I can’t quite believe my little blog is 5-years-old already!
Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun!! 🙂
A BIG thank you, as always, to all of you lovely people who continue to support me and my blog. It is massively appreciated! You know who you are!
A special thanks to Mel Sherratt. If I hadn’t met Mel I doubt Chat About Books would have ever existed!
I love to share the book love, but I can’t do it all on my own. Every like, share and comment means the world. It means the books featured will reach an audience as far and wide as possible which is what it’s all about!
Welcome to my stop on Mark Tilbury’s A Prayer For The Broken blog tour! I am over the moon to be sharing my review with you all today, and on Publication Day too!
A Prayer For The Broken
(Review written on 22nd September 2020)
A Prayer For The Broken is another outstanding book by Mark Tilbury. I have read everything he has released, and I haven’t been disappointed once. The word enjoyed doesn’t feel quite right when describing this book, or any Mark Tilbury book, but his writing always draws me in instantly. The array of emotions he evokes with such dark and delicate subject matters is proof of his natural storytelling ability. I find myself completely absorbed in his stories, every single time. He is one of my most favourite authors and I recommend his books often. A Prayer For The Broken is another book I will be recommending, A LOT!
Many thanks to Mark Tilbury for my advance review copy. It is always an honour to be able to read your books ahead of publication.
A Prayer For The Broken may not be for everyone as it’s extremely harrowing and quite difficult to read at times. It deals with child abuse, both psychological and physical, which is naturally very upsetting. What makes it more disturbing is knowing that abuse such as this happens in real life, more often than we probably realise. I know some people won’t even entertain reading books like this one, but honestly, I can’t stress enough how Mark Tilbury manages to make this story so readable despite the subject matter. It is even comical at times, which seems an odd thing to say but it is. The characters are just amazing. They’re so real, and believable, and their stories kept me glued to the pages.
Eleven-year-old John finds himself in foster care following the horrific murder of his mother. He was the one to find her and I can’t even imagine how that must feel for anyone, let alone a child. He feels safe with his foster parents, but a permanent home is found for him with a religious couple who, on the surface, seem to be able to offer him safety and stability. Nothing could be further from the truth and the ordeal he faces, along with his blood brother, Brendan, at the hands of this twisted family are nothing short of horrific!
The fact that this abuser uses religion as his justification for ‘correcting’ these children makes me sick. It’s people like him who give Christianity a bad name. He’s no Christian. No genuine Christian would use this kind of violence against anyone, least of all a child. He made me so angry!
John is such a sweetheart. I just wanted to rescue him and bring him home to safety. I loved the relationship he shared with Brendan and my heart broke for him. He deals with his ordeal far better than I think I would, bless him. It’s not surprising that he feels all hope is lost though. Who is going to believe that this family are capable to such atrocities, even if he had the chance to tell anyone?
I was holding my breath in panic towards the end. There is a glimmer of hope though, and it just goes to show how one person can truly change your life. My emotions were all over the place. This book made my heart ache with sadness, it made me SO cross, but it also made me smile. I absolutely LOVED the ending. It gave me goosebumps! I love the supernatural twist to the story. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
About the author….
Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised. After being widowed and raising his two daughters, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had seven novels published by Bloodhound Books. Now self-publishing, Mark has published The Last One To See Her and his most recent book, A Prayer For The Broken. When he’s not writing, Mark can be found playing guitar, reading and walking.
When eleven-year-old John McCormack’s mother is murdered, he is placed in the care of Pastor Ian Stone and his family. Clearwater House is a far cry from the squalid flats he’s been used to, but John soon learns that Pastor Stone’s perverted form of religion is anything but compassionate. As Stone attempts to purify John’s soul of “dangerous levels of toxicity”, it becomes increasingly clear he’s at the mercy of a madman.
Who can John talk to when no one wants to listen? Who can he trust when all he knows is betrayal?
A Prayer for the Broken is the story of one child’s desperate fight to escape a sadistic killer who has complete control over him.
Check this out!
A suitably creepy cover for the story within!
Watch this space for my review, on 5th October, as part of the blog tour!
If you’re looking for a book that will leave you with a smile on your face, then look no further. Coming Home to Hope Street is a beautifully written, feel good story which has certainly cheered me up massively over the last couple of days.
It has been lovely catching up with some of the characters from book one in this series, The Man Across the Street (which I LOVED!), as well as getting to know some lovely new characters (and some not so lovely!).
This book is centred around Livvy, who left Hope Street twenty years previously as a young lady desperate for the freedom of a big city. Her life in Manchester has been far from rosy though and she returns to Hope Street, feeling like she has no other choice, in the hope that her sister, Hannah, will welcome her back. On the surface of things it seems a bit of a cheek considering she left Hannah with the responsibility of caring for their mother and didn’t even bother to stay in touch so it’s easy to understand some people’s cynicism. However, there is always two sides to a story and it’s soon apparent that Livvy has hardly been living the high life.
I have loved pretty much everything about this book.
I especially love the sense of community in Somerley. I think many communities lack that these days, which is sad. I love how the residents of Hope Street look out for each other.
I loved seeing Hannah rebuild her relationship with Livvy after such a long time apart and also how she welcomes her 15-year-old niece, who she had never met before, with open arms. Hannah is quite the inspirational character. I love that her relationship with Doug is going from strength to strength also.
Pip is a lovely character, despite her tantrums. Typical Daddy’s girl, until she’s trusted with the truth.
I’m extremely envious of Hannah realising her dream and opening her own book shop, right next door to The Coffee Stop. LOVE it! It’s lovely to see her so happy after everything she’s been through.
I don’t watch soaps, but I get the comparison here. This book is full of lovable characters who have their fair share of drama and heartache, but also enjoy each other’s friendship and neighbourly support through the rough times as well as the good. It tackles issues such as addiction and emotional abuse sensitively.
Its focus is people, their relationships with each other and the town they live in and I love it! I’m sure you will too!
Many thanks to Marcie Steele (AKA Mel Sherratt) and Sarah Hardy at Book On The Bright Side Publicity for my review copy. I will happily recommend to all!
Step across the cobblestones, pull back the curtains and peek behind the doors in the second instalment of The Hope Street Series. Catch up with old friends and fall in love with new ones in a story of friendship, second chances and new beginnings.
Livvy has no choice but to return to Hope Street, the childhood home she left over twenty years ago. Along with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Pip, she turns up on the doorstep, hoping for forgiveness from her sister.
Hannah thought she’d never see Livvy again. She’s overwhelmed with emotion but locks away her real feelings. How could Livvy stay away without any contact? And why has she come back now?
It isn’t long before the charm of the market town of Somerley begins to work its magic. Hannah is opening a book shop in the square, adjoining The Coffee Stop, and Livvy’s offer to help out brings the sisters closer together.
But when someone from Livvy’s past arrives unannounced too, he threatens everything she’s built up since her return. Can Livvy convince her sister, and her new friends, that her intentions to return were good ones? Or will her dreams of settling down and being happy again become nothing but a closed book?
If you love an uplifting story, then Coming Home to Hope Street is the perfect feel-good read to curl up with. Ideal for fans of Hannah Ellis, Holly Martin and Emily Harvale.
Also available in The Hope Street Series
The Man Across the Street (Book 1)
Also available by Marcie Steele
Stirred with Love (Book 1, The Somerley Series)
Secrets, Lies & Love (Book 2, The Somerley Series)
Second Chances at Love (Book 3, The Somerley Series)
Marcie Steele is the pen name of Mel Sherratt. For as long as she can remember, she’s been a meddler of words. Born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, she’s a romantic at heart and has always enjoyed writing about characters that fall in and out of love, have good friends to hang around with, and live in communities with great spirit.
She can often be found sitting in her favourite coffee shop, sipping a cappuccino and eating a chocolate chip cookie, either catching up with friends or writing on her laptop. Whether she writes crime or women’s fiction, she loves making up things for a living.
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Of course. I was born in Taunton, Somerset (UK) and now live in Bridgwater with my partner Carl and my two feline friends, Spot and Strudel. I’m a bit of a geek, definitely odd and have a tendency to act a little bit crazy.
I’d love to say I’ve studied creative writing and have qualifications to prove it. I don’t. I’ve never studied creative writing or received any training. I’ve always been creative though, my degree is in Fine Art. I studied English Literature at A Level which gave me a little confidence, so I thought,‘I’ll give novel writing a go, why not! What’s the worst thing that could happen?’And I’m so pleased I did. I’m surprised by the reception I’ve received already for my debut novel and so far, the feedback has been wonderful, for which I’m immensely grateful.
The name Evans is a token to my heritage and my dear, late Grandma. My real surname is Guttridge, but Evans had a much better ring to it, so author name L A Evans was born.
‘Junction: Time’s Ticking’ is my debut novel. Predominantly, it’s a suspense thriller. However, there are snippets of many other genres, including romance, mystery and drama.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Funnily enough, I had a dream. I woke up one morning and thought, ‘Wow! That dream could make a fantastic book!’
And so, Junction was born.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Absolutely. There are elements of me in both female characters Aisha and Zoe (you’ll find out more about Zoe in the sequel I’m currently writing called ‘Junction: Still Ticking’).
As a writer, I think it’s important to use your imagination, but I believe it’s equally vital to use your experiences. By drawing on your own life experiences, you can really tune into the emotion and write from the heart.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
Because ‘Junction: Time’s Ticking’ is all about the twists and turns of a young woman’s life, after she crashes her car with another woman, I wanted the two main characters’ names to mean ‘life’.
The two main characters are polar opposites, they’re both at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. So, I knew their first names had to start with A and Z and their surnames with B and Y – opposite ends of the alphabet. Therefore, the names Aisha Brown and Zoe Young were born, both first names meaning life.
When thinking of other characters’ names, I just try to imagine their personalities, age and appearance. Once I can visualise them, I can find a name I feel suits their character.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
It’s important to plan and ensure you have structure first and foremost. I plan each book into four parts, plot a twist or turn of events at the end of each part and then map the individual chapters. One of the tools I find useful is creating a mind map. I use the app, MindLine to help me plot my characters and map the intricate details of each chapter before I start to write.
Once written, I review, time and time again. My partner and I started our own little ‘book club’, reading a chapter a day of ‘Junction: Time’s Ticking’, correcting grammatical errors and searching for ways in which to make it even better. It was surprisingly fantastic quality time spent together!
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
I’m not going to rank them because I admire them equally but for different reasons. My top five authors would be as follows:
Michael Crichton – Similar to my novel, Michael Crichton writes about the unimaginable but makes it fathomable. As an example, you wouldn’t imagine dinosaurs could possibly roam the Earth again, but the concept of DNA being found in a fossilised mosquito makes it believable.
Suzanne Collins – Who isn’t fascinated by the creator of ‘The Hunger Games Trilogy’? The strong female protagonist who fights the corrupt government that was responsible for social inequality and inexplicable violence. Everyone loves a protagonist and a strong one at that.
Stephen King – The weird and wonderful, sinister world of Stephen King. The master of horror and the supernatural. He is a genius.
WM. Paul Young – One of the most spiritually profound and life-changing books I have read is this author’s novel, ‘The Shack’. It’s a beautiful read with vivid imagery and it left a lump in my throat that I can still feel now when I think back to when I read this wonderful book.
Lisa Jewell – This author often gets me blubbing whilst reading her books. Love, drama, humour all merged into one bubble of loveliness!
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
The ‘king’ of all writers, Stephen King of course. I mean, who wouldn’t want to meet him? He is an inspiration.
I would probably ask him what he thinks of my book and ask for his feedback, if he could spare the time for little old me. I would massively value his opinion. Now, if the ‘king’ of horror, supernatural thrillers and suspense were to buy and read my novel, ‘Junction: Time’s Ticking’ that would be overwhelming as mine is also a suspense thriller with an air of supernatural mystery. It might make me pee my pants with excitement a little though!
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes, I loved reading books, namely books by Roald Dahl and C S Lewis.
Although, my favourite author was Enid Blyton. My favourite childhood books were and are still ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ novels. Moonface, the Saucepan Man and Silky the fairy, to name a few of the marvellous characters. The slippery slip and the magical ladder at the top of the tree bring back so many emotional memories.
Enid Blyton allowed me to escape as a child into another world, whether it be up the ladder of The Magic Faraway Tree, in a smuggler’s cave with The Famous Five or investigating mysteries with The Secret Seven.
When did you start to write?
About six years ago, I had my dream. It was this dream that inspired me to write ‘Junction: Time’s Ticking’. Whilst working full time, I wrote my book over three years, with a number of breaks. Over the course of the last year, I was encouraged by Carl to pick it back up again, dust it off and knuckle down with editing. Now it’s available for purchase on Amazon which is fantastic! With this continued support and encouragement from Carl and my family, I’m currently writing a sequel called ‘Junction: Still Ticking’ which will be the second book in the trilogy. Don’t worry, it won’t be six years before the second book is released! It will be published early next year.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Honestly, I wouldn’t want to re-write or change anyone’s work. As a reader, sometimes you can think, ‘Hmmm, I’m not sure about that ending,’ or ‘I think this ending may have worked better’. But that author has written their book and their ending for a reason and they stand by it. Endings will appeal to many people but not all, that’s just how it is and how it should be.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
The Harry Potter series is the most creative writing written in the history of fantasy. Who wouldn’t wish they had the innovative mind of J K Rowling? She is an inspiration to every aspiring writer out there, especially those who have received knock-back upon knock-back from publishers. The publishers who didn’t give her a chance must be kicking themselves now!
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Good question! I’ll go with, ‘A Billion Stars’. My partner is a song writer and wrote a song called, ‘A Billion Stars’ and dedicated it to me.
As an author, I am one small star out of billions in the Kindle sky. If you read my book and review it, you are supporting a little star and helping me transform into a Supernova!
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Definitely Charlie Bucket. He’d invite me to his chocolate factory, we’d have a coffee, I’d meet some Oompa-Loompas and maybe walk away with a few free samples!
Tell us a random fact about yourself
I love writing silly poems or changing lyrics to songs to make them current and humorous.
I also have my zombie apocalypse survival plan fully rehearsed in my head. You never know when you might need to be prepared!
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on the second book in the Junction Trilogy, ‘Junction: Still Ticking’, to be released early next year.
Tell us about your last release?
‘Junction: Time’s Ticking’ is now available to buy on Amazon as a Kindle or Paperback. Without giving any big spoilers, it’s a suspense thriller about a woman who crashes her car with another woman and upon waking from a coma, she finds that she is no longer the woman she was before the accident. Her parents are dead, she has a stranger for a husband, and she looks completely different. I’ll let you read the rest, there are lots of twists and turns to keep you on your toes!
Do you have a new release due?
Not yet, the sequel to ‘Junction: Time’s Ticking’ is currently being written. I’m on track and have a deadline for spring 2021, so as not to keep people waiting for too long.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Repetitively flick through my new paperback, sniffing the pages and feeling exceptionally proud. There might be gin involved too!
Only that I’m so proud to be interviewed as the author of ‘Junction: Time’s Ticking’. Please, if anyone fancies giving it a read and posting a review, you’d be massively supporting me as a new and upcoming author. I’m so grateful for those who have already taken the time to read my novel and review it. Please check out the reviews people have already written as this may encourage you to give it a shot. It’s available to buy now on Amazon.
Big Thoughts For Little Thinkers is a stunning book!
This didn’t surprise me at all as I have read, and LOVED, both The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale and The Humundo Sorterium by Daniel Thompson. He is a very talented poet and children’s book author. I knew I was in for a treat when Daniel offered me the chance to read an advance copy of Big Thoughts For Little Thinkers and it is just brilliant!
The aim of the book is “to introduce children to philosophy and critical thinking as well as to encourage self-confidence and self-love.” It most certainly achieves that in my opinion. I think this book should be in every child’s permanent collection. A book which they can read again and again, to reinforce what is really important in this life. I wish I could have read this to my children when they were little, but I think we can all learn from these lovely little poems whatever age we are.
I’ve been trying the think which poem is my favourite, but I honestly can’t choose. They are all fun yet carry a powerful message for all.
Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers and big thinkers alike!
Beautifully written and beautifully illustrated. I highly recommend!
Many thanks to Daniel Thompson for my digital review copy.
You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger!
It is not the job of a parent to pick their child up when they fall, it is their job to teach their child how to get up for themselves. Just as it is not a parent’s job to teach their child what to think but rather how to think, how to question the daily interactions and encounters of the life they have ahead of them and how to value the morality within those interactions.
This book is my attempt to encourage children towards a lifelong journey of critical thinking and sow the seeds of wider philosophical principals to the next generation of big thinkers. This book deals with the principles of self-esteem self-respect, racial and religious tolerance, success, love, friendship and many more values and virtue that a well rounded forward thinker may wish to consider.
We live in a world where we often hold ourselves to other people’s standards. Be it beauty, success, happiness or wealth, we tend to look outwardly for confirmation of our achievements and we forget to question why we do things that way at all. It is my hope to illuminate the possibility that perhaps we have what we need to feel successful or beautiful or happy within ourselves already and it is only our perception of those things that we need to change.
Keep asking questions, Keep wondering why. And remember to always THINK BIG!
This book is intended to introduce children to philosophy and critical thinking as well as to encourage self-confidence and self-love. It also serves as a fun way to begin conversations between children and adults on some of life’s bigger questions.
I thank you for your interest and hope you enjoy the book.
From the Back Cover
The brain is a magical, marvelous thing, And though it looks small there is plenty, Of room for a lifetime of wondrous thoughts, So please, don’t just leave it half empty.
Fill it with puzzling and pondering and pressing, And questions and quandaries and queries. Fill it with laughter and learning and love, Theological thinking and theories.
Question your reasons, imagine ideas, Make knowledge your business to know. With every new sort of wondrous thought, Your brains will continue to grow.
This book’s not instructions on how you should live, Or a rule book of what you must do. It’s just a few thoughts for you to explore, To help form your own point of view.
So read it with caution, don’t take it as fact. Then ask yourself, do I agree? Put it back on your shelf, then decide for yourself, What kind of you, YOU want to be.
Having read, and LOVED, books one and two in this series (City of Secrets and Bridge of Lies) I was very much looking forward to catching up with Letty Parker, and her friends, again in Island of Fear. This book is another thoroughly enjoyable addition to this excellent series.
In Island of Fear Letty finds herself in a race against time to solve a family mystery for one of her closest friends. She is as determined as always to succeed and shows no fear even when faced with numerous dangers. She really is a force to be reckoned with and is an amazing character. She is fiercely loyal despite being let down by others herself. Her own mother is even too busy being famous to care for her. This understandably gets Letty down occasionally, but not for long. She doesn’t need looking after. She is too busy being focused on the task ahead and she will stop at nothing to achieve her goal.
This story is full of action, adventure, magic and mystery as well as many fascinating characters. I can’t imagine anyone not loving it. It’s aimed at 9–12 year olds but will appeal to adults and children alike. Younger children will enjoy having it read to them, more confident readers will devour it I’m sure, and adults will enjoy the adventures equally as much. I know I have and I’m 42!