Monday, 24 September 2018

A Still, Small Voice launches today!


On her eighteenth birthday, Hono is to be crowned Queen of the City of Winter but the Dragon disrupts the coronation ceremony with a peculiar cry: 
Listen. Listen. Listen!

There is one more task to free the City of Winter of all enchantment—and Hono must listen carefully for it.

A Still, Small Voice (North #4) is the final instalment of the North Short Story Series.

A STILL, SMALL VOICE releases today! Get your copy now!


Add to your GoodReads shelf:
A Still Small Voice (North, #4)

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Where I blog about starting my MA Creative Writing: The Novel at Brunel

Today (well, yesterday, since it's crossed midnight; if you can tell, I just changed my timezone, ha) I met my course tutor/convenor Matt Thorne for the first time, plus 9 out of my 11 other classmates. It's a small class and it was gratifying to know that we were the 30% that made it through to the course. Matt said he regularly turns away about 70% of applicants, which was roughly 50 people this year (don't check the maths, I didn't check it)--I don't know if I should be gratified or if I should be panicking right now because the pressure is on.

HA. Stressssssss...

Anyway, this term, we start with Elements of Fiction and Paths to Publication... and it looks like I won't be able to do the two-week placement I was hoping for because of visa requirements. The publishing houses require a full-time commitment for the placement, but I can only work part-time during term time under the Tier 4 Student Visa. Anyway, I'm going to see if I can get that placement AFTER the course instead (when I'm waiting for graduation), since I'll be allowed to work full-time then. It won't count as part of the coursework (which is fine) but it would really help career-wise, I think. I'm gonna think (i.e. worry) about this a little bit more.

SO. I have two books a week to read for class--at least for Elements of Fiction; I don't know what we need to read for Paths to Publication yet--and I'm in the middle of one right now. And I have an essay to write by Sunday, even before classes actually start but it's 12.30am so I'm just going to sleep and think about it tomorrow. I mean, later today.

I'm still trying to think of a cool hashtag to use for these posts. Help me! #macreativewriting? #CWTNatBrunel? #annaislame? #annasma? #Natzgoesbacktoschool

idk.
eh, goodnight.

p/s. I haven't written a blog blog in EONS. Welcome to the first one :p

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

#bookreview: Medallion of Murder | BR Myers

Medallion of Murder (Nefertari Hughes Mystery, #3)Medallion of Murder by B.R. Myers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Medallion of Murder is about Terry growing up from her reckless days in Diadem of Death--from deciding what to study in university and navigating a fraying long-distance relationship, it seems like life almost as normal. Except for her weird nightmares about Meera. When strange things start happening again, Terry and her band of friends must decide what to do--without getting anyone arrested or killed.

The third book in the Nefertari Hughes Mystery series, Medallion of Murder suddenly seems grimmer and more grown-up than the first two, as it probably should be. After all, Terry has survived death twice by now (or was it three times? I forget). Still, they're teens, so there's a fair share of stupid decisions and light moments scattered throughout the book.

'Expectations' seems to be the theme of this book, whether it's Terry's worry about disappointing her father due to her career choices, or what both she and Zach want from their relationship--and even how Awad seems to expect her to want to leave her peaceful American life. Again, nothing is what it seems, and not everyone is who they're supposed to be, and the Illuminati's involvement just makes everything much more confusing.

It has a good ending though--and one that hints at an even more interesting book to come in the series as Terry and Maude settle into who they are.

Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was given the book with no expectation of a positive review and the review is my own.

View all my reviews

Monday, 17 September 2018

#musicmonday: You're Gonna Be Ok | Brian & Jenn Johnson



Hold on, don't let go
Hold on, don't let go

Just take, one step, closer
Put one foot in front of the other
You'll get through this
Just follow the light in the darkness
You're gonna be ok

Thursday, 13 September 2018

#guestpost: Character spotlight on Menali from Conviction (The Legacy Chronicles 2)


Ten Fun Facts from Menali





  1. I secretly like Than’s nickname for me, Nali, but I would never admit that to him.
  2. I love teaching and working with the little ones, especially telling them stories from Old Earth.
  3. I barely remember my real parents.
  4. I was named after my grandmother, who was named after her great-grandmother. It’s a name that dates back to Old Earth.
  5. I’m very neat. I like to have a place for everything and have everything in its place. One of my favourite chores in the school-wing is to sort the supplies.
  6. I’m fascinated by Old Earth history. I used to search the datablocs for any information about our home planet, and I would love to find the missing datablocs to see what’s on them.
  7. I enjoy being alone by the lake, and I have a spot I sneak away to whenever I can.
  8. Sometimes I pretend I live on the cruiser or another planet and make up stories about my life there.
  9. My hair is my favourite feature, and I keep it long because that’s what I remember most about my mother.
  10. I wish I could be braver, like Dee. She’s so reckless, it scares me to even be her friend at times, but she always enjoys life. Don’t tell her I said that, though, or she’ll be impossible to live with.

Author Lauren Salisbury shares a little about Menali, her favourite character:

We all have things in our pasts, right? Issues that stop us from doing what we were meant to do with our lives. Things we try to avoid at all costs so they don’t happen again. I know I do. That’s what I wanted to write about in Conviction—that struggle with accepting heartache and pain, and the way we sometimes hide behind our faith in order to work around having to face it.

I initially thought Menali was the best-adjusted character in the series. She’s quiet and shy, but I assumed that was her personality type, nothing more. But the more I dug into her past, the more trauma and fear I discovered. She has reason to pause when pursued by a man like Than. There are some truths she definitely does not want to face.

Rather than deal with them, she’s built her life around a set of rules that she thinks she can follow to prevent further loss. She’s not truly relying on God in her time of need; she’s using her faith as a shield against living her life. That’s something I think many of us can relate to. We say, “When God wants me to move on, there will be a huge, miraculous sign to show me the way,” when what we mean is, “I don’t want to be hurt again.”

I believe we are sometimes meant to take risks, to be bold in both our faith and our lives, and to follow God’s lead, even into uncharted territory. I hope that’s the message in Conviction, but you’ll have to pick up a copy to see if you agree.

---

Can two people with opposing principles overcome their differences to be together?

Than has spent his life ostensibly having fun while secretly fighting for his people’s freedom. A member of the underground resistance, he is only ever serious around his comrades and his family. When an injury forces him to step down from active duty and his reluctant nurse sparks his interest, Than finds himself in uncharted territory. The fascinating woman will have nothing to do with him.

Menali’s past has taught her to keep her head down and trust that God has a reason for allowing the human race to suffer on U’du. When Than explodes into her life, he refuses to take no for an answer and challenges all of her preconceptions. He soon has her re-evaluating her priorities and wondering what life with someone like him would be like.


Get your copy today! 



About the Author
Lauren H Salisbury was an English teacher for sixteen years with an MA in Education. She is now a writer who dabbles with tutoring and lives with her husband and a room full of books in Yorkshire, England. She likes to spend winters abroad, following the sunshine and becoming the seasonal envy of her friends. When she’s not writing, she can be found spending time with family, reading, walking, crafting, or cooking. Courage is her debut novel.

Get in touchWebsite | Facebook | Mailing list

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

#bookreview: Conviction | Lauren H. Salisbury

Conviction (The Legacy Chronicles #2)Conviction by Lauren H. Salisbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Star rating: 3.5

Picking up from the end of Courage, Conviction suffers a little from second-book syndrome, in that there's no resolution to the bigger arc of the story, even though there is a resolution to the immediate problem in this one: how on earth (or rather, U'du) Than and Menali are ever going to get together. This means that Gilla and baby Mahsan hardly ever appear, which was a bit of a downer for me because I really, really liked Gilla and wanted to follow more of the bigger baby-Moses-in-space theme.

ANYWAY! Than is awfully stretched in this one--besides doing his best to be a father figure to his niece Mirami, he's also struggling to find his footing in the Resistance now that his role has changed AND trying to court Menali at the same time. You really get to see his pureness and big heart but you also see him bouncing from thing to thing until he starts to settle down and maybe grow up just a little.

Menali also blossoms through the book. Her initial fearful wavering and wishy-washyness gain new impact as you learn more about her past and why she reacts the way she does.

In terms of interesting characters, Aronin is one I'd have liked Salisbury to dwell on a bit more. In Conviction, much more of his backstory is revealed, at least in relation to Menali, so I'm wondering if there's more to be uncovered.

Nothing really happens though--I mean, all sorts of things do happen, including intrigue, subversion, theft, and grievous bodily harm, but because they happen more in the background of the romance, it feels like nothing of the series' goals are being furthered. Everyone is still just waiting for the right time, and the original arc of saving Mahsan's life seems to be in limbo.

So yeah, Conviction is really a space opera romance, which didn't turn out to be 100% my cup of tea. Overall, I liked it, but I really want to find out what's happening with Gilla, Elias and Mahsan. Waiting for book 3: Strength!

Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the author as part of a book launch tour. I was given the book with no expectation of a positive review and the review is my own.

View all my reviews

Get your copy today! 



About the Author
Lauren H Salisbury was an English teacher for sixteen years with an MA in Education. She is now a writer who dabbles with tutoring and lives with her husband and a room full of books in Yorkshire, England. She likes to spend winters abroad, following the sunshine and becoming the seasonal envy of her friends. When she’s not writing, she can be found spending time with family, reading, walking, crafting, or cooking. Courage is her debut novel.

Get in touchWebsite | Facebook | Mailing list

Monday, 10 September 2018

#musicmonday: Drifting | Bebo Norman



Falling from a rooftop
Crashing like a raindrop
Can you make my heart stop
Shaking like a leaf?
Standing at the floodgate
Steady as an earthquake
Can you hear my heart break
Tearing at the seems?

Some say home is where the heart is
And my heart is in your hands
You are all I need

Rising from the ashes
Lifted from the madness
Now you see my heart is
Deep enough to dream
Hear me from my deathblow
Lead and I will follow
Now you feel my heart pull
Mending at the seams

---

When you see this I'll be on my way to London.

See you soon, lovelies.

Friday, 7 September 2018

#booklaunch: Conviction (The Legacy Chronicles Book 2)

So remember the book review of Courage from Wednesday? Book 2 of the Legacy Chronicles launches today!

Can two people with opposing principles overcome their differences to be together?

Than has spent his life ostensibly having fun while secretly fighting for his people’s freedom. A member of the underground resistance, he is only ever serious around his comrades and his family. When an injury forces him to step down from active duty and his reluctant nurse sparks his interest, Than finds himself in uncharted territory. The fascinating woman will have nothing to do with him.

Menali’s past has taught her to keep her head down and trust that God has a reason for allowing the human race to suffer on U’du. When Than explodes into her life, he refuses to take no for an answer and challenges all of her preconceptions. He soon has her re-evaluating her priorities and wondering what life with someone like him would be like.


Get your copy today! 



About the Author
Lauren H Salisbury was an English teacher for sixteen years with an MA in Education. She is now a writer who dabbles with tutoring and lives with her husband and a room full of books in Yorkshire, England. She likes to spend winters abroad, following the sunshine and becoming the seasonal envy of her friends. When she’s not writing, she can be found spending time with family, reading, walking, crafting, or cooking. Courage is her debut novel.

Get in touchWebsite | Facebook | Mailing list

GIVEAWAY!

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Wednesday, 5 September 2018

#bookreview: Courage | Lauren H. Salisbury

Courage (The Legacy Chronicles, #1)Courage by Lauren H. Salisbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What I signed up for: to help a fellow Realm Maker launch her second book with a blog tour. ('Cos I'm all about the blog tours!) And then I was told that to review book 2, I really should read book 1 as well, so here I am.
What I didn't know I signed up for: BABY MOSES IN SPACE.

So yes, Courage is a FANTASTIC science fiction retelling of Moses--well, the first part of his story anyway so far. Actually, if I hadn't known that going in, I wouldn't have suspected it until much, much later in the story. Salisbury takes her time to establish a credible planet of humans under Esarelian (aliens) rule. It's not an unfamiliar setting--forced labour under strict guard, an underground rebellion, a desperate bid to escape.

Gilla is a compelling protagonist--she's weak yet strong, pushing through her fears and devastating losses to make sure that her children are safe. Then there's Than, her brother, the dashing young playboy who has to grow up quickly and suddenly. Actually, to say that this is a Moses retelling is somewhat odd and wrong. It's actually a reimagining of what Moses's mother, Jochebed, went through to save him. We don't really know much about Jochebed in the Bible, only the bare bones of what happened and how the Egyptian princess came to find the baby in the Nile, so Salisbury has free reign to create her own story--and it's an exciting, action-packed one.

I'm glad I picked this up (on a chance) and am super looking forward to starting on Conviction!

Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the author. I was given the book with no expectation of a positive review and the review is my own.

View all my reviews

Sale!

In conjunction with the launch of Conviction (book 2) on Friday, Courage is on sale at 99c/99p on Amazon and Amazon.co.uk for one week! Grab your copy now, and head over to preorder Conviction as well! (Amazon | Amazon.co.uk)

Monday, 3 September 2018

#musicmonday: Goodbye, My Lover | James Blunt



This has been in my head for the past week.

---

You touched my heart, you touched my soul,
You changed my life and all my goals.
And love is blind, and that I knew, when
My heart was blinded by you.

I've kissed your lips and held your head.
Shared your dreams and shared your bed.
I know you well, I know your smell.
I've been addicted to you.

Goodbye, my lover.
Goodbye, my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

I am a dreamer,
And when I wake,
You can't break my spirit.
It's my dreams you take.

And as you move on,
Remember me,
Remember us,
And all we used to be.

---

Today is my last write-in at LUMA. I'll see you next year.

---

I feel like there's more to say, but I don't know how to say it. It's goodbye. For now. I don't know what it will look like, how it will feel when I return.
I will return.
But will it be the same?