Dead Hope by Nicky Wells – A Review.

nicky-wellsThe book business loves handcuffs – and not just in shades of grey. There are colonies of different genres with all kinds and creeds and orthodoxies. I can understand this. I’d be pretty surprised if I opened a can of Walmart Tuna to find it stuffed with caviar. But for sure – I’d survive somehow as long as I had some fizzio therapy vino in the house to help me swallow my consternation. I’ve always spilled outside the genre corset, mainly because of sex. I’ve just got to put some in – well rather a lot actually.

I came across Nicky Wells a few years ago now. She’s a trouper and just the kind of girl who’d give you caviar rather than tuna. At the time she was singing a rock song from one of her books to a live audience. She’s just got a new book out and here’s my review.

Well, I sat down to read a few pages and ended up putting it down finished at 2 o’clock this morning. I’ve never been sure what genre of book I go for and this story suited me because it’s an action suspense romance thriller. What hooked me in was that right from the start I cared about the characters. The tension is well maintained and there’s a bit in a ventilation shaft that had my palms sweating. There’s a strong love story and of course a mystery to solve with an evil villain and an East End market barrow load of red herrings. The writing style is easy to read as the story romps along. I won’t add any plot spoilers but there’s a sexy girl and a well hunky hero. It’s also a modern tale with clearly some research done into computer hacking and the world of data storage. It’s a glass of wine story – once you’ve started, you’ve got to finish it.

Ditch the genre corset and spread out with a good story.

Find the book worldwide here: http://www.smarturl.it/DeadHope

Find out more about Nicky Wells here: https://nickywells.com/

Emma Thinx: Don’t hold it back, someone out there’s waiting for it.

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Erin, aged 6, #reviews all three Once Upon a NOW #books @ajcraftybox #kidlit #giveaway

ajbookreviewclub, kid's review, book review, book blog


My children’s book tour and giveaway is now up to stop number seven: the  ajbookreviewclub

I’ve been delighted to be included on many blogs where real children have been invited to read and share their thoughts about the series with adult reviewers in the feature. Here on AJ’s blog we meet the delightful and wise Erin (who is six). She had all three books read to her and tells us about which bits she liked (and didn’t!) and which of the stories is her favourite. 

One common comment on all the reviews of ‘Alf The Workshop Dog’ is that readers love ‘the song‘. They are referring to  the fictional National Anthem of Zanubia, which you can hear and watch being sung from within the book.  

Zanubia, King of Zanubia, Zanubia National Anthem, song, Once Upon a Now song,  Oscar Sparrow, narrator

It’s performed by my daughter on the piano (she’s very clever and wrote the music) and Oscar Sparrow who is the wonderful narrator on the audio book editions of all my children’s stories. 

He was very worried about being too fierce and frightening the kids – so we made him a paper crown to go with his plastic sword.  This then gave us a lot of trouble as he couldn’t keep a straight face and we had to record many takes.  In the end I set the camera rolling and left the room and that solved it.

Want to see the video and hear the song? Well I’m afraid it’s exclusive to the book… it’s one of the ‘bonus features’ included via scannable QR code and secret URL links.  

(A hint for my special readers – ALF will be FREE on Amazon Kindle 8,  9, 10 Feb:  grab your copy and hear the song! http://www.smarturl.it/Alf )

All books in the series are ‘chapter books’.  These are aimed at younger readers maybe not yet ready to read a whole book in one go.  The stories are divided into manageable chunks with the bonus materials as a ‘reward’ for the end of a section. The videos, photos and colouring pictures are accessed via QR codes and URLs in the book. QR codes let people with the paperback version still get the benefit of these interactive materials. I guess they are a bit of a gimmick but I think they make for a richer experience and help make story time more fun. They certainly added a new element to the job of creating the books! 

A big thank you to AJ and her daughter for sharing their thoughts on my stories – I’m so pleased you enjoyed them!

Who couldn’t love a dog like that? pic.twitter.com/PqRKR1uWKa @maryannwrites #review

it's not all gravy, blog tour, blog, review, book review, Alf The Workshop Dog, Children's fiction, kid's books,


Day Five and my Book Tour is visiting the blog of Maryann Miller which is called  It’s Not All Gravy.  

Alf The Workshop Dog cover, cover image, kid's fiction book, kid's book, children's storyShe has kindly hosted all three books in the ‘Once Upon a NOW‘ series and includes a review of ‘ALF THE WORKSHOP DOG‘.

With a daughter who is a graphic artist she was particularly interested in the illustrations in the book.  

Alf The workshop dog, time travel, dog, kid's fairy stories, kid's fiction

I also know she downloaded one from the book to colour-in for herself. 

Find out why she highly recommends these books for children of all ages..

Thank you Maryann!

Father and son duo @grabthisbook #review pic.twitter.com/oq0OciiXPE ALF THE WORKSHOP DOG

Grab this book blog, book review, blog tour, Once Upon a NOW, kid's fiction, children's book, Alf The Workshop Dog, review

Stop number four on my Book Tour for the Once Upon a NOW series is at the wonderfully named review site “GRAB THIS BOOK”.

It’s great to get a dad’s perspective on my children’s books.  As a mother of sons whose father was frequently away and busy when they were small, I always felt it was a shame they never got to share special reading time with him.  

Alf, Alf the Workshop Dog, children's fiction, book cover sketch, colouring picture, Once Upon a NOW

It’s wonderful to be allowed in to this father and son’s story time and share an 8year old’s perspective on Alf The Workshop Dog.  What a perceptive young man – and what  a lovely review.  Thanks to the little chap for telling us how the book made him feel.  Thanks to Dad for  hosting us on his blog.

Interesting too that the lad is now demanding to be a regular guest on his dad’s blog.  The next generation of reviewers is here!

Take a visit and hear their thoughts on Grab This Book.

Everyone needs a ferret godfather pic.twitter.com/6Cgub60Fzh #kidlit #review by @JossRadillo

Chapter 5 Blog, book reviews, blogger, book blogger, Joss Rodillo


Today the Once Upon a NOW! series visits the Chapter 5 Book Review hosted by Kindergarten teacher and book blogger Joss Rodillo. 

Frankie Ferret, ISabella's Pink Bicycle, Once Upon a NOW, children's books, kids literature, Emma Calin, review



Which book in the series is her favourite?  The clue is in the title of the blog….. yes she fell in love with Frankie Ferret the sidekick and adventure-buddy of Isabella in ‘ISABELLA’S PINK BICYCLE‘.

I was delighted that she gave the whole series a whopping 5***** and can’t wait to share the stories with her little charges.

Find out what else she had to say about ‘ALF THE WORKSHOP DOG and ‘KOOL KID KRUNCHA AND THE HIGH TRAPEZE‘ on her blog here

Introducing the next generation of #bookbloggers on @BestChickLit #KidLitChat for my Children’s Fiction Blog Tour.

Today I am pleased to share with you the content from BestChickLit.com .  They recently featured my ‘Once Upon a NOW’ series of children’s books and introduced the world to super-reviewers Ellie and Eden (aged 11 and 9).

Both girls read the books and between them created 5 wonderful reviews for ‘Alf The Workshop Dog’, ‘Isabella’s Pink Bicycle’ and ‘Kool Kid Kruncha and The High Trapeze’.


Coming up with one review is hard enough against a deadline, but these sisters have really got the reading bug.  They are destined, I am certain, to become great literary star-reviewers of the future. The pair managed to read all three stories and came up with synopses of the plots as well as explaining the things they particularly enjoyed in each book.

A big thank you from me to them for all their effort and fantastic result!
(particularly as they liked the stories 😉 ).

Visit the blog and see all their thoughts and reviews on BestChickLit.com.

Kindle version of ‘Kool Kid Kruncha and the High Trapeze’ is FREE on Amazon Worldwide today & tomorrow (27/28 Jan 2015) http://www.smarturl.it/Kruncha.


Next stop on the tour is Tales of Yesterday readable from the 28th January. 








Does my rear look big in this? Let’s #review it with @jennymarston_xo



The first review for Shannon’s Law goes to…. Jenny Marston, a UK uber-blogger and book reviewer.  

I do believe she liked the book…

http://jennyinneverland.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/shannons-law-emma-calin-author-interview/


I like her review A LOT!

Luckily the rear end of my book was bare and still in production so I was able to include an excerpt before the launch-day print run and publication.

She was closely followed by Anneli Purchase from Canada and Petra Rovere from Slovenia.  They enjoyed it too and are also quoted.  Watch this space for their reviews later in my Pinterest Reveal Blog Tour

I can’t thank my early reviewers too much. All feedback is welcome and hard to get. I feel very privileged to have folks out there who have given me their attention above the clamour of this world.

Emma Thinx. A true friend knows your flaws and defends them. 






Fast Food – Food Fast.

I’m just brazen with my grazin’

I’ve not been lounging about on these pages for a while. I’ve been writing, reading and dieting and to be frank, they don’t mix. I’m on the 5:2 fast diet since I thought it was about time I joined in a craze. Probably thousands of you are doing the same. 500 calories is not a lot but I can scrape by on it. I find it impossible to write because I feel so miserable and weak on the fast days. So far in three weeks I have lost 8 lbs. I have realised something important.  I now see that on a normal day I graze so much that if I caught the eye of a farmer he’d put a tag in my ear and pull me in for milking.

All the same, today is a big eat day. Oooh – steak and kidney pie with chips! That’s what I call a diet. Tomorrow is an anchovy fillet and a carrot baton for lunch followed by an air kiss and a glass of water for dinner. Talking of air kisses let me just say that a certain amount of gas can arise…….oooh – I don’t want to think about it. To be fair, my impression is that this regime does work. If you’re on it too please let me know your experiences.

Far more pleasure has flowed from my reading “Never Alone” by Linn Halton (Amazon.com) (Amazon UK). I’ve posted my review and you can see it below.

Until I read “Never Alone” I had never considered that what we call paranormal might in fact be more normal than our conditioned tendency to ignore what we call intuition. At first Holly and her partner Will have a beautiful and successful life. Holly’s encounter with a mysterious supernatural entity poses a problem in their lives far beyond the trauma of the incident itself. She is forced to examine her values and her own true character. She finds a new companionship with with a completely different group of people who appreciate her mysterious talent for spiritual consciousness. She begins to see the flaws in her life of materialistic ambition. Understandably, her new behaviour perplexes those around her and conflicts multiply as the action proceeds. Finally, of course she makes choices whilst the narrative explores her reconciliation with the idea of contact with “the other side” as a natural part of her life. Just at the point where you can see the story playing out to a predictable outcome based on what you thought you understood – it doesn’t!
This is a good well paced read. The characters are believable and very much of our current times. The author has a light touch which makes the book very easy to read. I enjoyed “Never Alone” and for me it merits a five star rating.

Emma Thinx: Too much moral fibre can blow your mind.