Tempests And Slaughter by Tamora Pierce #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I have my review for Tempests And Slaughter by Tamora Pierce. My thanks go to Harper Collins UK for accepting my review request for this e-book that I received via NetGalley.

Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie. 

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.

Act fast! The first printing of the hardcover includes a collector’s edition poster!

This is the 8th book in the Tortall series, but book 1 in the Numair Chronicles. This book, as it happens, turned out to be the right choice for me as I had not read anything in the series or by this author before.

In the Imperial University of Carthak there are three students who are ahead of others in their age group and also those older in terms of their abilities. They are Varice, often referred to as the “kitchen witch”. Prince Orzone was known as the “left-over Prince” and then the youngest Arram Draper. It is Arram’s story that is experienced in this book. The three students form a friendship that is needed, singly they would probably stand out more and be loners, open to bullying, insult, and attack. Together they are strong.

The story follows their progress through their studies. It focuses mainly on Arram and how he and his fellow students’ magical gifts are developing. Arram’s magic stands out more as it seems to be more natural, wild and if not careful, uncontrollable. Yes, this is a story about magical abilities but it has so much more to it than that. At times it has a historical fiction feel to it with mentions of Emperors, Royalty, Slavery, Gladitorial battles, and traitors.

The three friends have very different backgrounds and ideas, they have different subjects that will help them in their respective futures, whatever their futures may be…

This is a fair paced story and I found it really easy to get into, the characters were very quick to become memorable as I read. Mixed in amongst the learning, magic and daily life are mentions of various gods. Some make themselves known and in their respective forms, and if I were to meet one I wouldn’t hang around. The story has a very nice flow to it, I guess what I mean is that it is very easy to involved in, relate to some of the dilemmas of the students and just to be able to follow the story and enjoy.

As I said earlier, this is the first time of reading anything by this author and I can definitely say it will not be the last, I am looking forward to reading further books in this series and then I am eager to reading the follow on series. It does have the feel of a new series to it, groundwork, history, all the building blocks are being laid down, as many first in a series books do. It is a series I am very interested in and will continue with. I think this is one that readers who don’t often read fantasy would get on very well with, yes there is magic, but there are other things as well. Ideal for fantasy readers and I think general fiction readers as well, and one I would definitely recommend.

Image and Bio from the Author’s Page on Amazon UK

Tamora Pierce was born in South Connellsville, Pennsylvania and her parents were originally going to call her Tamara, but the nurse who filled out her birth certificate had never heard of that name before and accidentally misspelled it. However, Tamora likes her name and in case you’re wondering how to pronounce it, it sounds just like a camera. She was a passionate reader from an early age, devouring encyclopedias, Dr. Seuss books, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Writing helped Tamora get through her parents’ divorce and in her junior year at college she sold her first story and went on to publish The Song of the Lioness, originally with adult readers in mind, but found success when she turned it into a quartet for teenagers. The rest, as they say, is history! Tamora lives in New York with her husband.

Author Links – Amazon Author Page

Purchase Link – Amazon UKTwitterWebsite

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A Brush With Death by Ali Carter #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I have my review of A Brush With Death by Ali Carter. This book has been on my TBR for a little while now. I would like to thank Oneworld Publications for approving my request to read this ebook via NetGalley.

Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey in this delightful new series introducing pet portraitist and amateur super-sleuth, Susie Mahl

In the village of Spire, murder is afoot. Rich landowner Alexander, 9th Earl of Greengrass is caught with his trousers down in the village graveyard before meeting a gruesome end.

Luckily Susie Mahl happens to be on hand. With her artist’s eye for detail and her curious nature she is soon on the scent of the murderer…

Susie Mahl paints portraits of peoples pets. Her latest commission is of a Deerhound called Situp…I love this as a name for a dog. During a weekend stay at pet owners home in the village of Spire, one of Sophie’s friends is murdered.

This is a cosy mystery and the first in the Susie Mahl Mystery series. From the very outset, was quickly engaged as I discovered the main characters. It was found numerous mentions and references to art, painting and the processes and while I did find them interesting I felt it slowed the telling of the main story down a bit. Once the painting sections started to diminish the story itself started to come to the forefront again and the pace quickened. Susie was able to embark on her own truth-finding mission.

While reading I found myself surprised when mentions of mobile phones, internet etc were mentioned. I think this is due to having comparisons with Downton Abbey and Agatha Christie who I associate with 1920’s/30’s. I think this is my own assumption, but as there were only the occasional technology mentions it didn’t really matter that much.

Susie paints for those who have money and status, they are Lords, Ladies, Earls and Countesses. She stays for weekends to get to know the pet she is going to paint, it gives her a chance to explore and try to discover various truths. The plot itself is nicely laid out as Susie’s investigations are being delved into. It has a gentle pace rather than a full pelt race to the end.

If you like cosy mysteries then I think this is one readers of the genre will enjoy. I am looking forward to reading more about Susie in this series and will be buying more as they are available. This is one I would recommend.

Image from the Author Page on Amazon UK

Ali Carter was born in Scotland and read art history at St Andrews. There followed an eclectic career in investment management, retail and technology; then in 2011 she had a catastrophic bicycling accident. After major brain surgery and a long recovery, Ali set herself a challenge to walk alone from Canterbury to Rome, a three-month pilgrimage she wrote about in her book, An Accidental Jubilee by Alice Warrender. From then she decided to follow her passion and become a fine artist, specialising in oil paintings from life with an emphasis on colour. Ali works from her studio in East Sussex and also draws pet portraits to commission. A Brush with Death is her first novel.

Visit Ali on her Amazon Author Page

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The 13th Witch by Mark Hayden #MeAndMyBooks #review

Today I am sharing my review for The 13th Witch by Mark Hayden, and this is the first book in The King’s Watch Series. This book came to my attention during a recent Blog Tour organised by Anne at Random Things Tours.

Did you know that the gods can use mobile phones?
They can, and Odin has a message for Conrad

Conrad Clarke, former RAF pilot and alleged gangster gets a text – and a visit – from The Allfather.
Odin has a challenge for Conrad: sign up to protect England from wild magick and get a commission in the King’s Watch.
All he has to do is find a missing witch. Simple.
Conrad never could resist a challenge. Before you can say “Ragnarok”, he’s plunged into a world of gods, mages, witches, dwarves and one very aggressive giant mole.
But the witch doesn’t want to be found, and powerful mages will kill to keep her hidden. Going back isn’t an option. Going forward looks a lot like death.
Armed with nothing but a sense of humour and a willingness to cheat, Conrad has to find the Witch and save his life.
Treat yourself to a copy now and experience a whole new universe of magick. And moles…

The synopsis gives a very good idea as to what this book is about. It definitely caught my eye enough to go and buy a copy. What I discovered was a book with an eclectic mix of characters from old legend and folklore with a modern setting.

Conrad seems to take these random mythological characters in his stride, not phased by them at all. He decides to accept the mission to find a missing witch and so enters a world of magik. The mission itself appears straight forward but I felt it turned into a mission of trying to work out who to trust.

As this is the first book in the series it does have the feeling of getting to know the characters to it. There are backstories for the main characters and some of the facts about magik. It is like setting down the base for following books in the series.

As well as magik based characters there are also humans as well. These are just as interesting and I am curious to see where the story goes with them. It does have a slower pace to it, but I would expect this to a certain extent with this being the first, but it does start to pick pace in the second half of this story.

I found this to be an interesting and enjoyable read, I do have the 2nd book in the series on its way. I would say this is more of a light fantasy read and it is a really good introduction into what I think will be a good series to follow, and one I would recommend.

Image taken from Mark’s Author Page on Amazon UK

Mark Hayden is the pen name of Adrian Attwood. He lives in Westmorland with his wife, Anne.

He has had a varied career: working for a brewery, teaching English and being the Town Clerk in Carnforth. He is now a part-time writer and part-time house-husband.

You can find Mark on Goodreads and on the Paw Press website.

Purchase Link Amazon UK

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Dark Pines by Will Dean #MeAndMyBooks #bookreview

Today I have my review for Dark Pines by Will Dean. I have had this book on my TBR for quite a while now and with the release of Red Snow, that I also have on my TBR I thought it was about time I delved into the Swedish Forests with Tuva Moodyson.

Let’s see what the book is all about…

An isolated Swedish town. A deaf reporter terrified of nature. A dense spruce forest overdue for harvest. A pair of eyeless hunters found murdered in the woods.

It’s week one of the Swedish elk hunt and the sound of gunfire is everywhere. When Tuva Moodyson investigates the story that could make her career she stumbles on a web of secrets that knit Gavrik town together. Are the latest murders connected to the Medusa killings twenty years ago? Is someone following her? Why take the eyes? Tuva must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the killer and write the story. And then get the hell out of Gavrik.

This is the first in the Tuva Moodyson Mystery Series and it was a chance to meet Tuva. She has moved back to Sweden to be closer to her mother. Gavrik is a forest village in the isolated Swedish forest filled with bugs, bogs and lots of pine trees, Oh and a 20-year-old unsolved murder. Tuva works on the local paper and so her interest in not only the old murders but the new one gives her a chance to meet up with residents.

Doesn’t it sound like a fabulous place to live…lol

I can see why this book has favourable reviews and now I have read it I am eager to get into the new one. Tuva is a fabulous character and I loved that she is a little unexpected. She has the dogged determination that I kind of expect in a reporter, but she is also wary and comes across in a nervy way. By the end of the book, I did realise that she is quite determined and tenacious as she uncovers the truth.

The truth and the discovering the suspect is one of the main focuses of the story. Tuva gets to meets some…let’s call them “interesting” characters. A line from the book that summed up, some, of the personalities was said by one of Tuva’s friends as she described the residents of the remote village as being “the creme da la fucking creme of Gavrik’s rednecks and perverts” I have to say I did nod in agreement with this line.

As for discovering the truth, well I had no idea and I was glad that Tuva did all the legwork. There were so many possibilities as to who could have done it and why. The author did a fabulous job of throwing red herrings right left and center, but this was done in such a subtle way, he sowed seeds of doubt into the characters so, in the end, I had no idea who to trust.

Trying to discover the perpetrator of the crime takes Tuva into some very creepy and lonesome areas. The possible suspects are not the sort of people I would want to visit, this builds up the tension and suspense as she follows her trail of clues.

While Tuva is investigating she is also trying to visit her mother. Mentions of both Tuva’s mother and father give a bit of an insight into Tuva herself. The importance of truth and writing the truth is something that is in the core of who she is. The truth is something that Tuva has to tread very carefully with as she risks alienating the local community if she gets it wrong.

There is another thing that stood out for me in this book, apart from the plot and cast, and that was the wonderful descriptions. This author has a real way with the words for sights, sounds, and smells, they are definitely atmospheric and at times appear to have a sense foreboding to them. The vivid imagery that this brought to the story was this readers dream. Admittedly some of them left me screwing my face up and feeling yuck.

Tuva is a character I really liked and I am really looking forward to getting to know her a little better and meeting her again in Red Snow.

If you like atmospheric mystery reads with a female lead then have a read of Dark Pines. It is a crime, mystery and thriller read that I would recommend.

Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. He was a bookish, daydreaming kid who found comfort in stories and nature (and he still does). After studying Law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden. He built a wooden house in a boggy clearing at the center of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes. He is the author of Dark Pines.

Visit Will on Twitter

The books in The Tuva Moodyson Mystery Series.

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

Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow @ChristieJBarlow @rararesources #review

Today I am delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to Christie for my e-copy of the book.

Synopsis:

Welcome to Love Heart Lane…

When Flick Simons returns to the small village of Heartcross she only expected to stay for a few days. The white-washed cottages of Love Heart Lane might be her home, but the place holds too many painful memories, and of one man in particular – Fergus Campbell.

When a winter storm sweeps in, the only bridge connecting the village to the main land is swept away! As the villagers pull together, Flick finds herself welcomed back by the friends she once left behind. And as the snow begins to melt, maybe there is a chance that Fergus’s heart will thaw too…

Is your book part of a series / standalone? There will be more books based around Love Heart Lane – even though this is the first one in the series they can be read stand alone too.

Purchase LinksAmazon UKAmazon US

My Thoughts:

Felicity makes an emotional visit to her home of Heartcross. What she did not expect, was to be cut off and stranded there by bad weather along with the rest of the residents of this community that she no longer feels completely part of.

There is one thing this author manages to do and that is to create a story that completely wraps me up in the lives of her characters. Felicity has had a rough time and has been avoiding her past. There is a reason why she left her home years ago, and while it takes a while for that explanation to be known, once I did I understood her reluctance a little more.

Being stranded in the village has opened her eyes to the changes that she had been unaware of. It hits home that life in Heartcross has moved on and she feels a little left behind. It was inevitable that she would bump into her ex, Fergus. Their first meeting on her arrival was definitely out of the blue, and both were caught unawares, making this encounter as cold as the weather they were caught up in.

Felicity and Fergus were characters I really liked. The history of their time together and also after their separation was told, I found myself becoming more emotionally attached to them. They both really did struggle through what life had thrown at them.

Community plays a large part in this story and the author did such a great job with community spirit. There was a nice balance of a little mistrust and tension as well as that spirit of togetherness. Friendships that had been neglected over the years had a nice dose of peevishness to them, as you would expect if you had been ignored.

This is a story about family, friends, community and togetherness. Dealing with chaos and catastrophe and dealing with past issues. Old wounds are opened and some long over due heartfelt confessions, feelings and truths are dealt with. This visit home is tinged with sadness but turns into something very special indeed.

This is the start of a new series and I am really looking forward to reading more about Heartcross. This is the ideal introduction to this author if you have not read anything by her before, as well as being one that fans of her work would also really enjoy. It gets a definitely recommended from me xx

About the Author:

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Love Heart Lane. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia. 

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for http://www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world.

Visit Christie on her – WebsiteTwitter Facebook

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The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire @jennifermacaire @rararesources #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Road To Alexander by Jenny Macaire as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Jennifer for my e-copy of this book.

Synopsis:

What do you do when the past becomes your future?

The year is 2089, and time-travelling journalist Ashley Riveraine gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to interview her childhood hero, Alexander the Great. She expects to come out with an award-winning article, but doesn’t count on Fate intervening.

Alexander mistakes Ashley for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. Being stuck 3000 years in the past with the man of her dreams wouldn’t be so bad if the scientists of the Time Institute hadn’t threatened to erase Ashley from existence if she changes history.

Ashley must now walk a tightrope, caught up in the cataclysmic events of the time, knowing what the future holds for the people she comes to love but powerless to do anything to influence it.

Join Ashley on her hilarious, bumpy journey into the past as she discovers where her place in history truly is…

Purchase  Link – Click Here

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Ashley and how she travels back in time to meet one of her heroes, Alexander the Great, to interview him. Alexander unwittingly prevents Ashley from returning back to her time and she is left stranded in history and decides to embrace the predicament in which she finds herself.

Now I did wonder how I would get on this story, time travel and ancient history. I really should not wonder when it comes to reading as this author did an absolutely cracking job with the story and completely won me over. I will mention that the author stated in her notes at the end, that she has moved somethings and people around to help with her story. I am aware of something from the days of Alexander but I am not au fait with much of it so I just enjoyed the story as the author saw it.

I would definitely say this is a historical romance as well as being a historical fiction read. It is about two people from very different times, backgrounds, interests, and experiences. The author has managed to inject some humorous aspects into the story that had me smirking, Ashley uses phrases and words that would not have been around at that time, and it gets some of the historical characters scratching their heads. For them, it adds to the mystery behind who or what they believe her to be.

I really liked the way a lot of historical facts has been mixed in with the fiction it made reading details much more interesting. Essentially turning a list of dates, people and places into something a lot lighter reading. There are mentions of battles, gods, religion, philosophy and the beliefs of the time. There is so much from the daily life, health, hygiene pretty much everything you would expect and a lot I didn’t even think about.

While Ashley is the main part of the story, her focus is on Alexander, the man, and the legendary historical figure. By the end of the story, I realised that this author really knows her stuff and has an obvious love of this time period, as it really does show in her writing. I came away knowing so much more than when I started this book, that is a big bonus for me.

I did mention it had a romantic aspect to it. Ashley initially is a little aloof and comes across as cold, where as Alexander is definitely a hot blooded male… thats all I am saying at this point, it does make for some very interesting reading! As the story develops Ashley then seems to thaw a little and others start to see a change in her, she becomes more emotionally engaged.

This is the first book in a series and I cannot wait to see what comes next. This is a really good book and one that I think would definitely appeal to readers of historical fiction and romance readers. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in Paris. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories

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Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon @knntom @BOTBSPublicity #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon as part of the Blog Tour with Sarah Book On The Brightside Publicity. My huge thanks to Sarah for the invite and to Keith for my e-copy of his book. This is the first in a new series and is one I am looking forward to reading more of.

Synopsis:

Was it suicide … or murder? Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray is driven to discover the truth. Whatever the personal cost.

When teenager Nick Buckingham tumbles from the fifth floor of an apartment block, Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray answers the call with a sick feeling in his stomach. The victim was just a kid, sixteen years old. And the exact age the detective’s son was, the son Gray has not seen since he went missing at a funfair ten years ago. Each case involving children haunts Gray with the reminder that his son may still be out there – or worse, dead. The seemingly open and shut case of suicide twists into a darker discovery. Buckingham and Gray have never met, so why is Gray’s number on the dead teenager’s mobile phone?

Gray begins to unravel a murky world of abuse, lies, and corruption. And when the body of Reverend David Hill is found shot to death in the vestry of Gray’sold church, Gray wonders how far the depravity stretches and who might be next. Nothing seems connected, and yet there is one common thread: Detective SergeantSolomon Gray, himself. As the bodies pile up, Gray must face his own demons and his son’s abduction. 

Crippled by loss Gray takes the first step on the long road of redemption. But is the killer closer to home than he realised?

Set in the once grand town of Margate in the south of England, the now broken and depressed seaside resort becomes its own character in this dark police suspense thriller, perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and PeterJames.

Dig Two Graves is the first in the Solomon Gray series. Pick it up now to discover whether Gray finds his son in this thrilling new crime series. 

My Thoughts:

D.S Solomon Gray (Sol) is a copper with a hauntingly dark past. After the disappearance of his son, who has never been found, his wifes’ death and his daughter who he no longer has no contact with, he is a man with many demons. A new case involving a young boy brings his past back to the forefront of his thoughts once again, especially as the boy would be a similar age to his own son.

This is one of those gritty police procedural reads, it is set in Margate and as the case developed I gradually got to discover Sol’s past. He really is a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and this new case really adds to the weight that is bearing down him. Sol has never given up his search for his son, he his own search is his own private mission that he is traveling. 

The chapters for this book are quick and this means that the pacing of the story is quite a good one to keep me turning the pages. It also means that Sol’s past and present cases are given in quick succession and details are intersected with each other. 

The plot itself caught me unawares as I am not a reader who pays attention to the synopsis before I start the book. When I started I thought it would be a more straightforward police procedural, instead what I actually got was a deeper and more intense read the further I got into the story. This revelation really kept me hooked and took me on routes I didn’t expect and I basically read this in one sitting.

This is a book for lovers of dark, gritty, crime thriller readers and is the first in a new series. A book I would definitely recommend and look I forward to following the series.

See further books in the Solomon Gray series.

Dig Two Graves (Solomon Gray 1)  from Amazon

Burn The Evidence (Solomon Gray 2) from Amazon

Beg For Mercy (Solomon Gary 3) from Amazon

About the Author:

Keith Nixon is a British born writer of crime and historical fiction novels. Originally, he trained as a chemist, but Keith is now in a senior sales role for a high-tech business. Keith currently lives with his family in the North West of England.

 Readers can connect with Keith on various social media platforms:

 Website –  Twitter –  Facebook –  Blog

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