Saturday, 25 May 2013

Bella's Vineyard

Bella's Vineyard by Sally Quilford

I've never read a Western before but Sally had included the first chapter of this book in her soon-to-be-published How To book, Love Craft, which I was beta-reading for her. And it had me hooked so I rushed off to buy it to read the whole thing.

As you'd expect from a Sally Q book, the plot tumbles along at a page-turning pace. I read the whole book on a train journey and it was just the right length. Feisty heroine Bella inherits a vineyard in 1860s California, and has to contend with a weak-willed brother, local distrust, and a lawless neighbour who wants her land. Luckily there's the gorgeous new sheriff, Vance, to look after her...

Very much enjoyed this book.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

How To Write

How To Write by Harry Bingham

Came across this when my own How To book was doing well and in the top 20 for writers' books. I had a little browse through the competition, as it were. Liked the sound of Harry's books, and as I'd already corresponded with him when he sent me something for my other blog, I thought I'd give this book a go.

Am so glad I did! It's superbly written in a relaxed, easy to read style. It contains fabulous advice which manages to teach and inspire at the same time. The book is structured from the inside out - starts by looking at sentences - what makes a great sentence, what's overwritten. It comes up outwards from there, so the chapters on structure and theme are further on. I liked this - so often How To books do it the other way round.

Highly recommended if you're a writer and you like How To books, or if you feel you need to learn a bit more about the craft. And who doesn't?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


Cupidity by Holly Hepburn

Aka Tamsyn Murray. Her first venture into the world of self-publishing and her first published grown-up book though she's sold plenty of teen fiction and children's books.

This novella was the perfect length to read on a long train journey yesterday. Cupid is getting lax at his job - he's no longer in love with love. So he's sent to Earth as a human - his mission, to melt the heart of Annelise and ensure she falls in love with Mr Right. When he first meets her, they don't hit it off too well and with only a week to fulfil his mission, Cupid's in even more trouble than before.

Beautifully written, amusing and entertaining. The perfect length for this kind of story.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Steps of the Priory

The Steps of the Priory by Sally Quilford 

Aka Sally's Saga, and possibly the first of several featuring the Harcourt family and residents of the local village. This book starts soon after the first world war, and covers the period up to just after the second world war. It opens with young Becky and her boyfriend Jed leaving a baby on the steps of the Harcourts' home, the Priory. We don't know exactly whose the baby is, or why it (a boy) is being abandoned, and what keeps us reading all the way through this remarkable novel is the desire to find out. Along the way there are endless twists and turns, and as with many of Sally's books, you never guess what's going to happen. There's nothing predictable about this book, though it is eminently satisfying with some memorable characters.

Sally promises a sequel and I hope she does write one!