Monday, 31 March 2014

Review - This Morning I Woke Up Dead by Mindy Larson


Following on from my review of The Beginning of The End I plunged straight in to This Morning I Woke Up Dead (or TMIWUD from now on!!), prepare to have your emotions squeezed through a wringer!

In the last book we met two couples Emmerson and Logan, and Dominic and Hadley. I had also better say that Emmerson and Dominic are siblings. 

During the story Logan is involved in a fatal accident leaving Emmerson to bring up her child alone and Hadley is killed in a traffic collision in which she is killed leaving Dominic struggling to cope.

The story has two points of view, the view of Logan and Hadley and the view of Emmerson and Dominic, and as they are dead you will gather that Logan and Hadley are not exactly on this earth!! 

Now before I typed this I wasn't sure how much of this story to share with you as I don't want to spoil it for you but I will tell you this - its a story of love, its heartbreaking in bits, its funny (wait till they get to Disneyland!) its a story of hope and never giving up.

It is really thought provoking too, they main thought being life after death and the idea of having somebody watch over you.

Now I am excited to say that there is a sequel and I am even more excited to say that I am going to review it for you nearer the release date which will be in May/June this year so not long to wait!

To sum up though its a beautiful story and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Awarded 5 out of 5
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In The Spotlight - Jennifer L Armentrout


You may have noticed on my blog the cover reveal of Lux Beginnings and Lux Consequences, lets meet the lady behind the wonder that is Daemon Black, Jennifer L Armentrout, I have been a fan of her work for a while now, you can also find her writing as J Lynn.

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.
She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins




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Cover Reveal!! Lux Consequences by Jennifer L Armentrout plus COMPETITION!!!


Last week I was excited to give you a peek at the fantastic cover of Lux Beginnings, the collectors edition of Obsidian and Onyx all in one book. 

This week I am positively bursting with joy to show you the cover of Lux Consequences!!! This special collectors edition had both Opal and Origin in it along with the first chapter of Opposition!! 

Jennifer L Armentrout is a fantastic storyteller and I remember when I picked up Obisidian and Onyx, I was on my way back from holiday and had a 7 hour stopover at the airport, I was drawn to the bookshop of course and the covers of both books had me drawn in, starting my journey with my book boyfriend Daemon Black!!

So without further ado! Let look at Lux with a quick recap of Lux Beginnings. Under each book is a link to Amazon so you can pre-order!! The UK looks like it has a release date in July and there is also a competition to win exclusive artwork, scroll down to enter.

Obsidian
There's an alien next door. And with his looming height and eerie green eyes, he's hot...until he opens his mouth. He's infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, he lights me up with a big fat bulls-eye. Turns out he has a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal his abilities and the only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to him until my alien mojo fades. If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Onyx
Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro alien connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems. I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?



Opal
After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing alien hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Origin
Daemon will do anything to get Katy back. After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on? And will they even be together?


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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Review - Laduree Sucre The Recipes




A quick review today!  Taking a break from my usual books to bring you this gorgeous recipe book.  

Laduree are famous for their macarons, remember them causing great frustration on the Great British Bake Off?!, They are also extremely good at other patisserie delights!

This book is very luxurious, it comes nested inside a pretty box, wrapped in tissue paper and the book also has gold edges to go with its velvety cover.

It has lots of beautiful pictures and recipes from its traditional macarons to beautiful cakes, each with clear instructions to follow.

This is probably a book for the more skilled baker but don't let that put you off, this is a beautiful book worthy of any cookbook collection.

Awarded 5 out of 5


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Review - The Beginning of the End by Mindy Larson



Wow, this is a short prequel novella but it sets the scene nicely for the next book - This Morning I Woke Up Dead.

It starts with Emerson and her boyfriend Logan, very much in love but unfortunately her mother disagrees with her choice of boyfriend.  

All is well until the worst happens and Logan dies in an accident leaving Emerson distraught, even more so as she is carrying his child.

We also meet Dominic and Hadley, he is Emerson's brother and she is his fiancé.  Working at the hospital Hadley has an Alzheimer's patient who keeps telling her that they are not alive, understandably shaken by this she continues as normal but I think reading between the lines she knows something isn't right!

Never judge a book by its cover, and in this case it's true!  I may have pegged this one as a 100% romance, though having read the book I can see where the cover is coming from (read it to find out!!). It's excellent and Mindy has done a fantastic job at setting the scene for the main event in This a Morning I Woke Up Dead.  

I will be reviewing TMIWUD next week and also am excited to say that a third book is in the pipeline with a release May/June 2014!

Awarded 5 out of 5

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Saturday, 29 March 2014

PROMOTION!! The Darkness Series by KF Breene


I am excited to bring to you the excellent paranormal romance by KF Breene, the darkness series.

What do you think of the covers ladies!!? I will take one of each!!

At the moment the first book - Into the Darkness is free, yes FREE!! on the Kindle store at the moment so don't delay, read this then hop on over to Amazon and grab a copy and whilst you are the get the second book too at the very reasonable price of £1.82 at the minute, the third book in the series will be released on the 22nd April but you can read a synopsis below!



Darkness #1
Novella (191 pages)
New Adult (18 +) Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Released January 2014

FREE

I’d always been different. I saw objects in the night where others saw emptiness. Large, human shaped shadows, fierce yet beautiful, melting into the darkness. I collected secrets like other women collected bells; afraid to fully trust lest my oddities be exposed.

Until I saw him. He’d been gliding down the street, unshakable confidence in every step. It wasn’t just that he was breathtakingly handsome with perfect features. Something about him drew me. Sucked my focus to him and then tugged at my body. As his eyes met mine, I was entrapped.
No one had noticed him. He’d been right there, just beyond the light, but only I had perceived.  I had to know if he was real. Or maybe I really was crazy. And even when my secret box was blasted wide open, dangers hurled at me like throwing knives, I couldn’t stop until I unraveled his true identity.
I just had to know.
“She was fated to live.”
“Then why must you save her?”
“Often Fate is struck down by dumb luck.”
New Adult (18 +) due to sexual content and not for the faint of heart.


Darkness #2
Novella (190 pages)
New Adult (18 +) Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Released March 21, 2014
Sasha has always known she was different, but now she also knows that the shadow men she’s seen all her life, are real.
With a life goal of fitting in, Sasha hopes her strange abilities will finally make true friendship a possibility. Unfortunately, her magic doesn’t function like everyone else’s. What she thought would make her belong, sets her apart now more than ever.
Stefan, all but promised to a different woman, has tried to keep his mind on his duties instead of the irresistible and free-spirited human. But when she is threatened, he can’t keep his distance anymore. He realizes he’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe, and more importantly, make her his.
Just when one thing clicks into place, another spirals out of control. Stefan’s clan isn’t the only group that would benefit from an extremely rare type of magic. And their enemies will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Braving the Elements is the second novella in K.F.Breene’s long awaited Darkness series. Sasha’s story is one of discovery, awareness, and understanding, and is jam packed with action, humor, sexual tension, and an overwhelming desire for final acceptance.
 New Adult (18 +) due to sexual content and not for the faint of heart.


Darkness #3
Novella Length
New Adult (18 +) Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Releasing April 22, 2014

Life for Sasha isn’t getting easier. She has survived run-in’s with monstrous Dulcha, lived through an abduction, and even made it passed Charles’ constant badgering for sex. But if she thought the hurdles of this new life would simmer down, she was dead wrong.
When the Regional comes to visit Stefan’s clan, the pressure increases. Sasha finds herself on a giant scale, assessed for her magic and held in the balance. If she doesn’t have the magic Stefan hopes, she could find herself on the street while still in grave danger. Even with a favorable outcome, however, her inability to use her magic presents a road block not easily crossed.
No, life is not getting easier.
Stefan feels the heat, too. He must finally declare a mate, and admitting to desiring a human is the worst form of taboo. He could jeopardize not only his place as leader, but his and Sasha’s life. His decision is like walking on a razor’s edge.
New Adult (18 +) due to sexual content and not for the faint of heart.
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In The Spotlight - KF Breene



Today in the spotlight is KF Breene author of the excellent Darkness Series.

A wine country native, she moved to San Francisco for college just shy of a decade ago to pursue a lifelong interest in film. As she settled into the vibrant city, it quickly became apparent that, while she thought making films was great fun, she lacked cinematic genius. For that reason, her career path quickly changed direction. Her next goal was a strange childhood interest, conjured at the dining room table while filling out a form. For some reason, her young self wanted to be an accountant. Thinking on it now, she wonders how she had any friends. Regardless, it was the direction she finally took.

While she could wrangle numbers with the best of 'em, and even though she wore the crown as the most outspoken, belligerent accountant in the world, her mind got as stuffy as her daily routine. It was here that she dusted off her creative hat and began writing. Now she makes movies in her head, and then writes them down. Way easier than dealing with actors--she should know, she’s been one!


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Review - Muppets Most Wanted


Today our Saturday was spent at our local cinema watching the sequel to 2011's The Muppet Movie - Muppets Most Wanted.

Just before I start on my review, I can never get over how much Disney actually owns, as well as The Muppets they have Star Wars, Pixar,Marvel, ESPN, ABC Studios, the list is long!

Anyway back to the film, is it any good?

Yes! Yes it is!

Maybe on first viewing it's not as good as the last one but it's still a great rollicking funny musical journey with the obligatory token cameos from stage and screen.  


I spotted no less than, P Diddy, Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston, Ray Liotta, Chloe Grace Moretz, Rob Corrdry, Usher, Stanley Tucci, Josh Groban, Salma Hayek and Christoph Waltz, these are just the ones I noticed, there are a lot more I missed (just been to wikipedia!).

The plot is as follows the Muppets have just come from their show stopping number which finished the last film and they need to decide what to do next, step in Dominic Badguy (it's pronounced Badgee!) Talent Manager played by a very creepy oily Ricky Gervais, who persuades them to go on a world tour.

Whilst this is happening, in Siberia,  the criminal mastermind who is also the worlds most dangerous frog, Constantine escapes from the Gulag.



On his escape we discover that he is the number one to Badguy's number two and the tour had been a set up so they can rob art galleries and bank looking for clues so they can eventually steal the Crown Jewels.  

But won't they notice a second frog?!

No!, As Kermit encounters Constantine he is marked with the villains trademark mole which promptly gets him arrested by the police and sent to the Gulag.  

This leaves Constantine free to cover his mole with green make up turning him in to Kermit and letting him carry out his evil scheme with Badguy.

The films supporting cast is excellently, Tina Fey, who I love, is Nadia one of the Gulag's guards and a closet Kermit fan.  



Ty Burrell better known as Phil in Modern Family plays an Interpol officer with an impressive badge and a not so impressive car who teams up Sam Eagle to try and catch Constantine and Badguy.




The Muppets are great as always, I still have a massive soft spot for Kermit and Miss Piggy of course is at her diva best.  Returning from the previous film is Walter who along with Fozzy and Animal realise that "Kermit" is acting strangely.

It's a really good family film, the cinema today was packed with kids young and old.  A nice extra was a Monsters University short with Mike and Sully helping Oozma Kappa having a rocking frat party.

So go and see it, if like me you loved them the first time round or like my kids it's all new to you, you will love it, you will tap your feet to the music and have a smile on your face all the way through!
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Friday, 28 March 2014

In The Spotlight - Mindy Larson

Hi I am going to be reviewing soon two books by author Mindy Larson, they are -




I though I would let you know a little about her before I give you my reviews next week!

Houston, TX -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/22/2013 -- While love is the world’s most powerful energy, the reality that lovers must eventually separate at death is a thought that haunts millions. However, a compelling novel by Mindy Larson transcends life and death to prove that true love never dies.





Mindy has always had a vivid imagination that has only improved with her love of reading and writing. She spent much of her childhood entertaining her three younger brothers with her stories and today she is bringing her imagination to life in books.
When not writing, Mindy enjoys spending time with the love of her life and four children while playing disc golf, cooking, baking, traveling and exploring.

I look forward to reading her books and below you will find a book trailer for This Morning I Woke Up Dead! 





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Review - Dark Days by Kate Ormand

DARK DAYS book information:
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Publisher: Sky Pony Press (World)
Format: Hardcover (ISBN: 9781628735949)
Print release date: 3rd June 2014

Read as a digital advance reading copy 

Okay where do I start with this one!  

If you are familiar with my blog then you will know that I am huge fan of the dystopian genre, I love books set in a disturbing future, I like an unseen threat, I like a little romance and I also like a trilogy.

This book has most of those things!  

Set in the future, where people are living in sectors, time is running out for Sia and her parents, in 15 days she will die and the clock is ticking.

The residents of the sector live in terror of this day coming, surrounded by thick walls they hide away, thinking they can lie low, hidden away from the terror they know will be coming when the clock runs out.

The lucky ones are the families who have been deemed useful enough to go the new world, where they live comfortably not like in sectors where people rob each other for food and a curfew keeps everybody at bay.

Sia has a list of things she wants to do before she dies and she goes about checking them off.  Along the way she meets Mace, despite not trusting him at first they set off on a journey to survive along with those close to them, to fight back against what is coming.

Whats coming is cyborgs and they are the cause of this book being extremely bloody in places - the cyborgs kind of remind me of a cross between the Terminator as portrayed by Arnold Schwarzennegger and the latest incarnation of the cylons in Battlestar Galactica, they are really quite terrifying.

I think the most terrifying thing of all is knowing that something like that is coming to kill you and there is nothing you can do about it apart from try and hide, which as you read on you will discover that ain't gonna happen!  

Also this book shows how people behave when faced with an imminent threat - fight or flight? Unfortunately some people choose the flight option which is helped along by the continuous showings of other sectors being destroyed on the television.

I wont say anymore as I will spoil the read for you!

The only thing I would note is that I would like to know about how this came to be in the first place, a back story.  What happened to the world to make people live like this?  Could this be something we learn of in the future?

Now as I mentioned above I like a trilogy, the end of this book I feel sets it up for another journey in to this world.

There will be comparisons against other dystopian novels but I think this is a really good book, I certainly enjoyed reading it.  Its available from the 3rd June 2014.

Awarded 4 out of 5
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Thursday, 27 March 2014

In The Spotlight - Kate Ormand




Today I would like you to get to know Kate Ormand, for a synopis of her book look here!



Kate is YA writer represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd.

She lives in the UK with her family, her partner, and a cocker spaniel called Freddie.

Recently graduating from university with a first class BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art Painting. It was during this course that Kate discovered her love of reading YA books, prompting her to try a new creative angle and experiment with writing.

Kate is also a member of an online group of published writers and illustrators called Author Allsorts. And she writes children’s picture books under the name Kate Louise. 

You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website (www.kateormand.wordpress.com) or on Twitter (@kateormand).
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Coming Soon - Dark Days by Kate Ormond


DARK DAYS book information:
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Publisher: Sky Pony Press (World)
Format: Hardcover (ISBN: 9781628735949)
Print release date: 3rd June 2014

The future world has been divided into sectors–each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors’ thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what’s coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future.
Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she’ll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people

I accidentally came across this book whilst perusing Twitter and I am so glad I did.  If you read my post previous to this one you will be aware of the fact that this is right up my street and it is truly fate ten minutes after writing my post about dystopian fiction I came across this book!!

It looks like it has everything I love in a book, future setting, people just surviving and it looks like there may be some romance too!

Its not due out till the 3rd of June but I have been luck enough to get a sneak peek of this book and I will review it soon, until then have a look at the video below, I love book trailers!!

You can find out more about Kate here at my author spotlight section!

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Are You Fed Up With The End Of The World?

I think I may have a problem.

Looking at my bookcase I was faced with black spines begging to be read (or in some cases re-read), these books all have something in common and it occurred to me that I have a serious end of the world dystopian habit.

I can pinpoint exactly when it started.  Many years ago I read three books over a short period of time and those books changed my reading habits for a lifetime.

The first book was the epic Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien which set of a love affair with fantasy and introduced me to the likes of George R R Martin and Terry Pratchett.

The epic Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

The next two books set off my obsession with all things dystopian, they were 1984 by George Orwell and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.



As an impressionable teenager I was totally floored by the imagination of these authors and the future worlds that they created.  I remember reading 1984 thinking "imagine if this happens", it is happening! There are words in use these days that Big Brother's newspeak would be proud off, just sending a simple text these days eradicates the use of many words, plus our steps are traced the minute we leave the house, our phones make sure that we can be located and CCTV tracks our every move, Big Brother is watching.

Since reading these books then I have actively looked for more books in this genre and along this way also adding to this obsession bleaker end of the world novels.  Now we have the wonder of the internet, certain popular websites spout off recommendations left, right and centre making the finding of similar books much easier.

I think the one thing that grabbed me about these books is that they set the scene for what we can expect in the future, a future so totally different to our own.

Getting back to my bookcase! These books are now flooding the market, bleak dystopias are the basis for multi million selling novels and blockbuster movies.  Both The Hunger Games and Divergent are fantasic books set in an alternative future where something or someone has happened to the planet and they are now both blockbuster films with gorgeous Hollywood stars.

There are variations on the whole end of the world thing of course - you have your common garden nuclear holocaust, alien invasion, alien invasion but done sneakily taking over bodies (the host!), dark angels, global warming, zombies, vampires, asteroids, other supernatural creatures, I could go on.

But they all show such a bleak dark world, do we need more of them?  Every week there seems to be a new trilogy or series with one of the above themes, do we need more books showing human misery and suffering?

In a word yes!

These books do not just show misery and suffering, they show hope, they show love and they show the fact the no matter what crap hits the fan, humans just endure it, they need to survive its written in to our DNA, we do not just roll over and die.

This is why I love these books, yes they can be dark and if I have read a particular grim book I fully admit to going away and reading the fluffiest romance I can find but I think we have a need to know whats coming next and these books give us a glimpse in to what horrors could potentially befall us.  We can from the comfort of our beds walk through ruins of cities, live underground or be part of a society where every decision is made for you.

So yes, bring it on I want more disasters, I want more suffering and I know with this it will bring the love and hope that we so love about these books.

What is your favourite dystopian book? Why do you like it?  I would love to hear from you.


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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Review - Silo Submerged by WJ Davies


Now you may have guessed from my review history that I am partial to anything Wool (that is the book not the ball of)related, having read the original story I have been overwhelmed by the continuation of the silo stories in such books as Karma of the Silo and now this brilliant book Silo Submerged by WJ Davies.

Now I am writing this hoping you have a little knowledge of what this world is about, no you don't? Okay quick recap!!

Bombs go off
People go underground to live in 144 floor deep silos
Population controlled by silo 1 and various drugs
All hell can potentially go off due to the various things that come with people living in close proximity underground
No knowledge of the world outside or other silos

I think that does it for my quick recap, read the books people they will fill you in!!

Anyway back to the main review, Silo Submerged in a word is fantastic, based in silo 35, we discover that this silo is flooding, many of the deep levels are totally gone.  

We meet Ace who is a talented diver who goes down to try and lessen the water level.  Ace has a secret which is frowned upon by the denizens of the silo in that he is in a relationship with another man Mick.  A same sex relationship is frowned on in the silo as it means no children will be born which the powers that be do not like.

Mick unfortunately is sent for cleaning and Ace is devastated but he continues his life until one day he has a near death experience whilst diving and he realises that something must be done, help must be sent for, they should not be living like this.  The Head of IT disagrees and because of his blasphemous opinions Ace must be sent to clean.  

Now this were the story really kicks off, Ace does not clean and outside he comes across the remains of his lover and unfortunately the people watching also see him make this discovery.  All hell breaks loose and people try to escape the silo which results in their death, whilst this happens Ace manages to get to silo 36 which is unheard of and that is where I will end my recap as I will end up spoiling the story for you!

This is story of love and a story of hope, the silo is such a formidable claustrophobic place how people manage to live there day after day is beyond me!

WJ Davies has done a fantastic job of expanding the WOOLiverse and I can honestly say I really enjoyed this book.  

Awarded 5 out of 5


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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The wonder of Parks and Recreation

Now due to living in Scotland I am only on series 3 of the fantastic wondrous piece of televisual delight that is Parks and Recreation (but hey bless you BBC4), it is just brilliant.

Now if you have managed to avoid it so far and have no idea what it is about, I introduce you to the city of Pawnee, Indiana and the staff of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Ron Swanson - Director

Leslie Knope - Deputy Director

Tom Haverford - Administrator

Jerry Gergich - Office Manager

Donna Meagle - Secretary

April Ludgate - PA to Ron Swanson

Andy Dwyer - Shoeshiner!

Lil' Sebastian - Local Treasure

The show deals with the daily grind of the department and there is a host of other characters such as Ann Perkins a local nurse and Leslie's best friend, and the evil Tammy Swanson, Ron's ex wife, now there are more important characters that appear in season 2 such as Chris and Ben but you need to watch this from the start and I am not telling you anymore!!

The main focus of season 1 is the turning of a large hole in to a public park, now this may not sound like a barrel of laughs by the mockumentary style of the show makes the most unexciting things like phone answering and the bureaucracy of public office in to an extremely funny show.

My favourite character has to be Ron, he doesnt actually seem to do much but his love of hunting, bacon, eggs, steak and he does have an amazing moustache.  Below is a brilliant video of his huge range of emotions!


Pawnee has its very own website which you should stop by and have a look at Ron's nature diary, find out about upcoming park projects and what Lil' Sebastian is up to!  

But in the meantime tune in to BBC4, its on season 3 but I promise you will enjoy it!

Now if you have watched it do you have a favourite Parks and Recreation character, do you have a moody sibling like April or perhaps you work with a Tom Haverford?  Also what is your favourite scene, I have yet to narrow it down!!

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Review - Miette Recipes From San Francisco's Most Charming Pastry Shop


I was very excited to finally get my hands on this beautiful book after a long time sitting on my wish list, it was finally bought for me after much nagging!!

Miette, if you have not heard of them are famous for their fantastic cakes and pasty creations, originating in San Francisco, started by Meg Ray the shop first came to life as a tent at a local farmer's market and has progressed from there to several beautiful bakeries.

Beautifully designed, this is a stunning hardback book with pretty scalloped page edges which add to its quirky appeal plus this book is full of gorgeous images of cakes, tarts, cookies and other beautifully yummy delights.  

This is not the book you want to read if you are on a diet!

It is easy to follow and when needed there is extra pictures to guide you.   Some of the recipes may call for a more experienced hand but there is something for every ability, plus practising baking isn't a bad thing!!

All in all a gorgeous book and I hope I see another from them in the future!

Awarded 5 out of 5





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Monday, 24 March 2014

Review - Tatoos À Colorier by Nikola Kapetanovic


After I had purchased and been won over by The Secret Garden colouring book I looked through a certain online shop to see what else was on offer, this book caught my eye straight away.

Now you may notice it's not in English well that does not matter as it's a grown up colouring book!!

It's a gorgeous book with many different tattoo designs ranging from intricate to big obvious designs, skulls and birds to half naked ladies!

Perfect for grown ups, maybe not for kids but great for teens!
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Exclusive Cover Reveal!! - Jennifer L Armentrout's Lux Beginnings & Competition


I am so excited to give you an exclusive cover reveal of the cover of Jennifer L Armentrout's Lux Beginnings novel.  I have been a huge fan of her work since I first met Daemon Black!
Lux beginnings is a special edition novel which contains both Obsidian and Onyx, Book 1 and 2 of the Lux Series - I know you will love them and I hope to retrospectively review them soon.  A good excuse to re-read them!

Lux: Beginnings (Obsidian & Onyx):
Obsidian
There's an alien next door. And with his looming height and eerie green eyes, he's hot...until he opens his mouth. He's infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, he lights me up with a big fat bulls-eye. Turns out he has a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal his abilities and the only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to him until my alien mojo fades. If I don’t kill him first, that is.
Onyx
Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro alien connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems. I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?
Lux Beginnings will be release on June 3, 2014

Scroll down to find out more about Jennifer!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.
She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins


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Sunday, 23 March 2014

In The Spotlight - Julia Suzuki

This is a classic in the making - a mythical magical fable in the tradition of Tolkien and JK Rowling.’-
PHIL DAMPIER, ROYAL COMMENTATOR & SUNDAY EXPRESS JOURNALIST
A beautifully presented, wonderfully unique debut.’ - THE SUN
'Fantasy fans will warm to this tale of how being different can be a strength rather than something to be feared.'
- DAILY MAIL
'Action packed. This book is on fire.”- 
DAVID LLOYD, SPORTS ENTREPRENEUR

I love to get an insight in to an author's mind and this week we get to know Julia Suzuki, author of the popular Land of Dragor series.



The series excited me before I had read the first words, as the reviews above show comparisons with one of my favourite writers JRR Tolkien and also the one thing that had me sold was the map of the Land of Dragor!  I fell in love with the worlds of Tolkien and George RR Martin because of such things!  I expect great things from this lady, so lets get to know her better!

Julia was born in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Growing up she listened to the magical sounds of animals and fairground rides from a theme park near her home.  Her love of reading, nature and the outdoors fed her imagination and inspired her to become a storyteller,

She worked for a division of Disney licensing, and with a famous leisure entrepreneur before becoming an author. 
"I learned a lot in those formative years which I feel has benefited my work and business vision"
She goes on to say- 
 "It was during the time that my son was at junior school that I was inspired to write the first novel.  Ideas came flooding to me. I had been thinking back to the wonderful vintage books I had read and wishing there were more like this - yet with unique edge and an interactive web presence. I knew first hand what parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were looking for when purchasing a book for their children, but more than that, I knew also what they sought themselves. Readers want gripping action, loads of adventure - all the classic aspects of  heroes and villains, quests and hangars and the hope of happy endings. 
 I wanted to write books with universal appeal, that were fantastical and yet in many ways real to today; to fulfill the expectations of book lovers and hook a non-reader back into reading.  For me this had to be in the form of a series, set in and a place we would all like to visit  - and so the Land of Dragor came to be"

She had received a British Arts Council award this year and is a Patron of Reading.  Her hobbies and interests include dance, fashion, movies and reading.  

Julia, When did you first start writing, and is this the only book you have written?
I have always written, often just personal diaries that I found pleasurable - but it was five years ago that I first felt the urge to write a book and yes this is my first.

How did you come up with the idea/story line for this book?  Is there any personal story behind it (did you used to like dragon stories when you were a kid)?
Yoshiko (the lead character) came to me in a sort of vision one day. I felt strongly inspired, at that exact moment, to write the first novel - the plot and idea formed relatively quickly. I have always liked dragons because they are so majestic and powerful. I often feel I have 'fire in my belly' but in my own way - being  a determined person.

How much of the book is realistic?
Although it is a fantasy novel I have been told it still seems very real. The dragons are very human like. They do many of the same things that children do such as going to school. 

What was the hardest part about writing the “Land of Dragor”?
I believe an author’s first book will always be the most difficult because you are in unknown territory, learning, and hoping for the best. For me the most difficult part wasn’t the first chapters, but keeping momentum after that. With perseverance it became easier.

In this book, Igorr bullies Yoshiko a lot, but Yoshiko doesn't really ever fights back, or argue, or even resorts to violence, which is a good thing, but was there any specific reason behind making him act this way? 
Igorr is the classic bully. He is selfish, self-serving, manipulative and uncaring. Yoshiko is the opposite. You have a scenario playing out in 'Dragor' that is repeated in children's play grounds throughout the world - and even in the workplace. I believe once anyone becomes angry at a bully they are losing their own 'now' moments and giving their power away to them; showing what they do is having affect. Yoshiko took the 'higher' stance. It was not that he did not feel angry, far from it, he felt injustice hugely and it boiled and boiled inside him. He constantly asked himself 'why me' and it often bought him to floods of tears.
The hurt Igorr inflicted was really absolutely huge. However, Yoshiko used the hurt inflicted to drive him and that was the positive outcome.  I believe anyone who is victimized by others can win through by putting their energy into being a better person themself rather than lowering themselves to the level of the bully. Igorr-types must be suffering really badly to have all those issues, always looking to the worst in people, being impatient, easily angered, saying cruel, personal and mean things to Yoshiko-types and always gossiping about them. The injustice is even greater as Yoshiko did not ever do a thing wrong to Igorr and yet Igorr dismissed that. Yoshiko sought to understand Igorr, even help him - but in the end it was so draining that he realised he must focus on himself. Who knows what the future will bring though - I don't think Yoshiko will stay so patient in the future if Igorr continues to do things to hurt him so selfishly! WATCH THIS SPACE

I  would like to ask as a Disney fan, you worked for Disney licensing, did you get any inspiration from the world of Disney?
Yes, I learned a lot about the Disney retail industry and the cogs within that global entity that make a children's brand take off. The most important thing is the brand guardianship which involves maintaining/protecting the image and developing it forward. I worked for the UK licensing division where they launched film merchandise into the retailers. The volume and diversity of products was incredible, especially from their key characters. The characters that worked best were those people could really engage with which is also so important when writing a novel.

Are you planning to adapt the series to screen?
I would love to. 

Where do your ideas come from?
By coincidence I was asked this exact question by a student today! (I have been at a local secondary school with it being ‘World Book Day’). I responded that the ideas seem to, ‘just appear to me out of the blue’, and he replied ‘like magic Miss.’ I thought that very accurate.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are a lot of personality traits, in the main characters, that are based on people I have known in my life. Yoshiko, the lead character, goes through a lot that I did at school in terms of meanness from other pupils and shyness. And I have definitely known a few Igorrs (his nemesis) in terms of people who tried to trip me or others up or betrayed me or did the meanest things whilst pretending to be friends or indeed family. I think a lot of people can relate to this and they stick together and enjoy the book because they can relate to it. 
There is a huge amount of character strength and fortitude shown during the experiences of Yoshiko and his friends. It was great to be able to take his lifes’ negatives and what was thrown at him and turn it into a positive outcome– I believe there is no greater feeling than this for anyone in life.

I notice that you have a fantastic map at the start of the book, can you tell me a little about how you came up with this? (I love maps, being a fan of Tolkien and George RR Martin and their maps I very much appreciate yours!)                                                     Thank you. I am glad you like it. I visualised it and designed it like a theme park. I imagined the entrance, where the rides would be, the gardens and many more aspects. If you look close you can probably see it yourself now I have mentioned it. 
I wanted to create a land everyone would want to go to, one with a bit more edge than has ever been designed before - real adventure - more than just a fairy tale - somewhere that felt incredibly real!
Having worked in the resorts industry very closely with the leisure entrepreneur David Lloyd for six years the concept came to me because of that business understanding. I used to live right next to a theme park in Staffordshire from birth until age 10; I have always had a huge love of zoo animals and fairgrounds.

Any writing rituals?
I like to work through the night, just with the screenlight. I feel more creative at this time.

You said you kept personal diaries, my eldest daughter is 7 and has just started keeping a diary, when did you start?
About 7, the same age as your daughter actually. To young girls diaries are a private matter - very secret, not something they wish to share :). Mine helped me to express myself freely which I think is very important in a child's development.

In your opinion which is more important; characters or plot?
I would say characters! If a reader falls in love with a character I believe they are more likely to stay loyal – even with an ‘iffy’ plot. I would think less so the other way around.

How do you deal with writers block if or when you experience it?
I haven’t so far. But I think I would be kind to myself rather than worry too much. I may go and do something to distract myself, like a good night out with my friends. I am sure it would clear my mind.

What authors do you enjoy to read? What book or books have had the most influence on you and/or your writing?
CS Lewis and Enid Blyton were my childhood favourites. Many fantasy movies have influenced me too, probably even more so than books -my favourite is Avatar.

If you could have one superpower- strength, ability to fly, breath fire, what would you choose? 
I would love to fly as Tinkerbell does!

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment to date?
I love my home and consider it my sanctuary – it took a lot of work to get it just so. It is a girlie thing to think of home as our palace and I like to keep it well looked after, clean and tidy.

Where can you see yourself and your writing in the future?
Completing the series is going to be quite the journey itself. My heart is in ‘Dragor’ and continuing to write the most compelling work for my fans is a must for them. I feel thrilled with how well received my series is and the reviews.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, that we all have a special gift. That we can overcome obstacles no matter how difficult they seem if we don’t give up, but persist and communicate and work hard. That kindness, above all things, is the most commendable characteristic.

Is there anything you would like to leave with the readers today?
Pursue the things that make you feel in your element – that create that certain fire in your belly ,where you feel alive and seem to lose sense of time.

Some quick questions!

Last Book - Fire by Kirsten Cashore
Last Film - Lawless
Last Cd - Hed Kandi - I love dance music to work out to!

Thank you Julia for taking the time out to share with us!


The Gift of Charms Book #1 is NOW available in paperback to PRE-ORDER at AMAZON HERE http://tinyurl.com/o95ufw9


Connect with Julia at



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