Strand of Faith by Rachel J Bonner @RachelJBonner1 @rararesources #Giveaway #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my review of Strand of Faith by Rachel J Bonner as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Many thanks to Rachel for the invite to the tour and also to the author for my e-copy of this book.

Synopsis:

When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?

A girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love.  But those from whom they expect support are manipulating them both because their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.

After a stormy youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery.  That is, until he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation.  To follow his heart, he’ll have to face his demons again, outside the security of the monastery. Is it worth the risk?  Can he beat them this time? Or will they finally destroy him?

Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the abbey.  All she wants is to learn how to manage her unusual abilities so that she is not a danger to those around her.  When she comes into contact with Prospero everything threatens to spiral out of her control.  Whether she leaves or whether she stays, how can she possibly avoid destroying – yet again – those she has come to care about? 

Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice.  He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war.  Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for.  He knows what he has to do but is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?

Purchase Links – Amazon UK – Books 2 Read

My Thoughts:

Leonie is taken under the wing of Abbot Gabriel, she has certain mental abilities and strengths that leave some to be very wary of her. With the tutelage and guidance at the Abbey she finds she is more able to manage her powers. Brother Prospero found his way to the Abbey years before, a troubled man who has found peace after taking orders. For both Leonie and Prospero they have found a sanctuary, they have also found each other, a connection that troubles both.

This is the start of a series that is a fantasy, romance. It combines people with various mental abilities such as telekinesis and telepathy as well as taking orders and following God. Though there is a religious presence I thought it was well balanced and not preachy.

The stories and backgrounds from the main characters was interesting and the way they found their own individual routes to the Abby was explained to a point. It is essentially a romance story but one that is reluctant to blossom. A self-imposed unwillingness to enter into a relationship, that is until the two main characters meet. This then puts the proverbial spanner in the works as individual beliefs and ideals are explored. It has that suspense of will they or won’t they as they become friends and support for each other.

There are a few things going on in the background of the main story, some have been teased out and others I assume will be explained in further books. I found myself quickly caught up in the story and liked the different abilities, this gave an air of magic. An interesting story that is a quickish read. Ideal for readers of fantasy and romance readers. I would recommend this one.

About the Author:

Rachel J Bonner is the author of the four book Choices and Consequences series, the first of which, Strand of Faith, is due out in November 2018.

Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in paranormal romance.  Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun.  When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club.  Target shooting only, honest.  Nothing to worry about.

She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary.  It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.

You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at HERE or follow her on Twitter

Giveaway

Giveaway -Win a signed paperback copy of Strand of Faith, a set of bookmarks (3 styles plus a business card) featuring the cover art, and a canvas print (40cm by 30cm) of the original cover art. Open Internationally

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

*****ENTER HERE*****

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A Thunder Of War by Steve McHugh @StevejMchugh @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BookReview

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As the final stop on the Blog Tour, I am so happy that I finally get my turn to share my review of A Thunder Of War by Steve McHugh on the Blog Tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My huge thanks to Anne for the invite and also to the author for my signed copy of this fabulous book. It is book number three in The Avalon Chronicles and I absolutely love this series.

Synopsis:

There’s thunder on the horizon, and the lightning of war is about to strike.

After years of struggle, Layla Cassidy has finally mastered the dark powers that threatened to control her and turned them to good. She’s ready to fight, but the next battle will be her greatest test yet.

The forces of Avalon are growing ever stronger, reinforcing their dominance with almighty displays of brutality. When Abaddon comes close to crushing Layla and her friends, it’s clear that the thunder of war is about to give way to lightning—and that they have no chance of surviving it alone.

The final battle against Abaddon is drawing closer. Now Layla and her friends must fight for themselves—and the future of the world. To win, they will need every power and ally they can muster. But even with all their strength, will it be enough to stand against the impending doom?

Purchase link at Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

This is the third in The Avalon Chronicles and yes I would definitely suggest reading these books in order as you get to see the transformation of Layla Cassidy. She is coming to terms with her powers, though not fully accepted all that she can be. The battle against Avalon becomes more brutal as the fighting increases. No one knows if Avalon can be defeated and everything is risked.

With Layla learning more about her powers and her role, she increasing finds herself and her friends in a relentless situation. Avalon forces are desperate to take over the control of the realms. They have won over some and it is a race to prevent more being lost. Layla and Abaddon have history and again they butt heads as Abaddon becomes a more increasing pain in the rear. With Layla still discovering the full extent of her power, it seems that Abaddon beats her at every turn.

This is a fantasy series that mixes and draws on legend, folklore, mythology from various countries and times. The way the author uses the different realms and also keeping its phrasing and language modern still allowing it to mix in different settings is a real treat. By doing this the author can mix in the odd demi-god, the occasional sorcerer, a few dwarves, were beasts and there’s a dragon or two… the dragons made me so happy.

The mix of old and ancient with a modern setting has worked really well for me as I was reading. I often found myself making notes for further reading with regards to some of the more unusual mythology or legendary references. There is such a large scope when it comes to the things that have been included such as; Arthurian legends, Norse Mythology, Roman mythology, and Native American and then there is also mentions of necromancy, elemental magic, and pure magic. These various elements have been well researched and while I wouldn’t necessarily have put such a range of different things like this together, I am so glad the author did as it makes such a wonderful read.

The characters are brilliantly described and their storylines and the way they are entwined is wonderful. There are a lot of characters, and again this is where I would reiterate that reading the series in order would help. The author has dropped some brilliant little one-liners that are delivered by certain cast members, and I have a feeling this may possibly be a little bit of the author’s personality popping by. You will soon build up a list of those characters that you really like because of their various traits, and then there are those you would quite happily take up a sword and personally chop their heads off.

If you are a fan of fantasy, magic, legend, mythology, and folklore then this is a must read. If you also like elves, dwarves, were beasts and don’t forget the dragons, then this is a must read.

A fabulous series, that I think would also work for general fiction readers as well as fantasy, yes it is heavy on the fantasy do to the mix of magic, legend, and mythology but I think it is very accessible with names you can actually pronounce. This is a book and a series I highly recommend.

The Series

Read my reviews for the first two book in the series.

A Glimmer of Hope

A Flicker Of Steel

About the Author:

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 Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Follow Steve on his Twitter or his Website

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The Bandit Queen by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara #PublicationDay #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on The Bandit Queen by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara. Natalia is the author and Lauren is the illustrator for The Bandit Queen. My thanks to Puffin Books for inviting me to read a copy of this book via NetGalley, my thoughts are my own.

It is published by Puffin Books in Hardback today, its available from Amazon UK.

Last year I read Hortense and The Shadow by Natalia and Lauren you can read my review HERE and buy a copy HERE

Synopsis:

“O Bandit Queen!” the bandits cried. 
“Little horror! Poison weed!
We’ll give you everything a queen could ever need…”

The bandits give their queen treasure, tigers, mischief and mayhem. But sometimes a little girl needs something more…

A book about finding family in unexpected places, from the creators of Hortense and the Shadow.

My Thoughts:

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The Bandits are a mad bunch getting up to all sorts of things such as pinching forks, shouting and crashing about until three in the morning. On one trip the Bandits steal things from an Orphan School, in one box is a baby. They care for her, spoil her, give her their version of an education and make her their Bandit Queen. She grows tired of their childish behaviour and goes to get a proper education, she then realises she misses her bunch of Bandits and they also miss her.

This is a fun read with rhyming sentences that would be great to be read out loud. At the beginning of the story there are a few onomatopoeia words, ideal for engaging a child when being read to, or for that child to sound out.

The story is engaging and while the Bandits are quite naughty they are also fun. At the end of the book there is almost a cliffhanger of sorts, it could be the end or there is the clue that there could be more to come. I like this as it is a way to encourage a child to think about what could happen next, giving them a chance to develop their own imaginative story.

The pictures in this book are fabulous, they are detailed and are relevant to each part of the story and are bright and vivid in their colour, while still holding a slightly whimsical style.

Last year I read Hortense and The Shadow by the O’Hara sisters and while that is a different style of book it does have some similarities, rhyming verse, good illustrations and a storyline that would appeal to young readers.

This is a book that I as and adult enjoyed and think would definitely appeal to readers from around 5 and up, perfect to be read aloud and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author and Illustrator:

Natalia O’Hara (Author) 
Natalia and Lauren are two sisters from the North of England. In the daytime they edit scripts and design sets, and at night they draw and write together. As children they loved fairytales, animal fables and the stories their Polish grandmother told on snowy nights. Hortense and the Shadow is their first picture book.

Lauren O’Hara (Illustrator) 
Natalia and Lauren are two sisters from the North of England. In the daytime they edit scripts and design sets, and at night they draw and write together. As children they loved fairytales, animal fables and the stories their Polish grandmother told on snowy nights. Hortense and the Shadow is their first picture book.

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The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross @HodderBooks #NetGalley #BookReview

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Today I am sharing my thoughts on The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross. This is a book aimed at a YA or Teen reader and is a retelling of the Beauty and The Beast Story. My thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for my eBook that I recieved via NetGalley. This book is avaliable in paperback, hardback and eBook format and available from AMAZON UK

I just love the cover of this book…..

Synopsis:

A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast’s side of the story at long last.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.

My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.

My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.

And now I might lose her forever.

Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart.

My Thoughts:

Beauty and the Beast is a story many are aware of from film, musical and animation. Leife Shallcross has retold the story from the perspective of the Beast himself.

There are various things that remain a constant from the various versions of this classic children’s story. A man cursed to live his day as a beast until he finds someone who loves him for what is on the inside rather than what we see on the out. There are also the gardens, the magic and for all bibliophiles THE LIBRARY……….

While this is a very good read and sticks to my memories of the story I read as a child, I did find there where parts that did feel a little bit repetitive. Now as an adult it may be that I am being overly picky with a book aimed at younger readers, so I am now wondering if this is actually a way of showing a younger reader the time that the two characters spend together in each others company, building up a friendship and also the trust.

I did like this story and from the point of view of the Beast, it gave this character a chance to say his piece and express his feeling and thoughts as well as expressing the hope that Isabeau (Beauty) is the one to break the curse.

As well as the Beast and Isabeau’s story there is also the story of the family that Isabeau left behind while she stays with the Beast. I did really enjoy this section of the story as it went into how the family left behind had to deal with this change to the family, and adjustments to be made.

This is a book that I do think younger readers and also early Teens would enjoy. It is the perfect story for readers who like the traditional “once upon a time…happily ever after” fairy tale.

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Shiang by C.F.Iggulden @MichealJBooks #BookReview #Netgalley

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Today I have my thoughts on Shiang by C.F.Iggulden that is published today, the second in The Empire of Salt Series. I would like to thank Michael Joseph Books for my ecopy recieved via NetGalley, my thoughts are my own. You can purchase a copy of this book from good book shops and here is the link to purchase from AMAZON UK.

You can read my review of the first book Darien: Empire of Salt by C. F. Iggulden

Synopsis:

IF THESE STONES COULD SPEAK . . . THEY WOULD CALL FOR WAR.

In Shiang, the young king rules without dissent. Mazer swordsmen stand watch on every corner, looking for the first sign of rebellion. This city is a place of quiet and slow dignity, like a man eating rice with a razor pressed against his throat.

Yet with one sharp movement, order is overturned. The balance of centuries is undone in the sudden spill of blood – and in the darkness, something terrible returns to Shiang.

Far to the west, four Shiang masters approach the city walls of Darien. The sword saint and his companions have crossed a continent to bring an old man home for punishment. They will not be denied, even if the whole city stands in their way.

TWO ANCIENT CITIES. ONE FINAL WAR.

My Thoughts:

So this is the second in this series of books by Conn Iggulden. Shiang and Darien are ancient cities separated by many miles of rough, mountainous landscapes. So why anyone would want to make the journey across the mountains, especially in winter, must be for something important.

There are two groups making this journey, Hondo and his group are journeying to bring back a traitor, a man who disgraced the royal family in Darien, he now resides in Shiang. The other group is led by Gabriel and they are a more fearsome band, they are drawn to Shiang seeking power.

This is very much an action and well paced story, there are descriptions and histories that are filled in as the story unfolds. The journeys made by the two groups are interesting and the reasons for the trek was one that intrigued me.

This book gave me a chance to learn more about the ruling families and also how they rule. Also the way they use the power they posses.

Even though I did enjoy this story I found I was at a bit of a loss to find the links I would have expected between the first and second book. It did confuse me as I didn’t seem to have any memory of any of the key characters, once I kind of shrugged that off and decided to read it in the mindset of being more of a stand alone novel then I could enjoy the story. It was quite a long way in before I came across a character I could remember from the first book, he only makes a fleeting appearance.

So this book leaves me in a bit of a quandary, as part of a series I kind of expect characters to come back to me in the few chapters at least, but this wasn’t the case, this essentially left it as a book that had more of a stand alone feel.

I did enjoy the story and found it descriptive, it is full of action, a fair bit of blood, death and destruction, it also has magic, swordsmanship, warriors and honour. It is a book that I would recommend and I am still looking forward to the next in the series.

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Avian by Emma Pullar @EmmaStoryteller @sarahhardy681 @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Avian by Emma Pullar. This is the second in this two book set. You can see my review of the first book Skeletal HERE. I would like to say a big thank you to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for my invite on the tour and also my e-copy of both books.

Synopsis:

CENTRAL IS LOSING ITS GRIP ON THE CITIZENS OF GALE CITY.

Megan Skyla, who refused to play by Central’s rules and become a surrogate for her masters, has thrown the city into chaos. Corrupting those around her, she and her friends are forced into hiding – hunted by Central, the evil rulers of Gale City. Skyla’s desperate attempts to keep everyone alive ends when they’re kidnapped by feuding gangs.

Skyla cuts a deal and then betrays both gangs. Now there is nowhere left to run. It’s the desert or die. Her best friend, Crow, thinks she still wants to find a way to cure the Morbian masters of their obesity and finish what she started.

But Skyla has other plans. She’s sure there are settlements in the desert, there must be something out there … and there is. Something terrible.

Skyla is about to find out there’s more than one way to bring about change but one truth remains … Central must be destroyed in order to ensure her survival. There is no other way.

My Thoughts:

Before I start my review of Avian I would like to take the time to suggest that you read the first book Skeletal, reading these two books in order will give you an understanding of the whys and hows of the story.

Things for Skyla have changed since meeting her in the first book, changes mentally and also physically as well as being a person of interest for different groups for various different reasons. Skyla has built up a reputation, it is dangerous not only for herself but, also for her companions as the next stage of her journey starts.

This story continues as well as finishes the story of Skyla, though I do hope that at some point the author will write more about this fiery and feisty character. Skyla continues her fight against Central, it is something she is passionate about and is determined to destroy the cruel and unjust ruling body. This puts herself in even more danger and testing her to the limit, oh boy does the author put this character through the mill!

As well as dealing with her self-imposed mission to destroy Central, Skyla also has her own problems to deal with, she is riddled with guilt, and thoughts that niggle as well as fear of what she is doing.

This is another brilliant read from this author as she does such a fantastic job with vivid descriptions and a compelling story line. This is a brutal and harsh place that I am happy to visit from the pages of a book and no further. The journey Skyla and her companions take is very much one that is “from the frying pan and into the fire”, it got bad, then it got worse and then the truth finally reveals itself.

This is a two book series that I would absolutely recommend for readers who like brutal, harsh and regime ridden dystopian fiction. It is descriptive, addictive and looks at a different way of life.

 

About the Author:

dsc_3665_lowres-2.jpgEmma Pullar is a writer of dark fiction and Children’s books. Her picture book, Curly from Shirley, was a national bestseller and named best opening lines by NZ Post. Emma has also written several winning short horror/Sci-fi stories which have been published in four different anthologies. Emma’s latest picture book, Kitty Stuck, has been hugely popular and her novel, Skeletal, and the sequel, Avian, have been described as disturbing and not for the faint-hearted. She also writes articles for an online advice site called Bang2write and dabbles in screenwriting.

 

Follow Emma at:  Amazon Page –  Website – Twitter

 

 

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Crimson Siege by Jay Raven @JayRavenAuthor @rararesources #PromoPost

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Today I am shining a spotlight on Crimson Siege by Jay Raven as part of the Blog Tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I have a few purchase links here to tempt you lovely readers, if you like vampire hunters, Carpathian Mountains, mercenaries and the supernatural then this could be right up your street.

Universal purchase link-   http://geni.us/9E27uh

Amazon.com link           https://amzn.to/2HZrEar

Amazon.co.uk link       https://amzn.to/2JUJqxb

 

Now let’s have a look to see what the book is all about.

Synopsis:

Blood Riders Book One.

In the Godforsaken badlands of Transylvania the fragile truce between mankind and monsters is about to explode…

When bounty hunters target one of 19th century Europe’s most feared vampire clans, the last place any lawman wants to be is caught in the middle…

But for Anton Yoska, Lord Marshal of the Imperial lands south of the Carpathian Mountains, fate has trapped him in a supernatural stand-off that can end only in a bloodbath.

A gang of mercenaries led by Anton’s former army comrade Milosh Drubrick have captured vampire aristocrat Stefan Modjeski, wanted for a string of frenzied murders, and have come to Anton to claim the reward. And as Stefan’s predatory undead kin lay siege to the jailhouse, Anton is faced with an agonising choice – hand over his prisoner and abandon the bounty hunters to their unspeakable fate, or stand and fight.

The jailhouse defenders are outnumbered and out of options. It’s a battle that can’t be won, certain slaughter for them all, and Anton can’t trust his scheming allies. But Lord Marshal Yoska isn’t about to surrender.

For he’s an experienced vampire hunter, a dangerous man when cornered, and a single minded warrior who knows there are worse things to fear than death…

About the Author:

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Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house beside a 500-acre wood teeming with bats may have something to do with it.

Follow Jay on –   Facebook –  Twitter –  Website

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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton @stu_turton #BookReview

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I bought my hardback copy of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton back in February, it was a book I spent some of my birthday money on. It has spent the last few months shouting at me to be read and I have now silenced it by finally reading it…. You will want to get our own copy and it can be bought from many book sellers and also Amazon UK I would suggest a hardback as there is a fantastic map printed on the inside front and back covers 🙂

Synopsis:

Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

My Thoughts:

Evelyn Hardcastle has been murdered, and murdered and murdered again. How is this possible? Because each day is repeated! Aiden Bishop also re-lives this same day, can he change the outcome? Can he solve the murder?

“How the bloody hell am I going to review this?!!!!”, I said to myself when I finished this book…. because it is just a genius read and flipping fantastically fabulous… sorry for all the f-words, but at least they are all the polite ones rather than the ones I actually thought 😉

When I began reading this book it had already been open for a few minutes as I was busy scanning the map on the front cover. Then as i began the story I thought that it felt a little bit Agatha Christie like. Then a few more pages in I thought Christie didn’t write like this and that was where the similarity stopped and the style of this author came flying out. The setting of a mansion and a cast of characters that any one of which could be the murderer is what made me think Christie. But then as I learned more about Aiden it took on it’s time-loop style. It is up to Aiden to work out all the twists, knots, wrinkles and creases of this story, it is mind mindbogglingly clever….

So to the plot…..I am giving you nothing, nope not a damn thing… Not because I’m mean (some may disagree 🙄) but because I really don’t know how to explain it so that it makes sense, I mean it makes complete sense to me now as I have had time to digest and work out how it all worked out, but to try to explain it to someone who has not read the book would make it ludicrously confusing as I would be jumping back and forward, then I would be mentioning the things that I missed. This is a plot you really need to experience for yourself.

Characters, well there are a few and they are the essential part to this story. They really were a random mixed bunch, from serving staff, to lords and doctors, some I liked some I didn’t and you get a feel for who they are and what they do, but not always realising what their motives are. The one thing I did realise was the only one I could (almost) trust was Aiden, and only because it was his story but even then there is that “what is he hiding” thought.

Oh dear god! I am being so vague with this post it is ridiculous, so lets cut to the chase here. It is a book to be savoured, I took my time with it because I didn’t want to miss a single word in case I missed some crucial detail. I realised this at the beginning as I had to back track to something I had previously missed. If you take your time you will be able to digest the timings and twists as the plot gets deeper and deeper. It is a book that is so cleverly written that it beggars belief. It is one of the books you occasionally come across that is exceptionally and brilliantly crafted, one that left me a little stunned. You can also add into the mix of positives that it is extremely addictive, brilliantly atmospheric as the suspense and fear of the unknown creep and sneak around and it is so well written.

This is an absolute must read for those who love deceptive mystery and murder reads, with a great time loop twist on the classic whodunit style.

About the Author:

Stuart Turton is a freelance travel journalist who has previously worked in Shanghai and Dubai. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is his debut novel. He is the winner of the Brighton and Hove Short Story Prize and was longlisted for the BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition. He lives in West London with his wife.

Follow Stuart on TwitterBlog

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The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan @evgaughan @urbanebooks #Bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan. My huge thanks to Urbane Publications for gifting me a copy of this book. You can buy a copy of The Story Collector from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris.

Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English.

But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life…..

Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve.

The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, Evie Gaughan’s latest novel is full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell. Perfect for fans of Jess Kidd and Eowyn Ivey.

My Thoughts:

This is a fabulous and fantastic story that encompasses mythological and legendary tales from the Good People or Fairy Folk of Ireland. The Story Collector is Harold, who is researching and writing a thesis on the folklore and of the belief people have of the Fairies. He enlists the help of local girl Anna and they travel around her homeland collecting tales and stories, she keeps her own diary of these stories. A hundred years later and the diary is found by Sarah when she makes a spontaneous trip to Ireland, was it spontaneous or was it fate, or maybe it was something more.

This story is such a good mix of things; folklore, myth, legend, love, life and death. The author has created a wonderful story that combines all of theses within a beautifully described area of the world. I love the way I was transported into the community that Anna lived in and walked or cycled along the lanes visiting people and listening to their tales.

I should add that there is a dual timeline to this story. The story of Sarah is one that also struck a chord as she comes to terms with things in her life. As much as I also loved Sarah’s story I have to say Harold and Anna were the characters that really did it for me.

This book is fabulously written and I was able to imagine the various scenes and images from the words. A story of love and loss that has a span of a hundred years so I was transported back and forth across the years as they alternated in their telling.

Yes I loved this book and read it in one sitting as I was captivated and enchanted. A book I would highly recommend to those who love a little romance, a little history and a little folk-lore. Go buy yourself a copy right this moment xx

About the Author:

91hSfiej5XL._SY200_.jpgEvie Gaughan is the bestselling author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris.

Living on the West Coast of Ireland, which is not renowned for its sunny climate, Evie escapes from the inclement weather into a converted attic to write stories and dream about underfloor heating. Growing up in a walled medieval city, she developed her love of storytelling and all things historical. Her books tread the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly – but always with an Irish woman’s wit. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, her stories are full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell.

When not writing, she also works as an artist, creating stories on canvas. Evie is currently working on her third novel, The Story Collector, which will be published by Urbane in 2018.

Follow Evie on Twitter  – Amazon Author Page

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

A Flicker Of Steel by Steve McHugh @StevejMcHugh #RandomThingsTours @annecater #AFlickerOfSteel #BookReview

A Flicker of Steel Cover

I am so delighted to be bringing you my thoughts on A Flicker Of Steel by Steve McHugh the second in The Avalon Chronicles as part of the blog tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My thanks to Steve for my signed copy of his book and also to Anne for the invite to take part in the tour. You can purchase a copy HERE 

Synopsis:

Avalon stands revealed, but the war is far from over. For Layla Cassidy, it has only just begun.

Thrust into a new world full of magic and monsters, Layla has finally come to terms with her supernatural powers—and left her old life behind. But her enemies are relentless.

Sixteen months after her life changed forever, Layla and her team are besieged during a rescue attempt gone awry and must fight their way through to freedom. It turns out that Avalon has only grown since their last encounter, adding fresh villains to its horde. Meanwhile, revelations abound as Layla confronts twists and betrayals in her own life, with each new detail adding to the shadow that looms over her.

As Layla fights against the forces of evil, her powers begin to increase—and she discovers more about the darkness that lies in her past. As this same darkness threatens her future, will she be ready to fight for everything she holds dear?

My Thoughts:

As I have mentioned this is the second in The Avalon Chronicles and I would advise reading this series in order, you can purchase the first book A Glimmer Of Hope HERE . I really enjoyed the first book and it was a great introduction to this series, it laid the basis of things to come, you can read my thoughts on it HERE.

This is an urban fantasy with so much action in it than the previous book, this really does kick off from where the previous book left off. Layla has not only come to terms with but actually seems to relish her new-found powers. She is still wary abut completely letting go to them but is forming bonds with her spirits and embracing her lifestyle as the game players in the battles are becoming more known.

I love the way the author has used mythological characters, gods and deities, legendary figures dwarves, elves and a whole range of others to wrap them into an urban fantasy setting. I really like this meld of old and new to create a really addictive read.

It was great to be able to catch up with these characters once more and it didn’t take me long to get back up to speed with who was who, and I got to learn more about the key players. I do have a couple of favourites like Remy, Chloe and Harry as well as the main focus character Layla. They have a certain bond and ease with each other as they deal with what lies in their path.

The book is based around the age-old battle of good and evil and not everyone fits where you expect adding to the intrigue, though you do become aware of who the evil side is. The battle scenes and skirmishes have been wonderfully described to a point where I could visualise as I was reading. They are creative as the characters have some very particular skill sets, choices of weaponry and there is of course an element of magic, it always adds a bit of spice.

I would recommend reading the first book as there is a lot of information as to the how, why and who of the characters and it does do a great job of building a foundation for what is following.

I think this is a very accessible book as the names of characters can be pronounced at a glance, it has a setting that people would be familiar with and an ease with which it is read. I would highly recommend A Flicker Of Steel to readers who love Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Battles, Mythological and Legendary Figures, Battles between Good and Evil with some great characters and a very addictive read. It is a brilliant story and I cannot wait for the next one.

About the Author:

Steve McHugh Author Pic

AUTHOR BIO:  Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Follow Steve on – Twitter –  Website

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx