Friday 30 July 2021

Review of Stars Belong To Us by Annabeth Chatwin

 You see, I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there, trying to forget the bad things that have happened to me.

That's Eliot's story, a baby-you're-a-rich-man prep school kid who throws parties like Jay Gatsby, claims half his high school as a BFF, and seldom sees his absentee parents. When he's tossed a scholarship kid to squire around, Eliot's magnetic enthusiasm takes over, and Jonas falls hard — not for the spoiled rich kid, but for the boy who spends his parties playing video games alone, eats nachos for breakfast, and takes in stray cats.

But Eliot's got a mansion and "an island? It's sort of complicated." Jonas has a seven-room millhouse, a moped, and a mom whose maid company might clean up after Eliot's glittering bashes. But his single mother loves him, while Eliot's grin hides crushing loneliness. Jonas has to fix it however he can.

But Jonas discovers Eliot's family gives out his scholarship. Eliot's old BFFs aren't thrilled their party boy's hanging with a poor kid. And Eliot's grand gestures don't translate to Jonas's paycheck-to-paycheck life. Jonas aches to give Eliot the love he needs. Eliot's aching to love him in return. But sprawling mansions and scraped-up together rent don't mix. Right?


My Review: 5 STARS

I have read a few of Chatwin’s books and adore her way of telling stories. The characters are always so distinct and the way she weaves the story into the words just makes you want to dive in and get lost in it all. I adored Jonas and Eliot, and I loved the way things happened, loved the romance, the cuddles and all of the ups and downs as we went through the whole book. I ended up reading this in one sitting and it kept me company on a bad day, made me laugh, smile, and cry, and just overall happy to see the ending it deserved. Overall very much recommended for those who love 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.


Tuesday 27 July 2021



To win the battle, they need to go on the attack...


 [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:

She nodded as she kept working. “Reaching out to our contacts at the bases here and in Cardown, they’ve been suggesting an idea that we need to run past Jay. They want to try and openly revolt, which might work, but first we have to sway the public back to our side of thinking. If we try and pull this off without public support, then it’s not going to happen. The first step is getting this footage out there, and then maybe we can go to Jay, show that the public are behind us, we could start laying the groundwork.”
I took in what she said, but my focus was on the work in front of me. “It’s something to think about then.”

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 26 July 2021

Spoonie Writer: Brainfog & Other Wonders


I've been doing a lot of spoonie writer pieces the last few months, and I think it's because my health, physical and mental, has been so up and down. It is another reminder that I am a spoonie, and that there's no getting away from it, no matter how much sometimes I wish I could. I didn't want to talk about taking breaks again, because I've covered that in detail, but I did wanna kinda do a lighter mood one. So we'll see how it turns out.

If you're a spoonie of pretty much any kind, then you've probably heard of the term brainfog, a lot of chronic conditions that fall under the spoonie umbrella are known for it. It's the idea that your brain is just filled with treacle and fog and that you're thoughts and ideas are a bit of a hazy mystery. You can see them, but you can't grasp onto them with any luck.

This year, in May, it was my 20th anniversary of falling sick with M.E and Fibromyalgia, of course we can't really pinpoint when I actually developed Fibro because I don't remember a time when certain trigger points weren't painful to touch, but we kinda leave it as the time I was diagnosed with it. I remember the weeks after I first had, what my GP was calling flu, and the way it just never went away. Those weeks were a haze of trying to do things, needing to nap all the time, and being 19, I wasn't really used to not having any energy, but for me the most annoying was the way things would fog up in my head.

I wasn't writing at that point, that didn't happen until after I was medically retired from my job, but I was trying to hold conversations with people and finding that it was a little like the Sims where someone cancels an action and they just stand there. I'd be mid-word sometimes and just unable to work out what I was saying, what I was there to do, and why on earth I was even out of bed. It led to some funny moments, and I know this happens to non-spoonies from time to time, but it was all the freaking time for me, and it was not fun.

I have always, in my adult life, and some of my childhood, had a cat of some kind, and I'd forget the name, or even the word for cat. It was frightening, but at the same time, I was aware that it was happening and would get frustrated and try and leave myself notes to make sure that nothing got lost. When I started writing, I was terrified of forgetting my ideas to the point where my notes were binders thick and I wrote as much as I could from first getting up to going to bed at night. That way I couldn't forget my train of thought, and wouldn't lose my place.

Of course that didn't last too long, the writing every day and all day I mean. I soon realised that so long as I made copious notes, and had them to reference, I was pretty much okay to pick up where I left off. In those days I still hand wrote and typed up in the evening, and it would take me several years, bar the first one, to finish a book. My point I guess is that part of being a spoonie is learning how to adapt and adjust to all that's going on. You want to be able to keep up with your work, while also not damaging yourself. Writing everyday and all day wasn't sustainable, and while I very much loved the feeling of being that productive, it wasn't something I could do long term.

In the years since I've managed to find hacks that work for me. Having the sticky notes and then the planner, the way I outline and create character cards, all of that works to help me stay on track, and it was a long time for me to kinda perfect that way I worked. I've been writing for also 20 years, and I've taken that long to find a way that works for me, and my circumstances, though I know that it changes and adapts as things in my life change.

So yeah, brainfog has a lot to answer for, and the other wonders that come from being a spoonie thrown into the mix don't help when it comes to creating, but even if it takes you 20 years, you will find a way to work. You just have to keep going, and tweaking this, and trying that, until you do find something that works.

How do you manage with brainfog and the like as a spoonie writer? Lemme know in the comments!

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 23 July 2021

Review of Cursed: Out Of Ash And Flame by EC Farrell


Dying every day sucks. As a phoenix, I’m no stranger to the cycle of death and rebirth, but there’s nothing normal about this curse.

It sure does make bounty hunting a bit easier though. If I die on the job, I come back after just a few seconds good as new, something I’m definitely going to need now that I’ve taken on this new mark.

Max is charming, smooth, and like all bounties, insistent on his innocence. More frightening is the kindness I’m sure he’s using to manipulate the situation. He’s starting to see me, the real me, and I’m catching feelings when I’m supposed to contain him.

I’m all set to deliver him up to a powerful member of the Paranormal Tribunal, who might be able to help me remove this curse. When I realize Max is definitely telling the truth, however, I have to decide whether to help him clear his name.

If I don’t, Max will die for a crime he didn’t commit, but if I do, I’ll lose my place in the Bounty Hunter’s Guild, and possibly destroy my last hope of breaking my curse.

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up have read the first in the series and adored it. The second one called out to me and I had to know what more was going on in this world. I ended up telling myself that I would only read one chapter and got all the way to ten before I forced myself to sleep, and then jumped right back in this morning. The characters are relatable and engaging, the world beautifully crafted and the creatures from a wide array of options. I adored this book, and loved the way things turned out along the way. Overall, a great read and one 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.

Thursday 22 July 2021

Author Tag: Share The Love Authortube Tag [CC]

 Doing the Share The Love tag today, and sharing some love! #Authortube


1. Introduce yourself, tell us what you write, and what content you create on Youtube

2. Who was the first authortuber you found?  

3. Which authortuber have you most recently discovered?

4. What authortubers are your favorite to watch?

5. What is your favorite kind of authortube video to watch?

6. Do you have a favorite authortube video?

7. What’s your favorite book by an authortuber?

8. Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start an authortube channel?

9. If you could recommend 3 other authortube channels to someone, who would you recommend?

10. Tag 3 people you want to see make this tag






Monday 19 July 2021

Trigger Warnings In Fiction - The Creative Process


This seems to be a hot button topic across the reading, and writing, community, the idea that you should warn people of triggers that might be contained within the pages of your work. Some call it spoiling the plot, others, rightly, say that it's a good idea and allows people to stop themselves from delving into a story that's going to harm them mentally. You can probably tell from the way I said that, that I'm on the side of the latter. I don't see any problem with including trigger warnings. I think, coming from fanfic, that it's something that should be done a lot more, especially when you're writing in a genre that might not normally contain something, or if a scene you've written happens to be especially graphic.

At the end of the day, it's down to the writer, and sometimes the publishing path they've chosen, but for the Lights Out trilogy, I included warnings in the last two books because of some seriously dark scenes. It wasn't a case of written for shock value, but where the story went, and while you could argue that dystopian fiction is normally dark, I wasn't going to sit there and say that people should read my book at the expense of their own mental well-being.

So why is it such a controversial topic? I will say that people are starting to lean more onto the side of including them, but there are, as always, stubborn writers and readers who claim that it ruins the reading experience. I think it comes down to a lot of personal preference. I am disabled with chronic illness and mental health issues, there aren't any things that trigger me per se, but there are some scenes I'd rather not read at certain times. That's just my reading experience and I will, usually, tailor my genre choice around those periods, because you can't guarantee that a book in say, crime/mystery, won't have the very scenes I wish to avoid.

That said, I have noticed a lot more in the indie community, for those who write young adult, there are starting to be more trigger warnings included on the buy page, and the author's website. I don't know if this is because we're in a time when young adult's mental health is considering very important, or if they're just starting to catch on to the idea as a whole. I've seen some traditional published young adult authors do the same, though it's far from the norm.

Going back to what I said about coming from fanfic, I was a writer from my late teens until now, and while I have always written books, I also dabbled a little in fanfic (and no I won't tell you my fandoms!) Trigger warnings are commonplace there. It was seen as the polite thing to do, so that people reading could tailor their experience. You also included things like common tropes you wrote, which again is starting to happen in publishing too, and that's also not a bad thing. I don't know if it's a case of the publishing world thinking that we're the 'professionals' and fanfic is not (not a view I share by the way!) and therefore we don't have to pander to our readers, but I do think the trad and indie authors and publishers could learn a lot from the way fanfic works.

Think about it, if someone is looking, like actively in the mood to read something you've warned for, and it doesn't trigger them, you're gaining readers, and if you warn for common triggers, because you can't warn for every single one, then you're also sending the message that you actually care about the effect your work will have on potential readers, and how is that a bad thing? I think it's actually a really good, positive thing, and can have a good impact on you, your brand, and the books you're writing.

So what do you think about trigger warnings in fiction? Do you agree they should be commonplace? Lemme know your thoughts in the comments.

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 16 July 2021

Review of Rules Of Crane by VR Friesen

 How do you stop a dangerous outsider when the rules say you can’t kill him?

Crane likes rules almost as much as she likes her knives. Rules give structure to her world. She can depend on rules to provide firm footing. Unlike, say, gravity.

It takes a grav-walker like Crane to navigate the treacherous, unpredictable gravity zones that fill the city. Outsiders to the zones—the downies who think “down” means the ground—are all too likely to get themselves killed. Crane has been assigned the mission of escorting a downie to the mysterious Tower, and the mission rules give her regrettably little wiggle room to use her knives on him. Even though no one—especially not a downie—should get their hands on the secrets in the Tower.

Crane always obeys the rules. But in the zones, rules are like gravity—all a matter of perspective.

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because the whole premise appealed to me, a world where gravity just doesn’t work like it should, and Crane is thrown into the middle of it. It was a short, quick read, but wetted my appetite for the whole series. I adored the world, the characters and the peek into a different kind of world. It’s a series that I’ll be keeping an eye on, overall 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 13 July 2021



When the rebellion try to play by the rules, the King's men will change them...


 [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:

“I... not fire!” Decker shouted.
The other man in overwatch moved to give us a better angle without giving himself away, his comms were spottier than Decker’s, giving us less of an overview of what was happening at the exchange point.
“Article two-zero-point-four,” the army man closest to Decker shouted. “You are...arrested...a point.”

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 12 July 2021

Organising Your Ideas - The Creative Process


One thing about being a writer that seems to universal across genres, categories and paths, is that we have a whole ton of ideas. We get them all the time, we can't seem to stop them from hitting us in the face and going from there, and part of being a writer is learning how to organise those ideas from start to finish. After all, some writers can juggle several at once (I'm kinda one of those) but others need to focus on just the one and go from there.

So how do we do that? How do we decide which ideas come first and beyond that, how do we make sure that all those plot bunnies and ideas don't get lost in our minds, or on bits of paper tucked away everywhere? I have some of the answers for you, but of course everyone has their own way of cataloguing and storing these things so if you have your own idea, lemme know in the comments below.

In this case, I'm talking about files on the computer/cloud is better than say a notebook kept somewhere. For me it's also an access issue in that I can't grip a pen for long enough these days to actually write something down regularly. I can type easily, and there's also the fact that notebooks can be lost or destroyed and the cloud is less likely to do this to you. It can happen where something goes wrong, but it's not commonplace.

So for that reason, I suggest having some kind of file with everything typed out idea wise, than storing it offline. I'm one of those writers who backs up everything at least three places, usually four or five, and I've not lost ideas yet. Before I did this, I'd write things down, and then forget about it, lose the notebook or never go looking back at it because the idea had left my head. It's frustrating to think of how many book ideas I've probably lost because of that.

Now though I have a file on my computer, and elsewhere, that stores all the ideas in organised blocks. I can write down, and thought dump, any plot ideas and all the rest, characters, location etc, and come back to it when I'm on the hunt for a new book to write, and pick and choose what suits me at that time.


Depending on how you chose to store them, you might find this easier than not. I use a notepad file so things aren't super organised, but I make sure that I have the heading for the book/idea itself, and then all the thoughts I've had about it come after, before a break and the next idea starts. If the idea is for multiple books, as in a series, I list them in order.

This way I can see at a glance which ideas have been really fleshed out and which ones are just random stray thoughts that I've not had much time to work on. This plays a part in choosing what to write next because it allows me to know which ideas have made me excited and passionate, and could therefore be easier to write without the risk of getting stuck or losing interest.

That said, in all the time I've been organising ideas, I've not actually dropped a project yet. There are some that have had bumps in the road, but they haven't gotten to the point where I just can't keep going with them, so maybe something is working for me, or maybe it's just the way I approach writing that helps.

I think this seems obvious, but like I said above, I used to use a notebook and just forget about it. Now that I do it on the computer, I'll open the file up every so often and thought dump some more, as well as record any new ideas that have come in. I'm someone who'll have a great idea at 2am, think I'll remember it, and more often than not, it's gone by morning. So I've gotten into the habit of writing down ideas when they come to me, if at all possible.

Now I'm not always at my computer, but because it's all in the cloud, I can access it from my ipad, or phone, and add to it wherever I am. This is another reason that for me, it's a good idea to go digital and back everything up. I can add bits and pieces when an idea hits, and I don't have to worry too much about forgetting something before I can get to write it down.

So there we go, those are my three tips for organising your ideas. If 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 9 July 2021

Review of Lies That Bind by Ami Allen

 It's been six years of anger simmering. Six years of lies growing into truths.

Antoni only has a few more months until he turns eighteen. Then he'll be free of Child Protective Services and can leave high school behind.

Everything's set in motion. His whole life's set before him.

Leave it to Kyrah to ruin it all.

It's just a few fake dates- nothing serious. But each day he spends with her unravels the lies he's bound by.

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up hoping for a lovely romance, with twists and turns and a very happy ending, and I was blown away by how good it was, just how much it made me feel, how much I was rooting for Ant and Ky to end up together despite every setback. It made me laugh, cry, and jump up and down. The characters were beautifully relatable and the overall story was amazing. If you love a good romance, then pick this up, I highly recommend it, and I look forward to more in the series!

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 8 July 2021

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

Telling you what I've been up to the past month, and reviewing my goals from two months ago, and setting some for the coming two months! #Authortube



Tuesday 6 July 2021



Lana will do anything to win, it's all that matters to 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:

And the best thing was, it was her who'd be making that the case. She might not be there when the King made the announcement, but she would know. They might finally be starting to get ahead of the collective. This could be one of the moments where the tide turned, and they were able to stop the war before it started. And it would be Lana's name on it.
Suck on that, Lock.

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 5 July 2021

Being Objective - The After Process


Last week I talked about the self-editing process (found here) and this week I thought I would touch on something that I've struggled with, and that's being objective about my own work. It was one of my editors biggest issue was that I couldn't look at what I'd written and see the flaws. I feel like I've gotten better at it over the years, but back when I was a baby writer, I didn't really see the forest for the trees, I was too focused on the story itself and not what the outcome would be. There are, still, times when this happens, and I wanted to give you some idea of why it matters that you have some objectivity when it comes to your own work.

As an indie author, I will always have beta readers, and critique partners read through my work. I'll have sensitivity readers when it comes to that need, and I'll have more than just my own eyes look over my work, and this is such an important step because when it comes down to it, I am too close to the story. If I wasn't, then when I was doing my own read through and revisions, I would spot all the problems and fix them before they ever got to my editors.

So what can you do about this? How can you switch your mindset from author to reader? I honestly don't have any tips for you because it's something that I still struggle with. However, I can tell you how to go about making sure that when someone who is objective reads it and points out the issues, how to go about taking on that feedback and going with it.


If you're working with someone you don't trust, then I really don't know what to say to you about this, other than maybe, if possible, find someone else to work with. The editor/beta/CP relationship should be built on some kind of trust, whether that's their opinion on your work, or their experience in what they do, or even their ideas as a reader. You need to be able to trust that they will give you their honest opinion and are doing it for the best of your work.


Sometimes, which I've been guilty of, it's easy to jump in and say that this will be explained later in the book, and brush it off. The problem there is that sometimes what they're saying is, that explaining it later doesn't work for the best of the story, that the readers will be frustrated and wanting to know what's going on at that point. So keep your listening ears on, and make sure you actually hear them out.

A good beta/editor/CP will be giving you options. They are aware that if you didn't see this issue before that you might not be able to see what the answers are. They may not have the right answer, but they should, at least, give you some idea of where you can take the story from there. The final word is yours, but at the end of the day, you're working with these people to make sure that your story is the best it can be, so if they have ideas, hear them out, and maybe have a back and forth about it. You may find that from their suggestions, you think of something else that will work.


This is a big one, I've experienced it myself, hell I've done it myself, and it's always the wrong choice. If you don't trust that your beta/editor/CP is trying to help, then maybe it's a sign that you need to be working with someone else. If you do, and you're still defensive about the changes, then maybe it's a sign that your book isn't ready to be at the stage it is, or that you're not ready. That's not a bad thing, but it's something where you need to be really thinking about before you go into this. You have to expect that there will be changes and criticisms and the like, and if you can't handle that, then work on it some more, and to be blunt, get over it.

And finally, #5 WORK TOGETHER
This is another big one, you're gonna be working with these people because you want the best outcome for your book, and that means that you need to be working with them, not against them. I've been in situations before where I've felt like the author I'm beta'ing for, or CP'ing for, hasn't wanted to hear what I'm saying. I've also been in situations where I've had the best experience because the author is willing to hear me, and to change their story while still keeping the plot and such to their liking. Working together is a huge thing that needs to happen.

So there we go, my five tips about working with others, because at the end of it all, you can't be as objective as maybe you could with someone else's work. If you're that rare breed of writer who can, then hat's off to you, but otherwise, I'm in the boat of those who can't.

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 2 July 2021

Review of Sanctum 92 by Nadege Richards

 ​My blood is poison. My oath is sacred. And my will is ironclad.

Since fleeing my birth pod and finding my legion, I have disappeared from what remains of Silo. I thought my biggest worry was stopping the Myrmidons from creating a circuit of powerful bionics, but I was wrong—so wrong.

The Y-506 virus has made me a lethal weapon to everyone around me, and the blood-thirsty leviathans have become an even deadlier threat to this realm. They’re not the simple beasts they used to be. If given the chance, they’ll ruin everything my legion and I have fought for.

In this game of hunt or be hunted, none of us are safe.

We train, we fight, and we kill, all beneath the protection of the Outliers. Together with them we will unearth our true strengths and put a stop to the havoc plaguing our world. Jon’s life depends on it. So does mine.

We are the Crater Knights, and we’re coming.

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up having read the first book and desperate to know what happened next, I dived into it and read as much as I could before I had to stop to sleep, and ended up going through it the next day. The story is engaging and beautifully told, the love story woven through the battles, the trauma is perfectly crafted. I adored the characters and can’t wait to read book three simply because I find myself desperate to know the end of this series, and to see how everyone ends up. Overall, an amazingly written story and one I recommend for all those who love sci-fi.

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.