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Book Review: Novelista Girl, by Meredith Schorr.

Book Review: Novelista Girl, by Meredith Schorr.

Thank you very much to Author Meredith Schorr for my copy of this book. ‘Novelista Girl’ is the sequel to ‘Blogger Girl’. It can be read as a stand alone, however the first book is really very good, so I would recommend reading that first. I did a Buddy Read for ‘Blogger Girl’ with my bookish friend Irena, you can read about that HERE!

You can read my review of ‘Blogger Girl’  HERE!  

AMAZING

 

Description:

Readers first met sassy Kimberly Long in Blogger Girl, and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a sequel packed with quick with, friendship, heartache, and, of course, romance.

Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy.

But is there more to the story than meets the eye?

After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn’t have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn’t see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar.

This is the year when all of Kim’s dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone?

This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.

novelista girl

Published January 6th 2016 by Booktrope Editions (first published January 4th 2016)

My Thoughts:

I am going to start this review with something very unusual…. I actually liked ‘Novelista Girl’ better than ‘Blogger Girl’! This is quite strange to prefer the sequel, but it was really very good. Meredith Schorr continues the story of bookblogger Kim, her relationship with Nicolas and how Kim is striving to become a chick lit Author. We share her ups and downs as she goes about trying to attain her dream of becoming a published Author. If you haven’t read ‘Blogger Girl’, you are easily caught up with the story, but not in a way that repeats itself for those that have read the previous book.

I was drawn to this series because of the main characters love for reading and bookblogging. In Novelista Girl, this continues and is taken a stage further as we hear more about Kim’s attempts at becoming published. I loved how we were lead through this process, and lived Kim’s highs and lows with her as she deals with agents and her old frenamie Hannah who is already a published Author! I enjoyed this part of the book so much, that I did consider how great it would be to write a book! (Although sadly, I don’t think I have the talent for that).

The characters in this book are brilliant. I love the relationship between Kim and her best friend Bridget. Always there for each other, always supporting each other. But realistic as they have a silly girlishness about them.

“Bridget covered her ears with her hands. “I don’t hear you. LALALALALA”.

I love how this book is so current. Kim has late night binges with Orange Is The New Black, and in true Chick Lit fashion, Kim compares herself to Carrie in Sex and the City…

“..it didn’t compare to the likes of Big or Petrovsky. Who was I kidding? My life would never resemble an episode of Sex and the City.” 

As part of Kim’s attempts to become published, we hear a lot that ‘Chick Lit is dead’. It is so not dead, and this book is a prime example of how brilliant chick lit can be. I loved this book, I read it in a few days, every time I had a spare few minutes I was back with my nose in the book to see what happens next.

I am going to give Meredith Schorr a big compliment here. For those of you that follow ChocolatePages, you will know that Sophie Kinsella is my favourite Chick Lit Author. It was Sophie that inspired my love of adult reading. Meredith Schorr has now become my favourite Chick Lit Author on a par with Sophie Kinsella! I love Becky Brandon from Shopaholic, and I love Kim Long from Blogger / Novelista Girl! 

In honour of Kim’s blog Pastel is the New Black, I am awarding ‘Novelista Girl’ 5 Pink Champagne Flutes.

5 PINK

 

 Have you read any of Meredith Schorr’s books? What did you think? Do you like the sound of Novelista Girl? I would love to hear from you, so let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you and happy reading book lovers. 

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Posted by on June 12, 2016 in Books

 

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Book Review: Summer at The Comfort Food Cafe, by Debbie Johnson.

Book Review: Summer at The Comfort Food Cafe, by Debbie Johnson.

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Impulse for my copy of this book. I would also like to thank Irena from BookDustMagic  for recommending this book to me. Irena has been a lovely bookish friend to me over the past while and I hope we can keep swapping book recommendations and continue our bookish chat. Thanks Irena. 

book friend

Description:

The brand new book from best-selling author Debbie Johnson will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you raid the pantry in the middle of the night…

The Comfort Food Cafe is perched on a windswept clifftop at what feels like the edge of the world, serving up the most delicious cream teas; beautifully baked breads, and carefully crafted cupcakes. For tourists and locals alike, the ramshackle cafe overlooking the beach is a beacon of laughter, companionship, and security – a place like no other; a place that offers friendship as a daily special, and where a hearty welcome is always on the menu.

For widowed mum-of-two Laura Walker, the decision to uproot her teenaged children and make the trek from Manchester to Dorset for the summer isn’t one she takes lightly, and it’s certainly not winning her any awards from her kids, Nate and Lizzie. Even her own parents think she’s gone mad.

But following the death of her beloved husband David two years earlier, Laura knows that it’s time to move on. To find a way to live without him, instead of just surviving. To find her new place in the world, and to fill the gap that he’s left in all their lives.

Her new job at the cafe, and the hilarious people she meets there, give Laura the chance she needs to make new friends; to learn to be herself again, and – just possibly – to learn to love again as well.

For her, the Comfort Food Cafe doesn’t just serve food – it serves a second chance to live her life to the full…

Kindle Edition, 293 pages
Published April 29th 2016 by HarperImpulse
comfort food

My Thoughts:

It was the name of this book that attracted me straight away. I love books that are foodie focused. I haven’t read any books by this Author before, but I had an idea of what to expect by the name, cover and blurb. The cover is just lovely isn’t it?

The book begins with Laura and her two children still grieving after the death of their Husband / Dad. Laura applies for a summer job in Dorset at The Comfort Food Cafe, this means leaving their home in Manchester for the summer. 

The way the cafe was described totally lived up to my expectations, it sounds like a really beautiful place and a lovely place to work and enjoy the summer. With its bookshelves, board games, photos and pictures, one which says:

“We will assume you want your hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream, unless you appear to be dead”

Laura meets all kinds of fantastically weird and wonderful people during her stay, and although we meet quite a few sideline characters, they are all easily memorable and add a little extra to the story. 

The idea of The Comfort Food Cafe, is as it sounds to provide comfort food for all the customers. I was hoping that the comfort food would be a much larger part of the book, with loads of foodie descriptions, perhaps a few examples of cake recipes and Laura baking. This was my only disappointment with this book. I wanted more food!!! I don’t know if this is just me being a greedy chocoholic, and the rest of you would find food talk irrelevant? But this is my review, so there! ;-). One of Laura’s treats which sounds amazing is her chocolate bar milk shakes, I would definitely try one of those if I could go to the cafe.

There were many humorous moments in the book too, one in particular involving her underwear. If you read it, look out for that scene! And another where she mentions, ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’, which I will remember myself!! Even Jimbo the dog does things to make us chuckle.

“….he got off his lead at a campsite in Scotland and threw himself right into the swimming pool, splash in the middle of an aquarobics class”

One of the side characters that I liked was Becca, Laura’s sister, a care free single girl, with such a warmth and sisterly love. If there is another book about the developments at The Comfort Food Cafe, it would be nice to hear more from Becca.

This book was heart warming, funny and reminded me that there is always hope. Regardless of what happens in life, there is comfort food, friends, family and the beach!

Links:

GOODREADS

AMAZON.CO.UK

AMAZON.COM

Twitter/debbiemjohnson

debbiejohnsonauthor.com

While I was reading this book, I entered a Harper Impulse giveaway, and was lucky enough to win 4 more Debbie Johnson books. Have you read any of these? What did you think?

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Posted by on May 28, 2016 in Books

 

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Treachery of Trains Blog Tour. Book Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!

Treachery of Trains Blog Tour. Book Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!

 

Welcome to my stop on The Treachery of Trains Blog Tour. I am currently very excited about this book, and it is next on my to be read list. Today, I am spotlighting the book for you. You can see the rest of the blog tour hosts many of whom have written great reviews for the book. My review will be up in a few weeks. Also, one lucky reader will win an ecopy of this fab book. Just enter the rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post.

The Treachery of Trains sched image

The Treachery of Trains

By author – Sylvia Ashby

Description:

Sky has made an abominable mistake at work. Something so awful she doesn’t dare stay in the HR office of XIM Technics for fear of being lynched by her colleagues.

So she gets on a train…

What happens when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year?

Sky Candy is about to find out……

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Author Information and Links:

Sylvia Ashby’s first book ‘Pot Love’ is about food and love.

Her second ‘The Treachery of Trains’ is about finding love in unlikely place. Sylvia lives in Belgium with her family.

Twitter/bysylvia_a

AMAZON.COM

AMAZON.CO.UK

GOODREADS

seawriting.wordpress.com

sylvia

Check out the rest of the tour hosts and read some great reviews here.

EverGrowingBookObsession
RedsMidnightReaders.Blogspot.co.uk
TheBelgiumReviewer.wordpress.com
SteamyBookMomma0.Blogspot.co.uk
JudgingMoreThanJustTheCover.Blogspot.co.uk
AroundTheWorldinBooks.ca
CancerSuckscouk.com
Tasz1976.wordpress.com
HelloChickLit.com
BookGroupies2.Blogspot.co.uk
Itapixie.blogspot.co.uk
TheBookWormLodge.com
BooksandWineareLovely.Blogspot.co.uk

The Treachery of Trains sched image

And now for the giveaway, just click the link and enter to win an ecopy of this book. The competition is open internationally. Good Luck!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Book Spotlights., Giveaways

 

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Book Review: FutureSpan, by Georgia Duffy.

Book Review: FutureSpan, by Georgia Duffy.

Remember this review, as one of the first reviews you’ve read for new and upcoming Author  Georgia Duffy! She is so talented, so imaginative and is going to be a huge success in fantasy books. FutureSpan is her first published novel, and it is a special one. Georgia contacted me back last year to do a spotlight on her book, now I am very happy to say that her first book has been published. 

FutureSpan, by Georgia Duffy. Published by Britain’s Next BestSeller. 6th May 2016.

imagination

Description:

Meet Amelia: desperate, she shoots her father as he sleeps. There is blood everywhere, and his eyes are shut forever, but she is distraught it hasn’t worked. Distraught that it means she is still stuck in this desolate place known as Futurespan. Meanwhile on another level Jetson goes through the mysterious doors to relive the worst day of his life, and see two versions of his future: one where all of his nightmares are real. Futurespan is a world quite apart from our own: it is a timeless, unsettling place. Join Tabitha, Rin and Diggory as they journey together through the strangeness to discover what kind of place it really is, why they are here and most importantly if they can get out.

Publisher: Britain’s Next Bestseller; First edition (6 May 2016)

future

 

My Thoughts:

This is a story where the characters are trapped in FutureSpan, we don’t know what FutureSpan is and neither do the characters Rin, Diggory and Tabitha who find themselves there. As we read, we learn how the characters find out about themselves, where they are and ultimately whether they can get themselves out again…. or are they trapped in this strange place forever??!!

Georgia Duffy has some imagination, and with this novel she brings us entertainment, interesting characters, morals, things to consider and a page turning book that gets us wondering what will happen to the characters. I don’t read many fantasy books, but this one I’m glad that I did.

The Author has really thought the story out well, everything I had wondered about was tied up nicely in the end, leaving us with a feeling of satisfaction, contentment and optimism. I think it would be wrong to say exactly what I thought the morals were as I think it would be considered a spoiler. However, I would love to hear from you if you have read it though.

There are a couple of nice quotes that I would like to leave you with to show the type of writer that Georgia is. She has a great imagination, as I said. But she writes in a way that makes you think about your own life. She writes in a way where you can empathise with the characters, and makes you hope that they make the right decisions.

“You can control yourself. Your mind is your own child”

Bad things do happen, he said to himself. They do. They have. They probably will again. He looked at Tabitha ……… but good things happen too

Depending on what kind of reader you are, if you like to read fantasy and get pure escapism to just enjoy the tales, this is a good book. If you are a reader that likes to look deeper into the story, and think about morals, decisions, and get a sense of empathy from characters which make you think of your own life and decisions, this is a brilliant book. 

I haven’t read any other reviews on this book, as it has just been released. But I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on it, especially as I haven’t read many fantasy books at all. So, if you read it please come back to ChocolatePages and let me know your thoughts.

 book secrets

Links:

GOODREADS

AMAZON.COM

AMAZON.CO.UK

Twitter/georgia_author

georgiaduffy.co.uk

 

 

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Posted by on May 14, 2016 in Books

 

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Book Review: A Stranger’s House by Clare Chase.

Book Review: A Stranger’s House by Clare Chase.

‘A Stranger’s House is Clare Chase’s second novel. I was very happy when I heard that it had been published, as I really loved her first one. Therefore setting the scale of my hopes for her second! Clare’s first book ‘So You Think You Know Me’ was brilliant. You can read my review of it HERE!

But now for my thoughts on her latest release…..I loved it. 

 

strangers house

Description:

What if you were powerless to protect the person you cared about most?

When Ruby finds out that her partner has done the unforgivable, she has no option but to move out of their home. With nowhere else to go, a job house-sitting in Cambridge seems like the perfect solution.

But it’s soon clear the absent owner hurts everyone he gets close to, and Ruby’s faced with the fallout. As violent repercussions unfold, her instinct is to investigate: it’s a matter of self-preservation. And besides, she’s curious…

But Ruby’s new boss, Nate Bastable, has his eye on her and seems determined to put a stop to her sleuthing. Is he simply worried for the welfare of a member of staff, or is there something altogether more complicated – and potentially dangerous – at play?

Publisher: Choc Lit (12 Feb. 2016)

 

My Thoughts:

The lead character in this book is Ruby, after splitting with her partner finds herself in a difficult situation with nowhere to go. She takes on a job as a house sitter. I have often thought a house sitter would be a great job – paid for living and keeping an eye on a house that you don’t have to pay any bills for, and usually really nice houses! After reading this book, I am a bit more sceptical! This house led to a lot of stressful encounters for Ruby. Great idea for a crime mystery though! 

This book leads us through Ruby and Nate’s point of view. Ruby is a great character, the Author has put enough detail and thought into Ruby that I could understand her thoughts and movements. Ruby is a writer and her investigations about her books show through in her interest into the mysteries she encounters in A Stranger’s House. She is brave yet emotional. If she weren’t emotional after all she had been through, the character wouldn’t have worked I think.  

Nate is a great character too, I didn’t understand him as easily as I did Ruby. I think the Author did this on purpose so that we are left guessing throughout the story. A side line character is Ruby’s friend Steph. I wasn’t as keen on her. I don’t think she was there for Ruby as much as she should have been. But as a side line character maybe we were only supposed to see glimpses of her?

I like that this story was based in Cambridge, you can tell the the Author is writing where she knows very well. I haven’t ever been to Cambridge, but I would re read this book if I were to visit. Although I enjoy crime books set in America, I always find the British based ones that tiny bit more relate-able.

There were twists and turns of suspense throughout this novel. It is a page turner to make me suspect everyone. But I didn’t guess until the last few chapters, just before Nate and Ruby. However, I had the insight of hearing the surrounding story which Nate and Ruby did not, despite Ruby’s investigating. As I think back over the book there are clue’s throughout, which made the ‘light bulb’s’ go on in my head as I considered them.

The Author’s imagination to create full rounded characters and great plot lines is what will keep me reading Clare Chase’s books even without knowing the synopsis. The expectations are set high for your third book Clare! Keep writing please!

 

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Links:

GOODREADS

AMAZON.COM

AMAZON.CO.UK

Twitter/ClareChase_

ClareChase.com

 

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Posted by on May 7, 2016 in Books

 

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Book Review: Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan.

Book Review: Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan.

I would like to give many thanks to Author Katy Hogan for my copy of this book. I had read a few reviews of her book before I received it and it seemed to be very popular. I was happy to read this and to see for myself what I thought. On the back of Katy’s book it says:

“A person is like a candle’, he said ‘ The wick is the body, the flame is the soul, bringing light into the world”.

Katy also sent me a candle and a beautiful postcard / bookmark with butterflies on. As I read the book, I found this items so appropriate, thoughtful and enlightening. This is a truly beautiful book, and I am so glad that Katy asked me to review it. 

 

Description:

DOES EVERYTHING IN LIFE HAPPEN PURELY BY CHANCE? OR ARE WE GUIDED TOWARDS PEOPLE WHO CAN HELP US IN OUR HOUR OF NEED?
Following the sudden death of her beloved mother, Jessica Gibson’s world falls apart. But after meeting a man who seems heaven-sent, she starts to feel she has something to live for again, and soon discovers that their connection holds far more significance than she could ever have imagined. And when Jessica strikes an unlikely bond with Alexandra Green, the two new friends are taken on an emotional journey into the world of the supernatural, where psychic mediums pass on messages from beyond the grave. What — or who — is causing the strange goings-on in Alex’s home? What secret is she keeping from Jessica? And who is the young woman who so badly needs their help? In a series of surprising twists and turns, the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place and a mystery is unwittingly solved — with life-changing consequences for all involved.
‘Out of the Darkness’ is an uplifting tale of friendship and redemption; of love and loss. And life…after death.

out of darkness

My Thoughts:

This is a book that will stay with me for a long time. It has feeling, emotion, love, loss and friendship of the truest kind. When I first started to read this, I was a little hesitant that it was going to be to sad, but I am so glad I read it. After the initial first chapter where Jessica is so eaten up by her grief, we see the start of the whole story coming together. We meet Alex who has her own concerns, and then we see the relationships between the characters develop. There are three main characters in this book, and in each one we can see their pain but also their incredible ability to love. 

There was one part in this book, that made me miss a breathe for a moment. It took me totally by surprise and it was a key element to the story which for me brought it all together. This was the moment in the book where I knew it was a 5 star read and I would be thinking about it long after I had finished reading. There are many aspects which got me thinking in this book, aside from the characters and the plot. For me, this made me think about fate, and a saying that I was once told by someone special:

“What’s for you, won’t go by you!”

As I read, the images on the cover of the book became more and more relevant, and although I liked the cover before I read the book, I really like it now that I have finished reading it. 

The Author is a very talented and empathetic writer, her descriptive words create such images in the readers minds that I was totally encapsulated into this story and into Jessica and Alex’s lives. Katy Hogan speaks with true spiritual wisdom, and her words will bring comfort to many who read this book. Just one example of many:

“Distance is merely physical, she reflected. If you are close in your hearts, close in a spiritual sense, then no matter how far the distance, you are still together – always”

There is so much I could say about this book, but I want to finish this review with a song that will forever make me think of this book. If you have read you will know. If you haven’t read, GO READ! 

 

Links:

GOODREADS

AMAZON.COM

AMAZON.CO.UK

Twitter/KatyHogan

 

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Posted by on April 30, 2016 in Books

 

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The Death of Anyone, by D J Swykert. Book Review and Author’s Inspiration!

The Death of Anyone, by D J Swykert. Book Review and Author’s Inspiration!

This is a book that I have been intrigued about, I love crime and legal thrillers. I was excited when the Author D J Swykert asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing his book. Of course I did! Thank you DJ. And guess what…..

AMAZING

I was so intrigued by the main discussion point of this book that I asked the Author to write me a guest post on familial DNA and what the legalities are and how this influenced his creativity and inspiration for this book. You can read this at the end of my post, after my review. Its really interesting!

Description:

Detroit homicide Detective Bonnie Benham has been transferred from narcotics for using more than arresting and is working the case of the killer of adolescent girls. CSI collects DNA evidence from the scene of the latest victim, which has not been detected on the other victims. But no suspect turns up in the FBI database. Due to the notoriety of the crimes a task force is put together with Bonnie as the lead detective, and she implores the D.A. to authorize an as yet unapproved type of a DNA Search in an effort to identify the killer. Homicide Detective Neil Jensen, with his own history of drug and alcohol problems, understands Bonnie’s frailty and the two detectives become inseparable as they track this killer of children.

Published February 25th 2013 by Melange Books, LLC

death

MyThoughts:

This book interested me straight away from the blurb when the Author told us that an ‘as yet unapproved type of DNA search’ is requested to be used. I really enjoy legal / criminal /mystery type books, especially when you know the Author knows his stuff. DJ Swykert really did his homework with this novel! This book is filled with gritty crime scenes, detectives trying to work out what was going on and who was the criminal despite there seemingly being no leads. But what about this ethical DNA evidential dilemma? Bonnie has to convince her boss’s that is it a good idea, but is it ethical? and does the end justify the means? 

“They do this as policy in the UK, but it’s not common practice here in the states. There are only two states, California and Colorado, that even have a policy on it…..”

We follow Bonnie as the hardcore detective on this case, and Jensen who becomes more than just a cop to Bonnie! We also have Lagrow who is Bonnie’s partner. Bonnie’s character is really well developed, we get a great insight into her mind and why she does the things that she does. She has had her challenges in life, but this just equates to the reader seeing her as a ‘real’ and believable character.

“Knowing something and accepting something are two different things.”

The book was fast paced, a real page turner that I just wanted to keep reading. You know the kind whereby, you think I’ll just finish this chapter, but as you finish it another twist of excitement, wonder, intrigue happens and then you just need to read another one! Swykert is very vivid and descriptive in his words, I would say this book is not for the timid types. His descriptions of the victims of these crimes are beyond my imagination in the evilness of humans! How somebody can do these awful crimes is beyond me, and it is a comforting thought (for me to believe) that this is only fiction! However saying that, the crime force that are working to find and capture this criminal are bad assed, tough guys! Bonnie makes a great point when she says:

“Maybe that’s why we’ve never had any contact with aliens, they take one look at what’s going on down here and head back into outer space…”

Aside from reading the book, I was really interested in the facts of familial DNA, and through a few emails, the Author explained to me how he came across it and how it came as inspiration for his book. I am very pleased to be able to share this information with you all, and hope that you will find it as interesting as I do.

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From the Author about familial DNA and his inspiration for A Death of Anyone

 Unique DNA Search Catches the Grim Sleeper

By DJ Swykert.

The underlying theme in The Death of Anyone, Melange Books, poses the Machiavellian question: Does the end justify the means? Bonnie Benham, the lead detective in my story, has her own answer. But the legality of this question will be answered in a real life courtroom in the California trial of a serial killer dubbed by the media: The Grim Sleeper. Lonnie David Franklin, the Grim Sleeper, was caught because his son’s DNA was the closest match to DNA collected at the crime scenes in the database.

Investigating Franklin’s son led them to investigate Lonnie Franklin. But there was no direct DNA evidence that linked Lonnie to the crime scene until they obtained a sample from him after his arrest. Lonnie Franklin will be the first person in the U.S. to ever stand trial for murder based on this type of evidence, and its admissibility issues will be thoroughly tested by defense attorneys.

 Only two states at this time, California and Colorado, have a written policy concerning the use of Familial DNA in an investigation. The admission of Familial DNA, with its potential Fourth Amendment violations, has never been tested in court. The California trial of Lonnie David Franklin will become a landmark case for the future use of Familial DNA Searches by law enforcement agencies nationwide.

This is an update on the legal progress of the trial. Franklin was arrested on July 7, 2010, The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office charged him with ten counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and special circumstance allegations of multiple murders in the cases. A grand jury indictment was issued on March 23, 2011. The Grim Sleeper has been resting comfortably in jail since his arrest awaiting trial; the large quantity of evidence in this case, some dating back thirty years, has caused a lengthy pretrial discovery.

The trial was originally scheduled to begin the summer of 2014, but was put on hold. It was rescheduled for June 30, 2015, but that didn’t happen. On Monday August 17, 2015, at a pretrial hearing, the trial was rescheduled for October 14, 2015, which also didn’t happen. The trial finally began on February 16th, 2016 and is currently in the defense phase.

I first heard of the technique while working as a 911 operator in 2006. It came up in conversation with officers. I thought at the time it would make an interesting premise for a book. I began writing the mystery some three years later after leaving the department. I had just finished editing a first draft of The Death of Anyone in the summer 2010 when news of The Grim Sleeper’s capture in Los Angeles was released. I read with interest all the information pouring out of L.A. regarding the investigation and the problems confronting prosecutors. All of which are explored in The Death of Anyone

In my fictional story Detroit Detective Bonnie Benham has been transferred from working undercover in narcotics to homicide and is working the case of a killer of adolescent girls. She is a straight forward investigator who describes herself as a blonde with a badge and a gun. CSI collects DNA evidence from the scene of the latest victim, which had not been detected on the other victims. But no suspect turns up in the FBI database. Due to the notoriety of the crimes a task force is put together with Bonnie as the lead detective, and she implores the D.A. to use an as yet unapproved type of a DNA Search in an effort to identify the killer. 

The Death of Anyone is available on the Melange Books website and also on Amazon.com in Kindle and print formats.

Bio:

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DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator writing and living in the Cincinnati area. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Coe Review, Monarch Review, the Newer York, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Sweat Street, Alpha Wolves, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude and Maggie Elizabeth Harrington. You can find him at: www.magicmasterminds.com/djswykert. He is a wolf expert

LINKS:

GOODREADS

AMAZON.COM

AMAZON.CO.UK

Twitter/djswykert

 

Have you read any of DJ Swykert’s books? are you going to? Have you heard of familial DNA before? Tell me your thoughts, I would love to hear from you. 

 

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Posted by on April 16, 2016 in author interviews, Books

 

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Guest Post. Ten Desserts Inspired by Books! by Andrea Lochen

Guest Post. Ten Desserts Inspired by Books! by Andrea Lochen

Welcome my fellow chocolate and books lovers, today I have a treat for you!

I have Andrea Lochen on ChocolatePages with a deliciously inspired guest post. Andrea is going to share with us some tempting deserts which have been inspired by books. Welcome Andrea, and lets get our sweet teeth tempted. 

eat cake

 

Ten Most Delicious Desserts Inspired by Novels

by Andrea Lochen

 

As an avid reader with a major sweet tooth, I love when authors include the recipes for the yummy desserts they’ve made me drool over throughout their book.  It’s a marriage of two of my favourite activities—reading and baking!  And if you’re a book club member, what better treat to bring to your meeting than a dessert straight out of the novel?  Here are ten of my favourite book-inspired desserts!

 

1) Southern Caramel Cake from The Help by Kathryn Stockett

help

Who hasn’t wanted to try a bite of the scrumptious-sounding caramel cake that Minny makes in The Help?  (Maybe not so much her chocolate pie, however!)  Though Stockett didn’t include the recipe in the back of her book, this food blog has the The Junior League of Memphis Cookbook recipe that supposedly inspired her.

scrumpdillyicious.blogspot (Minnie’s caramel cake)

 

 

2) Coconut Cake from Amy E. Reichert’s The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

COCO

The titular coconut cake in Reichert’s The Coincidence of Coconut Cake earned its place on the cover of this heartwarming book. To the main character, Lou, baking her grandmother’s cake is the ultimate expression of love. In the book, those who get to eat it earned their slice, which certainly made me crave a piece all the more!

tipsonlifeandlove.com (Grandma Luellas coconut-cake)

 

3) Crème Caramel Flan from Anita Hughes’ Island in the Sea: A Majorca Love Story

island

 In Hughes’ newest novel set in Spain, she describes how Majorca’s restaurants serve a mouthwatering variety of delicious fresh fish and locally grown vegetables and how many diners like to end the meal with a dessert that satisfies any sweet tooth while not being heavy or cloying.  This creme caramel flan recipe certainly does the trick!

a2zmallorca.com

 

4) Lemon Cream Cake from Juliette Fay’s Shelter Me

shelter

Fay introduces the concept of “pology cake” in her first novel, Shelter Me, as something you bake for someone you’ve wronged in the hopes of that person forgiving you.  Though according to Fay, it doesn’t need to be a particular kind of cake, her recipe for lemon cream cake in the back of the book and on her author website sounds fabulous!

Juliettefay.com/pologycake.

 

5) Peanut butter bars from Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

kitchens

Though there are several delicious dishes described in Stradal’s debut novel about Midwestern foodie culture, it was the blue-prize winning peanut butter bars recipe from Lutheran church lady, Pat, that caught my eye.  I made this for my book club and these chocolate-frosted bars are just as decadent as they sound

ReadtheSpirit.com/PeanutButterBars

 

 

6) Thumbprint Cookies with Jam from Kelly Simmons’ One More Day

one more

Baking figures prominently in Kelly Simmons’ book because in One More Day, the main character, Carrie Morgan, bakes with her grandmother, as she did when she was a little girl. However, it’s not clear whether her grandmother is dead or alive!  These thumbprint jam cookies look like just the thing to bake when you’re in a nostalgic mood (or simply in the mood for something buttery and sweet)!

KellyASimmons.blogspot.com

 

 

7) Mantecadas from Tina Ann Forkner’s Ruby Among Us

ruby among us

In Ruby Among Us by Tina Ann Forkner, Kitty and her granddaughter Lucy spend a lot of time together talking over cookies and tea. Lucy even has a special tea cup that she drinks out of with her grandmother Kitty who is keeping a lot of secrets about Lucy’s past.  Below is a link to Kitty’s secret recipe for Lucy’s favorite cookie, Mantecadas.  Yum!

TinaAnnForkner.wordpress.com/novelrecipes

 

8) Nanaimo Bars from Miracle Beach by Erin Celello

miracle

Nanaimo Bars are served in the cafeterias of the ferry boats between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada.  In Miracle Beach, when main characters Magda and Jack come to the Island, they fall in love with the sinfully sweet bars.  Author Erin Celello testifies that they’re amazing!

Nanaimo.Ca

 

9) Damascus’ Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake from The River Witch by Kimberly Brock

river witch

In The River Witch, a family feast brings an estranged southern family together. When ten-year-old Damascus Trezevant’s summer ends with a bounty of pumpkins, she sets out to heal deep wounds with a sweet, old recipe for Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake and faith in the magic of a mother’s love.  You won’t be sorry you tried this recipe!

KimberlyBrockBooks.com/DamascusPumpkinSpice

 

 

10) The Best Chocolate Cake Ever from The Repeat Year by Andrea Lochen

repeat year

 What dessert list is complete without a delectable chocolate cake?  In The Repeat Year, main character Olive is named after her maternal grandmother who passed away the week before she was born.  In addition to her grandma’s name, Olive also inherited her recipe for the “best chocolate cake ever” which her mom bakes as a peace offering for their family in a time of major transition.

AddaPinch.com/BestChocCake

 

 

Andrea Lochen is the author of two novels, Imaginary Things and The Repeat Year.  She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and her BA in English at the University of Wisconsin.  Since 2008, she has taught undergraduate writing at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha.  When she isn’t teaching, reading, or baking, she is hard at work on her third novel.  To learn more about her, visit her website: www.andrealochen.com.

 

 

cake.gif

Thank you very much Andrea for that delicious post. We have the books, the cake, all that is left is the cup of tea. Andrea and myself would love to hear what books you have found divine deserts or any kind of food love in? Let us know below.

Author Links:

AndreaLochen.com

Facebook   Twitter

Amazon.com/ImaginaryThings.

BarnesandNoble.com/ImaginaryThings.

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
 
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Posted by on April 10, 2016 in author interviews, Baking, Books

 

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Book Review: Blogger Girl by Meredith Schorr

Book Review: Blogger Girl by Meredith Schorr

If you have been reading my posts or my tweets you will know that Irena from BookDustMagic and myself took part in an Easter readalong for this book. We planned to read 9 chapters a day and had a tweet discussion about our thoughts at the end of each day. If you want to check out our chat, you can look for #BloggerGirl on Twitter. It was a lot of fun, and thanks to Irena and our third buddy reader Mary who also joined us in reading and chatting, I had a really great Buddy Read. 

I would also like to thank Author Meredith Schorr for gifting myself and Irena a copy of her book to review and buddy-read. Thank you Meredith, it was a great book choice for our buddy read and I really enjoyed the chat, and the book. 

Here is my review. This book has been out for a while, so if you have read it I would love to hear your thoughts too.

Published by Booktrope (first published August 2nd 2013)

me as becky

Description:

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out. A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm. While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving-challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most-hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads—and pages—across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox – for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

Published by Booktrope (first published August 2nd 2013)

blogger girl

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this read. The first few chapters were my favourite because there was a lot of talk about the main character Kim that I could totally relate to. Kim is a bookblogger, she loves books, reading and blogging. As I got further along in the book, I also realised that she quite enjoys her food too. Sounds very similar to myself so far!!!

Kim’s blog is called Pastel is the New Black, and I think that the Author wrote a very realistic version of a bookblogger and blogging in general. This was what attracted me to the book in the first place, and it was one of the reasons that I loved the book.

Along with the blogging side of the story there is friendship – sweet and bitchy! There is love…. and challenges! and there is food talk! All sounds pretty great so far doesn’t it? Keep reading.

Nicolas is Kim’s love interest, and I was surprised that I wasn’t taken by Nicolas’s character for the first half of the book, but as I continued reading, The Author’s character building allowed me to see why I thought what I did of Nicolas. Sound intriguing??? Well if you read it you can let me know your thoughts.

Part of my Twitter chat was about the food that Kim eats, the Author informed me that the Shake Shack is a real place in America, it sounds delicious. I also have a new found temptation for artichokes!  

I thought that all the characters were really well written as they each have their own story going on, and they all link up in ways too. The characters were realistic, believable and as in good chick lit books, all gave me a different feeling towards them. (empathy, distaste, fondness to name a few).

If you know Meredith Schorr’s work at all, you may notice how cleverly done the cover of this book is?…… If you can see it, let me know in the comments. I love it! 

This was a really enjoyable book that I read over the weekend. (which is very fast for me). I would definitely recommend this book to all lovers of blogging and chick lit. Now, I can’t wait to read the sequel ‘Novelista Girl’. 

In honour of Kim and Pastel is the New Black, I give this book 4 pink champagne flutes!

You can read Irena’s review HERE!

champagne

 

Links:

GOODREADS.

AMAZON.COM

AMAZON.CO.UK

Twitter – MeredithSchorr

MeredithSchorr.com

 

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22 Comments

Posted by on April 5, 2016 in Books

 

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Book Review & Giveaway: A Death in the Valley by John Gruffydd.

Book Review & Giveaway: A Death in the Valley by John Gruffydd.

Thank you to publishers Austin Macauley for my copy of this book. I was particularly interested when they got in touch with this book as it is a crime thriller based in the valleys of Wales, which is where I am from. Keep reading to see what I thought of it….

best book gif

 

Description:

Told from the perspective of Gareth, an honest loyal retired solicitor, this is a mystery in the best tradition with twists and turns that keep you turning pages until the end. John Gruffydd takes you with Gareth, asking; is anyone as they first seem? Who can he trust? Can he trust his own instincts? Showing great understanding of police and legal processes, Gruffydd also shows such insight into human nature that you will start to look into your own heart to question, if it were me, what would I do?

a death in the valley

 

My Thoughts:

I was intrigued by the blurb of this book, especially when it said :

“…..you will start to look into your own heart to question, if it were me, what would I do?” – I was watching out for the parts that made me consider what I would do…

The story follows Gareth, a retired solicitor as he is asked to take on another case as it involves people he knew and worked with. The story is mainly based in Pentreglo, where within the first chapter I was gripped by the characters and the wonder of what is going on here!?

The book does a great job of making you wonder who do you trust? and do you really know people? There were multiple characters within the book who could bring out different emotions within me as the reader – compassion, anger, sadness and laughter. The plot of this book takes us from a little Welsh village to Cardiff and then Spain. There were twists that I didn’t see coming and I was left guessing right until the end who was the untrustworthy one! This is just the kind of book that I love, one where you can tell the Author has experience of the tale he writes, I suspect that Gruffydd has done some legal work in his time. He kept us suspended until the end, but gave us enough storyline and information so that we can consider every character and are they really as they come across. I totally see what the Author means when he wrote:

‘is anyone as they seem?‘ – I have to say I did suspect the ‘criminal’, but then I considered everyone, so I cannot claim to have guessed the twist! 

I love John Gruffydd’s style of writing, he writes so eloquently but he adds in real comedy within his characters. I found his main character Gareth so funny, even though ‘Gareth’ wasn’t trying to be funny, I think he seemed to me to be a grumpy older man who thinks a lot! He did make me laugh! I haven’t read a thriller that has made me laugh before, so I really applaud Gruffydd for this and I would certainly read more of his work just based on his writing style. 

“….she had commented that they were arriving in dribs and drabs. That was enough to set me off, and pedantic as ever, I had demanded to know whether we were a drib or a drab”

Another part of this book and Author that I loved was I could tell his nationality so openly and obviously (to me), as he scattered in Welsh colloquial language. This was so nice. If you don’t understand Welsh, don’t worry, it is obvious what he means. However if you are Welsh I really recommend this book. 

“You come here with your posh voice and fancy manners treating me as if I’m twp”

I really enjoyed this book, it was full of suspense, quick witted humour and a lovely dose of Welsh-ness! I absolutely recommend it. 

The generous Author and publishers at Austin MaCauley have let me host a giveaway whereby I can offer 5 paperback copies of this book. I am going to giveaway 3 from my rafflecopter giveaway and 2 from my Twitter account. If you think this book sounds good, enter my giveaways and wish yourself luck. I’d love to hear the winners thoughts on the book. Good luck readers! 

Links:

GOODREADS

AMAZON.CO.UK

AMAZON.COM

Twitter – AustinMacauley

www.austinmacauley.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Competition now closed, the winners are Donna @choconwaffles,  Florence,  Dawn @3obriens Rhonda @rhondareads Liz @Cvr_2_Cvr . Congratulations, I hope you all enjoy the book. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

Do you like the sound of this book? Have you read any books based in Wales or in your home town? Do you think you will pick this book up? Let me know your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
 
19 Comments

Posted by on April 3, 2016 in Books, Giveaways

 

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