Condemned and Admired Giveaway

To win one of five e-copies of Condemned and Admired, answer the question below in the comments section.

Giveaway question: Have you ever fallen for the wrong guy?

Excerpt:

Drawing in a shuddering breath, Oliver reached out and drew her hands into his. “Once your sister makes her decision,” he said, “what will you do then?”

At his question, her eyes dropped to the ground. “You know what I will do,” she replied before forcing her gaze back up. “I need to go back where I belong. There is no place for me here.” Regret shone in her blue eyes as well as the agony of disappointed hopes.

“Stay,” Oliver said before he could stop himself, knowing that he had no right to ask that of her, no right to force that decision on her. “I don’t want you to leave.”

Violet’s eyes grew wide as she stared at him. Then she swallowed, and to Oliver’s utter astonishment, her lips curled up, clearly tempted to smile. “A part of me wishes I could,” she whispered, her hands squeezing his gently. “I wish I could stay with you, but I can never–”

Tugging her into his arms, Oliver silenced her objections with a searing kiss. His hands pulled her closer, one sliding up the graceful line of her neck and up into her hair as he kissed her with a passion unmatched as it was fuelled by the desperate need to forget that their love was a doomed one.

There was no happily-ever-after for them. She belonged out at sea while he had his place here…as the future marquess. He had a duty to the realm, and he knew that she would never be happy here. Even if she stayed, their love would not survive such a strain. It would undoubtedly end in a disaster until the day she finally did choose to leave. To return where she belonged.

Lost in the moment, Oliver did not hear the man’s approach. Only when rough hands seized him from behind did he realise that they were no longer alone.

With a harsh snarl tearing from the man’s lips, Oliver was flung backward and crashed into the seating arrangement set up on the western side of the terrace.  His ears rang, and his back ached from the collision. Still, Oliver was back on his feet without a moment’s hesitation, all thoughts focused on Violet. Was she all right? Who was this man and what did he–?

As Oliver rushed forward, the air was knocked from his lungs as he stared at the dark-haired man standing beside Violet. In that moment, he seemed like a messenger of doom, and Oliver could barely keep himself from sinking to the ground in despair.

Review: Condemned and Admired by Bree Wolf

Author’s Bio

USA Today bestselling author Bree Wolf has always been a language enthusiast (though not a grammarian!) and is rarely found without a book in her hand or her fingers glued to a keyboard. Trying to find her way, she has taught English as a second language, traveled abroad and worked at a translation agency as well as a law firm in Ireland. She also spent loooong years obtaining a BA in English and Education and a MA in Specialized Translation while wishing she could simply be a writer. Although there is nothing simple about being a writer, her dreams have finally come true.

“A big thanks to my fairy godmother!”

Currently, Bree has found her new home in the historical romance genre, writing Regency novels and novellas. Enjoying the mix of fact and fiction, she occasionally feels like a puppet master (or mistress? Although that sounds weird!), forcing her characters into ever-new situations that will put their strength, their beliefs, their love to the test, hoping that in the end they will triumph and get the happily-ever-after we are all looking for.

If you’re an avid reader, sign up for Bree’s newsletter at http://www.breewolf.com as she has the tendency to simply give books away. Find out about freebies, giveaways as well as occasional advance reader copies and read before the book is even on the shelves!

Book Blurb

A French privateer’s daughter. A marquess’s son.

And a chance encounter on the high seas.

VIOLET WINTERS, a French privateer’s daughter who fled England with her mother when she was a little girl, takes the chance to return to her home country unrecognised when fate delivers an English lord into her hands. OLIVER CORNELL, EARL OF CULLINGWOOD, fascinated by the adventurous gleam in her eyes, does not hesitate to offer his assistance…and pose as her husband.

Can a privateer’s daughter and a marquess’s son ever have a happily-ever-after?

 

Links:

Webage: www.breewolf.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7333700.Bree_Wolf

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/breewolf.novels/

Facebook EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/408576936315941/

Where to buy

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Condemned-Admired-Cunning-Second-Chance-ebook/dp/B07D3TBHL7/

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/condemned-admired-the-earls-cunning-wife-bree-wolf/1128641189?ean=2940162096047

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/condemned-admired

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/condemned-admired-earls-cunning-wife-9-loves-second/id1382213939?mt=11


Review for Condemned and Admired

This stand alone in the Love’s Second Chance series is my first outing into Bree Wolf’s writing, but it certainly won’t be my last.

Characters

Violette and Oliver are beautifully strong characters that stand out among the others. Their alternating view points give strength to the narrative. Both hold modern outlooks within a period world, which makes for a refreshing read.

Plot

The story deals with putting right something Violette feels is an injustice. It’s fast paced. with an exploration into characters and motivation as Violette completes her personal mission. You won’t put it down once you’ve started reading. Unless of course you’re like me; you’ll put it down once, to order the other books.

Writing

The writing is clear and engaging. It is the part that will keep you reading until the end. The comfortable read, that doesn’t rely on period language which is a big turn off for me. The focus is on the characters and society in that period.


To win one of five e-copies of Condemned and Admired, answer the question below in the comments section.

Giveaway question: Have you ever fallen for the wrong guy?

Excerpt:

Drawing in a shuddering breath, Oliver reached out and drew her hands into his. “Once your sister makes her decision,” he said, “what will you do then?”

At his question, her eyes dropped to the ground. “You know what I will do,” she replied before forcing her gaze back up. “I need to go back where I belong. There is no place for me here.” Regret shone in her blue eyes as well as the agony of disappointed hopes.

“Stay,” Oliver said before he could stop himself, knowing that he had no right to ask that of her, no right to force that decision on her. “I don’t want you to leave.”

Violet’s eyes grew wide as she stared at him. Then she swallowed, and to Oliver’s utter astonishment, her lips curled up, clearly tempted to smile. “A part of me wishes I could,” she whispered, her hands squeezing his gently. “I wish I could stay with you, but I can never–”

Tugging her into his arms, Oliver silenced her objections with a searing kiss. His hands pulled her closer, one sliding up the graceful line of her neck and up into her hair as he kissed her with a passion unmatched as it was fuelled by the desperate need to forget that their love was a doomed one.

There was no happily-ever-after for them. She belonged out at sea while he had his place here…as the future marquess. He had a duty to the realm, and he knew that she would never be happy here. Even if she stayed, their love would not survive such a strain. It would undoubtedly end in a disaster until the day she finally did choose to leave. To return where she belonged.

Lost in the moment, Oliver did not hear the man’s approach. Only when rough hands seized him from behind did he realise that they were no longer alone.

With a harsh snarl tearing from the man’s lips, Oliver was flung backward and crashed into the seating arrangement set up on the western side of the terrace.  His ears rang, and his back ached from the collision. Still, Oliver was back on his feet without a moment’s hesitation, all thoughts focused on Violet. Was she all right? Who was this man and what did he–?

As Oliver rushed forward, the air was knocked from his lungs as he stared at the dark-haired man standing beside Violet. In that moment, he seemed like a messenger of doom, and Oliver could barely keep himself from sinking to the ground in despair.

Book review: Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain

The second installment is just as perfect for the silver screen as the first. Think Along Came a Spider meets Die Hard with a wicked soundtrack and a killer cast.

The flashbacks to Archie’s life are not as frequent in this outing that sees the Beauty Killer escape and spend some quality time with the detective. What I love most about Sweetheart is the relationship between Susan and Henry that’s developed when they are trying to search for Gretchen and her last victim.

What I love most of all about Chelsea’s work is how seemingly unrelated crimes tie up before the book finishes. It’s perfectly layered, so that when you go in for a second (*cough* fifth) reading, you will kick yourself for missing the clues.

Casting Couch

Debbie Sheridan
Jessica Capshaw While renowned for her role as Arizona Robbins in Grey’s Anatomy, I will always remember her for her portrayal as Booths ex-wife in the tv series Bones.
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Notable mentions go to Clea Duvall and Selma Blair who both could handle the role.

Buddy Anderson
As said before, this could be where Sam Rockwell fits in, but if not Paul Bettany or Edward Norton would be a perfect fit.


Derek makes an appearance in Heartsick, but it’s in Sweetheart he really gets page time. Someone like Liam Hemsworth, Alex Ludwig or Jack Reynor would fit the part.

Charlene Wood
Another character that is in the background, but consistently through the series. Being someone that Susan admires and detests means she has to have a certain look. For me, that would have to be the wonderful Kat Dennings.

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Review: On a Scale of 1 to 10 by Ceylan Scott

Character

Tamar is a raw, relateable character. Being faced with a first person narrative means you are up close and personal with Tamar’s experience and memory. It can feel a little claustrophobic at times, but I’m certain that is intentional; Tamar’s thoughts are overwhelming, negative and very selective. Something all of us should be able to relate to.

Plot

Tamar is sectioned and, at times on suicide watch, recalling events that she refuses to talk about but completely consume her thoughts. During her time she meets new people with their own issues.
It ends with a true message of hope; not one that sugar coats the issue, but encorporates it and celebrates the fight Tamat will continue to have beyond the pages of the book.

Writing

It’s a well written story with a clear understanding of what people face in these situations. It’s writing is emotive, creates an atmospheric tension and would most suit anyone who has never experienced a mental illness and is looking to understand something they’ve not experienced.

It is a book that could trigger, but is valuable for those who are in the right place to read around this theme of mental health.

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

I’ve just finished reading Heartsick for what must be the 10th time in five years. I had always loved my crime shows, but had never really gotten into the crime fiction genre. Aside from Faye Kellerman’s detective series which I read while completing my RE A-Level as the main character falls for an observant Jew and converts throughout the series, this was my first venture into the genre.

There are very few book series that would see me at the doors of a bookshop, counting down the seconds for them to open so I could continue to read. Which is exactly what I did one school holiday when I’d finished the third book in the series and needed the fourth. Which I went home and read in a record two hours.

I also have a quote from this book tattooed on my body. It sits alongside words by Douglas Adams, David Bowie, Glen Duncan and Kevin Smith (by way of the late and great Alan Rickman). I think that certainly gives you an idea of the quality of the writing.

Cain’s writing style could be likened to Michael Crichton in the sense that her stories are made for the screen, intentional or not. Heartsick is an easy, compelling read that integrates flashbacks in a seamless fashion. It has one of my favourite plots of the whole series and I love meeting the main characters for the first time. It’s the characters that truly make this series for me. Safe to say, exploring the book’s plot is difficult without giving away some of the narrative that’s best revealed through the book than me.


Casting Couch

As I’ve said, this series is made for the screen and I have always pictured certain people in the roles. It has changed over the years, but some have always stayed the same in my mind.

Archie Sheridan


Mark Ruffalo
For many years, and way before his performance as detective Dylan Rhodes, I saw Ruffalo in the main role of Archie. He had enough under his belt to suggest he could play the gruff detective.

Then, a little show called Stranger Things blew that casting out the water.

David Harbour
Okay, so David doesn’t have the curls that are described in The Night Season, but he’s now my Archie! There’s no doubt that this beautiful man can carry off the detective role, he’s been cast as FBI/ Agent/ Government official in no less than five films or shows. He’s also got that tortured soul down to a tee in Stranger Things.

Gretchen Lowell


Michelle Williams
While there are some obvious choices for the Beauty Killer (Charlize Theron being one), Williams is someone who is so obvious, she slipped my mind for many years. Not only is she stunningly beautiful, she is someone who could do ugly/pretty very well; something that is definitely needed for the sequels.

Kate McKinnon 
While a little too young for the role, I feel she’s the ideal choice. One thing I’ve always noticed about high profile comedians (Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Will Farrell), they play it straight like no one else. Put them in the role of a psycho; you have the most amazing performance that will chill you to the bone.
McKinnon is a beautiful actress and is an amazing, versatile, comedy star. It would shock everyone to see her take on this role and, while there’s no body of work to suggest it, I believe she’s got the talent that is reminiscent of Williams and could take on Lowell in her sleep.

Tricia Helfer 
This is another ‘I can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier’ casting choice. It’s since her performance on Lucifer that this has been on my mind. There’s no doubt that she’s worthy of the title ‘Beauty Killer’, and she has a record of playing morally compromised people. It’s a given that she’d be perfect in the role.

Lauren German
Another Lucifer actress who is completely stunning and perfect for the role. I have yet to see her in anything other than Lucifer, but even in that she’s shown a depth and breath of acting that suggests she could play Gretchen.

Henry Sobol

actor-michael-pena-talks-boxing-with-tbc
Michael Pena
This is a hard one as I know he doesn’t fit the bill, however since seeing him in Extinction I think he could give us the sarcastic nature of the character.

john-leguizamo-hbo

John Leguizamo
Again, not someone who fits the physical description, but I think acting wise he’s got it. I’ve always loved seeing him on screen from the very first time I heard him utter Tybalt’s ‘ I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee’. I’d love to say that while everyone was drooling over Leo, it was John who had my eye. Alas it was Dash Mihok’s Benvolio who had my heart.
And John’s turn in Moulin Rouge is nothing short of divine.
Dash-Mihok
Dash Mihok
It was only while researching John Leguizamo that I realised that Dash might be perfect for the role, if not a little too young.

Celebrities at the Chiltern Firehouse, London, Britain - 22 Jun 2014Greg Grunberg
JJ Abrams’ lucky charm answer to Burton’s Depp. I could imagine him bringing a Jon Favreau “Happy Hogan” feel to Henry and lets face it, who doesn’t love Happy Hogan?!

Susan Ward


Kate McKinnon
I’m not sure she’d be quite right for the news reporter who is thrown into Archie’s world in Heartsick. However, her interpretation could perhaps prove me wrong. Especially if she brings Holtzman to play.

Ksenia Solo
Lost Girl alumni, certainly fits the description and she can do angst. As Susan is a character I identify so much with, and I’ve always seen Ksenia as someone I’d kill to look like, I see her as a perfect fit.

Me, Me, Me
Okay and this is a little shameful, but I’d kill to play Susan. I have a face for radio, a chunky flabby body, I can’t do accents and I certainly can’t act. But I would learn if I got to play this role. She’s just so much fun and hell, getting to act alongside David Harbour would have me putting on my big girl pants and acting the shit out of the role so fast. I’m not gonna lie either, I always picture myself in the role when I’m reading it. Mainly because, fuck… I am Susan. I pick the wrong men, I feel like I’m always fighting the current yet I won’t let anyone fuck me over, twice.

Ian Harper


Domhnall Gleeson
In a role that’s part Hux and part Henry Beard, its made for Domhnall. I could see him having fun in the role without it being the abomination characterisation that befell him in Last Jedi.

Bliss Mountain

julie_walters
Julie Walters
This is very much dream casting. I’m not sure Walters has ever done a crime/thriller, but man I would love to see her with blonde dreads and she can certainly do that mothering thing well having spent eight or more years on the set of Harry Potter. Being Susan’s mother would see her channeling Molly but also an element of Petula from Dinner Ladies.

Honorary mention
Carrie Fisher
Damn, this woman will always be my hero. She would have made an AMAZING Bliss. A woman who beats to her own drum and doesn’t take shit?!

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SPOILER ZONE

There’s one other person I’d love to cast in the film, however I can’t give you the name of the character without giving away the biggest reveal of the book. Equally, I doubt he’d be cast for that exact same reason. As soon as you see him, you’d perhaps know he was the killer/abductor. That said, Sam Rockwell is someone I’d have to have in the film and he has always been the only person I’d have for the role. I’ve always seen him as the abductor when reading it; mainly because he can do sleaze, he can do charming, he can do vulnerable and he can do anger. The character would need to balance all of this, be on the edge of suspicion yet have audiences thinking RED HERRING until the moment the rug is finally pulled.

 

#YALC Sampler Round Up One: @MKenneyPR , @akemidawn ,@HoJay92 & @mkhanauthor

City of Dust by Michelle Kenney
HQ
Kindle– 2 October 2018
PB– 13 December 2018
Book of Fire: Review & Buy

9780008281441

I fell back into this world like meeting up with a friend I’d not seen in forever. For both me and the story time has passed, but it feels like yesterday that I was racing through Book of Fire, as if the character’s chance of survival increased by my speed of reading. In the three chapter sampler, you are quickly caught up with the characters and their lives for the last year before Talia’s life is thrown a curve ball.
The sampler ends on a cliffhanger that will have everyone counting down to that release date.
For those who have yet to read Book of Fire, I suggest you get on it, post haste. It was one of my top reads for 2017 and I’ve been waiting with such anticipation for this sequel.

 

 


Summer Blue Bird by Akemi Dawn Bowma
Ink Road
Spring 2019
Starfish: Review & Buy

Summer Blue Bird

This five chapter sampler has such a powerful opening and lays down a solid foundation for what will be unfolded in 2019. From what I’ve read so far, the set up reminds me of Fly Away Home; my favourite film and worn out novelisation from when I was a kid.
It’s a testament to Bowma’s writing that I’m already attached to her characters. 

 

 

 


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Electric Monkey Press
2 May 2019
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40916679-a-good-girl-s-guide-to-murder?from_search=true

Holly-Jackson-Good-Girls-Guide-proof-cover

 

“We dare you to put it down” states the tagline on the cover of the two chapter sampler. Believe me, I’m gutted I can’t meet that challenge. It’s short, but very effective and I already have so many questions and theories that I need more information to be certain.
There was already a buzz at YALC about this book and even from the pages I’ve had the privilege to read, I can tell this is going to be the big book for next summer.

 

 

 


Kick the Moon by Muhammad Khan
MacMillian
19 January 2019
First book: I am Thunder

kick the moon

I knew nothing about Khan’s second book and I knew that I wanted it in my life. I work as an RE teacher in a diverse school in which some students feel they are almost invisible to society. Unless of course, they’re the subject of negative press. There are others who love reading, but find characters they identify with are tokens and there merely to check a box. It’s wonderful to say ‘here, you are being represented.’
Imagine my delight when I discover that the book will center around a protagonist that loves comic-book heroes. Not only is this perfect for me, I know of at least five students who will be fighting to be the first one to read it come January.

Splinter by Joshua Winning Blog Tour – Extract

Dawn eyed the trapdoor nervously but there was no point getting skittish. Nicholas swung his legs through the hole in the floor and began to climb down.

All he could hear was the quickening of his pulse in his temples. Strange smells – wax and old books and wet fur – made his head spin as his feet found the floor. For a moment, he was reminded of the oblituss, the dark tomb beneath the Abbey Gardens, and he had to force himself to let go of the ladder. This wasn’t the oblituss. The faceless man wasn’t going to emerge from the shadows and undo his sanity with a touch. His parents wouldn’t have kept anything dangerous down here, he was sure of it. Then again, he’d never known his parents were Sentinels. How much could he really assume about them?

Nicholas fumbled along the wall. If he could just find a light. He was sure it was a small space from the sound of his breath. Maybe little more than a cubby.

As he stumbled forward, his hands found a cord. A bare bulb clicked above his head, its fuzzy light settling over a bizarre collection of objects. Shelves, crates, broken lamps and intricate brass sculptures of what had to be the Milky Way.

“Heck, took you long enough, kid.”

Nicholas froze. The voice had spoken just over his shoulder. A man’s voice. Brassy and American. He turned around in the space, almost knocking over a stack of yellowed newspapers, but all he saw were shelves and inanimate objects.

“A guy could go nuts down here on his own.”

“Who is that?” Nicholas demanded. The voice was familiar. He had heard it before, but he couldn’t place where.

“Jeeze, don’t lose your head, bub. Down here.”

Nicholas moved towards the voice, spotting an old suitcase that had belonged to his grandfather. Beside it, on a low shelf, an object struck a dancing pose, its white flares, unmistakable quiff and glittery sunglasses moulded from plastic. Crouching, Nicholas crept closer to the figurine.

“Ya got me,” said Elvis.

Nicholas blinked. Of course he knew the voice. He had heard it a hundred times coming out of the radio or on television. It was unmistakable, twanging like guitar strings, and it was coming out of the statue, which remained motionless and appeared just as Nicholas had seen in his visions.

“You’re… you’re not Elvis,” Nicholas uttered.

“Not so bright, huh?” said Elvis. Only his mouth moved. His plastic hips remained motionless mid-thrust. “I get it; you’re starstruck. Not every day you get a private audience with the king of rock ’n’ roll.”

Nicholas almost laughed. “But you’re not the Elvis…”

“Kid, you got eyes?”

“Of course. Alright. So what was your biggest hit?”

“Man, are you writing a book? I can’t remember half those biscuits I baked. Geeze, your folks were never this difficult.”

Nicholas’s smile fell. “You knew my parents… Or, y’know, Anita and Max.”

“Good folk. Shame to see ’em go like that, but now there’s you, bub.”

Nicholas frowned. “What are you? Really?”

“Aside from the obvious? Look, kid, most people don’t ask so many questions when they meet me.”

“I find that hard to believe.”

“Funny; figured you’d recognise another emissary of the Trinity, being one yourself.”

“How…” Nicholas stopped, suddenly excited, even if a plastic figurine of Elvis was the last thing he’d been expecting. Heck, Isabel had possessed a cat. Why not a talking statue?

Nicholas swallowed, trying to keep his excitement under control. “You’re an emissary… Like a messenger? For the Trinity?”

“Gee, I thought you’d never ask. That’s me, kid. Hey, you notice the world’s going to hell quicker’n a bent-eight?”

“It’s sort of hard not to.”

“The Dark Prophets have that effect. They’re infecting the whole lot. They got this world sicker’n a lizard in a Tequila bottle. You ever tried Tequila?”

Nicholas ignored the question; his entire body had gone rigid. “The Prophets? They’re doing this?”

“Now don’t tell me you didn’t know?” Nicholas wasn’t sure if he had imagined Elvis’ eyebrows momentarily rising above his sunglasses. “They’re back, bubba. Crossed the great divide and we’ve got you to thank for it.”

Nicholas realised he’d clenched his hands into fists. Laurent had tried to raise the Prophets, but Nicholas and his friends had stopped him. True, monstrous things had clawed their way through the gateway before that, but they had closed the portal, prevented Laurent from releasing the Dark Prophets from their hellpit. But this figurine was saying they had failed.

“What did I do?” he demanded.

“Brace yourself, kid, cos this ain’t pretty. The faceless goon, the one who set that town to burning? He was the real conduit, bub. When you and your lady friend performed your mojo – that was impressive, by the by – you sparked the Tortor up good, warmed up the eggs in his undercarriage, got ’em sizzling. He birthed ’em right there in the ruins. The Prophets are back and you don’t wanna be around when they hatch.”

The dreams. The glowing pods. The Tortor’s cremated remains. Nicholas couldn’t believe it. Had everything he’d dreamt been true? The image of Laurent’s throat gushing blood leapt to the front of his mind.

“Laurent… he’s dead,” Nicholas murmured.

“Oh boy, he’s deader’n a doornail. Deader’n JFK and Marilyn combined, may they rest in peace.”

A shiver trickled down Nicholas’s spine. “How?”

“Killed by that flame-haired sister of Satan.”

“Malika.” That didn’t make any sense, either. Malika and Laurent had been working together. They had joined forces in the Abbey Gardens; Nicholas had seen it for himself. Why would she turn on Laurent? Trust probably wasn’t a top priority when you were evil.

“She’s the key to this, bubba. She’s the key to all of it.”

Nicholas scrutinised the statue. “How do you know so much?”

“Oracles sorta know things. It’s our deal.”

“You see things? The future?”

“When the music of the universe sings to ol’ Elvis. Seen plenty of weird shit over the years, but nothing weirder’n the shit you’re carrying around in that karmic suitcase of yours, kid.”

Nicholas didn’t know what to say. He glanced around the cubby hole and leaned in closer. “Did you talk to Anita and Max?”

“Sure, gave ’em my breakfast order every morning. Cuppa joe and a doughnut. Sorry, kid, bad joke. The sad truth is they couldn’t hear Elvis. Most people can’t. Coulda saved them a whole lotta trouble.”

“You tried to warn them?”

“Told them a hundred times about the train,” said Elvis. “But they couldn’t hear worth a damn.”

Nicholas doubted anything would have stopped his parents from boarding the train that they died on. They had been determined and fearless.

Nicholas took a breath, knowing he had to focus on the important things.

“Malika,” he said. “How’s she the key?”

“She’s nurturing the Prophets, boy-o. That makes her pretty darn important. Key player, you could say.”

“So to stop the Prophets, I have to stop her.”

“Bingo.”

“How do I do that?”

“You’re not gonna like it.”

Nicholas thought of the Drujblade, the mystical knife Malika had stolen from him. He’d have no problem plunging it into her heart given half the chance, and not just because she’d killed his family.

“Try me,” he said.

“You met her maker,” said Elvis. “The demon she served. Or pretended to, for a while.”

“Diltraa.” Nicholas remembered horns, bone-white eyes and a rasping voice like skeletal fingers clawing glass.

“The one and only.”

“Diltraa’s dead,” said Nicholas. Esus had killed the demon after it broke into Hallow House.

“Not dead,” said Elvis. “Banished to the demon plane. You destroyed its corporeal form, kid, but a demon’s essence is never truly toast.”

Nicholas’s jaw started ticking and he eyed the statue nervously.

“Just tell me what I have to do.”

Curtains Up of Theatrical #YAshelfies

My first Theatrical Moment

I was living in Leeds, but trying to get a job in London. On a drunken dare/suggestion I might add. I’d read American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and I’d fallen in love with it. I was surprised by how I wasn’t disturbed by the violence as I was warned I was. However, I think that was because I read it as a satire.

I still hadn’t had a successful interview when the off West End Almedia announced a new production by director Rupert Goold. American Psycho the Musical. Oh man, I almost bought tickets there and then. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that I had yet to secure a job.

Then they went and announced departing Doctor, Matt Smith, as the titular Patrick Bateman. Which had me conflicted; on the one hand it did make me want to see it just that little bit more however, on the other there would be people who would think I was seeing it JUST to see the good Doc. In the end it didn’t matter; it sold out so quickly that they added almost an additional month to the run and I didn’t see any of those tickets either.

4

By January 2014 I’d gotten a job in London and was all moved. I’d spoken to a few people about my love of the book and my desire to see the play. A new friend new someone who had a single, front row, ticket for sale. Oh I took it and it started something that has changed and shaped my life.

The second that music started, I was lost in New York. Even now, upon discussing the play my mind soundtracks it with the original song Killer Wolf. I swooned when Paul Owen took my hand and kissed it. It wasn’t Ben Aldridge, it was Paul Owen and he acknowledged me. I sobbed at the second act and his treatment of Jean; she was the character I’d always identified with. Bloody hell, I didn’t know theatre could move me so much. I felt alive.

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I had to see it again. So much so that I camped out over night to gain access to tickets for the final production. It rained and I didn’t care. I didn’t sleep and I still didn’t care. I was called irresponsible, but I don’t regret it. It’s had to explain in writing, but I saved two girls who’d arrived about 4am from having to deal with a sleazy bloke who was rubbing himself up against anyone and everyone in an attempt to jump the queue and buy tickets for a women we guessed was his girlfriend.
In a moment of bravery I called him out, I used my teacher voice and finally got them to join the back of the queue. I gained a round of applause and took a bow. Well, it was theatre after all. It was only after, I realised that my actions pretty much guaranteed the 15 year olds a spot in the audience, in which they’d witness their hero doggy-styling a over sized teddy bear.

2014 and American Psycho saw that I got to 64 shows that year. I was chasing that feeling I’d gotten from the Musical. Some couldn’t complete, but it was terribly fun finding that out.

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

About
Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she’s determined to make it without the help of her famous costume-designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one. But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope’s focus, she’s soon struggling to keep her cool…and her secret.

Theatrical blog tour.jpg

Characters

Hope is everything young me wanted to be. She’s perhaps everything all of us want to be; someone who is successful and able to make a path for themselves in the world. She also falls into the trap we all do; we assume and respond to other’s unspoken views.
You’ll be gripped by her passion, her independence and her growth throughout the book. She’s a wonderful protagonist and a perfect mirror for any reader.
My other favourite character is Hope’s mother. She doesn’t necessarily get the most time in the book, but I love the different perspectives we’re given with a first person narrative. I actually felt like this was almost the most realistic way of developing a mother within a book.

Plot

The plot centring around a work experience placement is so wonderfully refreshing and unpredictable. There is romance, but it certainly isn’t central to the plot, for me! And I think that’s the beauty of Harcourt’s work; the prominent strand or relationship is what you bring to it. For me, making my mother proud and also breaking away and do my own thing was always something I tried to balance. However someone else will find the romantic strand the driving force.

Writing

The aspects of writing that really stuck out for me was not the characterisation, but the location. There was a part in the book that I fell into. Okay, mainly because it’s boiling hot right now, but her description of the rain and darkness gave me some relief from this sticky nightmare I’m currently finding myself in.

It also speaks volumes about the writing that I have 15 students on a waiting list for my copy just from reading the first page.

Blog Tour: Not the Girls You’re Looking For

Characters
Lulu is a brilliant young woman, growing up in a mixed culture household and not knowing where she truly belongs or its impact it has on her identity. That’s all before we even get onto the fact that she’s a teenager in high school and dealing with the social etiquette of that too.
I love her fire and loyalty. She’s honest and uncompromising with her views; it gives you a good basis for the plot to revolve around.
James is a curious individual who isn’t overly likeable at first, but as Lulu gets to know him, you’ll be forgiven for having a change of heart.
Plot
It’s Easy A meets Heathers, by way of Mean Girls. You get an understanding of teen life, before Lulu’s life is turned upside down. It causes her to confront aspects of her life that she has always questioned; enabling her to understand herself a little better before the status quo is finally reached.
You don’t leave Lulu’s perspective, so her friend’s views are given to us through Lulu’s perspective or second hand news. It gives you an interesting view of what Lulu thinks of herself and others.
Writing
The writing is crisp, clean and emotional; you can clearly feel the torment of a person caught between two cultures. It is perfect for anyone wanting to understand what it feels like to almost have your very existence questioned.

Not the Girls You’re Looking For – Book except

“It’s a matter of principle.” Audrey crossed her arms.

When it came to Audrey and her sister, everything was a matter of principle. Lulu shrugged. What Lulu knew of sisters, apart from Audrey, she had taken from fiction. Lulu suspected that Audrey found her sister to be a Mary Bennet– priggish and pedantic– while Audrey’s sister probably thought of Audrey as a Lydia Bennet– thoughtless and selfish. Or maybe they were Amy and Jo March and this was all about a burnt manuscript and an heiress of a boy. Lulu found the idea of sisters fascinating, but her only vocabulary for the relationship was borrowed. She did the best she could to keep up, given the circumstance.

Audrey turned the radio back up. Lulu flicked Audrey’s fingers, like swatting a fly, and turned the radio back down. Audrey sighed. After waiting a beat, she turned up the radio in one grand, sweeping effort, “So where to first?”

“‘Emma’s, then Lo’s,” Lulu punched off the radio with her knuckles. Her ears vibrated from the aftermath of that decibel level. “Then I’m thinking tacos. We haven’t had tacos in forever.”

“Two weeks. Yes, that was forever ago.” Audrey used as much condescension as she had in her. And Audrey had been bred to hold plenty of condescension.

Lulu laughed. Her freshly won freedom made her gracious enough not to hold a grudge. She had taken the blame for the night of the pool incident, getting Audrey off nearly scot-free. But Audrey would do the same for her, even if Audrey knew the world to be a certain way. A way that didn’t hold water, but still.

Lulu made an unprotected left turn and Audrey swooped in to turned the radio back on. Lulu paid these antics no further attention. They constantly danced around like this, attracting one another with what ought to repel. The two girls chatted and laughed until they became four. How any of them could hear one another, over each other, or the music, or the wind coming into the car as it sped along, was anyone’s guess.


BOOK INFORMATION

 

TITLE: Not the Girls You’re Looking For

AUTHOR: Aminah Mae Safi

PUBLISH DATE: June 19th 2018

PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends

SYNOPSIS:

Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

 

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.

 

Debut author Aminah Mae Safi’s honest and smart novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if —especially if—you love them.

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35795940-not-the-girls-you-re-looking-for

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250151813

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/not-the-girls-youre-looking-for-aminah-mae-safi/1126791458?ean=9781250151810#/

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250151810

Audio (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/Girls-Youre-Looking-Aminah-Safi/dp/1250314577/ref=tmm_abk_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim-American writer who explores art, fiction, feminism, and film. She loves Sofia Coppola movies, Bollywood endings, and the Fast and Furious franchise. She’s the winner of the We Need Diverse Books short story contest. Originally raised in Texas, she now lives in Los Angeles, California, with her partner, a cat bent on world domination, and another cat who’s just here for the snacks.

 

Author website: http://www.aminahmae.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16090821.Aminah_Mae_Safi

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aminahmae

Instagram: http://instagram.com/aminahmae

Tumblr: http://aminahmae.tumblr.com/

Slay by Kim Curran

The most painful time in my life was when my copy of this went missing in the post. For a month, I had this feeling of knowing I *could* have read it, I *could* know how awesome it was but I couldn’t, because my postman decided to ‘return to sender’. My house appeared to be Grimmauld Place for a month or so and clearly the post man was not privy to the knowledge of the secret keeper.

Anyhow, I did get to read it. As it happens, it arrived the day after I started I Was Born For This and they made for a thematic reading pair.


It’s hard not to be biased because I was sold at the reference to Buffy. My life is lacking something teen and supernatural and SLAY fits in just perfectly.
The story hits the ground running and doesn’t stop to let you catch your breath. It’s amazing. From the moment you meet the boys of SLAY, all the way through their collaboration with Milly you will feel like you’re right with them.

Milly is a perfect protagonist. She’s relatable and new to the world of demons that the boys are so familiar with. However, she’s not going to be a damsel; she holds her own and catches up quick. Her feelings towards the band members gives depth to her character and some friction that I expect to see arise in the sequel.

The boy band. They are a riot! If only this band was real; I’d so be going to see them live. There’s a clear leader complex in JD. His frosty front will melt your heart. There is then the twins who are the perfect ying and yang. Curran has a talent for demonstrating sign language in a coherent way. Zek is my favourite and the perfect person to bring together a group that might clash without him.

It’s a perfect origins story for this group. It has the ideal pace and emotion to get you attached, but you are still left wanting so much more. I personally can’t wait to see how the relationships develop within the next book.