“What if you demanded a … hostage of sorts?”

Sadly, today is the last day of the Heart Search: Betrayal blog tour *wipes tear from eye*. I’ve had a great time and I hope you have too. I’m so grateful to everyone who has given up time and space on their blogs for me – I wouldn’t have got the word out about the book without you.

HS trilogy new

So what have we got for you today? First there’s an interview I did with the lovely Sherry Fundin. I met Sherry through her sister, Laura, when I was launching the second book in the series, Heart Search: Found and she quickly became a fan of the books. We had fun on the interview so click here to read it.

Next up is Sherry’s sister, the wonderful Laura Thomas, who has written a review of Betrayal. Laura has been a staunch supporter of the series since my first blog tour for Heart Search: Lost. To read her review click here.

Thirdly, we have the fantastic Emma Biddulph. I’ve told you before about how I met Emma so I won’t bore you with the details again. Today she’s posting a great excerpt. Click here to read it.

Last, but certainly not least, is the fabulous Maria V A Johnson. She is my ‘partner in crime’ at Eagle Eye Editors and without her, this series might not have been written at all. I have so much to thank her for! Maria twisted my arm for a guest post, something I said I wouldn’t do this time around, but in all honesty, how could I say no? So check out ‘Saying Goodbye and Hello’ on her blog here.

You now have just under three hours to enter the giveaway, so you need to get your entries in NOW. It closes at midnight tonight GMT. Here’s the link again: a Rafflecopter giveaway

You still have time to enter the competition from yesterday’s blog for two eBooks of Heart Search: Betrayal. I’ll be accepting entries until midnight GMT on 28th February.

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favour!

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A Bit of Kick-Arse

We’re now on day 10 of the Heart Search: Betrayal blog tour and have I got a treat for you today.

A lovely lady and friend, Laura Thomas, who jumped into the Heart Search: Lost blog tour at the last minute to help out and has supported my books ever since, has got a real kick-arse excerpt for you. Click here to read it.

iskra

The other post is an interview with eleven-year-old Hannah Greenland. She was a runner up in the Writebulb Christmas story writing competition and has since joined the group. In case you’ve forgotten, Writebulb is the writing group I run. Anyway, please show her some love and click here to read the interview.

Don’t forget about the competition on yesterday’s post – you have two days left in which to get your entry in, and if you haven’t checked out the giveaway yet, now would be as good a time as any, especially with the fabulous items on offer!

Book Review: War of the Flowers by Tad Williams / The Power of Reviews

As an author, I love seeing reviews written about my books. When a reader takes the time to write what they thought of my work, it’s very gratifying (especially if the review is good) to know my words have touched someone and made an impression on them. However, I did wonder how much of a part reviews played in promoting books and whether they actually had an impact on people other than the author.

I’ve come to the conclusion that reviews are very powerful. Some positive words written about a book CAN influence readers to buy and is one of an author’s most powerful marketing streams. Let me explain how I came to this conclusion:

I follow the Best in Fantasy blog written by Connie J Jasperson. She only reviews books she loves and will never allow herself to be coerced into writing anything but the truth. In April this year, she wrote a review about War of the Flowers by Tad Williams (click here to read her review). By the time I reached the end, I knew I had to buy it. There have been others by Connie that have influenced parting with my hard-earned cash as have some reviews written by Laura Thomas. Friends have also been persuaded to buy books based on reviews they’ve read.

So if it’s having this effect on me and my friends, it would be fairly safe to assume it’s doing the same to other book lovers. Something to think about the next time you read a good book (you don’t have to be an author to write one and it doesn’t have to be long either)!

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Like I said above, I bought War of the Flowers, and here is what I thought of it:

WOTF2

Click on cover to go to Amazon

The Blurb (from Amazon)

In the great city, in the dimly lit office of an impossibly tall building, two creatures meet. Gold changes hands, and the master of the House of Hellebore gives an order: ‘War is coming. The child must die.’

 In our own world, a young man discovers a manuscript written by his great uncle. It seems to be a novel – a strange fairytale of fantastic creatures and magical realms. But it is written as a diary … as if the events were real … as if his uncle had journeyed to another world. For the young man, the fantasy is about to become reality.

My Review

When I first started reading this book, I had to wonder where it was taking me and what the significance of it was. There was nothing ‘fantasy’ related to it and it made me wonder. Then, as the author wove in the first threads of fantasy and the story progressed, I began to see the relevance.

The story is about a (sometimes naïve)  30-year-old man (Theo), a musician who never reached stardom but still dreams of getting his big break, who finds a manuscript written by his great-uncle. Theo reads it, believing it to be an unfinished fiction novel . . . until he finds himself thrust into the world his uncle described.

As the story unfolds, you see Theo struggle to accept this new world and its culture. He’s surrounded by fairies, goblins and other creatures and he’s really not sure who to trust – and with good reason. There’s a war brewing; Theo finds himself slap bang in the middle of it and certain parties want him dead – he just doesn’t know why.

Williams has created an interesting lead character with Theo. He’s not without his faults, and although at times you might want to give him a shake and tell him to grow up, I found he grew on me. As the story progressed I began rooting for him, wanting him to prevail against all the odds. Theo was given real depth, and his emotions and dialogue were realistic and relatable.

Other key characters were also superbly crafted. I loved Applecore – the tiny fairy who befriends Theo. She’s sassy, sarcastic and forthright to the nth degree yet you also see a softer side emerge. She’s also fiercely loyal and courageous. Cumber, a Ferisher, was also interesting to learn about, especially when he began to shake off his subservient mentality. Poppy, the spoilt ‘rich kid’ from one of the leading Flower families, became less of a brat and more humane as the book progressed, and Lord Hellebore was deliciously evil and tyrannical.

The plot was brilliantly conceived; forget about fantasy fiction you’ve read before – this is something unique and totally different. Whilst having some of the classic elements – like fairies, goblins etc, – the ‘alternative world’ of Faerie was far removed from the norm. The hierarchy of flower ‘houses’, who ruled the land since the death of the king and queen, was well thought out, as was the technology employed in Faerie. I particularly liked how Williams likened it to our world, with shops, houses, skyscraper-type buildings and even cars of sorts. If you think Faerie is going to be a sweet place, think again. It’s urban, dirty, shady, and sometimes corrupt.

This is a thick book, but very worth the time investment. The story had me gripped (once the fantasy portion really began) and I found myself losing hours when I thought it was mere minutes. This was the first book I’d read by Tad Williams and it definitely won’t be my last. A great fantasy tale – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it! 5/5 STARS

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

For me!

I’ve just been nominated for this awesome award by my fellow blogger and friend Laura Thomas, and I’m blown away by it – thank you so much, Laura!

If you don’t know Laura you can find her on her blog http://fuonlyknew.wordpress.com . Her blogs are always entertaining and fun!

I understand I’m supposed to nominate 7 bloggers and tell you 7 things about myself. this is going to be the hard part, but I’ll try and give you a chuckle or three.

1. I love watching Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing With The Stars in the US). Being a pro dance teacher, I love picking out faults and arguing with the judges, even though they can’t hear me.

2. When I was pregnant with my daughter I had three main cravings; white chocolate, lemon curd and hot cross buns. Guess what some of my daughter’s favourite things to eat are . . . yep, the three things I craved!

3. I read Tarot cards. I’ve had the ‘gift’ since I was a child, but didn’t realise what it was until my mum explained I come from a line of psychics (my grandmother was particularly strong). It’s only been the last year or so that I’ve properly started using my gift, having received training from my best friend who is a fabulous medium and teacher.

4. I hate ironing with a vengence and do as little as I can get away with. My mum used to iron everything, even underwear and it was a standing joke in our house that if you stood still too long, mum would either iron you, wash you or dust you!

5. I used to be in love with Patrick Swayze and it was my dream to dance with him (especially after I saw Dirty Dancing for the first time). When he died, I actually cried my eyes out. (I know it’s sad!)

6. I hate having grey hair and will go to any lengths to cover them up – not that I have very many but they’re right at the front in my fringe (I think you call them ‘bangs’ in the US) and stick out like the proverbial sore thumb! I don’t look my age and until recently I didn’t feel it so grey hair does NOT fit with the me I am and how I see myself. Usually I hide them subtly by having highlights of light blonde and bright red in my dark blonde hair but as my highlights had grown out and the grey was starting to show again, I decided to get one of these home colouring kits and have now gone a ruby red. This was quite a major step for me as I’ve never had an all-over colour change since I was about eighteen, &*?/^ years ago, but I’m happy to report it came out really well and I actually like it. It took a bit of getting used to though; I kept glancing in the mirror everytime I passed it to make sure it really was me! I’m past the narcissism now! Lol

7. I have quite a weird and wacky sense of humour. I use word-play in my humour, subtle remarks, and sometime sarcasm. I enjoy a good joke and love to laugh. It’s funny though, there are very few ‘comedians’ on the tv which really make me laugh.

Ok, now that I’ve revealed some of my inner self (some of it to my embarrassment) it’s now time for me to pass on the mantle.

My job now is to nominate 7 ladies who, in my opinion are worthy of this award. There are so many great bloggers out there so in some ways this is going to be a dificult choice. However, my first two nominees are easy to choose as their blogs are amazing, informative and entertaining. So without further ado,

My nominees are:

1. Alison DeLuca    http://alisondeluca.blogspot.com

2. Connie J Jasperson    http://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com

3. Christine Nolfi     http://www.christinenolfi.com/blog/

4. Brianna Lee McKenzie    http://briannaleemckenzie.blogspot.co.uk/

5. Rachel Tsoumbakos   http://racheltsoumbakos.blogspot.co.uk/

6. Kathleen Barker   http://kateinla51.blogspot.co.uk/

7. Danielle Raver     http://danielleraverauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Good luck, Ladies, and congratulations!