MY Review of Wasteland (Operation Galton Book 2) by Terry Tyler #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Description:

“Those who escape ‘the system’ are left to survive outside society.  The fortunate find places in off-grid communities; the others disappear into the wasteland.”

The year: 2061. In the new UK megacities, the government watches every move you make.  Speech is no longer free—an ‘offensive’ word reaching the wrong ear means a social demerit and a hefty fine.  One too many demerits?  Job loss and eviction, with free transport to your nearest community for the homeless: the Hope Villages. 

Rae Farrer is the ultimate megacity girl – tech-loving, hard-working, law-abiding and content – until a shocking discovery about her birth forces her to question every aspect of life in UK Megacity 12.

On the other side of the supposedly safe megacity walls, a few wastelanders suspect that their freedom cannot last forever...

Wasteland is the stand-alone sequel to ‘Hope’, the concluding book in the two-part Operation Galton series, and Terry Tyler’s twenty-first publication.

My Review:

Brilliant plot that twists and turns, rounded, multi-layered characters, great dialogue, settings with an evocative sense of place. What else would a reader expect from Terry Tyler?.Ah yes, an excellent writing style. And it’s all here in Wasteland.

 Once upon a time I wouldn’t have read any dystopian novel but, because I have long been an admirer of her work, when I heard Terry Tyler had published a book of this the genre I thought I would give it a go. This is my review from the first of Project Renova Book One; Tipping Point: http://bit.ly/2um9Fcq

 The setting of Wasteland, Terry’s latest book; which one could easily think it eerily suggestive of the future for how we are living at the moment ( well I thought so), is the year 2061 in the UK. The country is divided into megacities,ruled by the Nutricorp organisation and a government headed by a corrupt ( yet also manipulated) female Prime Minister. This is the second book of “Operation Galton”. When I reviewed Hope, the first book of this series, I wrote, “The people in power, whether in business or politics, influence and control the everyday life of the public; through lies and machinations… the depiction of authority and dominance in this future life is blatant in the control over the masses”. In Wasteland there is no subtlety, and the people know it; they are ruled by threats and fear. Yet they are compliant: some because, having been brought up in Hope villages; in government run programmes; in the absence of their biological parents, they know no different life. Others because it is easier to accept the limitations of freedom in return for the sophistication of modern technology, the availability of cosmetic surgery and access to social media.

The protagonist, Rae, is one of these young people. But when she discovers the history of her family, and that they may still be alive even though they, like others, chose to live in the wastelands; to be free, she knows she has to try and find them.

She escapes the confines of the megacity she lives in and faces the truth of the wastelanders’ lives: of ruined villages and towns, of hunger and danger. But she also finds kindness; through the organisation of food banks and the compassionate help of small communities living off the land.

But does she find her family? And is the Nutricorp organisation and Government content to leave the Wastelanders alone?

I’ll leave it at that. Suffice it to say, this latest book of Terry Tyler doesn’t disappoint and I can thoroughly recommend Wasteland to any reader who enjoys the genre… in fact, to any reader who wants to try this author’s work

My Review of UK2 (Project Renova Book 3) by Terry Tyler #TuesdayBookBlog #Dystopian #PostApocolyptic

 

uk2

 

I gave UK2 5*

Book Description:

Two decades of social media had prepared them well for UK2.’

The pace steps up in this final instalment of the Project Renova trilogy, as the survivors’ way of life comes under threat.

Two years after the viral outbreak, representatives from UK Central arrive at Lindisfarne to tell the islanders about the shiny new city being created down south.  UK2 governor Verlander’s plan is simple: all independent communities are to be dissolved, their inhabitants to reside in approved colonies.  Alas, those who relocate soon suspect that the promises of a bright tomorrow are nothing but smoke and mirrors, as great opportunities turn into broken dreams, and dangerous journeys provide the only hope of freedom.

Meanwhile, far away in the southern hemisphere, a new terror is gathering momentum…

‘I walked through that grey afternoon, past fields that nobody had tended for nearly three years, past broken down, rusty old vehicles, buildings with smashed windows.  I was walking alone at the end of the world, but I was a happy man.  I was free, at last.’

Although this concludes the Project Renova trilogy, there will be more books in the series. A collection of five side stories is planned, and another novel, set far into the future.

My Review,

i have long enjoyed Terry Tylers’ work and I have read almost everything she has written. However, when I heard she had changed genres and written an end of the world novel I hesitated. Only once had I read a dystopian book  – and I hated it. What I forgot, at first, was that, not only does this author write a cracking good story, whatever the subject, she creates brilliantly  rounded characters that take  on a life of their own…and live, and grow and change as the  plots progress. I took a chance and was hooked. I read the first of the trilogy Tipping Point (you can read my review here). Following the lives of the characters through desperate times was both fascinating and felt unbelievably real. The second of the trilogy, Lindisfarne; my review here,  continues the story and, from my point of view, is equally riveting.

 I have also enjoyed  Patient Zero: short stories from the Project Renova series; a collection of nine short stories featuring minor characters from the series

And so to this last book, UK2, the conclusion of the the story (at least for the time being – as we see in the book description, Terry Tyler has other ideas). But, for now the stories of each of these characters I have grown to know and understand have sailed off into the distance.

There are so many well-rounded characters I honestly wouldn’t know where to start (and would probably ramble on for pages!). Some of the characters are told by a third person omniscient narrator, which allows the reader to sit back and observe. But many characters tell whole chapters from their own points of view. It’s interesting to hear the internal voices of Lottie, Vicky and Doyle, with their opinions on the world they are living in; all developing in the way good characters should in a novel. I was well impressed the way one character, Flora, changed. Oh, and I should mention the appearance of two characters I instantly loved, Seren and Hawk.

The dialogue is, as usual, good; some of the voices of  the characters with the intonations subtly changed as the characters go forward in their stories, some immediately recognisable.

The settings, whether of Lindisfarne, the devastated Britain of the past,  UK Central (ruled over by the plastic ‘Hollywood-style governor Verlander’) or islands far away, give a brilliant sense of place.

I have to be honest, it is a complex book with plots and subplots intertwined and a whole plethora of characters; so I can only recommend that readers start with the first book of the trilogy. And, to be fair, this is what the author recommends.

But, having the last word (well, this is my review!), whatever your preferred genre, give this series a go…you’ll be hooked.

Links to buy:

Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/2IekT4X

Amazon.com: https://amzn.to/2EctvXz

About the Author:

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Terry Tyler is the author of seventeen books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘UK2’, the third book in her new post apocalyptic series. She is proud to be self-published, is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and loves history, winter, South Park and Netflix. She lives in the north east of England with her husband; she is still trying to learn Geordie.

Connect with Terry:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerryTyler4

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2xLJRa6

Patient Zero: Short stories from the Project Renova series by Terry Tyler #TuesdayBookBlog #ShortStories

Patient Zero: Short stories from the Project Renova series by [Tyler, Terry]

On my request the author gave me an arc of Patient Zero on the understanding I give an honest review.

I gave Patient Zero 5* out of 5*

Book Description:

The year is 2024.
A mysterious virus rages around the UK.
Within days, ‘bat fever’ is out of control.
Patient Zero is a collection of nine short stories featuring minor characters from the post apocalyptic Project Renova series. All stories are completely ‘stand alone’.

1. Jared: The Spare Vial
Jared has two vaccinations against the deadly virus: one for him, one for a friend…

2. Flora: Princess Snowflake
The girl with the perfect life, who believes in her father, the government, Christian charity and happy endings.

3. Jeff: The Prepper
What does a doomsday ‘prepper’ do when there is nothing left to prepare for?

4. Karen: Atonement
She ruined her sister’s last day on earth, and for this she must do penance.

5. Aaron: #NewWorldProblems
Aaron can’t believe his luck; he appears to be immune. But his problems are far from over.

6. Ruby: Money To Burn
Eager to escape from her drug dealer boyfriend’s lifestyle, Ruby sets off with a bag filled with cash.

7. Meg: The Prison Guard’s Wife
Meg waits for her husband to arrive home from work. And waits…

8. Evie: Patient Zero
Boyfriend Nick neglects her. This Sunday will be the last time she puts up with it. The very last time.

9. Martin: This Life
Life after life has taught the sixty year old journalist to see the bigger picture.

Tipping Point and Lindisfarne are the first two full length novels in the Project Renova series. A third will be available around late spring/early summer 2018.

My Review:

Having already read the two post-apocalyptic novels,Tipping Point (here’s my review: http://bit.ly/2um9Fcq), and Lindisfarne: (review here: http://bit.ly/2igJnQG)  of this Project Renova series by Terry Tyler, I was keen to get my hands on her anthology of short stories of the minor characters in these books. Until I read both these novels I was wary of this genre… too gloomy, I thought…not something I’d want to read about. But because I have always admired this author’s work I gave them a go. I’m glad I did. Brilliant writing!  

And Patient Zero sets the bar high for collections of short stories as well.

I love this idea of giving the flat characters in novels a life of their own. Each story reveals both the background and the present environment of the characters. Some tales are chilling, some poignant, some even threaded through with slight subtle humour. But all show the universal belief that humans have, that ‘all will be well’  for them belief. (Well, I say all, there is one story; Jeff: The Prepper, where the character has believed that the world as we know it will end and is ready. But even he has a discovery he didn’t expect… say no more.

 

With some told from both the first person point of view and some from the omniscient narrator each story is complete in itself and is a good solid read. 

As always with this author the dialogue, both spoken and internal, is true to each character.

And, as usual, the descriptions of the settings give a great sense of place.

There is the same inevitability to the endings of the short stories, as with the two novels,  after all these are apocalyptic accounts. Yet some took me by surprise (which, for me is always a good sign). There are open-endings, twist in the tale denouements and the ‘of course’ endings. But what they all are, is satisfying.

The character who evoked a sense of sadness in me –  Meg: The Prison Guard’s Wife.

The character that most angered me by her selfishness – Karen in Atonement.

 The character who gives hope, perhaps –  Martin: This Life.

Not that I’m going to tell you their stories!

I strongly suggest to any reader that they check Patient Zero out for themselves.  I highly recommend this anthology to readers who love this genre… and to readers who like good writing.

Links: 

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2jTfp3i

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2yF7sGP

About the Author:

terry tyler

Terry Tyler is the author of sixteen books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Patient Zero’, the third book in her new post apocalyptic series, which is a collection of stand-alone short stories featuring characters in the main novels. She is proud to be self-published, is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and loves history, winter, South Park and Netflix. She lives in the north east of England with her husband, a move that took place nine years ago from the beautiful Norfolk coast; she is still trying to learn Geordie.

Lindisfarne (Project Renova Book 2) #PostApocalyptic by Terry Tyler #TuesdayBookBlog

Lindisfarne (Project Renova Book 2) by [Tyler, Terry]

I was given an ARC of Lindisfarne by the author in return for an honest review.

 I gave this book 5*out of 5*

Book Description::

Six months after the viral outbreak, civilised society in the UK has broken down. Vicky and her group travel to the Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, where they are welcomed by an existing community. 

New relationships are formed, old ones renewed. The lucky survivors adapt, finding strength they didn’t know they possessed, but the honeymoon period does not last long. Some cannot accept that the rules have changed, and, for just a few, the opportunity to seize power is too great to pass up. Egos clash, and the islanders soon discover that there are greater dangers than not having enough to eat.

Meanwhile, in the south, Brian Doyle discovers that rebuilding is taking place in the middle of the devastated countryside. He comes face to face with Alex Verlander from Renova Workforce Liaison, who makes him an offer he can’t refuse. But is UK 2.0 a world in which he will want to live?

My Review:

I have been an admirer of Terry Tyler’s work for a long time; I like her style of writing,  I  like the way she builds her characters and her sense of place in all her novels.

I’ve read the first of the Project Renova Book Series: Tipping Point. And, although, this genre is not usually my first choice, I read it purely because it was written by this author. I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s my review: http://bit.ly/2um9Fcq.   And I enjoyed my interview with Terry Tyler: http://bit.ly/2uzbsef.

When I started LIndisfarne I was anxious to learn what had happened to the characters in Tipping Point. But also I wondered if the story would be as strong as in the first book.

It was. It is.

I don’t give spoilers (if I can help it) in my reviews so here are my thoughts:

I love the way the story is told; each chapter is given over to individual characters. Not only do we see situations through their perspective, we learn – through their voice/their internal dialogue – about them. And we also see the actions of the other characters from their points of view, and their opinions on that action. It gives so many extra layers to the plot at different times.

There is one exception to this style of writing; the chapters around a character called Wedge. Thoroughly evil chap. His part in the book is told from the third person point of view.I liked this; it distances the reader from him yet we still know what he’s thinking, hear his internal dialogue… follow his actions. I’ll say no more.

The author brings the characters to life through their actions and mannerisms but one of her greatest strengths is through their  dialogue; each character has their own way of speaking.There was no doubt whose voice I was reading even without dialogue tags. I especially enjoyed  reading Lottie’s chapters; the sense of how she’s grown from a young teenager in the first book to young adult in this one is fascinating … and all in eighteen months.

I always say that this author has a knack for descriptions. Lindisfarne is no exception. The beauty of the island parallels the destruction of the mainland and the building of UK2. I could picture each setting as the characters moved around in them.

General thoughts: 

There is one story line that I had an uneasy feeling about – when my fears were realised I felt that satisfaction a reader gets when they think something will happen and it does but also a great sadness that it has. To get that connection with any character shows strong writing on the part of the author

There is also another intriguing sub plot line threaded throughout that follows one of the  characters from Tipping Point: Doyle. I have a feeling we will hear a lot more of him in Book 3.

I said at the beginning of this review that I have always loved this author’s work but, for me, this is Terry Tyler’s best novel yet; strong characters, strong dialogue, strongest writing, strongest plot; so I can’t recommend it highly enough. But I would advise reading Tipping Point first. This is a  trilogy (looking forward to the last! book). 

Hmm, having read and reviewed as constructively as I could, I’ve realised I have extolled all the virtues of Lindisfarne without any negative or any ‘to think about’ points. I do have one; I would love to see these books in real life book shops – the covers alone would make them stand out. Any chance?

 Author Biography:Terry Tyler

Terry Tyler is the author of fifteen books on Amazon, the latest being ‘Tipping Point’, the first book in her new post apocalyptic series. She is proud to be self-published, is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and writes for one of their main fansites. She lives in the north east of England with her husband, and is still trying to learn Geordie

 Terry’s links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerryTyler4

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2xLJRa6

Blog: http://terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/

Buying links:

 Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2fpUAfG

 Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2xLVxcI

 

 

Interviewing One of my Favourite Authors; Terry Tyler and Introducing her Latest Novel, Tipping Point: #SundayBlogShare

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM

 

Hi Terry, good to see you here today. Please tell us first,what is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?

To write something so amazingly good I can’t believe I’ve written it.  I doubt that will ever happen, though; even if it did, I’d probably still spend half my time thinking it was rubbish.  Maybe there never is an ultimate goal with anything creative, as there is always more, a different direction in which to progress.  You never get to a point when you think, ‘right, I’ve done it, I’ve got there, so I’ll stop’.

Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

People often ask writers, ‘is your main character supposed to be Joe/Bob/Steve?’  But he rarely is; writers make stuff up.  That’s what we do.  Experience fuels the imagination, that’s all; I’d say my characters are 80% my invention, 20% taken from real life.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I write on every day that it’s possible to do so.  Aside from family commitments, anything else has to fit round it.  I give myself deadlines for completing each draft, just because I work better that way.  When the book’s gone to my proofreader, I catch up on stuff I need to do (guest blog posts, emails, etc), and kid myself I’m going to do some jobs around the house.  However, I’ve always got the next book waiting in the wings (ie, my head!) and so the process begins again, and the bedroom remains unpainted.

What do you think makes a good story?

An opening chapter with threads that make you eager to know what’s going to happen.  Characters that jump off the page and into your thoughts; if you don’t care what happens to them, you have no impetus to keep reading.  A feasible plot, with unexpected developments that don’t seem as if they’re just there for the sake of making ‘plot twists that will blow your socks off’ claims on Amazon.  Resolution for each aspect of the story (unless part of a series).  An ending that stays with you after you’ve read it.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

Twenty-five (I think).  Fourteen of them are published, with another finished and in the preparation process (Lindisfarne, which may be out by the time this post appears!).  I can’t name one favourite, but I have special affection for the most recent, Tipping Point and sequel Lindisfarne, because they’re part of a series, which I think about all the time!  My other favourites are The House of York and Last Child, family sagas inspired by events during Tudor and Plantagenet times.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

I would never describe my own book as a ‘must-read’; that’s for the reader to say, not me!  The Project Renova series, of which Tipping Point is the first book, is about a global pandemic, and also, initially, about how public opinion is manipulated by the media.

I’ve wanted to write about life after the collapse of 21st century civilisation for ages, because I’m a bit obsessed with all things post apocalyptic, but I wanted to ‘keep it real’, as much as possible.  Vicky is an ordinary woman living in a small town, with a teenage daughter, Lottie.  As Vicky says: ‘How to manage without flushing loos is never mentioned in TV shows or films about life after global disasters.  I suppose viewers don’t want to see their favourite hunky road warrior sidling off into the woods with a roll of Andrex.’

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

  1. Nothing you say on the internet is private. 3.  When the going gets tough, people’s true selves come to the fore.  No moral lessons, though.  I don’t think.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?

It’s your imagination, your fingers on the keys.  Sometimes a character will turn out differently from how you intended, mostly because unexpected ideas about how to develop the character appear while you’re writing, but it’s still you in the driving seat.  I don’t go in for all this ‘I wanted to make Sebastian a modest shopkeeper, but he just wasn’t having it!’ stuff.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I first wrote a novel in 1993, when I was thirty-four.  I might get it out and have a cringe-athon some time.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

If I have, I can’t think what they are.  Or maybe I’m just not telling you.  Smiley face with wink.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I haven’t got one.  I’m not that interesting.  I just sit down at my desk and get on with it.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Oh dear, this is where I’m supposed to reveal all my fascinating and unusual hobbies, isn’t it?  Thing is, I mostly just write, and when I’m not, I do the same relaxation/leisure time stuff as most people.   You know, watch stuff, read, go for walks, clean the house.  Okay, I’m lying about the last one.  I read a lot and review books on my book blog, and for Rosie Amber’s Book Review Blog.

Give us a random fact about yourself.

I’ve recently become a vegan.  It’s difficult, but at least it stops me raiding the biscuit tin.  I can see myself eating vegetable stir fry with Quorn for dinner every night; I’m not very interested in cooking.

Terry Tyler is the author of fourteen books on Amazon, the latest being ‘Tipping Point’, the first book in her new post apocalyptic series.  She is proud to be self-published, is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Her next book, ‘Lindisfarne’, the sequel to ‘Tipping Point’, should be available in September 2017.  She lives in the north east of England with her husband, and is still trying to learn Geordie

terry

Books coming out in 2017:

Tipping Point, released on August 7th.  Post apocalyptic/government conspiracy/family drama.

Lindisfarne, to be realised in September 2017.  Sequel to Tipping Point.  Also Romantic Suspense

Patient Zero, hopefully ready to publish in December 2017.  Outtake short stories   related to Tipping Point, Lindisfarne and Book 3 of the series, yet to be written.

Thought I might add my own review Of Tipping Point here:Tipping Point

Links:

My Review of Tipping Point by Terry Tyler #FridayReads

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I was given an ARC of Tipping Point by the author in return for an honest review.

 I gave this book 5* out of 5*

Book Description:

‘I didn’t know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.’

The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it’s spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Vicky Keating’s boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak is detected in her home town of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast. The town is placed under military controlled quarantine and, despite official assurances that there is no need for panic, within days the virus is unstoppable.

In London, Travis begins to question the nature of the top secret data analysis project he is working on, while in Newcastle there are scores to be settled…

This is the first book in the Project Renova series; the second, Lindisfarne, is due to be published in September 2017, with the final instalment in the middle of 2018. A collection of outtake short stories, Patient Zero, is in progress, and should be available around December 2017. 

My Review:

I need to say right from the start that a dystopian novel is one genre I have never read. And never intended to.

But then I heard that one of my favourite authors, Terry Tyler, had written such a book and couldn’t resist asking for a copy.  I was relying on the fact that, whatever kind of book she produces, this author always has believable characters, great narration, can build a great sense of place and writes dialogue any reader can believe in.

 I wasn’t disappointed. True, it’s a tough subject (I really am a wimp about ‘end of the world as we know it’ stories. but Tipping Point is a truly good read. It’s obvious the author has researched the reasons, the politics, the societal differences and  effects of a complete breakdown  of a country. The gradual disintegration of Shipden and the UK as a whole is utterly  convincing.

But it’s not only the plot that is well thought out. As usual Terry Tyler has produced well rounded, multi-layered characters. There are the ones to admire, to fear, to despise and to empathise with. The reactions of  the protagonist, Vicky, to what is happening is credible, her actions plausible. I liked her; I liked her reasoning, her relationship with her daughter, Lottie, her courage (although she believes herself to be weak). Most of all I like that she grows in strength of character through all the turmoil she faces (and especially that she begins to believe in herself and not to just take the word of her errant boyfriend, Dex) And , in contrast, I would like to mention someone else, Billy Stokes; a flat character but one that chilled me with his singular perspective, and is a prime example of the kind of  person that those behind Private Life, a new social networking site, aim their propaganda towards. There is one small scene where, with his actions he takes centre stage and foreshadows a devastating sceario. It’s scary!!

And. as always the dialogue, both internal and spoken, portrays the personalities of every character in the book…and, believe me, there are some weird and extreme characters. But there again, I should think such a situation would bring out the most base, and basic, traits in anyone.

The graphic descriptions of settings the details of the deserted towns and countryside feel incredibly authentic; much as I would imagine them to be. It’s easy to envisage the people moving around these places.

 I was actually disappointed when I reached the end of Tipping Point; having believed that there would be some reassurance that all would be well for the characters (but probably that’s just me wanting a happy ending! Yes, the world has been destroyed but let’s just make another, less corrupt, more pleasant; one for everyone left…who, of course, will only be the ‘nice’ characters.). But there’s no such reassurance; things seem to be working out but then comes the great spanner in the works (I’ll leave you to find out what… because, of course, unlike me, you won’t be expecting a perfectly ‘sorted out’ denouement, will you? When I reached the end there were still so many unanswered questions; so much unresolved. 

 Terry Tyler has indeed produced a disturbing story. But it’s brilliantly written and it’s threaded through with hope and optimism; belief in the strengths of the human race. Nevertheless, I doubt I will ever be a true fan of dystopian novels… except the next one of the Project Renova series. As the author tells us, Lindisfarne, is  to be published in September 2017. I know I’ll be ordering that… and the final one.

 After that, unless Terry Tyler decides to stick to this genre, I ‘ll leave dystopian novels to other readers. But this one I can certainly recommend.

To be published 7th August – so not long to wait.

 

August 2016 is Write An Amazon Review Month! By @TerryTyler4 #AugustReviews

On Monday 25th July, book blogger Rosie Amber wrote this post encouraging readers and writers alike to post a short review on Amazon for any book they’ve read and enjoyed ~ following this up, Terry Tyler is starting this initiative along with other writer-bloggers including Rosie, Cathy from Between The Lines, Barb Taub, Shelley Wilson and Alison Williams.

 

The idea is that, from August 1st, everyone who reads this uses their Amazon account to post just one review on one book that they’ve read (but feel free to carry on if you get in the swing!).  You don’t even have to have read it recently, it can be any book you’ve read, any time.  The book does not have to have been purchased from Amazon, though if it is you get the ‘Verified Purchase’ tag on it; however, if you download all your books via Kindle Unlimited, as many do these days, they don’t show the VP tag, anyway.

 

Remember, this isn’t the Times Literary Supplement, it’s Amazon, where ordinary people go to choose their next £1.99 Kindle book.  No one expects you to write a thousand word, in-depth critique; I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to read one short paragraph or a couple of lines saying what an average reader thought of a book, than a long-winded essay about the pros and cons of the various literary techniques used.  Yes, those are welcome too (!), but no more so than a few words saying “I loved this book, I was up reading it until 3am”, or “I loved Jim and Vivien and the dialogue was so realistic”, or whatever!

Book-Review

Why should you write a review?

They help book buyers make decisions.  Don’t you read the reviews on Trip Advisor before deciding on a hotel, or any site from which you might buy an item for practical use?  Book reviews are no different.

If the book is by a self-published author, or published by an independent press, the writers have to do all their promotion and marketing themselves ~ reviews from the reading public is their one free helping hand.

The amount of reviews on Amazon helps a book’s visibility (allegedly).  If you love a writer’s work and want others to do so, too, this is the best possible way of making this happen.

It’s your good deed for the day, and will only take five minutes!

review books

Off we go, then!  A few more pointers:

If you need any help with writing your review, do click on Rosie’s post, above.

A review can be as short as one word.  The shortest one I have is just two 🙂

You don’t have to put your name to the review, as your Amazon ‘handle’ can be anything you like.

No writer expects all their reviews to be 5* and say the book is the best thing ever written; there is a star rating guide on Rosie’s post.

Would you like to tell the Twittersphere about your review?  If so, tweet the link to it with the hashtag #AugustReviews ~ and thank you!  I will do one blog post a week featuring these links: The #AugustReviews Hall of Fame (thank you, Barb!).

 

August Reviews Hall of Fame (1)

 

If you have a blog and would like to spread the word about #AugustReviews, please feel free to copy and paste this blog post, provide the link to it, re-blog it, or whatever ~ many thanks, and I hope you will join in to make this idea a success 🙂

 

 

 

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My Review of You Wish by Terry Tyler

I gave You Wish 5* out of 5*

The Blurb:

YOU WISH was the winner of the “Best Chick Lit/Women’s Lit” in the eFestival of Words 2013.

Do we control our own destiny – or might it be determined by fate, coincidence, luck…or even magic?

Ruth, an amateur psychic with a husband who smokes cannabis for breakfast, is haunted by a tragic event from her teenage years which, she suspects, was the result of a wish she made on an allegedly enchanted stone. Too embarrassed to admit her fears, she keeps her secret to herself for twenty-five years.

Petra is the perennial singleton amongst her friends, unable, she thinks, to fall in love. She comes across the stone at a Psychic Fair and makes a wish, just for fun. As the wish begins to come true she wishes she had chosen her words with more care.

Spoilt, weight-obsessed Sarah wants nothing more than to be “size zero”. As her life spirals downwards into the seedy world of drug abuse and addiction, she remembers the day at the Psychic Fair when she wished for her heart’s desire.

When Ruth learns of the fates of Petra and Sarah she is forced to confront her guilt and discover the truth about the Wishing Stone…

Terry Tyler’s début novel is a quirky contemporary drama exploring the themes of family affairs, infidelity and guilt, incorporating jealousy, drug abuse and the obsession of a Facebook stalker, against a backdrop of secrets and superstition.

I’ve read a few of Terry Tyler’s books and was looking forward to reading You Wish. I knew this was her first novel so, though I expected the plot, the themes and the characters to be as diverse, as multi-layered, as interesting as her later stories, I thought that her writing style would not be quite so polished; it’s well known that the more we write the better we get (usually!).  “Practice makes perfect”  they say ( I never found out who said it but it’s something that was drummed into me as a child with anything I did).

But I was wrong; this author hit the ground running with her début novel; not only does You Wish have all the ingredients I’ve enjoyed with her other books, but the writing is as superb, as individualistic as ever. Structured, as is usual with Terry Tyler, with each character’s story being smoothly interwoven with the others  but in separate chapters, the book is as unpredictable and enjoyable as any other I’ve read of hers.  I’m not in the least surprised it won the Best Chick Lit/Women’s Lit” in the eFestival of Words 2013.

The themes are more or less listed in the blurb. (Bit too much information here? I try not to give spoilers in my reviews – does this blurb, Hmm?). Themes of addictions, obsession, superstition, family issues and secrets, infidelity, guilt, jealousy are all encompassed in You Wish.

 I usually forget to say anything about the covers of the books I review but I do love the image of the stone here.

 The wish-stone is a metaphor for all the main characters’ hopes and dreams, initially unfulfilled. But while the  supernatural aspect of the book lurks throughout the story and within the characters’ sometimes reluctant belief in its magical powers, it doesn’t detract from the gritty reality of their lives. Told from a third person omniscient narrator’s  point of view the various aspects of each character’s mind-set is exposed by their actions, and their dialogue. These are well-rounded characters, each identifiable by their dialogue even without the tags. I found myself empathising, disliking and feeling irritated with each in turn.

The descriptions of the various settings are  well  portrayed; the reader is taken from ordinary domesticity to plush surroundings to seedy environments. All give a believable sense of place.

 This is yet another of this author’s books I  would recommend. I finished reading with just the one thought in my mind; we should all take note of the sub-title of You Wish: “just be careful what for.”

Links:

Amazon.co.uk:

http://amzn.to/1RMaYF6

Amazon.com:

http://amzn.to/1SHsXZE

My Review of Terry Tyler’s The House of York

 

The House Of York

 

Oh, I do like this author’s work! Readable, enjoyable, unputdownable (yes, I do know there is no such word but it expresses how I feel about Terry Tyler’s books!)

So to this, the latest: The House of York.

Not one to give out spoilers I pinched the blurb!

Widowed single mum, Lisa Grey, and wealthy businessman, Elias York, are young and madly in love.  A recipe for happiness?  But Lisa is marrying into a complicated family.  Her new sister-in-law doesn’t want to know her. Middle brother Gabriel’s marriage suffers under a cloud of infidelity and gambling debts, while the youngest, Richard, keeps his dark secrets well hidden—and his wife suffers in silence. Lisa and her mother are bonded by their powerful intuition, but dare not voice their fears about York Towers—or certain members of the family…. Love and loss, abduction, incestuous desires and murderous intent form the basis of this compelling saga in which horrors float just beneath the surface, to bring forth a shocking outcome. History lovers may be interested to know that The House of York is loosely based on events during the era of the Wars of the Roses

The complexity of the families involved and the relationships to other people reflect the similarities of human frailties and traits we can read about in fifteen-century plays and history books. And this is what I love; that people still have the same characteristics however far apart in time that they have lived. Everything in this novel portrays this.

The author’s strength is always how she brings her characters to life and The House of York is no exception. The reader is led through the story with each chapter told from the point of view of a different character. But these characters have a subjective view on those around them and, as such, are unreliable narrators; only in their revelations about themselves are they honest. There are good and evil characters in the story but, even so, there are so many different facets to each of them that, despite seeing the bad side of their personalities, it is difficult not to have empathy with each of them some of the time; they are all such brilliantly rounded characters.

And, throughout, the dialogue differentiates them all.

I also loved the way the descriptions of the settings in The House of York evoke such imagery. From the chilling descriptions of the room in the sinister York Towers – a room used for nefarious events by one of the darker characters – to a setting of a countryside walk of a different character; perhaps a metaphor for life, and used as foreshadowing for an event pivotal to the story.

There is a unique crossing of genres in all Terry Tyler’s books and this is no exception; history, thriller, mystery, crime and family saga weave together to make a fascinating read in brilliantly described settings. Her writing style flows, incorporating real life and normal situations with the intriguingly unusual and sometimes chilling. The plot circles around with many twists and turns, incorporating power struggles, personal intrigues and jealous secrets.

But never in a month of Sundays did I expect the ending!

The House of York is a novel that I thoroughly recommend.

Find a copy here:

Amazon.co.uk:

http://amzn.to/1lcqDjQ

Amazon.com:

http://amzn.to/1X6tGLV

ROSIE’S BOOK REVIEW TEAM #RBRT –

rosie3

My review of  Round and Round by Terry Tyler

I give it 4* – with great enthusiasm! 

Round And Round by Terry Tyler

Round and Round is yet another brilliantly clever novel by Terry Tyler. I can’t get enough of her books; somehow they keep finding their way to the top of my ‘to be read’ pile.

As usual, the narrative slips seamlessly along taking the reader into the world of the protagonist, Sophie Heron, fast approaching her fortieth birthday and looking back at her life. Each chapter focuses on different aspects of her choices. It’s a thought provoking read of ‘what if’

The characters are skilfully drawn with many facets to their personalities; something that is done in all this author’s book. And the dialogue differentiates each one. Enough said; if the characters come to life for me, a story works. Even the elusive Aunt Flick, long gone but still a magical, guiding presence in Sophie’s life, is believable; don’t we all have times when we think ‘what would …. have done?’  Add your own name there – bet it’s true for all of us. Whether Sophie heeds the advice, is something to be discovered by the reader.

 Excellent plot-line, great sense of place, skilful writing. Satisfying!! One for me to thoroughly recommend

 Find Round and Round here:

http://amzn.to/1FR8ewH

http://amzn.to/1BdbINl

An Interview With One of my Favourite Authors: Terry Tyler

Today I’m  interviewing Terry Tyler, one of my favourite authors.

 

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Please Introduce yourself

My name is Terry Tyler, and I am a self-published writer (which sounded a bit like “Hi, I’m Terry and I’m an alcoholic”, didn’t it?).  I write contemporary/family drama/saga mixed with romantic suspense and the odd bit of twisty mystery.  Yes, choosing my Amazon categories on publication is somewhat ‘challenging’…!  I’ve been writing novels for over 20 years (on and off), self-publishing since 2011 and have 10 books on Amazon.

What do you think it takes to stand out from the indie author crowd?

Two main things.  The first one being talent, though one would be forgiven for thinking that’s a dirty word these days.  There’s a whole industry built around books and courses telling you how to write, blog articles declaring that hard work is all, that as long as you never give up you’ll eventually ‘make it’, giving the impression that all you need is a laptop and a fair dose of tenacity and anyone can write a great novel.  Sure, they can if they like, but if the writer hasn’t got a genuine gift for the written word it won’t stand out.  As Zadie Smith said, you can either write good sentences or you can’t.  The second way that you’ll rise above the crowd is by understanding what catches the public’s eye.  This may mean fabulous titles and book covers, blog posts with something original to say, using social media intelligently and understanding about headlines/how to make the links you post appear click-worthy.  A huge subject; in short, it comes down to writing really good books and presenting them in such a way that people want to read to the end, review, tell others and carry on reading.

 What is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?

To to improve all the time and obtain a bigger readership.  That’s a rather flat and boring answer – sorry!  It’s what it’s all about, for me, though.

Do you only write one specific genre or are you multi-talented?

Ah – as I said, my books don’t fall into one specific genre.  For instance, two of them (Dream On and Full Circle) are light ‘rock’ romances (about a group of people trying to make it in the music industry, and their relationships), wheras Kings and Queens and Last Child are longer, family dramas about romantic complexity and big business.  I do hope to make a foray into historical fiction, because I’ve had a great idea rolling around my head for the past 15 years for a book based on past lives, and I want to write a post apocalyptic drama, too.  Two others on the ‘to be written’ list are a drama loosely based on the life of Kurt Cobain, and a novella on the theme of townie-girl-moves-to-the-country, which sounds a bit chick lit but it’s not.  Not that there’s anything wrong with chick lit, I hasten to add – I just can’t write it!

What facets of your life, both personal and professional, are woven into your book, if any?

Some.  Personal: I have put a few actual experiences in my books, but usually I tend to write fictional situations through insight gained by my own experience, or that which I have observed.  For instance, I don’t have children, but I’ve been a stepmother, am an aunt, and was around when many of my friends’ children were small; luckily, I have a good memory and am fascinated by human relationships!  Professionally, I only write about what I know, either from my own experience or that of people to whom I am or have been close.  I’ve had lots of jobs, and my social life over the past 40 years has taken me down many paths; there is much material!  Obviously I do have to do some research too, but I don’t put characters in situations about which I know nothing.

Did you have any surprises or hiccups along the way during the book writing and/or publishing process?

Anyone who says they haven’t is not doing it properly!  Writing presents difficulties and hiccups all the time, some of which are indeed suprising – I’ve just had to rewrite the first 30K of my new book because it wasn’t working, and I have a couple of abandoned novellas begun over the past couple of years, that I thought would be a breeze to write.  The publishing and marketing side is fraught with obstacles, and I learn new things every single day. 

You’re a fly on the wall when readers are discussing your book. What would you hope to hear them say about it?

Let me just sit back and smile to myself while I fantasise…!  Well, of course I’d love to hear them say that my books are some of the best they’ve read in ages, that they’ve thoroughly enjoyed them and can’t wait to read another – that’ll do for me!

What single piece of advice would you give new authors?

Your aim should be ‘to write a really fabulous book’, not ‘to be a published author’.

Describe where you do most of your writing. What would I see if I was sitting beside you?

I sit in a corner of the living room facing a wall, with a window to one side.  If you were sitting beside me you would see a pile of a4 paper with stuff scribbled all over it, an open dictionary, a cheap plastic fan balanced on a pile of books, a coffee stained coaster and – oh, thank you, the maid just came in and put a cup of coffee there!  It’s #contemporarydrama blend, freshly ground.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

The first draft.  I find it very hard to get the ideas from my head to the page, as so often they don’t end up as I have imagined them.  I am also aware that this is the bare bones, the basis for the (I hope) publishable novel, something I find quite daunting.

What are you working on now?

A dark-ish suspense-ish family/romantic/psychological drama based on the story of the Wars of the Roses

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t skimp on the editing and proofreading.  Spend as much time on and give as much attention to the re-drafts as you do the first one.  Make sure your plot is feasible, and that your characters don’t suddenly metamorphose into someone entirely different just to make the story work.

 

Who is your favourite author and what is it that you love about their work?

I can’t pick just one; can I name a few?

Deborah Swift – because she has the gift, in her historical fiction, of making the past come alive so vividly that I want to be IN the books.

Mark Barry – because he doesn’t do experimental for experimental’s sake, he does it because he knows what he’s doing, and is the most innovative and compelling ‘indie’ author I’ve come across.

Norah Lofts – what I said about Deborah Swift!

Dylan Morgan – because he’s one of the most gifted writers I’ve found when it comes to characterisation and dramatic impact.

Douglas Kennedy – because he is king of the cracking good yarn!

Okay, I’ll stop—I could go on forever on this one!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us in closing such as your website, an imminent book launch or what you’re working on presently?

 Alas, I have no imminent book launch and have already told you what I’m working on!  But I’ll give you the link for my blog, on which I write posts on anything from reading, writing and relationships, to my favourite TV programmes (I’m a Netflix addict), to all sorts of other miscellaneous rubbish:  http://www.terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/.  I also have a book review blog http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/ and I write articles about self-publishing for the UK Arts Directory http://ukartsdirectory.com/category/ukad-blogs/terry-tyler/.  I’m very active on Twitter https://twitter.com/TerryTyler4, and can be found on Goodreads, too, but not very often, and Facebook, but only when I think “oh God, I suppose I’d better go and do Facebook.”

 

Many thanks, Judith, for featuring me on your blog; I do hope it’s of some interest to your readers – and thank you for reading!

 And many thanks to you, Terry. And, because I can’t resist the covers of your books, here they are:

 

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ROSIE’S BOOK REVIEW TEAM #RBRT

Rosie's Book Review team 1

My review of Last Child by Terry Tyler

 My rating 5 out of 5 stars 

 

aa last child

I love being part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team #RBRT. I wish I had more time to read the books. I wish I wasn’t such a slow reader. I wish I’d discovered Terry Tyler’s books sooner. I wonder why she hasn’t got an agent (she doesn’t need one, probably doesn’t want one – still, I wonder why hasn’t she been snapped up?) I want to shout out, to ask why my local library hasn’t shelves displaying her brilliant covers. Am I being too effusive? Yes, but that doesn’t stop me; I am a huge fan of her work.

Last Child is both a brilliant stand-alone novel, and a sequel. I would advise anyone to read the first of (what I hope) is a trilogy. No pressure on the author there then! I would suggest reading Kings and Queens initially because, if you don’t you will not only miss out on a brilliant read but you won’t discover the wonderful beginnings of this cast of characters.

Told you I can go over the top when I’m enthusiastic.

Now I’ve got that off my chest – the serious stuff:

The plot follows the lives of the Lanchester family in much the same way that history records the (almost) parallel lives of Henry VIII and his wives and family (no chopping off of heads here though – but still plenty of intrigue). This contemporary take is hugely enjoyable and a balanced page- turner from the beginning.

The characters continue to evolve in a style that is unique to this author. They are rounded, they change, they grow, they are revealed – sometimes slowly, sometimes more subtly. But in the end I felt I knew each and every one of them as they share their own viewpoints to the narrative. And both the internal voices and the dialogue (so well written, I think), is individualistic to each of them.

I’ll mention just a few of the characters: Will: An understated character but one threaded throughout both novels, giving his own insight to the others and the lives they lead. Erin: (a contemporary Elizabeth I), energetic, determined to do the right thing, a little flawed but loyal. Isabella: (portrayed as a modern day Mary), vulnerable, yet embittered to such a degree her decisions are underlined with an unstable revenge. Jaz, Harry’s son, complex as any teenager, with an ability to evolve into an equally complex adult but…  Hannah, the nanny and short- time lover of Harry Lanchester, the founder of this dynasty; shown as the sustaining carer of this younger generation, competent, motherly, non- judgemental. Then there’s Jim Dudley, ruthless yet ultimately helpless; Raine Grey with her own devastating story; the dependable Robert Dudley, and his shallow wife, Amy.

I could go on and on – but I won’t. I think it only fair for readers to discover the characters and the story for themselves. Suffice it to say, all of them run the gamut of trials and tribulations that is life – with so much more than most of us, thankfully, avoid.

The settings, the fashion, the attitudes, the domestic lives and the world of business provide a solid backdrop to this book and truly reflect the epochs the novel is set in.

All in all a brilliant family saga, brilliantly written. I can’t recommend Terry Tyler’s work highly enough. Looking forward to the next book.

Find a copy here:

http://amzn.to/1JaPwTa

http://amzn.to/1yyYJV0