Chapter Eleven | Finding Jennifer Book Teaser

Here is a little taste of what’s going on in Chapter Eleven of my upcoming novel – and sequel in the SEARCHING FOR KATHERINE series, FINDING JENNIFER. Enjoy!

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Alan The Christmas Donkey | Recent Reads

​Recent Reads: Whilst on the train back from Wales recently,  me and my mom ended up reading Alan The Christmas Donkey by Tracy Garton. 

It’s a sweet, funny book all about the donkey sanctuary the author set up twenty years ago, and the donkeys she adopts along the way; the most mischievous of all being Alan. 

It’s a quick read and a good laugh, and quite an eye opener to the amount of work that goes into these sanctuaries. Worth a read! 

They have a website where you can learn a little bit more about their donkeys: http://www.radcliffedonkeys.com

Sex In Books | Not That Sexy (16+ content)

sex in books.pngEveryone loves a cheeky sex scene in a romance novel; or those secret make-out sessions in your favourite Young Adult series, but there’s a line.

With a society that is climatized to seeing sex in everything, perhaps no sex in a book is the New Sexy?

If an author tells you they have never written a salacious sex scene – they ar lying. But, ask them if it ended up in the book, and some will say no.

For my novel, Searching For Katherine, I wrote a sex scene for the night of Jennifer’s wedding – and then deleted half of it. Yes, I kept some of the build-up and the tension in, but there is no actual sex in the sex scene.

Sometimes, the idea of sex is sexier than the act itself. And sometimes, sex isn’t sexy. 

the-russian-concubineIn The Russian Concubine by Kate Furvinall, there is a sex scene between the two main characters who are roughly fifteen or sixteen years old. The boy is injured and weak, the girl tending to his wounds as she hides him the shed from her family.

It is a sweet, tender moment, but it is – naturally – a very awkward and fumbling scene. Why? Because virgin teenagers don’t know how to have sex, so it would be ridiculous for the author to have pretended otherwise. It is a beautifully written scene and one I have specially marked in my copy. I read it when I need reminding that sex isn’t always the sinners show it’s perceived to be. Sometimes, sex is communication.

It is a beautifully written scene and one I have specially marked in my copy. I read it when I need reminding that sex isn’t always the sinners show it’s perceived to be. Sometimes, sex is communication.

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It’s difficult to write an article about sex in books without mentioning the elephant in the room: Fifty Shades of Grey. Originally written as a sexy Twilight fan-fic, and quickly tidied up when the website when crazy and was picked up by a publishing house; Fifty Shades is the perfect example of Sex Overload in fiction.

I won’t waste too much time talking about this series, but if memory serves me right; there’s a lot of pretty ridiculous sex in this book series. They have sex anywhere and everywhere, several times a day and it some strange positions and situations. I think Mr .Grey needs to see a therapist because he just can’t keep it in his pants.

The sex is completely unrealistic – however, it also proves that sometimes there is only one way to write a sex scene: badly. E.L James repeats the same phrases and rhythms throughout the book, giving all the scenes a very samey vibe. But, she is an international best-selling author; so she must have gotten something right!

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Perhaps sex scenes in books scene somewhat ridiculous because they are a little bit more real than we’re used to.

Most adults have watch pornography at some time or another, and we’ve all seen those perfect six-pack muscle men with engorged penises and perfect bodies. They give women expectations of what a man should look like in bed, and I’m afraid to say that not every man is built like Superman. Nor, should they be!

And for the men, those poor bastards are relentlessly shown swimwear models with tidy, toned bodies and tiny waists. None of these women have scars or stretch marks, none have bore children and they certainly don’t look like the women we see in the high street doing their shopping.

Why is porn so popular? Because we like to fantasize. Why does sex suck in books? Because sometimes… you’ve just got to use your imagination – and the only references most of us have are porn sites and some embarrassing sex stories of our own.

And because reading the word penis is never going to be as sexy as seeing one! 

So maybe next time you read an awkward sex scene in a book; remember that sometimes it’s better in real life than it is on the page; give the author the benefit of the doubt. And, if it’s really bad, just skip it.

Got an opinion? Share it in the comments! 

The Snow Killer | Free On Kindle This Weekend!

As my book birthdays are fast approaching, I thought I’d celebrate by making The Snow Killer FREE on Amazon Kindle! Details and links below.

The Snow Killer (plot):

When Danny Fores loses his family in a car accident, he sinks into depression. Two years later, he’s still blaming himself for their death. When Danny meets Diane Warner, a thirty-five year old lawyer: she brings the good, the bad and the murderous to his door.

But can he cope?

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Term start date: October 28, 2016
Term end date:   October 31, 2016

The Snow Killer is available on the following and more sites for FREE:

Amazon UK   Amazon US   Amazon FR   Amazon CA   Amazon AU  Amazon DE

The Fault in Our Stars | Book Review

tfios-melissaholden94I spent a long time avoiding this book, and I feel like an idiot for it.

I did cover the topic briefly in my John Green article I posted a couple of weeks ago, but the general premise is that I was swayed by other people’s opinions and basically didn’t get John Green’s work a chance.
I didn’t give his books the time and devotion to reading that they deserve, and believe me when I say: I regret that and I plan on catching up pretty damn quick.

The Fault In Our Stars was first published January 2012 under Penguin – the sixth book by John Green -, and has since sold 10.7 million copies worldwide.  The movie adaptation came out in 2014, and the screenplay was co-written by the author himself, which attests for how close a resemblance the screen version has to the original novel.

green_2The plot (in case you’ve been living under a rock – as I have!): (Sourced from Amazon UK)

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

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Hazel: 16-year-old Hazel-Grace has accepted her cancer-ridden fate and is pretty much living in her day to day routine, waiting for death. Her coddling mother thinks Hazel has depression so often forces her to socialize with other ‘cancer kids’.

She has been living with cancer for a long time, so has since grown used to life with rubbish lungs. She gets on with school and reading and seeing friends when she can, and is pretty settled – if unhappy – wth her routine. But when she meets Augustus Waters at a ‘cancer kids’ meeting, all that goes out the window.

03f45905f29d65c365f67d5498014173Augustus Waters: Originally introduced as your typical tall, dark and handsome, Gus is a one-legged cancer survivor and romantic lead of The Fault In Our Stars. He is quick to admit his attraction to Hazel, and is not deterred by her initial rejections of a relationship.

Originally introduced as your typical tall, dark and handsome, Gus is a one-legged cancer survivor and romantic lead of The Fault In Our Stars. He is quick to admit his attraction to Hazel, and is not deterred by her initial rejections of a relationship. He is weird as he as beautiful, so he’s a perfect match for our main girl.

Van Houten: Van Houten, the author of Hazel’s favourite (fictional) novel, An Imperial Affliction, is the typical example of ‘never meet your heroes’. He’s a drunk, a fool and a rude old man who doesn’t feel he should waste his time writing a sequel to Hazels’ cherished book, let a lone answer some of her questions. He has some secrets of his own, but they aren’t revealed until later on, making him somewhat of a bitter but one-leveled character until the end.

3f10f7365f73d9b28ffccb50e24a844d1eb8755616c22a72abb09a3ec295b4bdRomance: Neither Gus or Hazel are your typical love interest, however – which makes this a far more interesting read. It’s not just your average star-crossed lover’s tale (although there is some element of Shakespearean tragedy towards the end of the book).

Cancer: I can’t review the book without mentioning one of its main themes: cancer sucks. There is no beautification of cancer in this book as far as I am concerned, and I am so glad for that.

John Green wrote from experience about the issues and pain and day-to-day suffering of a ‘cancer kid’, so it stands to reason that his depiction of two teenagers with cancer would be more or less accurate.

I personally knew someone who had this sucky illness, and there were places in this novel that sent a shiver down my spine: because I had seen them happen in real life. It cannot have been easy for Green to write this, and particularly as there was such a backlash concerning it, so for that alone; I applaud him.

The Fault in Our Stars continues to raise money for The Teenage Cancer Trust, click here if you would like to find out a bit more about the charity. 

Overall review: I really wish I hadn’t waited four years to read this amazing novel, and I am happy to say that it’s up there with my favourite novels. It is a heart-wrenching, beautiful novel that is very hard to put down. So for god’s sake – read it. download

Other Recommendations:

If you’re interested in reading books about Cancer and how disastrous it can be from a true-life perspective, I recommend Discussing Wittgenstein by Ann Drysdale.

Plot: (Sourced from Amazon UK)

Launched at the 2009 Hay festival, Discussing Wittgenstein picks up the story of Philip Grey and Ann Drysdale after their near death-bed marriage and Philip s return home. It is the end of a remarkable love story, but it is also much more; a tender, poignant testimony to how personal mythologies are built and survive. Discussing Wittgenstein is an elegy to the human spirit and to our quest to shape experience into meaning.