Monthly Archives: June 2012

Eight Mile Island competition


To promote the release of Eight Mile Island later this year, I will be running a competition from 25th June to 7th July!

I’ve uploaded the first five chapters onto Amazon Kindle, and hidden inside the sample is an email address.

The first fifteen people to email me at that address will recieve a FREE copy of Eight Mile Island in Kindle format when it’s published.

In addition, one person will win their choice of any of my other novels in Kindle format, and one person will win all THREE of my other novels in Kindle format, PLUS all of my Kindle short stories!

Don’t delay…get your copy right now! Download it HERE.


Review: Divergent (Veronica Roth) (Minor spoilers)

I picked this one up cold from a vibe from Goodreads. Quite a few people seemed to be talking about it and making it book of the month. Having read the 500 pages in under a weekend, I can see why.

The story is set in a crumbling Chicago of the future, some time after an unspecified war. Society has rebuilt itself along tribal lines: Abnegation, selfless charity workers, Amity, friends to everyone, Candor, who never lie, and Dauntless, the closest to the military. Everyone belongs to one clan, above all other sentiments, even to their family.

When Beatrice Prior, an Abnegation, is tested to see which clan she should take for the rest of her life, she’s stunned to discover she’s ‘Divergent’, having attributes of more than one clan. Told to hide her test results, she chooses the hard and brutal life of a Dauntless, fearless and militaristic. I was expecting her to announce she was Divergent at the start of the book, but it didn’t turn out like that.

The book follows her training and selection, and at times is brutal and honest in it’s description of the violent life the Dauntless lead, though never to the detriment of the story, or simply for gore.

There’s also a romance between Beatrice and her instructor, an understated sub-plot that becomes more important at the end of the book. That was only part that felt flat for me – there didn’t seem to be much chemistry between them.

The characters are all drawn well, each has their own personalities, weaknesses and strengths. Only the villains Peter and Molly seemed a little cartoonish, but that didn’t stop them from being brutally efficient at removing the competition.

Every page of this book has something going on. Either Beatrice is being tested, is falling in love, is trying to discover what it means to be ‘Divergent’ and why she should hide it, or is trying to stop war breaking out.

There isn’t a space wasted, and the pace of the book doesn’t slow at all. I rocketed through it, stuck to every page.

I can’t wait to swallow up the sequel.


Review: If I Stay – Gayle Forman (Spoilers)

Mia is a seventeen year old girl caught in limbo when the car carrying her and her family is involved in a fatal crash. Stuck between dead and alive, she discovers she can observe her gathering relatives, and learns that all the other members of her family have died except her.

Accepting she has a choice – live or die – Mia hesitates between the two, wondering what she has to live for now her family is dead. If she dies, she won’t have the pain of losing her family for real when she wakes.

Except…she realises her family is more than the people she lives with. Her family is also anyone who cares for her, her boyfriend, her mother’s best friends, grandparents.

But it’s her boyfriend Mia feels most torn over. If she dies, she won’t have to deal with losing her boyfriend to rock stardom while she moves to New York to perform at an elite music school.

Grief over losing someone is like that…making choices as to whether you want to feel again after someone close dies. Making a choice to love someone again one day, risking yourself losing them again. It’s part of defining who you are as a person: loss and coming to terms with that loss.

I liked Mia’s family and Mia. I liked the way they weren’t dysfunctional, but they weren’t perfect either; the way they argued and bickered, and still loved each other at the end of the day. I liked the tension between Mia and her boyfriend, Adam, the knowledge that love wasn’t all roses and sunshine for them, and it wasn’t going to be a happy ending (though not in the sense of Mia dying). It made them all the more human to see all their frailties and their flaws.

But I never got the impression that Mia was going to die voluntarily, which robbed the book of it’s most fundamental question. She seemed far too much of a fighter to give in so easily.

And for me, the book ended when Mia’s story was just starting. When she wakes and has to deal with the overwhelming grief and the reality of never having these people in your life again. The knowledge that she has to go back into her home one day and walk through the now empty rooms, empty of the people she loved, but still full of the smell and feel of them.

I don’t envy her that walk (like most people, I’ve done it more than once) but I never got to see it through her eyes and her strength. Which is a shame for such a nicely written book on such a powerful subject.

3/5. Amazon