Sunday, 31 December 2017

Cover of the Year Revealed

Throughout 2017 
designers Cathy Helms of
 selected our Cover of the Month awards.

The winners went forward for our 
Discovering Diamonds Cover of the Year
(with honourable mentions for our 
Honourable Mention Runners-up)
These were the monthly winners:

* * * Drum roll please! * * *
and  the Winner is...

‘The Enchanted Swans’ by Christy Nicholas

Cover Designer: Cora Graphics

and the 
Runner up Honourable Mention...

 ‘Under The Approaching Dark’ by Anna Belfrage


honourable mention covers that were shortlisted

Discovering Diamonds would like to thank
Cathy and Tamian
for their support and enthusiasm

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Book of the Year Revealed

chosen by #DDRevs Founder, Helen Hollick
If choosing a Book of the Month was hard 
- this was even harder!
('Why did I decide to do it?' I asked myself!)
As I do not review many of the books submitted to Discovering Diamonds, I thought it would be an idea to set aside a shortlist of books that I personally wanted to read, and to pick a monthly choice of the one I enjoyed the most. From there, decide on one winner for Book of the Year. 

I must stress that these choices are entirely personal to me - there is no reflection on quality or content of those books I did not select.

For my own enjoyment I want a book to be, above all else, entertaining. I write - novels, articles, newsletters blah blah - for a living. I am  often at my keyboard all day every day. When I read, in bed at night, I look forward to meeting new (and old!) friends and becoming engrossed in their world which is sandwiched between the covers of a book, (or in my case, on my Kindle screen.) When reading for pleasure I do not read to critique, make notes of typo errors, spelling or grammar mistakes, pick out anachronisms or point of view changes - if a novel is well written I often do not even notice the occasional blooper. What I want is a good story with believable characters enacting believable situations, even if these are fantasy or alternative, science fiction or set in the distant past. 

Yes, quality of writing, and production of the book, are important - too many errors spoil the reading pleasure, as do typos if they occur too frequently. Anachronisms can jar, as can blatant historical inaccuracies - but the occasional blooper can be overlooked if the story is absorbing enough to effectively overshadow these. The better written the story, (which also means the better edited!)  the better it will read. 

The books I've read from my selected shortlist, therefore, are the ones that have been entertaining. My choices for Book of the Month were the novels that I enjoyed for the story/adventure, for that 'what happens next' need to turn the page and find out. 

My final choice for Book of the Year was a difficult decision - I love Alison Morton, Anna Belfrage, Lucienne Boyce, Antoine Vallar, Annie Whitehead... but how to decide on one of these above the others?

One of my Book of the Month selections, outside of these 'top' writers on my personal list, however, has stayed with me because the three main characters have, through the absorbing series, become good, fictional, friends. I find them believable, plausible and very likeable. The plots are well constructed and I felt that I'd learned something after reading each one of the series, in addition to be entertained and enthralled. 

So, my choice for Book of the Year is....

Friday, 29 December 2017

Best Avalon Graphics Cover Award

Throughout the year Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics, along with graphics designer, Tamian Wood, has very kindly judged our Cover of the Month (and Year) award. This has meant, however, that Cathy's historical fiction author clients have been exempt from the award - which is a shame, for Cathy and the authors, so... I asked Tamian to judge Cathy's covers for a separate  'Cover of the Year' Special Award.
(I have included my covers because Cathy's work deserves to be 'shown off' - but I've exempted myself from the award.)

The 'entries', in no particular order :
(Note: where no a 'Read the Review' link is shown Discovering Diamonds has not had the book submitted for review.)

runner up of the RONE cover design award for 2017
(as I'm also connected with this book
it's exempt from the award)

Read the review
Amazon UK Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK  Amazon US
Amazon CA
read the review
Read the Review
Amazon UK  Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK  Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK  Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK 
Amazon CA
Amazon UK  Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK  Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK  Amazon US
Amazon CA
available form the author

* * * 
My books

* * * 
And the Winner is:
Amazon UK  Amazon US
Amazon CA

Runner Up Honourable Mention

Amazon UK  Amazon US
Amazon CA

* * * 
For My Books, Tamian Chose


runner up
A huge thank you Tamian - and Cathy!

Thursday, 28 December 2017

When the Mermaid Sings by Helen Hollick

note from Helen: Yes, I know this is my book, but I had a space to fill and I thought the only way to show no cronyism favouritism was to put up one of my own books - I hope it is acceptable to #DDRevs visitors to post this genuine review here.

This novella is not eligible for cover or book of the month.

Amazon UK £0.99

nautical / fantasy / novella
18th Century

This is where the story begins. A young Jesamiah has been trapped on his family's plantation in Virginia, at the mercy of his cruel older half-brother Philippe, and now is orphaned. His somewhat haphazard father has followed his beloved Spanish mother to the grave and Jesamiah has no one to turn to. Having burned bridges in return for a burned ship, Jesamiah discovers that there are people in Virginia and further afield willing to help him. He leaves his home and finds himself following in his father's wake and goes to sea.

There is just one thing wrong with this story - it is not long enough. I wanted to keep reading and following Jesamiah's adventures on the high seas, sailing around the Caribbean and the Sargasso Sea. There is still so much to tell between the ending of this and the start of the first in this saga, Sea Witch

As it is, this novella is deeply satisfying for all lovers of Jesamiah Acorne. We learn so much about how he began the journey that takes him to the man he is as we know him from the Sea Witch books, the trials he has faced and the talents he begins to demonstrate, and how others view the growing boy. 

There is also a lot of background squeezed into this volume about pirates, real ones and fictional, about how pirate ships operated, how the Royal Navy viewed them and the fine line between legitimate privateers and the fully fledged pirate ship. Jesamiah may be a fictional character, but he is firmly rooted in fact.

A fantastic little book that delivers in spades. More please!

© Nicky Galliers

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Saturday, 23 December 2017

Diamonds: in sound and song...

We have reached the end of our selection of Diamond Tales
but here are some more Diamonds - in Sound and Song!
Links are to You Tube

(most of these  open with adverts - you can click 'skip' on each one)

* * * 
Diamonds and Rust  - Joan Baez

Diamonds Are Forever - Shirley Bassey

Neil Diamond
appropriate for a historical novel review site - where we have reviewed several novels on this topic!

To The Neil Mobile... an excerpt from The Big Bang Theory
(the episode features a competative treasure hunt - although Howard and Amy don't seem to be taking it as seriously as the others...)

Rhianna - Diamonds
'Shine bright like a diamond 
Shine bright like a diamond 
Shining bright like a diamond 
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky…'

Marilyn Monroe.... and her best friends...

Hawk Nelson is making diamonds out of dust...

and what about 'tangerine trees and marmalade eyes' with Lucy still in the sky with diamonds...
(rumours that this song was about drugs were very wrong - in fact it was inspired by a painting John Lennon's young son produced: "What is it?" John asked...
"It's Lucy in the sky with diamonds [stars]" came the reply

Pink Floyd... shining with a crazy diamond

and finally: Jet Harris and Tony Meehan...
Who remembers this  diamond of a track? (and did you read our fabulous story by Richard Tearle relating to this? No? See the list below to catch up!)

If you missed any of our Diamond Tales, here's the full list:

3rd December     Richard Tearle Diamonds

4th December     Helen Hollick  When ex-lovers have their uses

5th December    Antoine Vanner  Britannia’s Diamonds

6th December    Nicky Galliers  Diamond Windows

7th December    Denise Barnes  The Lost Diamond

8th December    Elizabeth Jane Corbett A Soul Above Diamonds

9th December    Lucienne Boyce Murder In Silks

10th December    Julia Brannan The Curious Case of the Disappearing Diamond

11th December    Pauline Barclay Sometimes It Happens

12th December    Annie Whitehead Hearts, Home and a Precious Stone

13th December    Inge H. Borg  Edward, Con Extraordinaire

14th December    J.G. Harlond The Empress Emerald

15th December    Charlene Newcomb Diamonds in the Desert

16th December     Susan Grossey A Suitable Gift

17th December     Alison  Morton Three Thousand Years to Saturnalia

18th December      Nancy Jardine   Illicit Familial Diamonds

19th December      Elizabeth St John The Stolen Diamonds

20th December      Barbara Gaskell Denvil Discovering the Diamond

21st December        Anna Belfrage   Diamonds in the Mud

22nd December       Cryssa Bazos    The Diamonds of Sint-Nicholaas

23rd December        Diamonds … In Sound & Song 

Discovering Diamonds will be taking a short break over the Christmas festivities 
we will return on 27th December

Have a Diamond of a Christmas everyone!

May the December Stars shine bright like Diamonds for you - wherever you are.