NOT BAD PEOPLE, a contemporary Australian drama by debut author Brandy Scott @HeyBrandyScott

My first completed book of February is the slow-burning contemporary drama NOT BAD PEOPLE by debut author, Brandy Scott. The novel is set in the fictional country Victorian town of Hensley. My own hometown, the Mornington Peninsula, gets a brief mention, so I thought it was fitting to take my copy on a trip to my local beach. It was a lovely beach read!

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NOT BAD PEOPLE by Brandy Scott

“Three Friends. Too many secrets. Honesty is the best policy. Usually.”

Paperback, 464 pages

Published: January 29th 2019 by HarperCollins – AU

ISBN: 1460756177 (ISBN13: 9781460756171)

Source: HarperCollins – AU

 

“A clever, compelling debut novel with a unique premise of what happens when three best friends engage in what seems to be a harmless act, but instead results in tragedy, leading the women to confront buried resentments, shattering secrets, dark lies, and the moral consequences that could alter their lives forever.

Three friends, thirty years of shared secrets, one impulsive gesture…and a terrible accident.  

It’s New Year’s Eve, in a small town in the rich wine country outside Sydney. Thirty-something Aimee, Melinda, and Lou are best friends reveling in the end-of-year celebrations. And what better way to look ahead to the coming year than to let off Chinese lanterns filled with resolutions: for meaning, for freedom, for money? The fact that it’s illegal to use these lanterns is far in the back of their minds. After the glowing paper bags float away and are lost to sight in the night sky, there’s a bright flare in the distance. It could be a sign of luck—or the start of a complete nightmare that will upend the women’s friendships, families, and careers.

Aimee is convinced their little ceremony caused a major accident. The next day, the newspapers report a small plane crashed, and two victims—one a young boy—were pulled from the wreckage. Were they responsible? Aimee thinks they are, Melinda won’t accept it, and Lou has problems of her own. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, obsession, blackmail and power games.
They’re not bad people. But desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Amazon AU I Amazon UK I Amazon US

There are three main characters in NOT BAD PEOPLE. Lou is a feisty single mum whose teenage daughter is causing almost as much trouble as she did when she was a teenager. Aimee has a seemingly perfect husband, children, winery, and life. Melinda is successful single businesswoman who has recently moved back to small-town Hensley from the big city.

The three thirty-something woman have been best friends since childhood, mostly because they are related to each other and their parents were friends with each other, just like most small town friendships are formed. Their lives begin to fall apart when an innocent incident on New Years Eve appears to cause an accident and now they are forced to deal with the consequences.

This is made far more complicated by living in small country town where no secret is ever truly safe and resentments have been left to fester for years, generations in some cases.

I really enjoyed NOT BAD PEOPLE and I felt that Brandy Scott set the scene of a small country town – quite similar to the one I grew up in –  perfectly. The characters were extremely well-developed and I found myself able to relate to all of the three main characters at different times.

I did find some of the longer chapters would have flowed better for me if they had just focused on one characters at a time rather than going back and forth between all three main characters, but that’s probably just a personal preference of mine.

NOT BAD PEOPLE is a delightful novel, perfectly encapsulating the way small towns react to drama, and hold onto their secrets and resents. I especially loved the dynamics between the three friends and the slow-burning pace of the action.

Perfect for fans of the Moriarty sisters and for relaxing with a nice glass of wine. 4 stars!

nbp
NOT BAD PEOPLE by Brandy Scott and a lovely bottle of wine 

 

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Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring! A look back on the books I read in August and September bookish news.

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The Books I read in August: RESTITUTION by Rose Edmunds, BURNING FIELDS by Alli Sinclair, THE BOY AT THE DOOR by Alex Dahl and BOOK OF COLOURS by Robyn Cadwallader

August was a very intense month for me on a personal level. Full of contradictions, a few sad endings, and one very exciting new beginning. The most exciting August news for me is that I have began a new learning journey, studying a Master of Information Management, which I’ll be focusing on library studies. Of course!

I am so excited to get cracking on my way to becoming a librarian and am also over the moon that winter is finally over and the sun has begun to make quite a few appearances already. I’m not a fan of the winter months and am always well and truly sick of cold and dreary Melbourne weather by this stage of the year.

The amount of books I read slowed down over August, but I had some great reads. RESTITUTION by Rose Edmunds was a brilliant continuation of the Crazy Amy series. BOOK OF COLOURS by Robyn Cadwallader and BURNING FIELDS by Alli Sinclair were both the first novels I have read by two fantastic Australian historical fiction authors. THE BOY AT THE DOOR by Alex Dahl was a gripping Nordic suspense novel by a debut author. I love that August was another month full of books by female authors for me!

Books I Read in August

Click on the links below to check out my August book reviews and don’t forget to enter my giveaway for BURNING FIELDS! 

RESTITUTION by Rose Edmunds

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RESTITUTION by Rose Edmunds

 

Reeling from a catalogue of disasters, flaky sleuth Amy travels to Prague to help an old man recover a Picasso painting last seen in 1939. It seems like a mundane assignment, but the stakes are far higher than Amy imagines. Competing forces have vested interests, and are prepared to kill to meet their goals. Caught amid a tangle of lies, with her credibility in question and her life on the line, could Amy’s craziness be her salvation…?

 

BOOK OF COLOURS by Robyn Cadwallader

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BOOK OF COLOURS by Robyn Cadwallader

 

From Robyn Cadwallader, author of the internationally acclaimed novel The Anchoress, comes a deeply profound and moving novel of the importance of creativity and the power of connection, told through the story of the commissioning of a gorgeously decorated medieval manuscript, a Book of Hours.

London, 1321: In a small stationer’s shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book, an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a Book of Hours. Even though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires and ambitions threaten its completion. As each struggles to see the book come into being, it will change everything they have understood about their place in the world. In many ways, this is a story about power – it is also a novel about the place of women in the roiling and turbulent world of the early fourteenth century; what power they have, how they wield it, and just how temporary and conditional it is.

Rich, deep, sensuous and full of life, Book of Colours is also, most movingly, a profoundly beautiful story about creativity and connection, and our instinctive need to understand our world and communicate with others through the pages of a book.

 

BURNING FIELDS by Alli Sinclair

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BURNING FIELDS by Alli Sinclair

 

1948. The world is struggling to regain a sense of balance after the devastation of World War II, and the sugar cane-growing community of Piri River in northern Queensland is no exception.

As returned servicemen endeavour to adjust to their pre-war lives, women who had worked for the war effort are expected to embrace traditional roles once more.

Rosie Stanton finds it difficult to return to the family farm after years working for the Australian Women’s Army Service. Reminders are everywhere of the brothers she lost in the war and she is unable to understand her father’s contempt for Italians, especially the Conti family next door. When her father takes ill, Rosie challenges tradition by managing the farm, but outside influences are determined to see her fail.

Desperate to leave his turbulent history behind, Tomas Conti has left Italy to join his family in Piri River. Tomas struggles to adapt in Australia—until he meets Rosie. Her easy-going nature and positive outlook help him forget the life he’s escaped. But as their relationship grows, so do tensions between the two families until the situation becomes explosive.

When a long-hidden family secret is discovered and Tomas’s mysterious past is revealed, everything Rosie believes is shattered. Will she risk all to rebuild her family or will she lose the only man she’s ever loved?

 

THE BOY AT THE DOOR by Alex Dahl

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THE BOY AT THE DOOR by Alex Dahl

This riveting psychological suspense debut by Alex Dahl asks the question, “how far would you go to hold on to what you have?”

Cecilia Wilborg has it all–a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a gorgeous home in an affluent Norwegian suburb. And she works hard to keep it all together. Too hard…

There is no room for mistakes in her life. Even taking home a little boy whose parents forgot to pick him up at the pool can put a crimp in Cecilia’s carefully planned schedule. Especially when she arrives at the address she was given
and finds an empty, abandoned house…

There’s nothing for Cecilia to do but to take the boy home with her, never realizing that soon his quiet presence and knowing eyes will trigger unwelcome memories from her past–and unravel her meticulously crafted life…

2015 Review

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Happy New Year to all my bloggy friends from all corners of the world. I hope you all saw in the New Year in style and wish you all an absolutely fabulous 2016!

Due to some unforeseen circumstances I spent New Year’s Eve watching Netflix at home with my boyfriend and our cat, but it was actually quite nice to have a quiet one for a change. I think I must be getting old!

2015 has been a bit of a strange year for me. I’ve had some tough times, but there were plenty of good times as well. I’ve moved house which is never much fun, but I am loving my little sea change now Summer has arrived.

I’ve worked incredibly hard at university, but all that hard work is finally starting to feel like it’s paying off. I’m now well over half way through my BA in Internet Communications! I am currently enjoying a well-deserved break until March and am doing a very good job at catching up on my naps and Netflix.

And, finally, my blog has been so rewarding over the past 12 months. I have ‘met’ so many kind, clever and caring people through this humble little blog. It’s hard to believe that Scatterbooker started out as an assignment just over a year ago. I’ve learned a lot about myself and an untold amount of bookish and social media things in 2015 and it’s all thanks to you guys.

I’ve had some periods where life and uni got the better of me last year and that meant I wasn’t able to blog as much as I would like. So, the only thing close to a resolution I will be making this year is: spend more time blogging. Besides from that, I will continue to be just as fabulous as I was last year.

Thank you all for being your fabulous selves!

 

Twitter Tips for Readers and Writers

I often have people tell me that they find Twitter difficult and confusing to use. I can understand that it can seem a bit intimidating at first, but it really is a fantastic platform to connect and network with other like-minded people once you get the hang of it. It is the number one social media platform I use to drive visitors to my blog posts and find interesting people to connect with.

Hashtags

The number one concept Twitter newbies need to get their heads around are hashtags. Make sure that you use them and make sure that they are relevant. Unlike Facebook, hashtags are expected and highly useful on Twitter. All you need to do to create a hashtag is add the pound symbol (#) before the tag you are using. E.g. #hashtag

To search for tweets that include hashtags that you are interested in, just enter your hashtag in the search box and you will see every tweet in Twitter about your topic. Make sure you retweet any that grab your interest!

I’ve put together a list of hashtags that all readers and writers should check out:

General

#amreading

#amwriting         hashtag

#amediting

#books

#reading

#novel

#bookboost

#bookworm

#mustread

#greatreads

#writechat

#selfpub

#selfpublishing

#indieauthors

#indiepub

#writerslife

#booknerd

#promotip

#writing

#writingprompt

#amazon

#ebook

#bookbuzzr

#pubtip

#ereaders

#epubchat

#bookquote

#bookbuzz

#kindle

#kindlechat

#whattoread

#currentlyreading

#wip (Work in progress)

#writetip

#writingtip

#storystarter

#bookgiveaway

#giveaway

#free

#freebie

#shortstories

#shortreads

#paperbacks

#bookwormproblems

#writerproblems

#bookmarket

#TBR (To be read)

#readinglist

Genres

#fiction

#nonfiction

#biography

#YA

#romance

#crime

#mystery

#suspense

#thriller

#horror

#scifi

#clifi

#litfic

#histfic

#womensfiction

#paranormal

#dystopian

#contemporary

#history

#urbanfantasy

Hashtag Days

Hashtag Days are an incredibly effective way to connect with new people. Make sure that if you add a Hashtag Day tag to your tweet that you read and retweet other people’s tweets as well.

EDIT 10/12/15 Before you post on a hashtag day, please take the time to read what you can  and can’t tweet on each day. I’ve included the links to all of the hashtag day’s rules, as well as the Twitter accounts that host each day.

Thank you to the incredibly helpful author, Terry Tyler, for the suggestion. Terry has self-published 11 novels on Amazon and is a Twitter expert. An extra tip for you all is to go check out Terry’s blog for self-publishing and social media advice, as well as all kinds of interesting bookish things. Terry also loves to network and support authors and bloggers on Twitter @TerryTyler4

EDIT 16/12/15 Thank you Paula Reed Nancarrow for providing the link for Archive Day! You can find Paula on Twitter @prnancarrow

Monday: #mondayblogs Rules Twitter Account: @MondayBlogs

Tuesday: #tuesdaybookblog Rules Twitter Account: @rosieamber1

#teasertuesday Rules Twitter Account: @ADailyRhythm

Wednesday: #wwwblogs Rules Twitter Account: @Womenwriterblog

#ww (Writer Wednesday)

Use the @ to mention writers that you appreciate on Twitter

Thursday: #indiethursday Rules Twitter Account: @IndieThursday

Also #indiebookstorelove

Friday: #fridayreads Rules Twitter Account: @FridayReads

#ff (Follow Friday)

Similar to #ww. Mention any Twitter people you enjoy following.

Saturday: #archiveday Rules Twitter Account: @SingleMAhoy

Sunday: #sundayblogshare Rules Twitter Account: @SundayBlogShare

This is by no means an exhaustive list of bookish Twitter hashtags, but there are plenty to get started with.

My final piece of advice on getting the most out of Twitter is please make sure that you interact and engage with other people. If you see an interesting link or blogpost, retweet it. Or use the @ feature to let them know you though it was great.

I always follow back bookish people and am happy to assist Twitter newbies.

You can find me on Twitter at @scatterbooker

My other social media handles:

Facebook: scatterbooker

Instagram: scatterbooker

Pinterest: scatterbooker

Google+: Jade St Clair Scatterbooker

LinkedIn: Jade St Clair

 

The Edge of Dark by Pamela Hartshorne #BookReview

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The Edge of Dark is mysterious time slip novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. The novel is centred around the enigmatic Elizabethan home, Holmwood House, in York in the 1500s and present day.

In the 21st century Holmwood House is being meticulously restored to its former glory by the pompous Sir Adrian, whose family is descended from the home’s original owner. The story begins when he hires London based Events Director, Roz Acclam from London, to oversee the grand opening and future events.

Roz has no memories of her tragic childhood history in York and jumps at the chance to work at such a beautiful historic home, despite her Aunt’s warnings to stay away from the area. She has been having relationship problems and thinks some time apart from her partner is just what she needs.

Things start to get strange as soon as Roz arrives in York. She begins to have vivid dreams about Jane, who lived at Holmswood House in the 1500s. At first Roz thought she was having some kind of adverse reaction to being back in York, but she eventually comes to believe that Jane is real and has been trying to send her an important message.

But what is Jane really trying to tell her? Will the dark forces of Holmswood House claim another victim? And what really happened to Roz’s family when she was a child?

The answers to these questions and more are skilfully revealed, and I was certainly surprised by the climatic ending. Pamela Hartshorne has mastered the art of the time slip novel and I’m looking forward to reading more of her work.

Details

Title: The Edge of Dark

Author: Pamela Hartshorne

Published: January 27th 2015 by PAN MacMillan Adult (first published November 1st 2014)

ISBN: 1447278534 (ISBN13: 9781447278535)

Genre: Historical Fiction, Time Slip

Source: Library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads

So, Why Am I So Interested In Self-Publishing?

Source: Maria Elena https://www.flickr.com/photos/melenita/9689712379
Source: Maria Elena https://www.flickr.com/photos/melenita/9689712379

Before I began my book blog I didn’t know much about the self-publishing industry at all. When I first began my great love affair with books, reading such classics as The Babysitter’s Club  and Sweet Valley High, there was only one way to read them. This meant that I never had enough new books because I got through them before my parents were prepared to take me to the shops or library for a new one.

While I was growing up, though, the world was starting change. Throughout my teens and twenties the world was rapidly becoming more and more digitized each year until the point that we’re at right now, in 2015, where almost any form of entertainment that you can possibly imagine, including books, is available online.

I am now a student of Internet Communications and over the course of my studies we talk a lot about the effects that digitization and also convergence have had on many different industries. A very clever man called Henry Jenkins describes what convergence means best, so I will let him explain it to you.

By convergence, I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted. Convergence is a word that manages to describe technological, industrial, cultural, and social changes, depending on who’s speaking and what they think they are talking about. In the world of media convergence, every important story gets told, every brand gets sold, every consumer gets courted across multiple media platforms. Right now, convergence culture is getting defined top-down by decisions being made in corporate boardrooms and bottom-up by decisions made in teenagers’ bedrooms. It is shaped by the desires of media conglomerates to expand their empires across multiple platforms and by the desires of consumers to have the media they want where they want it, when they want it, and in the format they want…. – See more at: http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html#sthash.Mc0bZbpa.dpuf

I’ve read many interesting and informative articles and participated in many lectures about the effects of digitization and convergence on the television, film, and gaming industries, but there really isn’t much out there about the publishing industry. And when self-publishing gets mentioned, most people’s impression is that all self-published novels are terrible, full of typos and unprofessional, a legacy from when the only option for self-publishing was through a Vanity Press.

I may have even believed the same thing myself if I wasn’t lucky enough to have stumbled upon so many fabulous self-published authors this year! I have to admit that some of the self-published novels that I’ve read have been pretty terrible, but this is the case in any participatory culture. Just because everybody is able to be an author doesn’t mean that everybody should be an author, but I have also discovered an increasing amount of absolutely amazing self-published authors who go to an incredible amount of effort to publish their books. In fact, two of my favourite books that I’ve read this year, Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler  and Concealment  by Rose Edmunds, are self-published.

So, I’m going to use Self-Publishing Talk as a space to discuss my thoughts on digitization and convergence and the ways that writing, distributing and consuming books are changing. I’d love to hear your thoughts and you can check out my latest book reviews, including some great self-published novels, on the main blog page.

This post was originally posted as a page. I have decided to edit and repost Self-Publishing Talk as standard blog posts.

 

Self-Publishing Talk

jadeThis section is dedicated to discuss the self-publishing industry. Digitization and Convergence have had an enormous impact on the entertainment industries, but most of the academic research is focused on the television, film, and gaming industries. As an avid reader, book blogger, and student of Internet Communications, I am fascinated by the ways that the production, distribution, and consumption of books are changing and the current state of the self-publishing industry. Self-Publishing Talk is an outlet to combine three of my greatest passions in the one place.

This post was originally posted as a page. I have decided to edit and repost Self-Publishing Talk as standard blog posts.