Beneath The Apple Blossom – Kate Frost #BookReview

Another week of the holidays done, another book read.

A while back (possibly even a year back), I read an interview with an author called Kate Frost. Her then newly released book, Beneath The Apple Blossom, looked to be something that would be of interest to me.

The Blurb:

Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.

All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.

Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage.

As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised?

As I read it I was amazed at how emotional it made me feel. I remembered the time when we were struggling. The anacronyms like 2ww and BFN and BFP flooded back, as I remembered the wonderful forum I had joined when we were struggling with conceiving, and after, for the support of others in the same situation.

It’s true though, not every woman wants to be a mother. And not everyone can make a good one either.

But the pain that accidental pregnancies can cause to others, I’ve experienced that too, while we were in the midst of our own journey. Hearing about someone talking about a baby that wasn’t expected or wanted, was like a knife being plunged into my womb, and twisted. Yes

Yes.

It felt that extreme.

Yet when there were others who were expecting, and it was a much longed for baby, I was overjoyed for the parents-to-be.

Deep down I knew that one day, our turn would come. And it did, twice, with two angel babies in between.

Beneath the Apple Blossom: The Hopeful Years Book 1 by [Frost, Kate]

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My reviews on Amazon and Goodreads:

What a great book!
Having been through fertility struggles of my own, it was amazing how I related to a lot of the issues faced by 2 of the main characters in this book.
It’s very true, that as much as some women crave to be mothers, there are those that really don’t feel it’s for them, and this book explored both sides of the same coin.
The realistic writing brought back some painful memories for me, but also that sense of camaraderie that I too felt in a very special online forum that I had also joined while trying to conceive.

Buy it on Amazon here.

A Hundred Hands by Dianne Noble – #Book Review

Along with writing, I have been reading as much as I can, and the next book on my Kindle was one I had downloaded a while ago, from a recommendation via a blog interview with the author Dianne Noble. I actually can’t remember who posted the interview, but it was touching enough to make me want to get the book!

Reading

The blurb:

When Polly’s husband is jailed for paedophilia, she flees the village where her grandmother raised her and travels to India where she stays with her friend, Amanda.

Polly is appalled by the poverty, and what her husband had done, and her guilt drives her to help the street children of Kolkata. It’s while working she meets other volunteers, Liam and Finlay. Her days are divided between teaching the children and helping with their health needs. But when Liam’s successor refuses to let Polly continue working, she’s devastated to think the children will feel she’s abandoned them.

After a health scare of her own, she discovers her friend, Amanda, is pregnant. Amanda leaves India to have her child. At this time Polly and Finlay fall in love and work together helping the children. Tragedy strikes when one child is found beaten and another dead. Polly feels history repeating itself when Finlay becomes emotionally attached to a young girl.

Can Polly recover from her broken heart and continue to help the children, or will she give up and return home?

A Hundred Hands by [Noble, Dianne]

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My reviews on Amazon and Goodreads:

What a great book! Dianne Noble has really captured the essence of the sights and smells of the real India. Not the splendour of the Taj Mahal, the high-end hustle and bustle of Mumbai, but the reality of life for many slum dwellers and their children.
I was truly touched, reading the story of Polly, who escaped to India, following the arrest of her husband for paedophilia. It’s an emotional story, showing the changes that helping those who most need it, can change you and your outlook on life. I thoroughly recommend this book.

Tightrope Walker by Shaun Hume – #BookReview #BookBlogger #MondayBlogs

A while ago I was contacted by an author, Shaun Hume, asking me if I would be interested in reading one of his books. Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith. (Read my review here!)

It wasn’t a genre that I would pick myself, but as a recent convert to YA fiction, thanks to Shelley Wilson, I thought I’d give it a go!

I surprised myself. This Harry Potter-esque book made me want to go and read more of this type of fiction! (Sequel out, tentatively in October 2018!). Last week Shaun reached out to me with regards to another of his books, Tightrope Walker. It is another YA book, but different to Ewan Pendle’s story.

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The  official Blurb…

Hetta is a Tightrope Walker. A leader of armies. She has been one all her life. But Hetta has just turned thirteen, and there has never been a thirteen year old Tightrope Walker. Ever. Is she too old to do her duty? Is she too old to walk upon the field of battle and survive?

My Amazon and Goodreads review – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This isn’t the usual type of fiction I read, but having really, and surprisingly, enjoyed Hume’s other book Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith, I wanted to give it a go.
Hetta is a girl with a lot of power for a child so young, having been blessed with a skill as a Tightrope Walker. No really knowing what she is able to do, she has been drawn into many battles, leading her army to victory.
What I liked about this was that we still don’t really know what she is, and the end of the story leaves you dangling, waiting to see what she finds out about her powers.
Lots of emotive language used to describe events and a cliff hanger ending to whet your appetite for the next instalment!

Get it on Amazon here!

 

 

The Girl On The Train – Book And Movie Review

A few weeks back, I was lamenting over having started to read American Pastoral. I had seen a trailer for the film, and really wanted to read the book before watching the movie. On the same day I saw that trailer, I saw the ad for The Girl On The Train.

I’m not one for thrillers, or mysteries.. leave me with romcoms and children’s films, or good old Bollywood and I am much more comfortable! As I advance in years, I have come to realise that it is well worth stretching both my reading and movie genres, as I have been missing out on many amazing books and films, having been trapped in my own self imposed entertainment bubble!

Now, after the struggle of reading American Pastoral (you can read about my thoughts on that one here!) I have yet to watch the film… And The Girl On The Train was waiting for me on my Kindle.

Was it going to be an utter disappointment, like American Pastoral? Should I even chance it? I had plenty of fluffy light reads to switch to instead, but no, I felt I should give it a go!

Image result for the girl on the train book

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

So, what’s it about?

Well, it is the first novel of this genre by author Paula Hawkins, who was initially a Romantic Comedy writer publishing under the pen name, Amy Silver. not getting much success with the Chick Lit, she tried her had to psychological thillers and came up with this!

It’s a story told in the first person, from the view point of three different women. All connected by a thread which isn’t revealed until the end.

Rachel Watson is a divorced alcoholic who travels on trains everyday, to kill time hiding her unemployment from her flat mate. She begins to conjour up stories for certain people she sees regularly from the train, not realising that these strangers will soon become embedded in her own life.

Anna is Rachel’s ex husband Tom’s new partner. Having had an affair with Rachel’s husband, she ends up moving in with him, and they have a child, but she can’t shake the ghost of this es-wife from her life. Convinced that Rachel is deluded and a danger to her and her child, she is always on tenterhooks if she sees her.

Megan is the third woman. An outwardly beautiful person with what seems to be a perfect life. She is the one who Rachel sees from the train, with her husband Scott, regularly. Megan’s life is not so perfect, and there are many secrets she is hiding.

The twists start when Megan is missing, and then the resulting investigations, and Rachel’s thoughts that she can help Megan’s husband with what she witnessed on the train.

I don’t want to go any further with this story as I will spoil it for you!

But… what did I think?

Initially, I found it a little hard to get into, as the moving between three characters was a little confusing. But as the story progressed, I found myself second guessing everything, and needing to read on to see what happened!

But I have to say I did enjoy it, and it made me eager to watch the film too!

Image result for the girl on the train filmMy rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

As with all book to film conversions, there were a few key elements missing, but they didn’t distract from the film at all. If, like me, you had read the book first, then you would find it a little annoying, but looking at the film as a stand alone piece it was very well done.

I was a little disappointed that the film was set in the US when it was actually written as having been in London! The principle character or Rachel was still English but the rest were Americanised!

Emily Blunt, as the main protagonist, really gets into the role of the almost permanently sozzled Rachel, and her confusions, then gradual realisations. She carries this film singlehandedly.

Image result for the girl on the train

There is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, as in the book with the time frames, jumping from one characters viewpoint to another, and going back and forth in time, but it keeps you on your toes!

And I did enjoy it.

If you haven’t read the book, watch it if you like to be kept in suspense. If you have already read the book, be prepared for the changes, and if you can keep that in mind, you should enjoy the film too!

Oh, and another surprise was realising that one of the actors was from That 70’s Show!

Donna Pinciotti.jpg           Then and now!                     Image result for cathy the girl on the train

That was’t the only one… Phoebe from Friends Lisa Kudrow also features in the film too!

Friendsphoebe.jpg   Then and now! Lisa Kudrow Catches The Girl On The Train

Do I recommend it?

Yes as both a film, and a book!

Watch it first, then read the book!!!

Or be a wally like me and read the book first, and pick holes in the story of the film!

Book Review: How To Craft Superbad Villains – 13 Steps to Evil by Sacha Black

After all the hype, and the moans and groans from Sacha about this book as it started as a tiny zygote (idea) and became an embryo (opinion polls etc.), then a foetus (first draft), through to the time of painful contractions (editing) and labour (publishing), I had to get my hands on a copy! (Actually I got two… Kindle and then the Paperback!)

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And I really wasn’t disappointed! Here reads my review, on Amazon and Goodreads.

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Never, as a fledgeling writer, did I think I would ever want/need to read ‘how to’ books regarding writing, much less a book about crafting Villains!
To be honest, in my writing, I have never really thought about the need for a villain, though after reading this book, I realise that they are EVERYWHERE!
Whether in a children’s book, or Science fiction, in Chick Lit or Fantasy, there will be a villain lurking, and now I know how to
a) spot one, and
b) create one!
Sacha Black has, in a mere 13 steps, shown us would-be (and experienced!) writers exactly what our thought process should be regarding those negative characters that are omnipresent in Literature.
Using her immense knowledge of popular characters form both Fiction, TV and Film, she has created a guide that gives you many ‘A-ha!’, ‘Of course!’ and ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ moments!
A great and simple book to read with so much information, presented in a humorous way.
Definitely one to recommend to all those writers out there!

I didn’t mention them in my review, but the Appendices were fantastic too, I think they are something I will be referring to a lot!

13 Steps To Evil is now on sale and for one week only, you can get it at the bargain price of £1.99. After the 7th June, it will go up to its normal price of £2.99. So make sure you download it ASAP to avoid missing out on the launch promotion.
You can buy your copy here:
AmazonUK
AmazonUSA
Also from iBooks, Kobo, Nook, Inktera and Barnes & Noble. Just click your usual bookstore or device logo and it will take you to the right store.
Contact Information
Non-fiction Website: www.sachablack.co.uk
Fiction Website: www.sachablackbooks.com
Twitter: @sacha_Black
Facebook: Sacha Black author page
Pinterest: Pinterest profile
Instagram: Sacha Black profile
Goodreads non-fiction: Sacha Black profile
Goodreads fiction: Sacha de Black profile
Tumblr: Sacha Black profile
Google+: Sacha black profile
Linkedin: Linkedin Profile
Amazon Author Page

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