New Emotion Thesaurus Out Now!

If there’s one universal truth about writers, it’s that we like to share. When we hear great writing advice, we share. If we read a book we like, we share. And, when we come across a resource that has really helped us, yes that’s right…we share!

So today I’m sharing some news: authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have released a second edition of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression!

You may have heard of this book, or even own a copy, but it’s quite possible that you didn’t realize it had a second edition. Up until a month ago, I didn’t either! It was all kept a secret by the authors who were determined to “show, not tell” their next new book through a mystery reveal. I helped with that, and it was so much fun.

This second edition is more than a new cover. It’s been been enhanced and expanded to include 55 new entries and double the teaching material. Now we can go even deeper when showing our characters’ emotions!

Anyway, if you want to look into it further, you can read some of the reviews on Goodreads or find more information here

Also, one more thing to share…a MEGA-OPPORTUNITY to win something amazing!

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Review of ‘Cupid’s Bow’ by Karen F Williams

‘Cupid’s Bow’ is a sweet, funny, short romance with endearing characters. Kay Westscott is a novelist winding down after a busy lesbian fiction conference. She meets a beautiful woman in the bar of her hotel where the woman is planning on attending a lesbian speed dating event that night. When they get talking it soon becomes apparent that there is an attraction between them – but will either of them take the initiative? 

I really enjoy short stories and am always delighted to find new ones – especially lesfic ones. This one is a lovely story of unexpected attraction and the hope of more. It poses the question of whether one can fall in love at first sight. And whether you can make a life changing decision based on that one meeting. I loved it. Karen F Williams is an excellent writer with imaginative flair and I always look out for her work. I am happy to add ‘Cupid’s Bow’ to my collection.

I was given this ARC for review by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books.

Review of ‘Deuce’ by Jen Silver

What a wonderful story! ‘Deuce’ is the story of Jay, ex-professional tennis player, and her life after the disappearance at sea of her lover, Charley. Forced to go on without her, she brings up their child and starts a new career. But she isn’t really happy. Charley meanwhile is living in the Faroe Islands with a new name and no memory of her life before. When she starts to remember, the lives of so many people are about to be up-ended. 

The story is so well told. It has love, unexpected family complications, passion and surprises. I could not put it down. I wanted to know what happened next to these characters. They felt real and I began to care about them. They each had to face the fact that time does not stand still and people change. Sometimes that means accepting differences and sometimes it means putting yourself in their shoes. Jen Silver has a talent for crafting characters and storylines that really resonate. She subtly weaves real events into her work and that makes the reader feel more engaged. ‘Deuce’ may be my favourite of her novels so far. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘The Fire Court’ by Andrew Taylor

‘The Fire Court’ is a beautifully descriptive historical mystery set the year after the Great Fire of London. The writing was immersive and the period so well researched that I felt as if I was there. James Marwood finds himself investigating after his father claims to have found a dead woman at the chambers of the lawyers dealing with the aftermath of the Great Fire. He teams up with Cat Lovett, an interestingly independent woman for her time. I loved reading about the machinations of those in positions of power, as well as the ordinary lives of the people. The little details really brought this story alive for me. As a lover of historical novels, this book hit all the right notes for me. The story was fascinating, with plenty of twists and turns and the author’s ability to make the past seem real was such a joy. I really enjoyed it.

I was given a review copy by LoveReading.

Review of ‘Colette’ by R.D DeLisle

‘Colette’ is the story of a woman facing her past and finally deciding what she really wants in life. The main character, Colette, moves back to Paris for a while after many years in the States. She sees her sister for the first time since she left and painful memories begin to surface. How she deals with them and the all too real disturbing presence of her brother-in-law form the basis of the novel. But it is about more. It is about love, desire and admitting the truth. It is also about realising that sometimes we have to put ourselves first, even after a lifetime of being there for others.

I liked the fact that R.D. DeLisle chose to focus on older women, older lesbians. That in itself is very unusual. I have read her first book, ‘Miranda’, and it is useful though not entirely necessary to read it to understand some of the background to ‘Colette’. In some ways this book was gentle and romantic, but there is also a storyline which deals with a figure from her past and that is quite brutal. Colette chose to deal with this in a particular way that I found infuriating but it was true to the character. She wouldn’t have done it any other way. I liked the story and the concentration on the more mature woman.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Spinning Tales’ by Brey Willows

Maggie McShay leads a boring life, in a boring apartment, with a boring job – and with a cat who doesn’t seem to like her. What she wants is some magic in her life and when she answers an ad to look after a fairy tale cottage it appears that things may be looking up for her.  The story is of Maggie and her friends as well as a world of fairy stories. It is told in a way that you will not doubt this place really exists. As they work together to save the world from evil villains, Maggie finds out much more about herself and this new world than she could ever have imagined. 

From the minute she answers the advert you feel the excitement along with her. We learn as she does and it’s fascinating. I adored Maggie. She was curious, sweet and feisty. Kody was hot, hot, hot – and didn’t Maggie know it. The whole cast of characters in this book leapt off the page – they were vivid and exciting.

The story was wonderfully, magically imaginative. And you know, I didn’t doubt for a minute that the cottage existed exactly where she said it did! The self-discovery by Maggie was pivotal and her growing feelings for Kody were sensitively dealt with. I loved the story and the imagination behind it but most of all I was enthralled by the use of language. It was beautiful and poetic and lyrical. The skilful use of metaphor and simile took the writing to another level. The descriptions of people and places came alive for me. ’Spinning Tales’ is excellent and I highly recommend it.

I was given this Arc for review by Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley.

Review of ‘Alice’ by Sam Skyborne

‘Alice’ is one of those books that surprises, engages and takes the reader off in unexpected directions. It is the story of a young woman trapped in an awful marriage. When she decides she can take no more and leaves, her life becomes one of secrets, new friends and a fight to keep her new found freedom. Sam Skyborne made me feel an affinity with Alice. I felt as if I was along for the ride and worried about her as she became more involved in her new life in Cape Town. A PI, Toni Mendez, is sent to track her down and her part in the story opened up a whole lot of other issues. This book had so many layers and was intelligently plotted. I could never have guessed the twists and turns and I take my hat off to the author. Bravo!

I was given this ARC for review. 

Review of ‘The Curse Of The Old Woods’ by Elizabeth Andre

The curse of the old woods is an intriguing story from the start. Maya and Julie are paranormal investigators with their own companies. They are thrown together when both are hired by an elderly lady, Mrs Fourier, to investigate the disappearance of her sister Katie many years before. The mystery of why Katie disappeared and why her sister needs the two women to help them connect again had me gripped. This ghost story has all the chills too and is well crafted. The strength of this story and the reason it works so well is the interaction between all of the characters in it. Maya and Julie don’t work alone but have friends and family helping them. I was so glad to find that this is the first in a new series as I can really see it working. A very enjoyable read.

Review of ‘Spencer’s Cove’ by Missouri Vaun

‘Spencer’s Cove’ is a fantastical tale of witches, good and evil and ultimately love. Foster Owen, a mystery novelist with a serious case of writer’s block, is given a lifeline when a job comes up to ghost write a family memoir for Abigail Spencer. Abby has inherited her family’s mansion on the Pacific Coast and on first meeting she is a shy, frightened rabbit of a woman. When Foster starts looking into the family’s past some very interesting stories emerge and she is intrigued. Just when I thought I knew where this story was going and who everyone was, Missouri Vaun took me on a ride that totally exceeded my expectations. Seeing changes in Abby was enlightening and Foster had a lot to do with that. She was a beautifully envisaged soft butch – and who could blame Abby for being attracted to her? The novel had some amazingly strong women and a feeling of camaraderie and power that appealed to me so much. I loved the mixture of the historical research Foster was undertaking and the present day story that stemmed from it.  It was a magical tale and I absolutely adored it. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books to review.

Review of ‘Hooked On You’ by Jenn Matthews

Ollie was seriously injured during her time in the army. She now owns a craft shop and runs a crochet group in the evenings. When teacher Anna joins the group they fall into an easy friendship, but there is more. What that might be is confusing for seemingly-straight Anna. She is dating total prat Liam, a colleague. Boy, did I want her to see the light regarding that one!

I enjoyed the slow build up in this story. It was so worth it. Ollie and Annie are grown -up women, with full lives and interesting histories. It was so refreshing to read a romance between mature women. Each touch, each kiss was special and tender. It was beautifully written. We got to see how Ollie struggled with her physical problems and how that affected her confidence in pursuing a new relationship. Anna’s struggles were of a different nature – that of being attracted to a woman for the first time. I was literally ‘hooked’ on their stories. 

I also really enjoyed finding out about their families. Anna’s adopted son, Timothy was on the Autistic Spectrum and I loved his way of looking at the world. His depiction was spot on. Jenn Matthews has an excellent understanding of someone with autism and I really appreciated how she put across how wonderful it can be and how rewarding it is to know someone with autism. Thank you for that Jenn. 

Finally the fact that the women met through their love of crochet was fascinating. I have, like Anna, watched multiple YouTube videos to try and learn the skill, to no avail. After reading ‘Hooked On You’ I’m feeling inspired to follow Anna’s lead and join a class. An excellent first novel –  I look forward to more from Ms Matthews in the future.

I was given this ARC to review.