Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Book Review | Carole P. Roman | If You Were Me And Lived In ... Renaissance Italy

If You Were Me and Lived in...Renaissance Italy

This book was sent to me from the author, Carole P. Roman, for free. This book was sent to me through Bostick Communications. Carole P. Roman sent me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author: Carole P. Roman
Title: If You Were Me And Lived In ... Renaissance Italy
Genre: Education, Children, Fiction, Historical, Travel
Series: If You Were Me And Lived In ... 
Pages: 56
Price: £10.26

30th May 2016
Finished: 30th May 2016

Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilisations throughout history in the first four books of her new series. Learn what kind of food you might eat in Ancient Greece, the clothes you wore in 15th Century Renaissance Italy, what your name would be in Elizabethan England and what Colonial American children did for fun. If you were me and lived in ... does for history what her other award winning series did for culture. So get on board this time travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.

I would like to thank Carole P. Roman for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.This is a very interesting and educational book for children. This book and the rest in the series are a good way to teach children about history and places around the world. Carole P. Roman has written many great children's books that I would highly recommend to anyone who sends a prolonged amount of time with young children. These books are written in a simple story line but they are also factual and informative about places and historical periods of time. As I do not have children I have passed this book and others that I have been sent onto a neighbour for her son. Also, I give some of these books to my niece and nephew. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Monday, 30 May 2016

Book Review | Darren Shan | The Vampire's Assistant

The Vampire's Assistant (The Saga of Darren Shan, Book 2)

Author: Darren Shan
Title: The Vampire's Assistant
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires, Horror, Fiction, Supernatural, Adventure, Urban Fantasy, Children, Teen
Series: The Saga Of Darren Shan
Pages: 176
Price: £6.99

26th May 2016
Finished: 30th May 2016

Darren Shan was just an ordinary schoolboy until his visit to the Cirque Du Freak. Now, as he struggles with his new life as a vampire's assistant, he tries desperately to resist the one temptation that sickens him, the one thing that can keep him alive. But destiny is calling ... the wolfman is waiting. 

This is the second book in the Cirque Du Freak series. I bought all twelve of the books in the Cirque Du Freak series at a local second hand shop. These books cost 99p and come on a buy one get one free offer. After reading the first book I just knew I had to read the full set one after the other. Although I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the first, it was still a very good read. This was an interesting read and it is an important part of the series. So far I am enjoying this book series and I am glad that I was able to get my hands on the full book series. I would recommend this book series (in my opinion it's important to finish a book series if you start it) to anyone with an interest in the young adult and paranormal fiction genres. So far these two books have been good reads and I am sure that the rest will be too.

4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Book Review | Darren Shan | Cirque Du Freak

Cirque Du Freak (The Saga of Darren Shan Book 1)

Author: Darren Shan
Title: Cirque Du Freak
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires, Horror, Fantasy, Fiction, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Teen, Children
Series: The Saga Of Darren Shan
Pages: 192
Price: £6.16

Started: 15th May 2016
Finished: 26th May 2016

Synopsis: In the tradition of Stephen King's "Salem's Lot", Cirque Du Freak is the frightening saga of a young boy whose visit to a mysterious freak show leads him on a journey into a dark world of vampires. Filled with grotesque creatures, murderous vampires, and a petrifying ending, Cirque Du Freak will chill, thrill and leave readers begging for more.

Review: This is the first book in the Cirque Du Freak series or the Darren Shan Saga. I bought all twelve of these books at a local charity shop. These books are sold for 99p and are on offer as buy one get one free which is an amazing deal even for pre-loved books. At some point in the near future I will be buying the boxset brand new and then I can donate all the pre-loved set back to the shop where I bought them. After picking up this book and starting to read it I found that, after a few pages, I was hooked on this book and just could not put it down. This was an amazing read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys young adult and paranormal books. I am a massive fan of Darren Shan and I plan to own all books by him. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Book Review | Nathalia Tortora | The Lanin And Other Mapuche Legends

The Lanin: And Other Mapuche Legends

I won this book through Goodreads giveaways. This book was not sent to me in exchange for a positive review. Everything said in this review is my honest opinion. 

Author: Nathalia Tortora
Title: The Lanin & Other Mapuche Legends
Genre: Short Stories, Legends, Mythology, Anthology, Translations

Synopsis: The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of Patagonia. The collective term refers to a diverse ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a social and religious structure, as well as a common language, mapudungun. The mythology and religion of the Mapuche contain an extensive collection of shared beliefs. These myths tell the story of the creation of the world and speak of deities and spirits that reside in Patagonia. They also try to explain how some plants, animals, lakes and mountains were created. This short work contains an anthology of legends and myths that are common to the various Mapuche tribes. 

Review: I would like to thank the translator of this book for having a giveaway and i'm sure happy to have been lucky enough to win a copy. I was extra excited when I won this book as it sounded like an interesting read. After receiving the book and finally getting around to reading it, I can say that this book did not disappoint me. I really enjoyed reading these short stories and learning of legends from the Mapuche tribe. This was a short read but that is one of the reasons I liked this book along with the stories. It was interesting to read about myths and legends from other cultures. I found that it was easy to get into this book and it did not take me long to finish reading this book. I will be keeping this book on my bookshelves forever. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in myths and legends from other cultures. These myths and legends are very interesting and certainly open your eyes to beliefs of other cultures and how they differ from our own culture. I am glad that the time was took for this book to be translated into English otherwise I would not have been able to read or enjoy these tales. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Monday, 16 May 2016

Book Review | Laura Simmons | Little Bits Of Karma

Little Bits of Karma

I received this book for free from the author, Laura Simmons. This book was sent to me through Bostick Communications. Laura Simmons sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Author: Laura Simmons
Title: Little Bits Of Karma
Genre: Romance

Synopsis: Even though Holly O'Rourke is having problems with her long time significant other, James, she has never entertained thoughts of infidelity, that is until one day she has a chance encounter with Charlie, a handsome co-worker. James promises he will change and work on their relationship but Holly's feelings for Charlie just won't go away. Distressed by her mixed emotions, Holly schedules an appointment for a reading with a psychic medium, where she discovers her adulterous past lives and their tragic consequences. Holly learns to do her own past life regression through self-hypnosis and uncovers not only lives that she shared with James and Charlie, but how the other people in her present life have been with her in the past - the threads of their lives interwoven for centuries. Holly is stunned by recurring themes and the issues of karmic justice that need to be addressed. Where will her karmic path ultimately lead?

Review: I would like to thank the other for sending me this book. I accepted this book to review as I wanted to try something outside of my usual genre's. Normally, I stick to fantasy, crime and horror novels so a romance book was a big change for me. I found that I simply did not enjoy reading this book, that does not mean that it is not a good book to read, as I just found it hard to enjoy something in the romance genre. My sister also read and reviewed this book but she really enjoyed it as romance is more her genre of book than it is mine. The enjoyment of this book depends on the reader and what they enjoy in a book, if you are not normally a fan of romance then I wouldn't recommend this book but if you are into romance novels then this is definitely the book for you to pick up and read. Even though I wasn't head over heels in love with this book I did manage to read it to the end and was pleased to have stuck with it and not gave up just because it was a genre which was not my favourite. 

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

*The only reason I gave this book such a low rating is because I do not enjoy romance novels. If I decide to reread this in the future then I will update my review letting you know if I felt the same about the book or whether I liked it more or less than the first time I read it. I will be honest and say that I am not likely to reread this book as I am sure that even in the future I will still be into the same book genres as I am now. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Author Interview | Don Spector | Memories Of A Mad Man


Mad Men. Don Spector didn't just watch them on television. He was one of them.

Starting in a Madison Avenue ad agency in the ‘60’s, he actually lived the life captured in the TV show. In "Memories of a Mad Man" he shares with us an unforgettable era filled with humor, brilliance, wonderful heroes and big, bad villains.

The funny and fascinating stories he tells uncover the reality of the ad world behind the show.
• What was it like dealing with celebrities of the era?
• How did the advent of computers spoil one of the greatest boondoggles that Mad Men—and Mad Women—enjoyed?
• The Three Martini Lunch. True or false?
• What's the real truth about truth in advertising?
The book answers these and many more intriguing questions in this unique look into a unique profession.



Starting as a junior copywriter in a Madison Avenue ad agency in the ‘60s, Don Spector qualifies as a genuine Mad Man. Creating advertising for the agency’s high-profile accounts like Smirnoff Vodka and Tareyton cigarettes, he began his ascent up the creative ladder in several New York agencies. His commercials and print ads for advertisers like Xerox, the Yellow Pages and Jaguar ultimately led to an offer of a key position in Los Angeles-based BBDO/West where he was soon named Creative Director.  After moving to a similar position at Foote Cone Belding/Los Angeles, he eventually started his own agency where he served until his retirement.  The advertising he created for dozens of companies like ARCO, Absolut Vodka, Bristol-Myers and S.C. Johnson won numerous awards. But, more importantly, it generated millions of dollars in sales for them.

Follow the entire MEMORIES OF  MAD MAN tour 
Brought to you by Worldwind VBT

Author Interview

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Brooklyn-born and raised, accent and all.  Dad was a doctor and Mom was a loving mom.  I was shocked one day in the fifth grade when the scary Assistant Principal without warning moved several of us into a rapid advance class.  That shortened my time in junior high and high school with the result that I started college (Hamilton) at 15. 
            It was okay academically but I had to lie about my age for the next four years or I never would have been able to get a date.  My college had a core curriculum that, among other subjects, required four years of Public Speaking.  Like other students, I laughed at that but the joke turned out to be on me.  A major component of my success in advertising was my ability to stand up in front of a group of clients and sell them the commercials and ads we had done for them. 

Were you good at English?
In my Freshman English Composition class at Hamilton College my themes started out garnering Ds and were full of harsh red comments by Professor Barrett like, “JARGON”, “CHECK YOUR GRAMMAR “and “CAN YOU BE A LITTLE LESS BORING.”  But by the end of the year I was getting semi-respectable Bs.  Years later, when I sat in a Los Angeles ad agency with a sign on my office door saying, “Vice President, Creative Director” I wrote to Professor Barrett saying that although he doesn't remember me, I owe him so much.  He wrote back saying, “I do remember you, dear boy, and you make me very proud.”  That was a major highlight in my career.

When did you decide to become a writer?
After four years of college getting a BA in psychology and two years at Columbia Graduate Business School earning an MBA in finance, I still didn't know what I wanted to do for a career.  Neither psychology nor finance looked appetizing to me and I didn't want to follow in my father’s medical footsteps.  Then one day something struck me.  Through high school, college and graduate school I had written for the school newspapers.  That was a hint.  But what pushed me over the line was that all three papers were named The Spectator.  Not only were the names the same but also that name was amazingly similar to my name, Spector.  I took that as a sign and decided that I’d be a writer and sought my first writing job as a Madison Avenue copywriter.

What is your favourite quote?
I love a quote that changed my life:
    “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.  Because if you like it today you can do it again tomorrow.”  
            It came from a wonderful comedian, Professor Irwin Corey, and, like everyone in the nightclub that night, I laughed myself silly.  I loved it so much that the next day I made a sign of it that I put up in my office.  It stood there for years.  One day several years later I got a call from my actress wife.  She had been offered a three-month acting gig in Madrid.  We had to go, she insisted.  But, I told her, my advertising career was going well and I just couldn't put it on hold for three months. 
            After I hung up I stared out my office window at Madison Avenue, feeling awful.  What an opportunity. But I couldn't do it.  Then my eyes fell on the sign. “Don’t put off till tomorrow…. what you can do today.  Because if you like it today you can do it again tomorrow.”   Irwin Corey’s advice was right.  I walked into my boss, the agency creative director, and told him I was resigning to go to Europe with my wife.  I called my wife and told her,”We’re going.” And a moment after I hung up, my boss came in and announced that they weren't accepting my resignation and were giving me a leave of absence instead.  I could go as long as I wanted and could come back with my job still waiting.
            We went, travelled around Europe after her work ended and came back to a year’s worth of mail waiting for me at my agency.
            A postscript: about ten years after that, I saw Professor Irwin Corey and related how his line had affected my life so wonderfully.  His smiling response was instant: “Do you know what that means, Donald?  It means you have to buy me a drink.”  I did.

What’s your favorite film and why?

“Singin’ in the Rain.”  Just thinking of Gene Kelly’s rain dance makes me smile.  Thinking of Donald O’Connor’s “Make ‘em Laugh” dance makes me laugh.  Always a longtime fan of behind-the-camera film stories, I found this story of an early Hollywood studio and its move into talkies was a perfect subject for me.  It made me a die hard Gene Kelly fan.  That’s why, when I learned that a friend who was a major film editor told me that he worked with him on a movie, I was nervous when I asked him what Kelly was really like lest my image of him be damaged.  “He was exactly in person as he was onscreen…the friendly, likeable All-American boy.”
            So when I watched “Singin’ in the Rain” again after that (for the seventh time) I enjoyed it even more.

How do you think you've evolved creatively?
As an advertising copywriter I was paid for my creativity. In the beginning I tended to play it safe in writing ads and commercials. I was afraid to stretch my imagination and take my work into my boss only to have him laugh at it or even savage it. Not that a good creative boss would do that but when I started out, I considered anything I put down on paper as a piece of my soul and I was afraid to have it damaged.
         But as I grew I started to stretch my boundaries and take chances creatively. Although my ideas didn't bat 1000 I had more successes than failures and so I continued stretching. Then over time I began seeing that often an idea that initially seemed far out, silly, irrelevant or even dumb could be metamorphosed into a very good creative execution. That was the origin of a mantra I carried with me into every creative session whether I was working solo, with a creative partner or in a large brainstorming session: there's no such thing as a bad idea.
         I found it freed me up to explore ideas I would have dismissed in the past that led to successful advertising that sold products and even won awards.
            Toward the end of my career I gave a number of talks on creativity to students and the core of my presentation was always that there is no such thing as a bad idea.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Over the years as an advertising copywriter I didn't face writers block very often. I think there were two key reasons. First, I did most of my work as part of a team, me as the copywriter and my teammate as an art director. And even when I was writing a commercial or ad solo, I didn't consider searching for an idea a true writer's block. A blank computer screen at the start of any assignment is normal and not a sign of mental blankness.
         I faced true writer's block for the first time when writing my book. I had been rolling along just fine and then all suddenly stopped. Then I knew what true writers block was.  I slogged through as best as I could but it attacked me from time to time. It was during one of these blank periods that I was introduced to a fellow author. Over lunch I told him about my problem and he made a suggestion. “Use dictation.” “Why would that work?” I asked. His response was candid.  " I have no idea, but it does.  Try it."
         That afternoon I downloaded a Mac dictation program, picked up a microphone and started dictating. And it worked. As he had suggested, I didn't look at the screen while I was dictating. Anywhere but...at the ceiling, the wall, out the window, even with my eyes closed. The ideas and the words came much more easily than I ever imagined.
         Today I dictate about 25% of my writing. Using this technique I find ideas come more easily and the process is even sometimes enjoyable. I think you'll find that it pays to be a dictater (“dictater”, “dictator” Get it???)).

Monday, 9 May 2016

Book Review | Bridges DelPonte | Bridles Of Poseidon

Bridles of Poseidon: The Last Emissary Series: Volume 1

I was sent this book for free from the author. This book was sent to me direct from the author after contact through Goodreads. Bridges DelPonte sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author: Bridges DelPonte
Title: Bridles Of Poseidon
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Synopsis: Aquan, a fearless triton, uses her unique power to transform into real and mythical sea creatures to police the boundaries of land and sea from rebel forces. When her fellow tritons are savagely massacred on the eve of her first mating season, Aquan reluctantly teams up with key west dive boat captain, Dave Cutter and marine biologist Jen Ortiz, in a worldwide hunt across the lost sister cities of Atlantis. In Bridles Of Poseidon, Aquan must not only unlock her true power, but confront disturbing revelations about the deaths of her parents and dangerous political intrigue in her once peaceful society at Rapture's End. Ultimately, this young triton faces a terrible choice between preventing another great deluge or destroying the future survival of her own underwater community now torn apart by discord and treachery.

Review: I would like to thank Bridges DelPonte for sending me a copy of this book. After learning about this book I was excited to read it. I started to read this book but unfortunately I struggled to get into this book. I plan to reread this book in the future to see if my thoughts towards the book change and if they do I will post an update to the end of the post. Even though I struggled to enjoy this book I know that other readers have loved this book so if it sounds interesting to you then just go ahead and give it a go because your opinion may be the complete opposite of mine. I would recommend this book to avid readers of the fantasy fiction genre as it will have a different effect on each reader and some will enjoy it more than others. I am a firm believer in giving something a try no matter what the other reviews are saying as a negative review may be the exact opposite of what you would think. So basically if you think this sounds like a good book don't just base your feelings on the negative but try it as you may be one with positive thoughts about the book. 

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Monday, 2 May 2016

Giveaway | Amazon | $20 Gift Card | Closed

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am promoting a giveaway that an author is hosting. The prize is a $20 gift card for Amazon (for those books that are just screaming at you to buy them). 

The giveaway starts today (2nd May 2016) and it lasts for two whole weeks. The giveaway ends on the 16th May 2016 so you have plenty of time to claim your stakes in a chance to win this gift card. 

This giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. This is a international giveaway (YAY entries for all). Nobody likes to hear about a giveaway that doesn't include their country/town. 

There are no rules to entering this giveaway (who likes rules?!?). 

This is probably the easiest giveaway to participate in; just click the link above, don't have to worry about rules and you don't lose anything by just taking a chance. Who knows, you might even win!!

To gain entries, there are just a few simple things that can be done (the more you do, the more entries you have!)

1. Sign up to Matt Abraham's newsletter = 3 entries
(literally 3 entries for the most simple of tasks)
2. Follow Matt's Bookbub page = 3 entries
(these are the most simple and quick things to do)
3. Like Matt's Facebook page = 1 entry
(Everyone likes to like pages on Facebook)
4. Follow Matt on twitter = 1 entry
(Again everyone loves to follow important people on twitter)

Do all of the four things listed above and you will have eight entries into the giveaway. That's eight more entries than those who don't enter. You're already ahead with the chance to win.

There is nothing to lose by entering this giveaway. It's completely free to enter and it takes pretty much no time at all to gain entries.