False Flag by Rachel Churcher @ @rararesources #bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts for False Flag by Rachel Churcher. This is #2 in the Battleground series. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and also to Rachel Churcher for my e-copy of the book.

Let’s see what is is about…

Ketty Smith is an instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

Purchase Link: HERE

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was looking forward to seeing what happened next. I started reading and thought ‘hang on, this sounds familiar and yet different!’. It is the same timeline as the previous book but from a different perspective and it worked really well for me.

This is a Young Adult dystopian book that is set in the near future, post-Brexit. The series pits ‘terrorists’ against the government, but it is not as basic as that, nothing is black and white in the series.

In False Flag I discovered, as I have mentioned, a similar story to the first book. The timeline and the people are the same, but it is from the perspective of the trainers in the Training Camp. The camps are for 16 year olds recruited from schools, the trainers are basically there to kick the newcomers into shape.

I liked the perspective reversal a lot as it challenged my thoughts that I had built up from the first book. Originally I thought Ketty was a glory hunting bully, and yes while she is a bully there is something more to her. I started to reassess her cold hearted persona and discovered reasons and motives in her.

Reading this book was a retelling of the first and it gives the reader a chance to sit on the proverbial fence and see things from both sides. For a book aimed a YA Readers it gives definite food for thought and is a way to challenge preconceptions and that there is always two sides to a story.

This is again a fast paced book that is full of action conspiracy and has a challenging reader dilemma. I liked the way Kitty his put on the spot on several occasions and has to not only think on her feet, but also think about herself.

Another great read that had me thinking about how I originally saw and thought of the characters. Can’t wait to see what the author has lined up next, or which way she is going to go. It gets a Definitely Recommended from Me.


If you want to see my review of Battleground #1, then please click HERE.

Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

Follow Rachel on – TwitterInstagramGoodreadsBlog

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Tour…

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

The Last Spell Breather by Julie Pike #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Last Spell Breather by Julie Pike. This is a Young Adult book that is full of magic and that this Adult Reader enjoyed as well!

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

A stunning fantasy debut, enter the unique world of the Spell Breathers. 


Spell Breathing does not come naturally to Rayne – she loathes the hours of practice, the stacks of scrolls, and the snapping mud devils that cover her mothers precious spell book. 


But it is spell breathing that keeps her village safe from the dreaded monster curse that plagues their world. It is ancient powerful magic, but as Rayne learns to her horror . . . it is also fragile. 


In one clumsy move, the magic that keeps them safe is broken, her village is plunged into danger, and an incredible adventure begins . . .

12 Year old Rayne is learning to be a Spell Breather and is an apprentice to her mum. They live in Penderin, a village hidden behind an invisible barrier that keeps them hidden from the world outside. The world is one where monsters roam. Raynes mother has to make a journey out of the village and leaves Rayne in charge of the Spell Book for safekeeping. It is not very long before there is an accident, the only person to help is her mum. So Rayne decides she will have to go after her.

This is a wonderful story that Older, as well as Young Adult Reader, will enjoy. The author has built up a magical story with an array of goodie and baddies and has a nice balance between the good and evil in the story. Magical is a pertinent word for this story as there are spells that are woven and spoken, being cast on the breath of the speaker. The spells are used to help people in their ailments, problems and also to provide protection, or at least that is what Rayne’s mum uses them for! On the flip side of this is what happens when the spells are used for self-empowerment.

The pacing of the story is good, the story flows nicely and it meant I wasn’t rushing the reading to find out what was going to happen next and still kept me turning pages eagerly.

There is a good range of characters, some good, some bad and some that left me which side they were on! Enough to provide a depth to the story but without being confusing trying to remember who was who and what role they played. They added diversity to the story that at times felt like a fairy tale.

I liked the focus on the words themselves that are included in the spell making. Not only using alternative words but also including the feeling a certain spell should feel like. It is a way of accessing feelings for younger readers. At the end of the book, the author has a great few pages about words and how you would create a spell. Using a thesaurus to find different words and then putting them together. I liked this inclusion because it encourages the younger reader to use their imagination and also learn new words at the same time. This is something that would have really appealed to me as I began my reading journey as a younger reader.

A great story that I, and older reader, thoruoughly enjoyed and would highly recommend.

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

Battleground by Rachel Churcher @Rachel_Churcher @rararesources #Review

I am delighted to be one of the Blogger kicking off the Blog Tour and to be able to share my review for Battleground by Rachel Churcher. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging an e-copy of this book.

Let’s see what it is all about…

Sixteen-year-old Bex Ellman has been drafted into an army she doesn’t support and a cause she doesn’t believe in. Her plan is to keep her head down, and keep herself and her friends safe – until she witnesses an atrocity she can’t ignore, and a government conspiracy that threatens lives all over the UK. With her loyalties challenged, Bex must decide who to fight for – and who to leave behind.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

This is a dystopian story that is aimed at Young Readers, and I have to say this Older Reader really enjoyed it as well. Living in the UK for Bex and her friends is different, there are tensions about which side should be supported. Misinformation and fake news make it difficult for the friends to know which is the right side to be on, or even if there is a right side.

There is the side of the Government, surely they have the nations best interests at heart. But then the terrorists are fighting for the people as well! Bex, Dan, Margie, Saunders and others have to decide who they will join up with. The weight of their decisions emerges throughout the story.

Some elements could be seen as relevant in today’s society. This for me is a good thing as it is something a YA reader can relate to. Fake new or propaganda as it used to be known is everywhere in society. Manipulation of the truth leaves you wondering who to trust. For Bex and her friends, it gives rise to discussions and arguments as they believe they support the better side. It leads to the friendship fracturing as they are taken from their school to a Training Camp.

This has been an enjoyable read with a well-paced flow to it. There is plenty of action to keep the pages turning. I like a good amount of conspiracy in my reads and this has a level that felt right for the intended audience. I think YA Readers would really enjoy Battleground, I certainly did.

It is one I would recommend.

Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

Social Media Links –

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See what other Book Blogger think by following the tour…

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

Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve #Audible #AudioReview

I am delighted to be sharing the Audible Version of Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve and Narrated by Barnaby Edwards.

Welcome to the astounding world of Predator Cities!

Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands. Soon, London will feed.

In the attack, Tom Natsworthy is flung from the speeding city with a murderous scar-faced girl. They must run for their lives through the wreckage – and face a terrifying new weapon that threatens the future of the world.

“Predator Cities”… yeah, you read that right… cities that devour other cities! Not only do they devour cities they also float!

This obviously falls into the fantasy genre and is also a YA themed book and is the first in the series. I have seen this advertised as a film and while I am waiting to watch it I thought this might be as good a time as any to listen to the book.

Tom is the main character and he is a little naive to some of the more darker dealings and politics of the cities and its power-hungry leaders. Corruption is rife and puts Tom in danger. Along the way, Tom meets Hester. She is an intriguing character, nervy, watchful and, alert at all times.

The battles between the elite and the powerful as they strive to be bigger and better than others and have their cities to be bigger and better also. There is definitely one megalomaniac that stands out from the rest, he is evil and yeah slightly mad with his vision for the future. In with that, there is the struggle that the common people have, the comparisons intrigued me as I listened.

I really enjoyed some of the word-building and the play on words, as I listened I understood why this would be made into a film.

Barnaby Edwards does a great job with the narration and had a tone in his voice that didn’t jar or jangle. He had a good range to the voices and I found it easy to follow.

I enjoyed listening to this a lot and it has actually left me wanting to read the book as well! So now I am looking forward to the book and the film!

It is an Audiobook that I would recommend.

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.

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

#BlogTour : We Other by Sue Bentley @suebentleywords : @rararesources #BookReview #WeOther

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I am delighted to be sharing “We Other” by Sue Bentley today as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Huge thanks to both Rachel and Sue for my spot and also my e copy of the book. Purchase from  – Amazon UK – Amazon.Com it is available in paperback and eBook format.

Synopsis:

Family secrets, changelings, and fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic.

When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods’ – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of Jess’s worries.

My Thoughts:

Jess Morgan’s life has never been “normal” as she has had her alcoholic mum Alice, to look after. Jess has always felt different to everyone else of her age and never really fitted in, with her scruffy charity shop clothing and her scavenging food bins doesn’t help. But things are changing for her and for all she knows, or thinks she knows.

This is a fantasy nook aimed at YA readers that I really did loose myself in. A story that tells of Jess and her life growing up is twisted seamlessly into a story with faeries. I love the way  that the author has not gone down the twee “Tinkerbell” faerie route but instead has a darker and sinister one. I am saying nothing much about the plot as I don’t want to give spoilers away, but I will mention that it has some great twists as the story is told.

The story really worked its magic on me as the author built up a vivid image of the main characters and also the faerie world. There is not a huge cast in this story to loose yourself with, instead a good amount that are gradually introduced. This for me is something that kept the flow of the story. All to often too many characters are involved and it can all get a bit confusing, but this has just the right balance. They all have their own personalities and some have some interesting traits.

The descriptive passages really worked well and I was able to envisage the scenes and characters described to me. An important factor in any fantasy book is the ability is to show the reader the world as it is imagined b y the writer.

I absolutely adored this book, it was like a dark faerie tale with a modern twist and mix, blending fantasy with social factors and creating a brilliant and absorbing story. This is a book that I would highly recommend to not only YA fantasy readers but also to those who like fantasy and paranormal mystery. A great way to escape for a few hours.

About the Author:

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Author Bio –  Sue Bentley discovered a love of books at an early age. She worked for Northamptonshire Libraries for many years, while teaching herself the craft of writing. She is the author of the worldwide bestselling Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, Magic Ponies, Magic Bunny series for age 5-9 years. She also writes for children and adults under various pen names. A lover of English Folklore, her books often contain elements of the otherworld and the darkness within the everyday. Her books have been translated into around 20 languages. We Other is her first book for Young Adults.

Social Media Links –  Twitter – Facebook – Instagram – Website – Goodreads

Follow the tour:

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

#BlogTour : Joshua N’Gon Last Prince of Alkebulahn by Anthony Hewitt @Antonmarks : @rararesources : #BookReview

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Today I have a YA book to share with you “Joshua N’Gon : Last Prince of Alkbulahn” by Anthony Hewitt as part of the blog tour.  My thanks to Anthony for my copy of the book and also Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour. You can get a copy from Amazon UK and it is available in paperback or eBook format.

Synopsis:

When a secret world of ancient alien kingdoms and evil corporation’s clashes with adolescents, school, and homework. You won’t be able to put down this wild adventure of discovery, friendship, and coming of age!

What would you do if you discovered you were descended from ancient alien African royalty and you could hold the key to save your friends, family, and the world from evil destructive forces?
Joshua N’Gon seemed like an ordinary boy. Raised in a loving foster home in north London and a gifted student at the St Augustine private school. But as he grew older, a thirst for meaning and true purpose began to grow greater and greater…

With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility

On Joshua’s tenth birthday he received mysterious packages from his birth parents. Parents who had left him as a baby under mysterious circumstances. Opening the packages, he would find gifts that would forever change him both mentally and physically. Magical technology unlike anything he had ever seen and the best part, only he could use it. But his secrets would not stay that way for long. Evil forces were gathering and they would stop at nothing to acquire the powerful science behind his amazing inventions

With the help of his two best friends, Brick and Mina, Joshua sets out to develop his abilities, find his real parents and stop the Technology Billionaire Kanu Umbekwi from subjugating the planet.

Buckle up and get ready to go on an exciting thrill ride, full of suspense, mystery, and alien technology with Joshua N’Gon:The Last Prince of Alkebulahn.

My Thoughts:

Joshua N’Gom is an average student, is loyal to his small group of friends and generally a good kid. One thing is a little different about him though, he has an ability to build advanced technological objects. When I say advanced, I really mean advanced!

This is aimed at a 12-16 age group and is extremely fast paced and non stop action. Quick chapters with occasional timeline changes keep the action moving as well as giving some much-needed back-stories to a couple of the characters.

There are quite a few characters to get your head around so it does take a while to remember them but, as the story continues they do become recognisable. The plot is one that gradually unveils itself as the story unfolds, it would have been helpful if I had read the synopsis before reading the book. Yeah I’m one of those who read the synopsis when I am first approached for a tour and then that’s it.

This is a sci-fi fiction read and it’s audience is definitely a young teen that will be more used to gamer language and references. As i am definitely not in this age range I did find some of the terminology confusing. Although I didn’t understand it all I do recognise the part it plays in this story and it adds an authenticity to it.

This is the first in a series of books and it is an enjoyable read, it does have that first in a series feel to it as the scene is set for what is to come. I do think this will be a series that the target audience will really enjoy and would find it exciting. So for the age range and the subject I would say this is a book I would recommend.

About the Author:

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Anton Marks is a self-published author based in London.  His self-styled Urban Fantastic genre is speculative fiction using crime, action adventure, horror, sword and soul and sci-fi to highlight the black experience through the lens of the extraordinary. At present, he has eight books in the Amazon Kindle store, Dancehall, Bushman, Bad II the Bone, In the Days of Dread, 69, Messiah, Chauffeur and a Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel called Joshua N’Gon: The Last Prince of Alkebulahn written as Anthony Hewitt. The second in his Bad II the Bone Series Good II be Bad is due in 2018.

Join him on his journey at http://www.urban-fantastic.com.

Social Media Links –  Pintrest –  Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the tour

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

#BlogTour | #GlimmerOfHope by Steve McHugh @StevejMcHugh |#GuestPost #BookReview @annecater

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I am delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for “Glimmer of Hope” by Steve McHugh, the first in The Avalon Chronicles.  Available in various formats and you can get a copy HERE. I am over the moon to have a Guest Post by Steve, he discusses his “Getting published” experiences, I wasn’t sure if I would have time to read the book in time for the tour, I should have a little more faith in myself as I can also share my thoughts on the book I did have time to read 🙂 xx Thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the tour x

Synopsis:

From Steve McHugh, the bestselling author of The Hellequin Chronicles, comes a new urban fantasy series packed with mystery, action, and, above all, magic.
Layla Cassidy has always wanted a normal life, and the chance to put her father’s brutal legacy behind her. And in her final year of university she’s finally found it. Or so she thinks.
But when Layla accidentally activates an ancient scroll, she is bestowed with an incredible, inhuman power. She plunges into a dangerous new world, full of mythical creatures and menace—all while a group of fanatics will stop at nothing to turn her abilities to their cause.
To protect those she loves most, Layla must take control of her new powers…before they destroy her. All is not yet lost—there is a light shining, but Layla must survive long enough to see it.

Guest Post by Steve:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Getting Published. 

Every author you ever speak to about how they became published has a different story. This is mine. 

I was 25 back in 2004 when my first child was about to be born, and I figured I should actually try this whole writing thing seriously. Turns out writing a book is hard. Who knew? 

It took me several years to get to a place where I had written something I actually thought worthy of publication, it was my second completed book, and was called Crimes Against Magic (spoilers, it did get published). 

I wanted to go the traditional publishing route. I just wanted to see my book in shops. I had no illusions about being a best-seller, or the next [Insert name of famous author here] I just wanted to write the best story I could, and get it out there. 

I sent query letters and synopsis to agents, making sure that I actually gave them what they asked for, and received quite a bit of useful feedback about why the book isn’t for them, but good luck. 

By 2011, I was beginning to feel a little downhearted. I’d spent the better part of a year trying to get the book published, I’d been writing other things in the meantime, and wondered whether or not Crimes was actually worthy of publishing. 

Several self-published friends of mine at the time spoke to me about how they’d been able to do well through self-publishing and that maybe I should look into it. 

Well, first I decided to send the book into the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award, and it ended up in the semi-finals (last 200 out of several thousand, I think). I found the whole process rejuvenated my thoughts that the book was worthwhile. I set about the self-publishing route. 

It took me a year or so to get the book properly edited, a good cover, and reading up on how to get your book noticed before I clicked upload and it was on Amazon. 

Then things got a bit unexpected. People started buying it. Quite a lot of people. 

By the end of the year, I’d published book 2, Born of Hatred, and by the January of the following year had 2 books that together had sold in the tens of thousands of copies. I was over the moon. 

Then things got even more unexpected. 

A publisher by the name of 47North (part of Amazon publishing’s own imprint) contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in working with them on relaunching the 2 Hellequin books, and also writing several more for them. I said yes. 

After the third book came out a year later, I also got an agent in the form of Paul Lucas at Janklow and Nesbit. 

So, in the end I did get my books in stores, and I did get an agent, and publisher, but I sort of took a detour to get there. And none of it might have happened if I’d never taken the chance on self-publishing the book. 

After 6 years of being published, by the end of 2018 I’ll have had 10 published books and 1 novella. It’s a staggering thing to consider that I’ve come all this way in such a short period of time, and that my journey from aspiring author to best-selling author was one with so many twists and turns, with so many lows and highs. But sometimes you have to take that chance, and sometimes it doesn’t pay off, but when it does, it can change everything in ways you can’t even imagine.

Follow Steve on Twitter ~ Blog ~ Facebook Author Page

My Thoughts:

This is my first experience with this author and what an absolutely brilliant introduction I had via Glimmer of Hope.  Layla is the main character in this book, a woman who has problems trusting and accepting people in her life.  She has a history and a story that is best kept secret, but she does have two good friends and she will need them as she discovers what this world and life holds in store for her.

Oh this book was a great read that hit all the right spots for me.  An Urban Fantasy with a whole range of legendary, mythological and folk-lore characters and above all magic, spirits and demons.  As Layla learns that there is more to her life than what she first imagined, she has hidden her past from others, but then others have also hidden parts of Layla’s past from her to protect her. She will discover that she does have a place and a role in life and believe when I say you don’t want to mess with her. The author has created a great mix of characters and has given enough details for the reader to see his “other” characters.

This is a fast paced, kick ass, saving the world, urban fantasy novel.  I did think it had a bit of a feel of being aimed at a YA audience. I am looking forward to continuing this journey  and read future books from The Avalon Chronicles, and also to start to read the Hellequin books. A great read that I would definitely recommend to those who like Urban Fantasy, Action and Fantasy genres, or a great start for those who want a bit of escapism.

If you want to see what others thought of this book, check out the dates and below

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Many thanks for reading my post, a share would be great if you liked it.  Get your own copy of this book HERE 🙂 xx

#BlogTour : #HemlockJones & The Angel of Death by Justin Carroll @WriterJustinC @annecater #BookReview

Hemlock Jones Cover

I am absolutely over the moon to have had the opportunity to read “hemlock Jones & The Angel Of Death” by Justin Carroll.  My thanks to Justin and Anne at Random Things Tours for a copy of the book and also a spot on the tour. Get your own copy from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Ten doors down from the home of a world famous ‘consulting detective’ lives twelve-year-old Hemlock Jones, and her recently arrived housemate and unwitting companion, Edward Whitlow. Hired to ‘demystify’ the mystery of a man’s murder by a terrifying angelic spectre, Hemlock and Edward’s investigations will lead them all over Victorian London, uncovering bizarre and deadly foes, figures from Hemlock’s hidden past, and a plot to take over the city… Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death is the first of the Hemlock Jones Chronicles, a series of detective adventures for children and adults, set in Victorian London.

My Thoughts:

Hemlock Jones lives at 211B Baker Street with landlady Mrs. Figgins.  Hemlock is a “demystifier“, she takes the mystery out of a problem and works to solve it.  Edward Whitlow discovers Hemlock’s demystifying talents when he comes to lodge at the same house. When Hemlock takes on a case Edward becomes her unwitting side kick.

This is an absolutely brilliant read.  References are made to the other more well-known “Consulting Detective” and the Doctor just down the road, (I dare not mention their names as it would result in a rather serious scowl or a telling off from Hemlock). In a similar style to the previously mentioned but with twists and turns, Hemlock and Whitlow (12 years old), are determined in their own crime busting escapades.  The fearless Hemlock is undeterred in her quest, with the somewhat quite sweet and willing  Whitlow, they manage to get involved in a rather intriguing investigation.  It is exciting and fast paced,  with steam punk elements in a Victorian London setting, what is there not to love.  It has all the essential ingredients, good goodies, good baddies, deductions, suspense and it is all wrapped around a wonderful story line with characters that are engaging and fun. It had me hooked right from the out set and kept me hooked till the end.

Now I know this is aimed at children from around 8 years and up, and they will love it, but you know what, never mind the children, this grown up loved it loads 🙂  This is a book I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND to younger readers and for big kids (adults) too.  A fun-filled Victorian action adventure packed, steam punk, sleuthing, deductive, murder and mystery.  I really am looking forward to reading more in what I think will be a really exciting series and I am really impatient now for the next instalment.

About the Author:

Justin Carroll

  Ever since he stopped wanting to be a dinosaur, Justin Carroll wanted to be a writer. He graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language from King’s College, London in 2004 and now, in between writing and moonlighting in marketing for a multinational financial services company, he fritters away his time on all manner of geeky things. Shortlisted for several international short story competitions, Justin was a finalist in the 2010 British Fantasy Awards.  Follow Justin on his Website or on Twitter.

See the thoughts of other book bloggers on the tour

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#BookReview : The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert @mimi_albert @penguinrandom @NetGalley #PublicationDay

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I am so delighted to be bringing you my thoughts on “The Hazel Wood” by Melissa Albert, it is due for publication today and available in various formats.  Published by Penguin it can be purchased from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.

To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began . . .

My Thoughts:

When you think of fairy tales it is often woods, wolves, castles, princes and princesses with a happy ever after.  The Hazel Wood is nothing like that, it contains fairy tales but they are darker with an underlying feeling of dread to them.  The reclusive and mysterious author Althea Prosperine published her only novel Tales of the Hinterland.  Her granddaughter Ella has never met Althea, never read the book, but is aware of it.  In fact not many have met Althea or even have a copy of the book.  Ella and her mum Alice have to move around a lot, they keep their heads down, always try to keep ahead of the bad luck that seems to shadow them.  This story is how Ella and the reader learns about The Hazel Wood, the book and the bad luck.

This is a brilliantly woven story using the basic premise of a fairy tales.  Twisting them into a dark and brooding journey for the reader.  As we follow Ella and Alice there are things that are seen out of the corner of an eye that gives feeling of the supernatural that have mysterious darker undertones, shadows that linger, people that don’t quite fit in, this all adds to a feeling of tense suspense.  As the story unfolds there are several twists that I didn’t expect, they are clever and make this an extremely addictive read. There are several characters in this story and they are easily remembered and play their parts well, they have good backstories, and while I didn’t like all the characters I found them intriguing.

Once I started this story I could not put it down, the descriptions give a vivid and imaginative picture.  I loved the style of the writing, at times it had the fairy tale feel you would expect, but also a darker much more intense feel that was far removed from fairy tales.  I would like to see follow on from this book as there were several characters that I would like to know more about, and some that left me with questions. But overall it has been beautifully put together and is one I would absolutely recommend.

So if you like a dark and twisty fantasy read that has some roots in magical fairy tales then this is a book for you.  It is a young adult read, that an older adult loved.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers for my eARC of this wonderful book, my thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

You can visit the author in Twitter and also find all the links to purchase the books HERE

 

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Or go and grab yourself a copy of this brilliant book 🙂 xx