July 2014 Round-Up and August 2014 Plan

It’s August! Yeah, I don’t how that happened. Seems every month this year has crept up on me faster than it should have.

This month was a rather hectic one, but fun!

July
– Kept completely to schedule.
– Posted every scheduled day, except one I missed due to internet not working.
– I received more great reviews for my books 😀
> Heart of the Arena: 1x 5*, 4x 4*
> Stolen Bloodline: 4x 5*, 1x 4*
> The Queen’s Jester: 3x 4*
– Connected regularly with bloggers.
– Used twitter and facebook more effectively to help support other authors.
– Read 3 books (1 below target!)- The Commons, Book 1: The Journeyman by Michael Alan Peck, The Soul by S.R.Carrillo, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
– Updated my blog.
– Set up a mailing list and newsletter- Click here to sign up!
– Released Prophecy of Stones!

One goal I didn’t reach was that I didn’t look into different forms of marketing quite enough. This is something I am going to have to do, no matter how much I dislike marketing 😀 If I want to earn enough to live on from my writing, then it is something I am going to have to think about more and start implementing.

So, now onto August!

Plan:
1st- 31st- Write first draft of next book.
13th- Book review, either traditional or indie.
29th- Indie eBook review

Goals:
– Read 4 books!
– Find new ways of marketing and implement them.
– Continue actively supporting others and look into different ways of achieving this.
– Write more short pieces for prompts.

A lot of other things happened in July:

Melissa Barker-Simpson released her new book, Hands of Evil! You should definitely check it out. I am currently reading her book, Sins of the Father, and am thoroughly enjoying it (review to come!).

Ness Kingsley has returned to us 😀 She’s a great blogger, and definitely worth checking out her posts. Very excited to hear more from her in the future.

Lost to the Aether (my best friend and one of my amazing readers!) has started posting his comic, which is great fun read!

Kimberley M Ringer achieved an amazing thing by completing the Wharf to Wharf race! So a major round of applause to her!

Shehanne Moore has been posting some brilliant and hilarious posts, worth checking out just for the hamsters 😀

The Legends of Windemere trailer was released!

Wow, what a wrap up of this month 😀

I also want to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who re-blogged, tweeted and shared my release day post. I am so grateful for your amazing and continued support!

This weekend I will be posting some scheduled marketing posts, but I won’t be around until Monday as usual 🙂

A break from the norm

There is no Romance Weekly blog post this week, due to most of the writers being at the RWA Nationals 🙂

As such, I just wanted to take the chance to post some of the reviews I’ve received for my books because, well, I’m kinda chuffed with them 😀

Melissa Barker-Simpson posted her review of Heart of the Arena (5* on Amazon), which had me smiling all day yesterday!
http://writingroom101.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/heart-of-the-arena-by-mishka-jenkins/

Heart of the Arena has had two 5* reviews and two 4* reviews.

I had my first review for The Queen’s Jester (4* review), which I can say I was pretty pleased with!
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1001795538?book_show_action=true&page=1

‘Not sure what I was expecting when I started this book, colour me surprised when I finished it. I’d completed it in a couple of hours and was actually disappointed that it ended.
I found the story well written and fast paced, filled with Romance, intrigue and suspense. A story that had me guessing till the end as to what would unfold for Queen Marie, her husband King Warrick and her Jester..
With out giving anything away “no spoilers”…. I was amazed with the unexpected twist at the end and was pleased with how the author ended the story. I was left with that oh so wonderful feeling that, YES!!! that’s how I wanted it to end…

Would recommend this book to all fans of romance ..’

As for Stolen Bloodline, I’ve had three 5* reviews on Amazon!

I’m definitely having a positive day! 😀

The best way for indie/self-published authors to sell books is through reviews and word of mouth, so if you do enjoy a book then why not leave a quick review? Your support will always be appreciated 🙂

Progress Report:

Status of Prophecy of Stones: Completing edits from the readers.

Books read: 2/4

Status of July eBook review: Written and ready.

June eBook Review- The Vessel by Callum McLaughlin

The Vessel by Callum McLaughlin

Goodreads Synopsis:

Savaged by disease and riots, the world has descended into a state of chaos. Amidst the desperate remains of humanity, the American government has resorted to extreme measures to try and repopulate their now depleted country but one unwilling subject of their ruthless actions will not suffer in silence.

Escaping from a facility at the heart of their experiments, Eva Cole’s nightmare is far from over. Hunted at every turn, she must fight to survive so that she can expose the truth

Review:

I was excited to read this book as I had already read Callum’s incredible poems on his blog, and was wowed by his talent for the written word.

I didn’t even read the description before downloading this book to my kindle so didn’t know what to expect.

Well, I have to say that I was not disappointed. This book gripped me and my emotions from the very first line and took me along with the story and characters so deeply that I felt like part of their world.

The story is set in a rather bleak version of Earth’s future, a future that felt believable, which I think helped draw me further into the story. We are introduced to Eva, the main character in a rather intense moment, and from then we are along for her journey through the story. She faces a life of being chased and possibly never finding her home, and I felt her struggle and turmoil all the way throughout.

This story was intense and driven forwards by the characters, who were all striving to survive in the world that was around them.

The actual writing was of very high quality, with descriptions that had me in awe at some points.

I would thoroughly recommend this book (as I already have to my mother!). It is a genre I would not normally choose for myself, but I am so glad that I read this. It is going to one of those books that I will think of frequently and a story that will stay with me. Can’t wait to see what he writes next!

Links:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Goodreads

May E-Book Review: Infertility, Infidelity and Insanity by Arran Bhansal

Sorry it’s late, but here it is! 😀

Infertility, Infidelity and Insanity by Arran Bhansal

Goodreads Synopsis:

“Good and bad things happen to everyone. It may not seem fair, but it’s what happens.”

Arran is 34 years of age, living in Henley-on-Thames, married, second generation Indian, father of one, washed out, and depressed. He agonizes over the choices he has made and the impact they’ve had on his life. Hating what he has become, he arranges to meet Judith; a counsellor he hopes will help him make sense of the confusion in his mind.

In his sessions with her, he describes how he met and married Becky against the wishes of his family, the disastrous marriage that followed and the IVF cycles they had to endure. He reveals how he met Lauren, and began a passionate affair.

Desire and obsession soon take over, and Arran enters a world occupied by one thought – to be with Lauren at all costs. His insanity takes its toll and threatens to destroy his life and those closest to him. Can he outrun disaster? Or was it always going to catch up with him in the end?

Review:

**I was given this book in exchange for an honest review**

Arran is a great blogger and his book was already on my to-read list when I was asked to review it, so I felt very lucky to be given the chance!

Right from the start I was drawn into this book. It was as though I was sitting there with him and he was telling me this story personally. That was a real strength of this book, it felt raw, real and personal. You were drawn in and the style of the writing meant you felt as though you were listening to someone tell you their story, rather than reading it.

The descriptions were vivid, you got an instant sense of characters and settings and that helped draw you into the story further the more you read.

It was really captivating writing.

There were a few grammatical issues, but those were easily overlooked as you were drawn into the story so much you weren’t jarred out of it by those errors.

It was definitely a journey, and by the end you were left feeling drained, but in a good way! All the emotions the book took you on meant that it was a really great read that will certainly make you feel a rollercoaster of emotions.

Another thing I liked was the dialogue. It felt very realistic, like normal people chatting and not characters.

The time jumps back and forth were easy to navigate and easy to follow, which is good as there were a few of them. It was nice to be able to visualise in my mind those different times and the characters going through all the events.

And, blimey, what an ending it had! 😀

If you pick up this book, which I would recommend, be sure to be ready to be taken on a ride of emotions!

Links:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Smashwords

Goodreads

April E-Book Review: One Chance by Rishika S.

One Chance by Rishika S

**I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.**

Goodreads summary of One Chance:

‘Her dream came true… and turned into a nightmare.

When Ethan Russell proposed to Ava, she didn’t hesitate to accept; and then began a life filled with love and joy. But Ethan Russell has a secret – a secret that will threaten his marriage and devastate the woman to whom he vowed love and trust forever. He knew that his past needed to remain forgotten if they were to have a future.
When fate intervenes and the horror of a connected past rears its ugly head, they lose everything that they shared. Now, Ava can trust no one, especially not the man who’d vowed to love her. And Ethan has but one opportunity to gain her love and trust again, one shot to help them move beyond the past, and one chance at a blissful forever after.’

Well, first thing I should say is how much emotion and story was packed into this short, but good sized read. I finished it in an afternoon, and it was great sitting down with a cup of tea and reading, then forgetting the time and finding a couple of hours later that I’d finished the whole thing.

The story was set-up really well at the beginning, you got a real sense of the characters, their relationship and their lives.

It is a shorter read, but it didn’t feel rushed or that anything was missing, it was a great length to tell this story.

One of the strengths of this book, and one that really caught me was the emotion. There was a lot of it in this book, and if a story ever gave me ‘feels’ it was this one. I’d definitely say have a box of tissues handy for tears of all kinds- happy and sad.

I don’t think there were any spelling or grammar errors, at least, I didn’t see any, so the story flowed really well, without anything breaking the immersion.

It was a good pace, there wasn’t any fluff bulking it out, but it read as a contained, well thought out story with every scene progressing the story onwards.

One Chance is a story of two people coming together, and attempting to overcome their pasts as a couple. It’s a sweet story, heart-breaking but touching, and a really good read. I would recommend giving it a go, it’s one of those stories that give a real sense of optimism after reading, even after everything that happens.

Links:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Goodreads

Also, well done to all those who made it through the A-Z blog challenge and CampNano, you’ve produced some really great posts! 😀

March E-Book Review: The Shadow Watcher by Roari Benjamin

The Shadow Watcher by Roari Benjamin

I chose this book because it sounded really original from the other ones I was looking at. And I wasn’t disappointed, it was a refreshing and different read.

The opening paragraph was really strong and got me hooked from the beginning. The first couple of chapters did explain a lot of back story, but it didn’t feel like it was piled onto me or bogged down the story, it still flowed nicely.

It was a fast-paced book, which I enjoyed a lot. I liked that things kept moving, there was no points where it felt stagnant or that it could have done with having anything cut out. Everything helped to move the plot along.

There were some great little moments throughout the entire book, nice bits of humour or description, but the way the author described how cats act was perfect and so spot on. There was one cat called Artemis, who was a character in herself, and she was brilliant, very well written.

In fact, all of the characters were good and individual. There was quite a wide cast characters and at times I did struggle to keep up with the names, but the important characters were clear.

The story itself was a very interesting concept, and there was a brilliant twist in the middle where you think you know what’s going on and then suddenly you’re turned around when you discover what is actually going on! That was fun.

Throughout the book there were lots of very unique and original ideas, which was nice. I didn’t see many clichéd moments and the author managed to come up with new takes on well known things such as technology, etc.

I don’t remember seeing many spelling errors throughout, so either they didn’t stand out or there weren’t any. Though the formatting was a little off at times, with the indents being at different spaces. Also, there was a lot of information at times, which was all explained very well, I just found it hard to remember what was going on at times, but in general the story flowed very nicely and uncomplicated.

The way the ending was written, I am guessing it is part of a series. It didn’t feel like too much of a cliff hanger, so I would have been happy to read it as a stand alone, but there is definitely a hint of either a sequel or an on-going series.

Overall though I really enjoyed it, I liked the fresh story, the interesting settings and the pace of the book.

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

January 2014 E-Book Review: Awakened (Living Ink) by Shirley Bourget

As this is my first book review I thought I would explain a little more about why I’m doing it and the criteria I use to choose the books.

I am partly doing book reviews because I want to see what’s out there, and I enjoy reading! But, I am also doing it to open up anyone who comes across this blog to hopefully chance on a new book.

I am only choosing self-published e-books. This is because I am hoping to find new writers with their stories, but also to help encourage writers to self-publish and show everyone who is a bit unsure that there are GOOD self published books out there.

I have read some people’s book review blogs where they shy away from self published books citing things like bad spelling, obvious lack of editing etc, for their reasons. So, my reviews will be honest about every part of the book, but also show that not all self published books are the same. One bad read doesn’t mean they are all like that.

My plan is to review the books honestly, but without a lot of major spoilers so as I don’t ruin the book for whoever wants to buy it. I will provide a link to where I bought it (usually Amazon, as I read on a Kindle) at the bottom of the post.

So, onto the review!

Awakened by Shirley Bourget

The first thing this book does in drop you right into the middle of a scene. I liked that. I get bored very quickly if the action doesn’t start almost immediately so this was perfect. It set up the feeling of the book well and left a mystery so as when we moved on into the less mysterious next chapter and met the main character, I was already excited to learn how the beginning scene would work its way into her life and when she would learn some answers.

Awakened’s heroine comes in the form of Ivy Gillis, a red headed, beauty of Irish descent living in the US. As a character I liked Ivy, she wasn’t too feisty or strong but also wasn‘t weak or wall-flowery, she felt real. The other characters in the book were also very well written and developed. When you are introduced to the new characters I found Shirley Bourget managed to describe them so well I not only understood what they looked like but also the feeling Ivy got of them on first impression.

The book does feature a love triangle (or lust triangle it seems at times!), and I did like the two male love interests, though I did find them sort of similar, but that could have been because we didn’t get to learn or see very much of one compared to the other in this book.

The romance part of the story was written well, I loved some of the ways the author described the couple’s interactions and how it made Ivy feel. At times it was written so well I felt really into the scenes.

There were great moments of reality interspersed within the fantasy side of the story. Also there were awesomely funny parts at unexpected moments to break up some of the more serious sections (keep an eye out for the part with a Leprechaun in the Between! Had me laughing for a good while).

Whilst it is a fantasy book it is set in modern times. Yet the way it was written had me truly believing there was this whole other fantasy world that existed alongside our own that people were just oblivious too. When the fantasy aspects started to pop up I had no problem believing that it could happen.

Awakened is the first book in the Tangled Ivy series and I felt the ending left you wanting more, but wasn’t so much of a cliff hanger that it was frustrating. It was also a good sized book with short but well placed chapters. I’m a fan of shorter chapters because I like to feel I am progressing through the book quickly, so that could just be my biased opinion!

There were some spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, I found them pop up more towards the end of the book. Yet there weren’t so many that it spoiled my reading or put me off continuing. It just needs someone with fresh eyes to glance over and correct the minor mistakes.

It is partly set in Ireland, with Irish characters who were, don’t get me wrong, great but it was just that they were written with Irish accents. On the page, I could understand the lilt and strength of the accent but found it very hard to understand what the meaning of some of the words or what the dialogue in general meant at times. Yet, that could have been done on purpose, because at one point it is mentioned that Ivy had a hard time understanding such a strong Irish accent in one character. So maybe that was the point all along, to give the feeling that Ivy was struggling to understand the accent as much as the reader?

Overall, Awakened was a fun and worthwhile read. It set up the next book well, but was in its own right a good stand alone read. The characters were well developed and likeable with great relationships between them all. It was full of magic, passion and fun but also had a great story that flowed well throughout the whole book. There wasn’t a moment when it went off on a weird tangent or felt like there was an unneeded chapter.

I would give it a 3.5 out of 5. Very enjoyable and worth a read.

Amazon: Awakened (Living Ink) by Shirley Bourget