Tag Archives: UK

#Bookreview The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart. A warm and uplifting rom com by Anna Bell. Smiles and #romance

Hi all:

Sorry, I might be more or less absent for a few weeks but I’m planning on making some changes to my personal blog and I have a book being launched between Christmas and New Year (fingers crossed)  so I’ll be running around (at least virtually).

I thought I’d leave you a light romantic comedy I read recently, just in case you needed something different over the holiday season. And Merry Xmas!

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart
The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell

Description

A hilarious new romantic comedy for fans of Lindsey Kelk and Jane Costello from Anna Bell, the bestselling author of Don’t Tell the Groom.

Abi’s barely left her bed since Joseph, the love of her life, dumped her, saying they were incompatible. When Joseph leaves a box of her possessions on her doorstep, she finds a bucket list of ten things she never knew he wanted to do. What better way to win him back than by completing the list, and proving they’re a perfect match?

But there’s just one problem – or rather, ten. Abi’s not exactly the outdoorsy type, and she’s absolutely terrified of heights – not ideal for a list that includes climbing a mountain, cycling around the Isle of Wight and, last but not least, abseiling down the tallest building in town . . .

Completing the list is going to need all Abi’s courage – and a lot of help from her friends. But as she heals her broken heart one task at a time, the newly confident Abi might just have a surprise in store . . .

My review:

Thanks to Net Galley and to Bonnier Publishing for offering me a free ARC copy of this novel that I voluntarily have decided to review.

The plot of this novel fits perfectly in the category of chick lit or romantic comedy, and I could almost watch the movie in my mind’s eye as I read it. Abi , Bridget Jones’s spiritual sister, is suddenly dropped by her boyfriend of almost a year, Joseph (“the one”) and she’s desperate. She comes across his bucket list by pure chance and, clutching at straws, thinks that if she were to achieve all the items on the list (more or less) and share the pictures on Facebook, he would realise what a mistake he’d made and go back to her. Abi (and as we learn as we read, Joseph also) is not very adventurous. In fact, she’s worried about everything and scared of almost everything (especially heights). Her friend Sian, a fun character and a great contrast with Abi, doesn’t really like Joseph much, and her attitude to love is so different to Abi’s that she decides to lie to her and everybody else, and tells them that the list is her way to try and get over her break-up. On hearing that, everybody offers to help her. And, indeed, she needs all the help she can get.

The book becomes naturally organised around Abi’s adventures in trying to fulfil her bucket list, which go from pathetic to funny, passing from embarrassing. Apart from the events surrounding the ten items in the list, she’s also getting in trouble at work, at first through her own doing, and later bizarre things start to happen and she suspects that there might be foul play.

The novel is written in the first person from Abi’s point of view, and although she’s not the most insightful or reliable narrator, to begin with, and her weakness and her obsession with Joseph might make the reader cringe, eventually she does discover herself as a separate person and one capable of much more than she gives herself credit for. She is surrounded by a likeable supporting cast (and a few not so likeable when not openly bitchy) and through them, readers can appreciate that she is perhaps not the best at judging how she comes across to others. The author is also adept at giving us enough clues to allow us to make our own minds up rather than accept Abi’s biased conclusions, not an easy thing to do when the events are shown from a single perspective.

The writing is fluid and easy to read and although readers of the genre will probably guess what’s going to happen pretty much from the word go, the fine details are enjoyable, and there is a touch of intrigue to keep us interested beyond the pure romance. And for those who love romance, although we see Joseph mostly from Abi’s starry-eyed perspective and he is hardly a real person, Ben, who is almost too perfect to be true (other than by the tiny detail of having a girlfriend) is somebody easy to like and one to root for. And my bet is that you’ll like Aby by the end of the story and you’ll be wondering about the psychological benefits of bucket lists for yourself. I particularly appreciated the final words by the author who acknowledged there was a personal basis behind the seed of the novel.

In sum, a light and easy to read the novel, satisfying if you’re looking for an amusing and sweet read, with no erotica, and no shocking surprises. Great for those moments when you don’t want to test your brain and want a read that will leave you with a smile.

the-bucket-list-to-mend-audio

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1785760378/

https://www.amazon.com/Bucket-List-Mend-Broken-Heart-ebook/dp/B0196P0S5G/

https://www.amazon.com/Bucket-List-Mend-Broken-Heart/dp/B01IRUATFK/

Thanks to the publishers, to NetGalley and to Anna Bell for her book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, CLICK and of course to keep reading and to have a great holiday season!

#BookReview STREET SOLDIER by Andy McNab (@The_Real_McNab) Action packed, with an engaging protagonist and a hopeful and inspiring message

Street Soldier by Andy McNab
Street Soldier by Andy McNab

REVIEWS FOR LITERARY WORLD REVIEWS

Title:   Street Soldier
Author:   Andy McNab

ISBN13:  978-0857534705
ASIN:  B019CGXV08
Published:  August 11th 2016
Pages:  348
Genre:  YA, Survival, Action & Adventure

Description:

Sean Harker is good at two things: stealing cars and fighting. One earns him money, the other earns him respect from the gang that he calls family.

A police chase through the city streets is just another rite of passage for Sean . . . as is getting nicked. But a brutal event behind bars convinces him to take charge, and turn his life around.

Now he must put his street skills to the ultimate test: as a soldier in the British Army. And the battlefield is London, where innocent people are being targeted by a new and terrifying enemy.

Undercover, under threat – only Sean Harker can save the streets from all-out war. 

Body of review:

Thanks to Net Galley and to Penguin Random House UK Children’s for providing with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Andy McNab and I was intrigued by his foray into young adult writing and particularly by the main character. Sean Harker is a young boy (sixteen at the beginning of the novel) who loves cars and speed, whose life has been quite difficult, with no male role figure, a mother who has struggled through difficult and often violent relationships and he find his identity and his sense of self through his belonging to a gang. He ends up in prison and is given the opportunity to join the army and make good. Although at first it sounds to him as if he’d be betraying his friends, when one of those comes to a bad end, he rethinks his priorities. But not everything is plain sailing and old acquaintances and new temptations come his way.

The story is set in the UK (and it uses its location, and particularly London at the end, in a very effective and spectacular way), told in the third person, from the point of view of the young protagonist, Sean, who is street wise but not always good at fully appraising his circumstances or seeing the whole picture. He has his heart in the right place (he feels for his friends, is loyal and wants to protect his mother, and dislikes the racist and sexist comments of some of the other members of his unit) but he can be manipulated and influenced by those more experienced than him. Although the story does not go into psychological depths regarding Sean’s personality and thoughts, and it does not dwell in detail on his past, there is enough to make him sympathetic, and his reactions, doubts, mistakes and fears are all too recognisable and real. He is the small guy everybody tries to take advantage of, who doesn’t know whom he can trust, but he eventually finds his way.

There is plenty of action, including violence (and traumatic and sad events) and use of swearwords (although this is not extreme considering the genre), and the novel deals with difficult subjects throughout, including: suicide, extreme maiming and death of a teammate by bombing, terrorism, ultra-right politics, gang warfare, domestic violence, imprisonment… The pace is fast, fluid, and there’s not let down of tension and intrigue. It is a true page-turner, and although at times it seems about to go on a dangerous direction, it pulls it all together beautifully at the end. The protagonist is put to the test emotionally, physically and psychologically and although his reasons might be good (or so he thinks) he makes many mistakes. Thankfully he is given a second chance and he proves himself worthy of it.

At the end of the book the author identifies himself with the main character and explains that his life circumstances were quite similar to those of Sean Harker and how he was also given a chance and now he spends part of his time going to schools to spread the word.  The character and McNab’s own story made me think of many young men I’d met in prison (when I worked as a forensic psychiatrist) whose lives and circumstances were not that different to those of the character depicted in this novel. I just hope they all have the chance, the opportunity and the will to make good too.

Street Soldier is a great read for young adults (and adults) who like action, a well-plotted book, full of tension and emotions. It also delivers a positive and wholesome message and I can see it turned into a successful TV series or an action film. I’m sure this won’t be the last of Andy McNab’s books I’ll read.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think: 4.5/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Readability: 5/5
Recommended: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
 

Buy it at:  
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  $7.78
Kindle: $ 14.09

Hardback: $ 7.93

Audiobook: $25.06

Thanks for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

 

#Interviewsintranslation. Mo de la Fuente (@ModelaFuente) and THE QUIET ISLAND

Hi all:

I’ve been promising you for a while that I’d be back with some more interviews to writers who had had their books translated to English. But summer can be a very busy season, not only in the writing department but also with school holidays, personal things, etc, so there has been some understandable delay.

Finally today I bring you Mo de la Fuente.  My confession… I was the one to translate her book. I have appended my review at the end, although this is my review of the novel in Spanish (I don’t comment on the quality of the translation. Mo has been kind enough to tell me that she has enjoyed the English version too, and I recommend the story wholeheartedly).

Mo told me she couldn’t find any pictures she liked of herself (although I can tell you I like all her pictures), so….

The Quiet Island by Mo de la Fuente. Translated by Olga Núñez Miret
The Quiet Island by Mo de la Fuente. Translated by Olga Núñez Miret

 

When and how did you start writing?

I had always written short stories because I didn’t have the patience required for a novel. When I got the idea for my first book Ojalá Paula (Hopefully, Paula) I realised that it was time to sit down quietly in front of the computer and dedicate to the story a bit longer than just a few hours.

Describe briefly your experience as an independent author:

I imagine that my story is that of most independent writers. After sending my manuscript to many publishing companies and having it rejected, Amazon seemed to be a good way to share what I do. The main problem I’ve had is promoting the novel, because sometimes one has to make hard choices between carrying on writing or dedicating one’s time to marketing and selling the books. The advantage: the freedom to write what you want within the deadline you choose for yourself. Zero pressure.

The moment that I remember with the most affection (until now) in all my experience as a writer is the first positive review of my book and, of course, the many hours I spend writing.

Favourite genre:

I don’t have a favourite genre. I’m a compulsive and eclectic reader. I read almost everything.

What made you decide to translate your work? And what process did you follow to find a translator?

I decided to translate the novel because my sales were increasing day by day in the United Kingdom. When it was time to choose a translator I chose Olga Núñez Miret because she had the characteristics I was looking for: a writer in her own right and one who lived in the United Kingdom.

Tell us a little bit about your novel.

The Quiet Island is a police procedural story with a very singular backdrop, a magnificent island close to Alicante, and I think the profile of the protagonists is pretty unique too. The public have particularly liked the character of Mónica Esteller, sub inspector in the case, with a troubled past that is slowly uncovered throughout the novel.

Any advice for fellow writers (especially new writers).

I don’t think I’m the best person to give any advice other than to enjoy writing and to keep your feet firmly on the ground at the moment of publishing. What I mean is: it’s difficult to live of your writing. It’s likely that one’s favourite book struggles to find any readers but, what does it matter? Apart from any success of sales, a true writer will never be able to stop writing, so, let’s enjoy it!

Links to connect and follow Mo:

The page of her books in Amazon:

https://www.amazon.es/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Mo+de+la+Fuente&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Mo+de+la+Fuente&sort=relevancerank

Blog: http://ojalapaula.blogspot.com.es/

Twitter: @ModelaFuente

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mo.delafuente

And here, the description of the novel and my own review:

As dawn breaks, the usual calm of a tiny quiet Mediterranean island is shattered by the news. A teenage girl has gone missing. Inspector Villanueva, temporarily transferred to the island, and sub-inspector Esteller must fight against the elements, the lack of resources, and their own demons to solve the mystery of what happened in a place where nothing ever does.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FPBRFDS/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01FPBRFDS/

My review. An island, a Mystery and Unforgettable Characters.

I don’t read exclusively a single genre, although I freely admit that I like thrillers and I read quite a few of them. In part because they are like a puzzle we try to solve thanks to the clues the text gives us, in part because I like to see how the writer manages to bring something new to the genre. And for me, no matter what type of story I’m reading, finding interesting characters I can connect with it’s the most important thing.

This novel takes place in the in the small island of Tabarca, in the Mediterranean, off the shore of Alicante. As several of the reviews of the book note, reading the novel makes one want to visit it, because of the wonderful descriptions of the peace and quiet, the thought of a place with no cars, without pollution, and calm. In such a small place, where everybody knows everybody else (apart from the tourists, of course) and where nothing ever happens, a girl’s disappearance is an event that upsets everyone. And when Clara turns up dead, things only take a turn for the worse. The combination of the place and the setting with the investigators: Hernán, an inspector sent there god knows why, Mónica, who had been sub-inspector in Barcelona but decided to quit due to personal reasons, and Raúl, the only one not hiding from something and who is totally happy there, works beautifully.

The investigation is hindered by circumstances (even with the arrival of the inspector, there are only three police officers in the island, there’s no lab, and now way of following correct protocol) and the lack of resources (an excellent commentary on the budget cuts Spain is suffering) and little by little we discover more details about the island’s inhabitants and about the members of the police. I really enjoyed the ending (that I won’t talk about in detail as I don’t want to spoil the surprise) and it rounds up a novel that although short is long enough to intrigue and touch us.

I found Mónica’s personal story, closely related to the case, fascinating, and it would make a great novel (or more than one) on its own. Apart from the details, for me the author manages to portray complex psychological aspects and the reactions of the characters in a very accurate manner, by using several points of view, that help the reader get under the skin of the characters, sharing in their emotions and their life experiences. For me, Mónica, María (the victim’s mother) and the island of Tabarca stand out in the narration and I’m sure I won’t forget them in a hurry.

I recommend this book to readers who love mystery novels that go beyond the usual, psychological thrillers and extraordinary settings.

Thanks so much to Mo for the interview and for her novel, thanks to you all for reading, and remember, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Olga Núñez Miret

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

 

 

#Bookfair at Llandeilo. Bad photos and some (non-serious) tips. Oh, and I’m on the #radio!

Hi all:

I’ve had a sudden change of schedule and I’ll be travelling and dealing with a number of issues, although I hope I’ll be able to share some posts still. But, if you don’t see me around as often, don’t worry.

In April I attended my first book fair, and this week I finally managed to share some bits of my experience at my blog, and as people seemed to find it interesting, I thought I’d share it with you too. By the way, at the end I mention I’m on the radio, but due to this change in schedule this won’t be the case for some time, although I’m hoping to talk about books in my radio program and will come back to ask for help with that when I’m back to normal.

I hope you enjoy and thanks for your patience.

Here is the post:
I know I’ve been talking about my first book fair in LLandeilo for a while. As usual, on checking my pictures of the day I’ve discovered they’re rubbish, but hey, I’ll share a few so you can see (or guess) how it was.

The good news is that the fair will carry on. There is one booked for Christmas time and there will be another one next April. Check Christoph Fischer’s post about it for more information, here. Oh!, and check his other posts about it as you’re there. We’ve even made the papers!

I discovered my banner was the smallest one. Oh well, not good at blowing my own trumpet. Thanks to my friend Lourdes for the design!
I discovered my banner was the smallest one. Oh well, not good at blowing my own trumpet. Thanks to my friend Lourdes for the design!

My own reflections about the fair (not sure this is advice or tips, but…)

  1. You might want to take reinforcements with you. It’s always handy to have somebody man (or woman, of course) the fort for you (there are so many people to talk to and books to check! And at LLandeilo there were interesting workshops and talks but I couldn’t go to any of them). Fellow writers kept an eye on the stall, but it’s not the same…
  2. Take supplies of drinks and whatever else you might need. There was catering on site, but I’m not a tea, herbal tea or coffee drinker, and there was no cola to be had there… No caffeine for me! (Of course, if you’ve followed the advice on number one, you can either go and leave the troops covering the stall or send them out for victuals).
  3. I took sweets that seemed to attract people, especially children. Yes, I’d recommend it. I wouldn’t say it helped with the sales, but it got some smiles. Ah, and at the end I shared them with the writers (and the staff working at the hall) when we were putting things away, and after a long day they were very welcome.
  4. Take comfortable shoes. You’ll be standing up most of the time. (The author next to me who was pregnant worried me no end, although she was very enthusiastic).
  5. Pace yourself. I worried that I might have lost my voice before the end of the day (yes, I talk too much). It was a close call (sorry, no luck!)
  6. Put your glasses on when you’re taking pictures!
  7. It’s difficult to find time to network with everything else going on, but it was great to meet the rest of the writers there, Hugh Roberts whom I knew from blogging and hopefully will meet again at the Blogger’s Bash. I did collect information from everybody (I hope!) as I’m planning on featuring writers and books in my radio show.
  8. Of course have change and chat to people. In my case, as I publish in different genres, I never knew well what to open with (pitching 5 different books is not easy). But I tried.
  9. I took some extra stuff to give away (cupcakes book, notebooks…) I didn’t have much chance to give anything away, but of course, the Cupcake recipe book that I had bought for £1 got much more attention than my own books. (When I tried the local market once, the Christmas decorations I got for the table had more success than me. Perhaps I should sell something else).

A few more photos:

The cake
The cake

IMG_1107

I was looking forward to catching up with Judith Barrow although we were both very busy!
I was looking forward to catching up with Judith Barrow although we were both very busy!
Christoph Fischer en el escenario anunciando los ganadores del concurso de historias para niños
Christoph Fischer announcing the winners of the children’s story writing competitions

IMG_1103I loved this bannerIMG_1099IMG_1098

 

Oh, and I’ve mentioned my Radio programme! Yes, I’ll tell you more about it, but now I have a regular (sort of) programme at Penistone FM, on Thursdays from 1 to 3 pm (UK time). I hope to talk about books and with a bit of luck bring in quotes and information about indie writers (although I don’t have much time to talk). Here is the link to listening online.

I'm on the radio!
I’m on the radio!

Thanks to all for reading, visit Christoph and Hugh’s blogs and don’t forget to like, share, comment, and CLICK!

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

 

#Seebooks (@seebookindie, @seebookUK) #Bookpromo you can touch and give away! And #giveaway

Hi all:

I wasn’t sure about sharing this post that I had already shared in my blog, here, but after discussing it with Ronovan, I decided to go ahead. I hope you find it useful, and if you have any queries, please, feel free to leave a comment here or contact me directly. My contact details are at the bottom of the post.

Here is my original post:

Hi all:

Some of you might remember that a few months back I brought you something I had come across in Twitter, called Seebooks (click here for a reminder of the post). I told you at the time that I had been exchanging information with Rosa Sala, the CEO, and I hoped to meet her in person in Barcelona.

Well, we met in September, and since I’ve been trying to give them a hand to bring the product to the UK (and hopefully many other places).

There are working on other products (including museum guides, audios…) and continuously renovating. And happy to hear new ideas.

Let me explain a bit more….

Seebooks look like a postcard and have the book cover at the front, at the back similar information to the back of the book (blurb, author picture if you like, and information about the author) and inside a code and QR for the book to be downloaded in a variety of formats. You can of course sign it or add a personal dedication to it. And, you can add bonus content (another story about the same characters, a video, a bit of audio, deleted chapters, PDFs with extra information… anything). You can send them to reviewers, readers, gift them as part of giveaways and take them with you to book launches or signings (and that way you can offer a less expensive alternative to your paperbacks). (Of course if you know bookshops or gift shops that might be willing to sell them there, they don’t take up a lot of space so… I’m wondering about card shops too.)

Here is a video (I just like the guy!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fm6rwJ-0KU

And they’ve just in introduced ‘Seebookmarks’ a bookmark that has the cover of the book at the front and a snippet of information about it (the author logo if you want, too), and at the back the QR and code that allows for the 33% of the book to be downloaded. When the readers get to the end of the sample, they get the links to buy it in all the shops where they’re available. You can use them like you’d use a personal card, with the advantage that it contains a gift and can hook the reader! I have talked to the local library where I live and they’re happy to have them there and to send them to the other branches. In Spain Seebook have a deal with the libraries in Barcelona and they‘re distributing Seebookmarks there (and exploring other places too).

Here is a presentation with a bit more detail about Seebookmarks:

http://bit.ly/1QCzGrG

Seebook have a virtual shop, and they collect information (about downloads: who, times, where, etc.), produce very detailed reports that they will send to you, and are happy to e-mail people who have already downloaded your books for future campaigns.

After chatting to them and working with them, they produced some Seebooks for me. Let me show them to you:

grupo-seebook-indie-Olgaing

And Seebookmarks:

marcapaginas-ing

As I was saying they are keen on seeing what authors in other places think about it, and have ask me to investigate (they call me their UK representative, but that’s only a big name). What it means is that if you’re interested in the product (check their website here) I can chat to you about it, send you samples, and offer you discounts.

You can leave you comments here, or contact me via e-mail:

 

olga@seebook.eu

or

mmxrynz@hotmail.com

And readers, I’m giving away five of my own Seebooks (and I’ll throw bookmarks in too) to five of you, in advance to the official publication of the single volume version of my YA series (due the 15th of December). Just contact me! (I’ll need addresses!)

Thanks so much to Rosa and Seebook for the Seebooks and for this opportunity, thanks to you all for reading, and you know, you can like, share, comment and CLICK!