Monday, 31 August 2015

What constitutes a trashy novel?

I always thought the answer was gratuitous sex scenes amongst shallow characters, but others have told me it's an insignificant plot.

I Googled the answer and (palpitations!) it brought up chick lit. Chick lit! Surely not. Other answers are a formulaic book written for scandal or simply a badly-written book. It seems no one really knows the true answer. Maybe it's an easy-reading book that you've enjoyed?

When I brought up this question with a group of writers, a gentleman answered: ‘Any book written by a female.’

Yeah, I know, idiot, and not because the group was mainly made up of women. So the question is still out there—what constitutes a trashy novel?

Meanwhile, my own trashy, chicklit novel (with no gratuitous sex scenes or insignificant plot) is now free in the Amazon lending library. Feel free to check it out:
A Proper Charlie

 What’s a girl to do when she discovers her boss is a wanted man?


She's losing her job.
She's losing her boyfriend.
She can only afford to eat spaghetti hoops on toast.
She's called Charlie... Charlotte, ginger, ginge, Duracell or carrot.
Yet with all these odds against her, she pushes forward to take the lead story on her paper at London Core.

Shame no one knows.

Shame she's the office general assistant and not a real journalist. Shame it's on missing prostitutes and Charlie thinks pretending to be a 'tart with a heart' will get her that story.
She doesn't just get a story.
She becomes the starring role.

 Unashamedly trashy!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Jason Ayres


My Tomorrow Your Yesterday


Sometimes I buy and review a book just because it's one I want to read for pleasure, and My Tomorrow Your Yesterday was one such book.

It wasn't the cover that pulled me in on this occasion, it was the strong blurb. The first sentence tells us about the protagonist, he's 54 and he's about to die. The second sentence tells us 'the next day, he woke up'. If that doesn't pull in time travel-loving readers nothing will!

The cover is strong. The back to front calendar and a lone man staring up at it in confusion completely matched the blurb.

The title also summed up the story, so all in all, blurb, title and cover all corresponded nicely together.

Look inside began with the Epilogue with the title Death and introduced the protagonist Thomas Scott. He’s in hospital, confused and obviously dying. There is a woman sitting by his bedside and she says, ‘Happy New Year Dad.’ Then he dies.

The next chapter is labelled Cancer, and Thomas wakes feeling well enough to watch TV. A news broadcast tells him ‘preparations are underway for tonight’s New Year celebrations’ and so, remembering the woman’s ‘Happy New Year’ words from yesterday is confusing for the protagonist. 

It's a strong opening.

During the story we are taken, alongside the lead character, on a journey to slowly realise we’re going backwards in life. Each day runs forwards, but in the early hours of the morning we’re pinged back to the start of the day before.

So as Thomas slowly starts to ‘get better’ from cancer he realises he can make changes so he never gets the illness in the first place by not smoking and eating healthy, although he wakes up every day with nicotine withdrawal symptoms until he hits the point where he first began smoking and simply doesn’t begin. Here, I wonder why he went through the pain of the withdrawal when, by not starting to smoke, it’d never happen anyway?

Thomas doesn’t remember his life so the people coming and going are new to him ie his daughter, but the connection between him and his family is strong and touching.

The author takes Thomas through a sticky patch where he seeks out prostitutes and has a girlfriend almost thirty years his junior, which I found distasteful, but Thomas is obviously a lonely middle-aged man. There is evidence of a wife, killed by a drunk driver, and as Thomas is pulled backwards through time he plans to save her and maybe change his sad future.

The author doesn’t take us through every single day of Thomas’ backwards life but in significant periods where the character makes changes to alter his future. We’re not told why any of this has happened but that only adds to the mystery and appeal of this book.

And when Thomas relives his own birth it 'resets' time and he begins life going the correct way but we're not told if he remembers anything of his other topsy-turvy life or even he’s destined to yo-yo for eternity.

All in all this is a fantastic story for time-travel lovers. So unique and quirky, and worthy of a 5/5. It’s British so expect Britishisms.

I didn’t find any errors in the book.

When 54 year old Thomas Scott wakes up in a hospital bed on New Year’s Day he has no memory of who he is or why he is there. Racked with pain from a terminal illness, death swiftly follows.

The next day he awakes to find himself alive again and confused, especially when he discovers that it is now New Year’s Eve. As the days pass he begins to realise that he is living his life backwards one day at a time.

So begins the extraordinary tale of a man who goes to sleep on Sunday nights and wakes up on Saturday mornings: A man who cannot form a meaningful relationship with a woman because when he jumps back to the previous day, she has no memory of him. And a man who can win a fortune from gambling any time he likes, but has only one day to spend it.

Trying to find some purpose in life he resolves to find out as much about his own personal history as he can. Learning of the death of his wife and an attack on his daughter, he prepares to make changes in the past to secure their future.

From middle-aged father all the way back to childhood, the passing years present all manner of different challenges as he grows ever more youthful.

Set in and around Oxford between the years of 1970 and 2025, this unique concept for a time travel novel features plenty of humour, nostalgia and “what if?” moments.

Taking place in the same universe as the author's Time Bubble series, this is a standalone novel aimed at a more adult audience. It can be enjoyed without the need to have read those earlier books.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Vivian Mayne

The Flame and The Moth (Etherea Book 2)

The Flame and The Moth (Etherea Book 2)
Vivian Mayne
The cover didn't draw me in at all. I loved the rich chocolate colour but the design, picture and silhouette of the person was nondescript to me. All it made me think of was the genre history, and The Flame and the Moth is as far from history as you could get.

The title was intriguing: it told me of something dangerous (the flame) and something vulnerable (the moth) and of course it's book 2 of a book that I've already read: The Curse of Fin Milton. The theme is magic, sorcery, ghosts, adventure and a family feud. It isn't a light read and it's in multi viewpoint, which does make it difficult to stay in tune with the main character.

The look inside got straight into the story with Fin Milton astral planing (a sort of out-of-body travel. Beats rush hour, that's for sure!) through New York. The first line made me think of impending doom for this strong character: It wasn't the first time Finn Milton had astral planed through New York city, but it would prove to be his last.

Finn has many magical abilities: astral planing, reading minds and heightened hearing. He lives alongside others with his abilities in modern England in the seaside town of Cornwall. An excellent location because Cornwall is steeped with folklore legends.

Finn's now with his sweetheart, Ellie, and she's heavily pregnant. Together they travel back to Cornwall because Finn's father had been involved in an incident, which has put him in a coma in hospital. Finn was shocked to hear this news, so I couldn't understand why it took him several more days to visit his dad, albeit he sent someone else (Branna) before he'd even left New York, but still, once back in England Finn slept, ate and chatted about NY before seeing his dad. 

And again, when his beloved wife went into labour, he spent more time with new friends instead of rushing to her side. These characterizations make Finn a little cold, and I don't think that was the author's intention. Also, there was a lot of talk about Finn being powerful, but he didn't come across like that to me. He was a likeable character, but he relied on too many people to be 'powerful'.

Branna was a character that was powerful, however. She didn't seem to need anyone, and she is one character who stayed with me since book 1. She was the reason for the family feud beginning by killing her evil father and brother in book 1, but they were the bad guys so they had to go.

Other than my nitpicks, this is an interesting story of a family at war with one another, and I was so batting for the Milton's! 

The Connelly's (the baddies) are an evil bunch and don't care who they hurt to get to Finn Milton. The book seemed to come alive the more madder and crazier Cillian became. He was one scary person!

The book was addictive, and I couldn't once predict the ending. It had lovely friendships between the characters and The Flame and The Moth truly was bad verses evil.

A few typos, mainly the speech mark being inside punctuation, but nothing spectacular. The men in the story, with an exception to Cillian, appeared a little effeminate but otherwise great characterisation.

The mixed POV took away some of the story's power and needs to be contained, or even eradicated completely, to make this an excellent book.

Overall, an interesting story which would probably appeal to the YA genre.


A violent family is bent on revenge using enchantments and mind control. This time Finn needs help. Aside from mastering soul light and telekinesis to astral planing to a deadly spiritual realm filled with Sentries, he is getting married and having a baby. 
 Welcome to the crazy world of Finn Milton!

Set in modern day New York, London and Cornwall, England, this enchanted ghost story follows the trials of Finn Milton and his fiancée Ellie Morgan who are about to start a normal family life. But a dark omen has proven they will always have a part to play. For all parties, breaking from their past has grave consequences.

After Finn's destruction of Shannon Connelly’s talisman the year before, another one surfaces. Its existence and unknown location threatens the lives of all Finn cares for. At the same time he is targeted by a ruthless nemesis who is attracted by his unique and powerful soul light. This time Finn needs help and forms a possé. Aside from mastering soul light and telekinesis, the choice he makes has massive repercussions.

When I started writing The Flame and The Moth I wanted it to be a solid follow-up to The Curse of Finn Milton. For this reason alone there are more ghosts, new characters and a spiritual location far far away in the distant cosmos. As with the first book, I undertook intensive research into the local history of Cornwall. Wartime in St Ives caught my imagination and found itself fused within an integral flash back. – Vivian Mayne, 2015