Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category




some links

Filed under: interviews, Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom, reviews, the web

I interrupt this Robert Downey Jr fest to post a few links, all about me, I’m afraid:

There’s an interview with me up today on the Minxes of Romance, where you can sign up for my newsletter to enter my contest for ARCs of GETTING AWAY WITH IT. If you haven’t already.

QVC presenter and lovely charming lady Debbie Flint has done a blog about my Cornerstones writing commercial women’s fiction course. There’s a video of my post-its, too.

There’s also a good roundup of the content of the course on Lisa Bodenham-Mason’s blog.

I did a guest blog about why CARS is the perfect movie for learning character arc and structure, on The Writing Playground.

There’s a fab review of NINA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF GLOOM on Singletitles.

And as always, don’t forget to check out my fabulous fellow bloggers on The Heroine Addicts.

Me…I’m trying to get this scene right! Agggh!!





Friday links

Filed under: contests, reviews, the web

It’s Friday! And that means it’s the last day for my contest to win a signed copy of Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom. Don’t forget to send me an email using the “contact” link, or leave a comment on this post if you want to enter. I’ll choose a winner tonight.

Meanwhile, I’m also guest blogging at the fabulous Romance Bandits, where I’m talking about gloom and spiders and also giving away a signed copy. There’s always a lot of conversation over there, so check it out.

I’ve also had my second review for Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom, by Debs at Novelicious, as part of their excellent Little Black Dress Thursdays feature. She gave it 9/10 and said it was “definitely a must-read book”.

You can read the rest of the review (and other LBD and chick lit reviews and news) here.





first review for Nina Jones

Filed under: Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom, reviews

I’ve just had a wonderful weekend with dear friends, the highlight of which was probably having a snowball fight in an ancient henge.

And got back home to find the first review for Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom, on It’s one of those lovely, thoughtful, personal reviews that you get sometimes when the reader has really related to your book and understood what it’s about. Here’s a bit of it:

It’s tricksy in many ways, this book, as you think initially Nina is one of those shallow chick lit heroines who is all shoes…blah blah…shopping…blah blah…London clubbing…blah blah but then you get the feeling that actually, maybe there’s something else going on. And the further you get drawn into the story the more you find that no-one is quite who they seemed to be. Not the crazy bat freak or the struggling father or the happily married couple or Nina. And even places behave differently, so that sunny Spain turns sweaty and sour and a bat watch in Highgate cemetery at dusk sees some rather heated passion amongst the gravestones…





who needs a review in the Sunday Times?

Filed under: Girl from Mars, reviews

My brother is awesome. This is his review of Girl from Mars.

Needless to say, it was great. You have a satisfying knowledge and respect for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Too many writers have ignored this brilliance for too long. I especially like the use of Klingon… Also, I smile when I see a reference to Michael Dorn, knowing that not many people are familiar with this particular thespian.

Sorry, I just get a little worked up about Star Trek. The book is awesome.





some Girl from Mars reviews

Filed under: Girl from Mars, reviews

Here are some of the reviews I missed when I didn’t have internet access. I’ll slash them a bit for my “Reviews” page, but you, my dear blog readers, will get longer versions because—well, because, damn it, it’s All About Me. And besides, I have to let Great-Uncle Dick know. Right, Dick?

Girl from Mars
Five Minutes’ Peace
We all know a good book can keep you awake until the small hours whilst you scramble to finish it. When you’ve been up since the crack and driven for miles with a baby and small boy yet still want to keep your eyes open to see how the book ends, the chances are that this is some kind of fabulous book. Girl From Mars by Julie Cohen is most definitely to blame for the bags under my eyes.

All About Romance
In my eyes, Julie Cohen manages to describe spot on what goes on inside a woman who really does not know how to be a woman, how to dress, to flirt or just to normally interact with strangers (the novel is written in the first person). I also loved the way that her relationship with Jim and Digger is described. They are in a rut indeed and need to get out of it, but there is a great deal of loyalty and sweetness there that is admirable and valuable, and although they are gently made fun of, they are also described with sensitivity and understanding.

I also loved reading about “Girl from Mars” and the whole artistic process that goes into creating a comic book. I really longed to read those comics myself! …What I loved best about the book is how Fil, and to some lesser extent, the other characters, develop: They grow, but they don’t abandon where they come from, tempering their individuality with some maturity instead.
(B+, strongly recommended)

Mrs Giggles
Girl From Mars is a pleasant read because it’s like an adult version of a movie by John Hughes. In fact, I can easily envision Molly Ringwald playing Fil, heh. As someone who adore the cheesy melodrama of those movies back in the 1980s, I find that there are much similar cheesy nerd angst here that I simply adore reading about. I can’t help experiencing a “been there, done that, here’s the T-shirt” feeling as I read this story because I can certainly relate to these characters. Nerd cliques aren’t solely about friendship – they also allow the members to use each other to validate their own existence. Losing a member of the clique to those people means that there is one less friend that a lonely social misfit can relate to, and also, it means that there has to be something wrong with the lonely social misfit if his or her friend can become “accepted” while he or she can’t. It’s more than friendship being on the line here, it’s also a blow to the self-esteem.

About Books—Especially Romances
Girl from Mars is a great book. Fil, her friends and Dan are great characters and I loved reading about Fil and Dan and how their relationship evolves. But I also enjoyed the platonic friendship between Fil and her male friends. I can absolutly understand why Fil is afraid of change and that’s why I love that in the end she understands that change can be positive and beautiful and is finally ready for it. I can sincerely recommend this awesome book about love and friendship to all fans of romances.





beauty (sort of)

Filed under: about me, All Work and No Play, reviews

I’m a big fan of the urban legend website (so much so that I’ve got a project in the works about an urban legend or two), and I was scrolling through the What’s New section and found this article, about what happened on a day in January 2007 when world-famous violinist Joshua Bell played in the New York City subway for an hour, incognito.

It was part of an experiment: do people have time for beauty in their daily lives? Do they recognise true art when it’s packaged as a subway busker?

Bell earned $32 in loose change, and the only people who significantly paused to listen to the Bach he was playing on a $3.5 million violin, were children.

As the mother of a toddler, I know this is true. Fecklet loves music of every form, and when he hears someone playing on the street, he stops to listen and sometimes to dance. This is wonderful because it gives me the excuse to stop, too. (I don’t usually dance.) We had a lovely time listening to the Salvation Army bands at Christmas, for example. And I’d like to think, as a creative person myself, I do stop to appreciate beauty whenever I can. But I know that often I’m guilty of hurrying past things of beauty when I’m preoccupied; not just buskers, but a beautiful flower bed, an enchanting sunset, a bunch of ducklings, a splendid building. Sometimes I don’t pay proper attention to conversations with people I care about, or really appreciate well-crafted prose.

I think Bell’s story is profound in this way, that it reminds you to appreciate the beauty around you, because you never know what you may be missing. It’s also profound in that it reminds us that as a culture, we value the most what we’re told to value. The tickets to Bell’s sold-out concert two days before cost $100. I bet those people in the audience appreciated every note.

Context is everything, and packaging can have a significant effect on how something is perceived. I’ve had a small experience in that way myself, with my book All Work and No Play… The beginning of the story is based on mistaken identity, and both my editor and I saw it as a sort of screwball comedy scenario. It’s stupid, but it’s meant to be stupid, a fun game with the reader. EXCELLENT!!There are jokes about Clark Kent and Superman, the hero’s best friend talks like he just finished an Excellent Adventure with Bill and Ted, and the story ends with a bit of ironing-board surfing. Dude.

In the UK, it was packaged as a light-hearted romance; the title, the blurb, the cover all said “sexy, fun, playful”. Likewise in France. In both of those places, the reviews have treated the book like a sexy, light read, and have mostly mentioned how fun the story is. For example, this French review uses comedy itself to describe the book.

In the USA, it was called Mistress in Private, and released in the high-drama, high-passion Harlequin Presents line, with a very serious blurb. My American reviews have pretty much said that the mistaken-identity plot is unbelievable, the “mistress” blurb is misleading, and the story is silly rather than dramatic.

I totally accept that my plot was stupid, because I personally couldn’t stop laughing at it, and I have a dumb sense of humour. But I do think that the packaging in the UK and France helped to prompt readers to suspend their disbelief enough to enjoy the story. Not that I’m moaning…Harlequin Presents is the world’s best-selling romance line, and it’s awesome to be part of it. And I’m very far from being a world-class violinist playing on a subway.

But the story gives me two lessons: Stop for beauty. And try to judge things for what they are, not for their context.

Addition: Janet gave me this link to the Washington Post story article where the Bell story originally appeared. It includes video links, too.





links links links

Filed under: B. H. Dark, contests, reviews

It’s reviews and contests and auctions and achievements this weekend.


First, the auction for Jo Leigh is going on all this week, and the items are really fantastic. Go here to check out the full list on eBay. I’ve got copies of ONE NIGHT STAND and HONEY TRAP up for sale. Especially if you’re in the US, this would be a great way to get hold of them, because I’ll cover the shipping and you won’t have to worry about exhange rate problems.

On the other hand, you can win a totally free copy of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS by B.H. Dark (aka me and Kathy Love), and a lot of other books, in Moira Roger’s holiday contest, on her website, here.

Don’t forget, too, the Samhain contest to win a Kindle e-book reader and books, which is still going on here.


The Oxford Times has called HONEY TRAP “a dark, edgy, unusual romance.” Yay!

Fallen Angels Reviews has given CLOSE ENCOUNTERS 5 Angels and called it “a humorous joyride of a novel populated by rich colorful characters and cartoonish space aliens”. Yay yay!!


And finally…go congratulate Biddy at the Pink Heart Society for finishing her novel and getting it off to the Golden Heart in the nick of time!

(P.S. No gross spillages yet today, but the day is still young.)

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Honey Trap review

Filed under: Honey Trap, reviews

Part of my fireworks feeling yesterday was caused by a 5/5 review of Honey Trap on Trashionista. But I didn’t want to spoil the pretty picture, so I saved it for today. In part, it says:

…this book is part romance, part sass, part funny and part mystery. It is also incredibly sharp with both a tight plot and dialogue.

I was gripped from the first sentence, Sophie Tennant had never seen her date in real life, but she knew he was brown-eyed, brown-haired, slightly built, and a scumbag. I then couldn’t put it down until the end. In fact I even tried to go to sleep but ended up switching the light back on to read more.

And it got a squeal, too.



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