Wednesday 26 February 2020

A Slice of Cake With... E.L. Drayton

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with E.L. Drayton.

E.L. Drayton was born and raised in Bronx, NY. As the daughter of a former high school English teacher, she was taught how to read and write before she even started formal schooling. She picked up reading quickly and could understand books well beyond her age. Later, her passion for writing came as no surprise.

Ever since she has spent countless years building a library of books from all sorts of authors. Each book improving her writing along the way. Her decision to become an independent author was her destiny.

Currently, she’s working on building her community of readers through her Patreon. Offering exclusive content, Facebook Live sessions and much more!

She resides in West Hollywood with her wife and their two puppies.

What kind of stories do you write?

I write sad stories with not-so-happy-endings. I love taking a character and messing with them. Taking them out of their comfort zone. I don’t deal in happy. To me, happy is not real life and it’s not why I read a story. I read stories for the struggle and adventure. I caution readers to not read my work if they are looking for or hoping for a happy ending.

Can you describe your writing why?

I write because I love the artistry of storytelling. The ability to weave a place and a character and bend them to my own will and fancy! For me, writing is my outlet to share my frustrations and my innermost demons. 

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most

“Well, if it isn’t my old friend Krieger. Ham, have I ever told you about my old friend Krieger?” A man made of all muscles who stood several feet taller than the rest shook his head rigorously and cracked his knuckles as he grinned at the three of them who were frozen in fear. “No? that is a shame. See, my friend Krieger here thought he could visit my quaint little village here, steal my loot right out from under my nose and disappear.” Walking towards them the man lifted a large branch that had fallen from a nearby tree and brandished it as a weapon. He slapped it against his other hand like a bat as his friends formed a circle around them, closing them in with no sign of escape. 

Suddenly, the two men behind them whistled simultaneously. Daxton, Barton and Nelle all turned around to see the young woman from earlier walking towards them. This time she wore a white silk veil over her hair and held part of it up in front of her face, shielding everything but her eyes. The men continued to whistle like a pack of dogs as she ignored them and walked past. Daxton wanted to be chivalrous and go to her aid, but she held her hand up, signaling him that it was no need. The two men drew closer to her as a howl sounded somewhere in the trees nearby. The man who earlier thought he was rather tough because he had his men with him tried to get them to be quiet, but they would not listen. They saw fresh meat and wanted a taste. 

She lowered the veil from her face and pulled it from covering her hair, letting it fall to the floor. The second it touched the dirt Daxton flinched as an arrow went sailing past his face, striking one of the two men closest to the young woman right in the shoulder. He cried out in pain as more arrows came sailing towards all the men around them.  

The young woman walked without fear up to the three of them. “Do not be afraid. They will not hurt you.” 

After a few minutes the gang of men all limped away nursing wounds of arrows protruding from different parts of their bodies. 

Tell us about your latest project

I am working on Friday Fiction. The premise is that I will write 52 short stories (500 – 5K words each) in 52 weeks. 12 of the 52 stories will be dedicated to a web serial I’m starting this year called Shenandoah. Another 22 stories will involve the 22 Major Arcana tarot cards. I’m really excited about giving myself the freedom to tell a brand-new story every week and still allow myself to tell a continuous story. Readers can learn more about my Friday Fiction by following me on Twitter or Instagram (username: ericadrayton) or on my Patreon directly:

What is your favourite cake?

My favorite cake would have to be pound cake. Might seem simple, but pound cake takes me back to my childhood when my grandmother would make at least 2 round pound cakes. We’d eat them fresh out the oven with a large scoop of Eddy’s vanilla bean ice cream on top that would melt the perfect amount into the nooks and crannies of the moist pound cake. YUM!

That's a great cake memory! You can keep up to date with Erica on social media at the following places:

Join me next week when I'm joined by Eric Klein.

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. 

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Tuesday poem - Cold Wind Doth Blow

My goodness it's windy out there
It's a wonder I've got any hair
We've had storm Brendan, Ciara and Dennis
Each one showcasing its own merits
I usually love living here by the sea
But it's a bit too blowy here for me
One step forward to three steps back
Windproof clothing I sadly lack
I've got wellies and brollies and hats
The wind sails through all of that
It gives you a headache
It makes you late
It kills your hair
It's closed the fair
Half-term was a weather disaster
As the wind blew faster and faster
Instead of more gusts and storms
Could we have snow on our lawns?

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. 

Monday 24 February 2020

Saving Up For Audio

Audiobooks are big business. They're growing in popularity, they're portable, they're great for commuters, parents, avid readers and yes, they do count on your books read tally!

So, what is an indie-author to do when they need to get their books into audio format? Save lots of money! It costs about $500 to get a book narrated through Findaway Voices and the distribution is wide so the finished audiobooks are available everywhere.

I would love to get my Gaia books into audiobook format so for the foreseeable future I will be eating beans on toast. There are a couple of ways you can help me save up, and it doesn't involve making cakes for a bake sale (although I always encourage cake baking and eating.)

Get me a Ko-Fi
Now, it's not quite an actual coffee but it is an opportunity for people to support authors, artists and other creatives on a one-off basis by pledging £3 i.e. buying them a coffee. It's super easy to do, just visit the site and buy me a coffee -

Support me on Patreon
Patreon is a little different to Ko-fi, this is more of a ongoing support for creatives as you pay monthly patronage. The amount ranges from $1 per month upwards and each tier gets you different rewards.

Tier 1 - $1 a month, get an exclusive short story every month only shared to patrons
Tier 2 - $3 a month, get sneak peeks of upcoming novels, exclusive additional content plus monthly short story AND access to my Discord Channel just for patrons.
Tier 3 - $5 a month, everything from the previous tier plus your name in the acknowledgements of my next book

Visit my Patreon for more information -

Buy My Books!
The cold hard sell or the shameless plug lol. The more books I sell, the more royalties I make, simple maths. I'd like to think I have something for most readers:

The Gaia Collection - hopeful dystopian cli-fi trilogy
The Gaia Effect
The Gaia Project
The Gaia Solution

The Roshaven Books - humorous fantasy
The Rose Thief
The Interspecies Poker Tournament
Ye Olde Magick Shoppe

Short Stories & Flash Fiction
Tales from Suburbia
Tales from the Seaside
Flashing Here and There

Little Book of Verse
Little Book of Spring
Little Book of Summer
Spooky Little Book
Little Book of Winter
Little Book of Love

All my books are wide so you can buy them from your favourite book retailer - Amazon, Nook, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books, Google Play, Smashwords and Waterstones so go wild! Buy one for you and one for your friend!

Thank you so much for your support - I shall keep you posted on the audiobook savings campaign and let you know how it's going.

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. 

Wednesday 19 February 2020

A Slice of Cake With... Sean Haughton

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with Sean Haughton. 

Sean is an independent author & blogger from England. So far, he has released Reflections: Fifty Poems, Guided by the Ghosts & The Secret In The Breeze. All three books are available in paperback & eBook on Amazon, with availability varying on Waterstones and Barnes & Noble.

What kind of stories do you write?

I write books that are, as my first poetry collection was titled, Reflections on life & society & meaning. The poems I have written are a conglomerate of personal experiences, personal viewpoints, feelings towards family, love & romance, mental health and the occasional fictional piece inspired by… inspirations. 

My fictional works are a hybrid of original, fictional characters and settings blended with true life experiences & individuals that address deep, underlying themes of hurt, regret, spirituality, ostracization and meaning.

Can you describe your writing why?

Meaning & Purpose. What am I on Earth for? For years I wondered what I was truly any good at, and simultaneously I wondered how I would be able to forge a meaningful pathway for myself if I was trying to do things that I was either not meant to do or simply couldn’t very well. I left my most recent job earlier this year, and it was a case of “same old story” following my previous roles. I was generally good at the job, my work ethic was solid and I was capable of moments of brilliance, but it wasn’t the job I was suited to, nor should I have been doing, and alongside existing, long-term mental health difficulties, I needed to walk away. For a good couple of months, I was lost, genuinely wondering what I was going to do. Then, around early September, I returned to the idea of writing, which I’ve had for years since my Uni days but I could never find a way to kick down the metaphorical brick wall blocking the progress in my mind. This time, however, was different, and I suddenly had an avalanche of ideas, two, in particular, stemming from years gone by. I dived into studying about self-publishing and whatnot, and decided I was going to do it! Ultimately, I published my first poetry collection, Reflections: Fifty Poems as my debut piece, and then the first two instalments of The George & Sally Series; Guided by the Ghosts, which was inspired by a piece of homework I had around 18/19 years ago, and The Secret In The Breeze, which is the parallel to Ghosts.

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most

I’ve enjoyed writing all my books thus far, particularly The Secret In The Breeze, but I think I’ll go with this, from Guided by the Ghosts:

“Isn’t that one of the main problems with people like us, though? That we’re too cynical?”
“Yes and no.”, the brother interjected. “Cynicism is a key tool to seeing the world in its true form. People confuse cynicism with negativity, when in actual fact cynicism prevents you from being swept away by myth and fallacy. Ironic, given that we are drifting amongst a very different realm. You should be cynical about what you are experiencing right now; being so will allow you to find greater answers.”

Tell us about your latest project

Following on from my first three publications, I have three new projects in the works as we speak. The first is my second poetry collection, the second is a collection of short dark stories and the third is the third instalment in The George & Sally Series. I’m very excited about all three.

What is your favourite cake?

Gah! I should be thinking about losing weight, not cake! I suppose I’ll punt for the cake that my family had made for my 21st; a sponge cake with jam & buttercream coated with decorative icing, including an iPod, a Manchester City badge and a Johnny Cash quote. There must have been at least 20,000 calories in that cake, but damn it was good!

You can find Sean on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and Blogger

Join me next week when I'm joined by Erica Drayton.

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Tuesday Poem - Getting Older

I'm getting older it's fact
Not a lot I can do about that
My joints are more creaky
Other things are more leaky
I forget things a lot
Feel cold when it's hot
Drink way too much tea
Got a very dodgy knee
A grey hair or two
Often needing the loo
Get nervous when it's icy
Can't eat foods too spicy
Don't need so much sleep
Have less tears to weep
Kids are too loud and scary
Wearing clothes way too lairy
No one has any manners anymore
Saying thank you or holding doors
Everyone is in such a massive rush
Head down, no eye contact, push, push, push
I hope that wasn't ever me
When I was young and didn't see
That I too would get old

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. 

Monday 17 February 2020

Coming Soon... The Gaia Collection

I have decided to release The Gaia Collection - all three of the Gaia books - in a single ebook format and, more excitedly, in hardback! 

I think this will be a fabulous addition to my bookshelf and hopefully, my readers will agree. A hardback version of one of my books feels a little unreal and will definitely be a highlight on my author journey. I'm planning to release The Gaia Collection in March and will, of course, keep you updated on the exact date.

Ian Bristow has once again designed the cover for me. Obviously, I really like it but I hope you do as well! I think it encapsulates the trilogy theme and the covers from each individual book.

The Gaia Collection is my hopeful dystopian trilogy set 200 years in the future after much of the planet and the human race have been decimated during The Event when the world went to war with high-energy radiation weapons. 

In The Gaia Effect, Kira and Jed Jenkins – a young couple who were recently allocated a child – together with their closest friends, discover Corporation have been deliberately lying to them and forcing them to remain sterile. With help from Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, the group of friends begin to fight back against Corporation eventually winning and taking over the governance of City 42.

In The Gaia Project, Corporation fight back under a new, more terrifying organization called New Corp and Kira, Jed and their friends end up fleeing for their lives trying to find a safe place to live. They travel to City 36 and City 9 in vain and must go further afield.

In the final book, The Gaia Solution, the main characters have ended up with the Resistance and not only do they have to deal with surviving against New Corp but an extinction environmental event is looming on the horizon and they’re running out of time to save what’s left of the human race.

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. 

Wednesday 12 February 2020

An Extra Slice of Cake With... B.K. Bass

I am delighted to welcome back B.K. Bass to 'extra-slice' - let's see what he's been up to!

B.K. Bass is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror inspired by the pulp fiction magazines of the early 20th century and classic speculative fiction. He is a student of history with a particular focus on the ancient, classical, and medieval eras. He has a lifetime of experience with a specialization in business management and human relations, and served in the U.S. Army. B.K. is also an owner and Publisher at Kyanite Publishing, the Editor-in-Chief of the Kyanite Press journal of speculative fiction, and the Writing Department Chair for Worldbuilding Magazine.

What types of books do you love to read?

Mostly science fiction and fantasy, with a smattering of horror and mystery. I love anything with a healthy dose of action. If there’s swords or spaceships, I want to find out more. I’d say my tastes are a bit eclectic within that scope. I gravitate towards short story anthologies that are full of old pulp-style tales of fast-paced action and adventure. On the other hand, I love nothing more than a sweeping, multi-volume epic fantasy series like the Wheel of Time. I’m also drawn to anything dark, so dark fantasy, macabre horror, and the like. One of the first authors that really hooked me on the power of the written word was Edgar Allen Poe. I started reading him at a young age, and to this day he’s one of my favourite authors. 

Which authors inspire you to write?

I love older books, and I’m a huge fan of the pulp fiction magazines from the early 20th century. A lot of my reading involves collections of stories by those authors; like Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Seabury Quinn. I also enjoy Victorian-era science fiction, so you’ll find H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Mary Shelly on the shelf. The golden age of science fiction in the 1950s and 1960s fascinates me, so I’ve spent time reading Orson Wells, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and others from that time. There’s also the mainstays of epic fantasy like Tolkien, Brooks, Erickson, and Martin. And, I have a rather unhealthy obsession with the 1980s and 1990s novels and anthologies that came out of the Dungeons and Dragons scene; so names like Greenwood, Weis, Hickman, and Salvatore take up a lot of room in the collection!

Since we last had a slice of cake, what have you been working on?

I’ve been pretty busy! When last we shared a cake, I had just finished the first four books in my dark fantasy series The Ravencrest Chronicles (Seahaven, The Hunter’s Apprentice, The Giant and the Fishes, and Tales From The Lusty Mermaid.)

Since then, I’ve started a publishing company called Kyanite Publishing with my business partner Sam Hendricks. We are a small press specializing in publishing works of speculative fiction that showcase a variety of independent voices and present thoughtful and exciting journeys into our own past, future, and other worlds. We also produce a quarterly speculative fiction journal called the Kyanite Press inspired by the old pulp fiction magazines. As of the end of 2019, we’ll have published twenty-seven books and have twenty-seven authors working with us, including those with releases slated for 2020 and 2021!

We’ve re-released The Ravencrest Chronicles books, along with an Omnibus collecting all four. There are also plans for another three books in this series (Midnight Masques, Tapestry of Lies, and Cult of the Shadow Queen.)

I’ve also been working with Worldbuilding Magazine, and have several articles published with them exploring the craft of writing and exploring how studying facets of our own history can help in the worldbuilding process. I’ve recently been appointed as the department head for the writing department there.

And yes, I’ve got some new books as well! Night Shift is the first book of The Night Trilogy, a trio of cyberpunk crime mystery novellas. In this, a routine murder investigation leads a homicide detective to unravelling a conspiracy involving the Russian mob and the government of the city of New Angeles. Warriors of Understone is a heroic fantasy tale set in a dwarven kingdom, which delves into the culture and lives of this fantasy race that’s usually relegated to secondary character status. This, also, is the first of a series called The Tales of Durgan Stoutheart. I’ve also published Parting the Veil, the first novel in a series called Beyond the Veil. This is set in 1939, just at the outbreak of World War Two. This cosmic horror book involves the adventures of a treasure hunter and an archaeologist who find something that leads them on a trip across the globe chasing down clues as the fabric of reality comes apart. Finally, I recently launched What Once Was Home, a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel about a young man surviving in the aftermath of an alien invasion. This dives into some deeper themes of community and morality and presents challenges in retaining one's moral compass in the face of impossible decisions.

What is your next project?

My next release is going to be Blood of the Desert, the first book in a new sandalpunk sword and sorcery series called The Burning Sands. This is inspired by Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories. The world in which it’s set is covered in deserts, and the series is going to deal with themes of liberty, government oppression, economic injustice, the bonds of friendship, and community loyalty. More than all of that though, it’s an action-packed romp through the sands with tons of violence! It’s unapologetically meant to be fun more than anything. I already have two sequels planned for that as well (Into the Red Wastes and Empire of the Scale). Here’s the blurb for Blood of the Desert:

After escaping a life of slavery, the Taerwyn nomad Brego crosses the wastelands of Erimos. He must flee slavers, bounty hunters, and other more nefarious threats. As he seeks to shed the iron bonds of his youth, Brego treks across the Northern Peninsula in search of something he has never known: a home. In the process he finds something he never expected to find: a family. Allying with an assortment of unsavoury misfits, Brego must fight his way across the Cressian Badlands to find the Taerwyn of the Great Sand Sea. 

Here, Brego seeks to rejoin the people of his blood: the blood of the desert.

Blood of the Desert is currently on my editor’s desk and doesn’t have a release date set, but we have our eyes on the first quarter of 2020 for it.

Have you recently tried any new cake? What was the last cake you baked/bought? 

I’m going to be a rebel here. Last time, when you asked what my favourite cake was, my answer was New York cheesecake. That might have been a clue that I’m actually not a big fan of cakes!

But, I love pie. The good old-fashioned Dutch apple pie is my favourite. I haven’t bought or baked either in a while, but I recently discovered a recipe for an 18th-century savoury onion pie that I’m dying to try out. Here’s a link

Thanks, B.K - I too love pie! You can keep in touch with all of B.K's writing adventures on his website, follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram AND check out his world-building on WorldAnvil.

Join me next week when I interview Sean Haughton. If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. 

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Tuesday Poem - Birds and Bees

The birds and the bees
You know what I mean
A little bit of duvet diving
With that special someone
It’s such a curious phrase
Cos birds don’t do bees
As far as I know
And bees just make honey
You be the bird and I’ll be the bee
We’ll zip around the living room in harmony
I’ll flap a bit and you mind the stinger
Before we know it
One of us will be nesting
The other one always jesting
‘Bout those tricksy little birds and bees

This poem is from Little Book of Love, #6 in the Little Book poetry series available in paperback and ebook on Amazon

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. 

Wednesday 5 February 2020

A Slice of Cake With... Laura Mae

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with Laura Mae. 

What kind of stories do you write?

Ooh, a toughy! I write stories that are set in your everyday places but have magical elements to them. From a distance it seems like everything going on is pretty normal, but once you peel back the pages, you’ll see some peculiar things. I also like to include a lot of action and witty dialogue. Every good book or story needs to have an equal balance of mystery, humor and intrigue. Romance, too, I guess, but that’s not usually my focus.

Can you describe your writing why?

I tend to have a lot of dreams, many that are lucid and vivid. If I didn’t have an outlet to get such things out of my head, I’d probably be in Arkham asylum right now. Writing out ideas and characters give me a huge sense of happiness. To be able to flesh them out on paper and laugh at my own jokes (don’t judge) but then hearing others laugh at the same thing, is a feeling like no other. Most writers are creative beans and we get most of our joy from others enjoying our work. So, I guess in that sense, people motivate me to write.  

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most

This is a scene from my first book Fliers, when Sydona gets to fly again after several decades.

“She began by sprinting for several feet and, once she picked up a good speed, kicked her left foot off the ground. Soon, she was two, ten, fifteen feet ascended into the sky above the wheat fields. Angling her body slightly forward, she was able to fly faster, and when she leaned back, she went higher into the air. The Jeep no longer looked like a car but a red blur as she soared high above the treetops. Raoul joined her as he trailed red-orange dust behind him. As the wind blew her hair, she closed her eyes, and she thought of the first time that she learned how to fly….” 

“...Opening her eyes to the vast scene in front of her, her face wrinkled from a smile she couldn’t subdue. She let her hair down from the ponytail and let it play in the wind. The sun did not seem
so cruel now but rather warmed the goosebumps that appeared on her arms and legs. She glanced at Raoul who did rolls and used his hands to do a ‘wave’ motion. She laughed and felt like an innocent kid again, flying for the first time.”

This was my most anticipated scene when I had a dream about flying about 7 years prior. Even a woman in her 60’s (yes, she really is that old) felt like a child again.

Tell us about your latest project

I am currently writing the third and final book of the Fliers series called Vultures. It’s set immediately after the events of book 2 (Sparrows) and is chock full of drama and bad people. In short, because I don’t want to spoil anything, Sydona gets taken away from her group and shoved into a trunk. She ends up in a white jail cell by herself. She is completely alone with no help from anyone. It’s truly a test for her. This book is also much different than the first two as it has a few different perspectives other than the MC herself. Since Sydona is alone, the reader is kept in the dark to what else is happening around her. To avoid this, I integrated POV’s of Knox (the leaders of the Sparrows rebellion group), Jet (a Sparrow who has a bit of a drinking and attitude problem who is now responsible for a 10-year-old boy) and Raoul (Sydona right-hand fairy and uncle to Jubilee who was captured in the last book). I’m hoping the conclusion of the book will be satisfying to anyone who’s been following the series. I have a good feeling it will be, though.

What is your favourite cake?

My dad just asked me this for my recent birthday and I couldn’t answer him honestly because I love all kinds of cake! I mean, who wouldn’t! But if I HAVE to choose, it would probably be carrot cake because of the bomb cream cheese icing they put in it. Plus, I feel much less guilty eating it because it has vegetables. lol

Keep in touch with Laura on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Join me next week when BK Bass returns! If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you. You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. 

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Tuesday poem - Love Is...

Taken from Little Book of Love, #6 in the Little Book Series

Love Is…

Being tired all the time
Cold feet under old duvets, entwined
Cups of tea made and forgotten
Leftovers wrapped up in the fridge
Whatsapp half messages and appointments on calendars
Worn out birthday cards
Forgotten plans for date nights
Discarded under laundry and odd socks
Comfortable silences
Lumped on the sofa
Watching re-runs of favourite shows

Sticky fingers and runny noses
Early mornings and disruptive nights
Want, want, want
Take, take, take
Crying and complaining and moaning and whinging
Soft, tired huggles and sofa snuggles
Vomit and poop and skinned knees
Trips out, days out, packed lunches
Going warm in the sun
Worry and stress and panic and doubt
Trying to be organised and have fun

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Monday 3 February 2020

Book Reviews - January 2020

Here are the reviews for the books I read in January 2020:

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl - 4 stars

Toast: The Story of a Young Boy's Hunger by Nigel Slater - 4 stars

Recap: Autobiography of his early life by chef Nigel Slater
Review: I really enjoyed the food memories as different dishes have a similar nostalgia for me plus my nan used to cook on an Aga! An incredible frank and honest account.

A Shaper's Farewell by Karen MacRae - 5 stars
Recap: Anna finally meets the black shaper in battle.
Review: I have very much enjoyed this series but the ending left me feeling flat, it seemed a little too easy? The black shaper was such a horrifying monster of a man, the baby scenes made me wince and want to cry, it feels a little like the light won too easily. I'm still awarding 5 stars because the book was well-paced, the characters well developed and the land tribe a masterful addition. Yes, we could have enjoyed them and their powers more if they'd been included in the first two books but it is what it is. Whilst this is an ending there are still many questions about what happens next to the characters and also questions about various backgrounds alluded to previously for different characters. There is such a wealth of world-building here, I see no reason why we can't have more shaper stories.

The First Fight by Lana Melyan - 4 stars
Recap: Nicky comes to terms with murder and together with her Scooby gang find another way to charge the sword.
Review: This is probably the episode with the most action for sure but there are also some great character developments and more backstory & world-building. We're really getting a good feel for everyone. I'm still waiting for that double cross lol! It's super fast-paced but it's a novella so it's got to cram everything in quickly. I've gone up to 4 stars because I keep coming back to the series, it's a quick read, ideal for busy mum life and the characterisation is consistent. At the moment we have a no-cost magical system which is a little naive but hopefully, there will be some big consequences.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - 3 stars
Recap: Young Rose eats a lemon cake and tastes her mum's emptiness and sadness. This is the story of how she adapts to her gift and learns about her brothers.
Review: I enjoyed reading about Rose and her gift. I was utterly unsympathetic towards her mother and I felt such sadness for her dad and her brother. Joseph disappearing into the chair was so sad, whether it's a metaphor or an actual event. I loved George. I was a little disappointed with the ending but I'm not sure why I guess I was waiting for something else to happen. I'm glad Rose found some happiness in the little bistro, learning to cook.

The 24-Hr Cafe by Libby Page - 3 stars
Recap: Mona & Hannah work at Stella's 24hr cafe, they're best friends but their lives are about to radically change.
Review: I really liked the brief glimpses into the different people who came into the cafe, I also enjoy people watching! I'm not a big fan of having the same story told twice by different POV but I did like how present-day prompted the flashbacks. I didn't feel much sympathy for Hannah which was a shame as I felt I should've. I really connected to Dan for some reason, I wish wishing for him to come back to the cafe and I really liked his follow up. A decent rainy day read in your local cafe, buy cake! 

Austin Wyrd by Steve Curry - 3 stars
Recap: Doorman Magnus discovers a mutilated body outside the heavy metal club he works at. Then everything hits the fan.
Review: I like Magnus but not the excessive beatings he received, it gets repetitive. Norse mythology is very popular at the moment and kudos for setting it in modern-day however references to Norse gods, Valhalla etc only make sense if the person reading it knows anything about it and I didn't know all the names referenced. I love the dog, the raven and the fox - I want to know more about the fox! I liked Maureen, she feels powerful in her own right but every woman in the book was over-sexualised which was a shame. There are a lot of interesting characters in this book - the Professor, Drew, Magnus himself of course and the set up for book two is nicely done. I would give this book 3.5 stars.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - 3 stars
Recap: Percy Jackson discovers he's a demigod, son of Poseidon.
Review: I've been meaning to read these since I watched the films years ago and only just got round to it. I was checking them out as bedtime reading for my son and I think they're a little too old atm but hopefully, the ordinary boy who fights Greek myths and monster will entertain him in a few years. Paced well, sympathetic main character, gods in modern setting are always amusing. Very much liked the poker statue ending.

The Elixir Deception by Margena Holmes - 3 stars
Recap: With Elixir being made on two new planets, pirates see their opportunity to steal it for themselves.
Review: Good to see all the characters back together again. The premise is a little bogged down with more tell than show, but the story is interesting and Evalycer is a kick-ass character. She obviously has a lot of back story to explore.

The Last Bell by Lana Melyan - 4 stars
Recap: Nicky survives a vamp attack but tragedy strikes and her entire world changes.
Review: These novellas get better and better, probably because now we are so invested in the characters and storyline. The love story is really endearing. For a moment I thought Logan was going to be a double-crossing bad guy, to be fair there is still time lol. When you can draw parallels with other genre favourites like True Blood and Twilight then you know you're in your happy place. And I actually really like how short they are because I know I can sit down and read an episode in a day which is very satisfying.

Soulless by Gail Carriger - 5 stars
Recap: Alexia Tarabotti is attacked by a vampire who should've known better. She tries to investigate but things don't quite go to plan.
Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this and will definitely be reading the next one. Alexia is a great character - strong-willed but with her own insecurities, wise in some ways and naive in others, possessing unique abilities in a supernatural world. Great world-building and social rules incorporating Victorian etiquette. I particularly liked the bodice-ripping love story! Recommended read.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - 4 stars
Recap: Female society is reformatted.
Review: It has taken me much longer than it should have for me to get round to reading this book, consequently the hype from the tv show and the release of book two has coloured my expectations somewhat. However, I enjoyed the manner of storytelling, the final report at the end adding some clarity to the delivery. I am itching to watch the tv show now as well. The scariest part of the book is how easily their society changed, how little people were able to object, how fast it happened and how accepting people were of the change. It's a little too close to reality, I think those make the best dystopian stories. I was bitterly disappointed with the ending because I wanted to know what would become of our handmaiden but then that matches her retelling of how she supposed things happened. Now I get to imagine her fate. 

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Saturday 1 February 2020

New Release - Little Book of Love

Just in time for Valentines Day, I am delighted to be able to let you know that Little Book of Love has been released. This is the sixth book in the Little Book poetry collection.

The Blurb:

Love isn't just romance and flowers. Sometimes it's tears and anguish. This collection of twenty-five poems from author and poet Claire Buss take you on a journey of love from delight to heartbreak, including pets, children and those we've lost. Love is everywhere and affects everyone but sometimes we can't say what we feel. Hopefully, these poems will inspire you to spread a little love in your life. 

I will be sharing a couple of poems on my Little Book of Verse Facebook page so be sure to check them out and get a taste of these new poems. 

The other books in the series are Little Book of Verse, Little Book of Spring, Little Book of Summer, Spooky Little Book and Little Book of Winter. All the Little Book poetry books are available in paperback and ebook on Amazon. 

They are also available in other ebook formats at Smashwords, Kobo, Nook (Barnes & Noble) and Apple Books.

As always, if you read one of my books - please write a review on Amazon and Goodreads (if you have it). It means so much and it helps other readers find my books. 

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.