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

Advertisements

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

A Flicker of Steel Cover

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

Steve McHugh Author Pic

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

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

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

Follow Steve on – Twitter –  Website

See what other readers think by following the tour

A Flicker of Steel Blog Tour Poster

Random ThingsTours FB Header

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

Absolute Darkness by Tina O’Hailey @tohailey @rararesources #Giveaway #FORLINEARS #BookReview

__Absolute-Darkness_COVER_SM

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Absolute Darkness by Tina O’Hailey as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. This book is available to purchase from AMAZON UK from 5th July 2018.

Preorder from the publisher. Use code: PREORDER2018 to receive a 10% discount!
Black Rose Writing

Synopsis:

A thrill ride through time that will make you hold your breath.

Sitting by the campfire, Brandy admitted a secret to her friends. She swore she saw a ghost when exiting a cave earlier that day. Was she seeing things? Did they believe her? The next day, breaking a cardinal rule, she snuck back to the cave alone. No one knew where she was. What if she fell or was trapped? There would be no rescue.

For ten thousand years Alexander had kept the time streams of this universe safe from an eternal destructive force that continually threatened to tamper and destroy all. Locked in an unremitting battle, the two foes become sidetracked by an unexpected visitor. An entangled journey begins with chilling twists and turns until becoming locked into an inescapable death deep within a submerged cave.

Who will come out of the watery depths alive?

My Thoughts:

Brandy and her friend Susan share a love of cave diving, they escape their working lives whenever they can to take part in this. During one such expedition Brandy see’s what she believes to be a ghost, this is not the case, it is Alexander.

Occasionally I read a book that makes perfect sense while I am immersed in it, but when I then come to write a review I find it very difficult to convey my thoughts. This book has some really great threads in it that involve not only the friendship of the two women and their shared hobby but also of time dimensions, paranormal, centuries old battles and love. It has a complexity that while I read I wasn’t aware of until I tried to write this.

I think the author has really put a lot of thought into how the time theme would work and she has managed to do it in such a way that it was understandable. There are descriptions of seeing things in colour, travelling through different dimensions, and tall wrapped around the normal world and life.

I did get thrown a little with the battle between two of the characters, it took me a while to understand what the baddie was all about, but as that role in the story was explained then I started to get it.

There is a reasonable amount of detail regarding caving, it does have a balance and hasn’t been over used as far as the technical stuff goes. As much as I admire people for wanting to this activity, it is not something I want to do. Just the thought of it scares me! In some way it adds to the darker feel of the story.

So if you are looking for a story that has quite a few themes in it then this is one that could well be for you. It is a paranormal, time dimensional, friendship and love story, it was an intriguing and very interesting read, one I would recommend to other readers.

About the Author:

__ohailey_author2017.jpg

Tina O’Hailey (author of animation text books “Rig it Right” and “Hybrid Animation”, professor in animation, visual effects and game programming, caver and occasional mapper of grim, wet, twisty caves—if she owes a friend a favor or loses a bet—whose passion is to be secluded on a mountain and to write whilst surrounded by small, furry dogs and hot coffee) was struck by lightning as a baby.

Follow the author on: Twitter  – Her Blog – Facebook

Tina has a giveaway running as part of the tour. 

#FORLINEARS puzzle: Please check out the virtual blog tour and you might find some embedded fun in the imagery. (https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/absolute-darkness) In fact, I dare you. Can you find the hidden puzzles that lead to an autographed book give away? First one to figure it out wins an autographed book. __BoxOBooks_AD.jpg

Here is my section of the puzzle

016_VBB_Puzzle.gif

Follow the tour to see what other readers think, and also to collect the other pieces

__Absolute Darkness Full Banner.png

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

 

#BookReview : Chilling Tales Of The Unexpected by Ann Girdharry @GirdharryAnn @rararesources

Box Set Cover.png

 

I am delighted to be sharing “Chilling Tales Of The Unexpected” by Ann Girdharry as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for my spot on the tour and also Ann for my e-copy of the collection. You can get a copy from Amazon or see have a look at it on Goodreads

Synopsis:

Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice 
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree 
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?

My Thoughts:

This is another new to me author and based on these short stories I will definitely be looking to read read more by her.

So this is a collection of four stories and each one has an element of the unexpected, or it has a twist. They bring a range of interesting concepts that I really enjoyed and yes I did like the unexpected kick at the end of each one. Given their short nature I found them to be compelling and well thought out with a feeling of completeness to them.

I always feel that I am being to vague when reviewing short stories as the review tends to also be on the short side and I never want to give any spoilers away. So what I found within the stories was that they had a slightly sinister element or maybe better described as an element of thrill, and left me with an “ooooohhh” at the end of each one.

They cover a range of themes and each one has been well developed and even though they are short I felt they had a good amount of depth. It would be hard to pick a favourite as they are so different to each other.

I would definitely recommend these to readers who like short stories with an unexpected twist and thrill to them.

 

About the Author:

biopic2017NovGmotte.png

Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK. Her crime thriller novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, was an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist 2017. Two of her thrillers are READERS’ FAVOURITE Five Star Books.

Social Media Links – Follow Ann on – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – Bookbub

Follow the tour to see what others think:

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected Full Tour Banner.jpg

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

My Summer Reading List.

Plans for my summer reading.

As some of you may be aware I am planning on taking a break from Blog Tours over the three months of the summer as work gets crazily busy, I work in a tourist destination and this means long hours and not much time for reading. Even though this was a tough call to make it was also the best call, this way I am not letting any organisers down if I struggle to meet a schedule, also it means I am not rushing to read a book and possibly not enjoying it as much as I should.

IMG_2211.JPG

As well as working I do like to get out in my garden, mainly vegetables and some flowers, walking around beautiful Cornwall gardens, coastline and hidden away places. I always have a book with me and my camera.

Then there are my two dogs Billy and Buster, I couldn’t resist putting them in this post. They alert me to the postman/woman arriving so I can intercept (this translates as hides some of the books hehehe) the books that I have bought or been sent 🙂

IMG_2249.JPG

So I thought I would make a list of the books that are at the top of my list from my TBR, I have photo’s “woohoo” so you see my physical books and then I will mention some of the books on my kindle. I am obviously not going to be able to read all the books that I am going to list, but it will be great to look back and see how I got on.

So here they are:

IMG_2513

IMG_2514

IMG_2515

Now to those I have on my Kindle:

I have managed to buy various book series on my kindle and the vast majority are from recommendations and reviews from fellow Book Bloggers. The series I really want to read are

Angela Marsons – DI Kim Stone series. I have heard so many good things about this author and I’m really looking forward to reading this series. ( I know I will get many “about time” comments about this lol)

Barbara Copperthwaite: I was over the moon to have won a copy of “Flowers for The Dead” and it is an amazing read. I have since bought all her other books and I am desperate to read them all.

I love the covers and the sound of Bella Osbourne’s “Ottercombe Bay” series and have quite a few of these ready for the odd sunny summers day reading that I may get.

I have been collecting Karin Slaughter books and as yet have not read any, so another new to me author that I am excited to read.

I don’t know if I dare mention that I have not read any Anne Cleaves (Oh I know the shame of it), my husband loves to watch the series Vera and I must admit to following it and cannot wait to get into these and the Shetland ones.

So as you are all responsible for this rather large Kindle (1,122) and also physical books (500+) it will probably be increasing rather than decreasing, as there are some fantastic books coming out. I have a couple of questions for you…….

  1. What book/ series would you start with ?
  2. What is not on my list that should be ? ( I cannot believe I am asking this as I know I will be adding even more to my groaning TBR 🙂  )

 

Any hows, I have to go to work ( surprise, surprise) and I will catch up with you all later. Have fun and read lots

Yvonne xx

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

We Other with quote V2

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:

We Other - Sue author pic 5.jpg

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:

We Other full Banner.jpg

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

Joshua1

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:

Joshua Ngon - Anton Marks Image.jpg

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

Joshua Ngon Full Banner.jpg

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

#BookReview : Wildcat by JP Harker @JP_Harker

41z0juNBxYL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Wildcat” by JP Harker. This is available in paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK and is the first in The Caledon Saga.

Synopsis:

Rhianwyn of the Caderyn is conflicted about giving up a warrior’s life to become a wife and mother, but her love for her new husband is enough to at least make her consider it. However, with the conquering Gaians moving ever closer to her homeland a peaceful life may no longer be an option, for Rhia or for any of her people. With rival tribes, old suitors, and the dangerous General Lepidus to contend with, Rhia soon finds her new family in unprecedented danger, and her choices now must be about more than just herself… 

Wildcat takes place in a fantasy land inspired by Iron Age Britain and follows Rhianwyn’s story as she encounters a civilisation unlike any she could imagine, and is constantly forced to learn and adapt through trial after deadly trial.

My Thoughts:

Rhianwyn (Rhia) is a woman you really do not want to mess with. She, like other women, is a  warrior of the Caderyn, women fight beside the men and are just a ferocious and deadly. As with all things, nothing stays the same. Change is on the way as the Gaians gradually take over land and the people. A truce between the Calderyn and the Gaians is formed with Rhia and her sister Gwen starting a new life to keep the peace.

This is an absolute cracker of a read and the author has created a story that is heavy in elements of Iron Age Britain. The references and general feeling of the story show the authors obvious interest for the period and at times I forgot this was actually a fantasy read. When the tribes are conquered there you understand who by as the references to them of their lifestyle, training and language is apparent. The fight for power and control took me through underhand politics and battles as the story was laid out.

The plot evolves around Rhia and her life and her roles within a tribe and also as part of the conquers family. I really liked the way the author had done this as it showed a contrast between two cultures through one set of eyes. I was able to see different traditions, rituals and lifestyles while following Rhia’s journey. It shows several sides to her as a person and I loved the way she had evolved from the first meeting to years later.

The descriptive passages of the surroundings, people and their lifestyle I really enjoyed, there was plenty to build up a vivid image but without going over the top. The author has balanced it well within the story so as not to disrupt the flow of the story. It is a story that spans several years and you get to meet a great many characters especially at the beginning, but the time span allows the other characters to be gradually introduced.

Now this is a fair old lump of a book, it is 500+ pages long and I devoured it in two evenings and was thoroughly caught up in it. I liked the historical feel to it and as I mentioned before, forgot that it is a fantasy based read with a historical inspiration. It is one I would say is an Epic Fantasy rather than a series as it has a great depth of  plot and characters.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like stories with elements Historical Fiction as well as fantasy. It is a book I completely lost myself in for several hours as it took me through a few emotions, especially towards the end. A series that I will definitely be reading more of and I would highly recommend this book to other readers.

About the Author:

JP Harker is the pen-name of James Thomas, an obsessive martial artist and history fanatic. A proud Welshman with just enough Saxon in him to make things interesting, James hails from glamorous Glamorgan, Old South Wales.

You can find JP Harker on Twitter  and his Website.

 

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

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

32065020

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

A-Glimmer-Of-Hope-Blog-Tour-Poster--1024x735

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 : Night of the Taking by Scott Kaelen @ScottKaelen

30116086.jpg

I am sharing Night of the Taking by Scott Kaelen today. This is a short introduction to his series The Fractured Tapestry. You can get a copy from Amazon UK along with many of his other books.

Synopsis:

The Volami opened the walls of their shining city of Midhallow and invited the surrounding tribesfolk to venture within. Decades later, the two races dwell together inside the city, not quite as equals, and watched over by the ever-present Retainers. A treaty, offered by the tribes to the Volami, was to seal their tenuous union during a long-held ritual. But it was a ruse. The celebrations became the bloodiest treachery the Volami would ever know, and set in motion events that would echo down the ages.

Night of the Taking is a short entry tale into the world of Verragos and the Fractured Tapestry series, and also serves as an introduction to characters which are destined to return later in the series.

My Thoughts:

This is a short, 28 pages, introduction into what I feel will be an exciting, maybe even an epic fantasy series.  It has the right vibes for me, I am always a little nervous when I read a really thrilling intro to a series like this.

Midhallow is a city where the Volami have opened and welcomed outlying tribes into.  They live side by side until a night of betrayal and bloodshed.

With a short and sweet novella like this it is difficult to write a full review, but I will share what I experienced without going into the story details.  What you get in this 28 pages is a real sense of emotion following an unexpected betrayal, it displays emotion, a sense of shock and disbelief and also anger that will lead on into future books.

There is a wonderful amount of detail and I was quite surprised at how quickly I got caught up in the story.  My only regret is that I finished it and would have quite happily read for many hours more if this is any indication of what is to continue.

So if you are looking for a new fantasy series then give Night of the Taking a look, it’s dark, descriptive, atmospheric and has all the hallmarks of being the start of a wonderful journey.  I have just bought the next book in the series and look forward to reading it  soon.   I definitely recommend this book.

About the Author:

A10I64KPHSL._SY200_  Scott Kaelen writes in the genres of epic fantasy, science fiction, horror, humour, spec-fic, contemporary fiction, poetry and non-fiction. His short stories include the dystopian urban sci-fi Moses Garrett and the apocalyptic horror The Lingering Remains. His current projects include a novel entitled The Blighted City – the first major release in the epic fantasy Verragos Tapestry series – and his second collection of poetry. As well as the pen, he is also modestly adept with the pencil; his work includes character concepts and sketches of famous personalities. His interests are all things sci-fi, fantasy and horror, as well as etymology, psychology, deep Earth history, palaeontology, geology, cosmology and computer RPGs. He’s also an ex-flosculator.

You can follow Scott on Twitter  Website

Many thanks for reading my post, a share would be great.  Better still go and get a copy of this book HERE 🙂 xx