Notebook-pens-business growth

Ten Steps… Stop Daydreaming and Start Growing your Business

We all have aspirations of becoming more successful, of being more fulfilled? Have you always romanticised about being a writer? Or about finishing your novel? Maybe, like me you hold onto the possibility of being published. But here’s the catch, dreams won’t come true by fantasising about them. No, you have to put in the work.

Some of you are wondering, but how? Where do we start? Well, I’m here to guide you through the process – read my Ten Step Plan to get you on track. It’s time to be brave, battle through your fears and start taking action towards your dreams.

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  • Commit – This should come as no surprise, but the next step in your plan is to actually commit. You’ve pictured the end goal, held the dream in your heart, filled notebooks and Pinterest boards with your ideas; the next move is to make a promise to your self to start. If your vision hasn’t taken off yet, then there is obviously a level of difficulty to it. Not to worry, the following steps will help.
  • Plan – Well done, the hardest part is beginning. We’ve all heard that person who constantly talks of setting up a business, or writing a novel, or converting their loft into a studio. While they have committed to the idea, they have yet to make any plans. And that’s what you should do, write it down, create a course of action and make sure it logically supports the envisaged dream.
  • Study – What? Why? I hear you groan. If it’s a necessary skill to your business, then committing to learning everything you can about that industry is vital. As a writer, I studied by attending a creative writing course, and now my skills are worked upon by reading, writing, editing and working with Critique Partners. Maybe you need to touch up on you marketing skills, or research Platform Building, or discover your Target Audience. Whatever the issue, there will be some form of developing and growing your skillset.
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  • Practise – This is where the ground work begins, building the foundations as you being to cultivate your dreams. Get dirty, get bruised and tumble into self-doubt; and then dust yourself off and climb back on that metaphorical unicorn, ready to chase your dreams over the nearest rainbow. Never give up, because you never know how close you are to making your ideas blossom into reality.
  • Action – Finally, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. TA DAA!! Take those tentative steps into the unknown. Be warned, reality has wicked sense of humour: Don’t be disheartened by the truth, that no matter how much effort we’ve invested up to this point, we will inevitable not be where we want to be. Maybe we’re not confident enough, fast enough, or media savvy enough. There will come a time when you hit a wall, it happens to everyone. The difference between success and failure is that the successful people never quit. Don’t berate yourself, it’s all part of the process, so let’s continue onwards with our Ten Step Plan.
  • Community – Developing a strong foundation of people who encourage and motivate you will help you stay the course through difficult times. Whether they’re friends and family, an online group for entrepreneurs, or the wonderful world of fellow bloggers; having people who can offer support when you need it most is beneficial.
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  • Health – It can be a long, winding road to reaching your goals. And many creatives struggle with mental health. It’s important to listen to your body, watch out for signs of stress and anxiety and take care of yourself. If you crash from Creative Burnout, your beloved dreams will temporarily perish. The same applies for the health of your body, so get some sleep, eat healthy meals, and take time to recover.
  • Take Risks – For life to move forward in a new direction, risks must be taken. It’s easy to stay safe, to live in your comfort zone, but nothing changes. Everyday push your boundaries, it’s the only way to grow and develop (and not just in business). Make that call, ask that blogger to beta read, attend that writing conference. It doesn’t have to be massive steps. In fact, my number one peace of advice to budding new entrepreneurs is: Conquer your fears by taking small steps, one at a time, but keep moving forward. This is how you build self-esteem, by looking back and recollecting all of those tiny achievements. You can do it, you’re AWESOME!
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  • Embrace Failures – No one is perfect, humans make mistakes, and failure in some form or another is inevitable. Don’t wallow in the misery of what you’ve lost, instead find the silver lining and learn from the valuable lessons gained. What will you do differently next time? Where will you invest more? How will you overcome the current hurdle and rise victorious?
  • Celebrate Each Triumph – Life is like trying to climb a giant beans stalk, instead of gazing up at the blanket of clouds and imagining the glittering castle beyond (or, your ideal vision of success). Celebrate each leaf that you climb! Remember to look back at all the other small accomplishments you’ve made, because that is embracing the journey, and that is the true measure of your success.
Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

What step are you embracing at the moment? Do you have any advice for your fellow readers, maybe a further steps to add? Whatever your message, please comment – you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.

What To Blog About If You’re Not Published

Setting up a new blog can be a daunting task. Especially if you’re a blossoming writer hoping to use the platform as a means to find your audience. What do you write about? Is it too soon to start if you haven’t published anything?

K.M.Allen offers wonderful tips and advice which are motivating and inspiring… a must read for anyone wondering what to blog about.

K.M. Allan

While June might remind us were already halfway through another year, it is also this blog’s blogiversary month!

I published my first post in June 2017. That kicked off the 117 posts I’ve published since.

I launched my blog to extend my writer platform. I’d already begun querying agents and publishers and had been rejected, but was still two years away from signing the small press contract I was offered in January 2019. I wasn’t published anywhere and didn’t have a book out to plug.

So what does a writer who isn’t published write about?

Writing, of course! My first post was titled Just Start, which was, and still is, a life motto of mine.

While I’m still another 6 months away from being officially published (the first book in my YA series, Blackbirch, is coming early 2020), I’ll continue to practice what I preach and blog about…

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How to Create your Brand and Grow Your Platform as a writer

Are you horrified to learn that a huge part of being a successful author is growing your social media? That it’s your role to advertise, promote and sell books? And that it’s down to you, to create a trust worthy brand that connects with your target audience?

Relax, you’re not alone. Everyone starting out has faced the same crippling fears. Regardless of your journey and goals, the building blocks are the same. The hardest part of building a platform is conquering your doubts and jumping aboard the media wagon.

As a new writer, I imagined success would miraculously happen. An agent would, above the thousands of other competing writers, immediately spot my talent. Together we would sign with a publisher who would advertise, promote and sell my book to the world. Feel free to laugh, or perhaps agree, but unfortunately the industry does not work that way any longer. Chances are, that even if you are lucky enough to be chosen by a publisher, the funds to launch your book will be slim. As an unknown author, weather you plan to self-publish or not, much of the work will fall to you.

I feel your pain. Creating a brand is terrifying. But once the hard works done you’ll be clearer on your journey to success. Here are my three steps to get you started:

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Step 1, your brand.

Who are you trying to reach? Who is your target audience.

This is where you pick your pen name, take a fantastic profile picture and maybe create a logo. The fun stuff! The harmless stuff! But remember, it’s also important to identify your target audience, because knowing who your targeting will help you tailor your online presence and develop a strong foundation upon which you will begin.

But it’s more than that. You won’t get far just adding friends and family to  Facebook. Do some research, what is the ideal demographic audiences for your genre. What are there likes, hates and aspirations? Use that knowledge to target your market and to connect with the needs of your audience. There’s no point in sharing media about unicorns and rainbows if your trying to connect with readers who love Dark Fantasy or love Gothic Thrillers. You want followers that will engage with you, that might potentially have an interest in what your writing. It’s not all about the amount of followers you have.

Step 2, choose your email address wisely.

This is the root connection for every media you’ll use. Keep it tidy and professional. Separate it from your personal emails for convenience and simplicity by using a name that reflects your brand/ you. Link each and every one of the social medias to the branded email, and, we’re on our way.

Step 3, choose your media.

Take your pick: Facebook, twitter, flicker, WordPress, Instagram, Blogger, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest…. Each one is different with its own set of perks and downfalls. I suggest trying one at a time to avoid unnecessary anxiety. Then use the ones that work for you.

Whichever you choose, remember to apply your brand. Your image and name will be a starting point, from there your authentic voice, likes and interests will help your peers connection with you. The best way to start a following, is by connecting with likeminded individuals. Don’t be mislead, there’s no need to be fake, being authentic is the fastest and most rewarding way to connect. Get things moving with a comment, like or share. Watch, interact and learn. Some social media are fast moving, mistakes are forgotten and forgiven. Everyone was new at some point, and years on, I still make plenty of bloopers.

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So dive in, here’s my top tips:

  • Use great images. You only have a few seconds to grab the reader’s attention. Make sure each image has great resolution, is brand friendly, and check for royalties, not all images are for free.
  • Don’t spam. People will unfollow you. Instead, connect with the readers and let them come to you.
  • Stay away from tough topics such as politics, abusive posts, your personnel drama. Ask yourself: Is it going to hurt your brand? Is it the opinion of your brand? Will it gain you followers or lose you followers? This is a business after all, so keep it professional.
  • Connect with people in your industry.
  • The more you post, like and share, the more faith your brand will garner.
  • Talk about topics relevant to your brand. Create content that will drive your audience to engage with you by asking questions, sharing interesting links, quotes and adding updates relating to your genre and WIP.

When you’ve mastered those try another media. Remember your time is valuable, you don’t have to slog away at all of them, only the ones that yield the best results and work for you.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

So there you have it, be bold, be brave and go explore the virtual world of socialising. Do you have any tips on brand or platform building? Or maybe you have some great experience you’d like to share with the community? Don’t be shy, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.
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Hopes and Fears of a writer

As writers, we need self-discipline, perseverance and an unwavering faith in our abilities. However, as writers, we will be plagued with self-doubt, procrastination and writers block. Today we’re looking at some of the difficulties we face and how to combat the negative aspects and stay in alignment with our goals.

Let’s acknowledge some of the draw backs to being a writer. It’s often solitary; in the early days of writing a draft, the plot and our characters become our only companions. We shield ourselves from the awkwardness of admitting out loud that we are writers, to avoid the embarrassment of how we define ourselves. After all, at what point can we truly identify with being a writer, or even an author. When you’ve wrote a book? Maybe when you’ve wrote three books? Or perhaps when you get an agent? Possibly, until you hold the published novel in your hands?  

And so you keep your passion a secret, burrowed away in your fantastical worlds of words. While the fire is hot, your creativity soars and the story oozes onto the page. You feel brave and inspired, and why wouldn’t you, not only have you created conflict and tension for your characters to overcome, but you’ve also crossed those hurdles with them. Every character arc has been meticulously navigated and you’ve fuelled their emotions with your own.

Then we move onto edits; we get feedback and learn to handle criticism. Though it may pinch, you know in your heart the changes will strengthen your manuscript, and so you courageously persevere. Finally, you start submitting your work, but the rejections trickle in.

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Yes, you’re on Twitter and Instagram. And yes you participate in the blogging community. You’re doing all the right things, and yet, the nagging doubts that your not quite good enough seep in. Well-meaning family and friends ask about your novels, they want to know when they can read your book. And honestly, you’d like to know when that will happen too.

This is when the plague sweeps in. What if no one likes mywork? What if I’m never published? What if I write ten books and still feel like a fraud, a complete and utter imposter. What if my dreams never come true?

Take a deep breath my friends, you’re not in this place alone. Reach out to your community and they will respond with kind words of encouragement, because they have also visited this dark place. It will pass. The anxiety will disperse. If you’ve reached this desolate place, then it’s time to take a step back and practice self-love, self-compassion and self-care.

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The traditional writing industry is difficult to break into, and rejection stings. Indie authors juggle an incredible amount of responsibility, constantly striving to grow their business and reach potential readers. And writers battling their first novel have overwhelming new lessons to learn.

Whatever route you’ve taken, it takes guts to be a writer, putting your heart and soul into something for years that no one sees. Who knows what’s next? That’s not the point, look at where you’ve been and all you’ve accomplished. I congratulate you, I validate your struggles, and I’ll be here to celebrate your success.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

How do you deal with the negative side of writing? I’d love to hear your answers because I know how incredibly supportive you are.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.
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Reaching Milestones and Conquering Fears

This post I’m changing pace and inviting you in for a friendly chat. So grab a cuppa and settle down. It’s all about workshops, writing groups, dreams and milestones.

Last week it was my birthday and I turned 40, it sounds old… it is old! To celebrate we had a much needed family holiday: Lots of riding bikes, swimming, crazy golf and a selection of rum based cocktails. Yum!

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Now that I’m home, I’m reflecting and when I look back on my life I’m not disheartened. I’ve crammed a lot in: achieved and failed in incredible ways. And more important than the past, I still have dreams to fulfill.

Many of you already know of my goal to obtaining an agent for my debut novel, and although it’s had some great feedback it’s time to shelve that story and start afresh. So with the help of my awesome betas I’m changing the sequel into a standalone. Yay, beta’s!!!!

Thank you Ari Meghlen for your invaluable feedback on the opening chapters of Mischief and Mayhem.

In the next few month I plan to start the submission process again.

I’m surprisingly optimistic about this. I learnt an incredible amount from my first novel and who knows, maybe one day it will still be published. Statistics say that on average, an author get picked up by an agent on their third novel. It’s all about perseverance, which is why following your passion is so important. Slogging away at something for years with no recognition or validation is brutal. We need the fire and determination to keep going. Hopefully, you have a few cheerleaders to keep you going!

 

Enjoy the journey - Benedict Cumberbatch
– Benedict Cumberbatch

I’m currently halfway through Rebecca Alasdair‘s YA contemporary-romance novel, Holding Up The Sky. Its beautiful and heart-wrenching… I can’t remember the last time a book made me cry – In a good way. I’ve completely connected with her MC. Rebecca is still looking for beta’s, so if you’re interested pop over to her blog, she has all the details written there.

I’ve joined a friendly little group of like-minded entrepreneurs where I hosted a short talk about copywriting and persuasive writing. You can checkout my previous posts if you’ve missed them. Yes, I was nervous and my voice wobbled a little, but the group were engaged and seemed genuinely interested. I even had a well-timed laugh.

My writing group (there’s only three of us, shh!) is taking shape and we’re set to meet this month. And from those experiences the opportunity to hold my own writing workshops has presented itself. (Aah, run’s around screaming!) I’ll keep you posted with more news.

Exciting times ahead!

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Thanks for stopping by. Do you have any news? If so, please share it. You know I love hearing from you.

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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Make Powerful Intentions and Reach your Goals

Happy New Year!

Hello, my wonderful blogging community, fellow writers and avid readers.

I make vague resolutions at best, that evolve my aspirations into intentions and goals. And the reason why I’m not so hot for resolutions, is because they’re as fragile as glass. Treated like promises, that ultimately shatter into a million fragments and scatter to the wind. Never to be recovered, or fulfilled – leaving only bitter disappointment. It’s how I imagine Cinderella felt, a rich world of wishes and dreams at her fingertips only to vanish at that notorious strike of midnight.

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Instead I promise to honour myself with love and care. To grow in new ways that allow for my writing journey to unfold.  Whatever will be, will be… helped along by my hard work and determination.

Even though I’ve taken a couple of weeks away from blogging, I’ve loved reading everyone’s reflections about last year and how they plan to approach 2019.

It’s got me thinking about my own journey and how far I’ve come in one short year. So here are the highlights:

I attended two writing events packed with advice about the publishing journey and submitting. I pitched to an agent and met up with fellow blogger, the wonderfully talented Amelia over at the Uninspired Writers.

I’ve had my submission package critiqued by the superb agent Sallyanne Sweeney and an editor from firefly publishing house. Where I received critique that strengthened my novel and helped me accept that my books are better suited to the adult genre and not YA.

I began submitting to the US where I received a few personalized feedbacks about great writing, but told my concept isn’t strong enough. Hopefully, novel 2 will have more success.

Entered PitchWars.

Entered two PitMad events over at Twitter and had interest from 1 agency and 1 publishing house. (See, they liked my concept – proving it really is subjective.) Unfortunatly, they were not the right fit for me.

One of my short stories was shortlisted in a competition by the Henshaw Press.

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Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

And I got to work with two new betas, giving me three amazingly supportive girls.

Uninspired Writers

Ari Meghlen

K.M. Allan

My love and eternal gratitude goes out to each and every one of you. I can’t thank you all enough for the support and encouragement I’ve received. So here’s to a new year, with new mountains to climb. Let’s take in the sights together.

Why not share your hopes and dreams for 2019 with me. What’s one thing you aim to accomplish this year? You know I love to hear from you, so please drop me a comment.

Until next time, Much Love.

Lorraine Xx

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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Writing Deadlines and keeping the Christmas Cheer

With the encroaching Christmas holidays, deadlines become a predominant factor in most of our minds. They add additional pressure to an already fraught time of year. Manifesting stress where it’s not needed, this is something I’m guilty of. I pile on extra jobs and beat myself up for not accomplishing each and every single one of them.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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On top of the extra demands of December: Shop, wrap, cook, clean, preen. We authors often juggle work, family, and the demands of writing, promoting, blogging and social media.

Realising how insane all of that sounds, I thought this week’s blog could help lighten the load by shinning a little comedy and sprinkle a few well-meaning quotes into the mix. Sit back and enjoy!

“At times, it is better to “just do it” than to “do it right”. One reason new year resolutions don’t work is that we expect too much from ourselves. Rush, meet your deadlines, you can always continue from where you stopped next year.” ― Asuni LadyZeal

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“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” – Garrison Keillor
***
“I love Christmas. I receive a lot of wonderful presents I can’t wait to exchange.” – Henny Youngman
***
“A deadline is a negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all.”
― Rita Mae Brown
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“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” ― Diana Scharf
***
“If the novels are still being read in 50 years, no one is ever going to say: ‘What’s great about that sixth book is that he met his deadline!’ It will be about how the whole thing stands up.”
― George R.R. Martin
So my fellow writers, take a leaf from some of the greats and relax over the deadlines. By all means, keep writing and work towards your goals, but at the end of the day: Pop your pajamas on, watch a Christmas movie, drink hot chocolate and enjoy the festive season.
As always folks, thanks for reading. What sort of deadlines do you place on yourself at Christmas and how do you relax and unwind at the end of the day? Tell me all about it, you know I love to hear from you.
Until next time, Much Love. xXx
Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

6 Tips For Adding Tension

This week I’m sharing the fantastic blogger Kate’s; 6 tips on creating tension in our writing.

K.M. Allan

Have you ever read a book you couldn’t put it down? A story where you couldn’t flip the page fast enough, or wait to dive back into its chapters, resenting all life distractions until you can read “The End”?

While novels like this are no doubt filled with worlds you connect with, terrific or terrifying characters, real dialogue, and surprising plot twists, they also contain the one thing that makes your readers eager to see what happens next: tension.

Adding tension to your story is like putting frosting on a cake. The frosting is arguably the best part of the cake, and tension is like that for your story. It draws the reader in; they want more, right until the last sentence, when all the delicious cake story has been devoured.

So how do you get this awesome tension baked into your MS? By giving these tips a try…

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Love Inspiration Dreams

Writers: Thanks a Million

Today I’m filled with appreciation and love for my fellow writers. All the bloggers, all the twitter writing community, my Facebook friends and my adorable Instagram peeps.

Wonderful people spread over many virtual places. But just because we aren’t connected in a skin and bones, face to face way doesn’t diminish the respect or gratitude I feel towards you all.

I know that we all take the risk as writers to bare our souls, to delve deep under the surface of emotions, to expose that which makes us human.

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I’ve struggled this week with a chest infection and the knock on effect of poor mental health. I burrowed away with low energy, a rattling chest and crippling doubt.

Yet the inspiration and positive vibes from my community kept me strong and pulled me out the other side.

So thank you all.

Each week I get such a fantastic response from you all, you share your experiences, your views and most of all your personality. I owe you all my humble admiration and love. Because sometimes we need to simply spread the joy.

Keep dreaming and aim high.

Tell me about your week, how is the autumn season beginning for you. Much Love Xx

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard YA Fantasy Romance Novel

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Averyard

Blurb.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard YA Fantasy Romance NovelTHIS IS A WORLD DIVIDED BY BLOOD – RED OR SILVER.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .


I award this novel 4/5

Review

If you love fantastic fantasy worldbuilding with a slight dystopian feel, mild romance and a strong heroine, then this novel is for you.

The worldbuilding in this novel was immersive, elaborately designed and vivid. The separation between the powerful Silver bloods and the poverty stricken lands of the ordinary Red’s created a world that made me long to see the powerful tumble.

Mare as the main character is likable; her flaws are relatable and even lovable. She feels her mother looks down upon her compared to her angelic sister. Yet Mare is only trying to do what she can for her family and best friend. The beginning of the book is enchanting and Mares dedication to her loved ones hooked me from the start.

Once Mare enters the world of the Silver’s things change, although the plot still pulls us forward with awful antagonists and superb action scenes, the complexity of the two princes and their roles to play alongside Mare. Unfortunately everything came across as obvious. Especially, without giving away spoilers, the main plot twist – I saw it from miles away, hence the four stars.

That being said, the novel is a worthy contender on my bookcase and I’m eager to delve into book Two. Even if the reviews claim the series goes downhill from here, shame, but I’m still invested in Mare and her cause.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

Have you read the Red Queen series? If so, what are your opinions on the series.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, Much Love Xxx

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.