Tuesday, 28 January 2014

4 Fabulous Books for Writers

Today on Bookaholic we move away from reading fiction to books which will help you write fiction. Three of these books, I would say, are must have's for all writers. The other is a somewhat esoteric little book which is brilliant in it's difference.

The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

This is one in a trio of books which help authors to develop real and intense characters. Despite the title this book is so much more than just a mere thesaurus. It starts by introducing character development and the different traits which give them depth and humanity. This in itself is enough for this to be one of the best around, but it truly excels when it comes to the Thesaurus. There is an index of words which describe positive traits in your character. I have the ebook, so click on this word and it takes you to an in depth discussion in ways in which this can be used in your book. This includes a definition, categories for the word, similar attributes, possible causes for this attribute, associated behaviours that go with the attribute, associated thoughts the character might have, associated emotions, positive aspects, possible negative aspects of the attribute, examples from literature traits in supporting characters that may cause conflict and challenging scenarios for the character with this attribute.

As you can see from the above this is no one word attribute, but an in depth discussion which can assist with the development of lifelike characters. This book. Is outstanding. It covers everything you can think of and then some more. No author should ever be without this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Any new author needs to read this and have it at hand. Any established author will still find this useful.

The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi 

This is the second in a trio of books which are, I feel, an essential part of any publishers toolkit. Like the Positive Trait Thesaurus the first few chapters cover the negative traits which will help the writer to develop a realistic character. It discusses how, characters, no matter how good or evil they are, need to display opposite traits which make the seem believable. There is an overview of the types of characters which are so deplorable that no one can identify with them and how these can be changed by the way ins which they are portrayed.

Following helpful and useful introductory chapters, the book becomes even more useful when the Thesaurus is used. This is more than your average Thesaurus, providing an in depth exploration of a word and its use in writing fiction. It provides a definition of the word, similar flaws, possible causes, associated behaviours and attitudes, associated thoughts, associated emotions, positive aspects, negative aspects, examples from film, overcoming this trait as a major flaw, and traits in supporting characters that cause conflict.

As a tool for writers this book cannot be faulted, and is in fact outstanding. This is a not to be missed book for all writers, whether new or established. Buy it now you will not regret it.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

This is the third book I have reviewed in this Trio of books which, I believe, are essential reading for all writers. Yis one follows the same format as the others in that it starts with a few chapters talking about the importance of emotion in developing characters which readers will love. This part is shorter in this book and the thesaurus part comes along more quickly.

The thesaurus is, yet again, in depth and fully comprehensive. Each word is looked at in different ways, including definition, physical signals of that emotion, internal sensations, mental responses, clues of actuate or long term adoration, cues of suppressed adoration (these last two are from the word adoration.)

There is enough in here for even the more experienced of writers and new writers will find this to be invaluable. Another one which I highly recommend.

The above three books are designed to be used together to develop well rounded characters. Individually they are outstanding. Together they form a formidable weapon in the writers arsenal. They can be used for both browsing for inspiration and as a genuine Thesaurus to find the right word choice for the way in which you want your character to be portrayed, so something for everyone here.

Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

This is quintessentially pre WW2 in it's approach, having been first published in 1936. The writing will, therefore, seem quite dated to the modern reader. However, this gem is still full of good advice for us as writers today. This is not a book telling you how to write a bestseller, but one which encourages you to write in different ways and to use your innate talents as a writer. It talks about how to get yourself into the frame of mind for writing, using a lot of techniques that today we know as NLP. This is the only book I have come across which uses these techniques to develop as a writer and, as such it fascinates me. There are some very useful exercises in this book. I have used some of them and certainly intend to use others. These help the writer to look at themselves, and the world around them, in a different way. They help to focus your mind and get down to being the best writer you can be.

Although esoteric I would certainly recommend this book for anyone who is beginning their journey as a writer. However, I am sure most experienced writers would also find it to be of interest.

So, I am sure you will agree, that these books are worthwhile considering. See you all gain soon with another great review. What will it be? Who knows. I did promise you an eclectic bunch of reviews and I always did keep my promises. Until next time, keep reading.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Bubble by Anders de La Motte - Finale of an Outstanding Trilogy

Today on Bookaholic I bring you the third in the Swedish Thriller Trilogy by Anders de la Motte. The first two books are Game and Buzz. You can find the reviews to the first 2 books by clicking on the names.

This book is, if it were at all possible, even better than the first two and trust me the first two are superb. In this book the Game continues. HP is trying to uncover the people behind the game. This can be difficult as the good guys are, bad guys, bad guy's are good guys, but are they. No one is who he or she seems to be. The tension is ramped up high in this book which had the adrenalin flowing so fast through my veins that my pulse was pounding. Reading this book is like fleeing through Hampton Court Maze with a blindfold on and feeling the breath of the bonds from hell at your back. This tension continues right up until the very last word, never mind the very last page.

If you like thrillers then this trilogy is not to be missed. Anders de la Motte has created a triumph in this trilogy and I take my hat off to him. This is high praise indeed by someone who reads a lot.

I am not entirely sure what I am going to read now to be honest. I am feeling slightly bereft having finished these books and it will be hard to find something which measures up to them. You can rest assured I will find something though and I will be back soon with another great review. Links for all the books in the series are on the right if you would like to buy them. For my US readers you will have to wait until 4 February for the book as it doesn't release there until then. If you have read the first two books you will be on the edge of your seat waiting for it to arrive. Best to preorder now. 

See you all back here soon. Until then grab a beverage and a good book and settle down to read. Keep reading.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Buzz by Anders de la Motte - Second in a Breathtaking Swedish Trilogy

In my last blog I told you that I couldn't wait to read the next book in this superb trilogy. I barely had time to draw breath from the first book than off the action started again. To show you how good it was, here I am reviewing it two days later. If you missed the review of the first book, Game, you can read it Here

This is the second book in the brilliant new trilogy from Anders de La Motte. In this book the game takes a different direction and HP finds himself in a whole new situation. HP is using every talent he has, and there are not many, to uncover the truth about the Game. He is coming close to uncovering what is happening and there are people who are serious about trying to stop him. HP's sister, Rebecca, is herself in a whole lot of trouble and someone is manipulating her life and her career. She would love to be able to discuss this with her brother but he has completely dropped off her radar. Her troubles and situation are very much part of the story. HP is his usual suave self and manages to continue in the game by an explosive mixture of his wits and good luck. Or does he? Several new characters are introduced whilst some from the first book seem to disappear. I am confident they will return in the third book and all loose ends will be tied up and knotted.

This book is as action packed as the first and the surprises just keep coming like mental body blows. I found I and no time to draw breath before, bamm, the next one hits. Anders De La Motte has a penchant for strong books with an ending which leaves you begging for more. I wasn't expecting the ending in this one and cannot wait to read the final book. I would highly recommend this trilogy which must be read in order. The first is Game and this is the second. Do not hesitate to buy it. You will not regret it.

As for me I'm off to read book number three, Bubble. I'll be back very soon with a review. Whilst your waiting, grab the first tow books in this trilogy, grab your favourite beverage, and settle down for a good read.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Game by Anders De La Motte - Breathless Thriller

I haven't been feeling well this week and so have been reading to take my mind of my cough. The book I am bringing to you today has most certainly done that. I was going to wait until I and read all 3 books in the trilogy before I reviewed but this one was so good I and to let my readers know.

It says on the book blurb that this author is the new Stieg Larson. This may be the case in that the author has written a brilliant book, the first in a trilogy. However, this book has it's own style and storyline and is nothing like Larson's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy. This, the first book, is outstanding and has me reaching for the second book already. 

HP is a layabout waster, with an overwhelming sense of entitlement, who feels life has treated him badly. This makes him the perfect candidate for The Game, which starts when he picks up a mobile phone he finds on a train. This act unleashes a chain of events which are bigger than he, or anyone else could ever imagine. The Game quickly turns into The GAME where no one is as he or she seems and no one is safe. The components of the game become increasingly more dangerous with potentially lethal consequences. HP finds himself right up to his blond hair right in the midst of it.

This is also the story of HP's sister, a Police Officer and Bodyguard who is dragged into the whole sorry mess. Rebecca is a complex character with a troubled past and she is very much part of the story.

This is a superbly written thriller with a fast paced and ever changing plot. Initially I didn't think much to the characters, in fact I intensely disliked them. However, throughout the book I found them growing on me. It wasn't long before I was rooting for the good guys and railing against the bad guys. This is hard as I was never entirely sure who the good guys and bad guys are. I found myself holding my breath regularly and wondering where the story was going.

The story does tend to jump between scenes with little warning and sometimes only briefly. Initially I found this somewhat disconcerting but once I got used to it, it served to ramp up the tension. There is a lot of tension. The premise of this trilogy is original and, in book one at least, riveting. I found this book to be engrossing from start to finish and I cannot wait to read book 2. This is definitely a highly recommend.

I actually have book 2, Buzz, in my sticky little mitts as I type. Well not literally of course but it is lying on my desk next to the keyboard. It's looking highly likely I'll be purchasing book three. Look out as the review of Buzz will be here soon. I'm off back to Sweden to find out what is happening to HP as the game progresses. See you all back here soon for another review from the Bookaholic.

Friday, 17 January 2014

No More Mulberries by Mary Smith

Bookaholic is reviewing a slightly different book today. This book will transport you to the country of Afghanistan before the Taliban came to power.

This is one of those rare books which hook you from the first word and keep you reading until the end. I am struggling to know what to say about this book, not because I didn't like it, but because it was so good I don't know where to start. This is the story of Miriam, a Scottish Midwife, who is living in Afghanistan with Iqbal, her Afghan husband. This seemingly simple storyline hides a story which has great depth and breadth. There is more to the story than meets the eye and I cannot say too much without giving the plot away. The range of human emotions is drawn on in this book, and described in perfect detail. Obviously culture is a large part of what happens and the way in which Miriam lives within the new culture is so clearly written I could almost imagine her inner struggles. The picture of Afghan life and culture is so well drawn I could almost imagine myself there on the dusty roads and the, for me as a Scot, exotic locations. The fact that I myself am Scottish give this book an added edge. There are many different aspects to the story and the way in which all the characters lives intertwine is delicately pulled together. The characters are not perfect, but have their own inner demons and hopes and desires. This makes them all the more human and real.

I would not hesitate to say that this book is highly recommended and a must read. It is not the type of book I usually read so the fact I am rating it so highly is a credit to the Author Mary Smith. Thank you for a first rate book. Do yourself a favour and buy it now. Both the kindle and the paperback are excellent prices and well worth the money.

I was given a copy of this book by the author in return for a fair and honest review. The review I have given is based on my reading, and enjoyment of, the book

So there we have it for another day. Bookaholic is off to read another book, the first in a Swedish Trilogy so watch this space. See you all soon and keep reading.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Fixer by T.E. Woods - Top Notch Thriller

We're back to book reviews today with a thriller that you will not want to put down.

This is the first novel by psychologist T.E. Woods and what a cracker it turned out to be. The book is described as a fast paced thriller and that it certainly is. The basic premise of the book is that a hired killer is targeting people in the same town. At the same time a troubled young woman with a multitude of demons is being seen by a psychologist. There are multiple plot lines but I won't go into these as this would spoil the book. Needless to say the plot lines are well done and tightly interwoven which makes this an enjoyable read.

There are many surprises in this book. Just when you think you are getting to grips with the storyline, you turn a corner and, wham. you a re off on anew path. Far from distracting, this makes for a gripping book where you keep reading to fined out what will happen next. I can assure you, you will never be disappointed.

The characterisation in this book is exquisite with characters so deep you need a mineshaft to get to the bottom of them. These people are real, with demons which would floor the best of us. Are the bad guys, good guys,? Are the good guys, bad guys? is anyone who they say they are, or seem to be? The interplay between the characters is excellent with every possible combination of dialogue from humour to pathos and everything in-between. The book plays on your emotions like a virtuoso on a grand piano, using every possible note at their disposal.

I loved this book and would highly recommend it. This book is not available until February 2014. It appears to have been self published previously but is now being published through Alibi. However, I would highly recommend preordering as this book is Top Notch.

I was given a copy of this book by Net Galley in return for an honest review. This review is not in any way biased and is based on my reading, and real enjoyment, of the book.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Meet Karen Magill, Author of Paranormal Fiction

Today I am pleased to welcome paranormal Author Karen Magill to the blog. It is lovely to have you here with us Karen and to get to know more about you and your books.

Karen is the author of three published paranormal novels, the fourth is with the publisher right now and will publish her first non-fiction work in March of 2014.

To connect with Karen, visit her at her Website, peruse her blog, the Vancouver Vagabond or check out her books on her Amazon Page. You can also email her at karenmagill@karenmagill.com

Over to you Karen, you have the floor.

People in certain circles know me for my fiction. I write paranormal because I believe anything is possible. However, 2014 is going to be the year people recognize me for my motivational writing and speaking.

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in June of 2000, I have always wanted to share my story with others. I want people to know that a diagnosis of a chronic illness doesn’t have to mean the end of your life. It can be a gift. A person has to be willing to accept change and work with it.  I believe that as long as you aren’t six feet under, you are on the right side and anything is possible. Hence, the title of my first non-fiction book, On The Right Side, My Story of Survival and Success. I have scheduled publication of the book, in both eBook and print, for March 5, 2014.

From fantasy to fact. I am making a big jump; I have wanted to write this book for years but could never get it done. I kept starting to write it and wouldn’t be able to get much done. The muse wasn’t there. I guess I never felt ready, never felt like I had a story to tell or one that people would want to hear.  However, when I quit walking with the cane in April of 2013, I knew I now had a story people would want to know.

I have to admit though this is scary. I am looking outside my comfort zone and pushing boundaries into fields I have never been. Like with the motivational speaking. Yes, I like to talk and do quite a lot of it – even though I live alone – but talking in front of a group of people who are looking at me to entertain or inspire them or both is a different matter. And I have never been that good at public speaking. Yet, in order to be where I want to be, I must get over that fear.

I am taking a course on becoming a bestseller and it is full of hints. Some I will use some I am trying to use and others won’t work for me at this time. One hint is to get celebrity endorsements.  

Approaching celebrities and motivational speakers through email to ask for them to read and endorse my book is intimidating.   Ii wonder at times what they must be thinking. Most haven’t answered though the Rick Hansen Foundation requested a PDF so they could consider it. My fingers are crossed.

This is a new area that I am going into. Some of the methods I use to promote fiction won’t work. That is why I am taking the online course. I want to learn as much as I can.

Will I be more successful with non-fiction and motivational speaking? I don’t know. I am looking forward to this journey and hope I can help others. I am not giving up on the fiction though and you can look for a new paranormal novel by me published by Saga Books this year. 2014 should be interesting.

Karen, It has been a pleasure to meet you. It sounds like you have a busy life and I look forward to hearing more in the future about what you are doing. You can find out more about Karen and her books on her Amazon page above. 

Thanks once again for joining us here on bookaholic. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Guest Post by Brenda Perlin Author of the Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles

Today we have a very special guest post by Author Brenda Perlin who's books are both real and emotional in turns. Welcome Brenda and than you for agreeing to be with us today. 

Author Bio

Brenda Perlin is an independent adult contemporary fiction author. Brenda evokes emotional responses in her readers by using a provocatively unique writing style. Her latest book in the Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles, captures the soul-wrenching conflicts of a personal struggle for emotional fulfilment.

Ever since Brenda was a child, she has been fascinated with writing. She draws her biggest inspiration from Judy Blume. This sparked a passion in Brenda to pursue personal expression through writing. Once she was old enough to go to coffee shops alone, Brenda recalls losing herself in the world of writing, all while documenting her ideas on paper napkins.

“There is really no creative process, I just write,” – Brenda Perlin

In these words Brenda has summed up what most writers feel. The compulsion to write is overwhelming and you just write down what is in you heart.

Brenda’s first book, Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles, was published with Master Koda Select Publishing.   Within a short time, the book developed a strong fan base and is continuing to grow as it both entertains its readers and leaves them in a state of profound reflection. In the near future, Brenda would like to have Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles expanded into a trilogy in order to tell the untold stories of her characters.

Brenda has very kindly shared some of herself with us so we could get to know more of her as a person. Thank you for your honesty Brenda and I can see where you get the ideas for your books.

I started writing Shattered Reality when I was just turning thirty and planning my wedding. It was before I became a fitness trainer and not really sure what I wanted to do with my life. I felt a lot of pressure from my then future husband to do more. He said he didn’t care how much money I made as long as I worked hard. That was when I decided I would write my life story and talk about the pressures of growing up as well as the unpleasant business of weddings! I thought it was all a sham. After we were married I realized my husband had it reversed, he didn’t care how hard I worked as long as I made money. After the wedding I put my story down and did not pick it up again until over 15 years later while we were going through a divorce. I never thought this story would ever see the light of day again. Of course I didn’t have anything to exciting to write about back then. ;-)

Shattered Reality (Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles: Book One)

Brooklyn Rosen had high moral principles and was raised properly. Married for over fifteen years, those standards went out the window along with her fidelity when she met Bo. After becoming a self-proclaimed home wrecker, Brooklyn left behind her marital home, along with the damage caused by her emotional wrecking ball. But the whispered remarks followed.

In “Shattered Reality” (Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles: Book One) we learn what shaped Brooklyn, the trials of an unhappy marriage and a deep abiding love that would not be denied. We meet a troubled, spiteful wife, who does not want to become an “ex”.

Will Brooklyn and Bo survive, or will all be lost to a bitter woman?

Burnt Promises (Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles: Book Two)

The main character, Brooklyn must learn many valuable lessons about herself, not without making many costly mistakes along the way. Now that she has found what she considered, her “soul-mate” in Bo, she would have to continue to defend herself against even her closest of friends, family members, and Bo’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Ruth.

This first person account chronicles the inexhaustible struggles she faces with the man that she loves. Brooklyn must learn a thing or two about patience as Bo’s divorce settlement seems to be never ending. Throughout her journey, Brooklyn shares some of Ruth’s intimate emails to Bo and gives you a good look into the mind of a woman scorned.

Thank you so much for visiting us on Bookaholic today Brenda. It has been a pleasure getting to know both about you and your books. I am sure Bookaholic readers will be looking forward to reading your books in the near future. Links for the books can be found on the right hand side of the page.

Links for Brenda online 

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Holmes Affair by Graham Moore

In the UK at the moment we are all going Sherlock mad with the return of the third series on the telly. Now before everyone gasps and points out this is book blog, I know. I bring you an unusual book this week, one which is different from the usual Sherlock tomes.

I will start by pointing out that I have read most of the Sherlock Holmes books which have been written both by Arthur Conan Doyle and others since his death. This book is different in that it is about Arthur Conan Doyle himself. It is essentially two stories in one. The first is about Conan Doyle himself and the other takes place in a modern day setting. The story of Conan Doyle is about a period in his life of which little is known. He was a consummate diarist and the modern day story is about the missing diary from this period. An eminent 'Sherlockian' announces he has the diary and he is then killed. The modern day story is about the hunt for both the killer and the diary.

This is an excellent book which, although easy to read, contains a strong plot. The stories remain separate until the end when they are beautifully tied together. The storyline is good and there are many twists, turns and surprises throughout. Of course Sherlock Holmes himself guides the mystery through the pages of the books in which he starred. I love the way this mixes the original plots in to the story without it seeming contrived.

This is a well written, entertaining book which I would highly recommend. Of course it is not a Sherlcok Holmes story but entertains in it's own unique manner. If you are a Sherlock fan then I am sure you will enjoy this rather different book.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Guest Post by Freya (aged 9)

Hello my name is Freya and the bookaholic is really my Auntie Wendy. That's a picture of me with my face painted at the church fete in the summer. I want to write a book like my Auntie Wendy when I am older and I will become famous. I am looking forward to her book being published. I keep asking when her book is going to be published and she keeps saying soon. I wish she'd hurry up.

I like playing on my iPad. I like reading too. My favourite books is James an the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I also like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and a book called Tiger Thief. My daddy likes to read Batman comics. I like to go for long walks in the wood with my dog Jazz.

When I write my book it will be about Christmas and fairies. I love Christmas. I am also going to make my own blog in a minute when I can get onto the computer.

Thank you auntie Wendy for letting me post on your blog. I hope you will all follow mine when Auntie Wendy posts the link.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy new Year to all Readers and Writers Everywhere

Firstly I would like to say a very Happy New Year to all readers of bookaholic. It has been a great pleasure to be with you over the past year, and a heartfelt thank you to all who join me. New Year is a time for reflection and looking back over what we have done over the past year. It is also a time of hope as we look at the year ahead.

A new year is a blank page full of infinite possibilities on which we write the story of our lives. Like a book there will be many twists and turns and many of us will feel like jumping off the ride. There will be glorious moments when we are slowly, or even quickly ascending to the top of the roller coaster. There will be moments where we are poised on the precipice before we plunge to the depths. However there is also the knowledge that no matter how bad we feel there is another ascent in the offing. Regular readers of this blog will know I am a Christian. This means I am secure in the knowledge that, no matter how fast or wild the ride, God is in control.

 My writing life can seem like a roller coaster at times as well. I am sure all writers will identify with this. There are days where you feel you are up there with Ernest Hemmingway et al and will be the next Man booker winner. This is closely followed by a day where you think you should give it all up and go and work at MacDonalds. The ride is giddy but I love it. There is no greater thrill than weaving words into a story for others to enjoy. No matter how many descents into the depths I will not give up. I love writing. This is the same for anything you love in life. Don't give up. If you are passionate about something keep doing it and enjoy every minute.

The picture at the top, in case you are wondering, is Glamis Castle. This is the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Princess Margaret was born here and Queen Elizabeth played here as a child. It is in Glamis, a little village near Dundee, where I live.

This has been a rather more emotional post than usual, but fitting for the time of year. I am going to leave you with a Scottish New year Saying "lang may your lum reek." For all my non Scottish friends this means long may your chimney smoke. In other words may you have enough coal to out on the fire, or everything you need. That is my wish for everyone this year.