Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a writer. Early 2019, she moved to Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.
‘With this book by your side, anything feels possible.’ Jacqueline Brown
Tired of not having a sustainable writing practice? You, too, can get out of your own way and become the writer you’re meant to be!
52 Weeks of Writing:
makes you plan, track, reflect on, and improve your progress and goals for an entire year;
helps you unravel the truth about why you aren’t where you want to be; and
keeps you writing through weekly thought-provoking quotes and prompts.
With this second volume of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, writing coach and writer Mariëlle S. Smith brings you the same successful strategies to craft the perfect writing practice as she did in the first journal. The only difference? Fifty-three different writing quotes and prompts and a brand-new look!
Today is my stop on the 52 Weeks of Writing Journal and Planner Vol II blog tour. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to read and review.
My thoughts – Having read the first book of 52 Weeks of Writing I was intrigued to read the second instalment. Again the book is full of ideas and it is an invaluable resource to those who wish to start creative writing, and those who are also established writers.
The book holds you accountable, with weekly quotes and prompts but also exercises that ask you why you are writing, what you would like to achieve and how you are going to accomplish that.
The prompts are varied so over the course of a year, you will have at least 52 varied pieces of work. Work you can carry on with and use to hone your writing skills.
Once you have the book you can also join the Facebook group, which accompanies the book. An online source of inspiration to help with your writing journey.
Purchase Links –
A printable PDF is available through: https://payhip.com/b/0YgJ Get 50% off until 31 March 2021 by using the coupon code 52WOW during checkout.
Jo Allen is the author of the successful DCI Satterthwaite series of detective novels set in and around the English Lake District, where she lives. After a career in economic consultancy she took up writing and was first published under the name Jennifer Young in genres of short stories, romance and romantic suspense. In 2017 she took the plunge and began writing the genre she most likes to read – crime. In common with all her favourite characters, she loves football (she’s a season ticket holder with her beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers) and cats.
The apparently motiveless murder of a man outside the home of controversial equalities activist Claud Blackwell and his neurotic wife, Natalie, is shocking enough for a peaceful local community. When it’s followed by another apparently random killing immediately outside Claud’s office, DCI Jude Satterthwaite has his work cut out. Is Claud the killer, or the intended victim?
To add to Jude’s problems, the arrival of a hostile new boss causes complications at work, and when a threatening note arrives at the police headquarters, he has real cause to fear for the safety of his friends and colleagues…
A traditional British detective novel set in Cumbria.
Today is my stop on the Death at Rainbow Cottage blog tour. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to read and review.
My thoughts – I am so glad I got to be part of this blog tour, and I am really surprised I haven’t read any of this series before. I shall be rectifying this!
A body has been found in a secluded lane by a jogger and DCI Satterthwaite has got the case. It soon becomes apparent that the victim has been having a clandestine relationship. Could this be the reason for their death?
Jude Satterthwaite and his team have their hands full with this case as well as Jude having a new boss. Who seems to have a problem not only with him but with his partner Ashleigh too. A few relationships are tested throughout the book and this adds to the story.
The book is really well written with lots of twists and turns that keep bringing up potential culprits but the author successfully fools you until the very last minute.
I really recommend this book, it is easily read as a standalone but I encourage people to read the series. which is what I’ll be doing.
Janet LoSole began travelling the world as a teen. She earned a Bachelor of Education degree in 1992 from Nipissing University and later, TESOL certification.
Family life was no deterrent to roaming the world. As soon as her daughters were old enough, she, along with her husband, Lloyd, accompanied them on an adventure by chicken bus to Central America. The objective of the trip was to understand the environmental and economic realities faced by those living in the developing world. Janet recounts their experiences in Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey through Central America. She is currently an online ESL instructor with Open English.
The Blurb – Embarking on a homeschooling field trip to Central America is stressful enough, but add in perilous bridge crossings, trips to the hospital, and a lack of women’s underwear, and you have the makings of an Adventure by Chicken Bus. Buckling under a mountain of debt, Janet LoSole and her family are at their wits’ end. Determined to make a drastic change, they sell all worldly possessions and hit the road. With only a few items of clothing, a four-person tent, and little else, the family visits a sleepy island backwater in Costa Rica to save endangered sea turtles. In Panama, they bounce around like turnips in the back of a vegetable truck to reach an isolated monkey sanctuary. In Guatemala, they scale the ancient Mayan temples of Tikal. In between tales of begging rides from total strangers and sleeping overnight in the jungle with an indigenous family, Janet endorses community-based travel—supporting local businesses and favoring public transportation called chicken buses. She also writes candidly about what it takes to travel long-term with two little girls amid the chaos of border crossings, erratic drivers, and creepy crawlies lurking at the edge of the jungle.
My thoughts – In a time when most of us are home schooling, this is such a brilliant read. This is the story of a family who in order to provide a valuable learning experience for themselves and their young daughters, go to Costa Rica.
The author writes beautifully how her and her husband decide on this life changing trip and the lengths they go to, to make it happen. Within a few pages we are transported in to the very different landscape, due to the power of the writing we experience the heat, the different terrains, the excitement of seeing new animals and meeting new people.
It takes a brave person to venture to a new country but doing it with small children is a feat in itself but what a great experience to gift these children. Not only for them to experience new countries and people but to live as the locals. This family did not stay in luxury hotels, they stayed in hostels in villages where they learned how the locals live, where they shop. This way their money was spent in the local economies benefiting the local people.
Their children will surely look back on these experiences and forever thank their parents, they got to not only see turtles hatching but they helped in their protection, helping their species to survive from people who would seek to profit from their eggs.
They travelled on chicken buses, the local buses that can seemingly fit unlimited amounts of people and so they see on a first hand basis other cultures and traditions.
This is such a well written book that makes you think about the environment and our way of living and also gives us a great insight in lives in this part of the world.
Chris Merritt is a British author whose crime thrillers combine psychology, suspense, and characters you care about.
All his novels are set in London, where he lives. He began writing fiction in 2014, after previous careers as a diplomat, based in Iraq and Jerusalem, and later as a psychologist working with victims and perpetrators of crime. He specialised in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which sparked his interest in telling stories about how people cope when faced with extreme adversity.
Now he spends most of his time writing novels and drinking coffee while *thinking* about writing novels. When he’s not writing, he loves climbing and playing basketball.
Standing at the school gates, he waits until the last child leaves the safety of the playground. And then he follows at a distance, keeping to the shadows. Only he knows what’s going to happen next.
In a quiet church, on a busy London street, 12-year-old Donovan Blair is found dead. His hands are clasped together as if in prayer. Just hours ago, he was happily playing with his friends at school, but now his body is lifeless, and his killer is long gone.
Detective Dan Lockhart is working alone on his wife’s missing person’s case when he receives a call telling him to get to the crime scene at St Mary’s Church immediately.
Bringing in psychologist Dr Lexi Green to help profile the murderer, Dan is convinced that the killer has provided a clue by leaving the body in a prayer position, and Lexi agrees. As they try to get into the mind of the person responsible, another victim is found. A 13-year-old girl, left in a different church, posed in exactly the same way.
Fearing the murderer may already have another child in his sights, Dan and Lexi work together to establish links between the two deaths, and soon discover that not only were both children in care – they had attended the same school. And when it emerges that Lexi’s new boyfriend works there, things become difficult between her and Dan. How much can he tell Lexi about the case? And could she be at risk?
As Dan makes a breakthrough in the investigation, he receives devastating news about his wife, Jess. But with children’s lives at stake and Lexi in danger, Dan must put his personal emotions aside and chase the killer. Can he and Lexi work out who is behind the murders before another vulnerable child is taken?
This nail-biting crime book is perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Lisa Regan and Robert Dugoni. Once you pick up Lost Souls, you won’t be able to put it down!
Today is my stop on the Lost Souls blog tour. Many thanks to Bookouture for the chance to read and review.
My thoughts – This is the first time I have met Dan Lockhart and his team, but wow what an introduction to them. This book is the the third in the series but it can easily be read as a standalone, and after reading this instalment I shall definitely be heading off to read the other two.
The story starts with Dan still trying to find out what has happened to his wife, Jess. She disappeared years ago but he needs to find out why and whether her own brother is involved.
His personal life has to take a back seat when the body of a teenager is found, posed in a church. A quote from the bible is found next to the body. To understand the killer’s thinking he consults Dr Lexi Green, a psychologist. They have worked together before and he knows her knowledge will assist the case. So when her prediction comes true he knows he can rely on her.
His new boss, however has new ideas, she is reluctant to let him bring in outside and makes it very clear, it is her way or no way.
When the killer strikes again, the team have to use all their combined skills to find them. The trouble is there are so many suspects that all fit the profile that Lexi gives. I found myself thinking it is them, only to be wrong a few times. The author is very clever with his red herrings, as at one point any of them could have done it.
This is a very well written thriller, it is quite a bold move to write about the murder of children, however the author shows the reasoning of the killer which I think helps create a more rounded character. This helps to show although they commit atrocious acts, they truly believe that they are perpetrating a greater good.
A great ending sets the scene for the next book and whether Dan will finally find out what happened to Jess.
Fiona Sherlock is a crime writer from Bective, in Ireland. Her murder mystery games are played across the world. She also writes poetry and prose but cannot stay away from a good murder. After spending a decade in Dublin working in public relations and journalism, she moved to the country for mid-day fires and elderflower champagne.
My thoughts – January Quail is a news reporter but doesn’t do technology, so handwrites all her articles. This gives you a small glimpse into her character, a strong, motivated woman who seems out of her time.
When a body is found in a bog, it is immediately deemed to be of historical importance, a body preserved by the bog could be thousands of years old. The authorities and historians want a quick resolution when a local farmer announces his find on social media. However the body turns out to be a murder victim.
Unknown to the Gardia and January someone has gone to extraordinary lengths to make sure this body is a work of art, his creation. January finds herself with an deal of an exclusive with the detective handling the case, the rather good looking Colm. The deal could boost her career, especially with her newspaper in the throes of a takeover. Disappointed with the way her career is going she is determined to find out the truth about the body.
Meanwhile her boss finds himself in the middle of an another case involving a prominent politician, but is his information sound? He has what could be an expose that could bring them down but is being played and surely there is no link to the bog body…
The story is well told as January discovers someone has gone to a lot of trouble to carry out the perfect crime. The story as January herself, is very unique and I enjoyed the historical detail given, and I didn’t guess the mastermind either.
I loved the character of January Quail (I mean the name itself is just amazing), she is really out of her time and the author cleverly lets us see a glimpse of her childhood and how she has been moulded into this unique individual. Her vocabulary and way of working (handwriting articles) all add to her persona, and while I didn’t understand a lot of the Irish sayings, it really added to the authenticity of character and place.
I really do hope this turns into a series as I would like to revisit January and her world. Maybe even try a creme de menthe for myself.
However I do disagree with the categorisation of crisp flavours mentioned in the book, what is wrong with roast chicken??
TSM is a notorious Don Juan, leaving trails of intoxicating word affairs all over the internet. His words are rock-sharp, piercing through and cutting across every aspect of love and life; his illustrations are intricate and easily recognizable, with a realism that is both exciting and mysterious. He continues to create fiery designs mixed with so much passion that it instantly stirs up overwhelming emotions. TSM lives on planet Earth with a bunch of other earthlings. When he is not writing or illustrating, he is probably singing in the shower, trying to be the next pop star sensation or binge-watching movies.
Whispers of the wind have become explicit; there is only one reason for this effect. “Voice of the wind” is a collection of poems rooted in love, passion, and life. Rouge storms of confessions and gentle breezes of secrets——the wind finally speaks, spilling intimate secrets. Join the wind on an emotional journey through the highs, the lows, and everywhere in between. On this adventure, you don’t need a compass, so roam free, and dive deep into these pages.
My thoughts – If you can hear the wind, what would it say to you? This is a collection of poems by TSM that tell you.
The book is spilt into different sections, these being The Listening, The Telling and The Poetry.
Now I have to confess my views on poetry, I can not write it for love nor money. In my mind all poetry has to rhyme (a very outdated view I know). However the last few years I have been expanding my reading and knowledge of poetry and its composition. I have friends that are very good poets. I will be recommending this book to them as I believe they too will enjoy this compilation.
Voice of the Wind includes a lot of themes most predominantly nature and love. If you have ever walked outside or stood still when the wind is blowing, it is feasible you will have thought of the environment around you. The noise of the trees as their branches move, who hasn’t imagined their voices.
TSM has written and illustrated some beautiful poems, some of my favourites are, The birds sing, (pg 11), I love the fact (pg 68) and No pleasure is free of charge (pg 91).
There is something for everyone to take from this selection, it is a book I will probably dip in and out of regularly. Like a poem a day to muse on throughout.
Antony M. Brown is a crime writer, a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, and award-winning essayist. He appears regularly on radio and TV, most recently in the BBC documentary “The Porthole Mystery”. He published several Cold Case Jury e-books – true crime mysteries in which the reader is invited to deliver the verdict on what most likely happened – before signing with Mirror Books in January 2017.
AS FEATURED IN THE BBC NEWS DOCUMENTARY ‘THE PORTHOLE MYSTERY’.
‘DEATH OF AN ACTRESS is another excellent book from Brown, and true crime fans will not be disappointed.’ REAL CRIME MAGAZINE
‘Fascinating. A meticulous and compelling piece of true crime.’ RICHARD LATTO (BBC presenter)
October 1947. A luxury liner steams over the equator off the coast of West Africa and a beautiful actress disappears from her cabin.
Suspicion falls on a dashing deck steward with a reputation for entering the cabins of female passengers. When the liner docks at Southampton, the steward is questioned by police. Protesting his innocence, he makes an astonishing admission that shocks everyone, and is charged with murder. His trial at the historic Great Hall in Winchester draws the world’s media. He is found guilty and sentenced to hang.
But was the verdict sound?
Many believe not.
Now, for the first time, Antony M. Brown has secured unprecedented access to the police file, allowing the definitive story to be told. Included in the file are original court exhibits, including a hairbrush with strands of the actress’s red hair. Could a personal effect left behind in her cabin provide clues to how she might have died? Take your seat on the Cold Case Jury…
What readers are saying:
‘Solid and well researched… fascinating’
‘Loved this book’
‘An easy and enjoyable read’
– Reader reviews from NetGalley.com
My thoughts – I love true crime, strange but true and I am not the only one. True crime documentaries, books and the newer podcasts attract a huge audience.
This book belongs to the Cold Case Jury Crime Collection, where the author researches an old case. The book is split into three sections, the case, the evidence and the verdict. This book looks in to the 1947 death of Gay Gibson, an actress whose body was put thrown through a porthole whilst travelling from South Africa to England.
I had never heard of this case before so it was an interesting read. James Camb was charged with her murder but is the case as straight forward as it seems.
The book tells the story of the last few days of Gay’s life and the incidents that led upto her death. There is so much information contained along with photographs of the scene, evidence and some of the witnesses. There is extensive trial information along with extensive list of exhibits.
What I really liked is that after you have read the book you can go to the website http://www.coldcasejury.com and place your own verdict. You can also see how other people have voted.
This series is a must for true crime fans and I can not wait to read the other books in the series.
Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime thriller series. The first seven books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, Endless Silent Scream, and Slow Slicing, will be joined in December 2020 by a prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered.
Tony’s other series – two action-adventure novels featuring Mike Lynch – comprises both Scream Blue Murder, and Cold Winter Sun.
In addition, Tony has written two standalone novels: a dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, and a suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins, released in November 2020.
Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on Bliss #8, The Autumn Tree.
The bestselling author of the stunning DI Bliss crime series is back – this time with a thrilling prequel novella.
A double life – a single truth.
Fresh out of uniform, DC Jimmy Bliss finds himself at the centre of an undercover sting. Enlisted by a crew of villains to crack a safe, he fears his cover is blown when he’s seen in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But on the night of the job, things run smoothly enough until the gang leader changes the location of the heist. As the job spirals out of control, Bliss has to trust his instincts and buy some time. There’s just one problem: he has no idea if his team know what has become of him.
As the situation escalates, Bliss finds himself at the mercy of a violent criminal who will do anything not to be caught.
Today is my stop on the Bliss Uncovered blog tour. Many thanks to Sarah Hardy for the chance to read and review.
My thoughts – I am a huge fan of the Bliss series. So was really excited to get to read this installment.
This book is a prequel to the series so it was interesting to go back in to Bliss’ history. He is such a good character anyway but background is always good.
Never far from trouble he finds himself working on an undercover assignment, which of course doesn’t go smoothly.
I can not recommend this series of books highly enough. The writing and character development throughout the series is consistently high.
Clare Chase writes classic mysteries set in her home city of Cambridge and is fascinated by the location’s contrasts and contradictions. Her aim is to take readers away from it all via some armchair sleuthing in atmospheric locations.
Like her heroines, Clare is fascinated by people and what makes them tick. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in settings as diverse as Littlehey Prison and the University of Cambridge, in her home city. She’s lived everywhere, from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat and finds the mid-terrace she currently occupies a good happy medium.
As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.
When the calm of Saxford St Peter is disrupted by a deadly fire at the Old Mill, amateur sleuth Eve Mallow finds herself investigating a most surprising mystery!
Everyone in Saxford St Peter is desperate to know more about Harry Tennant, the newcomer who owns the Old Mill. He usually keeps himself to himself, but he’s finally invited the villagers round for drinks, and Eve Mallow isn’t the only one looking forward to having some questions answered.
But two days before the party, a terrible fire sweeps through the mill, and Harry is found dead. When Eve passes the burned remains of his beautiful house, she can’t resist the call to investigate. Especially when it turns out quiet, charming Harry was living a double life as the famous advice writer Pippa Longford. Eve has to wonder what revelations were contained in the letters he received… and whether one of them was worth killing for.
Accompanied by her reliable dachshund sidekick Gus, Eve starts digging. She soon realises Harry was at the centre of a web of lives – and lies. There’s an uncle desperate to inherit, two women who thought they were his one and only, not to mention everyone who shared their darkest secrets with him. Was one of those strangers much closer to home than Harry knew? And can Eve untangle the truth before she finds herself face to face with a killer?
A completely charming page-turner, perfect for fans of Faith Martin, Agatha Christie and Betty Rowlands.
Today is my stop on the Murder at the Old Mill blog tour. Many thanks to Bookouture for the chance to read and review.
My thoughts – I always love reading these books, the Eve Mallow series has become a favourite of mine.
As a cosy crime fan, it is reminiscent of Agatha Raisin and Barnaby stories where murders are committed in idyllic country settings.
Again Eve finds herself in the middle of a mystery when Harry Tennant is found dead when his house is set on fire.
It soon becomes clear that Harry Tennant wasn’t all he seemed to be, he was an agony aunt, obviously working under an assumed name.
The column he wrote was successful and many people wrote in with their problems, did he discover something he shouldn’t?
Another great addition to the series, with lots of twists as Eve delves into Harry’s world. I can not wait until the next book.
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job in 2014 and see the world. One year later, he published his first novel – Stormwielder – while in Guatemala. Since then, he has honed his skills while travelling through parts of SE Asia, India, North and South America, Turkey and Europe, and now has over a dozen works to his name. Today, his adventures continue…
The bad times won’t last forever, and for more than five years, Aaron Hodges has journeyed the globe alone, visiting everywhere from Istanbul to Argentina. Honest and insightful, SOLO is packed with his personal travel tips and humorous stories. Learn about the ups and downs, the triumphs and the pitfalls of venturing off the beaten path. Follow his guidelines for exploring the world alone and be inspired to take the trip you’ve always dreamed of.
Discover the world of solo travel.
Today is my stop on the Solo blog tour. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to read and review.
My thoughts – As someone who has travelled alone I was really looking forward to reading this book.
From my own personal experience travelling solo was a real joy. The freedom to do what you want, o found liberating.
So if you are thinking of travelling alone I really recommend this book. It is full of useful information and experiences of the author.
If you are in two minds about doing it, don’t. You won’t regret it.