Book Review: The Mummy Bloggers by @hollycwain @legend_press

09:00


Meet three Mummy Bloggers - each of them followed, idolised, imitated, taunted and trolled online.

Elle Campbell is a glossy, lycra-clad mum with washboard abs, a ten-year plan and a secret past. Abi Black has quit sugar, moved to the country and is homeschooling her kids. Leisel Adams slogs away at her office job each day before rushing home, steeped in guilt, to spend precious moments with her kids before bedtime.

When all three women are nominated for a prestigious blogging award with a hefty cash prize, the scene is set for a brutal and often hilarious battle for hearts, minds-and clicks. As the awards night gets closer, their lies get bigger, their stunts get crazier - and some mistakes from the past become harder and harder to hide.

The Mummy Bloggers is a frank and funny look at the perils and perks of life online.

Review:

I remember reading the early marketing material for this book on Legend's Instagram page. I knew I wanted to read this book before I even had a look at the blurb!

I've been a book blogger for a while, but I've dabbled in lifestyle blogging for a very brief period. Lifestyle and mummy blogging is a world away from reviewing books online. The sheer competitive nature of some of these people is astounding. Great material for a book!

As you read The Mummy Bloggers you might find yourself thinking, this is too far-fetched, there is no way anyone would try to pull this crap. Well, I can tell you, I have seen every insane stunt in this book played out by a real blogger. Yes -- every stunt. I won't tell you which one I'm referring to but when you read the book you'll know. 

The writing flows very well and I found each of the characters to be well rounded and very realistic (as mad as some of them are). The characters - even the devious ones- are likable and they made this book a really fun read. The drama will suck you right in and you'll find yourself flying through the pages just to see how one blogger is going to outdo the other. 

The mummy bloggers was such an enjoyable read and the characters were so developed but the only piece of criticism would be that I felt the ending was a cut a little short, a little rushed. Don't let that put you off though. The crazy characters and hilarious attempts at one up-manship make The Mummy Bloggers the perfect  weekend or holiday read. 


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Guest Post:Inspiration, Myth or Gift by Final Reckoning Author Chris Bishop @CBishop_author ‏ @RedDoorBooks @lovebooksgroup

08:00



Despite Alfred's great victory at Edington, Wessex is far from secure.

With the threat of an imminent Viking attack, Matthew, now a warrior, is sent to fortify and defend the ford at Leatherhead. There, hopelessly outnumbered, he faces his sternest test as he and a small band of barely trained Saxon warriors strive to hold out long enough for help to arrive or resolve to die trying.

In a time ravaged by political uncertainty, Matthew is placed in intense personal danger as he is also ordered to investigate the tyranny of the Ealdorman's stepson and dispense justice as he sees fit.

With his life still threatened by the wound to his chest, what is asked of him seems more than any man should endure as he faces . . . The Final Reckoning

Guest Post: Inspiration - Myth or Gift? 


I think it was P. G. Wodehouse who, when asked about writing, replied that you sit in front of the typewriter and curse a bit! Whilst probably not the most constructive advice, it is possibly more satisfying that staring at a blank sheet of paper hoping for inspiration. 

I’ve heard other writers speak about how they’ve been blessed with the inspiration for a novel like a ‘Gift from the Gods’. Whilst I’m sure that can happen, I’ve never experienced it quite like that. For me, whatever I get in the form of inspiration comes in one of two ways:- 

1. The kernel of an idea which sets my mind on a certain track. 

2. The solution to a plot I’m working on which suddenly presents itself. This often happens with the ending – I seldom know the ending when I start writing (and prefer not to) but one seems to present itself at the right moment. 

These ‘ideas’ tend to arrive at inopportune times – and quite often at night. I then struggle to remember them in the morning or, even if I do, they don’t seem half as good in the cold light of day! Whatever form they take I find that the important thing is not to force them – rather it’s best to let them settle and work them through in my mind. 

I think of it as being like a bird which has spotted a worm. It has to pull its prey out of the ground using as much force as is needed whilst being careful not to break it and thereby lose its supper! 

But where does inspiration come from? I think it’s actually all around us – a chance remark, a picture, someone you meet – they can all provide that essential ‘spark’ but quite often I find that the original idea gets lost as the story develops. This seldom troubles me as, after all, you can never see the spark which started the fire. By way of an example of this, my first novel, Blood and Destiny, started out as a ghost story based on a team of archaeologists who find the grave of a young boy. As I tried to write it the ‘ghost’ of the boy hi-jacked the story – almost as if he was guiding my pen. There’s more about that in a blog on my website (www.chrisbishopauthor.com) The Origin of the Series but it was an extraordinary experience. The point is that it took years for me to write that story - and there’s no mention of those original archaeologists in the final draft! 

If you’re struggling for inspiration it might help to remember that it is only a small part of the process. In fact, I was once told that writing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration – and that certainly sounds about right for me!

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Guest Post: Ken Lussey's Life in Books @FledglingPress @KenLussey @lovebooksgroup

07:00


It is late 1942. Group Captain Robert Sutherland's first week in charge of Military Intelligence 11's operations in Scotland and northern England is not going smoothly. A murder at the Commando Basic Training Centre in the Highlands is being investigated by one of his teams, until events take an even darker turn that draws Bob in personally. He is also trying to discover who was behind an attempt to steal an advanced reconnaissance aircraft from a military airfield in Fife, an investigation made no easier by the perpetrator's death. The complication he could really live without comes via a telephone call from Monique Dubois in MI5. An operation she's been running in Glasgow, without Bob or anyone else knowing, has gone badly wrong, and she wants him to intervene before it is entirely compromised. The Danger of Life is a fast-paced thriller set in Scotland during the Second World War. It is Ken's second novel to feature Bob Sutherland and Monique Dubois and picks up not long after the end of his first, Eyes Turned Skywards. The action moves back and forth across Scotland, with much of it set in Lochaber, where the present war intersects with another conflict that took place two centuries earlier: with deadly consequences.  

Guest Post: Ken Lussey's Life in Books

So, books? Thinking back, I can’t really remember a time before I discovered the joy they bring and the horizons they expand. Born in 1957, I spent my childhood following my father, a Royal Air Force navigator, around the world. When I think back to the seven schools I attended, I can remember the libraries of each more clearly than just about anything else about them. Books were entertainment, bringers of knowledge, and sometimes also feeders of pretensions.

What did I read as a child? Pretty much anything I could get my hands on. Series like Biggles, the Famous Five and the Secret Seven came and went. A book that shines out from this era was Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth, which left a lasting impression on me. Another early book that was hugely influential was The Story of Kidnapped Told in Pictures, a 1948 edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic told in comic-book form. If my love of Scotland had a single starting point, this was probably it. I’m not sure how or when the original book and I parted company, but it was so important to me that decades later I went out and found a replacement copy.  

It took me quite a while to encounter a book that took my breath away. At the age of around 15, I had an inspirational English teacher. He encouraged pupils to broaden their reading via a list of authors whose books he awarded from 1 to 4 points. I can’t remember if my staple fare at the time, authors like Alistair McLean, Hammond Innes and Ian Fleming, were on the list, but if they were, they did not score highly. Ernest Hemingway, on the other hand, meant four points per book (even for the short ones!) and he quickly propelled me up the class chart. This one simple idea dramatically broadened my reading habits, adding some much-needed quality to the quantity.

But it wasn’t Ernest Hemingway who took my breath away. One day, that same teacher waved a thick hardback book in front of the class. Who wanted to read it? He didn’t have to try hard to sell it, and at the cost of considerable loss of sleep, I had within a couple of days finished The Fellowship of the Ring and was clamouring for The Two Towers. Yes, The Lord of the Rings truly took my breath away. It also confirmed me as a fan of the infinity of possibilities reflected in science fiction and fantasy, genres that were to play a large part in my reading in the years to come.

It was that same list that caused me to trip over a book so hilarious in places that I couldn’t help laughing out loud. It’s also tragic in places and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller is another book that must sit in my all-time top ten. Oddly enough, until I wrote that, I hadn’t realised that I had an all-time top ten. If I did, the book that would be at the top of the list is Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. That, without doubt, is the book that has stayed with me always. There are not all that many words in it, but each one is exactly right; and for me the result is deeply moving.

I think that the book that taught me most was the first book I read to my daughters. I can’t remember what it was, but it, and the many that followed, taught me that reading is a gift that can be shared with others; and that it can bring wonder into their lives just as it brought wonder into mine. Reading to my daughters – and later to my grandson – also gave me a second chance at books I’d missed the first time around. Had I really overlooked Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series as a child? Apparently, for they seemed very new to me when I read them out loud to an enthusiastic audience as an adult. Reading to my grandson is also an excuse to sample more modern material like Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams, which is also the only book that has ever made me cry.

And, finally… what books would I give to a stranger? Easy: The Danger of Life and its predecessor Eyes Turned Skywards, by Ken Lussey. They are both great reads, if I say so myself!

Ken Lussey
ken@kenlussey.com


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Guest Post: In Her Words author @Joannewriter and her Favourite Characters @LoveBooksGroup

07:00


While she seems to have
it all, Sophie Knight is looking for more. When gorgeous and carefree Michael Frisk walks into her life, he offers the excitement and passion she desires.

Sophie is willing to risk
everything she has. After all, she is used to concealing things from her husband—like her alcoholism, her unhappiness. But soon she has more to hide. She wakes up one morning in an alcoholic haze and finds bruises on her body, but has no recollection of what
happened to her. Was she raped?

When unsettling notes and
mysterious phone calls start, Sophie wonders whom she should turn to. Is Michael the cause of the frightening things happening in her life, or is he the answer to her problems?

Guest Post:J.S Ellis' Favourite Characters

For my debut novel "In Her Words" the favourite character to write was by far Sophie, the main character. Despite having it all; the apartment, the husband, the career, and financial security, she’s an empty person. This reflects in her drinking problem. She hides her drinking from her husband and starts to write in a diary to keep an account of her behaviour. She goes out one night with a friend and is awakened the next day by her husband, Richard with bruises all over her body and has no memory of what had happened to her. She suspects, she had been raped but couldn’t be too sure. She starts to investigate what might have happened to her that fateful night. Michael walks in her life and claims she had partied with him and his friends that night. Although something tells her he’s hiding something. 

Now, she has more to hide from her from husband. I loved writing her inner thoughts which pour out in her diary. I created more obstacles for her when Michael steps in. He offers what the elder Richard can’t, and Michael being his twenties, reminds her what she had missed in her youth as, she spent most of her time at home studying. While Michael is open to the world. She starts to question her choices, were they the right ones and Michael reminds her of her adolescence and the freedom of it. 
Michael offers to help her but she finds herself falling for him. He’s gorgeous and irresistible. She feels she can be honest with him about her drinking because he knows who she is. Things get even more complicated when she starts a passionate love affair with him. I enjoyed writing their interactions and planning out their dialogue. Page after page her complexity increased, so did her drinking and desperation. But of course, as a writer, you become drawn to your characters and they become your friends as you spend so much time with them but it is also our job to make the journey as hard as possible for the characters and give the reader something to root for or relate too. While writing I did sometimes shake my head because of the mistakes she did but at least, by the end, she had learned from them. 

About J.S Ellis:


J.S Ellis is a thriller author.
 She’s currently working on an adult Dystopian series called the Chaperone. She’s also working on another thriller novel, for now, it’s called Opium, as it’s still a wip.

J.S always liked to scribble from a young age but started writing by the age of sixteen. She spent all this time, enhancing and learning about the craft. Writing is her passion books are her obsession.

She has a degree in Creative Writing, English literature, and digital marketing. She works in an accountancy firm. She lives in Malta with her fiancé. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s either cooking, eating cheese, and chocolate, or listening to good music and enjoying a glass of wine or two.

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Guest Post: Conspiracy of Wolves author @CandaceMRobb and her Favourite Characters @severnhouse @LoveBooksGroup

09:46


1374. When a member of one of York's most prominent families is found dead in the woods, his throat torn out, rumours spread like wildfire that wolves are running loose throughout the city. Persuaded to investigate by the victim's father, Owen Archer is convinced that a human killer is responsible. But before he can gather sufficient evidence to prove his case, a second body is discovered, stabbed to death. Is there a connection? What secrets are contained within the victim's household? And what does apprentice healer Alisoun know that she's not telling? Teaming up with Geoffrey Chaucer, who is in York on a secret mission on behalf of Prince Edward, Owen's enquiries will draw him headlong into a deadly conspiracy. 

Guest Post: Candace Robb's Favourite Characters to Write

One of the best parts of writing a series is that characters move along with me from book to book, revealing more of themselves with each appearance. The longer I work with a character, peeling away their outward shell to delve more deeply, excavating layer upon layer, the more complex she or he becomes, the more nuanced. Most intriguing of all is the healer Magda Digby, the Riverwoman. Though I created her—supposedly—she mystifies me. There’s always a shimmer in the air when she arrives on the page. She insinuated herself into The Apothecary Rose, her role growing from a cameo appearance in early drafts of the book, the grieving mother weeping over her son’s grave, to the final version in which she is a minor but notable character. A chance comment from my agent at the time, a former editor, after reading an early draft—an interesting character. Will we see her again?—suggested that she might warrant another look. That must be what woke her. Gradually, as I revised, she inspired brief scenes; I saw a role for her, and a far richer identity. The elderly woman in mourning expanded into the enigmatic healer Owen encounters on his first day in York and comes to respect. This was my first taste of the magic of Magda.

Once I decided to expand on her part, I envisioned her as a gifted healer with deep knowledge of roots and herbs, and a healthy dose of skepticism about her fellow mortals, and the Church. In 14th century England the power of the Church was second only to that of the king—and in some things, exceeded that of the king. From the beginning Magda stands out as a non-Christian in this world, questioning all that Owen, Lucie, and their community accept as part of their faith.

But from the first, mystery swirled around Magda. Folk wondered how old she was. And where did she find the Viking wreck that served as the roof of her house on a rock in the river? They feared the dragon that hung upside down over her door, watching all who approached. She spoke in riddles, answering  questions with questions that pointed out a path yet revealed little. I’ve begun to ask myself whether her skills are limited to those available to all healers who study their craft, or whether there is more to her. Owen and I are exploring that together, and I must say we’re both inclined to believe there is far more to her than we imagined. 

About Candace Robb:

Candace Robb has read and researched medieval history for many years, having studied for a Ph.D. in Medieval & Anglo-Saxon Literature. She divides her time between Seattle and the UK, frequently visiting York to research the series. She is the author of ten previous Owen Archer mysteries and three Kate Clifford medieval mysteries. 




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Guest Post: Does Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder with Eden Interrupted Author @BevHarvey_ @UrbaneBooks @lovebooksgroup

09:08


90s popstar Ben Wilde and his bride Lisa return from honeymoon to find a cuckoo in the nest and a surprise European tour in the diary.

Lisa befriends neighbour Rosemary, who is also home alone while husband Nigel travels for work. But will the women's grim suspicions be confirmed, or does absence make the heart grow paranoid?

In the village, Eden Hill's coffee shop is under new management with the arrival of divorced Mum, Chloe, and troubled teen son, Jake. But serving flat whites leaves Chloe feeling, well, flat until she meets Caleb, a widowed father of two; if only Jake and Caleb weren't at loggerheads.

New to Eden Hill are Jan and Martin Bevan, but a frosty reception leaves them wondering if they've made a huge mistake.

From the writer of Seeking Eden, Eden Interrupted is another sizzling slice-of-life drama where paths (and swords) cross, and misunderstandings abound. Perfect for fans of Fiona Gibson and Marian Keyes.  

Guest Post:

Does absence make the heart grow fonder or is it a case of out of sight, out of mind?

By Beverley Harvey

Two women, two absent husbands: When friends and neighbours Lisa Dixon and Rosemary Bradshaw find themselves home alone in the suburban new town of Eden Hill, it isn’t long before loneliness and suspicion set in. 
Forty-something Lisa is shocked when Ben Wilde, her faded-Rockstar husband, is unexpectedly whisked away on a European tour, cutting short the honeymoon and rousing Lisa’s hitherto unseen jealous streak.  Meanwhile, neighbour Rosemary finds herself quietly relieved when her husband, businessman Nigel, begins frequently staying away overnight.  
Couples forced to live apart is one of the themes I explore in Eden Interrupted, my second novel and the sequel to Seeking Eden. It’s a subject I know something about; barely a week passes when my real-life partner doesn’t have to board a plane for work. It can be frustrating, lonely and boring. Fortunately, we’re both used to the routine, speak several times a day on the phone and make the very best of our weekends together. But what happens if your soulmate is called away for months at a time? 
For many years I lived in a prosperous, suburban new town in Semi-rural Kent which inspired Eden Hill, the setting for my novels. There, it was not unusual for couples to live apart for long spells as many of the men (and increasingly the women) went off to pursue lucrative contracts abroad or in other parts of the UK.  This style of work often results in a life of material comfort, but at what price? 
In the case of Lisa and Rosemary in Eden Interrupted, both encounter serious relationship problems and for entirely different reasons. We see Lisa’s evolution from bubbly, temptress and sex-kitten in Seeking Eden to peri-menopausal clinging-vine in the sequel – which puts a huge strain on Ben and Lisa’s new marriage. 
Rosemary on the other hand, realises that she and her young daughter Iris are happier when her dull and portentous husband, is travelling for work. Readers soon learn the shocking truth about Nigel – but will Rosemary ever discover his dark secret?
Lisa and Rosemary are just two of the conflicted and eminently relatable characters in Eden Interrupted. Readers will revisit Martin and Jan who are struggling to settle in their new home, as well as meeting new arrivals divorcé Chloe and her troubled teenage son Jake. 
I’m fascinated by real lives and truly believe there’s no such thing as an ordinary person. Every one of us experiences unique challenges, highs and lows, and each of us is the star of our own show; as the saying goes ‘there’s nowt so queer as folk’.  

Eden Interrupted, Urbane Publications, from 6th June 2019. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eden-Interrupted-Beverley-Harvey/dp/1912666383/

About Beverly Harvey:

For almost thirty years Beverley Harvey has worked in the communications industry. Beverley (Bev to her friends) recently swapped PR campaigns for plot lines and completed her first novel; she continues to supply words for businesses across several sectors. When not writing or reading, Bev enjoys listening to rock and indie music, cooking, baking, and keeping fit. An animal lover she is inspired by nature, art and life's daily trials and tribulations. Born in Yorkshire, and raised in South London, Beverley now lives in Chichester with her partner.  

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