Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Dusty Pages Review: As Old as Time


Can the enchanted rose reveal hidden truths? Could it be that Belle's mother was the one who cursed the Beast all those years? When Belle touches the enchanted rose hidden away in the Beast's castle, memories flood through her mind - memories of a mother she thought she would never see again. And, stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful enchantress who cursed the castle and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast will unravel a dark mystery about their families that is 21 years in the making.

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favourite story, even long before Disney got a hold of it and longer before Ms Braswell did. Her twist on my favourite tale however, is a slightly darker edgier story that I enjoyed thoroughly.

Split into parts, the first two dance between glimpses of the past featuring Belle's mother, the enchantress Rosaline and her father Maurice, as the true history of the beasts kingdom is revealed. A cruel King and Queen that let the magical folk in their land be persecuted right under there noses.

In the present the story follows the same story as the animated movie up to the point in the west wing where Belle actually touches the rose and brings about the full weight of the curse upon the castle and its inhabitants. The love still blossoms though as Belle and the Beast try to uncover the mystery of what happened all those years ago in a bid to find her mother and undo the curse before its too late.

Its an action packed adventure, where the true monsters are revealed and a spoiled prince grows up to show great love and sacrifice. I give it



Monday, 27 March 2017

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Tima Maria Lacoba



1. Tell me about your book, BloodGifted, and where you got your inspiration for it?

The idea came to me while researching my Masters degree in Archaeology in Britain. I came across a Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall that was abandoned in the mid 3rd century, for no apparent reason. But knowing how superstitious the ancient Romans were, I incorporated a supernatural element into it, and BloodGifted was born.

2. What is the longest you’ve gone without writing?

It would be about a month. I’d just completed Bk 3, BloodVault, and I felt burned out. Over the last 4 years I’d written 4 books (1 short story and 3 novels), each around 100K. I was simply exhausted and needed a break.

3. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

My favourite place in the world is Italy, especially the Amalfi coast. I love the Mediterranean, Italian food and culture, and of course, it’s archaeology.

That’s why I set set my short story, Laura’s Locket, in Sorrento.

4. If you could live in a book, TV show or Movie, what would it be?

Given such a fantastic choice, I’d head straight for Narnia. I’d love to walk through a forest to meet centaurs, satyrs and talking beavers.

5. If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?

I’d travel back to 5th century Britain to see if King Arthur really did exist, and the legendary knights who made up his troupe. Was he a Celtic warrior, or a Roman commander who remained behind after the Romans had withdrawn?

6. If you had to choose to live without one of your five senses, which would you give up and why?

I hope never to lose any of my senses, but if ever forced to make a choice, I’d rather lose my hearing than any of the others. At least I could remember all the beautiful music and voices in my mind, and I could read the subtitles of movies and TV shows. I’d rather sacrifice that, then my sight, as I hate the dark.

7. If you could bring one fictional character to life, who would it be and why?

It would have to be the great detective, Sherlock Holmes. I reckon he could still teach our modern law enforcement about crime solving using logic and deduction.

8. What genre do you write in and what draws you into this genre?

I write paranormal romance / urban fantasy because it gives more scope to the imagination. Plus, who doesn’t love a gothic story with a touch of romance?

9. What part of your writing time do you dedicate to marketing your book?

No more than an hour, as I’d rather spend the time writing. Too much time can be wasted on social media pushing my books, and that’s not what people want to see. Instead, I choose some reliable (and affordable) paid marketing sites that can do it for me. They do a much better job, too.

10. Do you think giving away books for free works and why?

I could write a thesis on this subject. The simple answer is NO. An author spends months (even years) creating, plotting and writing a novel, then paying a professional to edit, another to design an eye-catching cover, and finally for formatting, only to give it away for free?

Madness!

All a freebie does is devalue our work as writers, and condition readers into believing they’re entitled to it, which of course, is rubbish.

Every piece of creative work deserves to be paid. Authors are providing a service – entertainment – that must be paid for.

11. Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

The few times I believed I was in control of my story, my characters soon sorted me out, lol. They definitely dictate the course of the action, and even where my chapters should end or begin.

After all, it’s their story.

12. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Some of my characters are based either on, or a combination of, people I personally know. And they know who they are, lol. I have their permission.

The rest are purely my imagination.
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What’s a girl to do when she learns she’s the key to breaking a centuries-old family curse? Become dangerously intimate with a jaw-dropping vision of male hotness hiding a secret agenda of his own.

Nothing could be simpler.

Or is it?

When primary school teacher Laura Dantonville learns of her family's dark ancestral legacy, she’s propelled into a secret underworld ruled by magic, mystery and murder, and stalked by vampire clans who would do anything to possess her. For her protection, she’s assigned a guardian not knowing that part of her role in ending the ancient curse that has plagued her family for centuries, involves having a child with him.

And she has one day to make a decision.

With only five years left of servitude to his sire, Alec Munro reluctantly accepts to act as Laura’s guardian or risk remaining in slavery forever. But can he maintain a platonic relationship between them when something far more intimate is required to end his sire’s family curse?

With time running out, Laura must decide to either accept Alec or allow her vampire-hating detective boyfriend to end the legacy his way – by eliminating the undead side of her family.

After all, they’re not human are they?

Being unable to age is just the beginning.
BUY

About Tima Maria

Tima Maria Lacoba is a former ancient historian and archaeologist who accidently smashed a 3,000 Egyptian vase while on her first dig! Her supervisor made her glue it back together again. It took a week. From there she went on to specialise in late Roman-British archaeology, and the military forts along Hadrian’s Wall, because buildings don’t smash as easily. Now she’s combined her love of history with another passion—story-telling—to create a dark tale of Roman soldiers cursed by a British witch.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimaMariaLacoba/?fref=ts
Twitter: @TimaMariaLacoba
Blog: http://timamarialacoba.blogspot.co.uk/

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Dusty Pages Review: Hollow City

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine's island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

For some reason, although the story picks up right after the events of the first book, it didn't seem as exciting as the first. I do get the feeling that this is one big long story that got split into three parts rather than three individual books with their own themes. The photographic portions of the book seemed to be stretching their connection to the story - in fact it seemed as if the story was written so that photograph could be included rather than inspiring the story as the ones in the first book had. There seemed to be a lot of running about blinding to fill pages.

I found that it didn't really get interesting until the last quarter of the book where there are a couple of surprising twists that draw you in just in time for this book to finish and you have to read the third to know the outcome. I will read the third, because I would like to see if the story rounds off nicely and I want to see the full extent of Jacobs abilities.

Sadly I feel I can't give this anymore than




Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Dusty Pages Review: All the Little Liars


Librarian Aurora Teagarden is basking in the news of her pregnancy when disaster strikes her small town: four children, including her fifteen-year-old brother, Philip, have vanished from the school football field. What's even more worrisome is the dead body found at their last known location.
While the local police comb the county for the missing children, Aurora and her new husband, true crime writer Robin Crusoe, begin their own investigation. Could the two incidents have something to do with a group of school bullies? Are Aurora's father's gambling debts related to the disappearance of her brother? Or could it be that Philip himself, new to town and relatively unknown, is the one responsible?
With Christmas approaching, Aurora is determined to find her brother . . . if he's still alive.

I have been waiting for this book for a long time. I loved the Aurora Teagarden Series when I first got my hands on it and the fact that it never really seemed to be rounded off left fans like me speculating on whether it would continue. When I heard this was coming out I couldn't have been more excited.

It was wonderful to be back in her world with all the old characters that I loved but one was noticeably absent (Arthur Smith - currently in the midnight Texas series) which confirms that all the series have been tenuously connected - though no realistic mention of vampires or shifters in this one.

I was a little disappointed that the covers had changed again, this is a pet peeve of mine. I do like when all the books on the shelf match. The only other thing that I found a bit of a let down was how I was able to guess what had happened fairly early on in the book and was waiting for Aurora to catch up. However I am intensely happy to see this story continuing. Hopefully Ms Harris will bring it to a proper conclusion this time, though I hope that is several books in the future. I have already put the next title on my wish list

I give it




Monday, 13 March 2017

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...K. L. Dimago


1. Tell me about your book Amethyst: Rise to Piracy and where you got your inspiration for it?

Amethyst: Rise to Piracy is about a fae woman who struggles to overcome an abusive past and fights for the future she desires. She runs away from a luxurious life-style into a difficult life at sea, first as a merchant-sailor and then as a pirate. As she pursues true freedom and happiness, she begins to wonder if she will ever achieve it without completely losing her dignity and her sanity.
The story originally began in my teens as a fun twist of my own on pirates’ adventures when Pirates of the Caribbean was the latest excitement. The original idea is actually the part of the story which is my first work, Amethyst, and Amethyst: Rise to Piracy is the back-story for that in order to give the readers more insights and depth. I think that new readers who read Amethyst: Rise to Piracy will have a great introduction to the story overall and a much greater love for the characters as they continue with them on their adventures.

2. Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so what was it?

I think what I learned the most through this book in particular was the balance between world-building details and plot-movement. In the past, I’ve really struggled with either not enough details about the characters’ surroundings, or too much so that it distracted from the story. With Amethyst: Rise to Piracy, that was a huge focus of mine and I really felt I began to grasp a more firm understanding of that balance through the writing process.

3. What is the longest you’ve gone without writing?

When I was eighteen, my life went through some pretty dramatic changes that in all honesty, took away my writing muse at the time. As I sorted things out and began learning to care for myself and my responsibilities, writing was the last thing on my mind. For about four and a half years I only wrote when it came to essays for college or other school-related work. Toward the end of that time, I began to crave creative writing, but I just couldn’t find the right motivation or inspiration. Finally, in January of 2014, all of the writing I hadn’t been doing and all of my passion for it came crashing back at once. I literally felt a ‘punch in the gut’ type moment where I was overwhelmed with excitement, drive and the irresistible urge to write. Since then, I haven’t gone more than a few days without writing something. Without it, I start to get antsy and impatient to dive back into creativity.

4. Which do you use more often, dictionary or thesaurus?

Definitely thesaurus. I am not someone who tries to use big words or sound ‘clever’ in my writing. My goal is to create the best experience for my reader. In using a thesaurus, I don’t try to use big words either. I mainly use it if I can’t quite think of the ‘right’ word, but I can similar ones, or if I’m trying to avoid repetition of the same word within the same sentence or even paragraph.

5. Mountains or the beach?

Mountains for me. There’s something absolutely breath-taking about standing on the side of a mountain and looking at the world around you. Or even seeing the various different types of mountains there are. To me, mountains are a symbol of strength and I can very much relate to and understand the various analogies of over-coming mountains in life. I could go on for a long time about the why of my mountain preference. The beach is a lot of fun too… but I don’t like dealing with all the sand after the visit. So that’s another reason for me to say mountains.

6. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

I would go to Ireland. I’ve always heard that it’s absolutely beautiful and I’ve always wanted to visit some of the historical sites there. Plus, it has mountains.

7. If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?

I would visit the past. At one point in time, I would’ve wanted to change it and tell my past-self some things. But I think now, I would go simply to see some lost loved ones one more time and tell them I love them.

8. What motivates you to succeed as a writer?

My family, hands down. Aside from the fact it’s simply my passion and it would be a dream come true to spend all of my time writing. But ultimately, I do it because I honestly believe that someday through writing, I can open opportunities to spend more time with my family. With having a husband and small children that I don’t get that much time with right now, this is probably my largest wish and motivation.

9. What genre do you write in and what draws you into this genre?

I mainly write fantasy. I have plans and ideas for other genres, such as contemporary fiction and even non-fiction, but I am most drawn to fantasy. I think for me that part of it lies with me having the most ideas and content for fantasy stories. But it’s also because I grew up reading a lot of fantasy books and these are the most enjoyable for me. I earnestly find myself having the most fun both as a writer and a reader when immersed in some fantasy world.

10. Do you let a book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

Absolutely. Although, the amount of time I let it stew depends on the book itself. I’ve gone a whole month before, and I’ve also only gone a week simply because I couldn’t wait – I was too excited. Still, I like to give some time away from it. I feel this allows my mind to process it and also take a step back from everything I know about the story in order to look at it with a sort of ‘freshness’. Otherwise, because I’ve been looking at it so long already and have been actively writing it, I have learned from experience that my mind just fills in mistakes for me when I’m editing and I may miss some pretty critical things!

11. Have you written any other books that are not published? Do you intend to publish them?

Yes and yes along with many more to come, hopefully. Without giving too much away, I have written the next book in this Amethyst series as well as an unrelated work of its own. I intend to publish both, though I am still very much in the revision and editing stages of both.

12. What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

The first time I received a bad review for Amethyst was awful for me. The critic said Amethyst was an unlikable character and that she didn’t make sense, and further, that my transitions were terrible. Well, the transitions did need some adjustments. And at the time, I hadn’t done a good enough job of giving the reader time and back-story to truly relate to and understand the character. It was pretty hard for me, although in general I try to take criticism to heart and improve, even if the way it comes to me is incredibly difficult. I made the adjustments and got some stamps of approval. And I feel that the story is much better for it.

13. Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I want to give a huge thanks to each of them and a special shout out to my friend Matt. I would not be where I am now without them and in earnest, I write for them too. I can’t appreciate enough their enthusiasm and their encouragement, always supporting and eager for the next work.

14. Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?

Yes, I am a restaurant manager. It’s something I’ve been doing for several years now and have learned a lot. While it takes care of me and my family, and proves very challenging and frustrating some days and other days amazing, I don’t think it’s something I’ll do for the rest of my life. But time will tell. In either case, I will never stop writing.
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Forced into an abusive marriage and a destiny out of her control, Amethyst flees to the seas looking for freedom. However, she finds the oceans rough and wild, which leaves her searching for something more.

Accompanied by her ever-loyal friend and mage, Darien, Amethyst begins to learn what it truly means to be a pirate and what it will take for her to gain what she seeks. Fighting to overcome her past and all manner of cutthroats, she believes taking a ship for herself and becoming a fearsome captain is what will grant her desires. But she also must choose if she will do so at the cost of her dignity. As indications of war rise on the seas and Amethyst finds herself hunted at every turn, she must fight back or else be returned to the very life she escaped.

BUY


About K. L.

K.L. Dimago is a fantasy author with goals to also write contemporary fiction. Her passion for writing began at a young age and continued throughout her childhood and adult life. She began writing before she learned to read which turned into an equal passion for reading as she grew older and discovered authors such as Tamora Pierce, C.S. Lewis, and Walter Farley, among others, that inspired her to pursue her own dreams of becoming a writer. Her debut novel, Amethyst, was published August 2nd, 2015 by Kellan Publishing.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009316742696&fref=ts