"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review Monday - Silks

Welcome to Monday and this week's book recommendation!

SILKS by Dick Francis and Felix Francis


I have for you, another addition to our fall spookfest. And really, what kind of spookfest would it be without a little murder? And SILKS is the perfect murder mystery. Taking place in the world of jockeys and horse racing, a violent murder has occurred. It seems to be an open/shut case for the prosecution but defense barrister and amateur jockey, Geoffrey Mason, has other ideas. And those other ideas may lead to him being killed as well. 

At first, I was a little turned off by the subject matter. I have absolutely no interest in the world of jockeys and horse jumping/racing. In fact, I almost put it down. So glad I didn't. It was the perfect murder mystery for a blustery fall afternoon, with the pace of the story increasing the further you read, until the idea of putting it down was more horrifying than the murder itself. And this one will keep you guessing all the way to the end. You have no idea who the murderer is, or why, and when everything clicks into place it's not cliche. It makes perfect sense and is oh so satisfying, the way a really good mystery is supposed to be. 

The writing is fantastic, the pacing superb. It's thrilling and unexpected and the main character is empathetic, smart and charming. Every step of the way I found myself nodding my head, agreeing with his deductions, urging him on. It was the kind of book where you can't flip the pages fast enough, and I love those. If you're looking for a great murder mystery for the fall, this is it. Wonderful.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Magnetic

Welcome to Friday and this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. This week's prompt is magnetic. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

She shakes her head at her son's latest google search. He's been acting so strange lately, but of course he won't say what's going on.
"Mom, I told you to stay out of my room!" he screams it, eyes glinting as he scrambles across the room and slams his laptop closed. 
She's never seen him like this, so angry he's actually trembling; it's frightening. That's when she notices the coins on his desk begin to move...

I hope you enjoyed this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you did, then I hope you'll share it with friends. If you'd like to read more, just follow the links below for past editions. And if you'd like to make my day (and really, who wouldn't?) then follow my blog and come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Wild
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flowers
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Beauty
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Thunder

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Guest Post Book Blitz with Mia Hoddell

Deadly to Love (Elemental Killers #1)
by Mia Hoddell
Release Date: February 2013

Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1-291-41025-9

The world is dangerous – but love will kill you.

Little did Serena Jackson know that one simple, flirty remark to an anonymous guy online would lead to her world being changed forever.

She doesn’t know him, but inexplicably, is drawn. She knows it is wrong but she agrees to meet.

His real name is Kai. He is beautiful. And immediately Serena feels herself blindly falling for him even though she senses a lie. She knows he is hiding something and it terrifies her.

What she doesn’t realise is that her entire life has been built on secrets and lies. The people she loved left her in the dark for a reason.

She trusted them. She trusts Kai. But as he pulls her straight into the heart of the danger the lies and deadly secrets are revealed. They overwhelm her, and the person she once was no longer exists as she is thrown into a ruthless world of elemental forces. The price of truth is her life—and now the world wants her dead.

Available from:
Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Lulu
and only 99c / 77p on Kindle for September!

“I couldn't put it down. So I finished it last night and all I can say is WOW! This book was amazing and different.” Brianna (Book Blogger)

I loved how the author took a different approach to writing a love story in modern times with the paranormal element present. I thought it was absolutely wonderful and refreshing. Marvelous!” Kathy H (Amazon Reviewer)

I will admit I scoffed at the way it started but in the end I had fallen in love with this story…completely untraditional it was a very original idea, not to mention modern. This story had such a good plot and the story structure was sound. Kacii – The Kooky Bookworm (Book Blogger)

About the Author

Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading and loves anything paranormal. Mia always had a love of writing but never reading. She was more interested in sports and hated sitting still - despite getting three poems published before the age of sixteen. Finally though, she found some novels that captured her interest and developed a love of reading which is now one of her favourite hobbies.

Mia began with poems before moving on to short stories. Although she enjoyed this, Mia found she had too much to tell with too little space, so later on she created her first series 'The Wanderer Trilogy' and from there other ideas have emerged. With a total of nine books planned at this moment, she is busy working on her second series 'Elemental Killers' before moving onto the next idea on her ever growing list.

Author Links
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Happy with the amount of photos I had collected I started to head back out of the forest, still flicking through my shots. As well as close ups, I had taken a few landscapes and as I was almost at the edge of the forest I noticed something in one of the photographs that made me stop.
In the left hand corner was a figure that looked mostly human, but was blurred as if they were moving on the spot.
A cold shudder shot through me.
Looking over my shoulder I became slightly panicked and felt as if someone was following me.
My eyes flicked and searched the shadows. Even though there was no sign that anything had ever been behind me, the forest looked different now - dark and threatening.
Instinctively I broke away and ran, still clutching the camera that was displaying the freaky image. Surrounded by trees I didn’t stop until I was free of the forest and back in the open light and sight of my house.
Throwing open my door, I slumped against the inside of it, regaining my breath from the short sprint. Once I had recovered I looked down at the photo once more, just to make sure that I hadn’t been seeing things. The old saying “the camera never lies,” came into my mind and for the first time I wished it not to be true. Sure enough though, as I looked down at the screen, the figure was still there and this time I noticed a red and orange glow around where its feet should have been. The image almost looked like the person was on fire but I thought I would have surely noticed if there had been a burning man in front of me.


Mia Hoddell is giving away an Amazon gift card this month only there is a slight twist: the more entries she receives the more money she will put on the gift card to giveaway! For example:

No matter what = $5
100 entries = $10
150 entries = $15
200 entries = $20
and so forth...
So if she gets 1000 entries she will give away $100, there’s no limit!

To enter all you have to do is buy or have bought Deadly to Love. It's only $0.99 or £0.79 on Amazon for the duration of the giveaway! This will also unlock extra entries for you so you can earn more points by sharing the giveaway. Remember the more entries she gets the bigger the prize for you so share!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Book Review - Pretty Monsters

Welcome to Monday and this week's book recommendation!


In keeping with our fall spooktacular theme, I bring you PRETTY MONSTERS by Kelly Link. A collection of short stories that are sometimes creepy, sometimes funny, sometimes just plain imaginative and often all three. I'm not usually a short story kind of person, I often find them rather boring (sorry short story writers out there. I'm sure yours are awesome!) but these were fabulous. I was swept away with each story, always surprised and delighted.

The writing is fantastic. Kelly Link is an imaginative writer, who paints vivid stories out of pure fancy. As I said before, short stories often fail to grab my attention but these gripped me immediately. I was struck by how well they were told, the originality of the plots and the beautiful illustrations at the start of each story. They're beautiful. I adored them. I want to put them in frames and hang them around the house. 

Definitely pick this up. If you love short stories and even if you don't, try it anyway. Maybe this will do for you what it did for me. Which is restore my faith in the short story. They're the invention of a fantastically original imagination and fit perfectly with my theme for fall, where monsters and creepiness abound. To give you a little taste, here's a quote from the first page, under the illustration for the first story.

"Anyone might accidentally dig up the wrong grave."

Tell me you don't want to find out what happens next. Read it! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Wild

Welcome to Friday and this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. This week's prompt is wild. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

"Wow, that was wild," she looked down at her blood stained clothes and the machete in her hand, bits of gore still clinging to the edge, "I didn't think we were going to make it for a while there."
The faces around her were pale and a little green, a few open mouthed in horror. "I know they were zombies, but you just... you just took their heads clean off, didn't you?"
She smiled. "Well, not at first, but as they say, 'practice makes perfect.'"

I hope you enjoyed this creepy little tale, and if you did, please share it with friends. If you really liked it, then I hope you'll make my day and follow this blog, as well as come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. If you're still in the mood for more Five Sentence Fiction (and who wouldn't be?) just follow the links below to read past editions. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flowers
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Beauty
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Thunder
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Travel

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gearing Up for Fall

There's something about fall that always makes me think of new beginnings. Yes, I really should be thinking the opposite. After all, the natural world is dying, going into hibernation. It's the end of a cycle, not the beginning of one. But I've been conditioned by years of school that fall is a time for starting new academic challenges, for buying new clothes, for new pencils, notebooks and erasers and of course, for new possibilities. Which is why I've been thinking a lot about the new challenges and goals I'm setting for myself as a writer.

First of all, I've made an appointment with the new Writer in Residence. I miss last year's like crazy and I'm a little nervous about meeting with the new one, as it seems impossible for anyone to fill his shoes. But I felt that way about the Writer in Residence before him, so I guess that's natural. And I think it would be incredibly foolish to turn down the opportunity to learn from anyone as experienced and capable as the talented writers the program has come up with so far. Each new writer has something unique to teach, and I'm anxious to learn.

Secondly, I'm sending in an application for the Saskatchewan Writer's Guild Mentorship Program. In this program you work one on one with an experienced author, on issues and concerns that are personal to you. It's a tremendous opportunity and even though I have no guarantee of being accepted, I knew I had to apply. As I said before, the chance to learn from other writers, especially such talented ones, is a rare gift and not one I'm willing to turn away from.

Lastly, I'm thinking about joining a critique group. I'm not sure how to even begin going about finding an appropriate one, but I love the idea of getting together with other writers, offering and receiving constructive criticism, as well as supporting one another. It sounds like a valuable experience, especially if you find the right group. (Sometimes it's difficult to find one with members that give constructive criticism. Either they give weak feedback, or none at all. Which isn't particularly helpful.)

So, there you have it. How are you gearing up for fall? Have you set goals as well? Let me know in the comments section! (As well as if you have advice for finding a critique group.)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Book Review - The Man in the Picture

Welcome to Monday and this week's book recommendation!



Another perfect addition to our fall reading spooktacular. This is the eery tale of a picture, its disturbing past and the curse that binds itself to whomever owns it. It's a tale of supernatural revenge and the dangers of a woman scorned.  A macabre tale if ever there was one.

I loved this book. It's a short tale, easily read in an afternoon or two (or perhaps on a stormy evening? Bwah hah hah...), which made it appealing for someone like myself with little to no spare time. The story is supremely well told. It's subtle. You won't have nightmares, nor will you find yourself peering over your shoulder nervously, but you will be creeped out. There's something about it that's just ... eery. It's the way it's told, unfolding slowly, the way the picture seems to latch on to whoever knows about its mysterious past. It's fantastic. 

This was the perfect book to get me in the mood for fall. It's creepy, but not too creepy. It's haunted, the way a gloomy fall afternoon when the trees look skeletal is haunted. It's beautifully written, a tale full of imagination, one that will have you never looking at a painting the same way again. Definitely pick this up if you're looking for a haunted tale for fall. It's brilliant.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flowers

Welcome to Friday and this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction! This week's prompt is flowers. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, and maybe give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

Mama told her not to touch the rose guarded by the golden gate, warning that any wish made while plucking a petal would be granted. 
But that sounded delightful to her wide-eyed daughter, who at the first opportunity slipped through the gate and began plucking it's soft pink petals. She wished for beauty, she wished for height, she wished for wisdom, for wealth, for romance and on and on until every petal was gone. 
She should have left one last petal for a wish to take it all back; already her back hurt from the weight of her jewels and her long silky hair, her head ached with thoughts over the great questions of the universe and the gentlemen swooning at the gate made her embarrassed and uncomfortable. She cried as she ran all the way home, hoping her mother would still recognize her foolish daughter.

 Voila! I hope you enjoyed this week's little story, and if you did please share it with friends. Don't forget to leave your comments below in the comments section, I love hearing from you! If you really enjoyed it, then I hope you'll follow this blog and come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Still in the mood for more Five Sentence Fiction? Just follow the links below to past editions. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Beauty
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Thunder
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Travel
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Fabric

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Looking for Something Spooky

Fall is here, with its bursts of reds and yellows and the delicious crunch of leaves underfoot. The whole world seems golden, and even though the crispness in the air signals the coming winter, I'm happy. Summer's been good to me this year (aside from the plagues) and I've decided to let it leave gracefully. I'm going to look at the bright side of things. Starting with my one of my favourite holidays: Halloween.

I know, I know, it's much too soon to start mentioning Halloween, and I'm not, really. But I am thinking ahead to October, and I've decided to throw a few macabre tales into the mix with my reading schedule. What better way to get into the mood for fall than with something spooky? I also plan to start baking a lot, now that the temperature in my house won't be a sweaty 27 degrees Celsius, but that's a lot less healthy for my waistline, whereas a good book is always good for you.

So, this is the part where I ask for your help. What's your favourite spooky, horror, mystery, thriller, etc? Do you have any suggestions that help put me (and anyone else reading this) in the mood for fall? I'll be sharing all my spectacular finds throughout October, so don't worry if you're having trouble finding something. (You can start with last Monday's book recommendation, Doll Bones.) Together, we will brave the fall and embrace all the good it can give us.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Book Review - Doll Bones

Welcome to Monday and this week's book recommendation!

DOLL BONES by Holly Black


This is the story of three friends, the blissfully imaginative games they play and a possibly haunted doll that leads them on a thrilling adventure. Are you interested yet? I know the second I read 'haunted doll' I was in. What's more creepy than one of those porcelain dolls? Doesn't it always feel like they're watching you? Like maybe at night they come alive and begin to move...

I loved this book. Yes, I do believe it's meant for middle grade or young adults, but please don't let that stop you. It's a fantastic tale, well told and deliciously creepy. I loved the characters, especially the main character Zach, who's becoming an adult while still trying to hold on to the imagination of his childhood. The writing is great, with the perfection combination of imagination and creepiness. She's a fantastic author, and I can't wait to read her newest book, THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN, which also sounds amazing.

Definitely give this book a try. It's a short read, imaginative and captivating. Holly Black has picked the perfect subject matter to keep every reader's attention. I've never met anyone who didn't feel a little creeped out by those old porcelain dolls and she plays on that subtle fear perfectly. Enjoy!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Beauty

Welcome to Friday and this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. This week's prompt is beauty. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

The dragon lay motionless, his last smoky breath escaping with a sigh as Prince Charming removed his sword. He climbed the stairs of the tower, slashing at vines as he went until at last he reached the top. He opened the heavy oak door and tiptoed to the side of the bed at the center of the room, but no one was there.
 "Were you looking for me?" the princess closed the door with a smile. "It never occurred to you that all that was keeping me in, not keeping you out, did it?"

Voila! I hope you enjoyed my little fairy tale with a twist. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments and if you're still in the mood for more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below to read past editions. If you really liked it, I hope you'll share it with friends and perhaps follow this blog. Don't forget to come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Thunder
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Travel
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Fabric
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Learning

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The End of the Summer of No TV

Well, fall is officially here (according to the calendar. I don't know when the first official day of fall is, but to me it's with the start of September), so I could potentially say that now is the end of the summer of no TV. But, I think I'm going to wait. The weather is still hot and beautiful, so there's no point in turning back on the boob tube while it's still pleasant to be outside. I think I'll wait until it's cold and the thought of warm pajamas and an enthralling crime show are too enticing to resist. But I am starting to reflect on the summer, and I've decided it's been a success.

With the TV off, my husband and I spent the summer going out, exploring our city, talking long walks with the dog and training for a 5K. We went to Paris, which was the vacation of a lifetime, and spent a lot more quality time together at home. I read a lot of books, took a lot of naps and just tried to soak in the heat of summer when it was around. Sadly, the lack of TV did not inspire me to put anymore time into yard work, aside from picking and eating all my raspberries and strawberries with big dollops of whipped cream, but we did put in a driveway, so there's that.

The point is, we really enjoyed our time off, and with winter approaching we're looking forward to having the perfect excuse to snuggle up and watch TV again. I think this could be an annual thing, so we have no excuse not to get the most we can out of summer. What about you? What did you get out of summer this year?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday Book Review - Trouble

Welcome to Monday and this week's book recommendation!

TROUBLE by Kate Christensen


This is the story of Josie, a Manhattan psychotherapist who realizes after a glimpse in a mirror at a friend's Christmas party that her marriage is over.With this realization comes the inevitable struggles of a life altering decision. She must tell her husband and daughter, find a new apartment, explain it all to a best friend who's greatest wish in life is to have what she has. And then, her other best friend gets into trouble of her own, causing Josie to jump on a plane and meet her in Mexico City, for five crazy days that will change her forever.

I don't think I can say enough good things about this book. The writing is splendid, pulling you in immediately and holding your attention the whole way through. Josie is lovable, mature and easy to root for, through her escape from a marriage that never really fit, her strained relationship with an adopted daughter and her empathy for a friend in trouble. The setting is exotic and real, the tastes and smells echoing in your senses as you read. It's surprising and lovely, a true gem. 

I loved the compressed time frame, the characters, the setting, everything. It was a fantastic read, just what I was looking for after a series of mediocre books that failed to grab me the way this one did. Pick it up. Read it. It's wonderful.