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Not All Are Equal – Gilded Cage by Vic James

It seems like forever ago now when I stumbled across the name Vic James, or as Wattpadders know her ‘JayVictor’.

Having just joined Wattpad, Vic happened upon my freshly Featured short story The Fan, a commentary on the sometimes obsessive and unhealthy side of fandoms, and her name flashed up on my notifications feed.

By that point, I’d become slightly disillusioned with the concept of being a Featured writer on Wattpad, having lost the dizzy afterglow some weeks before, when readers descended upon the story in their thousands. My notifications had blown up and I was lost in a chaos of inane comments that left me feeling despondent and despairing that someone would actually provide some constructive feedback on the story itself, rather than tell me which fandom they belonged to, berate me for the character’s foul language (‘it’s limited vocabulary, don’t you know?’) or to tell me that ‘you spelt grey wrong. It’s G-R-A-Y. Spell things correctly, author!’

Then one day, Vic appeared, and I was surprised (and touched) to discover that not only was The Fan the first story she had chosen to read on Wattpad, but that she had zero interest in telling me which fandom she belonged to and actually had something meaningful to contribute. A spark of something constructive that revived my love for the story and gave me the gusto to dive back into the comments board and interact with my readers. After that, I saw Vic’s name crop up quite a bit on my newsfeed as she navigated her way through the site and I even added her story – back then known as Slavedays – to my extensive To-Read list.

Now, I’m going to be honest here.

Slavedays wasn’t top of my list in terms of priority reads.

I didn’t do dystopian. Dystopian had suddenly become one of those trendy genres and I usually like to avoid trendy fiction as much as I possibly can. Remember when Fifty Shades came out and then everyone was writing about millionaire (or even billionaire) CEO’s with a penchant for whips and red rooms? Or when Twilight became huge and everyone was writing about vampire-werewolf love triangles and imprinting wolves and completely forgot that vampires weren’t always sparkly? Hunger Games…. Divergent …. none of it really caught my attention and so, I tended to avoid anything dystopian. To me, dystopian fiction was like your Great Aunt Gertrude, the one you avoided at family gatherings because she liked to spit on a hankie and wipe your face clean while overpowering you with the stench of lavender and moth-balls.

Yeah, dystopian was my least-favourite Aunt.

But still… I liked Vic immensely, having met her at the very first London Wattpad convention (she asked me to attend) and I found myself wanting to read it, just as I often do when I like the author – call it a sense of author-loyalty, if you like. Plus, the book had picked up a lot of attention, winning a Watty Award in 2014 and I knew that I needed to get past my snobby dislike of trend and just read the blooming thing.

Alas (for me) by then, Vic and Slavedays had been signed up by PanMacmillan and the book was removed from Wattpad (the old cover and prologue is still there) and by the time I wanted to read it, I had to wait just like everyone else. Damn it.

But hey, isn’t it just GREAT when you can honestly say that something really was worth the wait??

With the newly-named Gilded Cage downloaded on my Kindle before Christmas (the paperback is out in the UK on 26th January), I finally managed to secure some read-time and settled down at the weekend to dive in, having only managed to find time to read a couple of chapters when it was first released on ebook.

Shockingly, I don’t read nearly as much as I used to, what with work, commuting, motherhood and writing now filling up my schedule but you can rest assured if I put the writing to one side to read – and by read, I mean CONSUME – then you KNOW it’s a bloody good book.

The story focuses on the fate of the Hadley’s, an average family torn apart when they are committed to doing their slavedays – 10 years of compulsory servitude to the Equals, the ruling aristocracy of the land, who rule because they are gifted with Skill, a magical power passed from generation to generation and which sets them apart from the commoners. In a cruel twist of fate, the Hadley’s (almost seventeen year old) son Luke is separated from his family and forced to undertake his slavedays at Milmoor, the grim, brutal industrial slave town, while his mum, dad and two sisters get to serve the infamous Jardines, one of the most powerful families of all the Equals.

At Milmoor, Luke learns quickly, trying to avoid the baton of the security guy Kessler who has taken an instant dislike to him, while also trying to make sure he isn’t crushed by the colossal machinery in the workhouse everyday. Back at Kyneston, the Jardine family estate, the rest of the Hadley’s have seemingly a better lot in life and are put to work serving the strange and powerful Equals.

We soon discover that life isn’t all that it seems in either Milmoor or Kyneston, and both Luke and his family, discover that adapting to their new lives brings more surprises and twists than they could ever have imagined.

The contrast between the grey, dirty almost Dickensian world of Milmoor and the sumptuous luxury of Kyneston couldn’t be more pronounced and I adored dipping back and forth between POV’s, creeping with Luke along the grimy back alleys of the slavetown and then wandering the halls of the Jardine’s stately home with Abi Hadley and her Equal masters. As usual, I am always envious of anyone who writes third person really well, as I really don’t, and Vic definitely nails her characters, giving us just enough tempting insight into each mind to leave us desperately wanting more. The narrative was compelling and I was torn throughout as the story led me through countless possibilities as to who I could trust and who I couldn’t and just when I thought I had it all worked out, I was right back to square one again.

Individual POV’s and plot lines are interwoven within the backdrop of political agenda, secrets and lies and civil unrest, all boiling within this huge cauldron of simmering tension that keeps you turning the page. Added into the mix is the mystery and wonder of the Equals Skill, awe-inspiring and, at times, quite terrifying to behold, in particular I thought, the power of the sinister Silyen Jardine (a particular favourite of mine) and the as yet unknown twisted intent of Lord Crovan (I can’t wait to find out more about him!).

It wasn’t until I reached the jaw-dropping end (and yes, its F-ing jaw-dropping) that I had to sit back and remind myself:

I DON’T DO DYSTOPIAN!!!!

Yet apparently now, I do. Who’d have thought it?

I’m not even going to lie. Gilded Cage rocked my world at the weekend and the truth is, I wasn’t expecting it to, despite the fact there’s been such an industry buzz about this book brewing for months now. Bloggers are talking about it. Industry experts are talking about it. Readers are loving it. I loved it.

If you want a book that’ll have you reeling for days, this is it.

If you’re like me and dystopian fiction is your Great-Aunt Gertrude, or Millicent, or Antonia, read this book. Seriously. Just read it.

If you’re already a big YA Fantasy fan and you’re looking for your next favourite read …well, you catch my drift already, I’m sure.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, this anti-dystopian reader is off to rage at Vic James on every social media account she has, to demand more words. OR ELSE.

FIVE BIG MAGICALLY SKILLED STARS!!!

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5 Reasons I’m Looking Forward To London WattCon 2016

My Shelf & Myself

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In 2014, Wattpad held their first London WattCon. I went, and it was so much fun, so of course I had to go to the next one the following year! This Saturday (3rd December, from 11:30 to 17:00), I am attending the London WattCon 2016, and I am infinitely excited. Jess (bookendsandendings) is also a Wattpad ambassador, and is needed slightly earlier, so I’m going with her to help set up.

I used to be completely obsessed with Wattpad. In fact, I used to have a story up on there that reached 10k reads before I unpublished it (it was a story I’d started writing aged 12, I’m sure you can understand why I wanted it deleted from the internet). Now I just like to read on it when I have time, but I still think it’s an amazing platform and love going along and joining in with…

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New Story Inspired by the new Movie “Ouija: Origin of Evil

Holy guacamole! 

Wattpad writer, Lindsey Clarke ( a.k.a. LittleCinnamon ) has been commissioned by Wattpad and Universal  Pictures to write a story inspired by the new and upcoming movie,  Ouija: Origin of Evil.   

I´ve been a fan of writer Lindsey Clarke for a some time now and judging by her previous works she´s one hell of a storyteller! Fans of Horror and dark fiction will absolutely LOVE what this author has created with `Between Screams and Silence`.

Story Description

Following the traumatic birth of her daughter, Kathleen-Anne spirals into depression and struggles to cope with her newborn baby.
Desperate to put some life back into the wife he adores, husband Rheemus suggests that she takes some time out to have some fun with her friends and Kathleen-Anne reluctantly finds herself at the home of Barbara Arden, the town medium.
Invited to take part in a séance with the spiritualist…

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Blood Dark by Lindsay J. Pryor – Review Time! 

It dawned on me while reading Blood Dark – the latest instalment of Lindsay J Pryor’s gritty, dystopian paranormal saga Blackthorn – that this series has become the ONLY series that I jump on as soon as it’s released. It’s the one I count down the days to a new release. It’s the one I devour as soon as it’s published. It’s the one I pimp out to anyone who will listen. In fact, I can’t quite remember a time when Blackthorn didn’t exist. It’s become one of those landmark book discoveries of my life – sitting alongside childhood classics from the likes of Enid Blyton and Judy Blume to my first foray into adult horror from King, Koonzt and Herbert. 

It also dawned on me while reading, that Blood Dark is definitely my favourite of the series so far – and yes, I am well aware I say that every time but this time I really mean it. Now, of course, I have a feeling I’ll be living my own Groundhog Day after the next release, but right now, it’s definitely all about Blood Dark

Why? Because after four books in which Lindsay has introduced us to the world of Blackthorn, its residents, its dangers, its politics, its uber hot heroes (or anti-heroes if you prefer) and kick-ass heroines, book five is where it really all starts to come together! It’s always a mystery to me how Lindsay manages to keep upping the ante each time because quite often sequels (and long-running series in particular) have a tendency to fall a bit flat, failing to recapture that magic of the first book and veering off on a long-winded and slightly disappointing tangent, but there’s never been any fear of that with Blackthorn! Each book is more intoxicating than the last and with each book comes more threads expertly woven together until we have an intricate spiders web of intrigue, mystery, excitement and (yes, yes, yes!) super hotness. 

Blood Dark takes us back to where it all started, with the irrestibly dark Kane Malloy and everyone’s favourite VCU agent Caitlin Parish and I must admit, having falling in love with each of Lindsay’s main men in turn, I was pleasantly surprised to discover my love for Malloy was completely rekindled – sorry Jask (I still love you!). As always with Blackthorn, Blood Dark had me trying to second guess every move and word of Kane and Caitlin, as they try to live with the aftermath of all the revelations of Blood Shadows (Book one). I’m not going to go into detail on the story itself because that’s just going to lead me down Spoiler Street and let’s face it. nobody wants to go there, but suffice to say, as with all the Blackthorn books, I spent the whole time never knowing quite who to trust and rejoicing in the fact that Blackthorn is always so tantalisingly unpredictable. Chuck in the ever present shadow of the sinister Global Council, the ghoulish quality of the chilling fourth species showing up in every nook and cranny and not to mention the chance to get all our Blackthorn boys together, if you haven’t shown your allegiance to Team Blackthorn yet, now is definitely the time to don your fan girl t-shirt! 

Blood Dark gave me everything I could have wished for and more….excitement, chills, cold-shower moments and YES even tears! 

A five star read all the way – in fact, if I could, I’d give it a gazillion more! 

Now all I have to do is wait for the next instalment …..*sighs* 

  

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Happy Easter my lovelies!
I’m buzzing from my second review – this time for Lost Creatures, book two in the Dark Sanctuary series!
Thank you Jules and Tina….looking forward to all your future book recommendations. Wishing you much success with the blog xoxo

Divas Book Blog

LC

HA! We were waiting to review this one.” Lost Creatures” is the second Book from the Dark Sactuary Series. After we finished ” Dark Sanctuary” we felt like someone poured a bucket of water over our heads. Not a great feeling at all! We hunted ” Lost Creatures” down and immediately started reading Sarah and Michaels adventure. Aaah, Michael….well….we´ll get to him later.:-) Sarah continues to bump into supernatural beings who continue to chase her down want her dead. This Book has so many twisting events that left us constantly surprised during every page. We´ve read alot of books where, at some point, we hoped the scene would change immediately because it was either *cough cough* boring or just not so important. Linzi Clarke made sure that that wouldn´t happen with this book. And bless her for that! We met new characters in this book that we learned to love…

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I can’t tell you all how excited I am for Michelle Muto’s new book! Having read Michelle’s Don’t Fear The Reaper and The Book of Lost Souls, I know this book is not going to disappoint and destined to be a big success. Michelle has a real talent for reeling in her readers with fantastic story lines, captivating characters and edge-of-your-seat action. Please keep your eyes peeled for the release date!

Michelle Muto

I haven’t kept it a secret that I’ve been working on a new book. But until now, I haven’t shared much information. But the time has come to spill the beans. The new book is titled: The Haunting Season. The cover artist is no other than the fab Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations. The Haunting Season is  Mature YA due to sexual content, language, and some violence. Before anyone asks, no – The Haunting Season is NOT a sequel to either The Book of Lost Souls or Don’t Fear the Reaper. Those are still in the works. I’ll update this post with the release date shortly. Stay tuned! And of course, if you’d like to be part of the cover release or the book tour, drop me a note.

Here’s the premise of The Haunting Season:

Be careful what you let in…

Siler House has…

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I’m on Wattpad!

Thanks to the lovely Jeannette (@AutismMumma) I have finally reached out to a slightly wider audience of readers than my twitter, FB and blog friends and joined Wattpad.

If you have never heard of Wattpad – and don’t worry as I didn’t have a clue about it until this week – it is a free e-book reader app for such devices as the iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Kindle Fire and not only is it a chance to read stories of all genres, it is also a chance for writers of all genres to get their work out there to a much wider readership.

Jeannette kindly sent me a link to a great article about a young writer called Abigail Gibbs. If you haven’t heard of Abigail, chances are that you will very soon, or at least your teenage kids will be the ones to tell you all about her, as Abigail has recently been signed up by Harper Collins after an agent read excerpts from her novel The Dark Heroine on Wattpad.

Originally posted under the title Dinner With A Vampire. Did I Mention I’m Vegetarian?, in three years Abigail has amassed over seventeen million reads on Wattpad. If you’re a fan of young adult fiction, I would urge you to take a look. In fact if you’re an aspiring writer, I would urge you to check it out as having started writing this when she was just fifteen, I have to say that I am seriously impressed by the quality of Abigail’s work, although she herself apologises for any ‘horrific errors’ you might come across. Well, regardless of any grammatical errors that might be discovered, I wish I could have written anything nearly as good when I was just fifteen. In fact, I’ve seen worse writing by some adult authors so kudos to Abigail. I think she’s a great role model for young writers and proof that it really doesn’t matter how old you are, you can get your writing out there and get noticed.

So, I decided to check out Wattpad for myself. You can choose from many different genres, become a fan of your favourite Wattpad writers and vote for your favourite stories.

Yesterday I uploaded three short stories that I have previously posted on here: Cakes, The Stairwell and A Lily-Rose By Any Other Name. I am considering whether to post excerpts from Dark Sanctuary. I’ve always resisted doing much else with the vamp series, other than post the odd excerpt on here, but I guess posting on Wattpad isn’t too different from posting on my blog and also I’d be opening myself up to a wider audience of people who would probably not ordinarily stumble across my blog.

I would love if some of you would check me out on Wattpad, I’m under the username LittleCinnamon – please feel free to drop by and show me some support, as always, I am extremely grateful for anyone who takes time out of their day to read my stuff :-). Please go to http://www.Wattpad.com or download the app via the app world on your device.

Below are the covers I made for the short stories – nothing special I’m afraid, I’m certainly no cover artist, but these will do, even if just on a temporary basis.

Oh and also, whilst I’m here, please also check out Jeannette’s great daily blog http://bluecrisps.wordpress.com – Jeannette’s daughter has autism and reading this blog has really opened my eyes as to what it is like to raise an autistic child. The blog is emotional, uplifting, thought-provoking and always inspirational. You can also follow Jeannette on twitter @AutismMumma

 

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