Book Review blogs

Book Review blogs

    Today I am delighted to be resharing my review of The Conviction Of Cora Burns to celebrate the release of the paperback on the 24th of October, as well as the Kindle edition being being on offer and only 99p! Ends 10th of November!

    Book Description:

    To believe in her future, she must uncover her past…

    Birmingham, 1885.

    Born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse, Cora Burns has always struggled to control the violence inside her.

    Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of scientist Thomas Jerwood. Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora…?

    With the power and intrigue of Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions and Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done, Carolyn Kirby’s stunning debut takes the reader on a heart-breaking journey through Victorian Birmingham and questions where we first learn violence: from our scars or from our hearts.

    My Thoughts:

    I’m not usually a lover of historical books apart from ones to do with the war, reading the blurb for this one though it really intrigued me and I knew I wanted to find out more about Cora’s story. It didn’t disappoint.

    Needless to say that Cora didn’t have the best start in life being born in gaol. Then to spend her childhood in a workhouse, I don’t think things could be any worse. The story itself flicks between past and present so we can better understand and get to know Cora. I have to admit I wasn’t to sure about Cora to start with. There is definitely a dark side to her that made me very wary. Whilst I can’t say I fully agreed with some of her actions, I quite admired the person she became.

    I think this is a story very much about how we react to our start in life and how events can mould us into the person we become. It’s one that really makes you think. I found the whole era fascinating and whilst glad I didn’t live in those times, it does give a great insight into what life was like back then.

    The Conviction Of Cora Burns is a fascinating insight into the 1800’s and into one woman’s life. Cora’s life really draws the reader in and I struggled to put the book down. The story takes some dark twists and turns and I was totally engrossed in what I was reading. A very clever debut novel and an author I will certainly be keeping my eye out for.

    My thanks to No Exit Press for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

    The Conviction Of Cora Burns is available to purchase from Amazon. (Please note that link used is an affiliate link).

  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
    This book struck a cord very close to home for me. Having to deal with alcoholism within my own family and being a Psychology Major, I feel I can better relate to the struggles and emotions in the story. The overwhelming theme in the book is a woman's fight to keep her child safe while still struggling to come to terms with her relationship and responsibilities to her abusive husband. I saw this very struggle as a child growing up, so i'm very familiar with how damaging it can be and all of the ways it can play out. One thing I've been seeing in other reviews is how a lot of people think that Graham is self-righteous in her feelings overall and for disliking and even demonizing Alcohol. I have to say I agree with her, on the alcohol part at least. Alcohol has it's dangers and their isn't any real or specific purpose for it. I guess it can help with anxiety (or other emotional problems)...but why not learn to deal with those than have to be dependent on a substance? When considering the husband though, i'd be totally fine with her divorcing him and moving on. The thing with alcoholism is that it gets worse overtime. The first few times they drink, they feel ok but they start feeling guilty for whatever reason. Afterwards, each time they drink all the guilt and bad choices come back to them and they start to get angry. Soon, they feel so much guilt about all the drinking and all the anger, that drinking more is the only thing that can help them forget about it. That is until a trigger comes along and they remember. Unfortunately for Graham, she was the trigger. All of her husband's friends and girlfriends were getting the best side of him, simply because they didn't remind him of his bad choices or his responsibility. But as soon as he saw Graham, all of those thoughts can back. You can see some moments in their relationship where things are better or where it looks like it may be manageable, but without a drastic switch of mindset, there is no escaping alcoholism. Graham was a very strong character. I liked how she stood up for herself (most of the time) and tried to protect her child. The times in this book was pretty oppressive towards women and all though I feel pretty independent and wouldn't have a problem tossing him to the curb, i can appreciate Graham's sense of duty. Alcoholic or not, she did love him, atleast in the beginning, and anytime you love someone, you want to help them...but sometimes, unfortunately, in the end, there just isn't any help. I was happy to see that Graham was able to move on and atleast attempt a new life. This was a great book overall and i'd recommend it to older YA readers and Adults. Be warned though that it can be triggering for substance, verbal and emotional abuse.
  • #BlogTour #Excerpt : The Memories We Hide by Jodie Gibson @JFGibsonWriter #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup

    Hello Readers! Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Memories We Hide by Jodie Gibson, organized by LoveBooksTours. Check out the book details and excerpt in this post.

    The Memories We Hide by Jodie Gibson
    Genre: contemporary  / women’s fiction


    Can you trust your memories?

    Laura Murphy thought she could, but that was before she returned home.

    When 27-year-old Laura returns to her hometown ten years after the tragic death of her boyfriend, Ryan Taylor, she isn’t prepared for the nostalgia and memories that resurface.  

    While caring for her ailing mother, Laura discovers an old newspaper clipping suggesting there may have been more to Ryan’s death than first thought. Despite her determination to put the past behind her, Laura becomes compelled to find out what happened that fateful night. 

    As she begins delving into the past, Laura reconnects with childhood friend Tom Gordon, and they begin to unravel the blurred lines of truth and memory. But, unbeknownst to Laura, Tom is hiding a secret that could change everything, including destroying any chance of the future with Laura he’s always dreamed of.

    Will Laura have the strength to confront what is revealed, or will Tom’s secret unlock memories that hold a truth no-one is prepared for?

    Dealing with the complexities of friendships, love, depression and the consequences of secrets and split-second decisions, The Memories We Hide is a compelling story exploring how memories can’t always be trusted but how they can set you free. 


    An hour later, Laura had escaped the city traffic and found herself focusing on the broken white lines of the country highway. The last time she was on this stretch of road, she was traveling in the opposite direction, away from her mother’s weatherboard cottage on the tree-lined street near the railway line. The railway line. That was always the memory that caused her thoughts to snag. Nostalgia was mixed with the harsh truth of why Laura had left almost ten years earlier and had never been able to return. But, like a shadow, her past was always right behind her. She had come one hundred eighty degrees, the city an almost nonexistent speck in the rearview mirror. Every kilometer brought her closer, brought her back to her childhood home.

    She chastised herself for the selfish emotions consuming her energy. She should be thinking of her mum right now. Nothing else should matter. But it was too late. Well-hidden memories once pushed purposely into the back of her mind had come forward again. She knew it was inevitable. That going back wouldn’t be just about looking after her mum in her last days. Everything she’d run from all those years ago would resurface. She’d have to face Tom. And what about Rachel? She’d have to cross that railway line every single day.

    She switched on the radio to take her mind off things, the sultry voice of Whitney Houston’s ‘Saving All My Love’ filtered through the speakers. She smiled. Her mum loved Whitney.

    The large green sign ahead indicated 320km to Banyula, and all of a sudden Laura felt an overwhelming sense of nausea wash over her, the saltiness rising to the back of her throat. She pulled the car to a halt on the gravel at the side of the road and opened the door. She made it to the grass just in time.

    Buy Link

    Author Bio:

    Jodi Gibson is an Australian women’s fiction author of both contemporary dramas, and light-hearted romantic comedy. She lives on a mini-farm with her husband, daughters, two golden retrievers, one horse, eight chickens and a cat who rules over them all.

    Jodi has been making up stories in one way or another since she was young. However, it wasn’t until recent years and after wearing many career hats, that the desire to get the stories out of her head and onto the page, won her over. In 2019, she realised her dream releasing her debut contemporary drama novel, The Memories We Hide.

    When she’s not writing, you’ll find Jodi with her nose in a book, or in the kitchen baking and dreaming of her next travelling adventure.

    Organized By:

    Let’s Discuss!

    What do you think about the book? Are you going to add it to TBR? Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.




Blog Calendar - Hobbies

« October 2019 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      


23 October 2019

  • New 6K Image Display Option for Flickr Pro Members
    23 October 2019

    Want to show visitors your images in ultra-high resolution? Now you can, Flickr Pros!
  • CalDigit Announces Rugged Tuff nano USB-C SSDs
    23 October 2019

    New ultra-fast SSD drives can survive dust, drops and dunks—so, yeah, ideal for underwater photographers!
  • Fluorescent Turtle Embryo Wins the 2019 Nikon Small World Competition
    23 October 2019

    The competition showcasing images captured with a microscope produces more jaw-dropping winners
  • How to Create a Photography Website with Wix
    23 October 2019

    Showcase your work with a Wix website for photographers! As a photographer today, you need to have your work available to view online. It’s as simple as that. A well-designed online portfolio website will do wonders towards helping you approach clients, look professional and showcase your talents to the world which essentially is what we all want to do, right!? Having a social media profile regardless of how many followers you have or how pretty it looks can only do so much. Sites like 500px are great for building a community and sharing your work but nothing can compare to customising and creating your very own website. Looking professional as a photographer comes down to having a portfolio that represents what you do and if that’s easily accessible, it makes you immediately appear like you at least kind of know what you’re doing…even if you don’t, which is totally fine! I know I like to change my online portfolio ALL. THE. TIME. Throughout a creative career you’ll no doubt have a roller coaster of various editing and photography styles which means that it’s important to keep your website up to date as you progress. So, if you’re keen to develop...

    The post How to Create a Photography Website with Wix appeared first on The Wandering Lens - Travel Photography Guides.

  • The Museum of Fine Arts of Toulouse Branding by BIS Studio Graphique
    23 October 2019
    Graphic design, art direction, branding, and web design by BIS Studio Graphique for The Museum of Fine Arts of Toulouse.

    French design firm BIS Studio Graphique created a sophisticated brand identity for The Museum of Fine Arts of Toulouse “Musee des Augustins”. Housed in the former Couvant des Augustins built in 1309, the museum is home to a large number of sculptures and paintings from the Romanesque period.

    On the occasion of a makeover, the creative team of BIS Studio Graphique decided to present a draft rebranding proposal for the museum including printed collateral and digital media. Their proposal combines old key elements with a fresh and refined approach. With the new communication, they want to underline the cultural richness of the museum. Just see the images below. For more of the studio’s work, please visit their website or follow them on Behance.

    The Museum of Fine Arts of Toulouse branding by BIS Studio Graphique.The stationery system including notepaper, business cards, and envelope.Printed communication materials.CatalogsFlyersPostersThe Museum of Fine Arts of Toulouse is placed in the former Couvant des Augustins, which was built in 1309.AdvertisementWayfinding systemWebsiteMobile web design

    All images © by BIS Studio Graphique. Do not hesitate to have a look at our highly-inspiring Graphic Design and Branding categories to find other projects created by top designers and studios from all over the world.

    The post The Museum of Fine Arts of Toulouse Branding by BIS Studio Graphique appeared first on WE AND THE COLOR.

  • Travelers Beware: New Airport Scanners Erase Unprocessed Film
    23 October 2019

    You can never be too careful as a photographer traveling these days. From stories about Macbook batteries keeping people off of flights to damaged equipment and gear, air travel seems to be particularly hazardous for our profession and it just became even more so with the advent of these new 3D scanners at airports which, […]

    The post Travelers Beware: New Airport Scanners Erase Unprocessed Film appeared first on Light Stalking.

  • Guest Blog: Wedding Photographer Vanessa Joy
    23 October 2019
    Shooting for Consistency

    10-15 years ago this wasn’t even a concept. I wish I had access to photographers’ old websites so I could show you just how differently photography was branded compared to now.

    More and more potential clients aren’t even going to your website. They’re checking out your other portfolio: Instagram.

    Instagram can be a photographer’s best friend or worst enemy. Thanks to this social platform, users can take a look at our most updated portfolio in a millisecond. We’re judged only by the last six pictures we posted.

    When potential clients are looking at our images that quickly, and that displayed on that tiny mobile screen, there’s one thing that will stick out in their minds. “Does this brand look put together?”

    Make no mistake, photographers (and really all businesses) on Instagram are viewed and evaluated as a whole, not by single images. Consumers are wise to what a good, cohesive, consistent, branded business looks like and they expect it.

    In addition to looking at how many followers you have to determine if you’re a reputable business, they will look at your images as a Collective.

    Scared yet? You shouldn’t be!

    As a photographer, this is your strong suit. If you haven’t honed in on your photography brand image yet, now is the time to start.

    As a photographer you have control over lighting like no other businessperson does. There are three easy ways you can start displaying a strong brand, using lighting as your guide.

    Finding And Creating Consistent Light

    This is where it starts. Your effort here must be very intentional, and not haphazard, or your outcome won’t be successful.

    I’ve decided that my images are to be bright, vibrant and soft. So, when I’m deciding where to photograph details, or the bridal party, or the bride and groom, I’m placing them (and any other light that I’m using) fairly consistently in the same kind of places.

    For example, if I’m looking for a spot for the bride and groom, I’m looking for a background that is backlit, and I plan on filling in the light in their faces with a reflector or off-camera flash. If I had a more moody style to my imagery, I might always look for a contrasting background with light coming more from the right or left.

    This isn’t to stifle creativity. I’m not saying that every picture you take must look exactly the same. Of course I take pictures that are more moody, and moody photographers will take pictures that are more bright and light.

    But the overall body of your work should be collectively parallel. Not only for social media branding, but so that you fulfill the expectations you’ve given to your clients. After all, if you have nothing but dark and moody pictures on your website, but then half of your pictures are light and airy, you probably will have clients wondering what happened to the photographer they thought they hired.

    Creating Light If You Can’t “Find It” Naturally

    You may be a natural light photographer, but what happens when the natural light just isn’t cooperating? You don’t want to run the risk of not delivering the style and quality photos that you’ve promised your clients. You need to be able to create the light instead.

    I know off camera flash can be daunting for photographers who shoot natural light. I remember trying to learn for years and getting frustrated with the existing technology and my failing results. Thankfully, it’s gotten much easier.

    If you’re ready to learn off-camera-flash, I have something for you. I’ve written a book all about it. But it’s unlike any other book on flash out there.

    This is “scenario-based” teaching, and without all of the complicated terms and photograph-ese. You want to make it look like golden hour? Here’s what you need. Looking to create a magenta sunset? Here’s steps 1, 2 and 3. It’s simple, easy to understand and you don’t need to read the whole book to start trying it out right away.

    It’s being published by Rocky Nook in February, and you can pre-order yours right here.

    Editing Consistently

    The next step to creating consistently lit photos is in the post-processing. As we know, there are limitless ways to edit, enhance and potentially destroy a photograph. This is where I see most photographers make mistakes, and you’re not alone! Just scroll down my Instagram feed a little while and you’ll see my all-over-the-place editing and posting (@vanessajoy).

    Thankfully, post-production companies (mine is Freedom Edits – $50 off if you use that link) are helping out a lot of photographers now-a-days. When you send your work out to be edited by another company, one of their primary goals is to give you consistent editing. I believe this is teaching photographers the importance of editing consistency and helping their urges to edit according to their mood that day.

    This is a place where decision-making has to take place either with your editing company or on your own. As much as one photo might look killer with a vintage edit on it, it just won’t bode well to have it sitting next to a vibrant, colorfully edited image. Make a decision on what you want your images to portray and stick to it.

    Again, this isn’t to put you into a box of any kind. You absolutely can change your editing style, and your lighting style even. But these kinds of changes should be done gradually and over time, not daily and whenever the feeling flows.

    Another smart move in the Instagram world is to purposefully set your first six pictures up perfectly if you have a marketing push coming. For example, if you know that you’re going to have an ad running, or be implementing some kind of Instagram marketing, anything that’ll drive traffic to your profile, make sure that you’ve “set-up” your profile spectacularly. 

    Remember, most people won’t even give you a scroll, they only see the first six images you’ve posted. So, if you’re knowingly making an effort to push people to your Instafeed, make sure those first six pictures are amazing individually and collectively.

    Happy shooting!

    Vanessa Joy is an NJ NYC wedding photographer. You can keep up with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

    The post Guest Blog: Wedding Photographer Vanessa Joy appeared first on Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider.

  • Adobe Introduces 'Texture' - a New Control Slider for Lightroom and Camera Raw
    23 October 2019

    The advantage of working with a quality software company like Adobe is that they regularly provide new products and updates. It's an organic approach by Adobe that can work to the advantage of its users, especially as technology improves so quickly these days.

    Its latest introduction, Texture, is a new slider for Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, and Camera raw (on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and ChromeOS). It helps smooth or enhance textures in images without ruining finer details or adding unwanted noise.


    As many Lightroom users can attest, skin smoothing inside Lightroom and Camera Raw would sometimes be more potent than wanted or needed. It would eliminate too much detail while smoothing out the skin.

    Texture's introduction comes in response to demand by users for a product that could produce faster and better skin smoothing without eliminating too much detail. While the company states that photographers might still need Photoshop for some workflows, Texture should meet most of their needs.


    Regular users will note that Texture shares some features of other controls. According to Adobe, "...positive Texture (the range from 1 to 100) is somewhere between positive Clarity and Sharpening. Negative Texture (the range from -1 to -100) is sometimes compared to Noise Reduction."

    Sharpening works on the "high-frequency" areas of a photo (the edges and fine details), while Texture targets the "mid-frequency" areas. The example the company provides in its roll-out uses a photo of a landscape. To add more definition to the small shrubs, you might ordinarily use Sharpening. However, that causes the noise in the photo to overwhelm the details you get from Sharpening. If you instead use Texture, you'd be able to enhance the details while not increasing the noise of the image.

    Another way to utilize negative Texture is for skin smoothing. Again, in the company's example of a headshot, negative Texture smooths out the model's skin to achieve better smoothing "without obliterating the fine details."


    Texture is available as both a global slider and a local adjustment. Users will be able to choose between using global or local. The results are markedly different between them. The local adjustment allows you to target areas of an image or model like a face to smooth out specific areas using selection brushes and accentuate other areas. Overall, it is a powerful tool that allows you to control any enhancements easily to improve your photos - without destroying other areas.

    Another way to use Texture is to enhance deliberate blur in images. Let's say you like the blur or motion you've captured, but think a softer look would improve the image. Brushing on Texture -70 is one way to achieve a softer edge to the blur. If you want even less detail, use a new brush correction using another Texture adjustment. It's just that versatile.

    Overall, we think that Adobe's latest tool is a good update for photographers to use. It's an improvement in smoothing so that you don't eliminate too much other detail or add unnecessary noise.

  • Congratulations Matt Van Emmerik–October 2019 PFRE Photographer of the Month!
    23 October 2019
    Congratulations to Matt Van Emmerik from Kelowna, BC–October 2019 Photographer of the Month! . This is Matt’s third win in 2019! The theme this month was Elevated exterior shot – Aerial, pole or UAV and we had 21 entries from around the world. As always, a big thank you goes out to everyone who participated, […]
  • My Ricoh GRD IV replacement: The Panasonic LF1
    23 October 2019
    Occasionally, ex gear addicts have genuine reasons to buy new gear. Mine is that my Ricoh GRD IV is coughing …

    My Ricoh GRD IV replacement: The Panasonic LF1 Read More »