Tuscan Enchantment – Kate Zarelli

0

Welcome back everyone, today’s review takes us into the wilds of Tuscany and its history, both recent and long gone.

I’m going to kick off this review with some things I didn’t like. The way Kate has written her character’s thoughts and conversations made me feel like I was reading a regency or Victorian romance. The formal way the character’s spoke to each other is something that you just wouldn’t come across in modern times.

For a good while there I thought it was set historically (obviously having forgotten what the cover looked like) until Antonia set setting up a laptop. That really threw me! And I had moments like this happen throughout most of the book.

The other thing that really bugged me was how easily Lorenzo switched from being a man whore to be a one-woman man who is dumping his fiancé. Like that was just so sudden it didn’t feel natural. And the same kind of thing happened with Antonia. Can someone REALLY fall in love so deeply they will change who they are within a few days?

I know romances aren’t meant to be realistic, but this was just over the top.

On the other hand, Kate’s ability to describe a location is amazing. I feel like I knew a fair bit about Tuscan history (thank you Assassins Creed!) yet I didn’t know that there were literal castles there.

The ravages of time and WWII haven’t been left out either. There was a great nod to those poor souls who lost their lives because of that war which I thought was brilliant. The moments when characters interact with the memorial to those was probably the most emotionally realistic the whole book got.

If Kate were to write a historical romance I feel like she’d nail it with her ability to emotionally draw you into a place. And she can already write in the same way people of the past spoke. But for a modern romance?

It’s not quite hitting it for me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I will be reviewing Zoe Ashwood’s latest (yes I’m finally getting to it!) novel Make Him Howl. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Kate Zarrelli is the romance and erotica pen-name of Katherine Mezzacappa. Kate is Irish but now lives in Carrara in Northern Tuscany, between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea, with her Italian husband and two teenage sons. She writes historical, erotic, feel-good and paranormal fiction, set all over Europe, and in her spare time volunteers with a used book charity of which she is a founder member. You can follow her on Facebook at Kate Zarrelli books or on Twitter @katmezzacappa.

Giveaway - Win a Little Carrara Marble Heart Pendant (open internationally)

Can be engraved with the winners initials

*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 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.

0

Cover Reveal – Singles, Set & Match

0
Genres: Romance

The fifth and final book in the Singles’ Series takes us to the Mediterranean island of Ibiza then back to the Caribbean island of Antigua, where it all began. 

After making a hard decision two years earlier Eve Mitchell has moved on with the hand that life has dealt her and she finds herself on the White Island working a tennis holiday.  While it isn’t a job she would have chosen, in her typical pragmatic way Eve gets on with it, working hard to ensure that her diverse group of singles, with their hopes, expectations character flaws and baggage, have the best time possible.  And as she binds together tennis sessions, social gatherings, meals and trips Eve hears some tragic personal news that brings her to another crossroads in her life.  Will she and the love of her life Melv finally make a life together and live happily ever after?

AVAILABLE 1ST JULY!

Pre-order on Amazon now

US
UK

Author Bio

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.  Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019!  Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

0

Probably the Best Kiss in the World – Pernille Hughes

Welcome back everyone, we’re in for a double review day today because I really wanted to read this book as well as the Time for Alexander series. So you get to enjoy this bonus review!

I found this one mostly easy to read and enjoyable. But the articles that were randomly dotted throughout the story really threw me off. I found that I’d be really hooked on the story, powering through and then I got stopped by some article about Lydia, her younger sister. Am I meant to be caring about her sister? Is her sister somehow super important to the overall story?

By the time I got to the end I could see how Lydia was important in helping Jen become more self-aware and confident enough to follow her dreams. But I don’t feel like the articles added anything to the overall story, so I’m not sure why they are there.

On the other hand, Jen and Jakob’s relationship was sweet and endearing even though I don’t like how Jen went about starting her relationship with Jakob. I’m not a fan of cheaters, and I don’t think we should be glamorising those who cheat and that they can still get what they want from life.

But I also get that sometimes you do just get carried away, and before you know if shit’s gone down that you regret. I just wish she’d been more upfront about all that with Jakob and Robert.

The fact that Jen and Jakob’s relationship centres around beer was quite entertaining to me. Especially since there were references to stereotypes that women don’t like beer and couldn’t possibly understand beer. I loved that this felt like a subtle dig that women can do stuff men can as well. Specially considering if you go back far enough in history, it was actually the women who brewed beer first.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, if you haven’t already checked out Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire, I think you should. And next week I will be reviewing The Wrong Kind of Love by Lexi Ryan. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Pernille Hughes is a RomCom author and mum, whose debut novel was SWEATPANTS AT TIFFANIE'S, soon to be followed by PROBABLY THE BEST KISS IN THE WORLD (April 2019). Previously her writing has been printed in The Sunday Times and the fabulous SUNLOUNGER summer anthologies. Find out about her new books at www.pernillehughes.com

Pernille (pronounced Pernilla) studied Film & Literature at uni and took her first job in advertising, having been lured by the temptation of freebies, but left when Status Quo tickets was as good as it got. After a brief spell marketing Natural History films, she switched to working in Children's television which for a time meant living in actual Teletubbyland, sharing a photocopier with Laa-Laa.

Now, she lives in actual Buckinghamshire, sharing a photocopier with her husband and their four spawn. While the kids are at school she scoffs cake and writes RomCom stories in order to maintain a shred of sanity.

You can also find Pernille on Bookbub and Pintrest.

Son of the Moon – Jennifer Macaire

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed my review of One?. I found it difficult at times as an Aussie but still enjoyed it, but time to get back to a series I’m really enjoying, the Time for Alexander series!

Writing Style

The first thing I want to say is that it seems Jennifer has either gotten over those overly direct sentences, or she got a new editor for this book that managed to get rid of almost all of those annoying, jarring sentences. YAY!

That left me being able to focus more on the story rather than feeling like I was thrown out of it because of a string of short sentences that just felt weird to read.

Overall, I feel like there’s a maturity to Jennifer’s writing that hasn’t quite been there with the first two books. And I’m loving it. It feels like the story is more cohesive and purposeful rather than a string of great ideas and plot points strung together.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the first two books. It means that I found this book much easier to engage with which meant I could enjoy it much easier and quicker.

Initial Thoughts

I’m struggling to remember what exactly happened at the start, but I remember that I was a little on edge wondering if Ashley and Alexander would find their son. Given there are 7 books in the series I wasn’t sure if this quest was meant to span all those books or whether there’d be more to their story if they found him.

After a harsh climb up a mountain pass, they were met by an old man who welcomed them but seemed to be delaying and delaying them seeing their sun. Which of course made me wonder if their son was even still there or had yet again been stolen away from them.

What they discovered was certainly not what they, or me, were expecting which brought about another question. What were they going to do now?

And that’s what drove the rest of the books story.

Final Thoughts

As usual, I finished this book dying for the next book. Which makes me think, if anyone wants to know what they should ever gift me (in case you were wondering), get me this series with matching covers in paperback. Coz this is a series I will come back to again in the future (I can already tell) which mean’s I want it in my burgeoning library for proud display.

I’ve mentioned already that I really engaged with this book better than the first book. I loved the battles, I loved that Ashley sacrificed for love and I love that she’s willing to ask for what she really wants. A full life with Alexander where they can live in peace without the people from the future killing them and erasing them from history.

This really brought me back to the start of the first book which made me wonder if this was a clue as to what was happening then. Maybe, maybe not. I’ll have to wait to find out.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Probably the Best Kiss in the World by Pernille Hughes. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

Giveaway - $10 Amazon gift certificate and mug (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.

A Greek Affair PRICE DROP!

0
A Greek Affair PRICE DROP!A Greek Affair by Linn B. Halton
Buy on AmazonBuy on Amazon.co.ukBuy on Amazon.com.au
Goodreads
four-stars

More than just a holiday romance?

Her daughter, her job and divorcing her untrustworthy ex are Leah’s main priorities. She isn’t really bothered that her life might be missing a few things. But after winning a prestigious travel blogger award, she’s inundated with offers to review glamorous holiday destinations.
Lying around drinking exotic cocktails and being paid for it … what could be better? Perhaps a romantic trip to idyllic Greece to find the one man who might make Leah risk her heart again…

I reviewed A Greek Affair back in January and really loved it. So when I heard that a price drop was coming I had to share it with you. Not only do you now know it’s on sale, well you can also go into the chance to win some goodies. Keep reading to see how you can been in with a chance to win!

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.

Message from Linn: Do you love a competition?

Hello lovely readers and bloggers!

To celebrate the price drop to 99p I will be running a competition on Twitter for one lucky person to win a goody bag – a limited edition mug and pen, and a Disaronno/chocolate gift box!

No purchase is necessary to join in – just RT one of my lovely blogger’s Tweets for the 99p promo including @LinnBHalton and #AGreekAffair, to take part.

If you have already read/reviewed A Greek Affair and take a photo of it on your reading device and/or send a link to your review in your Tweet – IF YOUR NAME is the ONE drawn by the third party, I will add two signed paperbacks from my backlist to the prize!

Don’t forget to include @LinnBHalton and #AGreekAffair so we can include your Tweet in the competition. Thank you so much for dropping by and good luck!

Terms: Competition closes noon GMT 19 April 2019; international; anyone can enter; prize to be provided by the author; prize winner will be announced on Twitter by @LinnBHalton and on Linn’s website (competition page) at noon on 20April 2019 after being selected at random by a third party.

four-stars
0

Legends of Persia – Jennifer Macaire

Welcome back everyone, last week I participated in a pretty epic book tour, so I hope you checked out some of the other’s involved in that one.

When Rachel put out that Jennifer had come back pretty much as soon as the tour for the first book was over to have the second book reviewed, I did not waste a second replying and pretty much begging for a spot on the tour schedule.

And lucky me got a place! Yay! If you haven’t read my review of The Road to Alexander, I suggest popping over there as well.


Writing Style

I really love the way Jennifer writes about Ashley and Alexander throughout the book. It’s done in a way that captures my attention, and better yet, HOLDS my attention. Whenever I have to put this series down I hate it, and I just keep thinking about what could be in store for them.

My one grumble about the writing was that a few descriptions felt a bit jarring. Like they were so to the point with no preamble that it felt a little off-putting. I don’t really remember if this happened in the first book or not. But after 2 or 3 chapters I stopped noticing it because I was so wrapped up in the story again.


Initial Thoughts

Jennifer recapped the previous book in the first chapter, which is great for newbies or those that haven’t read the first book in a while. And I think this is important to do, especially when you’re writing a longer series.

After we got past the recap we jumped straight back into where we left off last time. Maybe fast forward a week or two. Which is great for me because I didn’t want to miss a minute of the story! What I also loved was that Jennifer also referred to the modern-day names of many places which meant I could jump onto Google Maps and check out where they were.

Sometimes.

It’s not always easy to tell, and in a few cases I had to kind of guess roughly where they were. But that might just be me liking to know where people are when they are travelling. Does anyone else like following characters along on a map?


Final Thoughts

I love that Ashley seems to have grown bolder with Alexander in this book. In the first book she often deferred to him which I thought was a bit odd given how strong her voice was in her own time. An example of this is when Alexander is drugged and doesn’t notice Ashley being raped because he’s off with some other woman.

Boy did Ashley tell him where to stick it then! And the fact that she knew what was going to happen and essentially told him that she wouldn’t wait for him was pretty cool to read.

The one part of this section of the story line was that Ashley talked about her being from the future when others were in their tent. I thought no one could know this? And yet she’s blatantly telling Alex what his future is with like 3 other people in their tent who could hear them? That didn’t really make sense to me, and actually bugged me a little bit.

So please, I beg you Jennifer. Keep the rest of the series coming to Rach Random Resources so I can save my money to buy physical copies of the books!

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


Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

Giveaway - Win a $10 Amazon gift certificate (Open INT)

*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.

After the Green Withered – Kristin Ward

Welcome back everyone, last week we were enjoying the English countryside. And this week we are exploring a dystopian America sometime in the future as part of a MASSIVE book tour.

Writing Style

My favourite thing about the writing style and the story, is that it doesn’t remind me of Divergent too much. That is, past the whole the world has almost died/humanity has almost died and there’s only a few survivors and the main character is a teen.

Like, it’s a YA/NA novel so the whole teen as a main character thing makes sense. But I’m glad it’s not written in as soppy/teen-love kind of way as Divergent.

Anyway, Kristin really gets her hooks into your skin to make sure you want to keep reading.

Initial Thoughts

I honestly thought once I started reading this “OMG, not another Divergent. I read that one, and even though it’s OK I just REALLY don’t want to read another book about how some teens life is so difficult coz the world has practically ended.”

I’m not saying that it wasn’t a bad book. I did enjoy it. But that style of writing is one I enjoy reading while getting drunk on a tropical beach while on holiday. Coz it doesn’t take concentration, I can power through it and enjoy it and move on with enjoying the beach.

But I’m not on holiday. I’m suffering through a heat wave. And I want something more adult to take me away from the pains of treating an assignment like a child (because that’s honestly what they want me to do with it).

I stuck at it. Not only coz I had a feeling I should, but also coz I committed to reading this one as part of a Book Tour.

Final Thoughts

And I’m glad I did because, I found that once I got through the drag of the first 25-30% of the book (you know, that boring setting the scene kinda thing) I just flew through the book. I double checked the length, and it’s not a short book. So, I must’ve been really engrossed in it to read it in a matter of days purely in the 10-20 mins before falling asleep. And the 40-50-minute bus trip to and from work each day.

I will honestly tell you that when I finished this book, I felt a sense of relief, and regret, and a sinking “o no” feeling all at the same time. Relief, because maybe now I can focus on getting the studying I need to do done. Regret, because maybe I should’ve let this book last longer. And the sinking feeling because I immediately knew I would be fighting the urge to buy the next book and start reading it straight away.

And I was right! Obviously I needed to read the next one, so keep an eye out for that review in the coming days!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing the third instalment of the Time for Alexander series, Son of the Moon, by Jennifer Macaire. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Kristin Ward has loved writing since middle school but took thirty years to do something serious about it. The result is her Best Indie Book Award-winning novel, After the Green Withered, followed by the sequel, Burden of Truth. She lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, three sons, and many furry and feathered friends. A SciFi geek to the core, she is fueled by dark chocolate and coffee and can be heard quoting eighties movies on a regular basis.

    

Author Interview: Kristin Ward

0

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 🙂

0

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.