The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. This is a fabulous and fantastical read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have a paperback copy of this book and it is gorgeous, my photo really doesn’t do this book justice, it has gold embossing on the keys and it is just a stunning cover!

Let me show you what it is all about…

EVERY STORY OPENS A DOOR

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artefacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored and utterly out of place.

But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page reveals more impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

I really enjoyed this book so much, it was fabulous to delve into the worlds that the author has created for her main protagonist January.

January is a girl who doesn’t quite fit in, she is an in-between person who lives with the very wealthy Mr Locke. Locke is her guardian and looks after her while her father is off travelling and collecting artefacts. As January starts to feel where she fits in society she becomes more aware of her differences and also of the restrictions that Locke imposes on her. Living in a large house surrounded by artefacts, curios and all manner of different things, she becomes aware that she may actually be part of his collection.

This is such a good read that I within the first saw few chapters I felt the addiction. It has a whimsical fantasy feel that also had a historical and literary fiction vibe to it. It is a story of stories or a story within a story as I followed January on her journey through life. Along the way, I learnt of her parents and of their travels and meetings.

The journeys the author takes January on are ones that force this young girl to grow up quick. They put her in danger as she tries to discover the truth of her life and also of her parents. These journeys are wonderfully written and describe with some fabulous imagery.

This is a slower-paced story and gave me a chance to enjoy the writing and the story. It covers various emotions such as loneliness, isolation and abandonment but equally it is about hope, determination and stubbornness to continue. So has a nice balance to it.

This is a really well-written book that I thoroughly enjoyed and I would recommend it to readers who like fantasy stories.

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

The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson #ChildrensFiction #Bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on a wonderful children’s book that would make an ideal Christmas present for younger readers. The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson and is illustrated by Kathrin Honesta.

Let me show you what it is all about…

They call me Yanka the Bear. Not because of where I was found – only a few people know about that. They call me Yanka the Bear because I am so big and strong.

Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, Yanka has always wondered about where she is from. She tries to ignore the strange whispers and looks from the villagers, wishing she was as strong on the inside as she is on the outside. But, when she has to flee her house, looking for answers about who she really is, a journey far beyond one that she ever imagined begins: from icy rivers to smouldering mountains meeting an ever-growing herd of extraordinary friends along the way.

Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons, Yanka’s journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure from the best-selling author of The House With Chicken Legs.

Oh my goodness what an absolutely beautiful read this book was. It is the story of Yanka, she is known as Yanka the Bear as she is bigger and stronger than others of her age. Even though she lives happily in her village with her Grandmother, there has always been a question she has wanted answers to. Where did she come from and who were her parents. The story is one of Yanka discovering her roots and finding out who she is and where she feels she belongs.

This is an absolutely brilliant read that is full of adventure and magical folklore tales that have a feel of Eastern European folklore to them. Dark mysterious forests full of wonderful creatures and things that you would find in fairy tales. A tale of bears, a dragon, a lone wolf, a weasel, an elk and a walking house with chicken legs have all been wonderfully woven into a totally captivating story.

The descriptions of the animals, creatures and surroundings are wonderful and it was so easy for me to see what was described. This was enhanced by some very simple but wonderful illustrations by Kathrin Honesta, these complimented the story so well and in such a subtle but suitable way. Just look at the cover can you see the bear?

The story itself is actually a book of stories that have been interwoven to create a bigger story and I loved how each of these little stories started in the classic “Once upon a time” way. This for me adds a touch of magic and took me back to wonderful stories I read as a child. Talking of children’s stories, this is actually who this book is aimed at and I am so glad I read it because I loved it so much.

The story is a journey of discovery for Yanka and how she is trying to find her place, by this I mean where she feels she belongs. She is a girl who is conflicted and feels that because of her strength and size she could be a danger to others around her. It makes her wary of joining in or accepting help. In her own journey, she discovers so much about herself as well as realising things she was not aware of before.

This is a beautifully written book that has its roots in the fairy tales of old, it has a wonderful flow and fabulous descriptions. This is the second book the author has written and I have not yet read the first one, I will be soon though as I have just ordered a copy of her first book “The House with Chicken Legs”.

The Girl Who Speaks Bear is a book that I would definitely recommend.

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

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

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

Follow Evie on Twitter  – Amazon Author Page

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

#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

#BookReview :Hortense and the Shadow by @oharasisters : @PuffinBooks @PenguinUKBooks

 

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“Hortense and the Shadow” by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara is available now in hardback or eBook.

As Christmas is fast approaching I decided that it was time to have a look at some children’s books, though at first a little unsure of where to start.  Then I had an email via NetGalley for this book, you may call it fate.  I call it magic!

Synopsis:

“Through the dark and wolfish woods, through the white and silent snow, lived a small girl called Hortense. Though kind and brave, she was sad as an owl because of one thing . . . Hortense hated her shadow.” A beautifully illustrated dark fairy tale that will remind you of the fables you read as a child. A treasure not to be missed.

Hortense hated her shadow. Everywhere she went, it went. Everything she did, it did. And every time night fell it grew, tall and dark and crooked.

So Hortense decided: the shadow must go! Only later, alone in the wolfish woods, she learned that a girl without a shadow is far smaller… a fairy tale about light and shadows. 

My Thoughts:

This is a beautiful book with a beautiful story.  It has an old story feel to it, when you read the bio of the authors it is obvious that old stories have been a big part of their lives. I was drawn to the artwork originally, the whimsical, delicate pastel illustrations are superb.  They manage to capture the atmosphere of the setting and the story.  The story itself is based on Hortense and her dislike of her shadow, it follows her everywhere, at night turning into a dark, creepy shadow that was scary. She manages to cut the shadow off, but can feel it’s presence, but one night it comes to her rescue.  Hortense realises her shadow is something that is an extension of herself, can make her appear taller, longer and reach further.

This is a book I would love to have read as a child, and would love to have read to my now grown up children.  It is a story with a message, is beautifully written and I loved the illustrations.

I would like to express my thanks to NetGalley and the Publishers for allowing me a copy of this eARC.  My opinions are my own and are unbiased.

About the Authors:

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

Visit their Website or on Twitter

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Age Range: 5 – 7 years
  • Publisher: Puffin (5 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141374020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141374024
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked this, give it a share.  Or better still, go and buy the book.