Saturday, 6 January 2018

My Life In Books Part IV

Morning, and on to the final part of my reading habits of 2017


It's Raining Men by Milly Johnson - loved it - 5 stars

Nov was taken up by NaNoWriMo - I read hee haw in November!


Pictures of Lily by Paige Toon - enjoyed it but not as much as some of her others. 4 stars. Still, 4 books out of my list of 36 isn't bad for an author, is it?

Christmas at Carly's Cupcakes by Jessica Redland. Loved this. Jessica was a find for me last year and I've read everything she has written since. Bear With Me I have yet to finish as I set it aside when in a mood one day, but I shall complete this quarter. I love how some of the characters pop up in the other books. 5 stars.

The Little Village Christmas by Sue Moorcroft. ALERT - first time I've read anything by this author, although I do actually own a few of her books. Loved it. 5 stars

Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin - I think I make this book 5 of Holly's this year. 5 stars.

The Christmas Wedding by Melissa Hill - I am a big fan of Melissa and bought her back catalogue a few years back, but this one didn't really do it for me, so only gets 3 stars. Maybe it's because it was so short, but it lacked the depth of characterisation of her other books. 

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove by Holly Martin - yep, last Holly book of the year - 4 stars. Again I like seeing characters from other books in subsequent books. 

Charlee and the Chocolate Shop: A Tale of Two Christmases by Jessica Redland - so glad I picked this up - loved it.  Five stars.

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham - treated myself to the hardback with my birthday vouchers. Although it dragged a little at the start and I think it got a little bogged down in legalese and detail initially, really enjoyed it so it deserves its 5 stars.

The Christmas List by Chrissie Manby - ALERT - another author I've been told to read for ages, and never got around to. I finally did and was so glad I did. Loved it. 5 stars. I've already downloaded another of hers called Just In Case.

Last but not least, I read A Christmas Wedding by Paige Toon - 5 stars and a good note to end the year on.

So, to recap, I read no classics (oops, has been a resolution for the past two years - maybe I will have to wait until the children go to school before I have sufficient time and energy to concentrate that much!), I read a couple of thrillers, no crime fiction (unless I am mistaken) and books by all of my favourite authors. But I did discover five new authors this year. That's not bad - about 1/7 of my reading material!! 

This year I have said I will read a new author every fifth book. I know you are here to keep me to that! But I have started well as I am reading Sheila Roberts' The Snow Globe and loving it.

Tune in next week to see what I might be reading this year. I have 40 books to identify after all!!

Sooz x

Friday, 5 January 2018

My Life In Books 2017 Part III

And moving on to Part III...


One Summer in Tuscany - Domenica da Rosa - to be fair, it's about Tuscany, so I was always going to like it, however, if I'd found it inaccurate, given my love of Italy and the Italian language, it would have got the thumbs-down from me. Great job. ALERT - new author for me. Four stars.

Summer at Buttercup Beach - Holly Martin. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Yes, I think Holly might be edging ahead in the books I've read by a particular author competition! 5 stars.

Kim vs The Mean Girl - Meredith Schorr - I've read almost all of Meredith's books and really enjoyed this one - 5 stars.


Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses by Carole Matthews - historically, along with Jill Mansell, my favourite women's fiction authors. Again this didn't disappoint. Resounding 5 stars.

Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon. Everyone kept telling me to read her books. I read this a month before my own wedding and it was brilliant. I then started buying up her back catalogue. 5 stars.


The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon. After deciding I loved Paige Toon, was lucky enough to spot her newest book in the New section of my library. 5 stars.

The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon. Can't remember the last time I read three books by the same author consecutively. I usually like to break it up a bit. Not so here. 5 stars

The Break by Marian Keyes - I admit to being underwhelmed by Marian's last couple of books, however this was balm to the soul and a return to the Marian I used to know and love (not literally!) Well-deserved 5 stars.

Tune in tomorrow for the concluding part to my 2017 reading challenge. Have you set your Goodreads 2018 challenge yet? I've set mine at 40 books after reaching 36 this year.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

My Life In Books 2017 Part II

Yep, back for more?
Here's what happened in the second quarter of last year.


A Spring Affair by Milly Johnson - I only discovered Milly's books a couple of years ago, and love them. Her characters are warm and down to earth and I've done my best to buy her back catalogue. 5 stars.

Gray Mountain by John Grisham - still one of my favourite authors. Has been for about 20 years. I was already reading him whilst at university. A bit different from his usual legal thrillers, but I enjoyed this - 5 stars

FOR THE RECORD - not everything was 5 stars this year or close to it. I did give up on a few books, whether because of my mood, the number of spelling and grammar mistakes (always much more noticeable to me now as an editor and proofreader) or the dodgy plot. I just prefer not to rate something at all if I'd give it less than 3 stars.


The First Time Mums' Club by Lucie Wheeler - ALERT!! This was a new novelist for me and indeed it was her debut novel. In fact, as I type this article, I've just gone to check and she has a new novel out in March - Mums Just Wanna Have Fun and I've just pre-ordered it. As I'm a mum of two tiny sprogs, her debut novel really appealed to me. I remember tweeting her to tell her how much I enjoyed it. 

Breakfast Under A Cornish Sun by Samantha Tonge - I've read another of Sam's books, but this was so much better in my opinion. I loved everything about it. There are a lot of books set in Cornwall and the surrounds at the minute, but this is one of the better ones. 4 stars.

Here Come The Boys - Milly Johnson - I did say I bought her back catalogue, didn't I? 4 stars.


Wickham Hall - Cathy Bramley - along with Holly Martin, over the past few years, Cathy has embedded herself in my conscience as one of my favourite authors, and likewise I love seeing her physical books on shelves now too, and delight in being able to buy them in paperback as well as e-book. 5 stars.

The Wedding Season - Samantha Chase - ALERT - new author for me. I liked this book to begin with, then got fed up with it, then gave it another go and liked it. So it gets a well-deserved 4 stars from me. 

Spring at Blueberry Bay - Holly Martin - yes, I was playing catch-up with her books. Four stars from me.

Hope this has given you some recommendations or at least food for thought. Tune in tomorrow for Part III.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

My Life In Books 2017 Part 1

Happy New Year!!
It was quite a year last year, with so much illness in our family and a wedding - ours, which I planned pretty much single-handedly, yet it seems I still managed to squeeze in 36 books in addition to all those I edited and proofread! No mean feat.

Anyway, here are my highlights and observations, for what they're worth.

Stuff the Turkey by Tara Ford - I loved this book and was gutted when I checked for its sequel this year and discovered Tara hadn't written it yet. I had to tweet her to ask her where it went!! Five stars.

Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell - I love Jill Mansell. She is one of my all-time favourite authors and this book didn't disappoint - another 5 stars.

Duplicity by Sibel Hodge - Miss Hodge sure can craft a dark tale. She is very talented and writes in various genres. 5 stars.

Woman of God by James Patterson - I used to love James Patterson and religiously (pardon the pun) devour all his books, but the short chapters bugged me in the end. However, this book was delightfully different and much more thought-provoking. Loved it - 4 stars.

My Soul Immortal by Jen Printy - I had edited the second book in this series but hadn't read the first. I absolutely loved it. 5 stars.

Christmas Under A Starlit Sky by Holly Martin - I am sure I have read Holly's books out of sequence, but she has fast become one of my favourite authors. I feel so proud of her too when I see her books in the supermarket and bookshops now as I remember when her books were only available as e-books. 5 stars!

It seems March passed me by - not a single book. Not sure if that's possible, but nothing recorded for March - I must have been really busy with work!!

Tune in tomorrow for Part II.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Day 6 of NaNoWriMo

It's Day 6 of NaNoWriMo and I am back in the game! Woo hoo! Yesterday I exceeded my already elevated target and managed to get down 4,179 words. So chuffed with self. Long may it continue. That makes a total of 10,329 words in 5 days.
Keep getting those words down fellow Wrimos!!
Another update to follow soon.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Sooz is back!

Oh my goodness. I can't believe it has been nearly two years since I last posted! Blogger graveyard indeed!!
Anyway, I have some news to share. This year I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month in November, known affectionately by writers as NaNoWriMo. I hope early next year to release my fifth novel, working title The Proposal.

For those of you who are writers as well as readers, you may find helpful the tips I wrote (as an editor) for last year's NaNoWriMo, and you can also find out how to buddy with me if you wish on the post below, which I wrote for my Perfect Prose Services website.

For now, just confirming I am still here, just very busy with my two cherubs Antonia and Luke, plus we got married five weeks ago, so it has been a bit of a busy time.

All the best and expect more news soon

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Guest post with author Shelley Wilson

Happy New Year! Yes, yes, I know I'm a little late, but at least it's still January!
I have been beavering away and have started my next book, but it will be some time in the writing, due to other commitments. So, in the meantime, if you're looking for something to read, I'd happily point you in the direction of author Shelley Wilson's books, aka S.L. Wilson for her fantasy novels.
You may recall I reviewed Guardians of the Dead some time ago. Well, Guardians of the Sky launched last week, and I'm a little more than halfway through and very much enjoying how the story has continued (it's part of a trilogy).
Anyway, with the launch, Shelley has been ridiculously busy, but she deigned to come on and share a little more about herself, her writing and her choices.
Welcome and take it away, Shelley!

A touch of self-help with a dollop of fantasy


Once upon a time, there lived an old witch who ate kittens for breakfast and small children for lunch…

 Okay, so I don’t read many books that start with ‘once upon a time’ anymore, but evil witches devouring kittens?  Bring it on! 

My mum was the one to encourage my reading; she would buy me tons of books covering a variety of topics.  I wasn’t a pony and ballet kind of girl; I liked dragons, fantasy and gore.  For me, it was the perfect way to escape.

As a child, my favourite book was Enid Blyton’s, The Folk of the Faraway Tree.  It’s been re-written over the years, giving the cast of characters more up-to-date names, but the storyline is the same.  I wasn’t a girlie girl, so climbing trees was a favourite past-time of mine.  I could always climb higher than my younger brother, which annoyed him and made me climb even higher.  To think that there could be an imaginary world of fantasy characters up the Oak tree was incredible.  My passion for fantasy tales began then.   

My tastes haven’t changed over the years; I did have a horror phase when I hit my teens, which coincided with a black clothing fest and a desire to hide away.  I came through that period eventually, although I do still wear a lot of black!

In May 2014, I published what would be a life-changing book in more ways than one.  How I Changed My Life in a Year began as a weekly blog.  I shared a series of challenges from losing weight and being creative, right through to adopting better habits.  Instead of sitting back and congratulating myself on surviving a crazy year, I turned my experience into a book.  For the past two years, that book has hit the number one spot around the New Year on Amazon’s best-seller list for self-help, memoir, and women’s biographies.  Life changing!   

Not once during my childhood, teens or even in my thirties did I contemplate writing non-fiction.  However, taking that leap and publishing my non-fiction titles gave me the confidence to explore my comfort zones, to write more motivational and lifestyle blog posts, and to launch a series of Motivate Me workshops on a range of well-being topics.  I have also developed a set of motivational oracle cards that should be available this year.  I was living the dream, and publishing books, writing health and wellbeing articles and running personal development workshops.  But I could still feel the tug towards fiction. 

It was thanks to one of my challenges that I finally made the transition to fantasy fiction.  Taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time, back in 2013, gave me the freedom to create a supernatural race of soldiers and throw an unsuspecting sixteen-year-old heroine into the mix.  The story evolved as the month flew past and Guardians of the Dead was born.  Published in February 2015, this was to be the first book in my young adult trilogy.  I used NaNo to pen the second book in 2014 which celebrated its launch on the 22nd January 2016, and then I completed the set by writing book three during last year’s NaNo competition, to be released in December this year.   

As a Gemini (on the cusp, so I’m not as crazy as I could be!), it makes perfect sense to write for two genres.  I split myself in two and work on my non-fiction when I’m feeling motivated, or lose myself in fantasy fiction when I need an escape.  My writing now compliments my life, and I feel more balanced than ever before. 

I thoroughly enjoy writing young adult fantasy fiction, and as an avid reader of the YA genre, it feels like I’ve come home.  The pace of teen fiction is fast, and this suits my nature.  I think fast, I talk fast, and I now write with the same vigour.  I use my self-help tactics to ensure I keep writing regularly, and I make sure to slot any reading in around my writing schedule.

I have a couple of favourite authors; Sarah J.Maas, who writes about faeries and witches, and Casandra Clare, who wrote the Mortal Instruments series.  Their books allow me to escape from real-life, just for a while and become a heroine in an epic battle between good and evil.  One of the first YA authors I discovered was Maggie Stiefvater.  It was her book, Shiver that hooked me back into fantasy.  In my book, Guardians of the Dead I named one of the characters Maggie, after Ms Stiefvater. My way of saying thanks for welcoming me into her world. 

I love the freedom that I feel when I write YA.  Fantasy gives you that special pass to mess with your characters in weird and wonderful ways.  My eldest son once said to me; ‘Mum, you can’t behead someone in the prologue!’
My response? ‘Of course I can, it’s my story, I can do what I like.’   

Knowing that other authors can drag me into their world and make me laugh, cry or scream only made me more determined to stick to fantasy fiction and write with the same passion.  I have fun when I write, whether that’s a self-help guide or a young adult tale about shifters and dragons, and I don’t have any plans to stop doing what I do.  
Thanks very much for all that, Shelley. Very illuminating - always interesting to see how another author's mind works! And now for the book: what a cool and scary cover! The blurb follows!

Guardians of the Sky (Book 2)


Can one girl sacrifice herself to save the one she loves…

Following their daring escape from the demon realm, Amber and her friends become caught up in a war between good and evil.  They must join forces with the Queen’s warriors to overthrow a malevolent force that has spread across Avaveil, the land of the Fae.

As her powers grow, Amber is faced with the real possibility that she is a danger to the ones she loves.  Her full strength is yet to be tested in a way she can’t comprehend.

Dragons, faeries and humans stand side-by-side as they are drawn into a battle of cunning, magic and surprising revelations.  Can Amber survive long enough to see her dreams fulfilled? 

If you haven't got your copy yet, here's where you can buy Shelley's books:-
Amazon UK -
Amazon US -

And now for a little bit more about Shelley and where you can find her.

Author Profile 

I write my YA fiction under 'S.L Wilson' and combine myth, legend and fairytales with a side order of demonic chaos. I was born in Yorkshire but raised in the West Midlands, where I live with my three teenage children, a kitten called Luna and one fat fish.  An obsessive list maker, I love pizza, social media and Game of Thrones.  I’d love to live in the Shire but fear that my five foot ten inch height may cause a problem.


That's all folks, as they say. Look out for my review of Guardians of the Sky in the next few weeks, as well as, hopefully my reads of 2015 and my must reads of 2016. Yes, yes, I know, I'm behind!