Posted in book review, FYI, TBR, Uncategorized

TBR Love October-November 2020 Part One

It’s the time of the year to show your TBR some love and find a new fave author or two! I’ve found four new authors I now really enjoy and you’ll find their books scattered throughout the TBR posts.

To help you find your new fave reads and authors, I’ve joined with a few fantasy and science-fiction writers in three Prolific giveaways. Bet you’ll find something that tickles your fancy in these collections. All of us authors would appreciate reviews on our eBooks if you could spare the time and enjoyed the read.

And if you’re wondering what my own little freebie for fantasy-lovers is, it’s my newest short story collection!

Read on to find the first two giveaways in time for your Halloween weekend. There’s another giveaway in November, so keep your eyes peeled 🙂

Enjoy!

Giveaways!

You Should See Me In A Crown

The Prolific Works team is proud to present the You Should See Me In A Crown Group Giveaway! This giveaway has all types of fantasy and paranormal books. Claim as many as you’d like and enjoy your new reads!


Trick-Or-Read

Happy Halloween! This Trick-Or-Read Group Giveaway is hosted by the Prolific Works team and has books from all genres, so there’s something here for everyone. You can claim as many as you’d like and enjoy your new reads!


Little Known,
Highly Recommended

Novel

The Identity Thief (YA Fantasy)
Alex Bryant

Despite its at time horrific and other triggers, this story gripped and amused me throughout in much the same manner as Lemony Snickets and Ben Aaronovitch’s work. Set in London in a world where magic is real yet mostly illusion, and drawing from ancient Greek philosophies and theatre, an intricate plot twists and turns around a traumatised boy, a girl whose mother is a magic crimes investigator and an unempathetic mimic who uses grimoires to cause havoc. The pace was perfect, the humour well placed, and the plot twists and turns in an unpredictable. Peppered with social issues and acute observations of tweens and school drama, it makes for a satisfying read for more than YA readers, in my opinion.

Novella

Lou’s Tattoos-A Comedy Of Errors(Crime/humour)
Iris Chacon

If you’re a regular TBR Love reader, who’ll know I loved Iris Chacon’s Finding Miranda. Once again, Chacon delivers quirky, fun characters, understated action and a strongly evoked settings. The story takes us back to the 90’s when tattoos weren’t as common, photography was expensive and involved rolls of 35mm and various ASAs, and annoying fellow passengers on flights were the same. Aspiring photographer and renowned tattoo artist, Lou, gets the chance of the lifetime when her photography break places her next to Galen, renowned nobody-knows-my-face photographer, on a flight he didn’t want to be on. And so the comedy of errors intensifies. It’s a quick, fun, read!

Posted in book review, fiction, FYI, Reviews of Smashwords eBooks, TBR, Uncategorized

The Secret Lives Of Senior Readers

For virtual librarians:
Ebook recommendations from my mum
for your older relatives and readers

My mum’s always surprising me. Just the other day, she mentioned she loves reading on her new tablet (her 70th Birthday gift from my Wee Bruv and Kleinsus) and that she now much prefers eBooks to print.

In fact, since the lockdown and mum’s inability to access print from the libraries every week or two, she’s been reading three to four books plus a novella or two every week—yep! Much more than I currently read. So, I thought I’d share some of my mum’s most recommended reads with you in case you’ve also become someone’s virtual librarian. Scroll further for the highly recommended if you’re in a rush as I thought I’d tell you a bit more about my mum and her reading habits first. Or, if you prefer: The Secret Lives Of Senior Readers.

NB: This post contains some affiliate links that keep us eBooks.

First: the technical stuff

Mum’s on android, so I downloaded Lithium from the GooglePlay store for her. She’s had no complaints. I’ve set the background to the one that looks like parchment or a standard paperback page, kept the font as standard black and made the font slightly larger than usual. She uses the grid view with the recently opened showing first. Sometimes, she forgets to scroll down when looking for a new book to read, but that’s okay.
She began reading eBooks on her phone a few years ago, but between the battery drain and having to hold the powerbank while she read sometimes, it wasn’t ideal. Enter Wee Bruv and Kleinsus with the tablet for her birthday. Mum’s in love with her tablet and the fact that she doesn’t need to recharge it so often even though she reads for at least four hours on most days. Also, she can read during loadshedding and not disturb Dad as much, too. Her tablet has Lithium with the same settings and what excited her a lot was the larger page area. We also set the screen brightness to about 40-45% so she doesn’t burn out her retinas and avoids eye-strain. Plus, this saves the battery, too.

Next: where mum gets her books

Short answer, me! This is where I turn into the virtual librarian. To be fair, I’ve had practice since years ago when I used to finish work early on Friday and rush over to our local library to grab an armful of books in 30mins or less. It’s kind of like the same process, only this time it’s all digital and I have one or two steps more.

I usually download books from Smashwords and some other sites that offer free and introductory reads (like Prolific), and sometimes I buy an eBook from an author we enjoyed, as long as it’s available for download as an epub. This isn’t ideal, but mum talks to more readers of her age who are more likely to seek out the print and library versions of the authors she recommends, and once mum loves a book, she loves a book. Besides, we can’t afford to buy all the books we’d like to read.
Mum doesn’t read online so that’s another reason to download the books. Truth be told, mum gets overwhelmed and bored by scrolling through the endless covers and blurbs, sorting through the menus and submenus to find her genres and braving the other hazards of finding books that appeal to her in an online store or library. I don’t mind digging for gems for mum as it’s research and often good reading for me, too! Once I’ve downloaded and run a virus-scan (you can never be too careful), I transfer the eBooks to mum’s device.

Mum’s genres

Mystery, crime, adventure, thriller, romantic suspense and family drama. Sometimes she’ll read a horror (not very often), has long since passed the erotic romance phase, and likes a good humorous story especially if it involves pets and quirky characters. We’re talking about someone who grew up reading Agatha Christie and the classics, got stuck in historical dramas in the ’70s, spent the ’80s and ’90s reading Jackie Collins and Virginia Andrews, fought us for Terry Pratchetts and Alan Dean Fosters while reading Jack Reacher novels and Dick Francis from the word go. Mum’s always moved with the times as long as the stories are good. Now she’s bingeing on eBooks. She doesn’t usually read badly formatted or poorly written books, deleting them quickly. I’ve gotta say I’m really proud of mum’s reading habits 😀

Mum’s recommendations
for 2020

Highly Recommended

Author: Wes Snowden
Mum’s most recent bingeing has been the very enjoyable Wes Snowden. We just ‘discovered’ him this year, and she’s already talking to Big Sis (a big Dick Francis fan) about this author. I’ve read one of his books so far and got so engrossed in it that I stayed up half the night to complete the story.
I believe Wes Snowden’s books are also available in print, so you may want to ask your librarian for them.
One Last Move: This is the story I’ve read, the one that had me up half the night. The characters are warm and quirky, yet relatable. The main character is honest and his predicament not one you often find in a print. This is a gentle suspense with a hint of thriller and romance. All in all, an excellent read by mum’s and my standards.
Other books by Snowden mum’s read:
Snowfall In Venice: a novella
White Swan Wishes: Mum enjoyed this one immensely. She loved the humour. When I have a day or two to spare, I’ll read this next.

Author: Camilla Monk
The Spotless Series: I got the box-set for my birthday after thoroughly enjoying Spotless (the first book) as freebie and vowed to read the rest as soon as I could afford it. Mum and I read the series almost simultaneously, so not much work got done over those few days. We had convos around: Which book are you on now? When does March come in again? Did you reach that bit where Island finds out about the bad guy?
Spotless the series has all the elements mum loves: mystery, adventure, action, romance, quirky characters, humour…
Mum’s itching to read Book 5 as much as I am. Maybe for Christmas…

Author: Cecilia Peartree
Death At The Happiness Club: This one mum recommends to senior citizens looking for an enjoyable mystery. It’s part of a series so I’ll keep an eye out for more.

Author: Lizzy Lewis
Cake And Calamity: An easy mystery read that’s worth the time, says mum.

Author: Peggy Webb
The Rules Of Engagement: Another book recommended by mum to other seniors. I believe it’s a romance mystery.

Author: Iris Chacon
Finding Miranda: I read this first and told mum she should read it next. She did. It wasn’t her usual reading, but the quirky, characters and unusual plot and general humor also won her over. I highly recommend this, and mum would recommend it to those who enjoy Carl Hiaasen with less sweary words.

Graham Wilson
This Aussie author was the first that mum read on her screen—one who got her bingeing his thriller/crime series. I haven’t read his stories yet, but they pretty much have mum glued to her screen. She tried recommending him to one of her senior friends who’s still stuck on print and was sad she couldn’t share another good author with a fellow reader of taste.

Recommended

Eric Douglas
Cayman Cowboys: Mum particularly enjoyed the setting and the scuba-diving adventure aspects. I did try reading this and found it a little too slow at the beginning for me, so some patience required in getting to the heart of the story for this one, perhaps.

Sally Berneathy
Death By Chocolate:Mum and I both enjoyed the twists and turns in this mystery. Perfect for a long-weekend or Sunday read.

Connie Shelton
Sweet Masterpiece: Another solid mystery/crime/foodie story that had both of us hooked. An added bonus for me was the focus on art.

And that’s all we have for you, folks! Happy reading to you and the senior members in your family!

Posted in book review, fiction, FYI, Reviews of Smashwords eBooks, TBR

TBR Love: September 2019

Just the one review, and some very exciting news about Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores!

Some Very Exciting News!

Want access to positive and thought-provoking speculative fiction? Not to mention exclusive tarot reads no-one else gets…and a free personal reading for that particular question that’s been bugging you.
I have your solution from $2 a month! 😀

Little Known, Highly Recommended

Spotelss by Camilla Monk from Smashwords.com

Spotless (Series #1) (romance, suspense, humor, action)
Camilla MonkA woman named Island (I know, I know) is kidnapped by a hitman with a serious (and I mean serious!) OCD problem. They’re both strangely weird people, who form a strange, but satisfying bond under various intense and upsetting circumstances involving interesting locations, bullets, blood, and various psychos.

Imagine the movie series The Transporter meets Meg Cabot’s romances meets some really great characterisation and plotting…without holes, or its slip showing at embarrassing places, or resorting to predictability or illogical plot-contortions just to keep one cinematic scene intact… I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s fun. It’s brilliant. It’s not for those who love plots-by-numbers types. I can’t wait to read the next one! But I have to. Because work.

Quest for the wholly pale 0 calories
Posted in book review, fiction, FYI, TBR

Freebies, a Sale, and 1 Very Highly Recommended

Here we are in mid-season (Summer/Winter) 2019! There are freebies for your vacations, holidays or those longer-than-usual waits for your cuppa or joe with tourists inundating your usual hangout.

With Quest For The Wholly Pale almost ready to hit your favourite bookstores, I’ve had less than usual time to read for pleasure, so just one extremely highly recommended book by Silke Stein for you. If you read nothing else on the beach this month, I suggest you read this amazing book. But first, about those freebies…

Give-aways

featured image Summer of Love giveaway
A large selection just for you. Books are changing over this long-running give-away so, so visit it more than once.

Love in all it’s forms. E-books and short stories of all lengths. Perfect for the beach or that long journey!
Summer of Love
30th May, 2019 to 1st September, 2019


Romance and Women’s Fiction for all folks.

I Do Romance Group Giveaway
16th June, 2019 to 15th July, 2019
With only 2 weeks left in this give-away grab your romance quick!

featured image Clean Science Fiction Reads
PG-13 rated eBooks to safely recommend to friends, family and maybe even your students*!
Clean Science Fiction Reads
15th June, 2019 to 31st July, 2019
From dystopian to comedic, mystery to epic, find your next science-fiction writer here.
*Ensure each book is suitable for your students by evaluating it first.

Star-crossed, destined, at crossed purposes, those misunderstandings are sure to draw your attention.

Star-Crossed: Mix-Matched Parings of Colleagues, Family, Friends, Lovers or Others – All Genres
1st July, 2019 to 31st July, 2019
Misfit meets social butterfly, rich girl and poor (or is he) guy, frenemies and your work nemesis. They’re all pairing off in unexpected ways.

Smashwords
Summer/Winter Sale
is on!

1 July-31 July 2019
Books from 25%-100% off!
There’s something to expand everyone’s TBR!
https://www.smashwords.com/shelves/promos/1/any/any

Little Known, Highly Recommended

Foam On The Crest of Waves (mystery, family drama)
Silke Stein
This wonderfully written story kept me enthralled, unable to figure out the mystery till almost the very end. Told from different viewpoints, the slow unfolding of the mystery touches on more than just the family tragedy, small town life, coming of age, and environmental issues. It also beautifully evokes the wonders of nature, art, and second chances. Never truly predictable, this story was a joy to read.
I downloaded this story in a ProlificWorks giveaway.

Hope to have more great recommends for you next month, and more on Quest, too!
Meanwhile, have a great summer/winter!