Saturday 29 March 2014

Blinded by the Light Blog Tour (Cover Discussion)

I'm really please to have Joe Kipling, author of Blinded by the Light, stop by to talk about her book cover.  I love all things to do with book covers - it amazes me what a difference they can make and I absolutely love to hear what authors think of their own covers!

Book covers – ‘when the vision becomes reality’

I titled this blog ‘when the vision becomes reality’ because I feel that as a writer you create a vision of the world that you want to share with your readers and an important part of sharing this vision is the cover art. The cover is the reader’s first introduction to your story and it can communicate so much. It is often the book cover that is the deciding factor in whether the reader picks your book up off the shelf - or as we’re in the 21st century, press ‘click to buy’ online.

As a debut author I found the whole process of cover design really interesting. Watching the transformation from the initial pencil drawings to the finished piece was fascinating. At the start of the process I had a very definite idea about the ‘look and feel’ that I wanted for the book cover. Well, needless to say the finished product looks nothing like I envisaged it. It taught me an important lesson . . .to stick to writing and leave the artwork to the professionals.

Having a cover artist who really understands your story and fully embraces the world you’ve created is, for me incredibly important. While working on Blinded by the Light I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with a really talented artist called Billie-Jade McNeil. At our first meeting I was impressed that Billie-Jade had clearly read the book and had carefully thought through each of the 4 concepts she’d developed.

The cover design we eventually selected was inspired by a scene that takes place in Chapter 2. MaryAnn has arrived at school after arguing with her best friends and starts to feel unwell. In the Neighbourhood where MaryAnn lives, people have an almost phobic reaction to sickness and disease. This means that when MaryAnn starts to feel ill she’s placed in isolation so that she can’t contaminate anyone else. As MaryAnn is escorted from the school by a team of Welfare officers there is a line which reads:

‘the tiles of the corridor gleamed brightly in the harsh strip lighting and the glare hurt my eyes.’

This quote was the inspiration behind the book cover. I can understand why Billie-Jade felt that this scene stood out. I’d designed it to create a sense of sterility but at the same time to be slightly claustrophobic. It really represents life in the Neighbourhood where people are closeted away behind a boundary fence living a very restrictive and slightly oppressive existence.

The title ‘Blinded by the Light’ also plays an important part in the cover. The Light are the governing body within the Neighbourhood. This government evolved from a pharmaceutical organization that discovered the cure for the Sandman Virus. Instead of sharing the cure with the general population they decided to make it available only to the people who could afford to pay. At the beginning of the book MaryAnn is literally blind to what is happening around her, as are many other people living in the Neighbourhood. During the course of the book MaryAnn’s eyes are opened and for the first time she’s exposed to the truth about the society she lives in. The placement of the flare behind the word ‘Blinded, is a deliberate attempt to make the title slightly uncomfortable to read, creating a brief illusion of blindness to the reader.

Thanks Joe!  I loved the placement of the flare - it's so pretty as well as doing what you wanted it to do!

Blinded by the Light by Joe Kipling was published Oct 2013 by Cillian Press Limited and is available to buy on Amazon at the following links:

Link to eBook
Link to Paperback

Joe also has a book giveaway on total teen fiction. Click here for more details.

Make sure you check out the rest of the blog tour - the information on all the stops is below.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

How to Love by Kate Cotugno

Publisher: Quercus
ISBN: 9781782060000
Release Date: October 2013
Source: Provided for review by the publisher.

From Goodreads: This is a love story. But it’s not what you think. This is not a first kiss, or a first date. This is not love at first sight. This is a boy and a girl falling in messy, unpredictable, thrilling love. This is the complicated route to happiness that follows.

This is real. This is life. This is how to love.


Reena has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. But he’s never noticed her, until one day… he does. They fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town, leaving a devastated – and pregnant – Reena behind.


Three years later and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter Hannah. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again.

After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer again?(less)

Just brilliant! I was completely addicted to this. I loved both the characters – although not the ‘before’ Sawyer quite so much as the ‘after' one. ‘Before' Sawyer was just a little too messed up and he seemed intent on dragging Reena down with him! Yes he had issues and I can understand his downward spiral – I just didn't like the way he seemed to want Reena to do the same. But I loved Reena and how complicated and flawed she was. How flawed they both were – I read so many stories with the perfect character doing the right thing - and while this isn't a bad thing-  it’s great to finally have a story where it’s messy and complicated!

I also loved the way it was written – with the before and after segments. Reena’s relationship with her dad and Soledad. Plus her friendship with Shelbe. I wish she’d treated Aaron better though – I hated her a little bit for that.

Plus I liked the ending. For me – despite what happens next, if it works out or not, Reena finally let someone in! And that, to me, was the point!

Friday 21 March 2014

Trouble by Non Pratt

Publisher: Walker
ISBN: 9781406347692
Release Date: 6 March 2014
Source: Gifted

From Goodreads: A boy. A girl. A bump. Trouble.

Hannah’s smart and funny ... she’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is new at school and doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does he offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby?

Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.

I have been looking forward to reading this from the moment I heard Non Pratt was writing it. And I LOVED it! It’s everything I love in a book – just awesome!!!

I loved Hannah. I love that she’s flawed – she’s not perfect but her heart is always in the right place and she is coping with a lot!

Baby daddy had a lot to answer for – but I didn’t hate him which I thought was good. It was complicated and messy but I'm glad that Hannah seems to realise he's not good for her.

Aaron – love him too! I loved how he treated Hannah and the relationship he has with his parents (how much he is trying for them) and I loved that he has his own story and issues to deal with!

I can say without any hesitation that I can't wait to read more by this author!

Wednesday 19 March 2014

If I Could Turn Back Time by Nicola Doherty

Publisher: Headline
ISBN: 978-1472209955
Release Date: October 2013
Source: Amazon Vine

From Goodreads: What if you found The One, then lost him again?

Or not so much lost him as became the neurotic, needy girlfriend from hell. The girl who tried to make him choose between her and his job, and got seriously paranoid about his relationship with his best female friend...

Zoe knows she doesn't deserve another chance with David. But if there's the tiniest possibility of making things right, she'll snatch it. Even if it means breaking the laws of physics to do so...

I really enjoyed this one. I love anything to do with time travel so it's no surprise to me that I liked it but I really did enjoy the way that plot point was used here. The whole thing was great fun - I loved seeing Zoe get her herself deeper and deeper into a hole a work with her 'predictions' and although the love story didn't quite play out in the way I was expecting when I first picked up the book I did predict what was going to happen within a couple of chapters, So, despite being a bit on the predictable side (or maybe because of it?) I enjoyed watching it all unfold - and I loved watching Zoe work out that maybe she didn't want what she thought she wanted after all.

I'm really looking forward to reading the author's previous novel - on the basis of this one I'm sure I'll love it.

Monday 17 March 2014

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Publisher: Orchard Books
ISBN: 978-1408330449
Release Date: October 2013
Source: Amazon Vine

From Goodreads: Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

I must admit this took a while to get into but I'm glad I persevered because I enjoyed it overall. I loved that it was narrated by Tinker Bell - that really make the story for me. It's really well written and definitely a glimpse at the darker aspects to this re-imagined world. And sad! It's a love story but not necessarily the one I imagined. Still, once it warmed up (or I got used to the pace!) I liked it.

Saturday 15 March 2014

Daughters of Time Blog Tour

I'm really happy to be part of the Daughters of Time Blog tour. Daughters of Time is a collection of short stories about different women in history. Today I have Anne Rooney on why she chose to write about Amy Johnson...

Thanks Amy!

Daughters of Time is a good collection of short stories - very quick to read and one of the benefits of a collection of short stories is that you can dip in and out of it. The stories are ordered in chronological order and after each story the author gives an insight into why they chose to write about that particular person as well as some historical facts. I found the stories worked better when read together with these facts (unless of course you are already familiar with them and then I guess you wouldn't need it!)

A few of the stories stood out more than others. I like Anne Rooney's story on Amy Johnson and the way it ties in to the testimony that there were two people on the plane. Plus I thought it was fun watching her try to interact with a very inquisitive child! I also loved Katherine Roberts story on Queen Boudica - I loved that Tasca was depicted as strong and fought back! And I also really enjoyed Leslie Wilson's story - more modern than the others I liked that it had an emotional journey for the character as well as depicting a moment in history.

Daughters of Time by The History Girls, edited by Mary Hoffman. Out now, £7.99, Templar Publishing.

Friday 14 March 2014

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Café by Mary Simses

Publisher: Headline
ISBN: 978-1472203878
Release Date: August 2013
Source: Amazon Vine

From Goodreads: Manhattan lawyer Ellen Branford is going to fulfil her grandmother's dying wish - to find the hometown boy she once loved and give him her last letter. Beacon, Maine, home to blueberry fields and eccentric locals, is the last place she wants to go so close to her upcoming wedding. Hoping to be in and out in 24 hours, Ellen ends up the talk of the town when a tumble into the ocean introduces her to Roy Cummings, the carpenter who saves her life. Roy happens to be the nephew of Ellen's grandmother's lost love, and the one person who can bring closure to her quest. But as Ellen learns what Beacon has to offer and what her grandmother left behind, she may find that a 24 hour visit will never be enough...

This is a sweet, easy read that made me wish I could visit the small town described in the story. It really is (as repeatedly described) a perfect read for fans of Nicholas Sparks - and I must say I really enjoyed it.

I loved the idea for the novel - Ellen returning to her grandmother's hometown to carry out her promise to deliver a letter, and not only discovering things she never knew about her grandmother but herself as well. I was really rooting for Ellen, and although I didn't love her to begin with she really grew on me.

The love story is perhaps a little predictable - and I would have liked it to have occurred over a longer period of time - but it was still really sweet and I could really picture the two of them together.

Plus there are some really laugh out loud scenes! And the food description made me seriously hungry!

I'll definitely be checking out the next book by Mary Simses.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

River Road by Suzanne Johnson

Publisher: Headline
ISBN 9780755397686
Release Date: November 2012 (TP) August 2013 (PB)
Source: Amazon Vine

From Goodreads: Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.

I'm really enjoying this series and it was great to catch up with DJ and Co. I liked that it was set a few years after the first book - it meant that the relationships had move forward more - and I have to say I am actually really enjoying the 3 love interests! Yes I do have my favourite (let's just say I know exactly who I'd like to play ball with...!) but I like the way DJ is conflicted - it makes the whole will they/ won't they thing a bit more interesting. Plus I really like all three.

This outing is much more action packed - I really enjoyed it - plus it was really funny in places too (the pink Gandalf thing? I was crying with laughter!) I also like the way they have both been self contained stories - they were resolved in the end but at the same time I was left wanting more and there were still unanswered questions (yes Rand I'm talking about you!)

Can't wait to read the next in the series!

Monday 10 March 2014

Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson

Publisher: Headline
ISBN: 978-0755397655
Release Date: 27 September 2012
Source: Amazon Vine

From Goodreads: As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ's boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters.

While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerry has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and for the serial killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.

I liked this one and think it's a good start to a hopefully great series. I liked the characters and DJ's voice. She puts herself in the most ridiculous situations sometimes but I liked her anyway. And I loved the banter between her and Alex! And Alex is seriously hot! And just one of three possible love interests... But definitely my favourite!!! Although I do have a soft spot for Jake too.

The story takes a while to warm up - but I liked the world building and set up for the series. I'm looking forward to reading the next book - hopefully this one will be a bit more action packed - but either way I'm looking forward to more DJ, Alex and Jake. Plus I wouldn't say no to some more of a certain undead pirate...

Friday 7 March 2014

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: 16 January 2014
Source: Amazon Vine

From Goodreads: The war begins...

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable - and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield. And Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda...

This is so good! I had no idea what to expect when I began reading - Dystopian? Science fiction or fantasy? Well I'm still not sure but it is so, so good. I was completely gripped!

I loved the way it was written - the voice the author gives to Darrow not only makes it a pleasure to read but also makes the book work on another level by making what Darrow is doing that more believable - it's so eloquent, intelligent, and full of details and insights that really make the story great. And Darrow great as well - someone worth investing in. I was completely immersed in his world, his journey, I didn't want it to end. I can't wait to read the next installment!

Definitely recommended!

Thursday 6 March 2014

Cover Wars: The Book of Broken Hearts - Sarah Ockler

Hardback / Paperback

What do you think? I really like the hardback but I *think* I prefer the paperback - but both highlight an aspect of the story that plays a big part.  The book for the hardback and the motorbike for the paperback. Hmmm - decisions!

Which do you prefer?

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Crafting Corner (2)

So I have a friend who is obsessed with Minions so I have been busy making them for her.  Some of you may have already seen these on instagram but I did take a few pictures of the process for anyone interested!

So this is how I made Moody Minion.

The armature. Basically flower wire twisted and bent into a minion skeleton.

Next I covered it with pipe cleaners to give the wool something to felt to.

I started with the arms and legs. Black first, then yellow for the arms and blue for the legs.

Then I started building up the body with core wool. I only lightly felted this so that it wouldn't be too hard when I felted the yellow.

Then I added yellow.

I added more yellow to make him look more like a minion and less banana man! Plus I added blue to make his trousers - using a tiny amount of black for the buttons.

Then I forgot to take more pictures - d'oh! But I made his eye first using white, then brown, a little bit of black and a teeny fleck of white for the light spot. Then I added the eyelids - using these to help secure the eye to his face. I added the grey goggle and the black band, his mouth and finished with his hair.

And that's it. Moody minion!

Storm and Stone by Joss Stirling

Publisher: OUP
ISBN: 978-0192735683
Release Date: 6 Feb 2014
Source: Amazon Vine

From Goodreads: Behind the ivy-clad walls of an exclusive boarding school, lurks a sinister web of corruption, scandal, and conspiracy. American student Raven Stone has noticed something is horribly wrong. First there were the unexplained disappearances. Then there were the teachers' lies. And now the death threats ...Also entangled in the disturbing turn of events is the enigmatic Kieran Storm - a fellow student with a killer intellect and a body to die for. He's heading for trouble and taking her with him. Raven can feel herself falling in love, but can she trust a boy she knows almost nothing about?

I liked this - I'm a big fan of Joss Stirling's other books so I had a good idea of what to expect and mostly it delivered. I really liked the characters and the plot (although I did find it a bit predictable I still liked seeing it all play out). And once the action really kicked in I was completely hooked - but there were a few places where I thought it slowed done a bit too much. But at the same time it does set up the book for more - I'm assuming this is a series? It definitely feels as if it could be - with great world building for both the characters and the YDA so that's good. I'll be picking the the next in the series if there is one.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

I want to read that... March Highlights

Here are some of the books that are published this month that I am really looking forward to reading! Links will take you to Goodreads.

(aka Say What You Will)

Purity by Jackson Pearce

Trouble by Non Pratt
(Technically I've already read this but it's definitely a March highlight - everyone needs to read it!)

What have I missed?  Let me know in the comments:-)

Monday 3 March 2014

After Eden by Helen Douglas

Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 978-1408828694
Release Date: November 2013
Source: Amazon Vine/purchased

From Goodreads: Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

I really enjoyed this one. Loved the writing, the characters and the plot! It's full of mystery (I loved working out what was going on and then wondering if they were going to pull it off), romance and ... well I probably shouldn't say as it would be a bit of a spoiler and I had so much fun finding out what was happening ... but let's just say it's one of my favourite story lines and done really well!

I really loved the characters in this - Eden, Connor and Ryan. They all have great chemistry - the friendship between her and Connor and the building of a romance between her and Ryan. And I loved the England setting.

I loved the ending too - there is a sequel due and while the ending keeps that in mind there is no major cliffhanger which quite frankly is brilliant! I can't wait to find out what happens next!

Highly recommended!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...