Book review: Letters to Iris by Elizabeth Noble

Book cover for Letters to Iris

 

Taking a break from writing, I have had the pleasure to read Elizabeth Noble’s new release Letters to Iris

Book cover for Letters to Iris
Letters to Iris by Elizabeth Noble

 

Title: Letters to Iris

Author: Elizabeth Noble

Genre: Women’s fiction

Publisher: Penguin UK Michael Joseph

Release date: 5th April 2018

Blurb

A gloriously uplifting story about love in all its forms from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author of The Reading Group and Things I Want My Daughters to Know Tess has a secret – one which is going to turn her life upside down in just nine months’ time. The only person she can confide in is her beloved grandmother. But Iris is slipping further away each day. Then chance brings a stranger into Tess’s life. Gigi’s heart goes out to Tess, knowing what it’s like to feel alone. She’s determined to show her that there’s a silver lining to every cloud. As their unlikely friendship blossoms, Tess feels inspired to open up. But something still holds her back – until she discovers Iris has a secret of her own. A suitcase of letters from another time, the missing pieces of a life she never shared. Could the letters hold the answers that Tess thought lost for ever? An uplifting, unforgettable story about keeping secrets, taking chances and finding happiness where you least expect it. Praise for Elizabeth Noble ‘A great writer. You’ll be rooting for Noble’s protagonists as soon as you meet them’ Daily Mail ‘Noble is the mistress of the tearjerking message of love’ Express ‘Deliciously readable’ Times

My thoughts

I loved the depth and soul of this book as it delves into the complex bond of grandmothers, mothers and daughters. Iris is the connecting thread between all of the female characters who are all facing challenges related to their time of life whether it is becoming a mother, facing an empty nest or dementia and end of life. It is emotional on all levels but left me feeling uplifted by the strength these women showed.

I instantly felt a bond with all the main characters especially Gigi and this made me read into the night because I needed to know a little bit more as the story developed and Iris’ history was uncovered.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if you love women’s fiction with believable characters. It is an exploration of the strength of women wherever they are on their life journey.

Thank you NetGalley and Michael Joseph for allowing me to read an advanced copy in return for an honest review.

Happy reading!

Book Review: Write Smart, Write Happy by Cheryl St. John

I love creating worlds, developing characters and plotting their stories but I struggle with the art of writing and getting the images in my mind written in a coherent, enjoyable way. Part of this is the crippling self-doubt which I have talked about lots on here and some of it is the fact I haven’t got a clue what I am doing. To combat this I am reading around the subject. Thank you to F+W Media and NetGalley for giving me the copy in exchange to an honest review.

Title: Write Smart, Write Happy – how to become a more productive, resilient and successful writer

Author: Cheryl St. John

Publisher: F+W Media, Writer’s Digest Books

Blurb

Vanquish Your Writing Doubts & Obstacles

Writing is a vulnerable occupation; it is both personal and intimate. The act of writing, cycles of revision, and the confusing publishing industry can shatter a writer’s confidence, leaving you feeling like an imposter, overcome with rejection. Survival–and success–requires commitment, honesty, courage, resilience, sacrifice, and miles and miles of heart.

You have everything you need as a writer–it lies within, in the form of consistency and self-confidence. With Write Smart, Write Happy, best-selling author Cheryl St. John will help you unlock your skills, guiding you to overcome every hesitation, obstacle,  form of writer’s block, and procrastination habit you have. Within these pages, you’ll learn to:

Organize your writing life by using a planner, scheduling your yearly goals, and acknowledging career plans.Sharpen your saw by recharging your creativity, developing positive motivation, and creating healthy writing habits.Affirm your beliefs by overcoming self-doubt, learning to use affirmations, and altering your thinking.Conquer remaining fears by releasing tendencies towards perfectionism and establishing strategies for habitual success.Written with a no-nonsense attitude, St. John’s “advice from the trenches” will help you take an introspective look at your own writing habits and life. Through examples and inspiration from writers who struggled with–and overcame–rejection and reservations, discover the path towards writing smarter and happier today.

My Thoughts

This is an encouraging book which helps put writing worries in perspective with advice that can be used in all aspects of life. Cheryl St. John has written over 40 books for Harlequin and Silhouette so has a wealth of information to share including organising your time and work. She is an advocate for planners and gives detailed examples of her own schedule. This is helpful but for someone as disorganised as me it was overwhelming and left me feeling daunted at the challenge ahead, despite her empathising everyone works differently. I nearly stopped reading but am glad I continued because the advice on self-doubt and the chapters beyond came into their own when I hit a writing slump. It is full of quotes to remind you about the realities of writing, positivity, affirmation, tips to help you deal with disappointment, failure, social media and pressures of being a writer. The focus is on traditional publishing so it discusses dealing with editors and deadlines. She backs up all her advice with her own experiences. One of the main messages, like many of these books, is just sit down and write.

Would I recommend?

 If you are struggling with the stress of all aspects of writing, editing and publishing or crippling self-doubt this may be the book to read. It has tips I use regularly and is aimed at writers at all stages of their career.

 

Happy reading and writing

 

Writing Slumps and a Little Gem of a Book

Yesterday was a bad day.  My intentions of having a productive day fell apart rapidly. After reading my previous attempts at writing the beginning of my current WIP my confidence shattered. I have been struggling with where to start the novel for ages so I have focussed on other scenes but the beginning needed to be tackled.  I could not translate the visions in my mind on to the page, the writing did not flow, and I struggled to find the best place to start so the reader is hooked. I closed the tab and reread some blog posts I had written the night before. They also did not work. Self-analysis kicked in, comparing myself with the productivity and talent of others and self-doubt took hold. I began to question

  • The wisdom of self-hosting my new blog instead of remaining in the free away from WordPress platform. I miss the interaction with others and the sense of community. My followers plummeted since the move.
  • My writing ability
  • Productivity – I am so slow compared to others
  • My ability to balance writing, ambition and family life

 

I was ready to click the delete button.

But then I logged on to my favourite facebook writers group and blurted out my feelings. It was not long before I received support, commiserations, and advice. This helped so much. Never underestimate the power of the support in online groups and friends. They get you through bad days.  After a good old fashioned cry, door slamming and consuming vast amounts of Jelly Tots and Yorkshire tea I began to feel better.

I also opened a book I had wished for on NetGalley, Old English Medical Remedy by Sinead Spearing. Thank you, Pen and Sword for granting my wish.  It was different to what I was expecting but it is a perfect gem of a book which would make the old witches of Ellfaen clap their hands in glee. It is full of information, remedies, and beliefs of 9th Century and it gave me my spark back.

Today I am back on my PC  in my writing space that I had to vacate over  Christmas for visitors and back to writing.

 

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Thank you to all my online friends and fellow writers!

 

Thank you very much to Mai Taylor,  Viola Bleu, Kiltie Jackson and others I don’t know your blogs – yet!

How do you get over writing slumps?

Happy writing!

 

It is all about soulmates. Part 1: Book review for The Soulweaver by Heidi Catherine

I have recently read two books The Soulweaver by Heidi Catherine and The One by John Marrs. They are different styles, different genres and plots but they have one thing in common – finding your soulmate, the one person who fits and understands you like no other. The One has a scientific approach while The Soulweaver is more spiritual but they are both driven by the human desire to be with and loved by that one special person.

 

The Soulweaver by Heidi Catharine

This book snuck in on my best reads of 2017 by default because I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy via NetGalley for review. It is now available to buy in paperback and Kindle.

 

Soulweaver
The Soulweaver by Heidi Catherine

 

Blurb

She’s loved and lost him a hundred times across a thousand years. She can’t bear to lose him again. Lin’s dreams are haunted by faces of people she’s never met. Unable to shake the feeling she’s lived before, she’s drawn to Reinier—a stranger whose soul is heartbreakingly familiar from a time gone by. Reinier helps Lin unravel the mystery of her past life as Hannah, a girl who sacrificed herself for her true love, Matthew. As Lin falls hopelessly in love with Reinier, her memories of her life as Hannah sharpen, and she finds herself unable to let go of Matthew. With her heart torn in two, Lin must decide whether she should stand by Reinier’s side or track down Matthew and fight for his love. What she doesn’t know is that her decision will ripple across our troubled planet, affecting far more lives than just her own. Winner of Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award, The Soulweaver is a story that will change the way you see the world

My thoughts

I have always had an interest in reincarnation so I was excited to read how Heidi Catherine would weave it into her story.  The Soulweaver is well-written spiritual romance with vivid, detailed imagery for scenes that would be hard to imagine otherwise. I was drawn in by the first chapter and hooked as Lin traveled across the world as to seek answers for the memories she has of Hannah’s life. I found it is easy to connect with the main characters Hannah/Lin, Matthew and Reiner which led to some heart-tugging moments It is a book that will stay with me and one I will return to over and over.

The Soulweaver would be perfect for book clubs because it provides lots of material to discuss including characters, beliefs, and experiences. It leads me to want to read more about the topic of reincarnation and would love to have a cup of tea with the Heidi Catherine to hear about her ideas and how she researched this. I am already counting down to her next book The Truthseeker in May 2018.

Would I recommend?

Yes – if you love romance novels with a paranormal, spiritual edge

To find out more about this series click here

Have you read these, what did you think?

Happy reading!

Weekly Update: 15th Jan Books 

It’s the beginning of another week and more books are being lifted from my TBR pile. After last week’ s reading of The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan, and Jennifer Gilmour’s Isolation Junction these are the books I plan to read:

  • The One by John Marrs. This has been out a while but I have patiently waited my turn on the library reservation list. I first heard about it on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 Book Club and the premise of dating based on DNA testing had me hooked.
  • Clipped Wings by Jennifer Gilmour. After reading Isolation Junction, which is a fictional account of domestic abuse (eye-opening, worrying and uplifting book) I decided to try her second book. This is a collection of survivor’s stories on their experiences of domestic abuse.
  • Forget her Name by Jane Holland, in time for next week’s blog tour.
  • Write Smart, Write Happy by Cheryl St. John. I am jumping into this after receiving a digital ARC from NetGalley. Will I be a happier writer and will my technique improve once I have finished it? I will find out soon. 

What books are you opening this week?

Happy reading!