I promise no spam. Just an occasional brief piece of writing news. Follow by Email

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Seems to me that Writer's Choice Writers are having another good year.

Writer's Choice is popping the champagne corks again. We have done this every year of our existence and this year we are celebrating G.J. Berger's success.

Yet again we have a winner. This is our fourth year and G.J. Berger's 'Four Nails' has won the 2016-17 San Diego Historical Fiction Award. Brilliant work, Mr Berger. 'Four Nails' is a great read. And G.J. Berger won the same award in 2012-13 for his first novel, 'South of Burnt Rocks, West of the Moon'. Congratulations for giving Writer's Choice another award. We have had competition successes every year of our four years' existence, and whether it says something about idiots in traditional publishing, or the value of group support and encouragement of co-operative Indie publishing perhaps doesn't matter. What does matter is that a darn good book earned its reward.

 Seems to me we are doing something right if our members continue to garner such awards. All that editing and encouraging, beta reading and suggesting help to make good stories great. We are so proud of G.J. Berger and hope his sales reflect this new success

Review of Alexander McCall Smith's Isabelle Dalhousie series

A Distant View of Everything (Isabel Dalhousie #11)A Distant View of Everything by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


These novels are a great series. Each novel is a comfortable, thoughtful read but this is not the series of novels for those wanting a great adventure and fast pace story. Isabelle is a philosopher and whilst she has interesting, often complicate, human problems to solve she is not dodging death or hunting villains. She is mulling over the problems we all meet and have to deal with. Each book in the series also looks at one particular quality that we need to live well and decently with each other. Basics like kindness, honesty, tolerance, not being judgemental are examined and discussed. It's philosophy for non-philosophers by the clever Mr McCall Smith who is a philosopher.

McCall Smith is a good writer so his characters and their lives are 3D, and entertaining. Isabelle, her family and friends become the readers' friends throughout the series. The fact that Edinburgh is a character only adds to the appeal of the novels.

Readers who like to think, like a pleasant read, and want to feel optimistic about the future of the human race will enjoy every one of the novels. They are a special read.



View all my reviews

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Refview of 'The good People' by Hannah Kent

The Good PeopleThe Good People by Hannah Kent




Historical writers seem to fall into camps. There's the Kings and Queens lot, the Use famous people lot, the Ancient Chivalry lot, the Let's Use Obscure History lot, and the Rub The Reader's Nose In It lot. I think I sadly have to put Hannah Kent in the last lot.

They are the authors who can't see a road without making it dusty, rutted and full of pitfalls to lame horses or people -summer - or muddy - winter - full of muck and mess, filth, ordure, robbers and nastiness. Houses are always tumbling down, half ruined or shacks, and filthy. Towns always stink, every street is a running sewer and slops are thrown from every window. People are toothless/tooth rotten, dirty, flea and lice infested, pock marked and nasty. I can't work out whether it's a way for the author to say 'Look at the poor beggars aren't we lucky?' or a superior attitude to the past, a 'We are so much better than they are' nose in the air.

Having heard Hannah Kent speak lovingly about her research, her writing and this novel I hope she really isn't one of the above authors. She doesn't sound grim and grey when she talks about her characters, but perhaps she wants so much to show how badly treated the women are in her books that she underlines the muck, mess, filth and nastiness without giving the reader the occasional touch of lightness needed.

I really struggled to finish 'The Good People'. It’s a great plot idea, the changeling child and superstitions about the Others, the little people, but the story became a hard grind through the machinations of nasty people, ignorant people, and just plain stupid people. That lives in Ireland in the 19thC were hard and depressing, especially for the poor, I know, but even the hardest ground down person can hear a bird sing, see a wild flower, enjoy the sun breaking through clouds. It was the relentless nastiness of everything that got me. Every description seemed to be of stench and dirt and even the cow stank. Well, they do but it's not unpleasant, it's just cow!

Hannah Kent can write and does write well. She cares about her characters and her stories. Her research is thorough and interwoven well through the fabric of her tale. She has a lot to say about women's roles in history and today but her books are a hard read and perhaps just too dark and depressing for some readers.







View all my reviews

Spread the Good News!

Writer's Choice is popping the champagne corks again. We have done this every year of our existence and this year we are celebrating G.J. Berger's success.

Yet again we have a winner. This is our fourth year and G.J. Berger's 'Four Nails' has won the 2016-17 San Diego Historical Fiction Award. Brilliant work, Mr Berger. Congratulations for giving Writer's Choice another award. We have had competition successes every year of our four years' existence, and whether it says something about idiots in traditional publishing, or the value of group support and encouragement of co-operative Indie publishing perhaps doesn't matter. What does matter is that a darn good book earned its reward.

 Seems to me we are doing something right if our members continue to garner such awards. All that editing and encouraging, beta reading and suggesting help to make good stories great. We are so proud of G.J. Berger and hope his sales reflect this new success

Review of The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain


The Secret Lives of the Amir SistersThe Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This delightful heart-warming story involves four sisters in an English village where they are the only Muslims and the only migrants from Bangladesh.

Bubblee wants to be an artist and lives in a flat in London. Mum an Dad do not approve. Mae is still at school and runs around filming everyone for her social media blogs, and Youtube. Farah, happily married just wants a baby. Fatima is desperate to pass her driving test and become a person in her own right and not just mum's best helper.

When Farah's husband is badly injured in a car crash the cracks split open and the sisters have to work their way to understanding each other and their family.

A well written amusing story written by a sympathetic author who makes her original characters 3D and lovable. A most pleasant and enjoyable read.



View all my reviews

Review of 'Burial Rites' by Hannah Kent

Burial RitesBurial Rites by Hannah Kent




This novel is a hard read. It is unrelentingly grim and grey. Is Iceland as hard and cruel? Was it, in the 19thC, such a dirty, mud infested, filthy place? Were people so cruel to servants? I don't know, but it doesn't seem to be the land of Viking heroes in this novel, more nasty minded miserable curs.

The story is a stunner, based on a real event and one where no one is sure what happened except that the maid was executed. This gives author, Hannah Kent, plenty of scope for her vivid writing style and tight terse prose.

Oh,the book is worth reading, for shock value alone, never mind the actual characters. The part religion plays is as depressing as ever and you need a strong stomach at times. But I wished for moments when the clouds broke through and there was a shaft of light, a lightening moment. Hannah Kent has done her research and she speaks well about the background to the book, even making her audience laugh. I just wish some of that lightness could have been injected in the story.

Without doubt a book to read, to think about and ponder over human cruelty and people's inhumanity.



View all my reviews

Three Cheers!

Writer's Choice is popping the champagne corks again. We have done this every year of our existence and this year we are celebrating G.J. Berger's success.

Yet again we have a winner. This is our fourth year and G.J. Berger's 'Four Nails' has won the 2016-17 San Diego Historical Fiction Award. Brilliant work, Mr Berger. Congratulations for giving Writer's Choice another award. We have had competition successes every year of our four years' existence, and whether it says something about idiots in traditional publishing, or the value of group support and encouragement of co-operative Indie publishing perhaps doesn't matter. What does matter is that a darn good book earned its reward.

 Seems to me we are doing something right if our members continue to garner such awards. All that editing and encouraging, beta reading and suggesting help to make good stories great. We are so proud of G.J. Berger and hope his sales reflect this new success