Saturday, 28 December 2013

Midnight in Havana by Peggy Blair - Police Procedural

Welcome back to Bookaholic where I bring you another top notch police procedural.

In this book (previously published as The Beggar's Opera) Peggy Blair transports us to the steamy underworld of Havana, Cuba. Canadian Detective Mike Ellis, on holiday in Cuba with his wife, finds himself arrested for the rape and murder of a small boy. This is hours after his wife walks out on him and returns to Canada. Inspector Ricardo Ramirez of the Cuban National Revolutionary Police is in charge of the investigation. Ramirez is no ordinary detective as he has a succession of ghosts following him around and vying for his attention. Rather than detracting from the story this blends in beautifully as it gives some insight into the Cuban psyche. This is a land where catholicism and African mysticism meet. I have to admit to being a little in love with Ricardo, despite his obvious flaws. His character is real and he does everything he can to bring justice despite the flaws in the system.

When I say, Blair transports you to Cuba, I mean you can picture yourself there. The surroundings, sounds, smell and very heart of Havana are portrayed through the writing. I have been to Cuba and I can sure you Blair has everything spot on. The very cynicism of the characters gives a very real depth to the lives of the characters, and how difficult life can be for the ordinary man and woman in the street. This book not only excels in its depiction of the place but also in the structure and flow of the plot. The storyline is strong with enough twists, turns and plot changes to move it along at a swift pace. Even when you think all has been revealed the surprises keep coming and everything is tied up clearly and neatly. 

I found myself reading this long into the night and grabbing it first thing in the morning when I woke up. If you like a well written mystery, set in unusual surroundings then you will thoroughly enjoy this book. I would not hesitate to recommend it. In fact I would say it is a must buy and read now. At the time of writing the UK kindle version is only £0.77 so well worth snapping up at this price. The US link is for the paperback as Amazon would not let me share the kindle link. Once on the site you can click on the kindle version which is $1.39.

That brings us to the end of another bookaholic review. I'm having a day away from the telly so I'm off to grab another great book. See you all back here soon and enjoy this book when you get it.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

An Elf's Christmas

Good evening bookaholics and welcome to the special boxing day edition of the blog brought to you by the Elf. I promised you before Christmas that I would post pictures of me as an elf. Never one to break a promise here I am. This was taken at the Bridge Community Project Christmas party. In the absence of Santa, who was busy getting last minute gifts together, I acted as chief present distributor. The party went with a swing and a great time was had by all.

Santa was very good to me at Christmas and I received too many presents to name. As this is a book blog I should confess this bookaholic received two books.The first was  "Martha Gellhorn: A Life by Caroline Moorhead". This is the biography of a woman who was a celebrated war correspondent and also one of Ernest Hemmingway's wives. The second was "A Hitchhikers Guide to Heaven by John Blanchard". I am looking forward to reading them both and will be posting reviews fairly soon I am sure. 

Christmas day and boxing day were spent with family including a 12 year old and a 9 year old. This led to some surreal moments. The following conversation will give you a flavour. Freya, aged 9, got a furbie boom from her gran.

Aunty Wendy (aka The Elf): Freya what's the difference between a furbie and a furbie boom? 

Freya: A furbie speaks furbinese and a furbie boom speaks human language.

Auntie Wendy: Do you mean English? What if someone in Germany gets one.

Freya: it speaks English or maybe it speaks Germany language. You can speak to the furbie and make it do things through the app on your iPad. 

So there you have it. As clear as the rich dark chocolate on our post dinner dessert. I am sure you have spent the whole of Christmas worrying about these very things and now you know. You can't say this blog isn't educational. You now know why I spend my time writing fiction. It's less confusing than my life. 

The Elf is off to pour a nice glass of wine and unwind whilst reading a good book. I'm reading Midnight in Havana and will definitely be reviewing as it's excellent. What books did you get for Christmas and what are you reading. It would be great if you let us know in the comments below. See you all back here soon. 

Monday, 23 December 2013

A Crime Writers Christmas

Good morning and seasons greetings to all my bookaholic readers. It has been a hectic couple of months for me as I try to fit in writing book number two, editing book number one and fitting in all the Christmas shopping, meals and parties. I am sure this will resonate with many readers of this blog whether you are a writer, reader or even both. 

So what am I up to this Christmas. Exactly the same as everyone else I am sure with an added extra twist. Although I am taking a few days break from sitting at my desk and writing, I still have my trusty notebook everywhere I go. My mind never seems to stop thinking about murdering people. In a storytelling sense of course before you think I've turned into a mass murderer overnight. Although I could be tempted when fighting my way around the shops and standing in yet another queue which would make the Alaskan oil pipeline seem short. 

A certain frisson is added to Christmas dinner when thinking about how a stuffed turkey or a huge gammon could be used in a future book. Will this appear? You'll have to read my books to find out. I can hear the cries of that's not fair from here. Well I like to keep you all in suspense. That is what I write about after all. I will be eating Christmas lunch with my family including my two nieces. I have the job of cooking the gammon and turkey. My family may be thinking about murdering me if it all goes wrong. I've never actually cooked a turkey before. Oh well there are lots of vegetables.

In he meantime I must dash. I am off to help at a Community Christmas Party at my church. City Church Dundee in case you are wondering. I've got to get into my rather fetching elf outfit. No I am not joking. I will post a picture in the next blog. 

I would like to end by wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope Santa brings you lots of nice books. More importantly I wish Joy and Peace to you all. 

Friday, 20 December 2013

A Dark Mind (The Lizzy Gardner Series 3) by T.R. Ragan

The reading is fast and furious in the Bookaholic household this week. I bring you another perfect murder mystery, which no fan of the genre could fail to enjoy.

This is the third book in the Lizzy Gardiner series and the third one I have read. You will guess by this that I am a fan of the series. In this book Lizzy is as tortured as ever and is on the trail of the Lovebird Killer. A serial Killer is busy killing off couples who are very much in love. Although not specifically hired to find the killer PI Lizzie Gardner she becomes embroiled in it when she believes one of her clients is innocent.

There are multiple plot lines in this book and sometimes I found myself a bit confused. I couldn't really see where the story was going or how it would all tie together. However, it is all brought together seamlessly at the end in a thrilling climax which had me on the edge of my seat. Gardner's writing is razor edge sharp and the scenes are drawn beautifully. The characters all have their own inner demons which are perfectly described. This makes them all the more real. There were several surprises in the book which meant I kept reading.

I would recommend anyone to read this book. If you have already read books one and two then buy this one now. However, if you haven't then start with the first tow books. Although this can be red as a stand alone you will miss a lot of the nuances, particularly with the characters. This is another top notch read from Ragan.

I was given a copy of this book by Amazon for review purposes. This in no way influenced my review and this is based on my reading, and enjoyment, of the book.

Tune in again soon as another review of another great book will be winging it's way towards you. Keep up the reading as you relax and take time out from the Christmas bustle.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Boy in the Snow by M.J. McGrath - Evocative mystery set in Alaska

Hello once again Bookaholics. I am spending my week catching up on reading having been chasing my tail (rather than tale) for the past couple of months. Probably like most of you during the holiday season. So, as an antidote, I bring you a superb murder mystery by a new author, to me, M.J. McGrath. This is the perfect book to take your mind off all of the Christmas activity.

This book was gripping from beginning to end and the story spoke to me in a number of different ways. The first was the setting which is Alaska among the different sets of people from the Inuit. The landscape of this area is evocatively described and it transported me to the area. I found I could picture everything perfectly and it left me with a longing to be there. Edie Kigaltuk is in the area to support her ex husband at his attempt at winning the Iditarod. She trips over the dead body of a baby. No one seems to be bothered and arrest the first person they can think of for the murder. This sets Edie off on a quest to find out the true murderer of the child.

McGrath's evocative writing elevates this story from the humdrum. This is not an edge of the seat mystery but the multiple plot lines give it an urgent feeling, making me want to keep reading. The threads of the story are so expertly woven together but in a simple way which makes sense. There are a number of twists and turns, some of which I never saw coming at all. The characterisation is spot on. I could see the inuit people in my mind and felt like I knew each character intimately. This could be unsettling at times as some of the characters are nasty, which could be said with a capital N.

In conclusion this is a book which would be enjoyed by all lovers of mystery. It would make a superb gift for anyone you know who enjoys murder mystery. I haven't read any of McGrath's other books but I certainly intend to remedy that immediately.

There we have it, for another day, bookaholic's. I'm reading furiously so see you all again soon with another review. There's still time to pick this one up as a present before Christmas, and I'm sure it would be appreciated. Til then, keep reading.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Inspirational Books by Marion Stroud

Today on Bookaholic we have a couple of superb inspirational books for women by author marion Stroud. Each of these books would make a fabulous present and there is still time to get them before Christmas. The links for UK and US Amazon are on the right of the page to make ti easier for you.

Dear God It's Me and It's Urgent

The tagline for this book is - Prayers for Every Season of a a Woman's Life and it more than meets it's mandate. This is a beautiful volume of inspirational prayers for women for times when you need more of God. It contains a mixture of prayers and bible verses which cut to the heart of the matter in areas such as Women and Work, Women and Children, A woman who cares and a woman who is growing older. It is beautifully presented with a cover which enhances the overall theme and shows that this is a high quality book.

One prayer which particularly spoke to me was Forgive Me. We all have times when we are angry at God or do something which is against his will. This prayer will help you express how you feel to God.

This book would make an excellent present for any occasion. I would highly recommend you buy it for all your Christian female friends and relatives, they will appreciate this book.

It's Just You and Me Lord

This is another beautiful book of inspirational prayers from marion Stroud. Although I found myself reading a lot of this book in one sitting, this is not it's intended use. The prayers in the book allow you to speak to God and reflect on the issues which arise. This means it is a book which can be used for many years to come. There is a prayer for every eventuality of life. The prayers are intimate, raw and uplifting, revealing much of Marion's own life. The book spoke to me on many levels. The beautifully illustrated cover supports this theme of intimacy and means that this is a beautiful book.

This would be an ideal present for any occasion for women and I can guarantee any woman would thank you for the gift.

As I say these books would make an ideal Christmas present or stocking filler for a woman. Although I am writing this a week before Christmas there is still time to get those for Christmas. Your laical Christian Bookshop will also stock them. 

That's it for now on Bookaholic. I will be back really soon with another great review. Until then grab a book and pull up a chair. Take yourself away from the hustle and bustle of the season and lose yourself in the pages of a great book. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

Pago Pago Tango - Murder Mystery by John Enright

As regular bookaholic readers will know I read a lot of murder mystery series but none so far have been set in American Samoa. I loved the fact that this one was as the setting and the culture is as much part of the story as the thriller. Having read this book I really want to visit the country.

Apelu Soifua has returned to his native Samoa and is investigating a break in and burglary at a white mans house. This seemingly simple crime turns into one which is bigger than anyone knows. Apelu is an unconventional cop with his own views of the way in which things should be done. This leads to a very individualistic and fresh feel to the book.

The characters are superbly drawn with descriptions of the country and people which make you feel you are there. You never seem to know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys and these seem to be interchangeable. However, rather than confusing the reader, this added to the story. This is an expertly written book which is highly enjoyable and which I couldn't put down. I will certainly be looking for others in this series and from this author.

I received this book form Amazon for a fair and honest review. My review is based on my reading of and enjoyment of the book. I was not coerced in any way to provide a positive review.

That's it for now Bookaholics. I am already knee deep in another murder so expect another review soon. See you then and keep reading.

Monday, 2 December 2013

The Trials and Tribulations of Writing


As many of my readers will know Novemenr is NaNoWriMo month, where all those writers who take part pledge to write 50,000 words over the month. Last year, 2012, I zipped through the words and emerged victorious at the other end, well before the deadline. This year, 2013, however, has been a totally different story.

I started well, the words were flowing and I was getting a great head start on my new novel. Then everything that could go wrong went wrong. There were days where, despite the fact I got up, my muse stayed firmly fast asleep in bed. Rather than flowing swiftly along on a river of words I felt like I was trudging on fly paper. This was an unusual feeling for me as I am used to being able to write with abandon. 

Add a pre booked weekend away and a rather unexpected hospital admission into the mix and you will get a general idea of where my month was going. The hospital admission and subsequent recovery meant more days where taken out of the writing equation. However, Looking on the bright side it did give me a lot of inspiration for my writing. The writer in me knows I can't let an opportunity pass to expand my knowledge and develop my skills. It also gave me a lot of thinking time which is often missing in my life. There were many other disasters and issues which got in the way of my writing but I won't go in to them here. These could be made into a novel and I don't want to give any plots away. 

The month culminated with a washing machine flooding the utility room which is at the end of my, fortunately, large office. The subsequent clean up operations and mending of said washing machine took up a great deal of writing time. However, the good news is, the month also culminated in my completing NaNoWriMo by the skin of my teeth amidst some degree of stress. 

What has this month taught me. Firstly it has taught me that No matter how hard I plan things will go wrong and this is out of my control. It has also taught me that despite everything I should keep writing. Putting one finger I front of the other on the keyboard is crucial. I've learned that sitting at a desk typing is not the only form of writing and sometimes I need to take time out to think. 

I've also learned that I need to go with the flow and the important thing is to keep writing when I can. Using up spare moments can often be as productive as sitting down for long swathes of time. The one thing I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, is that I now feel like a real writer. I've had the month from hell and still managed to come through at the other end victorious and determined to write. 

That' sit for this week Bookaholic's. Normal service will be resumed next time with another review of a great book. 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Forward to Camelot by Susan Sloate and Kevin Finn: JFK Assassination Novel

Yet again on Bookaholic we are taking a departure from the usual and stretching our reading muscles. You will be glad we did. I received this book some months ago and decided to leave it until the day of the Anniversary of JFK's death before writing and publishing my review.

This has to be the best book I have read all year. As you know I read a lot so this is high praise indeed. It is not often that a book comes along that truly blows you away and sucks you right into the storyline. This book has done just that. It is based on Time Travel but it is not a SciFi book and the time travel is handled extremely well. The story centres around Cady Cuyler a young actress who inexplicably loses her job. She is then offered another job on the same day. This is supposedly a part in a movie but turns out to be something totally different. She is asked to travel back to 1963 just after the assassination of JFK and bring back his bible, which would be considered a priceless artefact today. I can't say too much more about the plot without giving it away. However, trust me, the plot is superb and it kept me reading for hours. I actually finished this book in one go stopping only for food and drink. I couldn't wait to get back to it.

The authors paint the scene perfectly and I was transported back to 1963. This in itself was absorbing as it gave a real insight into what life was like in those days, particularly for women. It is also the story of JFK's assassination and the events surrounding this and this part is skilfully done. The historical detail is so interesting it makes me want to read more about this particular subject and era. That says a great deal about how engrossing the book is.

The characters, particularly Cady are beautifully written and I felt like I was a part of their lives. There are a a lot of different strands in this book but I found I could follow them easily. Each strand had me thinking I wanted to find out what happened next and this was what kept me reading. This is the hallmark of a great writer which Susan Sloate and Kevin Finn obviously are from my reading of this book. This is my first book by this author team but it certainly won't be my last.

It will come as no surprise that I highly recommend this book. It is particularly poignant as I write this review as 22 11 13 is the 50th Anniversary of JFK's death. This book is a fitting tribute. Download it now and read immediately you will not regret it. Once you have done so, like me, you will be recommending it to everyone you know. This is a definite must buy.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Tested By Fire by Pat Patterson - Action Adventure

Today we are staying on the theme of action adventure and thriller in bookaholic. There's nothing like a bit of adventure to keep you reading. I was looking for a Christian novel and came across this one. It did not disappoint as it ticked all the boxes as far as I am concerned.

Jim Stockbridge is a paramedic with a nasty temper and a huge chip on his shoulder. when his best friend is killed Jim's temper explodes and gets him into a whole lot of trouble. When his girlfriend then leaves him, Jim's temper and anger reaches legendary levels. But Jim is a man with a troubled past and a real compassion for his patients and you cannot help but like him. it quickly becomes obvious that he is wrestling not only with his own demons but also God. 

But this is not just a book about Jim, but is also a first rate thriller. The police and the paramedics find themselves right in the middle of a drug war and believe you me the baddies in this book are really nasty human beings. There is action aplenty that will keep you reading long past the time when you should have put the light out for the night. The only thin I would say is that sometimes I felt the action was a bit too detailed and went on for too long. But that is my personal taste. 

I started out by thinking this was a book just for women, but I was wrong. It could equally be enjoyed by men, despite the bit of romance, as it is mainly an action thriller. One I would definitely recommend for anyone looking for an action packed Christian Thriller. 

That's us for another day Bookakolics. See you all back here soon for another review. To find out which one come back soon. Until then, enjoy whatever book you are currently reading. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The Constantine Codex by Paul Maier

Today's offering on Bookaholic's is another great thriller. I have read all three of Paul L. Maier's Skeleton series and this one is definitely as good, if not better than the others.

Shannon Weber, who we are introduced to in book one of the series, finds an ancient manuscript which says that a second book of acts was written. As she returns home to tell her husband, Harvard Professor Jon Weber aout her find, violence erupts around the globe as he is accused of denouncing the Muslim faith. This leads to a well researched and written debate between Jon Weber, a Christian and someone highly regarded in the muslim world. This book is worth reading if only for the debate which is brilliant. However, the book is so much more than that. 

The tension mounts as Jon and Shannon hunt for the missing book of Acts. I can't say much more without giving away the storyline, but the twists and turns kept me reading. This book is highly academic and well researched and could have been boring. However, it is anything but. Maier's writing style draws you into the story and you feel you are a part of it. In fact, despite it being a novel, in a couple of places I found myself crying with the excitement and emotion. 

Yes, this is a Christian book but it could be read by anyone who likes a well written, well researched thriller. I highly recommend this book, which you should read immediately.

That's it for today my Bookaholic friends. Never fear I will be back soon with another great book for your reading delight. Until then grab a book and keep reading. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Setting the Scene in Novels

As many of you will know I am currently doing NaNoWriMo which is National Novel Writers Month. This involves writing 50,000 words in a month, which sounds hard, but is actually only 1667 words a day. I am currently steaming ahead, writing about 2500 words a day as I am trying to front load. A short break in Edinburgh beckons. I should actually say I was steaming ahead, until I came to a particular scene.

It isn't often I am short of a word or two but in this instance I am struggling. The scene is set in a nightclub and I'm finding difficulty in describing it. No problem I hear you say. Just have a night out and bingo you've got your scene. Great advice, and ordinarily I would take it, but my clubbing day.s are well over.

Ok, how about picturing the last nightclub you went to. Again great advice, but I am sure nightclubs have changed a lot since I last spent both time and money in one. What to do?

Fortunately I come form a very large family which contains it's fair share of youngsters. I also have a lot of friends who are of clubbing age who I am sure will be happy to give me advice on what happens in 21st Century Clubs. That coupled with a thorough internet search should have me well on my way to an action packed and authentic scene. Sorted.

My question to my writer friends is how do you deal with scenes of which you have no knowledge? My request to everyone: If you have the skinny on nightclubs please pass it on in the comments. 

The picture is of City Square, Dundee. Just another small glimpse of the beautiful city where DI Shona McKenzie catches the bad guys. That's all for Bookaholics this week. See you all soon after another reading frenzie.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Casa De Naomi Books 1 & 2 by Paula Rose Michelson

Today on Bookaholics I bring you two excellent Christian fiction books.

Yet again I find myself in the position of stretching myself in terms of my reading. This is not the usual type of book I read but I liked the premise of it so decided to step out of my comfort zone. I am glad I did.

Casa de Naomi Book 1

This book tells the story of Naomi who finds herself stranded in America and is rescued and taken home by a kindly older woman. She spends her time helping the woman do good works. As she becomes and adult the woman dies and leaves Naomi her estate and her responsibilities. However, Naomi is harbouring a secret that she hides from everyone including her husband.

It is difficult to review this book without giving too much away. This is a faith filled book and that comes through strongly. The spiritual aspect is excellent and very well developed. The characters get under your skin and you find yourself caring about them intensely. I felt I knew them intimately. The story drew me in and kept me reading. Initially the way it was written seems a little stilted to me. However I soon realised that this was a part of the culture and completely in keeping with the way these people would speak. I soon found myself engrossed in the story and wanted to know what happens next. This is an excellent book but you should know this is not a complete story. You have to read book 2 in order to get the whole story and the whole picture. 

Casa de Naomi Book 2

At the end of book 1 in this series I was left wanting more and started reading book 2 straight away. If possible this book is even better than book 1. It opens when Naomi is feeling very low and feeling as if God had deserted her. She finds herself amongst a group of people who are supporting her in finding a deeper relationship with God. In this book we also get to know more about Naomi's husband Chaz and his background. There are some surprising twists in this book which in some ways give it some measure of tension. However, as I say it is spiritually uplifting. Paula Rose Michelson has a rare gift in that she can bring the scriptures to life in the pages of a work of fiction. 

This book touched me as well as gave me enjoyment. It made me think about my faith in new ways. It also made me realise the freedom we have in practicing our faith and the many ways in which we take this for granted. This is a worthy follow up to the first book.

I was given a copy of these books in return for a fair review. My review is based on my reading of and enjoyment of the books and in no way was solicited by the author.

Another couple of great books this week. I look forward to seeing all my bookaholic friends again soon. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Author Interview - Debut Author Jodie Dye

Today on bookaholic I am honoured to welcome debut author Jodie Dye. Welcome Jodie. It is a pleasure to have you join us today.

Thank you. I am really pleased to be here.

I am sure the readers would love to hear about you. Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

I am a very simple woman who loves to spend time at home with my family. I am a wife to a wonderful husband who calls me his queen. I have three beautiful children from a previous marriage, and so does my husband. So we have a nice big family, but only the 2 youngest are at home with us. My days are spent home-schooling my youngest son, who is in the 4th grade. My teenage son is attending the local public school. When I am not teaching my son, I am usually reading and writing myself. I love learning new things. I have a very peaceful home, and it has been this way for 3 years now, since I married this man.

Now if we go back about 20-30 years, my life was not simple. It was hard. I grew up without a mother, spent a lot of time on the street life, doing drugs, and getting myself into a lot of trouble. From living in my car to being in a gang, the stories are endless. Many of those stories are in my book.

Your book sounds really interesting. Can you tell the readers about it. 

My book is based on the book of Esther, and each of the characters in that book has a common thread that weaves into mine. After getting to know them a little better, we can trust that the specialist who ordered the beauty treatments knows what he is doing. There are twelve beauty treatments that I myself have received and have changed my life. The beauty treatments that I refer to are for the inner man. They are for the spiritually minded.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book?

After a heartbreaking end to a relationship I deeply desired, my heart was open for what God wanted for me. God spoke to me in the middle of the night (as you would hear a melody in your mind) that he wanted me to remain unavailable for one whole year for any dating relationships. He wanted me to prepare my heart for Him, just like Esther in the Bible prepared for King Xerxes. She prepared with beauty treatments and special food for 12 months before she even met the king. So I heeded the call and committed to prepare my heart by studying the book of Esther in depth. I fasted from food every other day for the entire food so that I received spirit led, spirit fed food that would change my life forever.

Your Christian faith is obviously a very real part of you. How does that blend with your writing?

YES my Christian faith is so very much a part of who I am and what I write about. If it weren’t for the testimony of what Jesus did for me at the cross, then I would not have a testimony to share. I would have ended up in prison or I would have died never knowing the life I could have in Him. So in everything I write about I hope to give God the glory for what He has done for me. He pulled me out of darkness, and He forgave me for all my sins, and put me on a new path that gave me a Hope and a radiant beauty that only He could give…oh there is just so much He has done.

When you are not writing what types of books do you read? What would you say was the best book you have ever read?

I love to read Christian fiction books that have a great story line of real life situations and non-fiction books that help me to grow spiritually. The best book that I have ever read would seriously have to be the Bible. I can say that because I read it almost everyday and I have been reading it for over 20 years and it still speaks to me. I find new treasures in it all the time. I love the Bible so much!

Have you any other books in the pipeline?

Yes I do! I am working on a workbook for Beauty Treatments, so that people can do as a church bible study.

I am also finishing up my second book called Special Food because Esther not only received beauty treatments but also special food. So they will go hand in hand. The Special Food book is almost done, and it is packed with inspirational ingredients and righteous recipes to increase ones hunger for God’s Word.

Then I will be working on my third book called, The Cluttered Castle, all of my books have a royal theme from the book of Esther.

As a new writer what would be your number one piece of advice to other new writers? 

If writing is what you like to do, then do it with your whole heart. Give yourself the quiet time to develop the new skill. Keep a journal and write down everything you think is a new idea for you, because chances are, it will also be a new idea to someone else. And one more thing, “Don’t be afraid to be YOU in your writing!”

Now we are going to get personal. What would you say is your favourite food?

My favourite food is anything Mexican. I love tacos, burritos, beans, rice, avocados, cheese, and sour cream; hmmm this is making me hungry just thinking about it. I know I what I am eating for dinner tonight. J

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my spare time I enjoy reading, writing, cuddling up to my man and watching a good movie, playing scrabble with my son, taking long baths with candlelight and chatting with friends on social media sites or the phone. I enjoy the outdoors in warm weather. I enjoy going to my church. I really do enjoy a lot of things.

My Amazon link US:

My Amazon link UK:

My youtube video:

My facebook author page:

My website:

My twitter account:

My goodreads author page:

Wow Jodie. You have certainly had a fascinating life. I am really looking forward to reading your book, as I am sure are all Bookaholic readers. Thank you for taking time out of your hectic writing schedule to be with us today. 

That's us again Bookaholic's. Remember to grab a good book and keep reading. I will be back with you all again soon.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

W is for wasted by Sue Grafton - Murder most Foul

Welcome back to Bookaholic. We are off on the murder trail today with a review of Sue Grafton's W is for Wasted.

I love the Kinsey Millhone books and I was looking forward to this one arriving. My excitement was rewarded as this is another great book form the Grafton stable. With series books often interest runs out after bout 10. However, Sue Grafton has managed to keep her books fresh and I will be sorry when the series ends at z. That's if it does end there that is.

There are two stories running through this book. The first is that a homeless man is found dead with Kinsey's business card in his pocket. Kinsey is, of course, dragged in to finding out about his murder. The other is that of a washed out PI who is on the trail of a hot investigation. The stories run parallel, but about half way through the book are drawn skilfully together. The usual cast of characters are not all in evidence in this book, but Henry still makes an appearance. I have to a admit to loving Henry. There is also a new character in the guise of a very strange cat. He is as well drawn and believable as every other character in the book.

Although this is not an edge of the seat book the storyline, and Grafton's writing style, still has you on reading long into the night. This is not a quick read, at over 700 pages, but it is still an excellent read. This is another book I would highly recommend. If you haven't read a Kinsey Milhoney book then you need to remedy that immediately. If you want to start with the first in the series A is for Alibi.

That's it for now Bookaholic's. I'll be back soon with another review. See you all soon and keep reading. 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Guest Post by Author Linda Newberry

Today we have a very special guest on Bookaholic. Linda Newberry is here to tell us all about her life as a writer and her books. As an added bonus these books are free this weekend (26/27 10 13). The links to all the books for both UK and US are on the blog. Over to you Linda, and thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to visit us today.

Thank you Wendy, and thank you to your readers for hosting me today. I was in corporate America for nearly forty years. I’d planned on retiring from my purchasing position at a major corporation, but instead was forced to come home (several years before normal retirement age) due to the advancing chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis. When I found that I was unable to return to work, I looked for something I could do for short timeframes daily, something that would allow me to continue my relationships with old co-workers, vendors and clients and be able to serve them. It was imperative to continue to make a useful contribution. In September of last year, I began the No Limits Connection blog. It is a Busy Person’s Workday Bible Study. The email list began to grow.

In November, I dusted off an old book I had written several years ago. It was a word study of Isaiah 60 (Say What?!) that I had developed a daily confession out of. The confession, with constant use, made huge changes in my mindset and eventually the outward trappings of my life. I rewrote the book and published it on Amazon, first as a Kindle book in December and then as a paperback in February. Early this month I released the second book (Great Men Think…) on the importance of thinking, not as men do but using the blueprint God has laid out for us.

The No Limits Connection is now reaching people in 38 countries and continues to grow.

Both of my books are going to be on Free Promo for Kindle version this Saturday and Sunday. If you haven't picked up your copy or if you'd like to share this with anyone in your networks who would be interested, the more the merrier.

Say What?! ‘What’ You Say is Your Future! (2013 Global Ebook Awards Silver Medal Winner!)

It merges the time-honored principles of Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich with the practical disciplines of Bruce Wilkinson’s The Prayer of Jabez. Linda Newberry delves deep into the meaning of Isaiah 60 and paints a poignant picture of the life God desires for you. God’s promise is outlined in this chapter giving a glimpse at happiness. Ms. Newberry helps you tap into this knowledge and achieve a better life.

Great Men Think Alike - Like God

We talk a lot here about our thinking; what we choose to think, catching ourselves thinking things that serve no useful purpose to our direction or our goals, and deciding that when we find useless thoughts invading our mind....we stop and re-think with useful thoughts. This is similar to re-tooling a failing piece of machinery. You take out the failing tool and replace it with a new and functional tool to allow you to produce the desired end result. This is our life and thinking our tool to be useful and productive. It is time for us to wake up and begin to think for ourselves again. Great Men Think Alike – Like God will guide you into productive and effective thinking.

Amazon US link
Amazon UK Link

If you have read either (or both) books, I would appreciate your taking the time to drop by Amazon and review them.

Amazon Author Page: Link
Paperback Versions Available at: Link
Website: Link

Wow you certainly seem to have packed a lot into your life. Amazing story of what brought you to writing, and not giving up in the face of adversity. I wish you all the very best with your future career.

That brings us to the end of another Bookaholic post. See you all again soon. What will come out of the bag next time. Tune in and find out. Till then buy a good book and keep reading

Friday, 25 October 2013

A Day in the Life of a Writer by Wendy H. Jones

Some time ago I entered a competition about the day in the life of a writer. I didn't win, I may add, but I thought it would be a bit of fun to post it here. Read on and see what happens on just one day of my life.

It’s 8 am and I spring out of bed with the speed of a striking snail, ready and eager to face another exciting day as a writer. “Cough, Cough, Cough”. Okay maybe I’d better start with some aspirin, cough mixture and a cup of coffee. I’ve decided the fact I’m ill warrants a day in my dressing gown. If it was good enough for Noel Coward, it may bring me a similar measure of inspiration.

Armed with Coffee I’m sitting at my computer and open up and read my work in progress. No Hang on I’ve got an idea for the fourth book in the series. Quick, write it down, where’s that notebook? Ah now that’s settled I can get on with the current novel. Actually, before I get going maybe I should just check Facebook, Twitter, et al. As an author I can’t let them fall by the wayside. My legions of adoring fans will expect it. What do you mean I’m still writing my first novel? It’s never too early to build up a fan base. Now I’ll get it done more quickly if you leave me alone.

Right that’s me back at the computer ready to get those keys smoking. I’m feeling a bit hungry though. Crumbs look at the time. No wonder I’m hungry I’d better take a break and have some lunch. No one can write on an empty stomach. I need food to fuel my brain.

Back at the keyboard but this next bit is quite tricky. I need to get the forensic evidence just right or I’ll have Police Officers, from Dundee to Auckland, writing in and complaining when my masterpiece is published. I crack open my browser and am immediately transfixed by a news item about a shooting in my area. I’d better read that. It could be good for research.

Oh no I’ve just realised I didn’t do my bible study this morning. Sorry God, I’m on it now. Thirty minutes later, cup of coffee in hand, I’m back at the keyboard and feeling much more energised and positive. Straight into the research I go. Forensic research is so interesting, all that blood and brain flying around. It’s a bit like Leviticus really. There always seems to be things flying around in that book. Usually pig’s bladders I’ll give you that, but a striking similarity never the less.

Now that I’ve got my blood stains sorted out, my fingers are flying across the keyboard. I’m thanking my long dead mother for all those typing lesson she made me take. Not that it was thanks coming out of my mouth at the time. My English teacher joins her in the hall of those who have helped me on my journey. Thanks Mrs Ferry. Never forgotten.

So by 5 pm I’m looking at my daily word count of 3000 words, happy but exhausted. It’s hard work sitting at your desk writing all day.

By the way this was written last winter so I am not ill before everyone starts worrying about the state of my health. I'm in fine fettle today. What's happening in my day today - writing this morning and reading a great mystery this afternoon. It's a writers life. By for now Bookaholics. See you soon. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Book Blogger Spotlight Bookaholic - Indies Unlimited

There is great excitement here today on Bookaholic. As a blogger I have been interviewed by the amazing Indies Unlimited Blog. For those of you who don't know, Indies Unlimited is a site which supports and celebrates Independent authors. Their blog is one of the best I have read and is well worth following if you are a reader or an indie author. They are currently running a series  highlighting book bloggers. I can tell you I was both surprised and giddy with excitement when I was asked if I would like to be interviewed. I consider it a great honour.

Find out more about me as a reader and an author at the Indies Unlimited Blog. I can guarantee there will be things you don't know about me in here. It will be great to see you there and feel free to ask any questions or leave a message.

Thank you Indies Unlimited for the opportunity.

Normal service will be resumed Shortly on Bookaholic. See you all soon.

Monday, 21 October 2013

The One Year Holy Land Moments Devotional - Review

Today on Bookaholic's we have something completely different. 

For a Christian there are many daily devotionals out there, so why am I taking the time to review this one? I have found this devotional to be unique, as each day the Bible passage is looked at from both a Jewish and Christian perspective. 

Each day Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein provides a commentary on a bible verse, looking at why this is important in the Jewish Faith. Tremper Longman then looks at the same verse and how it applies in the New Testament. Having done the first week of the devotional I have found it to be interesting and informative. As a Christian I found the insight into the Jewish application not only interesting, but also found that it strengthened the New Testament application.

It can often be difficult to envisage how the Old Testament applies in our lives as Christians. However, this book does this in bite size chunks. The commentaries are easy to understand and yet are insightful. This book has refreshed my enthusiasm for studying the bible, both Old and New Testament together and this can only be a good thing. One thing that needs to be asked when considering a devotional is - does it strengthen my relationship with God. The answer to this is a resounding yes.

I was given this book by the publisher in return for an honest review. I was not expected to provide a positive review and have done so based on my use of this book.

That's it for today from Bookaholic's. See you all again soon. Until then keep reading.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

PR for Writers in the Social Media World

Share This Too by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Today's blog is a bit different. Firstly it is a book review of a book on social media, a real gem of a find. Secondly it is some of the insights I have gained from just a couple of chapters of the book which we, as writers, can all use. 

When I first saw this book I wasn't sure whether to get it as I do not work in the field of PR. However, it looked good so I thought I would give it a go. This is one of the best decisions I have made. It says at the beginning of the book that it could be used by anyone, not just those working in PR, and they are right. What it does is give us a fascinating insight into the world of social media and how we can use to it enhance our online reputation. From start to finish it is packed full of so much advice that I barely know where to start reviewing it. Each chapter is concise and to the point and written by a different expert in the field. Each chapter gives a number of case studies, which are skilfully used to explain and enhance the discussion in the text. These are, on the whole, from large brands, but could easily be applied to any business large or small

Although this would appear to be an academic text it does not come across as such. It is easy to read and the points are expertly made in a style, which makes them easy to understand and apply. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who wishes to use social media in business. This is one of those few books which, If I could give it more than five stars I would. This is high praise indeed from someone who reads and reviews a lot of books.

One of the first facts which I picked up on is that the average age of people using Facebook is now over 40. I found this interesting. Often as authors we can be so focussed on using social media to promote our books we forget about the demographics of the people reading our posts. Although I write books for adults, the books themselves can be read by anyone, teen or adult, who is old enough to read and understand the book. Therefore I am missing a large chunk of potential readers if I focus on Facebook alone. THis supported a programme I was listening to on Radio 4 the other day. The speaker was saying that to the younger generation are no longer using Social Media. It is not considered cool now that their parents are on there. What does this mean for those of us who write for the teen or young adult market?

Lines between traditional and digital publishing are being blurred. For example, if we are interviewed by a local paper it is likely to be published in both paper and digital copies. This will then be shared on Facebook, Google and Twitter by the newspapers. However, this can then be shared by anyone reading the posts. Our reach is no longer local but national or international. 

Engaging, and interacting, with customers is one of the most important things which can be done by companies. We, as authors, are running a company. Sharing engaging content is crucial. As authors we carry out every role in our company, including PR. This is our chance to positively influence our readers, or potential readers. Dom Birch, advises a three pronged approach. Firstly listen. Secondly Engage. Last is seeking to influence or persuade. 

Content creation is covered widely. One particular area I picked up on is, what is your audience behaviour? This includes, what they read and what they watch. How do they share and interact? What is of interest to them and how do they share? We, as writers, need to be finding the water coolers around which our readers, and potential, readers gather. We then need to interact with them in ways in which they will find meaningful. 

This is just a tiny fraction of what is in the book and how it can be applied to our life as writers. I have read the whole book and it is jam packed with ideas and ways in which we can improve our use of social media to drive our PR strategy. So much so, that I am going to analyse the whole book in this way. Not for the blog of course, but because I want to get as much out of it as possible. 

The links to the ebooks are on the side of the page. There is some odd pricing going on. If you click on the links you will see what I mean. At the time of writing the hardback is only £1 dearer, and is actually $6 cheaper than the ebook. Amazon may have sorted this out by the time you read this blog. However, whichever way you buy the book I am sure you wont regret it.

I was given a copy of this book by Amazon for review purposes. I was not influenced in any way to provide a positive review. I have done so based on my reading of and enjoyment of the book.

Rather a long one toady, but hopefully helpful. I will see you all soon back here on bookaholics.