Holiday Reading

Here are the books we are reading over the winter holidays.

This post does contain affiliate links. To learn more about these please visit my Affiliate Disclosure page.

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

This book was gifted to me by my cousin. My personal goal is to read it in December, but it’s a big book and I’m a slow reader.

The book is really special as it has art work every couple of pages.

This book makes me fantasy about a life where I could read all day. It’s the sort of book you are sad to put down. It reminds me of interview of a vampire, except it’s the vampire interviewing a vampire Hunter to record his tales before ultimately dying (I’m guessing the end).

Snuggled on the sofa with my book 📖

Julia & the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

I saw how incredible this book looked on Instagram, and decided to buy it for my son’s Christmas Eve box. I like to give them PJs and a new book the night before Christmas so they are excited to go to bed. 😂

The book is extra special as it is signed by the author. The book’s edges are decorated with crows, and their is art work and velum pages inside.

The first chapter was sad as the child’s mother has died. However, my son was fascinated about the idea of someone living in a lighthouse and is excited to get to the “shark” bit. I actually don’t know if there is any sharks in the story but we’ll read & find out.

Roald Dahl Collection

As a child I loved Roald Dahl. My son borrowed George’s Marvellous Medicine from schools for we were really enjoying it, but ran out of tile before it had to be swapped.

So, I bought this set for him for Christmas so we could relive mummy’s childhood reading together. This pack of six cost £14.99 from Scholastic.

Christmas Day he started The Twits and read three chapters together. He enjoyed it so much that he’s continued reading more on his own. This is great, as books are competing with computer games, and he is a gamer.

The Girl & The Dinosaur by Hollie Hughes

I chose this book because my daughter has red hair and is into dinosaurs at the moment.

The story is about a little girl that digs up dinosaur bones at the beach. The beach looks a lot like Felixstowe – awesome. She then wishes that the dinosaur would come to life. Then, with magic, the dinosaur comes to life and they go on an adventure.

I love stories about imagination. I think imagination is underrated but without it many cool things would never have been created.

Tilda Tries Again by Tom Percival

This was a gift from my family to my daughter. My son already has Perfectly Norman. It’s part of Big Bright Feelings series.

The story is about a little girl (with red hair) that feels her world has turned upside down and doesn’t want to play with the other children. She then stops trying at everything. Then she watches a upside down ladybug right itself, and it inspires her to start trying again. Finally she is confident enough to try playing with the other children.

It was a nice read with a good message . My daughter is crazy confident but I was a very shy little girl. This book would have been amazing for me, and if my daughter ever loses her confidence, it’s nice we have this book on her shelf.

Book Token

Getting a book token is an incredible gift.

National Book Token: My kids were fortunate enough to get a book token for Christmas so we are planning an outing to a local bookshop so they can choose their own book. Book Tokens can also be spent online at Bookshop.org.

Amazon Voucher: My online book friends clubbed together and treated me for my birthday. I waited until after Christmas to spend it incase I got books as gifts. Now, I get to spend it. 🥰

Smashwords: Smashwords sell eBooks that can be read on any device or app, and are saved in the readers library. They have the option to gift eBooks which is a cool option to consider. Just pick the book you want and choose to gift, and the book will be sent to your recipient.

The cold weather is a perfect excuse to curl up with a new book. I hope you are reading something you love, and I’d love to hear what it is.

[kofi]

Book Review: Dear Diary by Kevia Dauphiney

Dear Diary Book Review
Dear Diary Blurb

I met the author on IG and loved her posts. She’s very open and honest about being a writer & a mother. Her posts made me laugh out loud, more than once.

When she announced she was looking for ARC readers for her novel Dear Diary I was on board. It knew it was going to be brilliant and Kevia didn’t disappoint!

Setting

The book is set in today’s world. The MC lives in America with her husband and kids.

Main Character

The main character is an overwhelmed mother of four kids. She’s a strong Christian (or at least tries to be) and she home schools. The diary is her ramblings as she off loads all the drama placed on her shoulders.

Review

This story is an easy read. Many mother’s would be able to relate to the drama that unfolds in the diary entries. It felt like I was reading a real diary. The way it’s told made me laugh out loud.

I gave it 5 stars although I wished some diary entries had been shorter as my little ones interrupts me a lot. But, it’s easy to get into and I’d definitely recommend it.

This should be a staple gift at every baby shower to really prepare new mums of what to expect in an entertaining way.

[kofi]

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Below are some affiliate links. You can discover more about these on my Affiliate Disclosure page.

Reading Challenge: Blind Date by Debbie

About the challenge

The challenge was set by World Indie Warriors on Instagram. They created three #WIWBingo boards; YA, Romance, and Fantasy.

The aim is to read and review the books on Instagram and tag @worldindiewarriors

The goal is to get three in a line, and help indie books get seen.

I’m doing the challenge. I’ve already read some of the books on the board so I’ll be reposting them this month, and I’m hoping to read some new one too.

The Book Review

Here is my post of my old review for Blind Date by Debbie Ioanna. I shortened it for social media.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:

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World Indie Warriors Brochure

Below are some affiliate links. To learn more about these please visit my Affiliate Disclosure Page.

Book Review: Blind Date by Debbie Ioanna

I chose this book because it got me my BINGO in the Summer Reading challenge by World Indie Warriors. And, I’m so glad I did!

Setting

Jenny (the MC) lives in a flat with her cat, Bing. She works in customer service, handlings complaints. Her mum & BFF are sending her on blind dates as they’re as desperate for her to meet someone, maybe more desperate than Jenny is.

Main Character

Jenny is a relatable character. She tries hard, but things always go wrong, often with hilarious consequences. She’s crushing on a guy at work that’s not into her, or could he be? But, the situation is never right and she’s off on another blind date.

Bing isn’t the main character but he is such a star in the book I had to mention this cat. In fact he is probably my favourite fictional pet, ever!

Another character I loved was the BFF, Sarah. This girl was always just a phone call away, picking Jen’s spirits up after disaster dates, and laughing with her (and the reader).

Review

I’m a slow reader and I devoured this book in a weekend! This is so well written. There’s hilarious moments in every chapter, and jokes that are weaved through the book that get funnier ever time.

I loved so many of the characters. Bing is my all time favourite fictional pet. Sarah is an amazing BFF! The dream guy was perfection. I lived for every moment in his presence.

I had a friend that went on some entertaining blind dates and this book brought those stories back. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

[kofi]

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Below are some affiliate links. You can discover more about these on my Affiliate Disclosure page.

Book Review: Seducing the Substantial Meal

This isn’t my usual read. I rarely read erotica, and I’ve never read satire. But, when author Florian Green offered me a copy in December I gave it a go.

The Setting

It’s set during the first Covid 19 lockdown in the UK. During the pandemic we’ve had lots of rules change, and some rules are silly.

For example, punters could not drink at a pub unless they bought a ‘substantial meal’. This rule seemed ridiculous as nobody believes the virus will leave you in peace just because you’re eating food. For pubs to open they had to make sure they sold food, and peanuts, crisps, and pork scratchings, was not enough. It had to be a substantial meal.

The Characters

Fanny is the MC and a land lady. She owns a pub but doesn’t yet offer food. If she wants to keep her doors open then she needs to solve that.

There is an inspector checking up on Fanny and putting on the pressure. He’s not a nice guy, a bit of a creep.

There is one other substantial character but I won’t share as it’ll ruin the end.

My Review

This was a funny book and not like anything I have read before. Although it has erotic scenes they were more satire. The story has an entertaining plot and uses lots of puns. I think it’d help to understand the UK Lockdown for some of the jokes, but it’s a quick light hearted read that will make most laugh.

[kofi]

This book was unlike anything I have read before, so I thought about other steamy reads for you to check out (note they’re nothing like the above book). Check out:

Book Review: Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne

Book Review: Blind Tiger by Rachel Vincent

Book Review: Lion’s Share by Rachel Vincent

Book Review: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Find your Summer Reads in the latest WIW Brochure

This June the latest World Indie Warriors Brochure was released.

Indie Books

The brochure is packed full of indie books, their blurbs, where to buy and how to connect with the authors. But, thats not all…

Indie Services

There is a directory of service providers. These are small indie business offering services that support the indie community. It’s a great resource to discover cover designers, book formatters, editors, coaches and marketing.

Indie Products

The brochure also showcases indie businesses that make and sell their own products. This enables you to discover unique and custom items that can’t be bought in mainstream shops.

Articles

The brochure is full of useful information from start to finish. There are tips for readers and an interview with a book blogger. There is an interview with the author who won a book cover contest. And you can discover what World Indie Warriors is all about.

It’s FREE to download

If you’ve read this far, you probably want to know how to get your hands on it.

Just visit their website and download it.

How to get included in the next edition?

The brochure is to showcase World Indie Warrior members. To join you just need to follow them on Facebook or Instagram – they are working on a forum.

They do lots of different activities to support the indie community. For example, this month, they are doing CampNaNo on Instagram and have a goal tracker on Facebook. Being part of a team is a great way to stay motivated towards achieving whatever creative goal you set.

If you check their blog you’ll find details on how to get your content included in the next edition.

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Camp NaNo April 2020 progress

WIW Brochure December 2019

Behind the Book: Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield

I feel so honoured to get to share with you a behind the scenes of Number Eight Crispy Chicken, a novel by Sara Neofield. Here is the book trailer:

 

What inspired you to write Number Eight Crispy Chicken?

I was inspired to pick up writing again after a long hiatus when I was stranded in an airport due to a cancelled flight. The resultant book – about a hotel inspector – was terrible, but it rekindled my love of writing.

The next time I was stranded in an airport, I wrote about the experience, and wondered what character might benefit from being in that situation. That’s when I hit upon the idea of an immigration minister, trapped in an airport.

Sarah Neofield with Number Eight Crispy Chicken

For years, the right to seek asylum and the fair, compassionate treatment of asylum seekers has been an interest of mine. But in my conversations with others, I found there were other, competing stories out there, which demonised those seeking refuge. To my dismay, otherwise kind, decent people seemed to believe the narratives peddled by those in power who seek to divide us.

The overall goal of my writing is to use humour to get readers to engage with the kinds of topics that are hugely important, but which we might otherwise ignore. Sometimes the world’s problems can seem insurmountable. Like there’s nothing we can do, so why even bother.

That’s why hearing that someone read my book, and changed their mind even a little about, for example, treating our fellow human beings with compassion, brings me great joy.

You enjoy travelling – which countries have you enjoyed visiting most? 

Since leaving my job as a university lecture a few years ago, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit sixty different countries. Every single one has taught me something.

I think every country has its strengths that others could learn from – I especially love visiting unique museums that teach you something about one aspect of a place in depth, like the rainwater ‘theme park’ in India, or the butter museum in Ireland.

Choosing one or two places I’ve enjoyed visiting most is really hard, but Japan always holds a special place in my heart since I spent a year on exchange there when I was growing up, and I love to go back and visit my “second family”.

What genre is Number Eight Crispy Chicken this and do you read similar books?

I would consider Number Eight Crispy Chicken to be a sort of literary, satirical book, or perhaps even a social novel. I can’t say I’ve read any books exactly like it (which is why I had to write it!) but I was inspired by the works of Robert Tressell, Margaret Atwood, Charles Dickens, and Kurt Vonnegut.

One early reader told me Number Eight Crispy Chicken reminded her of 1984, which of course thrilled me! In terms of humour, I love British comedic writing (I’m a big fan of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and of course, PG Wodehouse!)

How long did this novel take from the first idea to publishing? 

From the moment I started tapping out words in the airport hotel which bears a striking semblance to the one Peter enjoys, to the release date of January 2020, three years, almost to the day!

Why did you choose to self publish?

I have wanted to be an author ever since I can remember. When I started school, my class was tasked with creating fabric representations of ourselves in the future for a quilt. I created a rather detailed rendition of myself as an author, painstakingly drawing in all of the individual pages in the stack of books my future self had apparently written. Unfortunately, one of the mums helping the class deemed it ‘too fiddly’ to cut out of cotton, and suggested something easier, like a checkout operator at Target instead.

As things go, I didn’t end up working at Target (which is probably a good thing, considering the only Target in my hometown closed down!). But I did end up writing a book. Several, actually.

After completing my PhD in Linguistics, I wrote and edited a number of academic books, book chapters, and journal articles. While I still love research, my heart was still with fiction, which was why, after a number of years of hard-core saving and investing, when my husband and I finally quit our jobs to travel the world, I returned to my first love, creative writing.

As for why I became an indie author specifically… Like many authors, I began by sending my manuscript out to publishers. I knew I didn’t want to send my work to a large publisher from the start, but I became increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of even a small publisher having control over my work as time went on. While I completely respect the work of those in the publishing industry, I wanted to write something a bit different. It was a feeling I’d experienced before, and I knew that I had to be brave and go down the indie path.

Number Eight Crispy Chicken released 20 January 2020

Please share a snippet “teaser” of your novel?

Peter shoved his way to the front of the queue, and with a flash of his Priority Clearance card, tossed his luggage onto the belt. As the X-ray machine swallowed his bag, airport security eyed Peter’s cardboard tube. ‘You’ll have to open that up,’ the agent prodded at the sticky-taped plastic lid.

‘It’s just plans.’

‘Government regulation.’

Peter peeled off the tape, his stubby fingernails scraping against virgin cardboard. The plastic lid popped, like on a bottle of soda.‘See?’

‘You’ll have to remove the contents.’

‘This is ridiculous!’ The new security measures meant Peter had needed to arrive a full three hours early to be metal detected, swabbed, patted down, and sniffed. Surely his Priority Clearance status should afford him better treatment. He’d have to ask Percy when he got back to the office.

‘Government regulation,’ the agent repeated, bearing his yellowed, broken teeth, rivered with cracks. The sight almost made Peter wish he hadn’t voted against the Dental Care Act.

Download the first three chapters for free on my website: Click here for the FREE sample!)

What novel are you working on now? 

I’ve got a number of projects on the go (I’ve always been a hopeless multitasker!) but the project I’m most excited about is called Propaganda Wars.

Propaganda Wars is about cousins who, growing up in a city separated by ideology, split into two opposing countries by a formidable wall, one day meet – and how they perceive life on the other side.

It’s inspired in part by my travels through the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and modern-day socialist Asia – countries which, when I was born, were out of reach – and in part by the surreal world of today’s fake news, ‘reality’ shows, ‘social’ media and hyper consumerism, and the firewalls and bubbles of today’s internet landscape.

What is a typical day in the life of author Sarah? 

Since leaving my job to travel, my ‘typical day’ is really quite variable, but it usually involves budget accommodation, finding something to cook, learning to speak or at least read a bit of the language around me, and sometimes, a long-distance bus or train trip.

I enjoy reading and writing (of course!) but also exploring in my travels – both usual sightseeing activities, and exploring abandoned places. To date, some of my favourite explorations have been an abandoned theme park, tuberculosis hospital, bobsleigh track, and an airplane graveyard.

Tell us an interesting fact about your novel? 

I read over a hundred books, articles and websites in order to research Number Eight Crispy Chicken. While the story is light-hearted, and the characters and institutions depicted are entirely fictitious, the policies and events presented are sadly grounded in real life. (You can find out more at https://www.sarahneofield.com/resources/)

Where can we buy it and find out more about you? 

Number Eight Crispy Chicken is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, B&N and Apple.

You can find out more about me on my website sarahneofield.com where you’ll find a free sample of the book, reading guide, and resources.

Sarah Neofield’s author bio

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@Redfae