A prompt request

17 Jan

Hey guys, so it Saturday already. This year sure is flying swiftly by, huh? It’s already the freaking 17th. Wow!

Anyway, just wanted to ask for some writing prompts for tomorrow. You know, Short Story Sunday and all. I feel like a challenge.

So, don’t feel shy. Just leave me a comment for a prompt on what you’d like tomorrow’s story to be about.

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

REVIEW: Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

16 Jan

Title: Practice Makes Perfect
Author: Julie James
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Humour
Rating:

SYNOPSIS
Behind closed doors, they’re laying down the law.

When it comes to the laws of attraction…

Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face-to-face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they have kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as coworkers for one reason: to make partner at the firm.

There are no rules…

But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. Though apprehensive at first, they begin to appreciate each other’s dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection does not last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it’s an all-out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar.

MY THOUGHTS
So, I’m on a roll with my contemporary reads, huh? Somebody stop me. And by stop I mean, “Do anything but stop me. Join me, recommend me some other must reads because this sh#t is good and I want more”.

Before there were ebooks, there were Mills and Boon. I was sucker and always snuck into my sisters stash and read those babies like there was no tomorrow. Then, I started having some money and I’d buy my own on the streets. Good times.

Now, thanks to ebooks, I have access to such a deep pool of great books and authors. It’s like heaven on earth or some other cheesy thing that people say.

So, about the book:
Sexy? Check.
Witty? Check.
Funny? Check.
Romantic? Check
Enjoyable banter? Double Check.
Drool-worthy moments? Hell Yes. Check.
Loveable Characters? Check.
Ding. Ding: it’s me we are talking about. Payton is a successful badass lawyer. Um…are you really surprised that I love her?
J.D is a douche. Okay, not really. He’s just a man.

What more can I say? It was a fun, entertaining and seriously hilarious read. I’m talking…

You guessed it. Rolling on the floor and hope no one is looking because you are probably looking like a loon with your ridiculous laughter. Okay, so maybe not really rolling on the floor like a loon, but it was still funny.

This book just gave a new meaning to playing dirty.

Any book where a character breaks her heel and tumbles to the floor- ripping her tight pencil skirt and showing everyone…in court (judge, jury, the audience) her butt-cheeks because she chose to wear a thong that day- but still manages to brush it off and make a joke about it, is a win for me. Who wouldn’t enjoy such a read?

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

REVIEW: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

16 Jan

Title:Wallbanger
Author: Alice Clayton
Genre: Contemporary, Romantic Comedy, Erotic
Rating:

SYNOPSIS
The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight…

MY THOUGHTS
Look alive people. O has left the building. And no, I’m not talking about Oprah.

Can I dish out six stars? I think I just did.
I give it 6 “O-filled-zucchini-bread-eating-sizzling-hot-panty-incinerating-tear-dropping-hold-your-tummy-cause-this-book-is-hilariously-epic” stars.

P.S: O is for Orgasm. Don’t look at me like that.

This book was WALLBANGING great. It was so funny and I probably looked like a retard all through this read.

It was filled to the brim with sexual frustration, O-lessness, Zucchini bread, and one hilarious page after the other. I freaking loved it. The wit, the snarky dialogue, the characters, the cat. Yes, you read right. The cat was part of my enjoying this book. And I mean the animal, not my innocent way of referring to the hoohah. So good.

Caroline AKA “pink nightie girl” just became my favourite Female character this year. It was entertaining reading her POV. Did I mention she refers to ‘lower Caroline’ in the third person? That’s right. After her ‘O drought”, she sort of started to talking to it. I know.

And Simon AKA “Wallbanger”, well, I liked him. Despite his harem, well it’s what Caroline called it. Any other time I would have minded it, but hey, they were adults and all consenting. Whatever floats their boat. Who am I to judge?
Anyway my point is, I liked Simon. Come on, you know me by now. Any book that has a sarcastic, funny and ‘charming’ main guy is an instant love for me. *cough* *cough* and hot *cough*

I started reading this one and I didn’t want to put it down.

The other characters were also well developed. So good. And the last chapter in the Cats POV -don’t ask, just go with it- was just the cherry on the sexual-frustrated-not-even-George-Clooney-can-bring-back-the-O awesome cake.

I wanna read it all over again.

*And I know this review seems a bit off, you can’t blame me. I’m still feeling the rush of this read 😀

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

Top Ten Most Annoying Book Characters

13 Jan

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten 2014 releases I meant to read but didn’t get to

I wanted to do this one but after a talk I had with my sister, I thought I’d do a top ten of what our chat was about instead. So for this week, I’ll do a top ten of some of the most annoying characters.

You know those characters that make you want to shout at the book (or your phone), throw it across the room because of what they do, what they say. It makes you wonder if the author intended it that way. You roll your eyes so much and curse more than a freaking YMCM rap video.

You get so frustrated that at times bile starts to rise up and you almost shred your poor innocent book. (PS. I’ve never done such an evil act as shredding a book)

Now I know most of you won’t agree with my list lol. Just read on and tell me what you think.

So, here I go:

  1. Joffrey Baratheon – A song of Ice and Fire
  2. Now, I know that technically I haven’t read the books but that sadistic evil little douchebag annoyed me so much in the series, I just had to include him in my list. I freaking hated him.

  3. Anastasia Steele – Fifty Shades Trilogy
  4. Oh Ana, Ana, Ana. For those of you who read my Fifty Shades review before I removed it, you can agree that I had one nasty rant. It wasn’t pretty. Miss Steele was one main character I desperately wanted to love but ended up being frustrated with.

  5. Ellie – Angelfire Series
  6. So, she is supposed to be The chosen one. The wielder of these ancient blades. An Immortal tasked with saving us all from the reapers, right? And what does she do? She complains about her birthday party being ruined. Always thinks about shopping, boys and going to the movies. Totally disregards her duties and never seems to understand the severity of her actions. It was all Gucci this, Prada that with this ‘Heroine’. If we left our fate to Ellie I’m afraid we’d all be doomed.

  7. Bella Swan – The Twilight Series
  8. Two words…MARY SUE. Whether it’s the movies or the books, Bella was a character I just couldn’t relate to. EVER. Her thoughts, her actions, he beliefs…pretty much everything about her never sat well with me. As the main character, instead of inspiring me to be better or to make the right choices, she just came off as annoying and boring.

  9. Blake – The Lux Series
  10. Ah. The arrival of Blake in The Lux Series didn’t come as a surprise to me. I’d gotten used to love triangles and thought YA romance was synonymous with ‘YA love triangles”… Oh well, then he turned out to be nothing more than a two-timing, back stabbing, annoying jackass. What a jerk. And he was a creeper.

  11. Dolores Umbridge – Harry Potter series
  12. Is there really anything more I can say about this character?

  13. Legion – Lords of the Underworld
  14. Ugly demon turned Hottie, I hated her when she was scaly and I hated her after her transformation. Her obsession with beauty and Aeron annoyed me. Each time a scene with her in it comes up my nose crinkles and my forehead furrows. Okay, fine after her experience in hell, I pitied her but yeah, she still makes the list.

  15. Olivia – Cursed
  16. So, I know she’s just a kid and we should love these adorable little angels. No matter what. Yeah, I didn’t love her. I gave this book a high rating, now that I think about it I think it’s my JLA admiration. All the characters in Cursed pretty much annoyed me. I think I’ll re-review the book just to be fair

  17. Lexi – The Ivy
  18. Now for this one, I just put the first mean girl that popped in my head. I won’t talk about Lexi. I’ll talk about all other characters who are like Lexi.
    So, this goes out to all those popular girls in most highschool or college novels. She’s a slut, she’s rich, she’s captain of the cheer squad, she’s president of the drama club. You name it. I find all such characters annoying. Come on! Who doesn’t find bullies annoying?

  19. Harry Potter – Harry Potter series
  20. Hahaha. I bet you didn’t see this one coming did you? I love Harry Potter. I have since I was like 10, he’s awesome. What annoyed me about Harry were his detective skills. He was always suspecting the wrong people. Always jumping to the wrong conclusion.

So there’s my list, what are some of the most annoying characters you’ve encountered?

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

REVIEW: The Note by Teresa Mummert

12 Jan

Title: The Note (originally published as The Suicide Note)
Author: Teresa Mummert
Genre: Contemporary Romance.
Rating:

SYNOPSIS
Sometimes in life it feels like everything that can go wrong does, but everything happens for a reason. A relationship crumbles so someone else can mend the pieces of your broken heart. A change of plans can lead you to something you didn’t even know you were missing. We help others and discover that it was us who needed to be helped all along.

Jenn’s life is nothing as she had imagined it would be. She is twenty-something with a failing career and her love life has officially ended with an ultimate act of betrayal. She is ready to throw away her dreams when a chance run-in with a soldier, dealing with his own misfortunes, altars her course and changes her perspective on life.

Everything happens for a reason.

MY THOUGHTS

“She was my gravity. She was the light in the darkest of my days, and her smile ignited a flame inside of me that had gone out a long time ago”

The Note is an inspiring love story that I personally enjoyed. I have been leaning into the paranormal YA field for sometime now that contemporary novels have kind of been taking a back seat. This story reminded me why I should read more contemporary romances. Why I used to enjoy them in the first place.

It was a romantic, funny, cutesy and at times heartwrenching story. I loved the plot. Two people from different walks of life meet and from that run-in, a beautiful love story begins. It was a believable relationship and though Jenn annoyed me at times, I loved reading about her.

She was 20-something, or like she said “old enough to know better” and despite all that, she came off as a bit of a cry baby. Okay, fine, in her shoes, I’d feel crappy about my life too. So, I gave her a pass. She had a douche ex and a somewhat selfish sister, an awful job and parents who sucked. Add in some hell dates in there and you have yourself a messed up protagonist.

Shane stuck around because he wanted to help her, to save her but in the end it turned out that she was his salvation. They ended up saving each other. In a world where all he knew was death, blood and sand, she opened his eyes to a what he was missing out on.

“You were the light when my entire world was dark. You gave me a reason to keep going when all I wanted to do was give up.” – Shane ❤

I'm a sucker for beautiful words and I always go "awww" whenever the guy describes just how he feels about the girl. Come on. We read romance for a reason.


(Image from Author’s review)

Shane was a loveable character and like most soldiers I’ve read about, he was a perfect gentleman. I have to admit that I got a bit of a “Dear John” vibe when I was reading this. Whether that bugged me out of made me love it more, I still don’t know.

Now, I just want to pick up more books by Teresa Mummert 🙂

Have you read The Note? What did you think of it?

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Ellen Allen Author of “The Sham”

12 Jan

Hey guys, remember when I mentioned that I’d introduce a new segment on my blog (as part of my resolutions)? Well, today I’ll post my first ever author interview. It’s an exciting day for me. Do stick around and read thoroughly. You’ll definitely learn something :).

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing the lovely Ellen Allen, indie author of YA thriller The Sham.

Ellen Allen

Hi Ellen, thank you for agreeing to this interview. It’s great to have you on my little blog.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Three years’ ago I quit my job in London and moved with my small daughter to the south of France. The plan was to stay for a few months – to fulfill a lifelong dream of lollygagging in rosé wine vineyards, writing a book, getting the hang of French grammar, etc. – but we haven’t been able to leave!

We’ve built a new life here, complete with jobs, schools, and French subjunctive tenses – as well as the vineyards and writing! – and the best part is that we’re only a few hours away by train from our family in London. It’s also sunny here, roughly 300 days a year…

I’m not sure that I have many strange quirks but I love wild swimming; my favourite spots are under Pont du Gard in the south of France and Dosthill quarry in the Midlands, England.

When did you first develop an interest in writing?

I never set out to be an author but I’ve always been writing: at school, it was often some sort of trilogy involving magic kingdoms and dwarfs (I loved Tolkien); throughout my teens, I religiously recorded monumental events in my diary but mostly filled it with inconsequential lists of things I had to do each day (have a bath, feed the cat…); when I was pregnant with my daughter, I began writing plays, which was the first time that I actually considered that I might be able to write – I received a really encouraging critique from the BBC. Since then, I’ve written a few more plays as well as my first book, The Sham. It sounds a bit silly but I just have to write. It’s what makes me wildly happy.

When it comes to your writing, how do you stay inspired and motivated?

Writing books is hard work so to stay motivated, I find it best to give myself weekly, monthly and yearly goals. For example, this week I intend to blog twice and finish my plan for book two. This month, I intend to start writing my new book and this year, I intend to finish it! For inspiration, I read, read, read…

Where do you write? Do you like quiet or is music a must and part of your writing process?

Music is a must. I’ve attached the playlist for The Sham below.

To hear the music that was part of The Sham’s writing process, check out The Sham’s playlist.

To be a writer you HAVE to be a reader. Who is your favourite author?

I have lots of favourites: for dark teen issues, you can’t go wrong with anything by Laurie Halse Anderson; for literary fiction, my favourite is The Secret History by Donna Tartt – she writes characters that stay with you long after you finish her books; if I want comfort reading, I’ll read To Kill A Mockingbird or any Jane Austen; and no one can scare me as much as Stephen King.

The literary world is full of diversity and variety at times it gets overwhelming. Do you have a favourite genre?

I love writing YA because it’s a genre that seems to allow authors to take a crazy idea and run with it, much more than adult books. I love reading most things but mainly YA, adult thrillers and literary fiction.

After enough reading and getting swallowed up in other people’s work, some words just stick to us and touch us. What is your favourite book quote?

My favourite quote at the moment is by Stephen Chbosky from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I didn’t love the book as much as I think everyone else does but there are some wonderful phrases in it, such as “we accept the love we think we deserve.” So true.

Now we have to talk about your book, “The Sham”. To read my personal thoughts on The Sham, see my review.

The Sham

The Sham

Can you tell us a little about your book?

The Sham is a YA contemporary thriller, set in the fictional town of Clevesham in the Midlands, England. A girl called Emily meets a boy called Jack, the same day as her classmate is murdered (and later washes up in the local floods). As more of her classmates go missing, suspicion increasingly falls on Jack and Emily must decide who and what she trusts. Fast. Before the police can arrest him. Before another girl goes missing. Before he simply disappears.

What brought up the idea? The first chapter was a bit dark, did you intend it that way?

The idea came to me in a nightmare. I dreamed that I was 17 again, back in school, with the same group of 4 friends, involved in a murder of one of them. It was so vivid that I couldn’t get back to sleep and the only way I could get it out of my head was to write it all down. It is quite dark but necessarily so – it sets up the book.

The sham has an interesting cover…tell us about that. How it came up. Did you have a say in the design?

I was trying to think of an image from the book that would stand out on the shelves. I told BookBaby (who did the design) what I wanted and I loved what they came up with.

Do you think book covers contribute to buying process?

Absolutely! I think it’s a big part of our buying decision. It’s also one of the most difficult as it has to visually encapsulate what the book is about. It’s a tricky process.

Every book review blogger knows writing isn’t easy. It takes determination and pushing oneself. What’s the hardest part about writing for you?

I love each phase of the writing process – the research, the outline, the writing and the revision but I think the hardest part has to be just buckling down and doing it, whatever part of the process you’re on. It doesn’t get done itself!

 Was it hard getting an agent?

I sent my novel out to about fifteen agents and she replied the same day, asking to see more. She read it the following week and asked if I’d like to meet, so it was pretty straightforward. We had a great meeting – very constructive – and she gave me loads of advice. That said, when I sent her the rewrites, she’d left her job, so I managed to lose my agent very easily too! I’m currently waiting for another agent to read the full manuscript so we’ll see what happens.

Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you combat it?

If I can’t write anything, it’s usually because I haven’t thought through my ideas enough. Sometimes the best thing can just be to do everything other than writing… letting ideas just sit in your brain or reading, reading, reading. Sometimes a good book can spark other ideas in your head and set me off…

I’m no writer but I know feedback is very important. It’s great to read what your readers thought of your work. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

I love the bad ones as much as the good. Seriously! As a newly self-published author, reviews are the only feedback that I’ll get on my writing and I’m really enjoying reading it (even if it is painful at times!). I think it’s the only way that authors like me will improve their work (identifying writing ticks, or plot holes, for instance).

It can be difficult to read bad reviews but I think you still have to remember to say “thank you”. From a reviewer’s perspective, a person has taken a lot of time and energy reading the book and writing a review and they’re entitled to their opinion. From my perspective, if one person has said something, it might or might not be true. When I read a hundred reviewers all saying the same thing, offering the same critique, then I’ll know it’s definitely true. It’s that feedback that I’ll be taking with me to the next book.

Do you think about giving books away for free?

I’ve given away tons of review copies and I happily run giveaways on blogs. I think it’s a great way of getting my book to people who have never heard of me at all. I’ve heard that free books are also great for authors who have other works for sale, which they can offer as a lead in to their work.

What advice can you give to any aspiring writers reading this?

I’m new to this so I don’t really feel qualified to offer advice to anyone. Instead, I’ll offer up the advice from others that I’m following religiously:

As Stephen King most famously says, “reading is writing”. You need to be reading widely and voraciously to write well. I have a non-writing job, so I find it hard to find the time to read as much as I should. The reading challenge on Goodreads has been great for helping me keep track of how many books I’m getting through and what’s next on my list.

Lionel Shriver – one of my favourite authors – was asked what the best advice was for new authors and she put it well: “Don’t turn it into a mystical process. Just get on with it!” You have to be disciplined, dogmatic, stubborn and organised to be a jobbing writer. I try not to think about the rest – the doubts about talent, whether anyone will read it – and I just get on with it. I want it to be my career, so I treat it as if it is.

There is tons of writing advice out there that isn’t very good – the irony in reading writing advice that isn’t well written! You can spend hours trawling through it, but it’s distracting and time wasting. Find a few blogs that you rate, a few sites that you trust, follow a few similar writers, watch how they progress and then – you guessed it – get on with it.

So, what’s next? Any work in progress at the moment?

I don’t like to talk about the books that I’m currently writing in too much detail, partly because I feel silly talking about stories before they’re solidified in my head. It is YA, it is a thriller, but it involves a wider group of people who are brought together for a certain purpose. I’m really enjoying how it’s coming, partly because I’m at the point where I’m working out if all the twists and turns work and who’s who. I hope it will be out sometime this year.

That was very eye opening on my part and I enjoyed the responses. I have a ton of questions but that’s all for today. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and for sharing The Sham with us.

Well readers, if you’d like to contact Ellen Allen or read more about her work, you can reach her (and The Sham) at the following links:

Ellen Allen’s Amazon author page

The Sham on goodreads

Ellen Allen on Twitter

Ellen Allen on Facebook

Ellen Allen’s writing blog


That’s it for my first author interview. Do leave me a comment on your thoughts and if you have already read The Sham, what did you think of it?

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

Note to self #4

11 Jan

There is no such thing as “too many books” but don’t buy more books than you have the time and energy to read.

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

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