My Review of The Idiot Family on Holiday by A.J. Stairmand. 

My Review of

The Idiot Family on Holiday by A.J. Stairmand.

The Idiot Family on Holiday is a great children’s adventure that even adults can enjoy with their children. Although this is aimed at children between 9 to 11years old, I and my 4-year-old niece read it together. She quite enjoyed the pirates and the Pigger’s characters. I personally think not only was this a great adventure story but also it had themes children and parent could talk about within the story which I think would make learning fun for children.

The story itself follows Jimmelta and her husband Piggers as they try and get their gold handbag yacht into the water and moved by royal demand. Jimmelta sees this as the perfect opportunity to take her children on holiday, but to do that she needs to find them a tutor and the search begins. Will the handbag Yacht get into the water? Will the children’s tutor be more than they can handle? And how much adventure can one handbag Yacht cause? You should read this book to find out.

I thought the characters were funny and likeable. I even liked Jimmelta although sometimes she comes across very self-motivated. But this makes her story arc very strong because we see her grow throughout the adventure, and each new person she meets shapes her in some ways.

I also like Piggers because he clearly loves his wife and would do anything for her. I think he teaches children to give time and patience to family members, even if their dreams are a bit extreme or there are embracing moments, support and love goes a long way.

I also thought chapter size in this book was long enough for the age range and can be read at bedtime in stages. I think this book is very entertaining and would keep children guessing right up until the end.  Reading aloud how pirates speak will make them laugh – It did make my niece Roseanna laugh.

Children love deep adventure books, packed with interesting characters and some little fun lessons along the way. This book also has a great ending any child will be happy with.

Four-year-old Roseanna’s thoughts were: Piggers is a funny name. I like jam and can she get her bag to float like the handbag yacht. Pirate go ahhhh! And she’s glad her family is not an idiot family lol’

Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Idiot-Family-Holiday-Josephine-Stairmand/dp/191645030X/

 

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My Review of Story of A Country Boy by Val Portelli 

My Review of

Story of A Country Boy by Val Portelli

Story of A Country Boy is a gritty story of how men were in the 60s. How the power between men and women were preserved very uneven. But I also found this story to be fascinating and as it’s told from the first-person AJ you do get to know what led him to his actions. This is also a quick read and so if reading time is short this book could be read in one sitting.

The story itself follows AJ at his parents, farm, he’s young and has dreams of a world out there. His father runs his house with an iron rode and so as he grows up, he decides he will leave the farm and experience London. But is this the life he dreamed of? Is he a small fish about to enter a way to big pond? Or does London hold a life he’s been searching for? You’ll have to read this novel to find out.

Personally, I didn’t like the man AJ became and some of the scenes and violence towards women did have me flinching. But I think the Author Val painted a fair image of what went on in some households back then and the fall out it caused.

I think this is a powerful story about one man’s search for a better life away from his father and yet it’s telling that his actions are much the same when it comes to controlling what AJ perceived as his own… it didn’t matter if it was women or money.

I think the story is written so well that after reading some parts of it you are left feeling emotional, whether that be anger, sadness or understanding, it takes great skill to make a reader feel all those things and that alone is worth giving this novel a read.

I actually loved the end of this novel as I think it has a bit of a lesson, that what you put into life, to those around you is what you get back in spades over time. So, if you like reading gritty story with well-rounded characters, why not give this novel a go.

Amazon Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Story-Country-Boy-Val-Portelli/dp/1797672886/

 

 

My Review ofShe Saw What He Did by Lynda Renham

My Review of

She Saw What He Did by Lynda Renham

I really enjoyed the nail-biting atmosphere of this novel. From the very first scene, you can’t help but feel on the edge of something big going down. It starts with a box that must be taken care of. But what is in that box? What is the mystery behind the box? I also loved seeing the bond Abby had with her young daughter and Abby’s focus on keeping her daughter safe.

The story itself follows Abby and her husband after she witnesses a murder and takes procession of a killer box. Abby soon realizes that the box belongs to a bigger plan headed up by Lester and now he’ll do anything to take the most important treasure to a mother to get his own way. Will Abby give up the box? Will Lester ever reveal its true power? You should read She Saw What He Did to find out.

I love how author Lynda does a fantastic job at head jumping between her characters, so the readers get to see the perspective of each character. What they feel about their actions and how overall it affects their mental state. I think this helps me connect with each character and see both sides of their moral compass or the lack of it in some cases.

I also think the message in this book was an important one, never let your children out of your sight and teach them to never put trust in a stranger. I liked actually hearing this from the child’s thoughts because I think it gave the whole scene a fresh take, rather than a parent thinking it from an adult’s perspective.

The end was gripping and emotional in some ways, but the story presents a climax you won’t want to miss. If you like action-packed books, with a host of different characters and an ending that will leave you both surprised and amazed… then give She Saw What He Did a read.

Amazon Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/She-Saw-What-He-Did-ebook/dp/B07MJM61Q6/

 

 

The Illustration Process of The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing Cover.

The Illustration Process of The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing Cover

The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing was published on the 3rd of March, which was a very special day for me partly because of people who took the time to share it on the release day. I can’t thank you enough for all your support. Now when I see my novel, I think of the things that I’ve learned in the process of publication. I want to share my experience with a cover illustrator, as for me this was a new way of having a cover created.

It all started years after writing my novel.  I had a clear and some might say creative or ambitious vision of what my cover would look like. Then came the time to put my vision out there to a few cover designers who advised me to go for an illustrator. So, I started looking for an illustrator on Fiverr. I wasn’t sure how to find one for book covers, but then I came across Bobooks.

I looked at the covers they had previously created and thought to myself ‘yes this seller might just be able to see my vision’ but time was a big problem for me as I was determined to publish my book on my birthday. I contacted them hoping they would be able to deliver what I exactly wanted before the deadline. Although I would say planning earlier and giving ample time is the best way to go.

Bobooks was really nice, they looked at my vision in-depth and told me the first step was to draw the cover and send it for my approval. I was rather nervous when in a few days I got the first draft. Apart from small tweaks, it looked so close to how I saw it in my mind and I thought that was amazing. After further tweaks, I permitted the seller to go ahead with the colour process.

Here is a snapshot of my description for my cover below (how I saw it) and the drawing from Bobooks.

Is there anything you wish to see on the cover?

Front characters for background and other elements that go with them.

I want Suzy with her black hollow- Wings clock on, hood up, her red curly long hair over her shoulders. She has a pale face, green eyes, wears a dress under her cloak. Round her neck, she wears a  hive-like pouch on a pink chain around her neck. She has her stick in her hand that glows orange and two lion heads float out of it in little orange sparkles. I want her Hobble fluff sat beside her,  he looks like a grey fluffy dog with small white dove-like wings that laid weakly over his shoulders.

Background setting that character should be standing in,

 The land of Last goodbyes with looks like yellowing grass, trees that are dark with a few that are full of leaves and have faces on like the faces of the green men from pagan times there should be only four of these trees. The darker trees should have rope hanging from one to the other with little drops of red blood on them and the moon should be a full moon with a slight hint of red to it, in a night blue sky. So the backdrop looks like she’s standing inside the land of last goodbyes… I think this will really go with the tone of my novel. but also give it that fantasy.

Step two: was colour- in my description, I expressed the colours I’d like on the cover, but Bobooks did the first colour draft. I told the tweaks I wanted to be made and checked nothing was missing from the first drawing. Then I waited for the final cover to be sent back. Honestly, I was enchanted by the cover’s design, I couldn’t stop smiling at how magical and beautiful the cover looked…

Colour cover design

Step three: Adding my title and blurb and making the cover design into a cover, this looked amazing after a bit of repositioning of the blurb. I couldn’t have asked for more from Bobooks as they were always ready to do revisions and resizing until I was completely happy with my cover.

I was very happy with the end result, and further had a book banner and bookmarks made to go with my book that also turned out lovely. I enjoyed learning the process and liked that they communicated each step very well which was a great learning experience.

As an author, I understand how hard it could be to find a good cover designer and illustrators, and recommendations could be very helpful. Based on my experience, I would be happy to recommend Bobooks to my fellow authors.

Finished cover for The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing.

Link to Bobooks 

I hope you all have a beautiful Friday and weekend.

Katrina xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing Release Day 

The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing

Release Day

 Today is a special day for me as it’s the day my second fantasy novel, The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing is flying out into the world. I feel very blessed I got to write Suzy’s story and about a whole new world with new rules and dark secrets and creatures at every corner. It is always a magical experience, writing a novel and seeing your words come to life. Looking at the finished book with its amazing cover designed from a place in the story is magical to me and the cover process was very eye-opening, but that is a blog post for next week.

It’s also my 30th birthday (getting old, I know) but it feels very special to be publishing this book on my birthday because it’s a way of celebrating how far I’ve come in my writing journey. I want to thank those who have supported and encouraged me to keep writing and be myself. I have some wonderful talented friends, family, and a boyfriend who all have been a great inspiration to me and on my birthday I feel blessed beyond words to have them all in my life.

I think magic starts in our minds and hearts and branches out to those around us when we share each other’s joy, so I hope you all are having the best week and will come to share my birthday with me, by taking a look at my new release. If you do read The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section and in a review, it’s one of the best gifts readers can give me on my birthday. Anyone who is also celebrating their birthday today Happy Birthday, I hope it is a magical day for you.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Katrina Hart.

So, without further delay… Here is a little snippet from Chapter 1 of my book  

The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing.

Chapter 1

The Lost Town Of Man’s Crossing.

“Bill! Bill, are you there?” I screamed loudly. Someone landed with a thud on the concrete floor beside me. The pouch around my neck began to glow, casting a blue light over the shadows covering all the filthy walls. I looked around slowly, following the trail of thick cobwebs twisted across a set of bars at the left-side of the room. What on earth is this place? I thought. I felt many pairs of eyes glaring at me from undercover of the darkness and I shook with fear.

“Hello, can anyone tell me where I am?” I whispered.

I clung to myself as I watched the eyes move, some growing larger and others moving further away; no-one spoke. Tears fell from my eyelashes. I feared the bars would fall away and worried whoever those eyes belonged to would break out and do goodness knows what to me. What if I never got out of here? Never saw Bill again? My lungs burned, fighting for air. My teeth chattered against each other as I turned quickly to see a young lad glaring at me. His eyes were black and blood from his bottom lip made a trail down his dirty chin.

“Who are you? Where’s Bill?” I shouted.

The lad moved quickly towards me, his dark eyes seemed to get wider and wider as he reached out one of his hands. The smirk across his face made me fear what was going through his mind. I had only ever seen that look a few times in my life and never on a good person’s face.

I choked on the dust, trying not to inhale the smell of sweat and piss. Was this lad meant to be behind those bars? That thought scared me, and as he got closer I soon realised I had no-one helpful here to come running to my rescue.

The lad sat beside me and ran one of his dirty fingers down my arm. I shuffled away from him, until my head hit the wall. My chest heaved as I watched for his next move. This must be what a hunted animal feels like, I thought.

“I’m Cole, ya new to these parts, hey miss?” he said. His one fully open eye roamed over my body, like his eyes were doing a dance all over my skin.

“Where are we? Have you seen my friend Bill?” I asked. My arms and legs felt numbly cold as I tried to control my breathing and gather the few thoughts that spun around in my head.

“If ya talking about the man hanging from his ankles in the middle of town, then yes I’ve seen him,” shrugged Cole.

Blurb

The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing.

Would you cross a land of magic, dark creatures and hidden secrets to face your own deepest fear?

After being shot, Suzy and her friend, Bill, are offered a second chance at life in The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing, a land to which the chosen few are transported by their personal Crossing Creatures. There, Suzy encounters the evil Cole, who is all-out to gain the highest power of the land.

But Suzy comes from a magical family: her grandmother, Miss Hollow, founded a coven called Hollow-Wings, and her grandfather left her a secret, life-changing pouch. Soon, Cole craves that secret pouch more than anything.

It’s Suzy versus Cole – and one of them has met their match.

Amazon UK Link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Town-Mans-Crossing-ebook/dp/B07P5VP2R4/

Amazon US Link

https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Town-Mans-Crossing-ebook/dp/B07P5VP2R4/

 

Inside the Land of Shadows Voice by Natalie Johanson

Inside the Land of Shadow’s Voice by Natalie Johanson

Shadow’s Voice takes place in the county of Rhivony. A land of castles and kings, with horses and a little magic. Picture a land untouched by industrialization with lush forests. Rhivony is a country that has forgotten much of its own history. A running theme through the trilogy will be knowing your history; whether it be your own personal history, in the case of the main character Rose who doesn’t know the history of her magic, or the county forgetting who it used to be.  

Once there were magical clans all throughout Rhivony. People who could control fire, the earth, wind or water. People who could read minds, fly, or even in Rose’s case, walk through shadows.  Years of Civil War between the magic clans and the following hatred and fear caused the people of Rhivony to turn against those with magic. They were cast out, hunted. Killed. Their past was buried and forgotten, lest they remember the war that killed so many. Generations go by. Eventually, magic is nothing more than a rare anomaly. A stubborn piece of history that won’t die. There are no more clans. No wisence common throughout the land. It is all but forgotten. Rose struggles with her magic more than others. She can walk through shadows, become the darkness. She doesn’t understand it. Doesn’t want it. 

Rose was fun for me to write. A lot of the inspiration for Rose is me. I based a lot of her on my own personality traits. The traits I wish I didn’t have are in Rose. I did this because I was tired of reading so many characters in books that didn’t seem to have any major character flaws. In real life, people do. They have a lot of flaws. They make really bad decisions. So, I put of a lot of the things I don’t like about my own personality into Rose. I wanted to make her real. I gave her my sarcasm. I also put traits of people I admire in her. I put a strength of will in her that I wish I had; that I hope I can achieve one day.  

               Rhivony is a complicated land. There are rocky mountains to the north, a cold harsh area. The mountains form a near impassable barrier to the country to their north. The plains take up the middle of the country with swamp lands to the south. The east and western boarders are ocean. So much more than that though, Rhivony is a mystery.  How can it not be, when the magical people who used to live there are gone and forgotten?  

The country of Rhivony is just starting to unfold in Shadow’s Voice. It’s so hard to bring you a full country in one book. Much more of the history is fleshed out in the coming sequel, so I don’t want to spoil too much. History plays a large part of the trilogy. The running theme that history repeats itself if you’re ignorant to it.  

Blurb 

With the dagger in her bodice, she slipped into the hallway, peering through the shadows in each room as she passed it. It was an easy enough trick, looking through the shadows as though they were nothing more than windows.  

She found him back in his room, bent over at the short table in the corner. The soft glow from an oil lamp distorted any more details. Rose looked up and down the hallway, saw no one else, and stepped into the shadow casted by the still lit candles. She fell into the darkness, became part of it, and was in Gavin’s room. She didn’t know how it worked, where the magic came from, or why she could use it when no one else apparently could.  

When she’d still attended the lectures at the small schoolhouse in town, before her father made her work, she was told there were different planes of the world. The gods lived in one, the world in another. Rose often wondered if the shadows were another plane, and that was what she was touching. 

It scared her back then. It scared her still. Maybe if she wasn’t afraid of it, she’d know what she could truly do with it. Rose had never pressed herself with her magic. Never challenged herself.  

She drew her small knife as she moved closer. She paused in the shadows, the cool mist that always seem to be present ghosting over her skin. This would be difficult. His back was straight and rigid. Even through the loose sleeves of his shirt, long lines of muscle were visible. She had one shot, one try for this to be easy and finished. Good thing I’ve had practice. Rose moved closer in the light shadow. 

Links: 

Facebook: facebook.com/nataliejohansonauthor 

IG: instagram.com/natalietheauthor 

Website and blog: nataliejohanson.com 

To purchase: https://widopublishing.com/product/shadows-voice-by-natalie-johanson-2/ 

 

My Review of Policy of Truth by Scarlett Holloway

My Review of

Policy of Truth by Scarlett Holloway

Policy of Truth is the first book I’ve read by Scarlett Holloway, but I’m glad I did. From the first page, this story hooked me into the world of kick-butt women with a noble propose. I liked how their life experience led them to band together and help others. I also felt each character had very defined personalities that you can get behind and either like or not, but either way, I couldn’t stop reading this book until the very end.

The book itself follows a group of women in a Motorcycle Club who end up saving another woman from being beaten. However, saving this woman drags them into a darker battle with her abuser. He is much darker than they could have imagined and it’s only a matter of time before he comes calling with his own crew. Will this dark man bring the Motorcycle Club to a terrible end? Or will the kick-butt women be able to set him running before a battle can begin? You must read this book to find out.

My favorite characters are Viper and Durty they are both strong characters, but their hearts also shine through. Durty is a woman who has been burned in her life by others, but with courage, she rebuilt her life and show others how to do so giving them a kind of family within the Motorcycle Club. I love the mixture of love and care and facing hard challenges.

I thought the author does a great job of leaving her book on an interesting and nail-biting cliff hanger, she gives enough of an ending to satisfy the reader and leave us waiting for the next book.

If you like books that are full of action, strong characters and kick butt moments, I recommend you this novel.

Link:

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Policy-Truth-Sacred-Heart-Continuum-ebook/dp/B07MJW93Q8/ref=la_B07MMG78Z9_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1549397514&sr=1-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Policy-Truth-Sacred-Heart-Continuum-ebook/dp/B07MJW93Q8/ref=la_B07MMG78Z9_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1549397514&sr=1-1