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Nicola McKenna
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Resisting The Sicilian Playboy (Modern)
Resisting The Sicilian Playboy (Modern)
by Amanda Cinelli
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong characters, an even stronger voice!, 25 Oct. 2015
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What I loved about this book was its super-fresh voice, apparent from the very first line! It's fun, fast-moving, packed with intelligent and well-drawn characters, and a cool honest dash of humour exactly when you want it. Dara is an absolute jewel of a heroine, and as the pages turn, I was honestly captivated by her strength, conviction, and self-belief - a heroine reflective of so many real women, hurrah! Leo's character is rich with description and emotion, and I loved watching him react to the challenges that Dara throws back in his face, she really was a joy to behold.

Read this book for a fun story set in beautiful Italy, but relish this fresh new voice of fiction. Resisting The Sicilian Playboy is a delicious read, and I look forward to Amanda Cinelli's upcoming publications.


Small Town Summer: Nine Contemporary Romances
Small Town Summer: Nine Contemporary Romances

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant intro to strong authors, 16 July 2015
I received an advance copy of Small Town Summer for the purpose of leaving an honest review. Not hard to give this boxset a hearty 5-stars, it was... phenomenal.

Packed with strong stories, each novella brought me right into the characters' hearts (and sometimes bodies, WOW!). I loved the different voices of each author, and I can honestly say that each of these novellas delivers richness and satisfaction in spades.

The emotion and action were straight off the bat, and gave me what I love - a fast-paced read. I delighted in the strong characters and super-real love scenes. What struck me was the snap-bang openings to each story, but what really stood out was that each story went deeper, stronger, and more real. These are novellas but you'll see that the story lengths are generous and loyal to the needs of the story being told. To boot, this box set is totally worth ten times the small cover price.

Small Town Summer truly is a gem and it's already on my keeper shelf. A fabulous intro to some authors whose backcatalog I now need to add to my reading list.

Thank you Heatherly Bell for the opportunity to read another of your amazing stories, and congratulations to all the hardworking writers of Small Town Summer.


Viking For Hire (Vikings Saga Volume 1)
Viking For Hire (Vikings Saga Volume 1)
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Strong characters in a fast-moving compelling story, 13 April 2015
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THOROUGHLY enjoyed Jo Grafford's story about Eirik and Bronwyn, two striking characters who absolutely came to life from the first page. What I enjoyed most was the tight focus on the characters' developing feelings, the growth of which felt natural and genuine and utterly compelling. I have little tolerance for flowery run-on prose so the tight writing and quick pace made for a gripping read all round.

This is the fourth story of Jo's I've read, and cannot recommend her work highly enough - rock solid storytelling with beautifully strong and charismatic heroines. Love 'em!


Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It)
Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It)
by Rochelle Melander
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock-solid investment, concrete advice with new nuggets of wisdom, 4 Nov. 2014
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As an unpublished fiction writer, I am still committed to a writing career despite being a busy mother to two smallies. I have been wishing for a book like Write-A-Thon for years, and am so glad to have it in my writer mama's tool box. It's not designed for mothers in particular, it just happens to fit my circumstances perfectly right now.
Not only does Write-a-Thon give me concrete tools and easily-implemented solutions to commit to a regular habit of writing, it consoles, motivates, and compliments my every effort to balance all parts of my life. I have experienced a recent burnout from writing, so I'm finding that Write-A-thon is a very human way to help me get myself on track again.

Right now, I am on day 4 of NaNoWriMo, so I write when the kids are in bed, but this book is seriously right beside me throughout my day. I'm getting so much support and enjoyment from this book, it is packed with advice given in a solid fashion. It is a bonus for me that the author herself is so accomplished, and is herself a parent. She knows what she's talking about. Invest in this book and your career and life will thank you! Best of luck.


Trail Of Crosses (Lost Colony Series Book 2)
Trail Of Crosses (Lost Colony Series Book 2)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jane Mannering kicks ass!, 15 Sept. 2014
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To get into Jane Mannering's head in this, the second of Jo Grafford's 'Lost Colony' books, was exactly what I'd hoped for when I finished 'Breaking Ties'. Jane is one of those incredible heroines - skilled, intelligent, warm-hearted, quick-acting, she could feature in a dozen more stories and I wouldn't tire of her. She's one of those characters I will never forget, a woman so strong and so expertly drawn she truly leaps from the page and makes me want to be exactly like her.

I loved the action and fast pace of this story, I must admit I sometimes find the language in historical novels to be of a higher register than what I like, but in Trail of Crosses, the language sounded right, authentic, as if Jane herself were narrating her tale aloud. The writing was tight and direct, plenty of description, depth of character, and lots and lots of action! Love it!

Scenes were graphic and revealing, the descriptions coming alive in this reader's mind, as the colonists fight for their lives at times. Again, I come back to the protagonist Jane, and the aliveness of being in her head for a few hundred pages was something only a skilled author can do. Nice work Jo Grafford, reading your story was a joy!


Breaking Ties (Lost Colony Series Book 1)
Breaking Ties (Lost Colony Series Book 1)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing action-packed read with a compelling heroine., 11 Sept. 2014
Breaking Ties is a beautiful story full of intrigue and action. It's a compelling plot of adventure and danger with plenty of rock solid romance. The story is told through the eyes of Rose Payne, a young Scottish woman escaping a past while she makes her way to the Americas to help colonise. I loved Rose as soon as I met her, she was drawn well with flesh and bone, a mind of her own, and a bloody strong backbone - my favourite kind of heroine. I must admit I generally don't read historical novels, but Jo Grafford's beautiful prose and compelling story has opened my mind and expanded my reading choices. I read that 'Trail of Crosses', the second novel in the Lost Colony series, is out now, so I will be reading this too.
Highly recommended.


How to Write and Sell Short Stories (Secrets to Success)
How to Write and Sell Short Stories (Secrets to Success)
by Della Galton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide from a writer who knows what she's talking about, 19 Aug. 2013
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Della's record of success speaks for itself - what she doesn't know about writing and selling short stories isn't worth knowing about! I used this book to help me to craft my first handful of short stories - the advice therein is solid and easy to follow.

An excellent guide that is sure to help you too.


How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim: Your diet-free guide to losing weight without feeling hungry! (How To Do Everything And Be Happy)
How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim: Your diet-free guide to losing weight without feeling hungry! (How To Do Everything And Be Happy)
Price: £2.49

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baby steps and gold stars, 19 Aug. 2013
I know what you're thinking. 'I can't change my eating habits.' Hmm, right. 'This won't work for me.' Really? Are you sure about that? That's what I thought too. We all know that self-belief is key to making changes, but self-belief is hard to come by. And for those who want to lose weight, self-belief can be the one thing that stands in our way.

'How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim' really is different - it's not a diet book. This bears repeating. This is not a diet book. It doesn't promise the world, but it does promise change - a bit at a time (and let's face it, a 'bit' is all the change you or I are willing to make).

How does it happen? With a simple 'gold star' system. Read the chapter, make one or two (teeny) changes at the end, and gain a star. I personally found that this system not only engages my attention throughout the book, it keeps me highly involved in MY goal, thereby harnessing my commitment to making changes for ME. I feel invested in something that's important to me. And here's the good part - the changes are so small and easy, I hardly realise I've made that commitment.

It's simple and effective. No magic, no false promises, just sound advice from people who have been where you are. And, little by little, things start changing. I am losing my baby weight right now, and a nice side effect for me is a definite boost of self-belief (woot!).

The book is packed with real-life advice, delivered with honesty and humour. The tips really are easy to implement, and you don't have to follow every single tip to achieve your goal - believe me, I will cut a corner if I possibly can, so learning that I would be slim if I followed most of the advice most of the time was very welcome news.

Both Della and Peter give frank accounts of their attempts to lose weight in the past, and it is refreshing to learn that their methods are simple, the changes incremental, and most importantly, tried time and again to be successful. The book is full of common sense advice, with a small bit of science. I personally enjoyed the narrative, and learned so much.

So glad they wrote this book. Even more glad I'm reading it.


Writing a Romance Novel For Dummies
Writing a Romance Novel For Dummies
by Leslie Wainger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent advice from an experienced editor, 11 April 2009
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This is one of a few 'romance writing' books that I keep on my desk. Leslie Waigner has produced a comprehensive guide to writing romantic fiction, and as editor at US publisher Harlequin and speaker on the craft, this lady knows what she is talking about.

This book happily coexists alongside Leigh Michaels' 'On Writing Romance' and Kate Walker's '12 Point Guide to Writing Romance'. I say this because Waigner's perspective is that of an editor, and while she examines the key elements of romance writing such as conflict, climax, and resolution, her style of writing is lighter with less in-depth examples of dos and don'ts. See Michaels or Walker for this.

However, Waigner makes up for this in many ways. She includes really useful sections that the others just touch on, for example, setting up a space in your home for writing, doing the dreaded but necessary focus on your finances and accounts, what to look out for when you are negotiating a publishing deal, as well as technical stuff like US versus UK word-counting (news to me!), and reorganising your life in order to fit in a daily word output.

The book is well structured, and I myself always learn something new. Highly recommended.


On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells
On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells
by Leigh Michaels
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't start typing without it!, 11 April 2009
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As an enthusiastic romance writer I didn't want to waste time on anything less than the bibles of romance writing. I needed to learn from the experts, and a published writer recommended this book to me. I first got the book through the library, then realised I needed this on my desk permanently. Leigh Michaels delivers quality advice in spades! Buy this book if you want to succeed. It is one of the few books on this subject that delivers what it promises. I also recommend Kate Walker's '12 point guide to writing romance'.

Michaels herself is a prolific and highly successful writer of romantic fiction, and teaches extensively on the subject. Her advice is realistic, sound, and concise. She delivers it with warmth, humanity, and what appears to be a genuine desire for burgeoning romance writers to succeed.

Michaels provides in-depth advice on areas such as research, sub-genres of romantic fiction and helps you to identify the one that suits you best. She examines the essential ingredients of romance writing, and devotes excellent sections to subjects such as conflict, believable characterisation, and dialogue. She describes the dos and don'ts of writing a sex scene, and illustrates specific solutions to fix problem areas of your manuscript, all working towards an exciting and cohesive story.

Her advice will make you look critically at your pre-draft plot, focus on the essential elements of romantic fiction, help you get over a sagging middle, and revise your manuscript pre-submission.

Finally, Michaels includes a useful section covering query letters, the dos and don'ts of submissions, agents versus going alone, and what to do when you get a rejection slip.
Her introduction says it all, she'd 'have given anything to have the book you're now holding in your hands'. This book is worth every cent - buy it and enjoy!


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