in earth’s history. We are currently in the sixth mass extinction period, but the unusual element of this is that it’s the result of a species rather than a natural event. The earth is also warming on an unprecedented scale as a result of our actions, and our inaction to curb it. With this in mind, is it too farfetched to think the earth could experience a massive drought?

If that were to happen, I believe much of what is in my prologue would come to fruition. There will always be someone who profits in some way, just as there will be those people who see the signs and can predict the necessary steps to mitigate something catastrophic. As for the genetic concepts in the books, these are not terribly far-fetched. There is a great deal of research being done in gene editing and splicing. For example, Crispr/Cas9 is the foundation for genome editing that can result in desired characters at a genetic level. The goal of this being that the progeny of these genetically mutated beings will also carry the mutation. So, the sciences behind the ideas in the book are already being investigated on a foundational level today.

Q10: The genetic stuff truly terrifies me. Partly because I can easily imagine some people using this to create “designer babies” while other would use it to create weapons. You’re currently writing YA; do you have any aspirations to try any other genres?

I have numerous story ideas floating around in the miasma of my brain, some of which are adult fiction. However, my current work in progress is in the YA genre. It is a scifi-fantasy crossover with an environmental theme titled, Rise of Gaia.

Q11: Oooo…. you didn’t feel like sharing more about that one just yet? How close are you to your editor/publisher? Do you get to celebrate with them when each book is released or when you reach milestones?

I would love to pop over to editor’s house for a cup of tea, but unfortunately, David Taylor, of thEditors.com, lives across the pond, in the UK. We do communicate frequently and I love his humor and enthusiasm. When I informed him of my winning status in the Best Indie Book Awards, he celebrated with me virtually and shared the news on social media.

Q12: I find it’s important to celebrate wins like that with those involved, even if it was virtually. Tell me about your biggest challenge and your greatest moment as a writer.

The biggest challenge I face as a writer revolves around time. Working full-time and raising three sons has an enormous impact on the hours available for writing stints. Now that I really think about it, how is it that the workday can crawl by like molasses, but writing time goes by in a blink? I usually end up snatching small chunks of time in the evenings and on the weekends. This is assuming that the laundry pile isn’t glaring menacingly at me, and that my three sons are occupied. Oh, and the dogs aren’t repeatedly dropping large bones with a loud thunk at my feet in an effort to entice me into a game of fetch.

As for greatest moments, pressing the submit button on Amazon was an incredible moment. Prior to that, I had talked about writing and publishing a book for years. To actually take that step and put it into the hands of readers was momentous and I did a little happy dance when it officially went live.

Another big moment for me was winning the 2018 Best Indie Book Award in the young adult category took me by complete surprise. While I had entered the competition with the hope of winning, I didn’t honestly consider my debut novel as a true contender. Receiving the congratulatory email from Best Indie Book Award was a defining moment. I felt that recognition validated, not only my story concept, but also my writing craft.

But the experiences that surpass both of these big achievements, are the reviews readers compose that reflect the connection they have to the characters and story. It is the words they write which are truly profound. As an author, my ultimate goal is to write someone’s favorite book.

Well, being someone who’s turned away from YA books in the last few years, the fact that yours held my attention even while I had other things I needed to do just says it all for the calibre of writing you’ve displayed with these books.

When it comes to time, I know what you mean! I swear as soon as I get home and have done some exercise there’s no time to work on one of my assignments let alone a book review! So congrats to you for finding time to write two whole books, that’s an amazing effort!

Thank you for your time, and I hope you enjoy seeing all the reviews across this tour 🙂

Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett

Welcome back everyone, we’re moving a bit out into the English countryside this week although we’re sticking to the romance genre. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I have a bit of a thing for historical settings and a countryside castle fits into that. I just had to give it a read to see how a castle was described, used and managed in these modern days.

Writing Style

For some books I find this really hard to describe, and this is one of those books. It almost felt like at times it was character driven, while at others it was driven by the story or the location. I don’t know if there’s a technical description for it, but I found the balance of all those different approaches really relaxing.

This let me just absorb what was on the page and feel like I was there with them as much as possible. I did find myself wishing I could enjoy reading them in the bath, but by the time I realised I wanted that it was too late to run a bath. And unfortunately, I don’t own a portable bath to travel to and from work in (not that I’m sure that’s socially acceptable?) to get my extra level of relaxation that way.

And man, those bluebell descriptions reminded me of the park behind the house I grew up in. But for me it was a field of daisies not bluebells. Not quite as fancy. But you still get the whole running in a field of flowers feeling which is amazing. So those descriptions brought me back to those childhood summer days where I’d read in amongst the flowers and my dad would almost trip over me coz, he couldn’t see me coz the flowers were so tall.

Those were good times so it’s nice to remember them sometimes.

Initial Thoughts

I was a bit confused as to what was happening in the first 2-3 chapters because it didn’t label the time to show we were covering certain days across winter with months between them. Once I realised this, I was OK, especially since it was pretty much entirely based in spring/early summer after that.

Since I’d been held on tenterhooks waiting for this book to arrive, I was ready to dive straight in and get immersed in the story. And I found this super easy to do, especially with a glass of wine on hand late on a Saturday afternoon and throughout Saturday night.

This book felt like a really great reading companion for a weekend night, which I really haven’t felt like I’ve had for quite some time.

Final Thoughts

Throughout the whole book I found myself picturing the countryside, the types of stones used, the layout of the castle, all those dogs running around and how picturesque it must be. Living somewhere like this would be a dream for me. Minus the money issues of course.

To read about how the other half live was mesmerising for me. But what I really liked were the moments when Lucie and Arthur were able to recognise their own faults and do something about them. They may have needed help sometimes to see their own faults. But they didn’t run away, gloss over or hide from them in in fear of what others would think of them.

Except a small moment from Lucie. But I can understand that and respect her for making sure Arthur found out the truth from her regardless.

My only fault with this book was the ending. I wanted more than like the 2 pages of them meeting up and making up to know what happens to them. An epilogue would have been perfect to wrap it up nicely. Unless it’s a series? Is it a series?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward on tour thanks to Write Reads. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others.

Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.

When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants.

Sarah is the author of the Butterfly Cove, Lavender Bay and the forthcoming Bluebell Castle trilogies, published by HQ Digital UK.

   

Mr One Night Stand – Rachael Stewart

Welcome back everyone, we’re moving from historically accurate Viking times all the way into present day London. I decided to give this book a go since Rachael addressed a sensitive topic so well last time that I was interested to see if she’d be doing something similar again.


Writing Style

Overall Rachael has an engaging style that I enjoy reading. The main difference between Unshackled and this one was that this one follows two character not just the one. I’m not sure if this is a new thing for Rachael or not, but there were a couple of times when it felt like we’d start off a section following Marcus. Yet somehow it switches to Jennifer when he’s thinking about her?

There were obvious breaks throughout the book to show when you switched point of view. But those unexpected ones threw me a little and made me go back and reread the start of the section to make sure I hadn’t just read it wrong.

Compared with the last book I read (I actually read No Place Like Home directly before this one) Rachael’s writing style is definitely character driver rather than location driven. There’s hardly any descriptions of the places, other than to set the scene (e.g. a penthouse with a view over London or a cosy, fancy restaurant) Rachael focuses her efforts on describing the characters thoughts, feelings and emotional turmoil.


Initial Thoughts

First jumping into this I thought the focus of the book was going to be on the sex, or erotica, of Marcus and Jennifer’s relationship. But it turned out it wasn’t. Like, yes, the book did start off with some heavy sex scenes. But it felt like the focus was on their emotional rather than their physical needs.

In all honesty, I didn’t have much else to think to begin with because I mostly read this book while half asleep on my way to work. And I kept getting distracted by the people around me because I’ve almost run out of data so can’t stream music to listen to while I read.


Final Thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed reading this story. But I felt like there was an opportunity to explore the way our past haunts us more. Rachael touched on it, but it felt like it was only done to give the characters some depth rather than exploring and unpacking something most of us experience in one way or another.

Compared to Unshackled I felt really let down on this front. But then again, if Rachael never wanted to focus on a topic like it felt like she did in Unshackled then it makes sense. I guess it’d be hard to come up with new issues to explore and unpack for every book you write in a meaningful way.


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Spring Skies Over Bluebell Castle by Sarah Bennet. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.


Author Bio

Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heart-warmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.

Despite a degree in Business Studies and spending many years in the corporate world, the desire to become an author never waned and it's now her full-time pleasure, a dream come true. 

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she's not glued to her laptop, she's wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

Giveaway - Win an e-copy of Mr. One Night Stand by Rachael Stewart (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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No Place Like Home – Maxine Morrey

Welcome back everyone, after trying out a brand-new genre for me last week with Tom Stone: Day of the Dead, we’re back to the familiar today. Since I enjoyed Second Chance at the Ranch, I thought I should try out another of her books with Rach Random Resources when it became available.


Writing Style

The writing style is actually very similar to Second Chance at the Ranch, which I realised as I wrote that is pretty obvious. I mean it's the same author, why did I expect anything different?

Anyway, the main thing I liked about her descriptions of the location was the way that she wrote about the Kansas landscape. I love those quiet country landscapes and just being able to sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of wine (or two...).

But really, you can totally lose yourself in your imagination of these places and the emotions going through the characters. It was mesmerising and I actually found myself for once wanting more descriptions of the landscape rather than what was happening between the characters.

But she also keeps you totally engaged and hooked on whats happening between the characters all the way through. And she even addresses the topic of domestic violence in what I feel to be a great way. It's raw, it feels honest and it addresses the aftereffects that victims experience.


Initial Thoughts

Pretty much straight off the bat I was a bit concerned about the topic of domestic violence being perpetrated with no context or meaning. That didn't really sit well with me because it's a topic often portrayed in a way that glorifies it.

But we quickly progressed to her being saved by the cops and moving in with a friend. And then we fast forward through time a little bit.


Final Thoughts

Overall I really enjoyed this one. It was mostly calming, and when my mind is whirling with my projects at work and the assignments I need to get done. I really needed that balance.

The fact that this story was told over a period of a few years, with the characters not knowing how to move forwards from friendship. Or if they even should. Felt really real to me.

The speed at which they came together didn't really feel real. But then again, I'm not really the type to jump so fully into something like that so maybe it's just me.


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Summer of the Viking by Michelle Styles. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.


Author Bio

Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten.

As time went by, she continued to write, but 'normal' work often got in the way. She has written articles on a variety of subjects, as well as a local history book on Brighton. However, novels are her first love.

In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK's 'Write Christmas' competition with her first romantic comedy, 'Winter's Fairytale'.

Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words loves to read, sew and listen to podcasts. Being a fan of tea and cake, she can (should!) also be found doing something vaguely physical at the gym.

                    Pintrest

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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An Impossible Thing Called Love – Belinda Missen

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed the summery feel of The Italian Retreat on the Italian Lake. This week’s review isn’t quite so summery, but it does involve two countries again, and a holiday fling.


Writing Style

I quite enjoyed the way this one was written. There was a magical feel to it that made me wish I had the guts to up and move to London, like I wanted to for a while there.

As Emmy came across new locations she would marvel at the simplest of things. This really made me connect with her because I do this as well when I travel. The simplest of things grabs me attention and I just want to know more because it’s somewhere different and I want to know how it differs to what I’m used to.

Also, a holiday fling that actually wants to stay in contact just has a magical quality to it. The touches of that magic scattered throughout the story really kept me engaged throughout the whole book.


Initial Thoughts

Right at the very start of the story I thought we might have been in some ancient Viking town or city during a festival. That just shows how recently I’d read the blurb doesn’t it? Coz it was, in actual fact, set in Edinburgh in like 2010 NYE.

One of the magical qualities of this book was the way Emmy and William hit it off as he helped her after receiving a punch in the face. They just seemed to have instant chemistry and it seemed a given they’d get together. Until they parted ways and didn’t exchange numbers or emails or anything.

When they kept running into each other I started to think maybe it would work out. But then it all seemed to fall apart. I felt really bad for Emmy at this point. I’ve lost a good friend when they stopped responding so I can empathise with how she would’ve been feeling. And it made me connect to her even more.


Final Thoughts

I really liked that the issues that pop up in real relationships was what made these ones difficult. Lack of communication, a feeling of getting left behind, not wanting to look like you can’t hack it. And even the desire to prevent someone else from ruining the relationship so not talking about that person.

If I hadn’t have read a tinsy bit of the acknowledgement (I normally skip these) I wouldn’t have realised that this is actually one in a series. So, I will likely try and ferret out those books and add them to my every growing (it was already ridiculous) TBR pile.

Seriously, if someone could just pay me a decent salary to not work and just get through my TBR pile then maybe I will get them all read along with the rest of the series for those that I liked.


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing The Consequence of Loyalty by Trey Stone.

Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

But first, if you're interested in buying a paperback copy click here. Or if you'd prefer buying it through BookDepository or iTunes you can. Other sources linked at the bottom of the post.


Author Bio

Belinda Missen is an award-winning and best-selling author, screenwriter, and freelance writer from Geelong, Australia. She lives with her car-obsessed, but wonderful husband, two loopy cats, and more books than she cares to count.

In late 2017, Belinda signed a six-book contract with HQDigitalUK (HarperCollins). A Recipe for Disaster was released in August 2018. An Impossible Thing Called Love appeared by magic in November 2018.

               

Check out the other reviews from this Blog Tour

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Conditions
 –Worldwide
entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The
winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and
will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days
then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative
winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as
part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be
shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This
will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the
prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the
data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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Summer on the Italian Lakes – Lucy Coleman

Welcome back everyone, today’s review is along similar lines to last week’s book in that they are both modern day romances. I chose to participate in this tour because it sounded like it might be a bit of a romance, but at the same time not really since our main character, Brie, needed to get over writer’s block.

Writing Style

I found this story to be really digestible and easy to read. And given how stressful my work life was while I read this book, I needed it. I found I was easily able to jump in and out of this story without being so hooked on “OMG what is going to happen next?!” while being just hookish enough to make sure I had something to look forward to.

I did need to make an effort to read more by the end of the book. But I assure you this had nothing to do with the writing style and everything to do with me trying to finalise some touches on my site since my developers had just finished.

I really looked forward to the times I could read so I could enjoy some light-hearted romance that had a few tense moments. These moments reminded me that it doesn’t matter how good or bad your life is to the public eye. You’re the only one who can really know how you’re feeling and it’s up to you to let people in to help you through those tough times.


Initial Thoughts

To start off with I couldn’t understand what had happened. Had Brie just been dumped? Had something happened to turn her into an emotional wreck?

Then when she turned her life around from her binge eating spree, I started to think she’d meet someone, and they’d go to Italy so she can get her groove back.

So, when she practically got forced out of the country by her agent to help someone who clearly doesn’t like her I started to wonder what could possibly come out of this story. But I persevered since Rachel hasn’t steered me wrong before with these types of stories.


Final Thoughts

By the end of the book I will admit I was a bit distracted and was reading in bursts of like 5-10 minutes in between work taking over my brain. But right near the end (I had like 5 percent left to read) I chose to stay late at work so I could keep reading while I ate breakfast to read.

I’m not sure the ending is very believable. But I guess that’s why it’s a romance book isn’t it? We don’t exactly read these to read about something that actually happens in real life.

We read these types of books for the flair, the drama and the ridiculously crazy ways people fall in love and make it work.

So, in that way I found it really enjoyable and reckon most people would enjoy this even if you’re not too big into romance since it’s not over the top.


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing An Impossible Thing Called Love by Belinda Missen.

Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.


Author Bio

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton - who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman - says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

          

Check out the other reviews on this Blog Tour

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*Terms and Conditions –UK
only entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box
below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all
valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is
received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to
select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any
personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose
only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the
winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only
for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will
delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of
the prize.


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The Secret to Falling in Love – Victoria Cooke

Welcome back everyone, I hope you weren’t disheartened by
last week’s review. Today I have another Blog Tour, and I’m happy to say I
enjoyed this one!

Story Overview

In this book we essentially follow our main girl, Mel, while she’s doing a challenge for work where she had to go completely technology free for a month and she how it changes her life.

With technology, she often ignored her surroundings and wasn’t having any luck finding any dates. Without technology she ended up with two guys essentially vying for her attention.


My Thoughts

When Mel writes her article about how we’re tied to our
devices I couldn’t help thinking I’d already read this somewhere. But given how
true it is I’m sure I have outside of books! But then for her boss to decide
because it’s so well received that she has to go technology free and just
enforces it without even giving her a chance to let her family and friends know
felt a little drastic!

But then again it’s a story so it worked.

The face that we then learn that a date she ends up with was
completely set up by her boss really set me off. Seriously, isn’t that like
illegal? So when Mel decides she’s going to quit once she can find a new job it
felt amazing! Girl power all the way!

After that things got a little dicey for me. I didn’t feel
as engaged as I wanted to be. But I can definitely say I was more engaged than
I have been with some of my other reads.

Did it feel generic? A little bit.


Final Thoughts

The good news is girl power feels like the stronger theme
throughout this book to me than the romance angle and I really loved it. I feel
like now I’m getting closer to 30 I’m seeing more and more women settle because
they feel like they need to be married and popping out kids.

So, for Mel to decide she’s ok being single and happy is amazing.
I wish we preached this message more. Life’s happiness isn’t all about the
value of the ring on your finger, how many kids you have etc. So, to read this
message in a modern novel was great.

I wish more writers could include this in their books for more
people to read. It’s empowering and I’m sure it embodies what most parents want
for their kids. To make sure your happiness comes before pleasing others.

My last thing was I wish there was a TINY bit more to the epilogue! I just wanted to see the friends and family’s reaction to that final thing and I would’ve been happy!


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I will be reviewing The Writing Retreat on the Italian Lake by Lucy Coleman.

Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.


Author Bio

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education.

She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling.

Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man.

Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, 'The Secret to Falling in Love,' in 2016.

          

Giveaway - Win an ARC of The Secret to Falling in Love and a box of Belgian Truffles (UK Only)

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A Conversation with a Cat – Stephen Spotte

Welcome back everyone, I hope you’ve been enjoying all the posts that have been coming out recently. Today’s review is another one from BookGlow, and I feel like I started off strong with the Autobiography of Satan and I’ve reached a point where I really struggled.

I went into this book thinking I’d be reading about some fantasy style version of the world where we can talk to cats. So, I was quite disappointed when it turns out that you just have to be high and drunk.

We started off the story hearing about how the main guy went
fishing and ended up needing to get his gall bladder removed once he got home.
And how from that he was high on pain killers and spent quite a bit of time
drinking. Until he was outside one night and his cat suddenly starts talking to
him.

Then the next challenge I faced while reading this was that
I didn’t find the story engaging. The style of the writing was bad enough for
me. But then the fact that there were very few paragraph breaks and there were
only 8 chapters meant I didn’t have any natural spots to stop.

And what made it even worse for me was the fact that there
were multiple times where one sentence spanned 1-2 pages. How does this even
happen?!

I will allow that I had my Kindle zoomed in slightly, so I
didn’t have to wear my glasses while I read. But I didn’t have it zoomed in
THAT much! I even showed a friend who agreed the sentences were way too long.

And then at the end of the story, after spending pretty much
the whole book focussed on Cleopatra, we all of a sudden are finding out about
the cat’s life before he was adopted by the guy he’s been talking to.

As much as I wanted to oy this, because the idea sounded really cool, I really felt there is a lot of improvements that need to be made. Firstly, by having an editor go through it thoroughly. Those sentences, paragraphs and chapters need to be shorter. Hopefully that will help create some natural breaks and give it the improvements it deserves.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Saturday I will be reviewing The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke.

Made to Break Your Heart – Richard Fellinger

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed the review on Monday about a relationship that almost didn't get off the starting line.

This week’s review is also about a complicated relationship. But this time it’s about a married guy struggling to hold his marriage together rather than convincing the girl to go out with him.

Story overview

The global financial crisis (GFC) is something I remember clearly happening in 2008 when this book is set. Following a series of banks in the US collapsing a number of domino like effects happened. As a result, Nick lost his job at the newspaper.

Nick's experience during this time doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of how bad some families were affected. Over the two year span immediately before and after the GFC we follow Nick and his struggles to keep his family together.

Leading up to the GFC Nick struggles to be a good father, husband and coach to his son's baseball team. During, and immediately after the GFC Nick pick's up the pieces of his life while he desperately tries to find a job he's passionate about. Given the job climate this is a struggle that leads him to potentially murky waters with another woman.

In light of those actions, he's kicked out of his own house by his wife as she believes he's cheating on her. Throughout the book we follow Nick's perspective and learn just how clueless he is about women as he struggles to save his marriage.


My thoughts

I will warn you that this read is a slow grand kind of book to me. Unlike many books that I read, I found that I wasn't hooked in at any given point in time. There was no buy in or emotional investment in the characters.

The way the story was structured it felt like I was reading directly from Nick's diary. And it felt like her was just trying to come out alive and with a woman by his side. He never made an effort to even talk to his wife about how he was feeling. So how could she have known what he needed from her?

The concept of this story is great. I mean, how many times do we hear this story from the woman's perspective? Unfortunately, the delivery didn't quite hit the mark to make this a great success.

It lacked the pizaz and attention grabbing moments that hook you in and keep you hooked. I ended up feeling like I was reading this purely for the sake of finishing it to write this review.

And I'm glad I did because it was a different perspective. It showed that break ups happen over time and that fighting for the relationship can make a difference to save it.

But I honestly can't say I've ready it again. Especially since I found myself making excuses to do other things. Such as cleaning the house! Just to avoid reading.

So if you enjoy complex books that make you think. But don’t necessarily have that hook, line and sinker moments you come to expect. Then you could really enjoy this one.


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I will be reviewing A Conversation with a Cat by Stephen Spotte.