My Review of Perfect Summer by Author Karen King

My Review of

Perfect Summer by Author Karen King

Wow what a book! I spend the night reading Perfect Summer after being inspired by author Karen’s reason for writing this book. It’s an emotional and chilling story about perfection at the extreme end of the line. Where the world doesn’t want those who are different, instead they want to change them as soon as possible into a perfect human with perfect family and a perfect life.

The story itself follows Morgan, Summer and Jamie. Morgan lives with her parents and her brother Josh who has down’s syndrome. Her parents love them both very much, but are being hounded to put him into a home because he doesn’t fit in a perfect world. Whereas her friend Summer seems to have it all, perfect parent and a rich life. However, one day Josh is kidnapped and Morgan soon finds out after meeting Jamie that her brother was not the only one. Will Jamie and Morgan find out what happened to Josh? Will they ever see him again? Read this book to find out.

I loved Josh’s character. I could just picture him while reading this book. I also thought Author Karen did a great job at highlighting what the need to be perfect could turn our world into. Also  how important it is to be yourself and not let other find problems with you or your loved one, to the point it makes you chance because it’s socially expected.

Also, I found this book very gripping and emotional as well as chilling. Sometimes I could feel myself go cold when reading some of the scenes. I also thought the end was very emotional, unexpected and fitted this story perfectly.

I would recommend Perfect Summer if you enjoy books with a very strong storyline with great characters that you’ll want to travel with until the very end. Go check out this book.

Link to Perfect Summer

 

Perfect Summer by Karen King’In a Society obsessed with perfection, being different is a crime’

Perfect Summer by Karen King

In a Society obsessed with perfection, being different is a crime’

Thanks so much for inviting me on your blog to talk about my new YA, PERFECT SUMMER. The tag line is ‘In a Society obsessed with perfection, being different is a crime’, and the theme of the book is whether society’s obsession with perfection could eventually lead to people who don’t conform to the ‘norm’, who are slightly different in any way or have disabilities, are looked down upon and locked away. Or worse.

I’ve been concerned for a long time about our current society’s obsession with perfection, how pictures of models in magazines are photoshopped, how the media pushes the idea of having perfect looks and a perfect body, and the pressures this puts on people, especially women and in particular young girls. A few years ago I read an article about girls as young as four and five being upset that they were too fat or too ugly and that really worried me. I started to wonder how far this obsession with perfection would go.

Another concern of mine is how people with disabilities are treated in society, and are often marginalised. Both these concerns formed the seeds of PERFECT SUMMER.

The title PERFECT SUMMER can be deceptive, as some people think that a) the story is about a perfect summer the protagonist experiences, or b) the story is about the life of a character called Summer who is perfect. It sounds a light, fluffy story, when actually it’s a gritty plot that deals with serious issues. The story itself is set about thirty years in the future, in a time when society has become so obsessed with physical perfection that the Ministry (government) give people grants for body enhancement (plastic surgery) and many clubs only allow entry to the most beautiful people.  People with disabilities are called RADS and sent to live in Residential Learning Centres(RLCs) out of the public eye.

I chose the title because Morgan has a friend called Summer who seems to have a perfect life, she is beautiful, rich, has trendy parents who mix with celebs and wants for nothing and Morgan can’t help envying her. Whereas Morgan, the protagonist, isn’t so beautiful or rich and her three-year-old brother, Josh, has Down’s syndrome, which causes the family a lot of grief as Morgan’s parents refuse to put him a RLC. Then Josh is kidnapped and the authorities aren’t interested. Morgan and Summer, along with another teenager, Jamie, whose sister Holly has also been kidnapped uncover a sinister plot involving the kidnapping of children with disabilities and put themselves in terrible danger. Can they find Josh and Holly before it’s too late. By the end of the story we discover that Summer’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems, but I’m saying no more as I don’t want to give away the plot.

I was a lucky enough to get an Arts Council grant to allow me time to write the first version of PERFECT SUMMER which was published in the U.S by Astraea Press. I’ve now revised the book, and Accent Press have republished it with a brilliant new cover.

Extract

Summer and I hurried upstairs while Josh was busy watching TV. Summer plonked herself down on my bed while I got my things ready.

“Want some music?” I asked, pressing the silver button on the comm-panel. The latest hit from Krescendo, our favourite band, blasted out and a hologram of them playing beamed onto the wall.

Then I pressed the green button, my wardrobe doors glided open, and a rail of clothes slid out. I glanced over at Summer, feeling awkward as always, that my room was so small and my wardrobe so sparse. Summer’s wardrobe was a huge walk-in affair full of designer clothes. Luckily, she was sprawled out watching Krescendo so I quickly grabbed the clothes I needed for the weekend and shoved them in my rucksack. Thank goodness I’d found an immaculate emerald green Maliko dress at the recycle store the other week. That would be perfect for Roxy’s. I knew Summer would let me borrow her clothes but felt better if I wore something of my own.

I took out the dress and zipped it into a freshpack to keep it crease-free. I glanced at the image screen on my bedroom wall and grimaced. My make-up needed renewing and some strands of my chestnut hair were escaping from the ponytail I’d swept it into. I swiftly fixed it and applied more make-up. I didn’t want to turn up at Summer’s looking a mess, Tamara and Leo expected everyone to always look their best.

“Ready.” I pressed the buttons on the CP again to close my wardrobe doors, and switched off the music.

“Have a nice weekend,” Mum said as we popped in to say goodbye. She looked so pale, with dark circles under her eyes. I could tell the visit from the Ministry had upset her and hesitated for a moment, wondering if I should stay. But Dad was due home soon and I was so looking forward to the weekend. I loved going to Summer’s house and being spoilt for a bit. It was like living in another world. She was so lucky.

“Thanks, we will.” I leaned over and tousled Josh’s chestnut curls. “Bye, Josh.”

“Play, Maw,” he said, scrambling up.

“Maw going out now. I’ll play with you when I come back.”  He puckered his face as if he was going to cry, but Mum took his hand. “Come on, Josh, let’s pick some tomatoes for tea.”

Josh’s face lit up. He loved helping Mum in the garden. Everyone had a vegetable patch, compost and water butt by order of the Ministry as part of the Planet Protection Programme. I hated gardening but Josh loved helping Mum water the plants with the rainwater collected in the butt, and picking the vegetables. Summer’s parents had a gardener, of course.

Mum led Josh out into the garden while we went out the front door.  before Josh could realise I was leaving. I had no idea how much I was going to regret not playing with Josh one more time. Or not kissing him goodbye.

****

What people are saying about Perfect Summer

‘This book was amazing, as it was easy to relate to the characters, and it put a perfect twist on society’s obsession with perfection.’ Shehayamsani – Litpick reviewer.

‘King does an amazing job of writing about the discrimination children with disabilities face’  http://strollinginstoryland.blogspot.co.uk/

I was really taken away by this book – it is full of excitement, danger, shocks, gripping scenes and a thick plot. It is a truly brilliant story, with some fun – but SO realistic – characters. It makes the reader think – could the future turn out to be something like this?? Bookworm1, Amazon UK review

‘The story line was fascinating and kept my attention. Could also be a good book club discussion book.’ Donna – More Than A Review

PERFECT SUMMER is available now. You can download it here: http://amzn.to/2mMXTz

 

Author Bio

Karen King is the author of over 120 children’s books and has had two YA’s published, Perfect Summer and Sapphire Blue. Perfect Summer was runner up in the Red Telephone Books YA novel competition in 2011 and has just been republished by Accent Press.

Karen is also the author of two romance novels, and has been contracted for three chick lit novels by Accent Press. The first, I do?… or do I? was published in 2016 and the second, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, is due out in the Summer. In addition, Karen has written several short stories for women’s magazine and worked for many years on children’s magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh as well as the iconic Jackie magazine.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Author links

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Young Adult Books

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenkingauthor/?hl=en

Thank you for hosting me!

 

My Review of Spirit of Technology by Voinks

My Review of 

Spirit of Technology by Voinks

Wow what a story- I spent an hour reading Spirit of Technology this morning after coming across the book  last night. I loved how it was written. As a reader you get the real sense of when  people receive a mysterious email that takes them on a journey that at times make you think, come on listen your  gut and run away from these emails.

The story itself follows a modern woman as she logs in to her computer and receives an email from a mystery man called Andy. He claims to be from 1998 and starts revealing personal things about her life. Is this a prank gone too far? Or does Andy have other motives of making himself a part of her life? Read this gripping story to find out.

I loved how author Voinks captured the feel of fear and wonderment of receiving a strange message from an unknown stranger, but she also really gets into the mindset of the sender. I also found myself giggling when reading some parts of this story.

The end was really special and kinda felt a bit emotional and unexpected.

I would recommend Spirit of Technology if you love quirky and gripping stories with an unexpected and fulfilling ending. Give this book a try.

Link to Spirit of Technology

 

Interview with Aurelia Mitela from Retalio by Alison Morton

Welcome Aurelia Mitela and a huge thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

A pleasure to be here

1) Tell us a little about yourself. And what you are doing right now?

At present, I’m in exile in Vienna. I was Roma Nova’s foreign minister and senior imperial councillor but a ruthless dictator, Caius Tellus, has seized power there. Juno knows, Roma Nova has survived for fifteen hundred years since the break up of the Roman Empire, but now…. Caius put three bullets in me and left me for dead, but thanks to my faithful lover and life companion Miklós, I’m recovering.

But I’m weeping for my people suffering under Caius’s brutal regime and I’m determined to overthrow him and liberate them.

2) Who is the least favourite person in your life right now? Why?

Easy question! Caius Tellus. We go back a long way. We’re both in our mid-forties now, but when we were children he bullied me and I always fought back. He spat on my cake, shoved my head down the kitchen drain, humiliated me in front of others whenever he could and when I was sixteen, he tried to rape me. He hatched a plot to ruin the silver trade – Roma Nova’s life-blood and murdered a fellow criminal. I caught him and sent him to prison for that. But he got out early “for good behaviour”.

I remember giving a young Praetorian Guard lieutenant a briefing on Caius: “He’s charming, manipulative and a complete bastard. He has natural sexual charm and the instincts of a predator. Unfortunately, he’s intelligent with it, but somehow, the Fates forgot to give him the least sense of good and evil when he was born.” (AURELIA, Chapter XXVII)

3) Have you ever started or been part of a revelation? If so what was it all about? Did you get the results you were hoping for?

A revelation? Ha! How many do you want? My early professional life was as an officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces so I was often involved in undercover and special mission work. Then I went to work as, let’s be honest, a spy for the foreign ministry. Surprising what people get up to in their private lives! But revelations? When I found out what Caius did to my daughter… Sorry, that’s too painful to talk about.

4) Do you speak other languages? If you do could you type a sentence in that language? 

As a Roma Novan, my mother tongue is Latin – we’re very proud of our Roman heritage.

Two things are on my mind at present:

Hic manebimus optime  (We are determined to stay here come what may.)

Ex nihilo nihil fit (Nothing comes from doing nothing.)

When I left school, I spent a year in the north in the university in Berlin, so my Germanic’s pretty reasonable.

Wenn man in Zentraleuropa wohnt, muß man mindestens ein Paar Wörte deutsch lernen.  (If you live in Central Europe, then you should learn at least a few words of Germanic.)

Thanks to my British tutor from when I was younger and using it in my international work, my English is fluent. I hope I haven’t made too many mistakes answering your questions!

6) If you could swap places with a fellow person you are with or have met, who would it be? And why?

It would be so easy to catch a plane, go to the United Kingdom or the Eastern United States with my daughter and husband and become another ex-European aristocrat in exile. No, I don’t want to become that person. Nor do I want to shuffle off my responsibilities or duties onto anybody else. Sometimes, though, it would be easier to be a simple soldier like Atrius or Calavia, just carrying out orders.

7) What is your life like right now? Do you have an important message you’d like to convey to others?

With the mistakes I’ve made, like not believing Caius could overturn a fifteen hundred year system, I’m not in a position to give anybody advice. Well, the only thing you can do is carry on believing in what you think is right, have hope and be persistent.

8) What do you believe your main purpose in life is? And how far will you go to achieve it?

Apart from caring for my beloved daughter, Marina, my purpose in life is to serve my country and its ruler, the imperatrix. But sometimes it’s hard, truly hard. I thought my brain would burst along with my heart when I was trapped in a Berlin courtroom on trial for a murder I didn’t commit with the thought of not seeing my daughter for twenty years.

10) Have you had any scary moments? Are you scared now? Tell us what happen or why you feel like this?

Don’t take this wider, will you, but the one thing I’m scared of is failure. I was a special forces soldier used to dealing with enemy in fairly tense situations. I’m not scared of walking down a dark street if that’s what you mean. But I’m frightened in my soul that I won’t be able to defeat Caius permanently, or bring back freedom to Roma Nova, or get everybody home safe.

11) Have you ever done something unforgivable to anyone? If so why? Was it revenge?

Yes, but it depends on how you judge “unforgivable”. When I arrested Caius fifteen years ago for murder, I deliberately smashed his face hard to ruin his good looks. I told myself it was to pacify him – he’s very strong – but it was to wipe the smirk off his face when he was threatening to strangle my daughter.

Thank you, Aurelia Mitela, for taking part in this interview. It has been a pleasure getting to know you.

RETALIO blurb

Early 1980s Vienna. Recovering from a near fatal shooting, Aurelia Mitela, ex-Praetorian and former foreign minister of Roma Nova, chafes at her enforced exile. She barely escaped from her nemesis, the charming and amoral Caius Tellus who grabbed power in Roma Nova, the only part of the Roman Empire to survive into the twentieth century.

Aurelia’s duty and passion fire her determination to take back her homeland and liberate its people. But Caius’s manipulations have isolated her from her fellow exiles, leaving her ostracised, powerless and vulnerable. But without their trust and support Aurelia knows she will never see Roma Nova again.

 

Alison Morton bio (RETALIO)

Alison Morton, writes the acclaimed Roma Nova thriller series featuring modern Praetorian heroines. She blends her deep love of Roman history with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, adventure and thriller fiction.

The first five books have been awarded the BRAG Medallion. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices.  AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. The sixth, RETALIO, is out on 27 April 2017.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison has misspent decades clambering over Roman sites throughout Europe. She holds a MA History, blogs about Romans and writing.

Now she continues to write, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband of 30 years.

 

Social media links

Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova site: http://alison-morton.com

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AlisonMortonAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alison_morton @alison_morton

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5783095.Alison_Morton
Alison’s Amazon page: http://Author.to/AlisonMortonAmazon

Buying link for RETALIO (multiple retailers/formats)

http://alison-morton.com/books-2/retalio/where-to-buy-retalio/

RETALIO book trailer: https://youtu.be/Mql2Mm3ytJc

My Review of ABC-Destiny by Author Voinks

My Review of

ABC-Destiny by Author Voinks

ABC-Destiny can be read in an hour,  perfect if you only have a short time to read a book. I loved this story because the characters were  very different and enjoyable to follow and the storyline was well put together and was rather emotional and gripping  at the same time.

The story itself follows three girls Abigail, Beatrice, Cecelia each with a different background  as they take you through a day in their lives. What is the true story? Will there be a happier ending for all concerned?  Read this gripping story to find out.

I thought author Voinks did a great job in bringing out the different personalities in all her character, which made them easy to imagine and engaging to read about. I also thought Delphine and Frank’s story was really well written and I found myself very quickly emerged into their story.

I also found Delphine’s father figure in the book rather creepy, which  gave this story a rather eerie feel that added layers of  mystery and emotions of the story.

The end was surprising and didn’t disappoint at all. I will be keeping an eye out for other books written by the author in future,

I would recommend ABC-Destiny if you like character-driven books with a great storyline underneath. Why not give this book a try.

Here is the link to ACB-Destiny

My Review of The Advent Calendar by Author Paula Harmon.

My Review of

The Advent Calendar by Author Paula Harmon.

I loved The Advent Calendar, a book of Christmas themed stories for all ages and perfect to read on the lead up to Christmas with the whole family. Two of my favorite stories in this book are: Angels and Stocking. Angels is a short but powerful story that  has a very strong message underneath that while we look at people skin deep we miss their cry for help or those moments that we could take to bring company and share human kindness. I felt in just a page this story made a connection with me. I loved  Stocking because it’s emotional and sweet and portrays how children reciprocate love to a parent who is doing his best to take care of  them.

The book consists of Christmas themed  short stories to read on the lead up to Christmas. Some of the stories are emotional and thought provoking, while others are magical and full of Christmassy sprit.  Such as Carol-Singers: in which Lee price and his gang go carol singing, but like every time they had tried to celebrate the many holidays and earn a little pocket money other children got there first. However this night was different as they sang their hearts out at Mrs Morgan’s door. After awhile she invites them in and everyone hears strange noises that seem to be coming from an old coat. What could be inside? What’s Mrs Morgan’s secret? Will children be able to help Mrs Morgan to unveil the secret? Read this book to find out.

I love how author Paula always manages to create just the right feel to her short stories and  evoke several emotions in her readers. This is another book I shall read again and share with my family at Christmas time. I also liked author’s take on some of the classics.

I would recommend The Advent Calendar if you love short stories, great characters and stories that will stick with you long after reading them. This is a perfect festive read.

Link to The Advent Calendar…

 

 

That’s News to Me by Guest Maggie Cammiss

That’s News to Me 

It’s taken a while but I think I’ve arrived. Two years ago I put ‘novelist’ in the ‘profession’ column of my brand new marriage certificate. But my biggest challenge these days is applying backside to chair and actually getting the writing done. I live in a beautiful part of the country and the temptation to down tools and go for a walk on the beach, whatever the weather, is always there. Discipline has never been my strong point.

I’ve always been an avid reader – my mum made sure I joined the public library as soon as I was old enough – and my love of the written word was reinforced in my first career in public libraries. Later, I moved into film archives, where I discovered an interest in history and current affairs, and in 1989 I joined Sky News, when the 24 hour news channel first launched. I wasn’t a journalist and my background in libraries and archives presented an unconventional route into television.

It’s a bit of a cliché these days, but the old advice to write about what you know certainly worked for me. Working in rolling news was a bit like being stuck in a revolving door; there was always something going on, day and night, and it provided me with all the inspiration I needed for my first two novels, No News is Good News and Breaking News. I joke that I changed the names to protect the guilty, but I promise you, the characters and storylines are entirely fictitious.

Like a lot of people who tell you they would write a novel if only they had the time (!), I had this naïve idea that, because I was a keen and critical reader, writing a novel wouldn’t be too difficult. I was soon disabused of that notion; writing convincing dialogue is hard, I discovered. But I was determined. I went on a residential creative writing course and began collecting a library of how-to books. I joined a local writing group, bought myself some notebooks and set about coaxing the stories in my head onto the page.

My characters always know their own minds and often create problems I haven’t envisaged. But I’ve learned to wait and trust my subconscious; the solution will reveal itself in its own time – usually in the dead of night. Which is why I keep a notebook by the bed: to jot down those elusive thoughts that would otherwise vanish with the dawn. It helps me believe that I’m in control.

I don’t have an agent, but to my delight, Accent Press took on No News is Good News and it was published in December 2014. I tried assisted publishing for Breaking News in 2016, with disappointing results, and I’ve now designed new covers and relaunched both titles independently.

My advice to anyone contemplating writing a novel and beset with doubts – don’t talk about it, just get on with it. Otherwise, how will you know?

BREAKING NEWS Blurb:
Television producer Sara Cassidy has her life all mapped out. She loves her job making weekly feature programmes for TV news channel UK24, and is looking forward to furthering her ambitions in the media. She is devastated when her fiancé makes a shattering confession but she hardly has time to come to terms with the betrayal when her closest friend is involved in a freak accident and Sara’s world is turned upside down once again.
As Sara struggles to maintain a professional perspective she finds solace in a new interest and a blossoming romance. But she has to be careful who she trusts in the cut-throat world of television news. Just as she is finding her feet again the career that means so much reveals its murkier side.
When she suddenly finds herself at the other end of the camera lens, Sara discovers that in the struggle for ratings, loyalty is in short supply.

Blurb No New Is Good News

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Maggie left London with her partner to see what life outside the M25 had to offer. She eventually settled in Norfolk and when she isn’t writing, she’s likely to be found on the beach, walking in the beautiful countryside, or (usually) face down on the sofa reading a crime novel. These days she also cares for her mum in law, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. This is another voyage of discovery and interruptions are part of daily life.

Links

Blog: http://maggiecammiss.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maggiecammisswriter

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/maggiecammiss

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Breaking-News-Maggie-Cammiss-ebook/dp/B071KY3BXG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493642655&sr=1-1&keywords=breaking+news+cammiss