Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Review - The Edge of Sanity by Sheryl Browne

Flipping heck! Who’d have thought Sheryl Brown had thoughts like this!

About the book

How far would YOU go to protect your family?

A decent, ordinary man, a man who has already suffered the loss of one child, Daniel Conner is forced by extraordinary circumstances into being a hero. Tortured, forcibly drugged—heroin still pulsating nauseatingly through his veins—his wife and daughter degraded, Daniel knows their kidnapper is beyond reasoning with.But does being pushed one step beyond endurance justify doing the unthinkable?

High on drugs, indebted to his supplier, and desperate, Charlie Roberts takes Daniel’s wife and daughter hostage. Daniel does everything within his power to rescue the situation bloodlessly. Eventually though, Daniel realises that with or without violent mood swings induced by amphetamines and cocaine, Charlie Roberts is a psychopath. He wants more than Daniel’s money.He wants him.

The Edge of Sanity: a harrowing story of hope amid loss and betrayal.

What did I think?

Sheryl has made the switch from rom com to psychological thriller with complete perfection.  You would think she had been writing in this genre for years. 

It’s a book that’s full of drama, with some really dark goings-on in it, which made the book exciting, thrilling and gripping to read. 
The relationship between Daniel and Jo was a difficult one following the trauma of losing their youngest daughter and it covered the dynamics they both had with their older daughter excellently with all of them hurting so much and carrying their own grief and guilt while not knowing how to be a family again and how to talk to each other.  A family that were living their lives on the edge and desperately needing help.

I felt a massive emotional pull to Jo, she was so lost after the death of her child, every mother’s nightmare I should think and I wanted to reach out and help her.  Daniel was a great character too, strong, brave and coping on the outside but crumbling on the inside.  I felt for this family, I really did!
Who would have thought that Sheryl Browne would know about the things that go on in this book, I shall look at her in a whole new light but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and even though I love Sheryl’s rom coms, I would definitely love to read more from Sheryl in this this gritty, emotional thriller style.  An immensely brilliant read that I struggled to put down!

About the author
While Sheryl loves to write humorously, she has always been drawn to write about real people trying to overcome life’s obstacles. People readers can relate to, because they are empathising with the character.

Sheryl’s debut book, Recipes for Disaster, commissioned by Safkhet Publishing, was shortlisted for the Innovation in Romantic Fiction Award. Sheryl is also contributing editor at Lovehappyending Lifestyle magazine and a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

A partner in her own business, a mother, a foster parent to disabled dogs, and multi-tasker extraordinaire, Sheryl is grew up in Birmingham and is currently studying for her Masters Degree in Creative Writing at Birmingham City University.

Sheryl’s Final MA Project is a stage-play based on one of her novels, A Little Bit of Madness, the first scene of which has already been work-shopped at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Her book Learning to Love – exploring the fragility of love, life and relationships, was written around a short, the theme of which was bereavement in childhood, which was selected for publication in the Birmingham City University Anthology, Paper and Ink, of which Sheryl is super proud. 

For more information about Sheryl and her books, visit or  You can also join her on her Facebook page or chat to her Twitter profile .

Sheryl's Books
Recipes for Disaster – Sexilicious Romantic Comedy combined with Fab, Fun Recipes.
Somebody to Love – Sigh with contentment, scream with frustration. At times you will weep.
Warrant for Love – Three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly.
A Little Bit of Madness – White Knight in Blue rescues The Harbour Rest Home.
Learning to Love – Exploring the Fragility of Love, Life and Relationships.
The Edge of Sanity – How far would YOU go to protect your family?

Monday, 14 April 2014

Need a book cover designing? Why not consider Sarah Morley, Design For A Day

Today I'm joined by the lovely Sarah Morley from Design For A Day.  Sarah and I were talking about a cover she designed for an author the other day and I asked her to join me on my blog to have a chat about how it came about.
What was the first book cover you designed and how did you feel when you had this type of an enquiry?
The first book cover I designed was for an author who had seen some of my artwork on my Facebook page. She really liked the vibrancy of my work and asked me to design something similar to my artwork but combine it with graphic design as well. It’s always great to receive enquiries like this because I can really get creative and using mixed media was an added bonus.

What sort of a brief did you get from the author?
The title of her book was called ‘The Anchovy Tree’ so the brief was pretty simple, the title spoke for itself really. She wanted a tree with anchovies hanging off it and wanted me to bring some of my watercolour painting skills into the design.

How many versions did you do?
For this book cover I only painted one version of the tree. This was done using watercolour and gel pen and was then scanned so I could add the fish in digitally. I used Adobe Illustrator to then produce several options using different fish and effects until the final copy was approved.

Did you get it right first time?
The client was very pleased with the painting, the colours were spot on and it was just what she was after. We did a few variations when adding the fish in, amending colour tone, size etc. but it was pretty much straightforward.

What do you think is important when designing a cover?
Designing this book cover was very straightforward because the client already had an idea of what they wanted and so they didn’t need to go into great detail about the book. When designing anything I try to get as much information as possible, if a client can give me a short summary of the book even better as that will give me a starting point when thinking about the design.

What sort of questions would you ask an author if they wanted you to design their cover? What is the book about?
Who is your target market?
Who are the main characters?
What country is the story set in?
What is your deadline?
Do they have an idea for their cover already that we can work on together?

What do you think is special about your skills that would make an author choose you to design their cover?
I have over 13 years’ experience in graphic design and I’m a creative at heart, so I always have my painting skills to add to the mix as well. If an author wants something that’s going to stand out from the crowd, then I think I can offer that to them. I work closely with my clients; it’s a meeting of the minds and a collaboration to come up with something genius between us that’s going to help them sell their book.

Do you have any examples?
You can see some examples of my work HERE.

Do you read? If so, what do you like to read?
Yes, I read when I can, usually last thing at night to help me wind down.  I read all sorts of books, usually work related, sorry I’m a bit of a geek! I’m currently reading a book about Vintage Style Graphics by Angela Patchell and I’ve also just started to read The Bat by Jo Nesbo as I love a good thriller!

What is your background?
I haven’t always had a career in graphic design; I was a PA for many years. However, I’ve always been a creative person and I had a desire to do something with that, so after my daughter was born in 2000 I started to teach myself graphic design. I was lucky enough to get some brilliant in-house graphic design positions with various companies and in 2006 I studied for two years at night school to get my HNC in Graphic Design.

I started painting in my early 20’s, I’ve always loved the fluidity of watercolour and the different effects you can achieve with it. After my daughter was born when I was 30, it fell by the wayside and it wasn’t until after spending some time in New Zealand in 2011 that I was tempted to give it another go. Last year I managed to get quite a few paintings finished and sold them in a local craft shop in Lichfield, Staffordshire which really boosted my confidence. I also entered a competition for local artists in Lichfield to submit two pieces of artwork to Debenhams and I was awarded runner up in their competition, so I have fame at last and my paintings are on display in their Lichfield store!

I started working for myself as a freelance graphic designer in 2012 and haven’t looked back. I’ve had the privilege of working with some really great companies from England Boxing to the YMCA. Every week is different and that’s the beauty of working for yourself. I have a passion for what I do and I want to help other businesses achieve their dreams and goals by offering them great design.
Find out more about Sarah at

Like her page on Facebook by clicking here
Follow her on Twitter by clicking here

Friday, 11 April 2014

Do you dream of being a published author?


How would you like to see your words appear alongside stories from Milly Johnson, Alexandra Potter, Tracy Bloom, Rosie Blake, Julia Williams, Chrissie Mansby and Roisin Meaney.
Enter the Sunlounger 2 short story competition and the dream could become a reality.
Last years winner Holly Martin has since soared to #5 in the Amazon Kindle chart, with her debut women's fiction novel and is now signed with the Madeline Milburn agency along with other SUNLOUNGER authors Belinda Jones, Talli Roland, Carrie Duffy and Anna-Lou Weatherley!
Drop an email to and the Belinda Jones Travel Club will send you a set of guidelines so you can get going along with your mini masterpiece.
WORD COUNT: 1000-3000 words
DEADLINE: May 7th 2014
SETTING: Somewhere summery (not UK)

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Review - The Accident by CLTaylor

I couldn’t tear myself away from this book!

To the outside world Susan Jackson has it all – a loving family, a successful politician husband and a beautiful home – but when Charlotte, her fifteen year old daughter, deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma Sue questions whether any of it was real.

Desperate to find out what caused Charlotte’s suicide attempt, she is horrified by an entry in her diary – ‘Keeping this secret is killing me’. As Sue spins in desperate circles, she risks everything to discover the truth and finds herself immersed in a shady world she didn’t know existed. The deeper she delves the darker the world becomes and the more danger she puts herself in.
Can Sue wake up from the nightmares that haunt her and save her daughter, or will ‘the secret’ destroy them both?

I literally could not put this book down.  It completely took over my life!  I felt like I had to personally help Sue find out what had happened and why her daughter had done what she did.  I wanted to shake her husband to do the same, but he didn’t seem as concerned and this troubled me somewhat.
As a mother, I felt that I would do anything it took to find out what had happened to my child, whether it seemed obsessive or not and knew exactly what Sue was doing, I felt for her so much.  CL Taylor managed to drag out all my motherly instincts and understand that Sue had to turn into a protector and warrior ready to take on the world and fix everything for her child!

I found myself holding my breath in several parts of the book, it was completely deep, dark and thrilling and had me engrossed and riveted right from the start, through every page, to the end.
An incredibly brilliant read and I hope the first of many for CL Taylor in this genre.

About the author
Cally Taylor is an author with two writing heads. Her Cally Taylor head writes romantic comedies and women’s fiction whilst her CL Taylor head writes dark psychological thrillers.
Cally was born in Worcester, studied Psychology in Newcastle and has had a variety of jobs including fruit picker, waitress, post woman, receptionist, shipping co-ordinator and web developer. She currently works as an E-Learning Manager for a London university.
In 2011, after thirteen years in Brighton (the longest she's ever lived anywhere), Cally moved to Bristol where she lives with her partner and toddler son, and their ridiculously large DVD/book/music collection. She shares her 'study' with the washing machine and a surf board and writes her novels in any spare moments she can squeeze in between the day job, being a mum and her social network addiction .
Her international bestselling romantic comedies, HEAVEN CAN WAIT and HOME FOR CHRISTMAS were published by Orion in the UK. They have been translated into 14 different languages, and her debut was voted ‘Debut Novel of the Year’ by Chicklitreviews and Chicklitclub.

Cally's heartwarming short story collection '
SECRETS AND RAIN' shot straight to #2 in's Women Writers & Fiction Short Story Chart on the day of release.   As at the time of posting, Secrets & Rain is free to download.  Just click the link above.

You can find out more about Cally below:
You can buy The Accident by clicking here.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Review - A Place To Call Home by Carole Matthews

The best yet!

All it takes is one life-changing decision …
Ayesha leaves behind a life of pain and heartache and boards a coach to London with her sights set on a new life for herself and her little girl, Sabina.

Hayden, a former pop star, has kept himself hidden away for years. In all that time, he’s opened up his home to just two people – Crystal, a professional dancer with a heart of gold, and Joy, an ill-tempered pensioner with a soft spot for waifs and strays. But he reluctantly agrees to take in Ayesha and Sabina.

As different as they may be, all these damaged people quickly form a loving bond. So when enemies from their past threaten their peaceful life, they will do whatever it takes to save their home and each other.
You can click here to read an extract from A Place To Call Home

You probably all know by now that I am the biggest Carole Matthews fan ever! I absolutely adore all her books, but this one I felt was particularly special. 
The suspense in parts, was just incredible and made me wonder if Carole would ever consider switching genres.  She is just fabulous at writing romantic comedy but I did wonder how incredible she’d be at writing thrillers too! She certainly had me holding my breath and clutching at my chest at more than one point.
I think that the subject matter of domestic abuse and how it affects a family, made this a rather poignant book as it was her normal beautifully written romantic comedy but with a great deal of seriousness thrown in too.  This made for a fantastic read.
The characters were all very different but beautifully created as they completely complemented each other and I would have quite happily taken one of the spare bedrooms and moved into the big house myself.  I wanted to be friends with these people who had Ayesha and Sabina's backs.  I found myself willing Ayesha on to another life and was so happy that she had found a safe place to be herself in Hayden’s home. 
Whenever I pick up a new book of Carole’s, a tiny part of me wonders how she can possibly continue to write fabulous stories and come up with wonderful and new ideas for her plots.  But she NEVER lets me down and her books just get better and better.  This one certainly was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.
I think that A Place To Call Home is the best book that Carole has ever written! Can’t wait for the next one!

Carole Matthews is the Sunday Times best selling author of 18 previous novels which have been translated into many languages and sold to Hollywood.    When she entered a short story competition in Writing Magazine, she couldn't believe that she had won a thousand pounds!  She spent this money on a writing course (much to everyone's surprise!). The tutor on the course liked what she was writing and recommended an agent who took her on straight away. She sold her first book, which became Let’s Meet on Platform 8 (a fabulous read by the way!) a week later.
To find out more about Carole you can visit her website 
You can follow her on Twitter
You can like her page on Facebook

Book Links


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Review - A Little Love by Amanda Prowse

Wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!
Pru Plum, owner of the famous Mayfair bakery, is not the confident, successful businesswoman she appears. She has done shameful things to get where she is and will do anything to protect the secrets of her past - especially when, for the first time in her life, she has finally fallen in love...

From the moment this book dropped onto my doormat and I opened the envelope to find one of the most gorgeous covers ever, I knew I was going to love this book! And love it, I did!

Pru Plum is one of the most delightful characters I’ve met, full of goodness and love and I’m just a tad in awe of her and definitely wish I had a Pru Plum in my world to look out for me!  I adored the relationship between Milly and Pru, a very special bond that could never be broken even through very hard times. 
It’s a mixture of a gentle but very powerful story and to be totally honest I’m struggling to put into words just how this book made me feel! It’s full of hope, happiness, sadness, grief, love and loss. 

I was torn between wanting to find out what was going to happen but not wanting the book to ever end.  I could have read on forever! Fell totally and utterly head over heels in love with it!

Amanda states in her website bio that it is her ambition to “create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades...”  Amanda – you do this so beautifully!

Days after finishing this book, I’m still wishing that Pru was part of my life.  I’m remembering the places that I visited with Pru, the delicious tastes of the foods from the bakery and am cherishing the memories as if they were my own.  I have become a huge Amanda Prowse fan.  I could quite happily lock myself away and read all her books back to back until I’ve devoured them all!  

I was unsure which way it was going to go but the ending was fairytale perfect! But, I still miss Pru so much ...... She’s a very special lady and this was an incredibly special book that I think I’ll remember forever!

About the author

Amanda has always obsessively crafted short stories and scribbled notes for potential books.  Five years ago, she quit her job as a management consultant and began writing full time. The result was Poppy Day, the story of an army wife, whose incredible love for her husband gives her the courage to rescue him from hostages in Afghanistan.  Originally self-published in October 2011 with 100% of royalties going to the Royal British Legion, Poppy Day quickly became a bestseller and Amanda was signed up by Head of Zeus publishers.

All of Amanda's books in the No Greater Love series share common themes in that they are contemporary love stories, the main characters are women, just like you and I, in extraordinary situations for love. 

Currently, Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband Major Simeon Prowse MBE and their two teenage boys Ben and Josh.  As an army wife, she is accustomed to being uprooted and moving on at a moment’s notice, a pattern that has shaped her life - as the oldest of four children, she was born raised in London before moving all over the world.   She hopes one day that her nomadic life will cease, allowing her to fulfill an ambition of planting a garden and remaining somewhere long enough to watch it grow!

You can buy the e-book version here and pre-order the paperback which is due out in early July.