Book Review: The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne

Posted on 30 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne

puppet-masterTitle: The Puppet Master
Author: Abigail Osborne
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: 30th August 2016
Pages: 228
Format: Ebook
Source:: Complimentary Copy from Author
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK

Summary:
Manipulated by fear and love…could you cut the strings and take back control?

Billie’s hiding from the world, believing it to be the only way to take control of her life as she lives in fear of the man who nearly destroyed her. But what she doesn’t realise is that she’s exactly where he wants her; isolated and afraid. A chance meeting with budding journalist Adam sparks a relationship that could free her from the terror that controls her. But will Adam be able to see the real Billie buried under her terror and pain?

Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives she ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him but as unwanted attraction and feelings blossom between them, Adam is forced to realise that all is not as it seems.

Most of their lives have been unknowingly governed by the desires and needs of someone who considers himself their master. He has influenced and shaped them for years, meticulously weaving a web of lies and control around them. Can Billie and Adam survive the betrayals in store and cut the strings that bind them?

One thing is for sure. The master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.


My Review

This is one of those books that even when I was only partway through it, I already wanted to recommend it to people. I was already enamoured with the book that I was thinking of the best ways to push it on people. Abigail has written a very sensitive topic with incredible skill. She’s captured the essence of all the emotions people can go through in a truly magnificent way. Her main protagonist Billie has been through a lot and it shows how talented Abigail is that she has created such a believable and truthful character in Billie. I was awed by how realistic everything was and how Abigail really got to the bottom of every single emotion.

One of the things that I am well aware can make or break a novel is how well a sensitive topic is handled and Abigail has shown that she can handle it perfectly. Repulsion flew off me in waves as I read the story as well as anger and sadness but also jubilance and hope. Abigail has not romanticized or trivalised anything but left it raw and open, like it should be represented. The bare and disturbing truth of it all.

I cannot express how much I loved this book. It was intense, powerful and full of raw emotions. It showed the world as it can be both dark and light, showing that the world isn’t just black and white too. It was just a wonderfully brilliant book and I cannot urge you enough to pick it up and read it. I am 100% sure that you will not regret it.

*please note* There are triggers in this book as it contains violence, manipulation, sexual, domestic and emotional abuse. It also contains PTSD, anxiety and depression.

five stars

** I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **

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Posted on 30 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


YA Shot Tour: Alice Oseman

Posted on 29 September, 2016 by Faye - 1 Comment

YA Shot Tour: Alice Oseman

Hi All!
Today is my stop on the YA Shot tour and I’m here to introduce you to Alice Oseman. I’m doing something a little different today wherein I am going to persuade you to read her books!

First though, here’s some information about her two fantastic books!


solitaire In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.

I really don’t.

This incredible debut novel by outstanding young author Alice Oseman is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and all unflinchingly honest writers.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


Radio Silence What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


Why You Should Read Her Books

Firstly you can find my review of Radio Silence by clicking here.

If you like character driven books, you should read Alice’s books.

If you like diverse books that feature a mix of sexualities and include mental health too, you should read Alice’s books.

If you like books with addictive and enthralling writing, you should read Alice’s books.

If you want to fall in love with the characters, read her books.

If you love coming of age stories, read her books.

If you’re a big contemporary fan, you should really make sure you read her books.

Really, if you just want some amazing books to read that will take your breath away, you should make sure that you pick up her books.


Have I persuaded you?

faye1

Posted on 29 September, 2016 by Faye - 1 Comment


Pokemon Go

Posted on 28 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Pokemon Go

pokemon2a

First up, I know that I’m late to the party. Due to an ancient phone that was basically an old brick, I was incapable of playing the game. So as soon as I got a new phone, the app was one of the first things I downloaded and I’m really glad I did. I love the game. And I do know some people are already bored with it but I’m still loving every aspect of it.

In just under two weeks I have hit level 22 and caught 74 different pokemon and visited over 1000 pokestops. But all of that is fodder. What I really love about this game is the social aspect of it. I love going out on poke-walks and poke-hunts with my friends. I love settling down somewhere and putting a lure on and just waiting for the pokemon to come to us too.

But mostly I love how much of a distraction Pokemon Go is. I love that when I play it, I’m not thinking about anything else. All the worries and fears flop out of my head and all I’m thinking about are pokemon, pokeballs and pokestops. And at this moment in time, that is the kind of distraction that I absolutely need.

I also love that it’s been getting me out of the house and more excited to go to new places too. New places means new pokemon. Walking means hatching eggs and I can’t do much on the game at home. As someone who has been struggling to feel energetic and motivated to get out of bed let alone out of the house, I cannot thank this game enough for this. With the extra walking I feel less tired and I noticed that my muscles aren’t aching anywhere near as much as they did. I’m still tired but at least I’m not aching so much.

But as none of that is particularly exciting for you. I thought I would also share with you my favourite pokemon that I’ve caught so far and some of the ways in which I managed to get to level 22 in under two weeks (as this is supposedly impressive). So… here we go!

pokemon1a

First up is Pikachu!
This was the fellow I started with and while he is small and not very mighty, he is my most favourite pokemon. I walked quite a while to catch him and he is just my favourite pokemon of the series too. I would love to catch more of his kind to help power him up to!

Next up is Jigglypuff and Clefairy.
These two pokemon sit high on the cute factor. There’s something so lovely about them and they also both seem to be really hard to find and catch so that just makes them that much more precious to me!

Then we have Wartortle.
This guy was evolved from one of my Squirtles, who I also love! He is fierce and battle ready which I love. I also really want to evolve him so I am continuously on the lookout for more Squirtles to help me do that!

pokemon12a pokemon7a pokemon5a

Also high on my list are my Vaporean and Flareon.
These two evolved from the very cute and utterly fierce Eevee’s that I collected and they’re both fierce creatures themselves too. They battle well in the arena but they’re also awesome to look at. I cannot wait to complete this trio!

On the cuter side we have Growlithe.
I caught this guy only the other day and he is awesome. He is both fierce and cute all rolled up into one and looks like the kind of Pokemon that would be your friend for life – and he would protect you with his own too. He is very special.

I had a fair few more pokemon I wanted to talk about but I know this post may become too long if I do so instead here are some other pokemon I love! Persian, Starmie, Porygon, Ponyta and Golduck!

pokemon11a pokemon10a pokemon9a pokemon8a pokemon4a pokemon3a pokemon6a

Now though, here are some of the things I have done to get to level 22 quickly.

  • Catch everything. You may not need another Rattata, Weedle, or Pidgey, but every time you catch one you get 100xp and you can always just transfer them back to the professor.
  • Don’t be afraid to continuously evolve the above pokemon either. Evolves give you 500xp. Then throw away your lowest cp pokemon!
  • If you can, do evolves together. Got a Pidgey? Evolve it to a Pidgeot with 62 candies.
  • Pokestops give you 50xp whether you need items or not.
  • Winning gyms is not only fun but gives you xp too! Training your pokemon in friendly gyms does too!
  • If you have a lucky egg to use, be wise about it. I was ready to evolve about 15 pokemon the other day so I put on my lucky egg and did them for the double xp. That made me get at least 15000xp!
  • Sitting between two pokestops and putting a lure down on both is a brilliant way to lure lots of pokemon and get you lots of points!
  • Walk and hatch those eggs!

So those are my tips. I’m still not really sure how I got to where I am but all I know is that whatever you do, remember to have fun while doing it too!

Do you play Pokemon Go?

faye1

Posted on 28 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


Blog Tour: Making Arrangements by Ferris Robinson

Posted on 22 September, 2016 by Faye - 2 Comments

Making Arrangements by Ferris Robinson

Hi All!
Today is my stop on the Making Arrangements blog tour! I have for you a great guest post by Ferris Robinson on her favourite things about the book.


About the Book

MA Flymbo cover FINAL Kindle Scout Against all odds, cancer survivor Lang Ellis is celebrating the one-year anniversary of her “death sentence” when her beloved husband drops dead on the tennis court.

Devoted to him, she reels from the loss, focusing on her precious granddaughter but struggling with her bossy only child, Teddy, and his aloof girlfriend, Sarah.

With her historical family estate in jeopardy, Lang realizes her husband wasn’t as perfect as she thought.
The secret he carried to his grave can ruin her life.

If she lets it.

Goodreads. Amazon.


Favourite Things about Making Arrangements

by Ferris Robinson

The protagonist is older, has a large behind, and sneaks caramel cake when her fit husband isn’t looking.

The spectacular flower arrangements she makes are with common things growing in her yard.

Lang’s preconceived ideas about a coarse, shallow woman change as the grammar-butchering fashion plate befriends her, and is steady and encouraging and loving.

Lang found romantic interest at older age.

Even though Lang Eldridge was helpless as far as finances and dependent and trusting of her husband on those matters, she figured it all out after his death.

The protagonist makes the best caramel cake in the world, and I have the recipe! (And I share with newsletter subscribers!)

The story touches on what makes a family; sometimes the most unlikely connections can turn into something familial and important.

Just when Lang’s arrangements are absolutely perfect – from the caramel cake in the freezer for her husband’s first birthday without her to the love letter for the anniversary he must mark alone after impending death – they fall completely apart. But sometimes that’s a good thing.

The little mute stray dog that stationed itself at Lang’s front door the day of her husband’s funeral ends up rescuing her, instead of the other way around.

A little six-year-old granddaughter teaches Lang the importance of forgiveness.


About the Author

ferris A former columnist for the Chattanooga Free Press, she is the editor of the Lookout Mountain Mirror and the Signal Mountain Mirror. Her work has been published numerous times in The Christian Science Monitor and the “Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series. She is a columnist at chattanoogan.com.
The author of several cookbooks, including “Never Trust a Hungry Cook,” which she wrote in college and the “Gorgeless Gourmet’s Cookbook,” Ferris was featured on the cover of Women’s World magazine. Promoting her super-easy but healthy recipes, she made numerous television appearances and sold 10,000 copies of the Gorgeless Gourmet’s Cookbook, pre-Internet. Paid subscribers from every state in the U.S. received her newsletter featuring “practically fat-free recipes for super-busy people.”
Her book “Dogs and Love – Sixteen Stories of Fidelity” has 94 reviews on Amazon, and her other books include “Authentic Log Homes.” “Making Arrangements” is her first novel.

Website. Twitter.


Follow the Tour


Will you be reading Making Arrangements?

faye1

Posted on 22 September, 2016 by Faye - 2 Comments


Blog Tour: The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe

Posted on 22 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe

Hi All!

Today is my stop on the The Silence Between Breaths blog tour and I have for you all an excerpt of the very first chapter! Hope you love it as much as I did!


About the Book

Eight people, one deadly secret.

Passengers boarding the 10:35 train from Manchester, Piccadilly to London, Euston are bound for work, assignations, reunions, holidays or new starts, with no idea that their journey is about to be brutally curtailed.

Holly has just landed her dream job, which should make life a lot easier than it has been, and Jeff is heading for his first ever work interview after months of unemployment. They end up sitting next to each other. On board customer service assistant Naz dreams of better things as he collects rubbish from the passengers. And among the others travelling are Nick with his young family who are driving him crazy; pensioner Meg and her partner setting off on a walking holiday and facing an uncertain future; Caroline, run ragged by the competing demands of her stroppy teenage children and her demented mother; and Rhona, unhappy at work and desperate to get home to her small daughter. And in the middle of the carriage sits Saheel, carrying a deadly rucksack . . .

Goodreads. Amazon.


Excerpt

Click for Chapter One!


Follow the Tour

the-silence-between-breaths-poster


What did you think?

faye1

Posted on 22 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


Release Day Blitz: Shadow Reaper by Amos Cassidy

Posted on 21 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Shadow Reaper by Amos Cassidy

Hi All!
Today I am here celebrating the release day of Shadow Reaper by Amos Cassidy!


About the Book

Only the bravest go over the Horizon…

Twenty years ago the barriers between worlds came down and our reality was swallowed up by the Shadowlands. Now we scavenge to survive, until one day there’s nothing left to reap. Starvation is around the corner, but I’m not the roll over and wait-to-die kinda girl. Nope, I’m going further than anyone has ever been and returned to tell the tale. I’m going into the Beyond, and I’m not coming back without a solution.

Goodreads. Amazon.


About the Author

amos-cassidy Amos Cassidy is the pen name for Richard Amos and Debbie Cassidy. Amos is a 31 year old Diva and Cassidy a 39 year old mother of three; well, four if you include the husband. A common love of all things Joss Whedon, Urban Fantasy, and a tug of war over Jensen Ackles, brought them together, and one cold February afternoon, over nibbles and coffee, their partnership was born.

You can find Cassidy hard at work in her fortress of solitude which has eaten up the majority of her garden, and Amos…well he’s still trying to get the invisibility gizmo he got off a friendly alien in exchange for a pair of earphones to work. Funnily enough he hasn’t been seen around much lately…

Frequent doses of Sugary snacks, coupled with regular injections of caffeine aid in their production of a unique brand of cross genre tales. They are always writing, but are happy to take a break to chat to their wonderful readers, so drop them a line at amoscassidy@yahoo.co.uk, or just pop over to see what they’re working on at amoscassidyauthor.com and they’ll bust out the biscuit tin.

Website. Twitter.


Excerpt

ASH

It was a day like all the others, dark as pitch and cold as ice, most definitely not a day to die. So when I came face to face with the Knightmare, I froze, all my training taking a flying leap out the proverbial window. You didn’t get Knightmares on this side of the Horizon. In fact, it’d been over a year since anyone had seen one at all.
The Knightmare stared at me with its slanted, glowing eyes, steam pluming from its perpetually flared nostrils, its equine body poised to attack and then it opened its mouth and screamed.
I remembered how to run.
I ran on instinct, moving through the underground tunnels from memory alone. I could hear it behind me, its hooves thundering against the cracked concrete, its rumbling breath pressing against my ears.
It shouldn’t be here, couldn’t be here, and yet it was.
I realised that if I ran back to Shelter, then I’d be leading it straight home, so I took a left instead of a right at the next intersection. I ran, losing myself in the burning of my lungs and the screaming of my muscles. It was only a matter of time before it got me, only a matter of minutes, because I was losing momentum. I couldn’t keep up this pace much longer.
My eyes stung, my throat grew tight. Man, I was pissed! Nineteen years I’d survived this hellhole, nineteen, and I was going to get taken out by a Knightmare? No way was I going out like that! Besides, if I croaked, then that thing would be left roaming the tunnels. My people would be in danger. I had no idea how it’d managed to get across the Horizon without being spotted by the Eye. I’d have to report this to Blake, get him to look into the security. The small bitey critters that scuttled across were one thing, those were inevitable. Those we could handle, but this was bad, real bad.
Up ahead, the fallen and rusted body of a huge contraption from the time before came into view. I gave a final burst of speed and leapt up onto its metallic body. The Knightmare reared back. One thing about Knightmares, they’re not big on climbing. I blew tendrils of hair out of my eyes, yanked out my scrunchie and then scraped my hair back up into a tight ponytail.
It paced, back and forth, its eyes glistening in the dark. I crouched, tips of my fingers grazing cool metal, and watched it—waiting.
That’s it, just get bored and piss off, you ugly—
“Mansfield?” A shrill whistle. “Where are you, boy?”
What the hell? There was someone down here.
The sound of slow, leisurely footsteps echoed through the darkness.
The Knightmare turned his head to look back up the tunnel.
Shit! Who could be so stupid as to be out here alone?
You are, you twat!
Point.
“Oi! Don’t come any closer,” I yelled. “There’s a Knightmare here. Run!”
The footsteps faltered.
He was probably from the slums, maybe using the tunnels to scavenge like I was. Fuck, I remembered those days, but it was dangerous, too dangerous for someone untrained. I waited, straining to hear the sounds of retreat, yet there was nothing but silence.
Had I imagined the voice?
The Knightmare turned away from me.
No, definitely not my imagination. Those things could smell a human a mile off. Stupid bloody man, boy, whoever it was.
“Bloody run, you idiot! There’s no point hiding! It can bleedin’ smell ya!”
A low chuckle filtered through the air, accompanied by the sound of footsteps.
They were growing closer.
Well, there was no helping some people.
A shape became visible. A man, tall, broad, and slim, wreathed in darkness. My eyes, accustomed to the gloom of the tunnels, could make out only the whites of his eyes surrounding cerulean blue.
“Well, there you are, Mansfield.” The Knightmare whinnied and trotted over to the man, offering his huge head to be petted.
What the crap?
The man tilted his head to look up at me. “Dangerous being out here all alone, little human.” He said the last word as if it were a dirty one.
Mansfield emitted a pleading rumble.
“Mansfield’s hungry.” The man cocked his head and stared at me for a very long time, so long, in fact, that I began to wonder if he’d turned to stone or fallen asleep on his feet with his eyes open. “I don’t think she’ll make a very palatable meal, boy. All skin and bones, that one. Come, we’ll find you something more . . . substantial.”
A chill crawled up my spine. Only one of them could control a Knightmare. A Shadowlander.
He flashed me his even white teeth. “You’re safe for now, human. Crawl off to your hideout and forget this ever happened.”
And just like that, they were gone.
I exhaled sharply and stared at the spot where they had just stood. Something had stood. Something.
What the hell was I doing on top of this rusty contraption?
Climbing down gingerly, I wiped my dirty palms on my trousers and headed home.

***

I crawled through the hidden passageway that led back into Shelter. I reached the grate that opened up into Corridor 4 and waited, listening. There wasn’t usually anyone about at this time, but you never knew. After long minutes of absolute silence, I knocked aside the grate and slid into the corridor, landing lightly on my feet.
I moved the grate back into place, then pushed in the rusty screws to make them look like they were snug in their holes.
Straightening my shirt and brushing off my trousers, I made my way back to my quarters.
If I thought I’d gotten off scot-free for my little escapade, then I was sadly mistaken.
Clay sat on my bed, his face dark with anger.
Shit.
“What the hell, Ash? What. The. Hell?”
Crap! Time to do some damage control.
I plastered a contrite expression on my face, ready to do the pleading thing, but he held up his hand.
“Don’t even go there. You’re not sorry. I know it, you know it, and the whole fucking world knows it. What I want to know is why. You got what you wanted. You’re a Reaper, so why take these unnecessary risks?”
I felt the first spark of anger. “Why? Because someone has to! The bimonthly reaps aren’t cutting it. Everyone knows it. Someone has to take the risk. Remember the penicillin, the iodine, the—”
“Yes! I remember. You found some important stuff, but—”
“And I didn’t go over the Horizon to do it. I’m not bleedin’ suicidal. I was careful. Nothing saw me and I didn’t see any of . . . them.” Some memory skittered under the surface of my mind but was gone too quick to catch.
Clay rubbed his face with his hand, his shoulders rising and falling in a heartfelt sigh, and I felt the guilt heavy on my chest. I was his burden. His little sister, the one he’d sworn to protect. I didn’t make it easy.
Older than me by five minutes, Clay had seamlessly stepped into our parents’ shoes after they died five years ago. We’d been barely fourteen at the time. Clay had taken their deaths as an inevitability. He’d said good-bye, buried them, and then turned his attention to taking care of me. Sod that! I’d been pissed off and incensed by the unfairness of it because, as far as I was concerned, they’d chosen to die. Food and shelter had been less than a mile away; all they’d had to do was claim it. All they’d had to do was volunteer for the academy, become Reapers, and we would have been clothed and fed and sheltered. But they’d been afraid, weak, and they’d died. Yes, I’d been angry. So angry that I’d done the one thing that they’d never wanted either Clay or me to do. I’d signed up to be a Reaper.
Reaper status meant food. It meant lodging. It meant safety. It had come too late for my parents, but I was determined not to lose Clay to their skewed convictions. Clay couldn’t bring himself to break the vow we’d made to them, though; thank goodness Shelter needed able-bodied men to train in the tech side of things. Clay always had an affinity for building shit, so here we were five years later—Clay a head Technician and me a seasoned Reaper. The tech we had here was primitive, but he managed to keep the lights on and the heat running, and that’s all we could ask for.
“Ashling?”
“Huh?”
“Go to bed.” He stood and moved toward the door.
He was disappointed in me. I hated it. I couldn’t leave things like this between us. As he brushed past, I turned into him, wrapping my arms around his waist. He tensed and then relaxed. His arms wrapped around me and he squeezed me tight.
“Please, Ash, just follow protocol, ’kay?”
I nodded against his chest, and yes, I really meant to keep my promise. I always do . . . until next time.
He released me and ruffled my hair.
“Say ’night to Blake.” I smiled up at him coquettishly.
He blushed. “Will do.”
It was sweet the way those two were still so gaga over each other. They’d been dating for just over a year now, and they acted like a married couple. Clay had even moved into Blake’s quarters, and yet he still blushed when I mentioned Blake’s name.
Sweet.
He pecked me on the forehead and then left me to it.
A yawn ripped through me, and I stretched and threw myself onto my rumpled bed. My quarters were small and boxy, but they were mine. Pictures from old magazines I’d found on my scavenging trips decorated the walls: cars and paradise settings, gardens and sunsets, and lovers holding hands. These were memories that I’d never have. They lulled me to sleep, and sometimes I’d find myself on a beach somewhere, waves lapping at my toes, or maybe in a beautiful garden, the scent of roses sweet and strong in my nose. I didn’t know if what I dreamt held any similarity to how it used to be. How could I? I’ve never smelled a rose or walked on the beach, but the dreams kept my spirits alive, and sometimes he joined me—the man who didn’t speak.
The first time it happened, I was frightened. I mean, some strange bloke walks into my dream and just hangs out? It was creepy, but I soon started to feel okay with it. In fact, he’d become a kind of friend now . . . I think.
My eyelids were starting to get heavy, so I closed them, exhaling long and deep, and let sleep take me.


Read-A-Long

shadow-reaper-read-a-long1


Will you be reading along with us?

faye1

Posted on 21 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


UKYAX MG Tour: Emma Trevayne

Posted on 13 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

UKYAX MG Tour: Emma Trevayne

Hi All!

Today is my stop on the UKYAX MG Tour and I am here to introduce you to the lovely Emma Trevayne, who has written a great post on her favourite places to write!

First though, here’s some information on her book!


About the Book

Grave robbing is a messy business. A bad business.

And for Thomas Marsden, on what was an unremarkable spring night in London, it becomes a very spooky business. For lying in an unmarked grave and half covered with dirt is a boy the spitting image of Thomas himself.

This is only the first clue that something very strange is happening. Others follow, but it is a fortune teller’s frightened screams that lead Thomas into a strange world of spiritualists, death and faery folk.

Faery folk with whom Thomas’s life is bizarrely linked. Faery folk who need his help.

Desperate to unearth the truth about himself and where he comes from, Thomas is about to discover magic, and ritual, and that sometimes, just sometimes, the things that make a boy ordinary are what make him extraordinary.

Goodreads. Amazon.


Favourite Places to Write

By Emma Trevayne

Faye asked me to come up with my favorite places to write, and here we are! Thanks for having me as part of the UKYACX tour, Faye!

5. My desk.
I guess if this was going in order of most frequent, rather than preference, my desk would be in the top spot. It’s where I write most of the time, it’s where my desktop computer is (most of the time, and more on that later) and well, it’s my desk. It’s where I work. As desks go, it’s a pretty good one. It’s crammed with office supplies and research books and my laser printer, which is an essential tool for a writer. I used to have an ordinary inkjet, but surrendered to a laser printer the day it took me three hours to print a manuscript I needed to edit. But I digress. My desk is fine, it’s next to a window that looks out on some trees, and I have a comfy chair. The computer itself is whizz-bang fast, with a huge monitor that lets me see lots of a chapter at once. All that said, there are better places to write…

4. Coffee shops.
I have to be in the mood for this, but sometimes coffee shops are the perfect place to work. Sometimes I want solitude, and so I stay home and work at the above desk, but occasionally I need to be surrounded by the buzz of people. There are times when having to actively shut out the bustle going on around me improves my focus far more than if I were at home, or somewhere else nice and quiet. Plus, coffee shops have coffee. And more importantly, cake.

3. The couch.
My laptop isn’t as fast as my desktop, and in all honesty I only just got it fixed after it sat broken on a shelf for a year. It’s lovely to have it back, though, because it means that on days when I really need to curl up and be very comfortable while I’m writing, I can work from the couch. Working while curled up is sort of a double-edged sword: it’s cozy and relaxing, but sometimes it’s too relaxing, and I find myself sinking into the cushions and daydreaming instead of properly working. On the other hand, when writing is tough, being hugged by the couch can be exactly what I need. While my laptop was broken and I was writing a very challenging book, I actually moved my desktop to the couch. It was extremely unsteady and inconvenient, but it helped when I needed it to.

4. The Royal Festival Hall.
There’s a member’s space at the top of the Royal Festival Hall, an arts center that sits on the bank of the Thames in London. I’ll occasionally join other writer-friends there (usually author Tom Pollock) and we’ll sit and work in companionable silence. This, I’ve found, is only productive with a certain kind of writer-friend. It has to be someone who also wants to sit and write in companionable silence, not someone who wants to chat for three hours and craft the odd sentence here and there. Of course, I love getting together with other authors and talking forever, but for a work session, there has to be work. One of the great advantages to this is that while there shouldn’t be constant conversation, there’s a friend right there to help you when you get stuck. This has saved me on more than one occasion. (On more than a hundred occasions, probably.)

5. My kitchen floor.
Hear me out. I know this is weird. My best friend teases me about this, but yes, the kitchen floor. I developed this habit at least three houses ago, so it’s not the specific floor of the kitchen where I made coffee this morning. Any kitchen floor will do. I wrote almost all of Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times in the kitchen, and a huge chunk of The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden. Several Cabinet of Curiosities stories came to fruition there, and a few of the more challenging chapters of my next MG, The House of Months and Years. I don’t know why this is so effective for me, but my best guess is that of all the rooms in my house, the kitchen is, in its own way, the least distracting. Yes, I keep thinking I need to get up and make a snack, but there isn’t a television that’s probably showing a tennis match like there is in my living room/usual office, and there isn’t an impossibly comfortable bed like there is in my bedroom. From the kitchen floor, all I can see is cupboards that probably need cleaning, which is definitely not as enticing as writing. In the interests of later being able to walk I do put a few cushions down, but that’s about it. In that brightly-lit and slightly uncomfortable position, I can do some of my best work. I will still grant that it’s weird, though.

Thank you, Faye!


Where do you write?

faye1

Posted on 13 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


Blog Tour: Super Awkward by Beth Garrod

Posted on 11 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Super Awkward by Beth Garrod

Hi Guys!
Today I have for you all a guest post by the wonderful Beth Garrod as part of her Blog Tour!

But first, here’s some info on the book!


About the Book

I, Bella Fisher, am absolutely WINNING at FAILING at life.
1. I once got my tongue stuck to a box of Calippos in a supermarket.
2. I accidentally called my geography teacher Mum. Twice. He wasn’t impressed.
3. I’m a geek. And not in a geek-chic kind of way, but in a secretly-caring-about-failing-maths-and-science way.
4. I always fail maths and science.

So it figures that when I meet the FITTEST BOY IN THE WORLD, Zac, I’m doing solo star jumps. While dressed as a cereal box.
(NOTE TO SELF, fancy dress = HE-WILL-NEVER-EVER-FANCY-ME dress.)

Now I’ve got to somehow persuade Zac to come to prom with me while avoiding my evil ex and dealing with a secret so mega-awks I want to Ctrl-Z my brain… What could go wrong?
Oh yeah, that’s right. Absolutely everything.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


Top 5 Super Awkward Moments

By Beth Garrod

Have you ever had a moment that was so Super Awkward you wished you could delete the memories of people who were there at the time, and put a worldwide ban on people ever thinking – let alone mentioning – it ever again?

Ok. Well then imagine that. And then imagine writing them into a top five list for the world to see. WELCOME TO MY LIFE.

(Although thanks for asking me, I’m actually quite excited). So here goes.

  1. I’m terrible at sports (I include bowling and Jenga in this). So a school ski trip was never going to be a great idea for me. However, what I didn’t know was that the mountain wasn’t going to be my biggest nemesis – the T-bar chair lift was. But with no other option, I had to face it. So, with the whole school trip watching (and all the tiny children that were already laughing at how bad I was at skiing), I balanced myself on it, alongside my best friend. But an overly large laugh, became a wobble, became the sticky out bit of the T bar getting hooked in my ski jacket. Which soon became one entire boot and ski being yanked off as I got dragged up the entire length of the mountain (my friend laughing too much to be able to stand up). I even went through those weird bars at the top, which are meant to act as a life-sort-of toothbrush to scrape off any morsels. But this human morsel made it through. And then I had to plod the entire way back down a mountain in one ski. And one sock.
  2. One year I truly believed I’d met the World’s Sexiest Man. He was super hot and super cool, so every message I sent was a carefully crafted group-approved effort to make me seem like the kind of person who doesn’t actually sometimes accidentally-clap when she sees a dog with really good eyebrows. One particularly helpful friend had a part time job at my local supermarket. So I text him ‘When can we hang out in the freezer department of Tesco and talk about the World’s Sexiest Man?’ But I sent it to WSM. Who I then had to pretend that I’d meant to send this too, and it was a genuine date idea, based around a discussion of a fit man, who wasn’t him. We never had a second date.
  3. I’m a big believer in the ‘it gets better’ philosophy. However, in the case of me, and being awkward, this has just proved to mean I’ve got better at nailing the art of being awkward. Case in point – a big work event in Italy, a huge screen on the wall for the audience to stare out, a work laptop projecting our logo. All fine. Until I panic my phone battery is running out, plug it in, and oh guess what, NO ONE TELLS ME I’M NOW PROJECTING MY CAMERA ROLL TO THE WHOLE VENUE (or maybe they were telling me, but they were just doing it in Italian, and I thought they were asking for directions to the loo).
  4. This one’s I may have attributed to Bella – the lead character in Super Awkward. But sadly, it may, have hypothetically, been all me. And – yet again- it involves sport. Seriously – it’s bad for your health. It was the final Friday before a half-term, that was going to be full of seeing my friends, and going to parties – which was kind of a big deal when the height of my social life was normally helping my dad choose wall plugs in Homebase. But with the last lesson over, all I had to do was survive a rounders match and I’d be freeeeeee. In the safe – not much action – zone of deep field, I spent most of the match chatting to my friend. Until I heard my name being yelled and span round. Only to be whacked on my already large chin, by a rounders ball that seemed to be travelling faster than the speed of light. For all intents and purposes, the massive bruise that formed made me look I had developed an overnight beard. And it stayed the entire half term.
  5. Some words I don’t normally think of. So when my mum drove us home one day, and we popped into the local shop, it stuck in my mind when she said “Whatever you do, don’t look at the man behind the counter’s toupe’. Like a polite person, I totally didn’t, despite it being bright orange, sitting awkwardly on top of some sticky-out grey hairs. I saw other customer’s clocking it, but I was better than that. And I’d been warned. So, when I got to the counter and he asked what I wanted, it was a 100% accident when I replied clearly, loudly, calmly with ‘one toupe please’. The whole shop shut up. His wife gave me evils that melted actual skin cells. And I never – to this day – have been back to the shop.

Soooo, there is a tiny glimpse into the everyday danger that is being me. But I always figure that what doesn’t kill you, makes a funny story for someone else.


What are some of your super awkward moments?

faye1

Posted on 11 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


Film Review: Hell or High Water (2016)

Posted on 9 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

hell-or-high-waterTitle: Hell or High Water
Director: David Mackenzie
Screenwriter: Taylor Sheridan
Published: 9th September 2016
Main Cast: Ben Foster, Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham
Format: Cinema Screening
Source:: Unlimited Viewing at Cineworld
Add It: IMDB

Summary:
Chris Pine and Ben Foster play two brothers on the run from the law in this gripping drama.

Toby (Chris Pine, Star Trek) is a divorced father who only wants a better life for his kids. With both him and his ex-convict brother, Tanner (Ben Foster, 3:10 to Yuma) facing the foreclosure of their mother’s West Texas farm, they decide to take justice into their own hands by robbing the bank they believe robbed them. But after the robbery they find they have two West Texas rangers (Gil Birmingham and Jeff Bridges) on their trail…

This modern Western is directed by British director David Mackenzie (Starred Up) and has been lovebombed by American critics. Variety called it “a thrillingly good movie – a crackerjack drama of crime, fear, and brotherly love set in a sun-roasted, deceptively sleepy West Texas that feels completely exotic for being so authentic,” while The Playlist described it as “if No Country for Old Men were remade as a heist movie.”


At What Point

I didn’t know much about this film before I decided to go and see it which is more or less how I prefer it. Thus I walked in with no expectations and no theories on how the film was going to play out. Whether this increased my enjoyment or not, I don’t know but I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed this film. From the beginning until the end, I was fully enraptured by this story.

Do You Bend

This drama was packed with emotion and I felt so much watching it. Every single character stole my heart and I was at a loss for who to support which was such a fascinating experience. This was due to the wonderful acting but also because the incredibly strong screenplay with witty and brilliant dialogue. I just loved it all.

The Rules For

Along with vibrant characters, the cinematography and plot were also very well done too. The plot was gripping and tense and the cinematography really pulled that atmosphere out of the screen too. From dusty, secluded and empty Texan towns to funny moments in diners and banks. This film was just full of amazing moments and just worked so well. It is the kind of film that I love to watch.

A Better Life

A film that makes you laugh one minute, feel tense the next and finally has you near to tears, this is nothing but an emotional rollarcoaster. I was fully transfixed on the screen and couldn’t wait to find out how it all came to an end. I was blown away by the film as a whole and will definitely be re-watching this film at some point in the future. I would highly recommend giving this film a watch.

five stars

faye1

Posted on 9 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


#OfficeYoga

Posted on 7 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Office Yoga

yoga-mats-1620086-1600x900

Hello All!
Did you know that today is National Fitness Day? Personally I didn’t know until the beginning of this week but I’m glad I know now as it works perfectly for this blog post that I’ve been wanting to post for a few weeks now. Today, I want to talk to you all about how working in an office is slowly killing us.

Dramatic, right?

But in case you missed it, you can read the news article here on the Telegraph about how we’re dying earlier because we work in an office and are not getting enough exercise in during the day. After sitting down at a computer for eight hours, we often feel exhausted, right? So we go home and we slump on the sofa and watch TV or read a book and simply don’t get back up again.

I know that it’s what I do, anyway.

So the lovely people at Furniture at Work have come up with a very fascinating campaign called Office Yoga. With it they’ve got a great youtube channel and the handy infographic below! (You can click it to enlarge it!) It looks easy enough, right?

Furniture at Work - #OfficeYoga Infographic

Now, if you’re lucky like me and work in an office alone then casually getting in some office Yoga is going to be really easy. However, when I’m working at the library, Office Yoga is probably not going to be quite so easy. And thus I have come up with a few things you can tell your colleague to get them involved too, or to make them realise that you are not, in fact, crazy.

  • “I’m increasing my life expentacy. I quite like living and don’t want to die just yet.”
  • “I’d look less silly if you joined me. Maybe we could work out together and help each other feel better?”
  • “I’d rather do this than go to the gym after work, wouldn’t you?”
  • “I could go and get the tea for everyone in the office, or you know, I could just do this.
  • “Maybe if we conquer this Office Yoga thing, the two of us could go to an actual Yoga class one evening? Maybe?”
  • “I reckon if I do this enough, I can have that extra slice of cake. Want to join me?”

Just a few things that you could say but really you do not need to say anything at all because it is your choice to live your life as you want to without judgement from your collegues! But if you are a little worried about that, don’t forget you can also do the Office Yoga in a chair at home, or you know, walk for an extra hour a day or something exhausting like that…

What do you think about #OfficeYoga

*This post is a collaborative post. I had full creative control.*

faye1

Posted on 7 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments