Cycling fever in my handbag

French Revolutions:Cycling the Tour de France

Tim Moore

‘..clearly, here was an event that gripped the nation like no other and didn’t relax its grasp for twenty one whole days.’

Tour de Yorkshire fever is about to grip Yorkshire this Friday. In preparation for the race, I have placed a topical book, about cycling, in my handbag. Nowadays, I can’t wait to go and capture the atmosphere of this cycling event but I haven’t always been a fan! 

However, my husband has always been obsessed with the Tour de France and is glued to the television for three weeks during the tournament.  I could never understand the appeal; to me it seemed like endless scenery whizzing past.  I was not impressed when my husband decided to buy me a book about the event.  He assured me that I didn’t need to be an enthusiast to read French Revolutions by Tim Moore.

Annoyingly, I did love the book, and didn’t stop laughing; it was something to read whilst my husband watched the race.  It is an hilarious book about an amateur cyclist, aged 35, who decided to complete the Tour de France route six weeks before the big race.  Admittedly, you do learn about the event, but the book is crammed full of entertaining anecdotes. Moore’s style of writing just breezes along, punctuated with witty observations.

The book entertained me and managed to begin a revolution in my heart! I was nudged again when Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France, and then when the Tour de France visited Yorkshire.  It really was like a fever had swept through God’s own county.

Read the full article in My Reading .

 

I’ll leave you with the words of that great French cycling legend:

“It was like having a Tour de France stage in my home region, it was so amazing. I am not saying that because I am here, I really feel it. To see my name written on the road or on banners held by children really touches me. I have been a rider for 16 years and I have never seen anything like that.”

Thomas Voekler, France, Tour de Yorkshire Winner 2016

 

Books abandoned for sculptures…

I had the pleasure of visiting Yorkshire Sculpture Park last week. It is an open-air art gallery, set in the grounds of an eighteenth-century mansion.  The landscaped gardens work together with the sculptures to create an amazing creative harmony.

There is such a variety of sculptures and each one inspires questions.  Indeed, it is amazing the way in which perfect strangers are happy to discuss the sculptures without worrying about their interpretations. Perhaps the visitors feel uninhibited as they are not confined by the walls of gallery that echoes with knowledge. Who knows?’

During the walk, we stumbled on many people from different nationalities.  An Australian woman told me that she had been ‘startled’ by a wonderful sculpture of a woman’s head.  We agreed that the spirit of the woman seems to beckon you.  From a distance, the sculpture looks like a projected image – prompting: is she real or imaginary? As you approach, the sculpture is flat – like the silhouette on a stamp.  It is a beautiful form that seemed to appeal to women rather than men, on that day.  Despite the grey sky, the light was adding a mystical quality that gave the sculpture an air of confidence.  What this suggesting something about the modern woman?

Further into the walk, we were greeted by Highland cattle.  These creatures were so still, and at ease with the visitors, that we wondered if they were sculptures.  We also found a dead tree with ancient looking bark and a very twisted form.  Had the tree been left there to demonstrate how natural objects can also be sculpted by the elements? We were having this debate when another visitor overheard and said, ‘What a load of arty farty nonsense!’  This brought us completely down to earth and reminded me of how everything is open to interpretation.

Still laughing at the comments, we found some steps that were carved into the earth paving a way to some open woodland.  I decided that the steps were a sculpture but my husband was sceptical at this point; he had been influenced by our fellow Yorkshire folk.  A plaque marked the spot as if to reassure me.  It felt as if someone was presenting a hopeful message about the climb.  Pardon the pun, but I went a step further and commented that to me they represented the struggle for independent authors.  But that was my interpretation at that point in time: I was influenced by my emotions, experience, the weather and, of course, ‘arty farty nonsense’.

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a wonderful place to visit.  I wonder if you would be able to spot the sculptures that instigated our discussions?  Would you agree with the interpretations?  Did someone deliberately construct a place when art can be read according to mood, weather and other factors?  I don’t know the answer to this but invite you to have a look.  Perhaps some of the questions should be placed next to the sculptures?  Maybe, there will be a sculpture of a handbag in the future, or possibly a sculpture constructed of books.

Following the visit, I was brimming with questions and ideas.  Reading the sculptures inspired my own writing, and reminded me that it is so important to take some time for reflection.  I placed picture postcards of the sculptures in my handbag, rather than books.  However, I know that I will return to ask more questions and to find a suitable reading spot – or maybe several.

Please see my blog at jessiecahalin.com and subscribe to it.

Forgotten Dutch history concealed in my handbag

Imogen Matthews 

 

Imogen Matthews was born in Rijswijk, Holland, to a Dutch mother and English father, the family moved to England when Imogen was very young.

Imogen contacted me and asked me to review her novel.  She told me that The Hidden Village is an ‘intriguing historical fiction’ based on historical facts that have remained hidden in Holland.  My interest was piqued when she told me that she ‘needed to tell this WW2 story for the people of the hidden village.’  Obviously, the novel is on my Reading List but I wanted to find out more about the author and the book.

I was delighted to welcome Imogen Matthews to my Chat Room.  She is the first author to visit the completed room.  I was a little alarmed when she greeted me with, ‘Dag!’ but explained that it is Dutch for hello.

Imogen came into the Chat Room wearing a navy biker jacket over peach-coloured culottes and strappy navy sandals.  Of course, she had brought an enviable bag for the occasion and it was an elegant mushroom tote bag.

She requested a black Americano and brought some Dutch “koekjes” (biscuit) called “krakelingen” – lovely crisp flaky biscuits topped with sugar and cinnamon.

She said, ‘In Holland, you always get a “koekje” with your coffee and I miss that in England!’

How is Dutch culture different to British culture?

The Dutch have a word “gezellig” that is an emotion we don’t have a word for. So you can make your house “gezellig” by having lots of table lamps and tealights (strictly no overhead lights). A sociable meal with friends and family is also “gezellig”. My mother also used to say it was “gezellig” whenever I used to pop over for coffee. The Danes have stolen a march on this idea with “hygge”, but I can assure you that I’ve been using “gezellig” long before “hygge” became fashionable!

Imogen is an engaging, lively and positive personality and this reassured me that the narrative voice in her book would also be appealing.  It was obvious that her determination has served her well as a writer.  She cares passionately about the hidden Dutch history and this made me want to read on for the sake of the lost voices.

Tell me about The Hidden Village

Set in WW2 Holland, deep in the Veluwe woods, The Hidden Village is a story about survival, hope, despair, and ultimately, love, as a community pulls together to build a purpose-built village to shelter those persecuted by the Germans. The lives of young Sofie, Jan and Liesbeth become entwined with devastating consequences for their futures.

Tempt me with an extract from the novel

“It was the smell of a cigarette that stopped him in his tracks. A man wearing a grey belted coat stepped out from behind the tree. ‘So’, he said, grinding his cigarette with his boot.”

Why did you decide to digress from your usual genre of novel?

This was a story I felt I had to get down, so when I’d finished I felt pleased I’d told a story that so many people won’t have known anything about.

Imogen Matthews

What do the reviewers say about your novel?

Sensitively written. “From the first chapter you are engaged with the characters and I even found myself warning them when they were due to be raided – OUT LOUD! Sensitively written, with a page-turning plot, this is a wonderful new book from Imogen.” Ms E. Holmes-ievers

I couldn’t put it down. “This skillful blend of fiction within the factual events happening to many at those times, holds you till the end. I couldn’t put it down, nor did I want to until the final page.”  Gilly Cox

Highly recommended. “Though the subject matter is tough, there are lighter moments and the book rattles along at a good pace. The varied cast of characters, especially the younger ones, keeps your interest. Highly recommended.”  Clarky

How did you feel when you had finished writing your book, and did you miss any of the characters?

It left a big hole as I’d spent so long on the book and I realised just how attached I’d become to my characters.

So yes, I miss my characters lots! I miss Sofie’s feistiness and determination not to let her life change by hiding away from the Germans. And I miss her best friend Liesbeth, who sticks by Sofie through thick and thin, even though she also has to make her own big sacrifices. I even miss the enigmatic Henk, the head woodman, who’s instrumental in getting the hidden village built, but struggles with his loyalties. I particularly miss Jan, who’s always getting into scrapes but is only trying to help others and do good. He goes through so much that I just want to give him a big hug and tell him that everything will turn out alright.

It is obvious that you are genuinely attached to your characters and care about them – this always bodes well for the reader.

Who would you like to read your book and why?  This could be another author, someone famous, a friend or a member of your family.  

I’d love Anita Shreve to read my book as I’m a great fan of her writing. She has a great ability to say so much in so few words. Her book Resistance, set in German-occupied Belgium, is brilliant and inspired me when I started working out the plot for my book.

Why should I keep your book in my handbag?

Because it’s so gripping that you won’t want to leave it out of your sight!

What is the last sentence written in your writer’s notebook?

I’ve been writing for years and have notebooks all over the place, so that’s a hard one. I guess it’ll be something along the lines of “to be continued.” That sums up how I feel about writing -I’ve always got something more to say.

What is the biggest challenge for an independent author?

Getting noticed. You have to work really hard to get people to find your book as the competition is increasing all the time. I self-published my first book Run Away by Alex Johnson (my pen name) in 2012 and got a great response quite quickly and lots of reviews. Then in 2014 I published the sequel The Perfume Muse and it was already much harder. For The Hidden Village I was fortunate to find Amsterdam Publishers, who have been enormously helpful in helping to navigate the many pitfalls when launching a book.

What is the best advice that you have received as a writer?

A writing tutor once said that you should write every day, however little and however bad you might think your writing is. She also recommended writing before doing anything else first thing in the morning as it’s so easy to get distracted by other things and then never get down to it. I took her advice to heart and sometimes I only write 100 words a day, but these words do add up and eventually you can see you have written a book. Of course, that’s when the hard work starts, but you’ve built the framework which gives you the confidence to keep going.

Tell me a little more about yourself.

I live with my husband in Oxford and love to go on runs, walks and cycle rides in the beautiful surrounding countryside. I love cooking Moroccan and Middle Eastern inspired food, particularly Ottolenghi and Persiana recipes. A favourite is lovely crumbly tahini cookies.

Tahini Cookies (from Jerusalem) by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamiimi

130g caster sugar

150 unsalted butter, at room temperature

110g light tahini paste

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

25ml double cream (you can sub this with milk)

270g plain flour

1tsp cinnamon

200 degree C/180 degree C Fan/Gas Mark 6

Put sugar and butter in mixer bowl and with a beater attachment work for 1 minute at medium speed. Add tahini, vanilla and cream, then the flour and work for a minute till a dough comes together. Transfer to a work surface and knead till smooth.

Pinch off 20g of dough and roll between your palms into a ball. Squash down onto a baking sheet (no oil necessary) and use the back of a fork to flatten and make a prong pattern. Sprinkle each cookie with cinnamon. Make sure the cookies aren’t too close together as they do spread a bit.

Into the oven for 15-17 minutes till golden brown.

Turn onto a wire rack to cool and try and resist eating them when hot! Yum!

I pressed Imogen to let me have the recipe!

 

Please see all my interviews on My Guests and see my blog at jessiecahalin.com

A book from another world in my handbag

It is great to challenge ourselves with new genres, and ‘We Other’ is a dark fairy thriller. According to reviewers, ‘We Other’ is a magical novel to inspire the imagination. ‘In the book you will meet faeries you would never want to meet on a dark night,’ explained, the author, Sue Bentley. Intrigued, I asked Sue to address her readers, and tell us more about her novel.

 

 

Dear Readers – I am delighted to present We Other.

In this extract we meet Jess Morgan, a loner who doesn’t fit in and has few friends. Her life is about to change in ways she could never have imagined.

I chose this extract to introduce Jess, whose story this is. She’s feisty, difficult and street-wise – with good reason – but she’s vulnerable too, with a good heart.

The reader should be tempted to place my book in their handbag because it’s a complex and rewarding read, with many twists and turns which will keep them guessing.  I’m rooting for Jess and I hope you will too, once you get to know her.

Best wishes and I hope you enjoy the extract. Happy reading!

Sue Bentley

 

Words from the book…

And then looking through the opening into the final gallery, Jess caught sight of a large painting hanging by itself. Her breath quickening with excitement, she walked rapidly towards it.

There was a small crowd of people in front of the painting. She could only glimpse details through the shifting bodies, but she knew it was the one. She hung back, wanting to prolong the moment when she stood face to face with that figure wrought from shadows. Leave me alone with it, she thought. Go away. All of you.

Oblivious to the air around her tingling and shimmering, in a way that was beginning to feel familiar, she stared at the painting. As she moved forward, time seemed to shift into slow motion. A slew of sound echoed hollow and discordant in her ears as every person standing in front of the painting turned in a single movement. They looked at Jess with glazed eyes, before drifting sideways in a single body, moving as if in the steps of some tightly choreographed dance, and melting from the gallery.

Everyone else had somehow left too, she realised. She could see people strolling around the other galleries through the archways. But here, she was alone. In the sudden stillness Jess caught her breath. The painting was revealed to her in its entirety. Or as she thought oddly, it revealed itself to her.

She was not disappointed by what she saw.

More about the book…

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic. When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods’ – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of her worries. Drawn into a new world of rich darkness, she finds herself torn between love, family and a growing sense of a new, powerful identity.

Strapline for the book – Fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.

What the reviewers say…

‘Darkly delicious. Lights the blue touch paper and runs away.’ Peter J Goodchild

‘Absolutely magical. Compelling story and gorgeous writing.’  Freda Warrington – award winning author of 21 fantasy novels

‘Give yourself time. You won’t want to put this down.’ Ruth Webster

More about Sue…

Sue Bentley is fascinated by English Folklore, the extraordinary in the everyday and the darkness that hovers at the edges of the light.

Sue says…

Louis Armstrong says it best – ‘the bright blessed day and the dark sacred night’ You can’t have one without the other.

I always enjoyed ‘real’ fairy tales – not the sanitised Disney versions. For example, in some versions of Cinderella – the ugly sisters snip off their toes to be able to cram their feet into the glass slipper.

I was that kid in a class of pink tutus who was dressed as a vampire bat. I never wanted high-heeled dancing shoes, I wanted sturdy boots to go tramping around forests looking for the shapes of goblins in the trees.

As for characters – Goody, Goody is all very well, but it can get boring. We all love the ‘bad’ characters who do doubtful things – they’re much more fun to write about.

I am intrigued by Sue’s exploration of the ‘darkness that hovers on the edge of light’ and wonder what she presents to the reader in ‘We Other’.  The extract evoked my imagination, and I wanted to know why Jess ‘wasn’t disappointed’.  This novel sounds as if it will challenge the boundaries of the imagination, as it has done for the reviewers.

 

Please see all my extracts at Book Extracts and my blog at jessiecahalin.com.

 

Meet an explorer of the dark corners of history

Annabel Fielding

 

 

 

 

 

Annabel arrived at my Chat Room in the middle of September.   The autumnal feeling was already in the atmosphere, and I was tempted to light a fire.  Annabel was wearing black jeans and a loose blue blouse, clearly indicating that she is not yet prepared to say a decisive farewell to summer.  Her handbag was slightly bulky – spacious enough to fit in all the possible gadgets and tools of trade, including, perhaps, an odd typewriter.

She was feeling rather tired after a long journey.  Inspired by Annabel’s interest in tea, I had been to a specialist shop, in Bath, to buy some tea.  Annabel approved of my quirky 1930s teapot and a vintage tea strainer.  Apparently, the Winter Mixture tea was perfect.  I served the tea with some shortbread biscuits.  I added stem ginger and lemon to the shortbread and the flavour worked perfectly with the tea.

Jessie:  The front cover of your debut novel looks intriguing.  Tell me more about your book. 

Annabel:  Three very different women get caught up in the political struggles of the 1930s, in three very different ways. The novel is about the allure of fascism, the allure of love, the power of art and the art of climbing to power.

Jessie:  What prompted you to write the book, and what genre does it fit into

Annabel:  I’d say it’s a cross between historical fiction and an LGBT novel. I can say it was inspired by the period dramas that followed in the wake of Downton Abbey (I think we all remember that craze!), but in a sort of twisted way. I had this desire to explore the darker side of the world they’ve showed, to dissect all the political conflicts they only hinted at.

Jessie:  How do you manage to combine a career in PR with writing?

Annabel:  Actually, I can count myself to be incredibly lucky, as most of my duties allow me to work from home and to generally keep flexible hours. Honestly, I cannot imagine how I would have kept up otherwise – scribbled during lunch breaks, probably!

Jessie:  It is such a challenge to release a debut novel.  What response have you had from the reviewers so far?

“A captivating, stylish… historical novel about the polite society, dangerous affairs … political intrigue and espionage in London in the 1930s.’ Christabel, Goodreads

“So well researched and written, this exciting time in Britain (pre-WWII) is brought life in this lively novel. ” Polly Krize, Goodreads

“A fantastic story line and wonderfully written, the plot is well thought out and a brilliant LGBT tale”. Charlotte McGlinchey, Goodreads

Jessie:  It seems as if you have researched the plot thoroughly and developed an intricate plot.  Read me a short extract from the book to tempt the reader.

‘It was as if Hester was once again cycling down the hill and feeling the wind roaring in her ears; only this time the brakes were broken, and the map was lost, and the landscape around her was full of dangers”.

Jessie:  It sounds like the character is having a difficult time here.  Can you provide a little context?

Annabel:  She is under a kind of double pressure here. She is drawn into a turbulent affair with a woman… I could have ended the sentence here, as we are talking about a respectable, salt-of-the-earth, small town girl in the 1930’s; but that’s not the end of it – she is drawn into a turbulent affair with a woman, who has her own dark secrets and a continents-spanning political agenda.

Jessie:  How did you feel when you had finished writing your book, and did you miss any of the characters?

Annabel: I’d say it was a mix of relief and regret. Parting with Lucy was especially painful. I missed her terribly in the months to come, the shadows in her heart and her glorious way of making trouble..

Jessie: Who would you like to read your book and why?  This could be another author, someone famous, a friend or a member of your family.

Annabel: I would have loved to hear Sarah Waters’ opinion on it. Her Tipping the Velvet was a revelation for the nineteen-years-old me.

Jessie:  Would your book appeal to fans of Sarah Waters?

Annabel:  I hope so! I have always loved her mix of sensuality, unparalleled historical atmosphere and social commentary.

Jessie: Why should I keep your book in my handbag?

Annabel: That way you’d be able to get your daily dose of hot jazz, bias-cut gowns and interwar intrigue while on the Tube.

Jessie: What is the last sentence written in your writer’s notebook?

“Into the coming storm”.

Jessie:  Is this a note for another book?  Tell me more!

Annabel:  I would be glad to say so – but, alas, my new book is still in the research phase! This from one of my drafts for the epilogue.

Jessie: What is the biggest challenge for an author?

Annabel: For me it was to piece the intricacies of the plot together. After I was done with that, the actual writing process came surprisingly easy.

Jessie: Did you have beta readers and an editor?

Annabel:  Yes, I had good fortune to have as my editor the lovely Clio Cornish at the HQ Digital. She was a tremendous help for me, especially when it came to improving my plot flow or character development!

Jessie: What is the best advice that you have received as a writer?

Annabel: Probably to disregard the romantic ‘tortured artist’ archetype and work out methods that would cause me as little torture as possible. In my case, it was dedicating enough time to careful research, detailed outline and scene-by-scene planning.

 More about Annabel…

Annabel Fielding graduated from the University of Arts London with an MA in Public Relations. She is a PR assistant by day and a novelist by night. Being a self-professed history geek, she dedicates her free time to obscure biographies, solo travel and tea. She also posts a mix of book reviews and travel photos on her blog at http://historygeekintown.com“. 

Annabel has always been unique.  She read The Iliad in primary school to prove everyone wrong.  She is obsessed with the dark corners of history and wants to bring them to life in her novels.  From an early age, Annabel liked to explore the world – prefect for a writer!

Hilarity in my handbag

Patricia Feinberg Stoner is presenting an extract of her award winning book. ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc’ is the funniest book I have read this year: I am still recounting her anecdotes at dinner parties. Forget ‘Victoria’, someone should serialise this book for the Sunday night audience – we all need a laugh!

It is an honour to hand over to, the wordsmith, Patricia Feinberg Stoner. 

 

Dear readers,

I’m so pleased to be able to share At Home In the Pays d’Oc with you.  In this extract I’ve chosen the moment when, after a long search, my husband and I first set eyes on what was to become our home in the Languedoc.  It’s my abiding memory, even after 30 years, and I still feel the lift of excitement I felt that day.  I was sure then, and I am sure now, that when I first walked into the dusty, red-flagged kitchen, the house opened one eye and said ‘Well, you took your time getting here.’

Why read At Home in the Pays d’Oc?  Look at the state of the world!  If we are all going to hell in a handbag, then wouldn’t it be nice to have something light-hearted to offset the doom and gloom?   I hope this book will encourage everyone to follow their dream and see where it takes them.

I hope you enjoy this tale of our adventures, and that the book brings you something of the sunshine and fun and laughter that our sojourn in the Languedoc brought to us.

With all good wishes

Patricia Feinberg Stoner.

Extract:

Jean-Jacques, the estate agent, turned right, drove up a narrow street between ancient houses, turned the corner and stopped. We got out of the car. On the corner of the church square and a road so narrow you could have spanned it with outstretched arms, stood the ugliest house I had ever seen.

It was clearly old, very old. It was clearly cobbled together out of what had been two houses. It rose slab-fronted from the street, acres of decaying, yellowish crépis (plaster) bisected by sundry phone and electricity cables. A ridiculous stone staircase flanked by a stunted tree rose ungracefully to a pocket-handkerchief front terrace littered with debris and encrusted with cat droppings.

I stopped dead in my tracks. ‘Ohmigawd’ thought Himself to himself (as he told me later), ‘we’ve just bought a house.’

Why?  There were prettier houses. There were certainly prettier villages – Morbignan in those days was, to put it politely, a little run-down. What made me fall so immediately, so irrevocably in love with this house in this village?

Did I see possibilities in the tree?  In years to come it would grow so high that it could be seen on Google Earth.

Was I enchanted by the steps, crumbling and lichen-dappled though they were? Did I foresee their future when, cleaned and decorated with pots of scarlet geraniums, they would prompt visitors to exclaim ‘What a lovely house!’?

Who can tell?  All I can say is, the heart wants what the heart wants.

More about this ‘tale of accidental expatriates’…

This is the story of how a small brown and white spaniel turned the lives of two English holidaymakers upside down.

Patricia and her husband Patrick are spending the summer in their holiday home in the Languedoc village of Morbignan la Crèbe. One hot Friday afternoon Patrick walks in with the little dog, thinking she is a stray. They have no intention of keeping her.

‘Just for tonight,’ says Patrick. ‘We will take her to the animal shelter tomorrow.’ It never happens. They spend the weekend getting to know and love the little creature, who looks at them appealingly with big brown eyes, and wags her absurd stump of a tail every time they speak to her.

On the Monday her owner turns up, alerted by the Mairie. They could have handed her over. Instead Patricia finds herself saying: ‘We like your dog, Monsieur. May we keep her?’

It is the start of what will be four years as Morbignanglais, as they settle into life as permanent residents of the village. “At Home in the Pays d’Oc” is about their lives in Morbignan, the neighbours who soon become friends, the parties and the vendanges and the battles with French bureaucracy.

It is the story of some of their bizarre and sometimes hilarious encounters:  the Velcro bird, the builder in carpet slippers, the neighbour who cuts the phone wires, the clock that clacks, the elusive carpenter who really did have to go to a funeral.

At Home in the Pays d’Oc‘ has won a Five Star Book Award from One Stop Fiction.  Here is a flavour of the other reviews:

Part memoir, part travel book, wittily written and engaging, At Home in the Pays d’Oc is so much more than ‘how to live in a foreign country’.  Despite being penned anecdotally, it flows with the rhythm of a good novel. Ingenue Magazine

The author, Patricia, in this captivating book, takes the reader on a voyage of discovery, a celebration of the years she and her husband spent enjoying their French home.  Susan Keefe, Living in France

What I most admire about the couple’s story is their attitude to life in another country. (While Many expats are the “Little Englanders,” the Stoners make a real attempt to integrate into the social system of their adopted village.  Kathleen Lance, One Stop Fiction

Patricia is passionate about humour, food and writing; she loves all dogs and some people.  She has written: ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc’, ‘Paw Prints in the Butter: A Clowder of Comical Cats’ and ‘The Little Book of Rude Limericks’. Her writing is witty, entertaining and a joy to read.

Patricia is releasing her ‘Little Book of Rude Limericks’, on 15th November.

Read my review of ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc’ or visit Patricia in my Chat Room.

Join Patricia’s blog for her latest news and mewsings.

paw-prints-in-the-butter.com

 

Please see all my  Book Extracts and my blog at jessiecahahlin.com.

 

Something ‘Broken But Not Lost’ in my handbag

Broken

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ivy Logan is presenting the cover reveal of her gripping young adult romance, ‘Broken’.  It is a coming of age romance of sacrifice and love. As I am unfamiliar with this genre, I asked Ivy why I should place her supernatural fantasy adventure in my handbag.

Here is Ivy’s explanation:

Talia, my heroine, belongs to a time when there were no handbags. But for the modern reader, a handbag is all about a woman on the go with so much to do, places to go, things to achieve.

Broken is so apt for the modern reader, who is on the move, as you can pick up the at any time and find sanctuary in another world.  The novel will draw you into a magical world where women are not perfect, but love gives them the power and the courage to fight dragons. We all face dragons, in real life, for the love of our families.

Talia is fragile, has been hunted and has lost her entire family to an ancient curse. As an independent woman, she doesn’t need a prince to protect her, only to love her.  She has learned the best lesson in life- take a stand and face your nemesis head on.

This book offers young girls a female hero who believes in, her family, love and friendships. Although a fantasy, this book has a significant message.  Broken is the portrayal of a strong woman who deals with violence, bullying, grief and sacrifice.

Talia may live in a fantasy world, but like any girl in modern society, she has her own problems and insecurities to overcome before she is strong once again.

It is intriguing the way Ivy has presented an inspirational message in the story. Ivy weaved her magic and had me hooked on her clever tale, and I read the blurb to discover more…

The dark shadow cast by an ancient prophecy shatters an innocent family, but all that is broken is not lost.

Unaware of her supernatural legacy, half blood sorceress Talia has a unique childhood. Although protected by the love of her parents, Talia is instructed in the art of combat by her mother, Caitlin, a powerful sorceress of the Heichi clan.

When Talia’s family’s worst nightmare comes to pass, her protected life spins out of control. Everything she believes in and everyone she loves is cruelly snatched away and Talia is forced to flee the attentions of a mad king.

Choosing a path of retribution devoid of love and friendship, Talia comes to learn that love can be received even if it is not sought.

Broken’ is a tale of Talia’s coming of age, reuniting with her family, and seeking vengeance. Most of all, it chronicles, Talia’s rise from the ashes and how she finds herself again.

Set against a background of time travel and supernatural forces, read Talia’s epic saga of love, sacrifice, and discovering the hero within.

Once the magic spell of the blurb had been cast, I asked Ivy to present some magic words from the story…

Caitlin finally saw a way out of her torment. She had been born a guardian and it was now time to don the mantle again. She had to protect her little family.  She and the cursed child must be separated from each other. If they were not together, the prophecy could not come to pass.

But how does a mother choose? Choosing between her children seemed implausible and unthinkable, but for the sake of her family, she had to do it. She had to know which child lived under the shadow of the curse.

In little Joshua, who was so innocent and without guile, Caitlin saw Michael and the peace and calm he brought to her life. In Talia, she saw an image of herself, the strength, the promise of power, and unfortunately, the pain it could bring. Talia was the half blood; the prophecy predicting Caitlin would betray the Heichi on account of her child had to be related to Talia.

Broken Not Lost‘ is yet to receive reviews.  However, the prequel, Origins – Legends of Ava, has received wonderful reviews and this bodes well for the release of the novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do the reviewers say about the prequel to Broken, titled, Origins –The Legend of Ava?

‘What an introduction! It just leaves you hungry for more. Ivy Logan knows how to build a beautiful scenario even if it is a tragic one. The taste of her mythology is a fresh one. I can’t wait to read more.’ Selene Kallan

‘I have just had the pleasure of reading this short story and prequel to Broken; book one of The Breach Chronicles. The author has introduced the reader to a world where supernaturals live on earth and the complications that this can bring. In this story we meet Ava and the Heichi sorceresses and what a gripping start to the story it is when tragedy and subsequent decisions surrounding this, creates unease among the supernatural. This is a story you must read and it has left me wanting more. I hope it isn’t too long before Broken is released so that I can find out what happens next.’ Ann Walker

‘Picture the opening scene… The beautiful yet unassuming girl, the bad boy rebel… A budding romance. Without giving too much away, they don’t feature all that long in plot. This novel starts as it means to go on, it take all those YA tropes and lets you know that isn’t going to happen here.
I’m genuinely excited to read more of this story. The world being built is rich and new. I’m an artist and I’m already itching to bring to life on paper. The characters are, for lack of a better word, human. Flawed in a real sense that allows you to emphasize with them. The multi perspective way the story is presented allows for a 360 view of events. A very important factor to this introductory piece. I can’t wait for the next installment!’ Faith Summers

‘Ms. Logan has done a great job of setting up the premise for Broken, Book 1 of the Breach Chronicles. The characters are well described, their emotions jumping off the page, and all beautifully worded. I’m looking forward to reading the first installment of the series as this prequel peeks my interest to the epic saga that is to follow.’ Jacky Dahlhaus

 

 

Broken is Book 1 of The Breach Chronicles.   The cover evokes intrigue and Ivy’s writing has the magical quality required for this genre. I believe the readers will not leave this fantasy world until they are reassured that all is ‘Broken But Not Lost’.  This is Ivy’s debut novel and I wish her all the best with her magical adventures!

 

Please see my blog at jessiecahalin.com.