Saturday, 23 February 2019

REVIEW - Compendium of Magical Things - pretty gosh darned magical

Date read: 23rd February 2019

My rating: 5*

Genre I reckon: Non-fiction, spiritual guidance

Buy link: Amazon

What a joyful book! I follow Radleigh’s wonderful readings on Instagram, so as I read this fabulous compendium, I could hear his voice in my head. If you don’t know; Radleigh sounds so joyous there’s almost a permanent giggle in his voice.

As to the content; it has a brief outline of many different divination tools which you can use to contact Spirit/Source/God/Divine (Radleigh rather obligingly frees you to choose the name you prefer).

As he points out, it is an introduction into each, as they all would demand a very large book on their own to go into great detail. But there’s sufficient information to give you an insight and a great start.

Radleigh’s humour is apparent throughout, and it’s more a conversation with the author than a dry, boring manual. It really is quite a fun read. I know; I just said that about a non-fiction book; wonders will never cease!

He makes it OK to think about it. I know so many people put off some things such as tarot, as they’ve watched too many movies. But Radleigh’s friendly explanations seek to reassure people a) the connection is divine b) not necessarily religious (particularly in context of meditation).

As a Reiki Master myself, I was having a conversation with a Methodist about my practice. She had difficulty trying to see past the source of the energy I channel. It’s Universal energy, but her beliefs meant she could only see this as claiming to be her version of God, and that somehow made it sacrilegious. And that’s OK; as Radleigh is keen to highlight, we’re all allowed our own views. Trying to keep an open mind enough to explore other options is very exciting though, so I think we both urge you to try.

Now, I’ve explored most of the things discussed in this book already, and am well-acquainted with my chosen ones. However, I still found this compendium useful. I’ve been prompted to revisit some things. For instance, I looked back through my birth chart, which now makes a lot more sense to me. And I looked up my numerology as well – kinda wish I hadn’t read the Name Essence though; tough times ahead, but forewarned is forearmed, and I can now prepare. Baton down the hatches!

So, you’ve seen the cover read the blurb, and some reviews. Should you read this one? You sure should!
Look, you’re obviously curious about things such as angels/tarot/astrology, so what are you waiting for? At least discover what your options are. And Radleigh explains in a way you will understand in his own wonderfully witty way.

Still not sure? See what your pendulum says ;)

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Romance Sub Genres

It only just occurred to me I've not addressed the different types of romance on this blog. Shameful, considering I write in several sub-genres of it myself.

I'm glad that the stigma of reading romance is dispersing, but many still think of the Fabio covers of days gone by. And bless Fabio and his long wavy hair and fine chest. But we have diversified since.

Romance is a mahoosive genre, covering many kinds of love. Which is what I love to explore, incidentally; I'm fascinated with how varied love can be.

So, Amazon lists these sub-genres:

Action & Adventure, African American, Anthologies, Clean & Wholesome, Collections & Anthologies, Contemporary, Fantasy, Gothic, Historical Romance, Holidays, Inspirational, LGBT, Medical, Military, Multicultural & Interracial, Mystery & Suspense, New Adult & College, Paranormal, Romantic, Comedy, Science Fiction, Sports, Time Travel, Westerns

And when you click on each of these you can drill down further into sub-sub-categories.

Not only that, but you can filter by 'romantic heroes'. Fancy a book about spies or cowboys? Aristocrats, doctors or pirates?

Or consider the theme. International, amnesia wedding, love triangle and second chances all are included in your menu of options.

Good grief! It's enough to make your head spin.

So, let's explore some ideas...

Contemporary Romance is a rather broad one, and simply put, means it's set in the modern day; the here and now. However, modern includes anything from the 1950s to today. And it can be split into many groups. Fundamentally, you'll find modern issues and an essence of realism here.

Romance Writers of America (RWA) describe Romantic Suspense as “romance novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.”
Elements of suspense, such as kidnapping, crime or intrigue are included, but the romantic relationship is still the primary focus.

For books with an emotionally and optimistic ending, try heading to Inspirational Romance. Aww, the sub-genre of warm fuzzies. Usually includes some sort of spiritual development. Tends to have less sexual content.

I've pictured Self Love here, but is also fits into Chick Lit, which is usually set in the city where the MC tackles work, love and life balancing. It got a bad name sadly, so it less frequently seen now. Tsk!
And the one it's listed under is actually Romantic Comedy - does as it says on the tin.

Then you have things that go bump in the night reside in Parnaormal Romance. This is no longer the realm of werewolves and vampires, although these remain understandably popular. It can include many fantastical beings, such as angels, demons, pixies, faeries, shapeshifters, ghosts and more.

What you will discover in these pages is world building; you may not be in Kansas, or even Earth any more ๐Ÿ˜‰

Looking for a bodice ripper? Yes, these can be located in Historical Romance. BUT many others are also waiting. For a start, there's a variety of nations to select from. Fancy a bit of Rhett Butler in the USA or Mr Darcy in England? And don't forget India, China, Africa - all the countries.

There are, of course, lots of options to select from. Regency is but one (which I am currently writing, so do look out for that one), and is actually a sub-genre in its own right. But WWII, Medieval, Tudor, Viking, Celtic and Ancient History are also included. So many centuries - basically, anything before 1950.

Erotic Romance - not to be confused with erotica, which is very hardcore. 
Yes, there is sexual content, and raunchy at that. But the development of the character is through that sexuality. There should still be rigorous plot and well-endowed, err... well-developed characters. (sorry, couldn't resist ๐Ÿ˜). Actually, my book Dark Love sits in this category, despite me displaying it in Contemporary above. 

LGBT is happily a rapidly expanding sub-genre. As you'd expect, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender relationships occur in these books. I'm listing it as a sub-genre, but technically it is more of a clarifier in any of the above categories. Having said that, Amazon have got it listed as a sub-genre in romance, so yay. 

And no, I have no idea why my images suddenly went 'historical' for the last two sub-genres ๐Ÿ˜– I think it's just where my head's at currently. It's hard to live in the now when I'm so immersed in 1814. Not that I need an excuse; they're lovely images. 

Well, that's some of the big ones covered. I could go on all day; this is so much fun. But then I may never stop and you'd get ever so bored.

I hope this is useful and inspires you to take another look at romance books.

What's your favourite?
Tell me in the comments or message me.

Always in love and light,

Psst... should you wish to peruse my own offerings in this genre, please feel free to visit my page on Amazon  or follow the link to your preferred store
~ And my social media links are tabbed along the top of the page.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

REVIEW - Four O'Clock Alice - jump into the rabbit hole!

Date read: 12th February 2019

My rating: 4.5*

Genre I reckon: Dark Folklorey Deity 

Buy link: Amazon

Ooh, this is quite different and new. And it's not often I get to say that.
What a joyous find.

It's branded as a Gothic Fantasy, but tbh it's not quite dark enough for me to declare it as such. It's not scary. Perhaps a little chilling in places. It's deceptively sweet, actually. And therein lies the wonder.

A lovely little girl named Alice lives with her parents, enjoying a very nice life...lalala (*skips happily*).
Oh, but you know it doesn't stay that way (*maniacal laugh*).

Why does Alice have to get home by 4 o'clock every day without fail?
Well, there's a very good answer for that.

And then things start to die. Oh dear!? What can be the cause?

There is a secondary story nicely woven between, which was a bit jarring at first, but once I got used to it it all became clear.

I love how I was kept wondering who was good and who was bad for the majority of this book.

It reads like a sort of Tolkien-esque, dark fairytale. Woods galore, and strange beings.
There's hints of Alice in Wonderland, but really only very slightly. Don't think this is a re-telling.

This is apparently a debut novel; a very impressive start. This author shows great promise. Definitely one to watch.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

REVIEW - Midnight Touch - touched my hotspot! ;-)

Date read: 24th January 2019

My rating: 4.5*

Genre I reckon: Wolfy Sexiness

Buy link: Amazon

I thought it was high-time I read another shifter romance, and plumped for one by a fellow indie. I was not disappointed!

Grr, Baby, grr!
Did it just get hot in here? (*fans face with hand*)

This book has everything you want in a wolf shifter story - action, tension, chemistry, sexiness...

Loved the characters, Shaun in particular. Everyone loves a good boy with a bad past, right?

Good twisty turny action too.

If you love wolf shifters then you have to read this!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

REVIEW - A Court of Thorns and Roses - a trifle thorny

Date read: 8th January 2019

My rating: 4*

Genre I reckon: NAish fantasy

Buy link: Amazon

Every so often a book/series captures the zeitgeist. The masses flock to it, and it floods social media. tbh, these are the ones I tend to avoid, as they can be over-hyped, and I end up disappointed. But I could ignore this one no longer.

This was my first Sarah J Maas book. I selected this series as it was billed as more NA (with a mature content rating), which I thought would be more my thing. And I was curious to discover what all the fuss was about.

A Court of Thorns & Roses starts off REALLY slowly. And only gets going past the halfway mark, but when it does it gets a LOT more interesting.

So, it's supposed to be a Beauty & The Beast retelling.
Hm, not really, is it? I mean, I can see loosely how there's hints. But a dashing fae in a gold mask isn't exactly a beast. We don't see Tamlin's 'beast' form very much at all.
She hates fae kind, but gets swayed by a pretty face quite easily.

The winter, summer etc. courts in fantasy novels has been a bit overdone. And wars brewing in the fae realm - quelle surprise. But fortunately, this didn't stop me from engaging with the story.

That's the more mundane bits tackled.
What did I love? Rhysand, if I'm being honest. He's by far and above the most interesting character here.

I did like Feyre, although she's a little annoying at times. She's the youngest of her family, but arguably the most dependable, and the one who has fought like a tiger to keep her family from starvation. I do wish she'd stop being frustrated at not being able to paint feelings and smells though!?
Her sisters are brats and her father is worse than useless.

Given the warning, I would've liked slightly more in-depth love scenes. They have really good run-ups, then it's all over a bit quick. And the last one is gratuitous given the circumstances. And a bit more sexual tension building up between them would've been good.

What wins me over is the style. There's great world-building. And there were threads which reeled me in.
I'm really glad I stuck with it, as the second half is delightful.

A good NA with YA tendencies.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Review - Mr Rook's Island - there's trouble in paradise

Date read: 16-18 Dec 2018 (the whole series!)

My rating: 4.5* (overall)

Genre I reckon: spooky, sexy, romance

Buy link: Amazon or boxed set on Amazon UK

Everyone needs an author to turn to when they want a guaranteed good read. Mimi Jean Pamfiloff is one of mine. I love her style. Her heroines are snarky and sassy.

Warning: do yourself a favour and download the boxed set as this is an addictive series.

Mr Rook (book 1)

Stephanie is on the hunt for the killer of her sister - a hunt which is going to cost her dearly.
She goes incognito to the island where her sister died, along with some very excited women who seek pleasure only.
The island is an expensive, exclusive resort where your every fantasy really is catered for.
But the very sexy, mysterious Mr Rook is off limits. Was he the killer?

Now, for an island full of sexual fantasies, this series is oddly not chockablock full of lusty scenes. I knocked a star off because of this.
BUT what you do get is a tantalising tale which slowly unfolds.
The island seems to have a life of its own, and has a strange effect on people.

I read this book in a day, and immediately downloaded book 2 - this is a rare thing for me.

Pawn (book 2):

Have you ever watched a series on TV, where not much happens until right near the end, then it's all systems go and you're left screaming for the next episode? That's kinda how I'd describe this book. It's not meant unkindly. Just this book is more of a slow-burner.

Some very odd things happen. And the tension continues to build.
Having finally their wicked way together, Stephanie then discovers something shocking, and is more determined than ever to uncover this man's secrets. She isn't afraid to delve deep.

As I read this immediately after book 1, the flashback scenes weren't required for me and became annoying. But I appreciate they'd help those who paused for breath between them.

I really liked the development of the weird, wonderful paranormal aspect. Mr Rook becomes more and more mysterious! Is he good or is he very very bad?

And what is the true price to be paid?

Straight onto book 3!

Check (book 3): 

Well, that's much more like it! Action-packed, satisfying end to the series.

Just as poor Stephanie thinks she's coming to terms with all of this nightmare, something else crops up. For pity's sake! This book starts with the fallout of the last revelation in book 2. And boy, is she in trouble.
Problem is, the only man who can help is...compromised? Unavailable?

How much can people sacrifice?

There's some unexpected twists in this book. One in particular that I really didn't see coming.

Overall, Rook's Island is compelling and addictive.
There's some great characters along with some mystery, lust and strange goings on.
Honestly, I preferred this author's Accidentally series - well, y'know, Cimil and a unicorn; need I say more?
But this series is very good nonetheless. I was hooked!

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

What Are Trigger Warnings? ~ Should I put a trigger warning on my book?

OMG, am I about to offend someone? Quick, put a trigger warning on it! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Alright, calm down.
First, let us look at two different types of triggers.

Emotional Triggers

Someone may make a joke, but to you it hurts and can affect you, making you feel off-kilter.
You question whether the person making the joke respects you or not.

Feelings brought up can include:

  • A sense of rejection
  • Being left/singled out
  • Disapproval

~ basically you feel inferior in some way

Reactions to this can include:

  • Withdrawal
  • Anger
  • Self-medication (drugs/alcohol/food etc.) 
  • Compliance
These are normal human reactions, and are often associated with things from your own past. It is your reaction based on previous experience, and not the fault of the person making the joke, which to everyone else is harmless. 
This does not mean in any way it is your fault either. It's just one of those less pleasant experiences of life. Good news is, there's coping mechanisms and people trained to help you with this. 

Emotional triggers are not what trigger warnings are about, as we cannot feasibly all foresee how every single person is going to react. We all have the potential to associate an infinite number of innocuous things with a negative reaction. 

Psychological Triggers

These go way beyond our feelings being trampled on (which is unpleasant enough, right?). These are so much more. 

These types of triggers can be set of with a particular sound, smell or sight which are associated with a trauma, and often cause flashbacks. Often used in conjunction with PTSD (and other anxiety conditions) , and commonly (but not exclusively) include post-war/combat soldiers and survivors of sexual abuse. 

Flashbacks are no laughing matter. They have oddly become more common since movies started. And it is a bit like watching a film, only this is the 3D, fully immersive kind. Your brain throws you right back into the traumatic event, and you relive it as if you were there. It is terrifying, debilitating and to be avoided. It is deeply traumatic in itself. 

These are the folk we need/want to protect, right? 
We do not want to drive anyone to despair. 
In all fairness to them, a little word of caution so there's no nasty surprises is a simple courtesy which can save severe pain and suffering. 

It serves as a warning for them to put their coping strategies in place and/or choose not to read a book they will find too difficult to cope with. 
By the way, they may well choose to read your book anyway. With the correct coping strategies in place, it may help them face/overcome their issue/s. 
What we are doing is offering them the information so they may make an informed decision. 
Trigger warnings give people the power of control and choice.

So, if your book (especially if it's unexpected) contains scenes of:
  • Violence/war
  • Sexual/physical abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Oppressive language
  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide
...please put a trigger warning under the blurb to save long-term psychological damage.
It just makes sense, doesn't it? 

No, you do not need a trigger warning if there's something such as a cliffhanger. 
Get a grip!! 
If book 1 in a series does not say, "And they lived happily ever after. The end." it is NOT going to inflict long-term psychological damage. It will not cause flashbacks. It might just cause mild annoyance/aggravation. 

Please learn this important difference. 

There are people with actual debilitating problems (hopefully seeking professional assistance to come to terms with their trauma).

Demanding trigger warnings for things which cause disgruntlement helps no-one. 

To help you further, the dictionary definition of trauma:

  1. 1.
    a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.

    "a personal trauma like the death of a child"

  2. 1a. mass noun Emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may lead to long-term neurosis.
    ‘the event is relived with all the accompanying trauma’
  3. 2.
    physical injury.

    "rupture of the diaphragm caused by blunt trauma"
    "the gallstone can be extracted without unnecessary trauma to the liver"

~ basically events outside the ordinary, expected human experience
~ experience which involves actual or threatened death or severe injury (of self or others)
~ involves overwhelming fear, helplessness and/or horror 

This has been a public service blog post, brought to you with concern for mental well-being.  
It is meant to inform and educate, not to criticise or belittle. 
My aim is to help authors decide whether or not to include a trigger warning under their book description, and the reasons why. 
And to bring a little perspective to the confusion that exists out there. 

Always with love and light,

If you are affected by the contents of this blog please do seek help. 
There are so many people, trained, willing and ready to take your call. Don't be alone. 
Thank you.