Friday, 24 September 2021

Review Of XOXO Piper by Ginger Li

I knew Asher Thompson was trouble the moment he stepped into my grandmother’s cafe.

1. He hates donuts.

2. He hates chocolate.

3. He hates me.

Ash may be East Beach High’s valedictorian and captain of the water polo team, but to me, he’s always been a grade-A jerk.

Now, I'm taking on a project to help a local preschool, and guess who shows up to plan the fundraiser?

Yup. Him.

It doesn't make any sense. Why would Ash help someone he hates so much? And why does my heart race every time he’s near?


My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up in the mood for a nice feel-good romance and it was not a disappointment. Piper is sure of many things about her new start, and Asher is desperate not to let anything distract him from his own goals. The story was engaging from the first page, and I ended up finishing it in one sitting. I adored the dynamic between the characters and have pre-ordered the second in the series and can’t wait to dive into that. The twists along the way just made the book even better and so very relatable. I adored the book, and this is a series that I will be following for a while. Highly recommended for all those who love a good young adult contemporary romance.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021



Tara has to be careful who she gets close to, and Cassie is no different...


 [ID: A blurred blue background with yellow leaves just visible with the title DYING THOUGHTS - SECOND SIGHT at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback just above it. The except reads:

I knew there was no point in arguing it with him. Cassie seemed like a nice girl, she had no necklace for me to get a vision from and as long as her clothes hadn’t been worn by somebody who’d died recently I should be okay.
I mean, lightning never strikes in the same place twice, right?

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, in the bottom left corner is the Readers' Favorite 5 star review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday, 20 September 2021

When You Feel Like Giving Up - The Creative Process



As someone who has been writing for over twenty years, and has been published for over sixteen now, I just want to preface this by saying that this happens to us all. There is no writer, or creative, but let's stick to writer, out there who hasn't had moments when it just feels like it's all falling apart or going wrong and they just want to throw in the towel and call it a day. It's normal, it happens, and whether you do give up or not is a personal choice, and I'm not here to judge anyone for those.

However, before you put down your pen, and decide that this writing life is just not for you, I would implore you to just read what I have to say, and see how it feels to you. Writing is isolating and hard, and I'm never going to be someone who says differently, but there can be explanations for that giving up feeling, that aren't anything to do with a need to end the whole thing forever.

For example, if you're burned out, then taking a break, getting away from the writing for a while is always a good option. It might be that as things progress, you find yourself relighting that spark that drew you to your current project and be ready to jump back in. Sometimes, it's simply that outside stressors are causing you to feel like you can't go on with writing this project for whatever reason. I'd advice again to take that break, deal with the stress as you can, and re-evaluate later.

But then there are times, when that stressor, or that burnout, or that imposter syndrome is a loud voice in your ear and you can't ignore it any longer and sometimes, it's just not going to go away. It doesn't matter how much of a break you take, this stress is the new normal and you can't see a chance of ever going back to writing any kind of project, let alone the one you've been working on for a while. Sometimes the burnout drains you to the point where it doesn't matter how long you stay away, that project is forever tainted and you will never again find your spark for it. So what happens then?

You take a breath, and you really ask yourself some hard questions. Do you want to keep writing? Do you feel like changing to a different project will help? If you have a deadline, can it be moved? If you don't have a deadline that's set in stone, do you think that maybe changing it massively would help? Like for example if you'd need to write for an hour or two every day to meet that original deadline, could you cut it down to thirty minutes and adjust the deadline as appropriate? It's about finding what works for you, about finding a way to move forward without making yourself feel worse.

I know a lot of that above paragraph is questions with no answers, and that's simply because I can't answer them for you. I'm not you, I don't know your life, and your obligations, but I can say that asking yourself those questions and more may help you get to the point where you know what your next step is. It may not, it might be that you realise that no matter how much you want to keep writing, whether an individual project, or at all, it's just not possible right now.

I hear you, and I feel that pain. When I was doing my degree, I couldn't fit writing into the schedule. I had too many other commitments and it just wasn't going to happen. I went literal years without writing anything on my current projects, but I did come back to them, and those projects are now books that have been published for a while. My point is simply that just because you have to stop for a period doesn't mean you have to stop forever. Even if it takes you years to come back, that's okay.

Just remember to look after yourself, be kind to yourself, and do what is best for you. It takes as long as it takes, and that's okay.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below.

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books

Friday, 17 September 2021

Review of Can't Catch My Breath by Sarah Sutton



After losing my dad in a car accident, I’d rather pretend things are okay than be crushed by the grief and the guilt. Some might say that’s “living in denial,” but my friends buy the fake smiles, and my mom doesn’t seem to notice…or care.

And I’m doing great until I’m randomly paired with Vincent Castello, the most intimidating senior at Greenville High, for a class project. He’s my complete opposite—broody, moody, and he even has a lip ring. Interviewing any other classmate for this assignment would’ve been easy, but interviewing Vincent? Nearly impossible.

Because the car accident that killed my dad? It left Vincent’s father paralyzed.

Despite the awkward ice-breaker, I find myself drawn to Vincent. He sees past the mask I put up and he makes me laugh, something that I haven’t done in a long time. As we get closer, I realize that our worlds might not be that different.

Until something happens that changes it all.

I have to make a choice: can I put the past behind me, or will I let the grief and guilt of the accident consume me, and lose the guy who truly takes my breath away?


My Review: 5 STARS

I’ve been rapidly making my way through Sutton’s books and this one is my favourite so far. The raw grief and emotions in the story had me in tears at some points. Addy and Vincent were just so perfectly created and with every hurdle in their way. The way the author penned Addy’s journey through loss just felt so very real, and hit the mark every single time. I have fallen in love with Sutton’s writing style and will be looking for all the new books she may have coming in the future. This one is a tear-jerker, but that ending? Oh god, it was perfect! Highly, highly, recommended!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021



Hope is pretty sure her sister will never be her friend, even when she's trying to help...


 [ID: A cracked yellow background with the title LYNNE & HOPE at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback just below it. The except reads:

“Yeah, well I can’t let you into my lab because the last thing I need is you touching something and contaminating the evidence.”
“I wouldn’t.”
“Yeah, right.”
“Lynne, I’m fifteen, I’m not stupid, if you told me not to touch anything I wouldn’t.”
“Whatever,” Lynne said, in her usual exasperated tone. Now, I know I’m supposed to be working on my relationship with her but she pissed me off. She just couldn’t see me for who I was, when she looked at me she saw this immature child who took the attention away from her. She’s just a bitter spoilt brat and I told her so as I swivelled my chair around and headed out to reception.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, in the bottom left corner is the Readers' Favorite 5 star review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday, 13 September 2021

5 Facts About My Current WIP: Keep Your Secrets



Last week I gave you five facts about my other current WIP called Project: Diagnosis (found here) and this week I thought I would do the same for my other one, which is Keep Your Secrets. I do love sharing these facts with you all and filling you in on what's going on with my characters and writing journey.

So Keep Your Secrets is a YA paranormal/mystery, Sara is fifteen and was considered a gulfer until recently because she hadn't developed her psychic ability until then. In this world, you normally develop at eleven and then go off to do your specialised schooling depending on your ability. While starting at a new boarding school, she struggles to make friends, and ends up finding herself able to do things other psychics can't do. She gets pulled into the mystery of who's stalking one of the more popular girls and all that goes along with it.

I have been writing more disabled characters lately and Sara is no different. As well as being psychic, she also has the kind of lung condition that I myself have. She's prone to wheezing, struggles with stairs, and finds herself struggling to keep up when it comes to the physical parts of her schooling. I wanted to write another character like this because too often my condition is unknown and I know that at fifteen I'd have loved to have seen a character like myself on the page.


There are four known psychic abilities: telepathy, telekinesis, influencer, and pryokinesis. Usually it's genetic and so you'll pick up one, or sometimes both, of your parents ability. Sara is a gulfer, i.e someone who didn't present with any abilities, until the day she ended up with two, both telepathy and telekinesis. She really struggles with the idea of finally making her parents proud after so long as being seen as someone who wouldn't amount to anything in the psychic world.


Gatherweed is mostly a psychic school, but it also allows for some regular students to board and attend alongside the psychics. Because being a psychic is such a high-class ability, these regular students are usually from well-off families and are looking to cement themselves with connections for their future. Sara was always due to go to Gatherweed at eleven but when she didn't present, she went to a normal school until the day she did. She's starting off in the tail end of the school year and she has a ton to catch up on in regards to psychic ability.


Sara has picked up how to control her telekinesis and telepathy really really fast, to the point where she realises that she's more adept at what she can do than some of the people in her year who have been getting their lessons from age eleven. She can use her telekinesis to move massive objects, easily pick up on thoughts and also do something she's not really sure anyone else can do. It's not all good though, because it seems to bring about the wrong kind of attention.


This story is paranormal/mystery so I would be remiss if I didn't hint at the mystery element. Sara doesn't make friends quickly, and when it becomes apparent that the one girl she kinda liked is in danger, Sara is quick to jump to her rescue, only there's more secrets to uncover, and there's a lot of things that the psychic youth haven't been told about the other races that live alongside them. Sara finds herself in the middle of all of it, and she might not be able to extract herself without massive harm coming to her.

So there we go, those are my five facts about my current WIP. I am just over the sixty percent mark with this book and I am loving where it's going, loving revealing piece by piece of the mystery element and also some of the world building that goes with it. Sara has been a fun character to write and to get to know, and I'm looking forward to writing the next two books in what might be a trilogy.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books

Friday, 10 September 2021

Review of A Girl From Forever by Yolanda McCarthy

 The secretive Forever Institute towers over London. Some say it’s a cult. Others call it mafia. To seventeen-year-old Fern, Forever is simply home, run by the scientists who created her. A home she’s never been allowed to leave.

Forever gave Fern everything. A body that will never age. Psychic abilities, if she can work out how to access them. A purpose: Fern will be part of a new dawn for humanity, although she’s never been told exactly how.

Then Fern is contacted by a cryptic telepath from outside the Institute, and learns some dark truths that make her question everything she’s been taught. Fern must sort truth from lies, and new loves from old loyalties, if she’s to survive the conspiracy surrounding her. But her new friend has secrets of his own…


My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because the blurb and cover called to me. The idea that there could be psychic abilities and a serum that allowed people to live forever. Fern was an amazing character, the narrative engaging from the first page and drawing you into the story as it twisted and turned along the way. I ended up having to finish the book in one sitting, desperate to know what happened, what would become of Fern and Rehan, and this is a series that I will be watching. Highly recommended to all who love a good paranormal/supernatural story.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Life Of Joey & Bi-Monthly Goals - September 2021 [CC]

 Telling you what I've been up to over the last month, and checking in on my goals, and setting new ones! #Authortube



Tuesday, 7 September 2021



Tara can't help what she sees, but she's sure Kaolin's dad didn't die naturally...


 [ID: A cracked yellow background with the title DYING THOUGHTS - FIRST TOUCH at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback just above it. The except reads:

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Matthew replied. “I was trying to get your money for you.”
“I wish I could believe that.” The shorter man turned to his companion and nodded. The second guy – who was heavily built and looked like the scariest of bouncers – removed a gun from the inside of his pocket, aimed at Matthew and fired. Matthew stayed in the corner, but his legs crumpled beneath him and he slid to the floor. Dead.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday, 6 September 2021

5 Facts About My Current WIP: Project: Diagnosis


It's that time again when I give you five facts about my current WIP, and this week I'm focusing on Project: Diagnosis. I've done this for the first two books in the series (Project: Witch Hunt & Project: Isolation) and am now in what I think will be the last book.

For those who don't know, the Abby Delany series is young adult, urban fantasy. Abby is 15, has undiagnosed conditions, and is also a witch. The world is set up such that witches are a dying breed but are slightly set apart from humans. The first book dealt with a witch hunt, and the second, and third, are the follow on from that. The story is set in 2020 and so there is a pandemic going on, but while I thought it would be a big part of the initial story, it's more there in the background, while Abby is trying to find some clue as to what's wrong with her.

By the end of the second book, Abby was already starting to display some new worrying symptoms that obviously have an impact on her day to day life. Now in book three, she's picking on more. With everything to do with the witch hunt still playing in the background of her life, Abby is starting to wonder if she'll ever get any answers, and if she does, will it be before or after her life is irrevocably changed?

With the whole trilogy, it has been clear that Abby is isolated from her peers, and beyond her three friends, she doesn't really have much support. Her parents are off and distant, more focused on other matters, and Abby is slowly becoming the one thing she is scared of most, a blank, losing her magic and her ability to keep up with her friends. At the same time, her coven is the rock holding her up. The four of them have been to hell and back, and they are not going to let Abby face any of this alone.

Abby was, before all of this, deemed a strong witch who would carry her family's magic into the next generation. Of course once she got sick, her magic well just got emptier and emptier, and it feels like no one, bar her coven, really cares about that. She's struggling to keep her head above water with her regular school work, and then there's the magic lessons that she can rarely take part in. With her parents so fixated on Abby doing well, she's not really sure that they'll even notice that she can't do the smallest spell. Boosters are a thing, but after the events of the second book, she's struggling to find a combination that doesn't make her feel worse.

With the events of the trilogy making it hard for Abby to know who's on her side, it's becoming clearer that she can't really trust anyone with even the simplest thing. People are lying to her, hiding things, and they're seemingly not caring just how much danger she's in. With her health faling even more, and answers becoming a thing of the past, Abby has to take a few leaps of faith in this book, and she doesn't know what will happen if she chooses the wrong person to trust.

I can't go into too many details here because of spoilers, but there has been an ongoing thread throughout the trilogy and of course, it will be wrapped up in this book. Since the witch hunt started, Abby has been sure that the answers, the truth coming out, will be her salvation, and I can promise you this. It's going to rock Abby to her core and I don't know if she'll be able to come back from it.

So there we go, five facts about Project: Diagnosis, I am loving getting to write the last book in Abby's story and I can't wait to share some facts with you about the other book I'm writing, check in next week to find out more about that!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below! 

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books

Friday, 3 September 2021

Review of If The Broom Fits by Sarah Sutton



I swear, I've got to be the only person on the planet that hates Halloween. At least the only person in my small town of Hallow, and they practically worship the holiday. Ugh.

And my ex-boyfriend, Lucas, thinks he can change my mind by making me take part in “festive activities.” Apparently carving pumpkins and watching scary movies is going to magically change my mind about the holiday? Yeah, right.

But I've never told anyone the truth of why I hate Halloween or the truth about why I broke up with Lucas. Definitely haven't told anyone how much I'm second-guessing that decision. Being around him is so much harder than I thought, especially when it looks like he's starting to move on...

And to top the crappiness of it all off, I got a letter in the mail from someone who broke my heart two years ago--my father.

My Review: 5 STARS

I remember when this first came out and I wasn’t sure if it would be my kinda book, and boy was I wrong. I was hooked from the first line, and ended up speed reading through it until into the wee hours, I had to know what happened to Blaire, had to know if things would work out. The story is pretty much a quick read, but I adored it. The characters are all so real, so well crafted that you can’t help but root for them, even when they’re doing something wrong. I adore the background characters too because they are all also so well rounded that you feel like you’re watching a movie play out. Highly recommended for anyone who loves a spooky Halloween romance, and enjoys good dynamics between the characters. 

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021



Tally has no idea what happened to her, but she's going to find out...


 [ID: A dark blue background with the title BLACKOUT at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback just below it. The except reads:

“She could be suffering from amnesia,” one doctor said. Well done, mate, I’m no doctor and I could have told you that!
“Okay. Any ideas as to which type?” There are types of amnesia? I never knew that.
“Hysterical,” another doctor said. Did he think this was funny or something?
“And this means?”
“That the patient has suffered such a traumatic experience that brain has blocked the experience from her. It is viewed, by some, as a psychosomatic form of amnesia. She may or may not remember what happened to her after time.”
Huh? I’d prepared myself for rounds I’ve watched ER, but hysterical amnesia?! Psychosomatic? Are they saying I’m going mad?

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, in the bottom left corner is a Readers' Favorite 5 star review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday, 30 August 2021

Beta & Alpha Readers - The After Process


I've talked about beta readers before, but that was a very long time ago, and I wanted to delve into the topic again with fresh eyes. So you've written a book, and whether you're going the traditional route or the indie route, you're going to want to have some feedback after revision, or before, or whatnot, and you're going to want it to be people whose opinions you can trust. This is where beta and alpha readers come in.

A lot of the time, people in the indie space only really talk about beta readers, or critique partners, and while an alpha reader can be a CP, there is a difference between the alpha and beta kind. As the names kinda suggest, the alpha reader comes first, and the beta readers will come after, but what's the difference between the two? Glad you asked because I'm gonna give you a beak down!

-> These are usually someone close to the writer, a loved one, a partner, a good friend, who reads the book as it's being written, before it's finished and before any kind of revision has been done. This is where it has some similarities with the CP because they'll do the same, but an alpha reader isn't always another writer. It might just be someone who wants to support the author, and/or likes the kind of fiction they're writing.

-> While, because of the closeness to the writer, you can't always assume that their feedback will be as honest as it needs to be, it's a perfectly valid way of sharing your work before you start to revise it. I've used both alpha and CP's at this stage, and while I don't use alpha's anymore, they can be useful for getting that initial impact of where the story is going. Remember that as a planster it can be a way for me to pick up on any themes or threads that I've missed, giving me a chance to make notes for revisions later down the line.

-> Alpha readers are not considered a necessary part of the publishing process. Unlike CPs, they're not really something that every single writer does, but that doesn't mean that you can't use them. If you're just starting out as a writer or an author, it can be a way to work out if you're going in the right direction. While I wouldn't recommend you use them instead of a CP or betas, they can be used in conjunction with them, and it's a great way to share the buzz with your friends and family.

-> Beta readers are readers within your target audience who read the work after completion and some revision, and offer feedback on the work itself. They can point out things like typos, but their main concentration is on whether the pacing works, that the story flows, any plot holes and the like that they've picked up on. There are usually a wide circle of betas, and you usually go through more than one round with them, using different betas each time to make sure you get a clear picture of what needs work and any changes made.

-> They are usually recruited by the author, whether that's other writers, or friends and family, is up to the author, but the main difference here is that there are many of them. Their feedback will allow the author to go back and make changes before going into a new round, with new betas, and seeing if the fixes make things work. Their feedback, because they're removed from the author, is usually a lot more honest, and genuine critique. While you might get the odd one or two who don't want to say anything bad, they're not always that helpful when you're asking for what doesn't work.

-> Beta readers are, usually, readers first and while you may, as I said, get some who are also writers, the distinction is that they are readers of that genre and category and have read other works, know the tropes and the like and approach the matter as a reader and not as a writer.

-> Betas are, depending on who you ask, considered a necessary part of the publishing process, especially if you're indie. They are the people who'll you go to before you start the professional edit. The process of going through round after round varies from book to book, but it's very much something that's needed along the way.

So there we go, the differences between beta and alpha readers. Like I said, I've used both, but I generally use CPs now rather than alpha readers, and I do, personally, think the beta reading process is necessary before the professional edit.

What are you thoughts? Lemme know in the comments below! 

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books

Friday, 27 August 2021

Review of In It Together by Emily Bourne

 Unforgivable regrets. Unity over isolation. Can two sisters undo the mistakes of the past and finally find happiness?

Studying at university and excluding herself from the social scene, Brittany lacks meaning in her life. Will her struggle to choose a path cause her to surrender to the mental torture in her head?

Globetrotting and casually dating, Charli soaks up life experience. But when the isolation she cocooned herself in causes past trauma to resurface, can she resist the urge to medicate with self-destructive habits?

Desperate to unite, and burying years of hostility, can they remain loyal to their sisterhood? Pledging to fight their inner demons together, can the sisters find peace and their true paths to happiness? 


My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up having read the first two books and desperate to know more in the story. I adored the way the characters were coming into themselves, starting to grow and become the people they are at the end of the book. Brittany and Charli have been through so much and for the next chapter of their lives it’s going to be amazing and I can’t wait to read more. Bourne has a way with words, a way of weaving the emotions, the beats and the plot all together. An author to watch and a series that I highly recommend!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Monday, 23 August 2021

Planning Your Time - The Creative Process


If you ask a lot of my friends, they'll tell you that I'm organised. I have a set plan for when I do things, and I, generally, stick to it bar any major setbacks. I have my planner, and before that I had sticky notes, and I would make sure that I knew what I was supposed to be doing and when. I would fairly agree with that sentiment, I have always been someone who likes to plan things out, except when it comes to planning novels, on that I lean more the other way.

So many people have asked how I got into planning my time, and for me it was a little bit of luck, a little bit of boredom, and a little bit of just finding a new program on my computer that I could use for fun. I'd always admired people who did lovely spreads in a bullet journal, but that was never going to be me. I needed some kind of setup for me to manage things in a planner. Of course then I found the perfect planner for me, and from there it kinda all snowballed.

But way back when, I started small, it's something I've talked about before, people always think you can jumpstart with a full spread of what you're doing and when, and I've found that is so not the case! I started off with a to-do list, and it would be for the week. I would lay out all that I needed to get done, and then go from there as to when it would get done. At the time I was still getting my degree so that was always priority number one. Writing kinda fell by the wayside.

Of course, then when I finished my degree, I kinda drifted through writing stuff. Some weeks I'd get everything done, some weeks I'd get nothing done. This was a mixture of being lazy, and also because I didn't have the structure that I needed. I would have all these things, but I didn't have a writing routine, and it was mostly, a when I feel like it kinda thing. If you haven't guessed, I'm not really that kind of person. The weekly to-do became fortnightly, then monthly, and then I started to get serious with myself. I found sticky notes and I told myself that I would work out on what days I would do what.

My point isn't to say that you have to be strict with yourself, you know your life better, you know how your minds works best, but for me, that was the only way I was going to get everything done. I still use a monthly to-do list, but whereas before it would have four chapters for each book and two bonus ones, now it's at six for each book and four bonus ones. I increased it gradually when I realised that I was exceeding my goals every single month without fail.

So when it comes to sitting down to make your own plan, start small. Don't overload your plate and think that you're going to be able to knock everything off your list. Unless you're someone who works extremely well under pressure, then you will fail and it'll knock you back. I did this with the weekly to-do list, I put everything on it and expected myself to go from hardly ever writing, to always writing, and it did not work like that. It took me a number of years to get to the point where I was crossing things off consistently, and there's no shame in that. If you need to start small and take your time to build up in it, that's okay, not everyone will slot into a new routine instantly.

I have friends who have started on one small portion of their life, getting that routine down, and then branching out to start on another small portion, taking it on slowly so that they can learn how to juggle it all together, and this is a great way of doing it. It allows you to work out the kinks before you start trying to do it in all areas of your life. So start small, don't bite off more than you can chew, and be ready for it to take time.

Any thoughts? Lemme know in the comments below!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books

Friday, 20 August 2021

Review of Out Of My League by Sarah Sutton



I’m honestly convinced my life is over when my high school cuts the journalism program. Without the elective, I lose my chance to intern at the biggest newspaper company and the county, and why?

All because the baseball team needs more funding.

To make matters worse, when my boyfriend dumps me at a party, the the captain of the baseball team and the most popular guy at Bayview High, Walsh Hunter, decides to make a spectacle of my mortification. He jumps in, throws his arm around me, and declares his undying love for me. In front of everyone.

Except I’m the only one who realizes he’s faking it.

And suddenly, I’m thrown into a world of fake relationships and undercover journalism, and way, way out of my league.

At least I’ve got the team captain to teach me how to play.

But faced with choosing between saving my journalism class or these strange new feelings for Walsh, will I strike out or hit a home run?

My Review: 5 STARS

I read the first book in this series and had to read the next one. I adored Sophia and Walsh, love the way they clicked together, their story, the highs and the lows. It was a rollercoaster ride of the best kind and I just adored the whole premise and the story itself. The plot was super engaging, relatable and overall amazing. I am loving seeing how Sutton had grown as a writer since that first book and will be reading the rest in the series. Highly, highly recommended to anyone who loves fake dating and a good romance!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Growing As A Writer - The Creative Process


One of the biggest questions I get asked is this: how do you grow as a writer? I've talked about it on my Authortube channel (found here) and I've talked about it on the blog before, but I wanted to touch on it again, because it seems to be the big thing that people, especially writers, are always thinking about. How do you grow? And are you always growing? And how do you know you're growing? Is it quantifiable? Can you personally see it? And if you do think you are, are you really, or is your brain just tricking you?

Oh boy, all the questions, and all of them valid, because at the end of the day, isn't all art, and writing is included in that, subjective? I mean yes we have the greats, the ones that most people will sit and say: this is the best thing ever, but even then there are those who struggle to find what someone else likes about it. Writing is one of those beasts where if you keep doing it, you're probably growing as a writer. If you keep doing it, if you keep exercising that muscle, if you keep getting critique, whether through betas, or a critique partner, or through the professional edit, then you will grow.

But is it something that you can really see? Are you able to be objective enough about your work to spot anything that might show signs of growth? I did a piece on being objective a few weeks back (found here) and the short answer is: it depends. I've read some authors who with every new book, you see them grow and come along in leaps and bounds. I've read some that seem to get worse with the bigger they get, it's all subjective and I'm not about to give you a surefire answer to this question, because really, no one can.

Part of growing is learning, it's adapting, it's becoming better than you were before. For some writers this happens rapidly from day to day, for others, it takes months, or years, or many many books. I look back at Blackout, which was my d├ębut and written around 2001, and then I look at the Lights Out trilogy, and I think yeah, I have very much grown since those days. But that might not be a fair comparison because different genres and skill sets, so from Dying Thoughts - First Touch to the final book, again, I see growth, I see a marked difference in the way I approached the story, and that series took me almost 15 years to write. You would expect to see some growth over that time period, especially as I kept writing, I kept flexing that muscle.

Of course, the problem for a lot of writers is that they want quick results, or they're overly critical of what they write. That's not a bad thing, being able to see the flaws in your work is a good tool to have, and some would argue those who are more critical of what they do, are more able to see growth. The way I see it becoming a bad thing is when you can't see any good in anything you've written. When you're constantly tearing your work apart to the point where you don't even see the original story idea in there any more. That's when critical becomes destructive and becomes a detriment of the writing process.

By the same token, loving everything you write to the point where you think it's perfect and beyond reproach, is going to have the same effect. You won't see the flaws, so you won't engage in edits and the like, and because of that you won't see the parts that need work, or the parts that don't quite live up to what you have in your head. You stunt your own growth because your ego is telling you that everyone who's critical of it is just a hater and you're some perfect master of fiction.

So where do you draw the line? How do you make sure that you don't go to either of these extremes? I mean, it's easy to think, well I like some of what I write and I work on getting feedback on the parts I don't, and I keep practising so maybe I'm not the worst ever? And that's a good point. It's all about that balancing act that I've talked about before. It's about making sure that you're not buying completely into either camp. You're not tearing down and hating every word, but you're also not preciously protecting every single one either. You know there's room for improvement, there is always room for improvement, and from there, you do the work, you show up and write and edit and revise and work, and you get to the point where that growth happens. Word by word, line by line, it slowly starts to become something that has showcased your growth.

So how do you know if you're growing as a writer? You're writing, that's how. You keep going, you keep that ego in check, and also the gremlin that tells you everything is garbage too, and you just keep going. You will grow, it'll take time, but it'll happen, I guarantee it.

Any thoughts? Lemme know in the comments below!

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Friday, 13 August 2021

Review of In The Haze by Emily Bourne

 A tragedy reunites the sisters, turning their lives upside-down. Can they claw their way out of the darkness before it consumes them?

After months away, Charli returns home. A piece of herself has died, and she yearns to rid the pain. Finding a joint presents a perfect solution. Unable to cope after a tragic accident, Charli masks her demons with drugs. Can she claw her way out of the darkness before her family finds out and disowns her for good?

Brittany has her sister back but is lonelier than ever. The accident snatched away the identity she spent a year building. Unable to recognise herself, how can she face school when her friends view her as an outcast? Even worse, what if it causes her boyfriend to dump her? If Brittany can’t salvage her reputation, will her anxiety cripple her into the nobody she fought so hard to kill?


My Review: 5 STARS

I read the first book in the series when it came out and was desperate for a chance to pick up this book. I have adored watching Emily’s journey, watching her go from one book to the next and going along for the ride as a reader. Picking up kinda where the last book left off, this one starts with a lot of normality, or the new normal for the girls. I was hooked by the first chapter and desperate to know more, the journey was filled with twists and turns, and had me bawling and laughing at the same time. I adore Brittany and Charli and I can’t wait to see where the next book takes them. Overall, very much recommended!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Monday, 9 August 2021

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: The Dark Side


I've always been someone who likes reading about the dark side of humanity, and that's carried over into my writing. Of course you might be thinking that makes me someone who's kinda dark in reality, and that couldn't be further from the truth. I'm a pretty positive person online, and while I have a cynical side, it rarely is shown in what I write and such. But when it comes to thinking up dastardly plots for my characters to get through, then my mind does, and always has, lend itself to the darker side of fiction.

I once got told at a con that because I write young adult, I shouldn't write about dark stuff, because otherwise I would be leading them astray. It made me laugh because I have a young adult in my life, they don't need any help in seeing the dark side of life, they can see it fine without any influence from me. On top of that, I was a young adult (though it was many moons ago now) and when I first started writing, it was those kinds of stories that drew me in as a reader, so saw that it would be a good idea to do the same as a writer.

If I draw my mind back to when I first started writing Blackout, I got told that because the plot used drugs, which isn't a spoiler, don't worry, that it wouldn't be publishable because kids would go out and do the same. Again, it made me laugh because while the internet back then wasn't the beast it is now, it was easy enough to find that kind of information and I couldn't see how a work of fiction would influence this massive amount of teens to suddenly go to do the same drugs as used in the book.

Bear in mind that I had been reading young adult, as it was back then, for the majority of my teen years. I devoured books, I loved reading, and didn't just stick to YA either, I was well known at our local library and was even the kind of teen to pick up some adult crime thrillers and lose myself in those for a long while. I don't think it's something that influenced me to the point of making me want to go out and commit murder, so why would any other book do the same?

Of course, both of these examples were people who hadn't even read my books, they just didn't agree that YA should have a crime/thriller section, and while I've always embraced the dark side of fiction in my own work, it wasn't always as common place as it is now. Going back to when I was a teen, YA was fairly new, it was something that we had, but it wasn't a huge section of the library or book store, not like it is now. I would have to skip over the really young books, and try and find my little slice of heaven in the few shelves that stocked what I'd like.

When it came time for me to cross properly into adult, I was overwhelmed with how many books I had, all these genres, and all this stuff that had kinda been closed off to me before was now wide open. While I have never really ever stopped reading YA, I did, for a time, have that feeling that it was too young for me, that I was a proper grown up now. I got over that in a few months and was back to searching that area of the book shop so that I could find something new to read.

As an adult and a writer, I can't help but feel that if we try and close off that dark side of fiction, and life, from young adults, that we're doing them a disservice. After all, the world isn't all sunshine and butterflies, there will be situations they're put in that don't match up to the majority of their peers. It was authors like Jacqueline Wilson who got me through some of the darker times in my teenagehood, because she didn't shy away from any of it. She embraced it, she made it so that children could read about divorce, and abuse, and children's homes and drug use, and all of those scary things that too many people think we need to never let the kids know about.

But they already do know, some of them live it, some of them just want to know more, and some of them need to feel seen, so I will keep writing the dark side, and my readers will keep reading them. It's part of growing up, and I don't, for one moment, believe that I am contributing to their downfall. I think I'm helping them see that I see them, that they're not alone, that while some elements of my books are out of the realm of this world, other parts help them realise that being drawn to the dark side doesn't make them a bad person.

Your mileage may, of course, vary, but those are my thoughts. Do you have any? Lemme know in the comments below!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books

Friday, 6 August 2021

Review of What Are Friends For by Sarah Sutton



I've got a problem.

A big one.

It involves a blindfolded kissing game at a party. I was supposed to be kissing my crush, Jeremy, the totally hot baseball player I've been crushing on. And the's amazing. Makes me forget all about my overbearing mother, my next-door neighbor's drama, and the probability of failing my senior year.

But that's not the big problem.

The big problem is that once my blindfold falls off, I realize that heart-stopping, toe-curling, world-changing kiss wasn't with my crush.

It was with Elijah Greybeck, my best friend since the third grade.

And even once I realize it's him, why...why do I want to keep kissing him?

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because I was in the mood for a good light hearted romance, and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. Having watched Sarah Sutton’s youtube for over a year, I’ve seen her grow as a writer, and wanted to delve into her books as well. Remi and Elijah were the perfect start to this series. The way they came together, the twists and turns along the way. It all just makes you feel gooey and happy about teens in love. I adored the writing style, the characters, and all of the plot twists along the way. Overall an amazing debut novel and a series that I will be continuing!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021



Lock is standing up and doing what's asked of her...


 [ID: A dark forest background with the title LIGHTS OFF at the top and Out now in ebook and paperback just below it. The except reads:

“That's my point!” he said, jabbing his finger towards me. “They see you as someone who has done something! Sanna’s a name known to older people, and to the people here, she's been dead for five years!”
I swallowed down my nerves. I'd wanted an active role, but I couldn't help but think that Kit had it wrong. People would just dismiss me, I was nineteen and not from Evendown, add my obvious disability, and the people here wouldn't stand behind me, maybe back home, or in Cardown, but here? I couldn't see it working. I also couldn't see Sanna being okay with it.
“Will you do it?” he asked.
I nodded.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]