Death Unleashed by Steve McHugh @StevejMchugh @annecater #randomthingstours #fantasy #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Death Unleashed by the fabulous Steve McHugh. I think I may have just read my favourite book by this author… yet.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and also a huge thank you to Steve for sending me a sighned copy of his latest book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

A deadly venom. A looming rebellion. A vicious siege. And the clock is ticking.

For sorcerer Nate Garrett, the stakes have risen. If Asgard falls, he may lose much more than his home—he may lose the thing dearest to him. To stand a fighting chance against Avalon, he must be ready to go to war. But when his best friend and father are poisoned, Nate must race against the clock in a desperate quest to find a cure.

Layla Cassidy is tasked with gaining the aid of the Valkyrie in Valhalla, but once there, she finds herself involved in another rebellion and must pick a side.

Meanwhile, Mordred finds himself on a hunt for Excalibur, a weapon of incredible power that would aid the rebellion in their fight against Arthur and his allies. But to retrieve it, Mordred must face uncomfortable truths about himself.

War looms over the rebellion, and the battle for Asgard is at hand. Time is running out as Avalon’s forces threaten total destruction. But Nate can’t be in two places at once. Can he find the cure, and can he, Layla, and Mordred save the realms before it’s too late?

WOW! What an amazing read, I have been a fan of this authors books and I first came across his writing with the first book in The Avalon Chronicles when I read A Glimmer of Hope. Death Unleashed is the latest book in The Rebellion Chronicles and continues on from Sorcery Reborn. If you are a fan of fantasy books and have not yet come across this author then shame on you!

The synopsis mentions Avalon, Mordred, Excaliber and Asgard, this is only the tip of the iceberg for all the other names from legend that are mentioned.

Death Unleashed continues a few months after the events of Sourcery Reborn. The ongoing battle against Arthur are more intense and friends and family of the main characters are threatened. Things are getting very close to home as the battles become more and more personal. Allies are being sought out to help bolster the armies fighting Arthur. Enter the Valkyries… they bring a great addition to the story line!

The story lines for this book are focused on three of the main characters, Nate, Layla and Mordred. They each have their own thread but they are linked to the overall bigger picture. It was great to meet Mordred and get to know him, and what a tale the author has woven for this character.

As Arthur increases the brutality of his attacks he also increases the levels of deviousness. He is such a good baddie and I love to hate him and his methods, but at the same time I marvel at his ingenuity. I realise that I am actually referring to these characters as real people and this is all down the amazing writing ability of this author.

The author has taken various characters from legend, mythology and folklore from different cultures and woven them together brilliantly. While at first glance you would not necessarily link werecats, knights of the round table and gods of ancient times together on the same page, the author does, has and he makes it work, and he seems to do it effortlessly. He mixes characters from the past and places them in a modern day setting. I have to say that having a character of legend wandering around with a sword while humming the theme tune to a video game made me smirk.

The story took me right into the battles, the rescues and the heartbreak that comes when conflict on such a large scale occurs. There is so much intrigue as I was catapulted into the story. It is a fantasy story and series that is epic, it is huge and it is bloody brilliant.

The Epilogue had my brain jumping up and down with excitement as I discovered where the author is going next! OMG I cannot wait for the next one!

If you are a fan of fantasy that combines, folklore, legend, mythology and slams them into a modern setting then you need to get this book, hell get the series. A brilliantly woven, action read that is just awesome and one I would highly recommend.

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 TwitterWebsite

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

City of Secrets by Misha Herwin @MishaHerwin #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review today for City of Secrets by Misha Herwin, this is the first book in the The Adventures of Letty Parker series and is aimed at Young Adult readers.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Letty Parker lives by her wits.

Estranged from her family, she sells pies on the streets of Bristol. But this is a Bristol full of dark secrets, peopled by gangs, monsters, dragons and gargoyles – and by creatures older than time.

When her friend and stepsister disappear, when members of Jeb’s gang vanish, Letty is plunged headlong into a conspiracy where homeless children are being spirited away to a place where a terrible fate awaits them.

These are the poor and the lost children of the streets whom no one seems to care about – except for Letty. But what if a rich child went missing? Would the authorities then act? Together, Letty and Jeb hatch a plan…

What a brilliant introduction to Letty Parker and the starting point for a series of books aimed at the Younger Reader. I am definitely not a young reader but I can honestly say that if I had picked up City of Secrets as a 9 or 10 year old I would have loved it, as it happens even now as a grown up reader I still loved it.

The author has created a fabulous character in Letty, she is joined by Jeb and his gang and also the somewhat lonely character of Gabriel. Letty is a pie-seller in Bristol, she is a street kid as such as she lives on her wits and needs to work to pay the rent on a small room. Some local children have been going missing in very mysterious circumstances, it is only when a young boy who Letty as just befriended also goes missing that she realises that something is amiss.

The author has created a fabulous story that has a Victorian feel to it. Carriages, gangs, murky alleys and dark, dangerous things that lurk in the shadows add to the ambience of the story. It is a story that has some wonderful descriptions and good dialogue that made me smirk on a few occasions.

Letty is a determined character who is stubborn and tenacious when she gets something in her head. This tenacious attitude will stand her in good stead as she faces her investigation.

There is an evil at work and this is investigated further into the story as Letty and Co start to dig further into the disappearances. The story has a good fantasy feel to it as various monsters, dragons and gargoyles become part of the story, yes there are gargoyles and this makes me very happy!

This was a wonderfully paced story that had me eagerly turning pages and has left me waiting and wanting to see what happens in the next book in the series called Bridge of Lies.

Even though it is aimed at a younger audience, I would say around 8-12 years, adults would also enjoy it, well I did! It is a fabuolous book full of adventure, fantasy and mystery, its exciting and a real page turner. I would definitely recommend it.

Image taken from Misha’s Amazon Author Page

Misha Herwin was born in England of Polish parents. English was not her first language but once she learned to speak it, she has never stopped. At twelve she wrote and staged her first play in a theatre made from a cardboard box. Since then things have improved and her plays have been both performed in England and Jamaica, where she lived for a while. As Misha M Herwin she has written two novels “Picking up the Pieces” and “House of Shadows”, both published by Penkull Press. “Dragonfire” “Juggler of Shapes” and “Master of Trades” are her fantasy trilogy for kids. “City of Secrets” is her most recent book and is the first in a fantasy adventure series for children. Her stories for adult readers have appeared in a number of anthologies including “A Fairy’s Story,” in “Bitch Lit”, and “The Satan Stones” in “Ancient Wonders,” by Alchemy Press. Her latest “The Loop Line” is in “The Darkest Midnight in December”. Her children are grown up and she lives in Staffordshire England with her husband in a house with a dragon in the garden.

Follow Misha on Twitter Amazon Author PageWebsite

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

The Hunted by Tarn Richardson @TarnRichardson #free #ebook

If anyone asks me about my favourite books, I always mention The Darkest Hand Trilogy by Tarn Richardson. This is fabulous Dark Fiction that absolutely blew me away. A blend of historical fiction, fantasy and religious conspiracy.

Why am I letting you know about this, I hear you ask!

Well Tarn Richardson also has a novella, a prequel to the series and it’s called The Haunted. It is an amazing action packed, full speed intro to Poldeck Tacit and the best bit is that it’s FREE!

Yep!

You heard me right!

A FREE download over on Amazon!

Do yourself a favour go and get a copy. It is 48 pages long so grab a coffee and have a read.

In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Tacit Poldek is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke. 


With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Tacit Poldek. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.


THE HUNTED is the
FREE prequel to Tarn Richardson’s gritty and compelling DARKEST HAND TRILOGY featuring the brilliant but flawed inquisitor Tacit Poldek.

Amazon UK Link

Happy Reading folks!

Sleeper – The Red Storm by J. D. Fennell #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Sleeper – The Red Storm by J. D. Fennell, I was a lucky winner to receive a copy of this book via DHH Literary Agency, so a massive thank you to them. This is the second book in this fast paced series, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first book! You can read my review of the first book Sleeper HERE

So, let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

Praise for Sleeper: ‘Sleeper is an exciting tale full of pace and surprises. J.D. Fennell can write up a storm.’ James Patterson

1943.
 Sleeper spy Will Starling has been drafted in to the SOE, joining forces with the French Resistance in the fight against the Nazis; but Will’s memory is fractured and only occasional flashbacks reveal fragments of his past. Despite this, he has not forgotten his pledge to find and rescue his sister, Rose – if she is still alive. When his mission in France is compromised, Will suspects he’s been betrayed.

Back in London he hears that VIPER are in league with the Axis powers and are developing a new and deadly weapon. As he and MI5 agent Anna Wilder set out to destroy it, their every move is anticipated by their enemies. Who is the mole in the British Secret Service? As they close in on VIPER’s Swiss headquarters, it seems no one can be trusted. Are Will and Anna able to prevent the unleashing of the Red Storm that will bring mass destruction on a scale even the Nazis haven’t dreamt of?

While Will tries to save the world, Rose has become the key to VIPER’s future plans and is drugged to dull her kinetic powers. But Rose faces danger from an unexpected enemy and her time is running out.

So, this is the second in the Sleeper series, the first book was a great introduction to the main protagonist and hero, Will Starling. This second book continues and the impetus to stop VIPER is getting more urgent and of paramount importance.

I have to say I really enjoyed the first book and the second is fabulous. The setting is the early 1940’s and sees Will, a specially trained teen, flying from London to France to help with the Resistance. Will still has a problem with his memory, it’s only when something triggers certain memories does he start to recall things. There is still a lot he has to recall…

So essentially this is a two birds, one stone mission…save Rose and defeat VIPER…!!! Yeah, that’s not going to be easy. Rose is Wills sister, these siblings have a certain skill set. When I say you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of either of them I really do mean it. Rose is very special and her skills in the wrong hands, well…

I really enjoy this story, at times it has the feel of a young James Bond and I think this is why the setting and time of the story work so well, well they do in my opinion. I do occasionally get a feel of a steampunk aspect to the story, I loved reading his genre quite a few years ago, and it does have some basic elements of that style.

This is a mix of espionage, spy, save the world thriller that has been done in a really good way. It is full of fast-paced action, loads of adventure and by the edge of your pants thrills and spills, throw in a couple of secret agents, some double-crossing and you have an. explosive and exciting read.

There is a good sense of urgency to plot and this adds to the quick pace of the story, with some brilliant details and also some historical events to keep the reader in the right time. By the end of the book I still want more, yes the story came to a satisfactory conclusion, I hope there is more to come in this series.

This is a book that I would recommend to readers who like action-packed, fast-paced, adventure, espionage and save the world from the evil organisation type of books. It gets a highly recommended from Me!

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

Sleeper by J D Fennell #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing Sleeper by J D Fennell. This is the first in the Sleeper series and I am looking forward to reading the next one Sleeper – The Red Storm.

So let’s have a look at the synopsis…

Sixteen-year-old Will Starling is pulled from the sea with no memory of his past. In his blazer is a strange notebook with a bullet lodged inside: a bullet meant for him. As London prepares for the Blitz, Will soon finds himself pursued by vicious agents and a ruthless killer known as the Pastor. All of them want Will’s notebook and will do anything to get it. As Will’s memory starts to return, he realises he is no ordinary sixteen-year old. He has skills that make him a match for any assassin. But there is something else. At his core is a deep-rooted rage that he cannot explain. Where is his family and why has no one reported him missing?Fighting for survival with the help of Mi5 agent-in-training, Anna Wilder, Will follows leads across London in a race against time to find the Stones of Fire before the next air raid makes a direct hit and destroys London forever.

Will Starling is on a mission when something makes him disobey orders. The result is him fleeing for his life and guarding what he has discovered in his search for truth.

Set in 1940’s London, this book definitely falls into the “fast-paced” category. Will has a specific skill set, though these skills do catch him unawares as he tries to remember who he is, who he should trust. It was great to learn about Will as he remembered things about himself, a great way to put the reader on an even keel with a character.

Now the plot, it’s just great full of deception and twists that kept me on my toes every step of the way. A race against the bad guys to keep an artifact from falling into the wrong hands gave a wonderful cat and mouse, ducking and diving chase across London.

This has the feel of a younger verion of Jason Bourne or Jack Reacher feel to it and I will say a hint of Indiana Jones. It has elements that I like in all the above and I thoroughly enjoyed this quick, fast paced, action packed book.

A brilliantly paced teen spy, thriller with a great plot. It’s one I would absolutely recommend.

J. D. Fennell
Photo and Bio taken
from Author’s Amazon Page

J.D. was born in Belfast at the start of the Troubles, and began writing stories at a young age to help understand the madness unfolding around him. A lover of reading, he devoured a diverse range of books – his early influences include Fleming, Tolkien, Shakespeare and the Brontës.

He left Belfast at the age of nineteen and worked as a chef, bartender, waiter and later began a career in writing for the software industry.

These days he divides his time between Brighton and London, where he lives with his partner and their two dogs.

Facebook: JDFennellAuthor
Twitter: jd_fennell
Instagram: jdfennellauthor

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

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.

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

#BookReview |Bandit Country by Andrew Turpin @AndrewTurpin

51dVLYAL6mL._SY346_Bandit Country by Andrew Turpin, the third book in the Joe Johnson series.  Available from Amazon UK HERE in paperback of eBook format.  Buy the box set and read The Last Nazi, The Old Bridge and Bandit Country HERE.

Synopsis: 

A trail of high-profile sniper victims across Northern Ireland. Rising tension over the US president’s imminent visit. And the on-going bloody conflict driven by republican terrorists.
Ex-CIA war crimes investigator Joe Johnson quickly realizes there’s much more to it after he’s called to Belfast by a man who claims to be worried about the impact on his business of a long series of terrorist bombs and shootings.
The sniper’s body count rises, but with his motive remaining a mystery, fears mount as the president and UK prime minister’s visit for a G8 world summit draws nearer. 
Eventually, Johnson and his ex-MI6 colleague Jayne Robinson come to believe that the key lies in files, documents and secrets from nearly thirty years ago that certain high-flying public figures would rather remained unread.
Bandit Country—the third book in the Joe Johnson series—dives into the murky depths of historic conflicts between British security forces and the IRA, as well as the illegal US-based fundraising and weapons smuggling operations that armed the terrorists.
Meet Joe Johnson today and discover how he uncovers hidden truths from the past in an effort to prevent another devastating crime happening now.

My Thoughts:

Joe Johnson is back! This time in Northern Ireland. He has a freelance job offer that has connections to troubles in Northern Ireland from the 1980’s. Now 2013, the political stage has changed, Sinn Fein have political positions and there is a peace agreement in place.  Not all feel hopeful about the future and grassroots dissidents still make their feelings known with bombings and shootings, this affects business and is the reason why Joe has been called in.

I am a big fan of this series with Joe as the main protagonist, an ex-CIA war crimes investigator. This book feels a little bit different to the others, a slight step away from the war crimes investigations with more emphasis on events at the time of its setting in 2013, there are however many references to 1984, as well as other decades that are just as important.  Joe is soon in the thick of the action, his experiences, expertise and knowledge are all assets that he will need.

It is a story that covers many aspects of IRA, The Real IRA, Sinn Fein and also the thoughts and feelings of the people on the streets.  The mistrust, the distrust and the fear to hope things will actually change for the best as well as showing the frustrations of the dissidents at grass root level.

As the story moves forward the inclusion of arms shipments, smuggling and also US backers for the cause make an appearance as Joe tries to learn of an active sniper. This along with the added extra details that the author includes adds that believable factor I like in a story.  Things like how fast the helicopter flies rather than it just flying past, or why two guns of the same model have slight differences. These extras make me think that the author knows his stuff and done the research. The one thing I always enjoy with this authors work is the addition information he includes at the end of the story, where he found his sources, what books or sites he used. A great place for further reading and a great insight into the background of the book.

You could read this as a stand alone, it would work well I think, but I would definitely recommend reading the other books in the series. They give a great deal of information about Joe and importantly show his tenacious character.

This is a fast paced, action packed, thriller.  The author has created a balance of fact and fiction backed up with a huge amount of research and is the backbone of this book, add to that an amazing story that has been fictionally wrapped around events and you have a convincing read.  A Highly Recommended read from me.

About the Author:

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Andrew is a former journalist who has always had a love of writing and a passion for reading good thrillers. Now he has finally put the two interests together.

His first book in the Joe Johnson series, The Last Nazi, was published in August 2017, and the second, The Old Bridge, in January 2018. The third, Bandit Country, was published in February 2018.

Who is Joe Johnson? He’s an ex-CIA officer and former U.S. Nazi hunter with the Office of Special Investigations, part of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Johnson has a passion for justice and a drive to investigate unsolved war crimes in different parts of the world. In particular, he is frustrated by the sectarian and religious conflicts that generally lie behind such crimes.

The themes behind these thrillers also pull together some of Andrew’s other interests, particularly history, world news, and travel. They explore the ways in which events and human behaviors deep into the past continue to impact on modern society, politics and business.

Andrew studied history at Loughborough University and worked for many years as a business and financial journalist before becoming a corporate and financial communications adviser with several large energy companies.

He originally came from Grantham, Lincolnshire, and lives with his family in St. Albans in Hertfordshire, U.K.

Follow Andrew on Twitter ~ Website 

The Joe Johnson Thriller Series: Books 1-3 (The Joe Johnson Thriller Series Boxset 1) by [Turpin, Andrew]

 

 

The Joe Johnson Thriller Series 

Available from Amazon UK

 

 

Many thanks for reading my post, a share or like 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 : End Game by @Matt_Johnson #EndGame #RobertFinlay @OrendaBooks @annecater #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing m thoughts today on End Game by Matt Johnson. My thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for my copy of this wonderful book and also for my spot on the tour.  This is the final book of the trilogy and you can purchase all the books from Amazon UK in either eBook or paperback.  BUYING LINK

Synopsis:

Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout. Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.

My Thoughts:

This is the final instalment in the Robert Finlay series.  I do have a little confession here, and please don’t tell anyone, but I have not read any of the other books (hangs head in shame) but I have ordered them (raises head a little higher).  When an email from the wonderful Anne Cater dropped in I was not going to say no, reviews from other bloggers about the two previous books were wonderful and glowing, after reading End Game I can absolutely see why.

So to my thoughts, surely the fact that I immediately bought the other two books after finishing this one is testimony as to what I thought.  But in case you are not convinced by that…. With any book in a series, characters are important.  You follow them as they evolve and grow, you know their back stories, problems and history as well as their interaction with others (whether they play nicely in a group or not).  But as I have not had this experience (yes I know!) I found that the dynamics of the characters very evident, they have strong personalities and traits and have a great established believable feel about them.  It didn’t take long for me to remember them or to identify them within the story.

Right then to the plot, where to start, well there is an underlying plot from the previous stories, again something you would expect from a trilogy.  Matt has included great references to this and there is enough for this, late to the party reader, to get enough of an idea to understand.  It has also given plenty of intrigue and left me wanting to know more about the back stories, hence me the first two books.  For End Game, you are plunged into a world of British Secret Service and Police Investigations at an intense and breathtaking pace .  There are real life events that have been mentioned and incorporated into the story, I love this as it gives the reader a great reference point for the setting of a story.  These real events and also the authors own experiences give a real edgy feel to this story, the author knows his stuff.  It’s the lit details that add that extra element, these seemingly trivial little facts that are added are there because of the authors experience within the  military and police force.  This “insider” knowledge is what makes the story stand out and adds that important authentic and believable factor.

This was an absolute pleasure to read, it was intense and intricate in its plot and in the details but not at all confusing, fast paced and addictive.  The espionage aspect is devilish with a real edge of the seat feel.  A brilliantly woven tale and one that I Highly Recommend. Don’t just take my word for it, buy all three books and see for yourself.

About the Author:

Matt Johnson Author Picture.jpg  Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for twenty-five years. Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1993, and one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent’s Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People’s Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital. Hidden wounds took their toll. In 1999, Matt was discharged from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism. One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. His bestselling thriller, Wicked Game, which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, was the result. Deadly Game and now End Game, the final book in the Robert Finlay series, once again draw on Matt’s experiences and drips with the same raw authenticity of its predecessor.

The Robert Finlay Trilogy by Matt Johnson

Wicked Game      ~    Deadly Game      ~     End Game

Click on the title and it will take you to Amazon.UK website.

Since writing this post I am happy to say, my copies of the first two books are now here,  now I  have the full set 🙂29243814_10214155310511089_6356634460884041728_n

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Or, go and buy yourself a copy HERE   🙂 xx

#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