Collabs · Street Team

Street Team – Finding The Characters, An Author Post by Danika Stone

Finding the Characters

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Whenever I write a book, I begin with character. Plot comes later.

The original story I wrote – which included both the plots of Edge of Wild and The Dark Divide – circled around Louise Newman. She was the first character that appeared to me and her relationship with Rich was the lens through which I understood the story that eventually came. I couldn’t stop thinking about her, writing about her. It wasn’t until I started pre-writing that Rich’s voice appeared. And boy oh boy, did Rich ever want to be heard!

Pre-writing for me is a way to let myself find the “voice” of the people I’m writing about. Though the two voices were completely different, I fell in love with Louise and Rich right away. Their relationship became the beating heart of the first book (Edge of Wild) but it grew into so much MORE in the sequel (The Dark Divide). While I wrote their slow-burn romance, I found myself grinning at my computer screen. The connection was definitely my favorite aspect of writing. The Dark Divide let me explore the challenges of every relationship. It wasn’t just falling in love, it was staying in love.

Once I had the two main characters established, the plot followed. I knew Rich was a driven, struggling leader. His passion and focus were a great foil for Louise who appeared in my pre-writing as this centered negotiator, who had secrets of her own. When Edge of Wild hit shelves in 2016, I frequently got messages from readers who wanted to know MORE about Louise’s past and her abilities. The Dark Divide is exactly that: Lou’s story. And I can’t wait to share it with you!

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Reviews · Street Team

Street Team – A Review of The Dark Divide by D.K. Stone (Spoiler-Free!)

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Synopsis

Waterton is a town with dark secrets, and after a summer of murder and mayhem, American ex-pat, Rich Evans, knows exactly how far people will go to hide them. Jobless after the fiery destruction of the hotel he once managed, Rich is charged with arson. Only one person, local mechanic Louise “Lou” Newman, believes in his innocence. But even Lou’s love and support can’t dispel the darkness that’s spreading through the community. Dead animals appear on porches, strangers threaten the safety of the locals, and a fingerprint from the fire is linked to a decades-old murder.

The lonely border town has a new danger: a murderer willing to do anything to protect a web of secrets that links them to the arson.

As the risk of jail or death increases, Rich turns to Lou for guidance and she finds herself in an impossible position. Lou has her own secrets! Does she protect the border town where she grew up, or side with the man she loves… even if it means she can never tell him the truth about herself?

Review

So, I am a part of the street team for The Dark Divide, which I am very happy about as it is such a good book. I received it a while ago, but only got around to reading it in the past week because my TBR is never-ending. I read it over the space of three days, and I really liked it. I think Stone is a very talented writer. The plot kept me intrigued throughout, I liked most of the characters, and is everything that I love about a Thriller. Before I go into more detail, I want to mention that The Dark Divide is the sequel to Edge of Wild.

One of my favourite things about this book is the secrets. I love a good secret, and I love when it comes out even more. If you’re the same, then you’d most definitely enjoy this book. There were moments that I actually had to put the book down and take a moment to collect myself because all I could think was “what?!?” I don’t want to say too much about the plot, but i will say that if suspense is your thing, you’re going to like this one.

I think that Stone’s writing is brilliant. Not only are her descriptions so amazing that I have images of certain things in my head, but the way she writes characters is astounding. Her character development really is something. There are characters I love, and characters that I’d encourage to take a long walk off a short pier, and when an author can inspire emotions such as that in a reader, you know they’re something special.

I also want to mention the cover. I love it! It’s so simple, yet the trickles of blood down the side and at the front give it such an eery feeling. So good.

Overall, I really really really enjoyed the Dark Divide. I give it 5 stars!

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I’d like to thank Danika Stone for sending me a copy ofThe Dark Divine in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

 

Blog Tours · Reviews

Blog Tour: A Review of Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham (Spoiler-Free!)

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Synopsis

A twisted killer has a deadly riddle for DI Maya Rahman to solve in this pulse-racing thriller, the first in an addictive new series set in East London.

A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:

I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.

At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.

Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, and with a serial killer on her hands, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.

Review

I was really happy to be a part of this blog tour, as the book looked right up my street. As soon as I received it, I began reading and only put it down a few times for food breaks and loo breaks. I devoured it. It’s one of those where I kept saying to myself, “just one more chapter. One more, and then I’ll put it down and get some of my essay done.” It is safe to say that I did not put it down, and I did not get any of my sociology essay done. Pity.

I always find it difficult to give my review on the plot of a book, as I keep my reviews spoiler-free, because spoilers suck. But when I’ve read a book that I enjoy as much as Turn A Blind Eye, I want to go into detail about every little thing, but I can’t. There are plot twists that left me shocked, the storyline is well thought out, and the characters are extremely well written.

The main character, DI Maya Rahman, was a character that I really liked. It was nice to read about a female detective, as I usually find myself reading Crime Thrillers with male leads, so this was a nice change. Maya Rahman is a strong character, and thats all I feel I can say without giving away parts of the plot. She works hard and is extremely deserving of her title as a detective. I liked her a lot, and I can’t wait to read more about her in book 2!

Overall, I really enjoyed Turn A Blind Eye, and thought it was an amazing debut. I can’t wait to read more from Newham in the future. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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-Books&Belle xx

Blog Tours

Blog Tour: A Review of Ill Will by Michael Stewart (Spoiler Free!)

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Synopsis

I am William Lee: brute; liar, and graveside thief. But you will know me by another name. Heathcliff has left Wuthering Heights, and is travelling across the moors to Liverpool in search of his past. Along the way, he saves Emily, the foul-mouthed daughter of a Highwayman, from a whipping, and the pair journey on together. Roaming from graveyard to graveyeard, making a living from Emily’s apparent ability to commune with the dead, the pair lie, cheat and scheme their way across the North of England. And towards the terrible misdeeds – and untold riches – that will one day send Heathcliff home to Wuthering Heights.

Review

Okay, so Wuthering Heights is one of my all time favourite books. Most definitely my favourite classic. So, when I heard of Ill Will, a book that is about what the mysterious Heathcliff got up to in his absence, I was really interested. We never actually find out what he did when he was gone, so I immediately knew I wanted to read Ill Will.

The plot is interesting enough, and I really do enjoy Stewart’s writing style. His descriptions in certain parts of the book are really lovely! However, my main problem was the swearing. Honestly, I just don’t see words such as the ‘C’ word and the ‘F’ word being used so much, it made it a little unrealistic to me. I really don’t mind swearing, either, but here? It just didn’t seem right to me.

For the characters, I think Emily was well written and very original. Heathcliff, however, I couldn’t see as… well… Heathcliff. I think that is my fault though, as everyone obviously has their own perceptions of characters when they read a book, and Stewart’s portrayal of Heathcliff just wasn’t how I imagined him to be.

I am glad that I read Ill Will, as I did enjoy it for the most part. The plot was engaging, the writing was unique and nice to read. The only downsides are the use of swear words where they’re perhaps not needed, and me not being able to see Stewart’s Heathcliff as Brontë’s Heathcliff.

Overall, I give this book three stars.

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-Books&Belle xx

Reviews

Book Review: Hold My Hand by M.J. Ford (Spoiler-Free!)

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Synopsis

How long do you hunt for the missing?

A horrible vanishing act…

When a young Josie Masters sees a boy wearing a red football shirt, Dylan Jones, being taken by a clown at a carnival, she tries to alert the crowds. But it’s too late. Dylan has disappeared…

Thirty years later, Josie is working as a police officer in Bath. The remains of the body of a child have been found – complete with tatters of a torn red football shirt. Is it the boy she saw vanish in the clutches of the clown? Or is it someone else altogether?

And then another child disappears…

Review

I love a crime novel, and this one was great. I read it in several sittings over the space of a few says, and I really enjoyed it. It had all my favourite aspects of a crime novel, Mystery, great characters, interesting plot, and a good writing style.

Josie, or Jo as she likes to be called, was the protagonist. I really liked her. She seemed good at her job, didn’t take anyone’s cr*p, and follows her gut, even if everyone else is telling her to just let go. She was a really well-written character, and I found it very easy to connect with her. There were also some characters that I didn’t like so much. I won’t go into it too much as I don’t want to spoil anything, but they weren’t the best.

I found the plot to be really realistic and had no trouble believing that it was something that genuinely could happen. It was written at a nice pace, and definitely kept me interested throughout the whole book. Now. The Plot Twist. I was so so so shocked, and I really want to go into more detail but I can’t because this is spoiler-free, so all I am going to say is you will not be disappointed. With Thrillers, I do this thing where I try and predict the ending. Did not see this one coming, at all.

Ford is a talented writer, and I will definitely be looking out for any future work. Overall, I give this book 4.5 stars.

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I was on the Instagram Tour for this book, so make sure you check that out! 

-Books&Belle xx

I’d like to thank Harper Collins for sending me a copy of Hold My Hand in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Harry Potter · Me

International Women’s Day – Books With Strong Female Characters

It’s 8th March, meaning it is International Women’s Day! In honour of this day, I decided to compile a list of books that feature my favourite strong, female characters. So, without further a do…

Harry Potter

Judging Books By Their Covers

Harry Potter is just full of strong female characters! Luna Lovegood, Minerva McGonagall, Molly Weasley, Lily Potter, Nymphandora Tonks, Ginny Weasley, and my personal favourite, Hermione Granger. The women in Harry Potter are amazing. Even the female villains, like Bellatrix Lestrange are strong. It’s an amazing series, but the amount of strong women make it even better.

The ACOTAR Series

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The protagonist, Feyre, is just one of the powerful women in this book. There’s also Mor, Amren, Nessa, Elain, and countless others. One of the things that I love so much about this series is how strong and fearless the women are.

Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice is my favourite classic novel. It’s actually the one I chose to write about in my NEA for my English A Level. Care to guess what my NEA is on? Feminism. Once I had chosen that topic, I knew Pride and Prejudice would be the book I used. Elizabeth Bennett is one of my favourite fictional characters because of her strength and determination to do as she wants, not what is expected of her.

Nemesis

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I think Min is wonderful. She is certainly a woman who deserves to be mentioned in this post. She’s strong, brave, flawed, and just an amazing character. I’m so excited to read more about her in the sequel to Nemesis. Not long now!

I Am Thunder

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I read I Am Thunder in 2017, and it was definitely one of my favourite reads of the year. Muzna faces so much and still comes out a good person. I couldn’t not feature her on this list.

Children of Blood and Bone

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Children of Blood and Bone is full of powerful women! Even if they’re not the main characters, we know they’re there. Zélie’s Mother and Mama Agba, for example. The two I really wanted to mention, however, were Zélie and Amari. Their character development throughout the book is outstanding. I just love it so much.

There are so so so many more that I could mention, but then this post would be way too long. Who are your favourite strong female characters in books?

-Books&Belle xx

Blog Tours · Reviews

Blog Tour: A Review of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Spoiler-Free!) #NowWeRise

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Synopsis

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Review

“You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasnt keeping us alive. It was thinking we’d never fight back!”

This book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, so I was so happy when I got the email saying that a proof was on its way to me! The first thing that I want to say is that it did not disappoint. There was so much that I loved about it, that it is honestly difficult to put it into words. The world that Adeyemi has created is wonderful, and I thank the heavens for her brilliant, creative mind.

There has been so much hype surrounding this book, and I can say that, without a doubt, it deserves it. The switches in point of views of the different characters allows the reader to know whats going on inside the characters heads, making it even more interesting. Adeyemi’s writing style is another thing I liked about Children of Blood and Bone. It was sophisticated, and the pace of the plot was just perfect. By the time it got to the action-packed parts, I had connected with certain characters, and couldn’t stop reading as I had to know what happened next!

My favourite character was Zélie. I’m sure plenty of other people will share this opinion! She was strong, selfless, protective, loyal, and my favourite thing, flawed. No person is flawless, so I always find it hard to connect with a character who is written as a perfect person. Zélie was stubborn, reckless and a few times she spoke up when it would’ve been in her best interests to stay quiet. Her inability to stay quiet, however, was what makes her my favourite character. She knows that there might be unfortunate consequences to some of the things she does and says, but she still speaks out against what she thinks is wrong, because she knows that it is the right thing to do.

Amari was also a great character. Her character development is really something. She truly earns her nickname, The Leoponaire. The situation that she was in was truly difficult, and the choices she makes in the book really show the type of person that she is. I thought all of the characters were written really well, but Zélie and Amari in particular, were outstanding.

The plot! Gosh, what can I say about the plot? There is so much that I want to write about, but I can’t, because this is a spoiler-free review. I’m just going to say that the storyline does not disappoint at all, and leave it at that.

I grew up having so many amazing fictional characters to look up to. Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, most of the Disney Princesses, Katniss Everdeen. The fact that little girls are going to have characters like Zélie and Amari added to this list makes me so happy, as does knowing that young black girls are going to have better representation in literature.

Overall, I LOVED Children of Blood and Bone, and I am so extremely excited for the sequel. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

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I’d like to thank My Kinda Book for sending me a copy of Children of Blood and Bone in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Also, there is a quiz to find out which clan you belong to! Take it, and let me know which you are. I’m a Tider!

COBB Quiz UK

Blog Tours · Reviews

Blog Tour: A Review of Mask Beneath Her Face by Rafael Chandler (Spoiler Free!)

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Synopsis

During the 1980s, slashers terrorized America. With machetes and masks, these unstoppable killers stalked college campuses, quiet suburbs, and lakeside cabins.

Thirty years ago, Bobbi Metzger survived a massacre at her 16th birthday party. She spent decades putting her life back together.

Tonight, Bobbi will face a new killer: a high-tech slasher hell-bent on opening the doorway to an abyss of unimaginable horror.

How long can Bobbi survive this nightmare? What will she do to protect the people she loves? How much blood is she willing to spill?

If you love 80’s slasher flicks like Friday the 13 th or Sleepaway Camp, this book’s for you!

Warning: This book contains extreme gore and violence. Not for the faint of heart!

Add to Goodreads

Review

It has been so long since I’ve read a Horror. I genuinely can not recall what the last one was! Mask Beneath Her Face has certainly been the book to get me back into them. It had me on the edge of my seat at times, wondering what the hell was going to happen.

Chandler’s writing was good. It kept me interested throughout the whole book, and the characters are well written and unique. I think that the pace was a little slow at times, but other than this, the writing and the plot was very enjoyable.

Like the warning said, there is a lot of violence in this book, so if thats something that you don’t cope with well, I’d give it a miss. However, if that sort of thing doesn’t bother you, I definitely recommend it! If you’re also a fan of Horror/Slasher films, you’ll love this. It’s gory and descriptive, but not overly so, in my opinion.

Although the characters were well written, and there were some very interesting back stories, I didn’t find myself connecting with any of them as much as I had hoped that I would. Obviously I cared what happened to them, but not to the extent that I had to keep reading to know what happens.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It has definitely got me back into reading Horror. I give it 4 stars.

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About The Author

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Rafael Chandler writes novels (Hexcommunicated, The Astounding Antagonists), video games (SOCOM 4, Rainbow Six: Lockdown, MAG), and tabletop role-playing games (Teratic Tome, Lusus Naturae). He’s a metalhead, a kaijuphile, and a gorehound.

Purchase link

Author site

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Giveaway: Enter for your chance to win a print copy of Mask Beneath Her Face or 1 of 5 digital copies

Tour organised by:

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-Books&Belle xx

Blog Tours

Blog Tour: My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel (Excerpt!)

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Synopsis:

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives

A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?

Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a
Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack.
She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously
throws herself into her new job and friendships.

But is Alexa all she claims to be?

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates
truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances
and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-
provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for
you.

Excerpt:

I was brushing my teeth the next morning when Alexa called, crying over another nasty phone call from her ex. I was running late as it was but was unable to stop her barrage of insults against a man I didn’t even know the name of.
‘He’s driving me absolutely insane. I’ve really had enough,’ I heard her shout, the heels of her shoes clicking on the pavement. She was clearly on her way to work while I was only slipping my feet into my shoes. It had been her second frantic call that morning.
‘Listen. Alexa, calm down. I understand you’re upset but I’ll be late if you don’t stop.’
‘I’m there for you when you need me but when I’m the one in need for once, you fob me off. Great, really nice, thanks.’ She hung up, leaving me in an angry sweat. I was her polar opposite – organized and calm – but lately I felt out of kilter myself. I’d missed out on seeing my mum because, for one reason or another, Alexa managed to ambush my
attention.
When I eventually rushed through the office door, Alexa was looking up at me indifferently, in deep conversation with Jack, who tapped his watch with pursed lips and raised eyebrows. I lowered my eyes, my stomach heaving with repressed fury. Alexa had crawled under my skin yet I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why and how it had all come about.
I hid in the ladies’ toilets, panic rising to my throat, and utterly lost for words. I realised that if it had been Alexa running off, I’d have made sure I was giving her moral support, coaxing her back to work. Where was she now that I needed her? Was I getting hysterical, losing the plot?

About the Author

HA Leuschel
Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate
in Journalism &Communication, which led to a career in radio and
television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her
husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of
Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind.
When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and
teaches Yoga.

Author Links

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www.heleneleuschel.com

Buy it here

Tour organised by:

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www.rrbooktours.com

-Books&Belle xx

Reviews

Blog Tour: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare (Spoiler-Free!)

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Synopsis

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

Review

I’m one of the stops on the blog tour for The Duchess Deal, which I’m really happy about! The synopsis really intrigued me, so I couldn’t wait to start reading. It took me roughly two days to get through this book, and I found it to be a really enjoyable read.

The two main characters, Emma and the Duke, were wonderful. Emma was my favourite, though. She was nearly everything I love in a character, selfless, strong, caring and loyal. The only thing that I didn’t like too much about her was her naivety when it came to men. But the reasoning behind her being this way is revealed later in the book, so I was able to overlook it. The Duke was… a bit of a grey area for me. He was injured at war, and was left scarred, and very bitter at the world.  But by the end of the book, the parts of him I wasn’t keen on at the start, I ended up finding endearing, and I understood why he felt and acted in certain ways a lot better.

The plot was very fast paced, which is good if you’re looking for a fast read. I felt it was lacking a bit in terms of excitement, but it was still a good read. There are a few erotic scenes, but they’re not overdone, and I didn’t have to skip them like I have with previous books due to them being too cringey. In fact, I felt that they helped show the audience why Ash was the way he was.

Overall, I enjoyed The Duchess Deal, and I’d recommend it if you like period romances, and a fast paced plot. I give it four stars.

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I’d like to thank Mills & Boon for sending me a copy of The Duchess Deal in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx