Terry Tyler

‘Lindisfarne’ by @TerryTyler4 #FridayReads #BookReview

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‘You’re judging this by the standards of the old world. But that’s gone. We don’t live there anymore.’

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

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

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

‘Lindisfarne’ is Book 2 of the Project Renova series. You can read my review of the first book, ‘Tipping Point’, here.

Vicky and Lottie and their new group of friends have travelled to the small island of Lindisfarne, where they find an existing community, and Vicky’s partner Dex, who she hasn’t seen or heard from since the outbreak. The community seems like a haven, and they quickly settle in, but, as with all societies, there is tension beneath the surface, and cracks begin to appear.

Having read the first in the series, I was itching to know what would happen next, and, if I’m honest, was wondering if the author could keep up the tension and the pace. This doesn’t disappoint. As with the previous book, the settings, the characterisation, the situations are all so well-drawn that it is easy to become totally immersed – which is what a good book should do. And this is a really good book.

The character development is so well done – completely plausible; it’s easy to see how Lottie has become strong and independent, how Vicky has begun to trust herself more, and how everyone still has their insecurities and issues that prevent them from making the right decisions. As with the last book, these characters are real, and they are vulnerable and they make mistakes.

What works so well though is the way that the changes in society, in the world, have allowed people to reveal their true selves. There’s no need to pretend anymore, and sometimes those true colours aren’t what you think.

Another page turner, definitely recommended. So looking forward to the next in the series.

5 stars

‘The Other Side’ by Terry Tyler #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview

other-side

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

Decision time. Left or right? Mr X, or Mr Y?
Imagine being able to find out what would happen if you’d chosen the other path…
Would you make the same decision?
…and, if you could, would you go back and change all the mistakes you’ve ever made
in the name of love?
“The Other Side” tells of four lives, all very different.Glamorous Katya is certain she can “have it all”, but forgets that some people have
long memories…
Cathy is trapped in a tedious marriage with the in-laws from hell – but why did the
rock-chick marry Mr Pipe and Slippers?
Alexa fears that a ‘friend’ is trying to steal away her perfect life – everyone dismisses
her fears as paranoia…
…while Sandie struggles with a drink problem and life spiralling downwards – but
which came first, the drink or the problem?

Four very different stories – but they are all connected.

“The Other Side” travels backwards through time to unravel the decisions of the past
and their influence on the present lives of everyone concerned – for better or for worse…

The consequences of the choices made in life and the paths taken make for a gripping and entertaining read. The structure of this novel is very clever – we begin at the end, discovering the consequences of those choices, and are then taken gradually back through time to find out what the situations and circumstances were that made those choices happen. It’s an unusual idea and in other hands could be confusing and complicated to read, but Terry Tyler is too skillful a story teller for that to happen.

The characterisation here is brilliantly done. The women are believable and, while you do find yourself sometimes wanting to shake them, their motives become clear as the story unfolds and there are plenty of moments when you think to yourself – ‘Ah, so that’s why she did that’. Their actions and reactions are authentic and you’re left wondering just how much our destiny is in our hands or under our control.

As always with Terry Tyler’s books, the sense of time and place is spot on, with little details adding authenticity. The depictions of Cathy’s Saturday nights spent with her in-laws watching TV and waiting for the lottery were brilliant – I wanted to scream at her for putting up with it and the small mindedness of her husband’s family and their narrow views on life were so recognisable. This is something this author is particularly good at – she can really portray ordinary people and the ordinary, mundane aspects of life and manages to make it entertaining.

There are some very clever twists that are genuinely surprising and the ending works really well.

A clever, classy read.

5 stars

‘The Devil You Know’ by Terry Tyler @TerryTyler4 #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview

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Amazon.co.uk  Amazon.com

* * * * * ‘The Devil You Know’ is on offer until 21st November – it’s just 99p/99c. Even more of an incentive to get yourself a copy! * * * * * 

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….
Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.
One of them is right.
Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks all the boxes.
Maisie thinks her mum’s new boyfriend seems too good to be true. Is she the only person who can see through Gary’s friendly, sensitive façade?
Tamsin is besotted with her office crush, Jake. Then love turns to suspicion…
Steve is used to his childhood friend, Dan, being a loud mouthed Lothario with little respect for the truth. But is a new influence in his life leading him down a more sinister path?
Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her—a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a character-driven psychological drama that will keep you guessing until the very end.

One of the intriguing things about serial killers is that they all have families somewhere, or at least friends, acquaintances or colleagues who know them. And it’s natural to wonder why these people didn’t notice something, and didn’t say anything.

This novel explores that idea in a storyline that keeps you guessing until the very end. Told from the point of view of five different people, all of whom have suspicions about someone they know, or even love, it makes you realise that things aren’t always that simple and that our prejudices, our emotions and even our selfishness can get in the way, and prevent a murderer from being stopped.

This novel is so much more than a whodunit. Character-driven and page-turning, it pulls you along. Believable situations, circumstances and settings add a reality that makes you realise this could happen to anyone, and makes you wonder what you would do in the same position.

Each of the five main characters is skilfully drawn and three—dimensional – the author avoids clichés and stereotypes that would be so easy to fall into.  Motives and emotions are easy to understand and to empathise with. There are reasons for everything the characters do. Nothing happens just for the sake of the plot – the characters motivations and influences, their circumstances and actions, drive the narrative along.

Technically excellent, beautifully written, entertaining and enjoyable (if a little unsettling!) to read, Terry Tyler has ticked all the boxes with this one. Definitely recommended.

5 stars

 

It’s August – It’s Write An Amazon Review Month! #AugustReviews

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August 2016 is Write An Amazon Review Month! 

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

Paper cut of heart on old book

 

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

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

Why should you write a review?

  • They help book buyers make decisions.  Don’t you read the reviews on Trip Advisor before deciding on a hotel, or any site from which you might buy an item for practical use?  Book reviews are no different.
  • If the book is by a self-published author, or published by an independent press, the writers have to do all their promotion and marketing themselves ~ reviews from the reading public is their one free helping hand.
  • The amount of reviews on Amazon helps a book’s visibility (allegedly).  If you love a writer’s work and want others to do so, too, this is the best possible way of making this happen.
  • It’s your good deed for the day, and will only take five minutes!

 

thank author

 

Off we go, then!  A few more pointers:

  • If you need any help with writing your review, do click on Rosie’s post, above.
  • A review can be as short as one word.
  • You don’t have to put your name to the review, as your Amazon ‘handle’ can be anything you like.
  • No writer expects all their reviews to be 5* and say the book is the best thing ever written; there is a star rating guide on Rosie’s post.
  • Would you like to tell the Twittersphere about your review?  If so, tweet the link to it with the hashtag #AugustReviews ~ and thank you!  Terry will do one blog post a week featuring these links: The #AugustReviews Hall of Fame (thank you, Barb!).

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

 

 

 

My A-Z of Books #IAmReading #wwwblogs

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I first saw on the lovely Shelley Wilson’s blog, although the idea originally came from the Perpetual Page Turner. As my Wednesday posts have been rather ‘ranty’ of late, I thought it was time for something a bit more positive!

Author you’ve read the most books from.

Either Hilary Mantel or Stephen King – which is a bit of a contrast now I come to think of it! Although they are both exceptional story tellers. I’ve also read a lot of books by Terry Tyler – her novels are pure ‘get away from it all’ reads, perfect for a holiday and a rare quiet Sunday afternoon.

Best sequel ever.

‘Bring Up the Bodies’ the sequel to ‘Wolf Hall’. Hilary Mantel again.

She’s an amazing writer, and I was lucky enough to see her being interviewed once. She’s incredibly intelligent and charming.

 

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Me and Hilary!

Currently reading.

‘Last Exit to Brooklyn’ by Hubert Selby Jr. I’m trying to complete the David Bowie reading challenge and there are so many books on the list that I’ve always wanted to read. So far this is … interesting! last-exit

Drink of choice while reading.

A mug of very strong coffee if I’m lucky enough to be having a lie in and am reading in bed on a Sunday morning. Or a very large glass of red wine if it’s past 6pm. Oh alright, past 5pm.

coffee

E-Reader of physical book?

Both. I was very resistant to eBooks but then once I realised I could takes hundreds of books on holiday with me without exceeding the baggage allowance I was sold.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school.

There was definitely no one like Heathcliff in my Basingstoke comprehensive.

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No one looked anything like this at Brighton Hill Community school!

Glad you gave this book a chance.

‘Beltane’ by Alys West, for Rosie’s Book Review Team. I’m not keen on fantasy, but thought I’d give this a go, mainly because it’s set in Glastonbury, a place I’ve enjoyed visiting in the past. It’s a really good book, very well-written and lovely for a bit of escapism.

Hidden gem book.

‘The Meadow’ – James Galvin.

While Galvin certainly isn’t an unknown, I had never read any of his work until this appeared on my required reading list for my Masters in Creative Writing. I duly bought it and read it and it was then removed from the course! But I didn’t mind because it is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.


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Important moment in your reading life.

Reading ‘Wuthering Heights’ for the first time. I know it sounds clichéd but it really made me realise just how powerful fiction can be. And that you don’t have to write what you know.

Also reading with my children when they were small – just wonderful times.

Just finished reading.

‘Flesh’ by Dylan J. Morgan for Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team. It’s in the vein of Stephen King and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I do like a good bit of horror!

Kind of books you won’t read.

Religious. Sweet romance. Westerns (unless it’s Larry McMurtry’s ‘Lonesome Dove’). Not too keen on fantasy or sci-fi either unless it’s extremely well-written. And please keep ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ well away from me. I much prefer this version:

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Longest book you’ve read.

War and Peace’. I still show off about it. It is absolutely a masterpiece though.

Major book hangover.

A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini. I read it in one sitting when I was in bed with flu and sobbed and sobbed when I finished it. Just completely and utterly heart-breaking. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

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Number of bookcases you own.

Two. With many more books piled up everywhere and stashed in the loft.

One book you’ve read multiple times.

Wuthering Heights

Preferred place to read.

In bed if it’s cold, in the garden on the rare occasion when it isn’t. Or preferably by a pool in France!

Quote that inspires you/give you all the feels from a book you’ve read.

It’s not exactly inspirational in the usual sense, but it is just such a masterful opening to a novel:

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“So now get up.”

Felled, dazed, silent, he has fallen; knocked full length on the cobbles of the yard. His head turns sideways; his eyes are turned toward the gate, as if someone might arrive to help him out. One blow, properly placed, could kill him now.

Blood from the gash on his head – which was his father’s first effort – is trickling across his face. Add to this, his left eye is blinded; but if he squints sideways, with his right eye he can see that the stitching of his father’s boot is unravelling. The twine has sprung clear of the leather, and a hard knot in it as caught his eyebrow and opened up another cut.

“So now get up!” Walter is roaring down at him, working out where to kick him next.

 (Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel)

And from ‘Wuthering Heights’:

“Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” 

Reading regret.

Being scared to read the classics when I was younger. I suppose I felt that they weren’t really for me, that they were something to read for an exam. Now I have less time to get through them all!

Series you started and need to finish.

I don’t really like reading a series. Too much commitment – too little time.

Three of your all-time favourite books.

A Place of Greater Safety (imho the best Hilary Mantel novel)

Wuthering Heights

To Kill a Mockingbird

(I’m going to cheat here though because I can’t possibly leave out Alice Walker’s completely wonderful ‘The Color Purple‘.)

Unapologetic fangirl book.

‘Life After Life’ by Kate Atkinson. I read this on holiday, lying in the sun buy the pool in France. It was completely and utterly absorbing. I can’t believe some of the reviews – it’s as if these people have read a different book.


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Very excited for this release more than all others.

‘The Mirror and the Light’ – the sequel to ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ by Hilary Mantel.

Worst bookish habit.

Not really listening to anyone when I’m reading, just nodding and saying ‘mmm’ in a vague way, even when someone’s trying to tell me something important.

Dropping bookmarks in the bath.

X marks the spot: Start on the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book.

Another Bronte.  Charlotte this time and ‘Jane Eyre’. I’m not pretentious (honestly) it just so happens that I have all the classics that I own lined up on the bookshelf together.

Your latest purchase.

‘Furiously Happy’ by Jenny Lawson. She’s just absolutely brilliant, hilarious and really inspiring.

I read ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened’ recently and adored it. Can’t wait to start this one.

The lovely Jenny Lawson

You can read her blog here.

Zzzz-snatcher book (Las book that kept you up way too late).

‘Chasing the Scream’ by Johann Hari about the so-called war on drugs. Stunning and scary and should be compulsory reading. I hate the cliché but I really couldn’t put it down.

So there you have it, my A-Z of books.

 

 

‘Best Seller’ by Terry Tyler #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview @TerryTyler4

best seller

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

Eden Taylor has made it—big time. A twenty-three year old with model girl looks and a book deal with a major publisher, she’s outselling the established names in her field and is fast becoming the darling of the media. 

Becky Hunter has money problems. Can she earn enough from her light-hearted romance novels to counteract boyfriend Alex’s extravagant spending habits, before their rocky world collapses?

Hard up factory worker Jan Chilver sees writing as an escape from her troubled, lonely life. She is offered a lifeline—but fails to read the small print…

In the competitive world of publishing, success can be merely a matter of who you know—and how ruthless you are prepared to be to get to the top.

I have read several of Terry Tyler’s books and have enjoyed all of them. She has a real knack of writing believable, entertaining characters that you quickly become invested in. The lives of the three writers in this novella, Becky, Eden and Jan, become entwined through their membership of a writing club, but not all have the talent to succeed, at least not without a little help. And the consequences of this are drawn out beautifully and compellingly in a short read that fully develops the plot and the characters.

The author’s knowledge of today’s publishing world gives a real edge to the writing – and many authors will recognise and indeed identify with the egos and hang-ups, the difficulties, jealousies and frustrations of that world. The twists and turns are skilfully done, the writing itself is flawless, and the moral dilemmas faced by the characters will make you think.

If you want to read some clever, thoughtful and engaging contemporary fiction, then this is highly recommended – as are all of Terry Tyler’s books.

5 stars

#BookReview ‘Dream On’ by Terry Tyler @TerryTyler4

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This was such an enjoyable read. I’m not exactly an old rock chick – I was more into bands like The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure. I really didn’t like the whole Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Motley Crue scene. So the genre of music here isn’t my thing. But I can certainly relate to the way it’s portrayed here, and the way Dave dreams of a future as a rock god. Poor Dave. It would have been so easy to make him into a parody – a sad, long-haired, untalented wannabe. But Terry Tyler is far too good a writer for that. Dave is lovely, kind, handsome, and yes a dreamer, but he’s talented too, even if he doesn’t realise that most of his songs are unintentional rip offs of some of the most famous rock songs of all time. Dave loves girlfriend Janice, in his own way, and adores their little boy. But lack of success spirals him into depression, and Janice has had enough and has kicked him out.

But his band Thor is on the rise and ex-girlfriend and fellow musician Alison/Ariel is back in town. Thor, Ariel and Ariel’s friend Melodie (who wants to be a celebrity) enter a talent show. The result in any other book would have been a foregone conclusion. But not here. The path to fame and success seldom runs smooth in reality and there is certainly a rocky road ahead for all three.

The relationships in this book are wonderfully well-drawn – whether that’s the bond between the four members of Thor, the passion of Dave and Ariel, or the sadness between Dave and Janice, these human responses and feelings are beautifully and realistically done. There is wit and warmth aplenty, moments that will make you laugh out loud, and careful details that add a real sense of time and place – Christmas day is beautifully done in all its grey, British, depressing splendour.

There is a follow up book ‘Full Circle’ but ‘Dream On’ isn’t a book that has been written to make you buy the next one. Not everything is tied up neatly – but that isn’t a criticism. That’s reality. Life isn’t neat and tidy and while this is a story, the way that things are left is satisfying in that although there is more to come, the characters end where they should; it feels right.

Definitely recommended – and so looking forward to reading ‘Full Circle’.

5 stars

#RBRT ‘Last Child’ by Terry Tyler

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I reviewed ‘Last Child’ for Rosie Amber’s book review team.

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I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Kings and Queens’ so was really looking forward to the sequel and ‘Last Child’ does not disappoint.

Harry Lanchester is dead, leaving behind three very different children – young Jasper, who just wants to be a teenager and, although the youngest, the heir to the Lanchester business; bitter, unhappy Isabella, still reeling from her father’s deception and abandonment of her mother; and Erin, beautiful, strong and somewhat spoilt. These three carry with them the traits of their respective mothers, and the lasting legacy of the tragedies, upheavals and dramas so well-portrayed in ‘Kings and Queens’.

Add to the mix rivalry between those taking care of the business until Jasper comes of age – Ned Seymour and Jim Dudley – and you have a wonderful, modern take on the politics, intrigues and battles for power that dominated the English court after the death of Henry VIII.

Lanchester Estates is split down the middle – Ned Seymour is supported by Isabella, while Dudley is favoured by Erin, so much so that she sells him some of her shares in the company. Jasper is trying to cope with the difficulties of growing up, aware of the responsibility that awaits him, but more interested in girls and drinking. Former nanny Hannah, still very much a part of the family, tries to help, offering some stability to the fractured family, but then tragedy strikes and Isabella takes over the company.

Unpopular and unhappy, Isabella thinks she’s turned a corner when she meets Phillip Castillo. But Phillip isn’t all he seems. I couldn’t decide if I hated Isabella or felt terribly sorry for her – she acts selfishly and horribly, but deep down she’s so sad, and the writing conveys this so well; people behave as they do for a reason, and Isabella is a complex character whose flaws are well-explained.

Erin, meanwhile, is involved in an on-off relationship with Robert Dudley, which causes its own tragedies and unhappiness. Out of all the characters, I felt that Erin was the one who developed the most, who really ‘grew up’ as the story unfolded. Although she was far from perfect and still had her flaws, she became less the selfish, spoilt teenager and more the accomplished, capable intelligent woman that Lanchester Estates needed to keep the company going.

It’s great fun to link all these characters to their historical counterparts, and Terry Tyler does a great job of showing those links without making them obtrusive or restricting the characters or the story. Raine, for example, while ‘standing in’ for tragic Lady Jane Grey has a very different, albeit potentially heart-breaking, fate to the original.

The characters draw you in, and the writing is clever, entertaining, at times funny and always compelling. Each has his or her own story and their motivations are clear and believable. It’s one of those books that leaves you disappointed at the end – not because of the story but because you want to carry on, to see what happens next to the Lanchesters and, when you reach that last page, you’re left feeling slightly bereft. There aren’t many books that make me feel like that, so ‘Last Child’ definitely deserves five stars.

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Find a copy here

#RBRT Kings and Queens – Terry Tyler

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I had the pleasure of reading and reviewingTerry Tyler’s wonderful ‘Kings and Queens’ for Rosie Amber’s blog.

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Sometimes, as a writer, I read a book that makes me think ‘I wish I’d thought of that!’ ‘Kings and Queens’ is a wonderful, clever book that brings the infamous history of Henry VIII and his many wives into modern times, detailing the life and loves of Harry Lanchester as he unexpectedly inherits control of his father’s company.

This is a real page turner with realistically drawn characters that hold your attention through every marriage, affair, dodgy deal and tragedy. The multiple viewpoints work really well and give the reader the opportunity to see Harry from many different sides, not all flattering. It was enjoyable to get into the shoes of the women he falls in love with and the narration of his friend Will brought another perspective as his view of his friend developed over the years, loyal still but increasingly more able to see the flaws.

The attention to detail as the characters grow up and move through the decades was excellent – the economic ups and downs and the fashions (those eighties shoulder pads), food, music and tastes of the decades was spot on.

Terry Tyler makes writing look easy (although of course it isn’t) and shows great skill in this engaging, entertaining read.

I can’t wait for the sequel.

gold star

Find a copy here