Books and Reading Wednesday- Review: Sins of the Father by Melissa Barker-Simpson

End of August Indie Book Review: Sins of the Father by Melissa Barker-Simpson


Goodreads synopsis:

As a former Royal Marine Commando, Brad Morgan is among the best of the best. Now heading up his own unit in the private security world, he lives by the same mottos he served by.

When Alicia Gladstone, a star in the entertainment industry, is put under threat, Brad and his team at Morgan and Fairchild must step in to find a killer before it’s too late.

At the peak of physical and mental fitness, all his years of training are put to the test when he is forced into a world artificial by nature, and too distracting for his own good. But it isn’t the environment that poses the biggest threat. It is the past he ran away from, one he thought he had overcome.

I’ve read some of Melissa Barker-Simpson’s work on her blog, where she posts short fiction, which is always of amazing quality and incredibly gripping. Her book was no different! The opening was amazing, and I was instantly pulled in from the very first sentence.

The characters were all written in such a way that they felt truly real, not like characters on a page, with their dialogue flowing like a real conversation that I could hear in my head rather than written on the page.

There are some great action moments written into the book, and although it is described so that you feel thrown into the scene yourself, it was the glimpses into how the character’s felt that made those moments even more intense and exciting.

The romance was amazingly written and gave me butterflies at some points.

Throughout Sins of the Father, you are thrown into an exciting story of mystery and romance that I couldn’t wait to find out what happened, but then didn’t want to reach the end because it was such a great story!

It was a brilliant ending, where I felt satisfied with how the book finished and no cliff-hanger, but I grew to know the characters and loved them so that I can’t wait for the next book from this author.

This book has high quality writing, well-developed characters, and a good flowing story. I would definitely recommend reading it.



Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 2393 (Total word count: 42091).

Books read: 5/4

Mid- September Book Review: Currently reading.

Well, what a weekend!

Well, this weekend has been rather… interesting 😀

A lot happened and went wrong, which means today I’m still up in the air as we’re trying to fix and sort everything out at home.

Unfortunately, this means I haven’t even been able to write one word towards my next book! And I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to start.

To be honest, I’m getting antsy to begin, as I love starting new stories and have so much excitement for it that I can barely keep it contained. But, life does like to throw a spanner into the works at times and put a halt on my carefully laid out schedule!

Catching up with my writing shouldn’t be too much trouble, I will just have to cut down on something else to allow me to up the amount of hours I can write, when I get a chance to actually begin writing!

It just goes to show that no matter how much you plan a nice, scheduled writing routine, life doesn’t always let that happen! You just have to write when you can, and not let these hiccups weigh down on you 🙂

Seeing as things are a bit all over the place, I won’t be around much today or possibly tomorrow either, but I will try to keep up as best I can. Hopefully I will be back on track with commenting, emails and reviews at the end of the week.

I’m really sorry to anyone waiting for replies or reviews, I will get to them straight away as soon as I can!

Have you ever had to stop from your writing routine? Does life like to get in the way of your writing time? How do you cope when your schedule gets so thrown off course?

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Waiting to start writing first draft.
Word Count: 0 😦

Books read: 0/4

Mid-August book review: Written and ready.

Prophecy of Stones- Release Day!

It’s here! Prophecy of Stones is now available!



The bond of love can conquer all, but only if it is accepted.

Prophecy states that three champions imbued with the best virtues of the mortal race: heart, strength and soul, will be the ones to save them all from an enemy which threatens to steal the life from their world and those who live upon it.

These three, along with their scribe, his bond mate, and an overly sarcastic oracle, must set off on a journey which will take them through forest, city, swamp and mountain. On this quest they activate the magical stones which charge the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Tildar and his cult of Dwell.

Yet the closer they draw to journey’s end, the more it seems that it is not the evil which will be their downfall, but the fear of a champion unwilling to accept the bond of their destiny.

Prophecy of Stones is a tale of adventure, love and magic.



“Eight years is a long time to hide away from the world.” There was a momentary flicker of hurt which creased his brow before it softened again, and she knew he’d meant that it was a long time for her to hide from him.

She ran her fingers through her hair and twisted away, a wave of shame passing over her that she didn’t want him to see. “I did what I had to, for Leena.”

“Only for Leena?” he prodded.

Milana gritted her teeth. “What else was I supposed to do after what happened? Leave her alone and flounce off to join the war?” She flung her arms into the air, her raised voice echoing through the trees and quietening the wildlife that had been scuttling in the undergrowth. Riff was unmoved by her anger, as he always was. At times Milana wished to shake the feeling out of him and force him to react with more than a gentle frown or small smile. “You didn’t have to rejoin the fight.” Her voice was weak now, her rage battered into submission by the silent concern that shone through his soft gaze.

“Yes I did,” he replied. “It is our fight.”

“You could have come with me.”

“You could have asked.”

There was a long pause where years of pent up emotion hung in the air like the gazes of an accusing jury. Milana thought she would crumble beneath the weight of what remained unspoken.




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Romance Weekly #lovewritechat

It’s Tuesday and you know what that means: Romance Weekly Blog Hop!

RW Banner

If you’re joining me from Meggan Connors then hello and welcome! 🙂

Now, let’s see what questions we have this week.

1. How often do you write?

5 days a week, usually for around 2-3 hours, though I am hoping to gradually increase the amount of hours I write.

I write Monday-Friday, and take weekends off, so as I can avoid burning out. But, if I am behind schedule then I will write on weekends too.

2. Do you think it’s important to your craft to write as much as you can, and as often as you can?

Yes, otherwise how would writers improve and discover new techniques? 😀 The way I try to develop my skill is by writing different things: short stories, fan fiction, blog posts, non-fiction and even poetry sometimes.

When I find new advice from another writer, I am always keen to try it out and see if it works for me. I keep a variety of notebooks scattered about that I can grab when an idea strikes, and I just jot down a scene or short story when I can, not just because it helps improve my writing, but also because it’s fun!

Kinda like how artists often do doodles or sketches. I think any little thing you can do helps 🙂

3. What is your opinion on the saying, ‘If you don’t write every day, you’re not a writer’?

I don’t believe that. Writers have to have a life too 😀 You’re a writer if you love to write, no matter how much you get to do it.

Another set of interesting questions this week, how would answer them?

Now let’s go check out what the fabulous Leslie Hachtel has to say in response.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Romance Weekly Giveaway!

Progress Report:

Status of Fourth Manuscript: With the readers (2/3 returned).

Books read: 1/4

July eBook review: Written and ready.

June 2014 Round-Up and July 2014 Plan

Hello all! 😀

This is the first post I’ve had to properly say hi to everyone after my break, which was lovely, and thank you for all the nice comments you replied with 🙂

So, now onto the round-up of June. Wow, I don’t think I can even keep up with how fast this year is going! How is it July already? 😀

– Kept on schedule! Finished the first draft of my book by the end of June.
– Posted every scheduled day including re-blogging.
– I got my first reviews for my books (5* for Stolen, 4* for Heart of the Arena!!- Rather excited if you couldn’t tell).
– Connected regularly with other bloggers.
– Started to more actively support fellow authors with tweets and facebook as well as doing a support post with links to other indie books (worth checking out the comments too, some great suggestions for books for your summer reading).
– Read 4 books- The Vessel by Callum McLaughlin, The Stolen Throne by David Gaider, Olivia’s Choice by Taylor Grace, Immortal Dreams Anthology by Chrissy Peebles and C.M.Owens
– Linked to other’s posts, but not enough!

So I think I actually met most of my goals for June, which is a nice surprise as it felt like another rather manic month!

Onto July:

1st-5th- Editing first draft/Work on art for the book
6th- 20th- Off to the readers for editing/Plan next book/Start working on the cover of current book.
21st-29th- Finish editing/Formatting/Cover
30th July- July EBook Review
31st July- Release Day!

– Read 4 books
– Link to other’s post more often.
– Keep actively supporting other authors.
– Look for new ways to market my books (using illustration, etc)

An exciting month ahead again!

I was also interviewed by Melissa Barker-Simpson, which was great fun!

I am planning to do a complete overhaul of my blog social media pages etc, changing the theme and taking some suggestions that people commented in my marketing post (books in the side bar, etc). So if my blog looks messy and weird over next few days, it’s probably because I am fiddling with it, apologies in advance! 😀

It’s also CampNano this month, which I’m not participating in, but to all those brave writers who are… GOOD LUCK! 😀

Progress Report:

Status of Fourth Manuscript: Editing first draft.

Books read: 0/4

July eBook review: Book read. Review written and ready (Yay for being super-organised!)

It’s here! Release day!!

This is it… This is really it!

My books are out there, they have been released into the world.

And I think I’m about ready to explode with excitement and nervousness all at the same time 😀 Months and months of work and there they are… out for sale!!

Before doing all the release links and things, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone of the blogging and writing community.

When I started this journey, I wanted to connect with others who are going through the same process. And I did, but I also found so many great people who are supportive and genuine in their want to help others succeed in this tough world of books and writing! Every time I’ve asked for help or advice, you guys have been there!

Thank you!

Queen'sJesterCoverThe Queen’s Jester
Fantasy romance.

Blurb: An exquisite wedding gift. A husband whom she loves. A Jester who she craves. A Kingdom in peril.

After receiving a beautiful emerald amulet at the celebrations of her wedding, new Queen Marie finds solace in the stunning, yet strange amulet. A warm comfort that fills the hole that her husband has left with his distance at her every affectionate touch.

That is until the new Jester arrives, his presence fuelling in Marie an instant burning need.

The more she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic man, the quicker she realises he is anything but the fool.

Marie must make a choice, one that could not only affect her marriage and her life…

But her entire Kingdom.

“Something troubling you, my queen?” the Jester asked, as he placed the urn back on the polished, ivory-edged table.
“Why must you be here?” Marie accused, spinning away and crossing her arms. “Why must you seek me out?” Before the Jester could reply, she spun back to face him and jabbed a finger at his solid, muscled chest. “You think I will just fall for your charms? Leap into your arms because you are around when I need you?” Again she prodded him with a slender finger. He looked at the action, one brow rising in amusement and causing her anger to flare. “I am married, to a good man,” Marie said, unsure why she was defending a man and a marriage she was no longer certain she held any faith in. “He and I are matched in every way; we are of the same standing, live the same life, enjoy the same things.”
“Forgive me, my queen,” the Jester said in a calm tone and she bristled with annoyance at his relaxed composure. “But you sound as though you are trying to convince yourself rather than me.” He half smiled, his full lips quivering in amusement and drawing her focus.
“That is not- I am not…” Marie stumbled, every word feeling like a boulder tumbling from her mouth. “I am telling you that I feel nothing for you!” Every nerve burned like it was on fire, flames seeming to flare in her stomach and making her incoherent thoughts and speech burn with emotion she wanted to hide.
The Jester crossed his arms over his chest and let his gaze wander over her body that was shaking with the barrage of feeling.
“For one who feels nothing, that was spoken with great emotion.”
Marie let out an exasperated groan. “Why did you come to see me?” Though she said it in annoyance, a flash of excitement shot down her spine.
“I was summoned by the king,” he replied, pointing down the hall behind her to Warrick’s office, and Marie flushed a bright red. “But don’t get me wrong, my queen.” He smiled slyly. “This has been most… enlightening.” He took her hand and planted a light kiss on it, Marie ignoring the heat that was fuelled within her at the touch. As he walked past her, she could hear the faint echo of a chuckle, its taunting sound surrounding her and making her embarrassment deepen.

StolenCover Stolen Bloodline
Paranormal Romance

Blurb: Stolen away from her humdrum life, Imogen is thrown into a dark world where the creatures from tales are not only real, but rule the realm.


In this world of dark, moonlight is Imogen’s only source of safety, but the moon’s glow reveals a lot more than she ever realised. She soon learns her heritage and bloodline are what put her in danger, and the reason these vampires are keeping her hostage. But with a father who doesn’t even care enough to call, how was she supposed to know?

Held captive by the vampire leader, Bane, and his brother, Caden, Imogen must find a way to keep herself alive. Yet, the longer she remains, the more she wonders whether those she feared are the ones she should trust, as new truths continue to shine through.

When Bane shows Imogen that life in a world of dark can be more enlightening than her own sunlit realm, it seems that, though he may have stolen her from home, she risks him stealing her heart as well.

“Your parents truly told you nothing.” It was a statement, not a question.
“Told me what?” Imogen stepped closer, her hands out in a desperate plea for some answers, hoping for some kind of explanation for everything that was going on. “Am I dreaming? Is this like my mother’s story?”
“This is no story,” he replied once again without emotion.

HeartofArenaCover Heart of the Arena
Historical Romance

Blurb: Ancient Rome is a dangerous place, in more ways than one.

Captured by slavers, distraught but determined Sabina is thrust into the world of gladiators. Disguised as a man, she struggles to remain undetected whilst navigating through her new life.

But love forces its way into her focus again and when a haunting figure from her past remerges, the couple’s fate is to be decided in the Heart of the Arena.

“We are family here, Tacitus, brothers bonded by blood and brand,” Cassian said and gestured to the scarred brand on his shoulder that matched her own. “Drust feels this more than most, he has seen many under his instruction die before their time. He is a protector, as well as a trainer. Prove to him that you can survive, show him you are worthy of his protection, and you will see his manners improve towards you.”
Sabina raised her brow in surprise. Drust did not want to like her in case she died? It was a fact about the imposing doctore she had not expected, yet explained much about the coldness he showed only to her. The others he knew had survived arena matches before, she had not, so why should he become invested until he knew otherwise? “Win tomorrow, Tacitus, and much will change.”
“Cassian,” Sabina called as he made to stand and move away, forgetting to mask her voice, but the helmet helping to disguise its feminine tone. The gladiator glanced over his shoulder at her. “You win too.” It was a feeble statement, but once again his gaze had left her tongue-tied.
He spread his arms out wide. “Is there any doubt?” he asked with a grin and then moved back to the feast, lost within moments to a gaggle of excited women happy at his return.

Winter Bayne has been incredibly lovely and posted a release day post on her blog, with a longer excerpt from Stolen Bloodline 🙂

There you have it. My books. Out for everyone to see… Do I seem nervous? 😀

I realise my posts have been very focused on my own writing and books lately, but normal posts will resume again on Friday. It was just with release day drawing near, I was getting rather excited! 😀

Progress Report:

BOOKS PUBLISHED!! I finally made it!

Now to start all over again with my next book 😀

May EBook Review: Book read. Review ready.

The Process of Titles and… a Reveal! :D

One of the most important features of a book.

The Title.

It identifies your work, and sometimes it also gives an impression of the story beneath the cover.

It is also helpful when that title is unique 😀 And due to this fact I have had to re-name one of my books.

Now, I have read up on the law regarding using the same title, and it does say you can use it as long as you don’t have the same story. Which makes sense.

But, I just felt kind of bad about using the same title as someone else. It was hard to change the title though, I have to admit. It was a difficult moment. Not only because it was hard thinking of something new, but also because the book title I changed was Stolen.

Stolen was a story I wrote when I was 15, and it has remained Stolen all these years, running around in my head knowing I would want to re-write it one day. So yeah, it’s been Stolen for quite some time and it feels weird calling it something else.

I also changed the title of another book, though that wasn’t so difficult. My third manuscript title was originally Victor!, but something didn’t feel right about it. Even though it suited the story, it just felt wrong.

But the other day, a title popped into my head. I mean, quite literally! 😀 I was just sat there and BAM!

Heart of the Arena.

It’s perfect!

So, it’s been a pretty interesting week with titles 😀 Two changed and for different reasons, but it was important to change them and get it just right. Titles are part of the catch to draw a reader’s attention, after all, so they have got to be perfect.

Also, in part celebration of the progress I’m making, and the fact I’m just totally excited. I present to you, Stolen’s new title, cover and blurb!! 😀

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Stolen away from her humdrum life, Imogen is thrown into a dark world where the creatures from tales are not only real, but rule the realm.


In this world of dark, moonlight is Imogen’s only source of safety, but the moon’s glow reveals a lot more than she ever realised. She soon learns her heritage and bloodline are what put her in danger, and the reason these vampires are keeping her hostage. But with a father who doesn’t even care enough to call, how was she supposed to know?

Held captive by the vampire leader, Bane, and his brother, Caden, Imogen must find a way to keep herself alive. Yet, the longer she remains, the more she wonders whether those she feared are the ones she should trust, as new truths continue to shine through.

When Bane shows Imogen that life in a world of dark can be more enlightening than her own sunlit realm, it seems that, though he may have stolen her from home, she risks him stealing her heart as well.

*Blurb edited and improved by the incredible suggestions of Amos M. Carpenter


“These memories should remain in the past, you have no need to know of them, you have no need to know of me.” His tone was stern and he avoided her gaze.

“But what if I want to know?” Imogen asked whilst standing from her place. “Haven’t I earned that much by being kept prisoner here?” Her voice was as firm as his had been. She had not meant to say it, she had not wanted to ruin that night by reminding them both of the situation. Yet his reluctance and unwillingness to trust her had for some reason hurt deep within her.

Bane stiffened at her words and then the expressionless, stern façade he had lost long ago when talking with her returned. Imogen bit her lip and clenched her fists.

“As you say,” he said, his calm demeanour returned. “You are a hostage, and that is all you are.” It was as though he’d just once again realised she wasn’t a guest but his prisoner.

“And you are the man, the monster, keeping me in this dark prison!” Imogen didn’t know what she was saying, it was just blurting from her in angry shouts before she could stop herself.

“Monster?” Bane swallowed hard, her use of the word obviously cutting at him. Imogen wanted to apologise, but her stubbornness made her throat seize up. “Do not think yourself so precious, my lady.” His formality sent a shooting pain across her chest. “It was your bloodline that made me so monstrous.”

“People I don’t even know did that, not me.”

“But you see me as only someone who would cause harm?” Bane asked. Imogen gasped and stumbled back against the wall when he lunged forwards, his hands slamming against the stone either side of her. The force put dents in the wall where his fists collided. “You think I would hurt you? After everything, you still believe-” He stopped himself. Their breaths mingled at the closeness of his face to hers. Imogen felt the barrage of unspoken declarations that passed between them like electric over her skin, Bane seeming to sense it also, his jaw clenching. Imogen knew their anger stemmed from them both trying to deny what they felt, what they knew was happening. Yet still she remained silent, unwilling to admit the emotions she knew she should not feel so strongly for him, even if saying them would free her from the constant pressure of burying them. Bane let out a low growl before storming out of the room.


Hope you enjoyed it!

Have you had trouble with titles? Have you had to change titles of your books? Do they come to you easily, or do you have to work to come up with a title? What’s your favourite title (your’s or someone else’s)?

Progress Report

Publishing status:
> Stolen Bloodline- Marketing.
> The Queen’s Jester- Cover. (Still to do: Blurb, marketing).
> Heart of the Arena- Cover. (Still to do: Blurb, marketing).

May E-Book Review: Book read. Review written.

Creative Thinking with a Cold-Plagued Mind

A couple of days ago I managed to catch a cold, it wasn’t so bad to start with, I could cope. Now though, it’s turned into something awful and horrible and I feel like my head’s about to implode.

And it’s really impacted my writing. I was reading a post over at Wide Awake but Dreaming, where she has been suffering with flu (hope you’re feeling better soon!) and it got me thinking about the effect of being ill on writing.

Obviously, having a cold or feeling under the weather can effect all types of work, but for me, having a cold has been kind of odd during writing. My creative brain seems to still want to keep going and I can think of dialogue or scenes that I know are pretty good, it just becomes a problem when I have to sit and write it out. I can barely look at the page without everything in my head spinning, let alone try and actually write something that makes sense.

My word count has taken a hit from this, and I hate not meeting my target, it makes me feel bad and that only makes my cold feel worse. It’s a vicious circle.

This makes me realise the importance of the goals I have set myself, and how keeping on deadline really means a lot to me. I know that I could lengthen my deadlines to accommodate, as that is part of the beauty of self-publishing, but I don’t want to. I’ve not really been a goal-orientated kind of person before, usually losing my motivation after a few days, yet now I’ve seemed to focus and I am now so dedicated to achieving my dream of a career in self-published writing and know I am the only person who can make that wish happen.

It has also been a major surprise to me to find how much I miss being able to write these past couple of days and all just because of a silly cold!

So, my only option is to increase my word count goals when this cold has finally passed and I can move again without everything hurting.

Has your writing been affected by illness? Do you find yourself missing being able to write when something prevents you? What do you do in those times?

Progress Report

Word Count: 3780 over 2 days- 1220 less than target 😦

Status of Second Manuscript: Writing first draft.

February E-Book Review: 56% read.

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