#BookReview : The Book of Dust – Volume One – La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman

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This is a book I have been looking forward to reading for a while now.  I decided it was going to be my New Years Eve read.  Phillip Pullman’s “The Book of Dust” volume #1 La Belle Sauvage, published by Penguin Random House and David Fickling Books.  It is avaialble in a variety of formats,

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s and David Fickling Books; 01 edition (19 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385604416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385604413

Synopsis:

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . .

 

My Thoughts:

It was an absolute delight to be going back to Pullman’s version of Oxford, to a time before His Dark Materials trilogy.  This book begins when Lyra and her daemon Pan are babies and how Malcolm and his daemon Astra meet Lyra and Pan for the first time.

Beginning in Oxford; we meet Malcolm and Astra, he is the son of The Trout Inn owners.  He helps out there and also at the nearby priory of Godstow doing odd jobs and chores for the nuns.  It is also when the authorities start to show themselves. There are several secret organisations that have their own motives and Malcolm is soon caught up in the middle of them.  A surprising the change in the weather leads to some dangerous and surprising twists that will take us on a journey down the Thames.

This is a book that I was eager to read and I wasn’t disappointed.  It was one of those books I knew I was going to love even before I started it.  It starts slowly as the story is set and the various backstories and introductions to the characters are made, then it gradually speeds up as the plot is unravelled and unveiled.  The characters are a real mixed bag of the good, bad and ugly, new characters mingled in with some old ones and the villains are indeed villainous.  Pullman has retained the air of mystery around the intentions of characters, you never know who is to be truly trusted and I love this aspect. The plot has, as you would expect, been very well-developed and has a good amount of twists that I am sure will continue into the next book and beyond.

So did this book live up to my prior expectations? Hell yes and then some, it is Phillip Pullman, it is part of Lyra’s story so what is not to love.  Now comes the agonising wait for the next book 😦

If you have read His Dark Materials you will love this book.  It is a highly recommended read from me xx

I have a hardback copy of this book, I always take off the dust jacket when I read one so I don’t damage it.  Look was hidden underneath it

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About the Author:

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Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particular. From the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. It was a time when children were allowed to roam anywhere, to play in the streets, to wander over the hills, and he took full advantage of it. His English teacher, Miss Enid Jones, was a big influence on him, and he still sends her copies of his books.

After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer. He taught courses on the Victorian novel and on the folk tale, and also a course examining how words and pictures fit together. He eventually left teaching in order to write full-time.

His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke. He is best known for the award winning His Dark Materials series, consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it please give it a share, also go and buy yourself a copy of this fabulous book 🙂 xx

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#BookReview : The Devils Lieutenant by @ShervinJamali

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“The Devil’s Lieutenant” by Shervin Jamali is a self published novella that is available in paperback and eBook format.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (20 May 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1539549682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1539549680

Synopsis:

In the blink of an eye, Michael loses his family. As his life spirals out of control with grief, he is presented with the possibility that their souls might be trapped in Hell. Thus begins an unimaginable and nightmarish journey to rescue his family from the depths of Hell, with the Devil as the puppet master pulling his strings. Warning: Graphic violence and profanity included.

My Thoughts:

This is a very quick paced novella with a lot of action.  When Michael loses his family he is at the lowest point.  He is given a chance to save his family from hell and a life of damnation, he obviously is going to agree to this.  But this is the Devil he is dealing with, so there is going to be a catch, or two!

This does have some language and also some scenes that may cause offence.  I will say that these scenes are quickly summarised so you get an impression of what the author has in mind. The chapters are very quick and flit over several years, but are quite easy to follow.  The cast that join Michael and the Devil are given a quick introduction and a brief history, but that is all that is needed.

This book takes a good look at good, evil, second chances, choices and reactions.  I really enjoyed the surprising twists, especially the one at the end.

This novella was an enjoyable read and I think would suit reader of fantasy based crime, action, thriller books.  A good fast paced, well laid out and a good plot.

* I recieved from the author for an honest review.  My thoughts expressed are my own. *

 

About the Author:

15272210I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until recently that it just seemed to click. I’ve had stories locked away, but suddenly, and unexpectedly, they now need to get out. I completed the first draft of “The Devil’s Lieutenant” in just two months, and that was as a result of writing when I had the opportunity to do so. My 8-5 job and family still came first. I look forward to the day when I can be a full time writer who can take my children to school, pick them up and chauffeur them to various activities, with a healthy dose of writing in between.

Follow Shervin on Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website

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#BookReview : The Truants by Lee Markham

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“The Truants” by Lee Markham is available in paperback, hardback and eBook, published by Duckworth OverLook.

Synopsis:

In a fresh twist on the traditional vampire narrative, The Truants is a startling, noirish tale of immortality, bloodlust and rage.

Following his lover’s suicide, the last of the ‘old-ones’– ancient immortal beings as clever as they are ruthless, and unable to withstand the light of the sun – has had enough of this world gone to ruin and decides to end his existence. Yet as he waits for the burning dawn on a bench near a council estate, he is held up at knifepoint by a youth and stabbed. While the old-one’s body turns to ash as the sun rises, his assailant scurries back into the estate’s feral underbelly with the knife in his pocket. The old-one’s blood is still seared into its sharpened blade, and as the knife does its menacing rounds his consciousness is awakened in the city’s children from the depths of the afterlife. Determined to die, he must find and destroy the knife to regain control of his soul. But someone is out to stop him…

A sharp and powerful new voice, Lee Markham has written an intelligent, visceral novel which uncovers the fragility and hopelessness of Britain’s social underclass – and the horror of their everyday lives.

My Thoughts:

The “Old One” is the last of an ancient immortal race, he is centuries old and is awaiting death with the rise of the sun.  Following in the footsteps of his lover, who has already taken this route.  But things go awry when he is stabbed, his blood carried like a plague ready to infect others in the inner city estates.  When his blood infects another, his consciousness is transferred across to it’s new host.

Now this is a hard to read at times book, there are mentions of cruelty to a dog and neglect of a child, be warned!  This story has a “hive” aspect to it, with a controlling leader over it’s workers, but it then delves a lot further than that.  As the consciousness awakens, it takes in the the way some people live their lives in a poverty, drink and drug ridden section of society.  The vampire aspect of this story is actually a “Trojan Horse” concealing a much darker, grim and depraved story.  It explores the filth, stench and grim ridden slums and the desperate people who inhabit them. Now this is bleak reading, but I found also quite addictive and compelling as there is a hint of hope.

The story is told from several perspectives, giving a “both sides of the fence” viewpoint, as well as giving first hand accounts of those living in the estates and the how they struggle to live.  This also has mentions of riots and I was reminded of the London Riots, and the child neglect, again putting me in mind of the case that was in the news headlines regarding Baby P a few years ago.

When I started this book I thought i was going to race through it, but that really was not the case, and it was not what I was expecting, I took my time over it.  I am annoyed that it has been sat on my shelf since I bought it back in May and it has taken me until now (December) to read it.

Now this is a little difficult to recommend to readers, I liked a hell of a lot, but I am also aware that there are things that will not sit right with some readers, and this I get.  Yes it has a horror / fantasy factor to it.  But also an Dark Urban Fiction ( if there is such a thing), but it is very dark, real, gritty and truthful about what happens in the world, just look at the news, (not the vampire bit though) !

About the Author:

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Lee Markham is author of the acclaimed novel The Truants, published by Duckworth Overlook. Inspired by the murders of Baby P, Jamie Bulger and Damilola Taylor, and by the London riots during the summer of 2011, The Truants is a visceral, intelligent, gripping novel which uncovers the fragility and hopelessness of Britain’s social underclass – and the horror of their everyday lives.

With a background in branding and marketing, Lee also writes copy and develops content and narrative architecture for agencies and businesses across all sectors. With an instinctive knowledge for what needs saying and – equally importantly – what can be left unsaid, he is happy to work either as a lone wolf, or to integrate into creative teams to build compelling stories that can be told across campaigns, media and platforms.

Lee is also founder and storyteller-in-chief of Chestnut Tree Tales. Chestnut Tree Tales is a captivating series of children’s stories that generates awareness and revenue for the children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House. The first Chestnut Tree Tale, The Rainbow Snowstorm, is available now, with the next tale, The Flappity Happening, coming soon.

More recently Lee has also started working with schools on a term-long programme that allows Lower School age children to develop and launch their own children’s storybooks. The first book in this project is called The Way Through Gildredge Wood and was created with the Lower School children of Gildredge House School in Eastbourne.

 

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Duckworth Overlook (20 April 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715651765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715651766
  • Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked give a share.  Better still go buy a copy of this book xx

#BookReview : #Melokai by @RosalynKAuthor

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Today I am delighted to be sharing “Melokai : In the Heart of the Mountain”, Book One by Rosalyn Kelly. It is available as an eBook, but I would suggest spending the extra on the paperback version.  I was sent an eARC of this book from the author for my consideration.  My views expressed here are my own and are unbiased.

Book Details:

Synopsis:

She thinks it’s the end, but it’s just the beginning.

“Trouble will come from the east. A wolf will claim the throne.”

Legendary warrior Ramya has successfully reigned over Peqkya as Melokai for twelve years. Prosperous, peaceful, and happy, her people love her… or so she thinks.

But Ramya’s time is up. Bracing herself for the gruesome sentence imposed on all Melokais who have served their purpose, she hears instead a shocking prophecy.

Is the sudden appearance of a mysterious cave creature from the east the trouble the prophecy speaks of? Or is the threat something darker, more evil? And what of the wolves… does the ferocious war with their kind mark the end for Peqkya?

Before Ramya can answer, she and her fearless warriors must first crush a catastrophic rebellion that threatens to destroy her and devastate her beloved nation.

My Thoughts:

This books starts with action from the outset and does not let up.  Melokai Ramya is told that “A wolf will claim the throne”, her throne no less.  The story that follows introduces several other races of people and their interactions with each other. Some of the races have trade agreements and tentative alliances that seem on the face of it, to work.  There is however an underlying discord, one that will threaten the fragile peace of all the races.

This is a great read.  Rosalyn has created a world that has vivid descriptions of not only the people but also the landscape.  Each race has its own distinctive physical characteristic, this compliments the land they live in, each land is also unique to each race.  Within the races there are factions that are unhappy and strange alliances are formed, they want change to those in power and also to the restraints that are placed on them.

I am always a little hesitant when I read fantasy books like this.  I spent a lot of time a few years ago, reading many books of this genre, some were great but I also found quite a few were lacking.  I am happy to say that Melokai falls into the first, it really was a great read.  It has a lot of attention to detail, not only has Rosalyn described the details of each race and their corresponding landscape, she has done it so I can visualise them.  For me this is an important feature especially in a fantasy book. The character list is very large, and this is why I suggest buying the paperback rather than the eBook version as there is a great list of people and places, as well as a map.

The story has been written in such a way that you are gradually introduced to the various races, it has been done that it makes sense and gives a great flow to the story.  This is all wrapped around a plot that is in essence a power struggle, but it has a real sense of depth.  There are many elements in this book that make for really interesting, intriguing and addictive reading.  This is the first book in a series, with the second due next year (2018), I for one am really going to be keeping my eye out for this.

This is a book is one I would highly recommend to readers of Epic Fantasy, with lots of different other elements.  It is a well paced book, very well written and a fantastic read.  I would like to thank Rosalyn Kelly for sending me a copy of this book.

About the Author:

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Rosalyn Kelly grew up in the magical New Forest ​in the south of England and has lived around the country ​as well as in the Middle East, and travelled all over the world.

She studied English Literature and Language at Oxford Brookes University before embarking on a PR and marketing career.

After ten years telling the stories of international brands and businesses, she decided the time had come to tell her own and her debut novel MELOKAI was written in 2016 after quitting her job, going travelling for four months and then writing solidly for the following four.

The inspiration for her epic fantasy trilogy came when she was trekking in the mountains of Nepal’s stunning Annapurna Sanctuary.

When she’s not putting her heart and soul into book two of the In the Heart of the Mountains trilogy, she daydreams about where to travel to next, paints with acrylic, reads voraciously and writes book reviews on her blog.

Follow the author on Twitter or on her Website
Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give a share.  Better still, go and buy this book.

November Book Round up. Blog tours, blitz’s & reviews on Me and My Books.

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This month has been a very busy reading month for me.  With a whole range of different genres, authors and publishers. With 25 books read and a guest post as I was unable to read a further book in time, I can say it has been my most busiest month as far as reading goes ever.

So to start with the Blog Tours, I was involved in.

Absolution by P.A.Davies | Scream Blue Murder by Tony. J, Forder | Dark Chapter by Winnie. M Li  |  The Mercury Travel Club by Helen Bridgett  | Illusion by Stephanie Elmas  |  Into The Valley by Chris Clement-Green  |

There were a number of different Blog Blitz tours as well. 

Wormwood by Larry Enmon  | The Dead Whisper by Emma Clapperton  | Secrets & Fries at The Starlight Dinner by Helen Cox |  Christmas at The Little Knitting Box by Helen. J. Rolfe  | The Big Event by Anne John-Ligali

Books sent to me for my thoughts on them, or that I offered to read.

Dinner At The Happy Skeleton by Chris Chalmers  | The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw   | Living in Italy, The Real Deal by Stef Smulders  | Hit The Road, Jac! by Jacqui Furneaux    |  Sweet Maple by Michelle Visser

NetGalley gave me a chance to start to read books aimed at children, as well as for my usual genres.

Mr Campions Abdication by Mike Ripley  | The Price of Silence by Delores Gordon-Smith  | Three Days a Life by Pierre Lemaitre  | Hortense and the Shadow by O’Hara Sisters  | The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday

Finally a few books from my TBR Pile.

Bone by Yrsa Daley Ward   |The LimeHouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd | Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek by Anthony O’Neill
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Finally I received the most amazing Guest Post from Peter Bartram.  Author of “Crampton of The Chronicle” mystery series.  I have rad some of his books in the past, but I just could not squeeze another book into my reading schedule. His post about Ruth Ellis, who was the last woman to be hung in England, has a link into his new book. GuestPost by Peter Bartram.

 

 

 

 

A big ” Thank You” to everyone who has shared, tweeted and commented over the month.  As well as a huge “Thank You” to the authors, tour organiser and publishers.

If you liked this post, or any of the other links to my posts, please give them a like or a share.  Or better still, go and buy the book 🙂

#BlogTour : Illusion by @StephanieElmas with @EndeavourPress #BookReview

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“Illusion” by Stephanie Elmas is available as a paperback and also eBook.  Published by Endeavour Press.

Synopsis:

London, 1873.

Returning home from his travels with a stowaway named Kayan, Walter Balanchine is noted for the charms, potions and locket hanging from his neck.

Finding his friend Tom Winter’s mother unwell, he gives her a potion he learned to brew in the Far East. Lucid and free from pain, the old woman remembers something about Walter’s mother.

Walter is intrigued, for he has never known his family or even his own name – he christened himself upon leaving the workhouse.

Living in a cemetery with his pet panther Sinbad to keep the body snatchers away, word soon spreads of his healing and magical abilities and he becomes a sought after party performer.

During one of Walter’s parties, Tom is approached by Tamara Huntington, who reveals she is being forced to marry a man she does not love.

Will he and Walter come to her rescue?

Try as they might, sometimes all the best intentions in the world can’t put a stop to a bad thing, and she is soon married off to the cruel Cecil Hearst.

Drama and tragedy ensue, and Walter keeps his distance from Tamara.

That is until her stricken brother-in-law Daniel requires his magical healing, and he is forced back into her life.

With secrets beginning to emerge, Walter finds his mother may be a lot closer to home than he realised…

Filled with mystery, magic and larger than life characters, Illusion will keep you guessing until the very last page. 

My Thoughts:

Set in London 1873 with Tom Winter as he catches up with old friend Walter Balanchine and his stowaway Kayan.  Walter has been away travelling in The East learning healing and magic.  Walter is asked to perform magic at a birthday party and that is where Tom first sets eyes on Tamara.  She is there with her mother and a man presumed to be her father, but is actually Cecil Hearst, her soon to be husband.  As the story progresses a picture is built up that delves into the lives and histories of the main cast of characters, a world of mystery, suspense and intrigue.

The characters of this story cover a good array of different traits, personalities and social backgrounds, rich, poor, feeble, heroic, manipulative and downright loathsome and evil.  You will soon work out which character fits with which trait, who you will want to cheer on and who you will despise.  Each has a very memorable personality making them easy to remember as the plot is explored.  The plot itself is deeply twisted with an air of tension and suspense, taking the reader through many subplots.  The story expresses the atmosphere of the era very well with some wonderful descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells.

I would recommend this book to readers of period fiction, mystery,that oozes atmosphere, suspense, mystery and intrigue.

About the Author:

Stephanie ElmasStephanie Elmas was born in Hong Kong to an English father and Czech mother but spent most of her childhood in Bristol, England UK. She studied English at university in London. She has worked as a head hunter, taught English in Japan and returned to university to complete a Masters in Victorian fiction. It was here that she developed her interest in the dark dangerous world of Victorian sensation writing. Stephanie now lives in a chaotic house in Surrey, England UK, with her husband and three highly energetic but wonderful children.

Author Links: Website  Twitter

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (2 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1549655175
  • ISBN-13: 978-1549655173
  • Amazon UK

Links for Endeavour

Website: www.endeavourpress.com

Twitter: @EndeavourPress

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourPress/

Instagram: @endeavour_press

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Better still, go and buy the book.

#BookReview : Magnus and the Jewelled Book of the Universe : pub @matadorbooks : @NetGalley : #ChristmasBooksforChildren

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“Magnus and the Jewelled Book of the Universe” by S.L.Browne is available now in eBook and in paperback.  Published by Matador / Troubador Publishing

This is a children’s book recommended for ages 7-9 years.  A science fiction and fantasy read.  This is a book I read for as part of my idea for the books children would like for Christmas.

Synopsis:

In S. L. Browne’s debut children’s book, a small boy called Magnus is whisked away from a dying overheated Earth by his mentor Marlo, only to discover that he belongs to a tribe of aliens known as the Guardians of the Universe living in a different dimension. Marlo, a very ancient and disgruntled wizard, has failed to stop the evil Murdamond from destroying Earth through his unquenchable desire for shiny and beautiful things.

When Magnus arrives on his home planet, he finds that humans have not yet evolved and that dinosaurs still exist. Marlo tells Magnus that he fears that Murdamond will try to move to this new, healthy planet to steal all of its treasures now that he has ruined the old Earth. Upon their arrival in the Deruweld village, they discover that Murdamond has already arrived and he is holding Magnus’ parents hostage in the dungeon of his brand new castle.

Magnus realises he has been tasked with a dangerous and urgent problem to solve. He has to save his home planet, rescue his parents and save the Universe from the ghastly Murdamond and his henchmen. He must use all his wisdom and powers, along with his dinosaur friends and the strange Jewelled Book of the Universe that decides life would be more interesting if it transformed into a girl, in order to defeat Murdamond before it is too late.

Magnus and the Jewelled Book of the Universe is the first book in a fantasy trilogy that takes inspiration from Roald Dahl and Dick King Smith. The book contains dinosaurs, space travel and time travel in a humorous and magical story that will appeal to young readers aged 7-9 years. S. L. Browne’s debut book also contains an important message about climate change.

My Thoughts:

This is an interesting book with some diverse themes running through it.  Magnus is shown how he can travel to alternate universes, though tornado’s with ancient monolith as a portal and the magic book being the key.  On arrival at this other world, he is told to expect a simpler lifestyle where greed and money do not exist, but dinosaurs do!  While here he discovers more about himself and his other abilities.

This is a mish-mash of things, a mix of The Wizard of Oz and a twist of Roald Dahl.  The book looks at the way humans treat the earth, exploring the effects of money, power and greed.  But even in this other world setting there are traces of these and they are getting stronger.  It does sound as if it would be quite heavy reading when the topics include climate change, extinction of animals and power struggles, but it has been done in a basic way, not to simple though. I felt it was a good book to introduce these themes and wrap them around a suitable story.

As I read this, I kept thinking back to the books I read as a child.  Would I like this one ? Yes, actually I think I would have enjoyed it.  My one criticism is that this story did finish a little too abruptly, I didn’t feel that it was finished properly. I am aware of it being part of a series and in my copy, there was a preview of the next book, but it was just a little sudden.

I think this book would appeal to readers of the indicated 7-9 year age range.  An interesting story with a very important message, but done in a very accessible and not over the top sort of way.

I would like to express my thanks to NetGalley and Matador for my copy of this eARC.  I requested it and my views expressed here are my own and are unbiased.

Book Details:

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#MyBookWeek : What I have reviewed this Week : on “Me and My Books” @yvonnembee

 

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This week has been an interesting mixed bunch.  From the heartbreaking, fun, quirky and mysterious, covering Victorian England to Europe and America with a space trip.  These books are from a variety of sources.  Direct from the author, NetGalley eARC, blog tour ARC’s and one I had bought.


“The Things We Learn When We’re Dead” by Charlie Laidlaw. 

The things we learn COVER FINAL  Synopsis: On the way home from a dinner party she didn’t want to attend, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident. Or does God have a higher purpose after all? At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that she needs to find a way home…

 I was fortunate to be sent this book by the author.  It is available from Amazon UK  Amazon US  see my thoughts HERE


“The Winter’s Child” by Cassandra Parkin.

winters child Blog Tour Banner jpeg  Synopsis: Five years ago, Susannah Harper’s son Joel went missing without trace. Bereft of her son and then of her husband, Susannah tries to accept that she may never know for certain what has happened to her lost loved ones. She has rebuilt her life around a simple selfless mission: to help others who, like her, must learn to live without hope.

But then, on the last night of Hull Fair, a fortune-teller makes an eerie prediction. She tells her that this Christmas Eve, Joel will finally come back to her.

As her carefully-constructed life begins to unravel, Susannah is drawn into a world of psychics and charlatans, half-truths and hauntings, friendships and betrayals, forcing her to confront the buried truths of her family’s past, where nothing and no one are quite as they seem.

A ghostly winter read with a modern gothic flavour. A tale of twisted love, family secrets and hauntings.

I took part in the blog tour promotion for this book. It is available from Amazon UK  and you can see my thoughts on this book HERE.


“Absolution” by P.A Davies.

Absolution - P.A. Davies - Book Cover  Synopsis: When the Militia entered the peaceful village of Nyanyar Ngun, South Sudan in 1992 – amidst the backdrop of a bitter civil war – it wasn’t in peace.

Soldiers of the SFL committed untold atrocities in that small farming village, before finally razing it to the ground. From a line of terrified children, boys were chosen to become recruits of the Militia, whilst girls were taken for selling within a market of odious buyers. Those who weren’t selected were either left to perish or murdered where they stood.

In a field of high maize next to the village, sixteen-year old Jada lay hidden and afraid, witnessing the merciless slaughter of his parents and the capture of his sister Kiden; powerless to stop it, too frightened to try.

But now – tortured by grief, consumed with shame and driven by guilt – Jada must embark on a long & arduous journey to rescue his sister from a sinister world and earn his absolution…or die trying!

Another blog tour promotion I took part in.  The book is available from Amazon UK and my thoughts HERE.


 

Dinner at The Happy Skeleton by Chris Chalmers.

cover  Synopsis: Dan is the kind of gay man for whom the Noughties might have been named. Warm, witty and serially promiscuous, his heart melts at the sight of a chocolate brown Labrador – but with men, it’s a different matter. He’s thirty-nine and as single as ever, not counting the couple he just met online. An arrangement that looks oddly like it’s going somewhere until Dan gets fired from his job in advertising. With time out from his career and a payoff in his pocket, the summer presents a world of possibilities; just as the memories surface of the ex he blames for the thinly-veiled chaos of his life.

From London to Ljubljana, a yen for closure sets Dan on the trail of the man who fed his ego into a shredder. Through an eerie encounter at the home of the Olympiad and a sleepover at the Dutch Embassy, run-ins with a fading porn star and the celestial manifestation of Margaret Thatcher, he ultimately confronts his past. Until, with his Big Four-Oh rapidly approaching, destiny beckons from where he least expects it.

I was fortunate to be sent this book by the author. I was able to post my review on publication day for this book.  Available from Amazon UK see my thoughts HERE.


“Wormwood” by Larry Enmon.   

Larry-Enmon---Wormwood_cover_high-res  Synopsis: In Dallas, Texas, Katrina Wallace goes missing. As the mayor’s daughter, her kidnapping triggers mounting political pressure and forces the Chief of Police to put two senior detectives on the case. Rob Soliz and Frank Pierce have done the impossible in the past, but their methods are unconventional.

The only evidence at the scene is a Bible found in the girl’s car and soon Frank and Rob find themselves involved in a disturbing investigation shrouded by Bible prophecy, doomsday cults, and murder.

Is Katrina still alive? And what exactly is Wormwood?

As the trail leads them into the woods of rural East Texas, Frank must deal with his lingering religious doubts and solve the case. His worst fears will be realised when he must discover the ugly truth about Wormwood. But he and Rob will have to get out alive to tell the story…

Another blog tour promotion book.  It is available from  Amazon UK Amazon US and my thoughts are HERE.


“The Price of Silence” by Delores Gordon-Smith.

34758406  Synopsis: A thrilling World War One spy story from the author of the acclaimed Jack Haldean series.

Working for the British Government as a secret agent, Anthony Brooke wants to expose the people responsible for blackmailing innocent people and gruesome murders. But when the gang plots a kidnap, Anthony finds himself in the race to reach the little girl before they do. However, Milly will not be easy to retrieve, for she is in a Belgian convent, in German-occupied territory.

To rescue her, Anthony must go behind enemy lines, crawl under the wire, face ruthless German guards and break into a convent. But, even if he can save her, what possible use could an orphan girl be to a violent gang? Anthony must find out soon, as countless more lives than just the little girl’s are in danger…

This was an eARC from Severn House Publishing via NetGalley.  It is available from Amazon UK Amazon US and my thoughts are HERE.


“Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek” by Anthony O’Neill 

36175083  Synopsis: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Continues…

Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr Henry Jekyll. Only Mr Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor – because Jekyll was Hyde. But as the man goes about charming Jekyll’s friends and reclaiming his estate, and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life … and questioning his own sanity.

This brilliantly imagined and beautifully written sequel to one of literature’s greatest masterpieces perfectly complements the original work. And where the original was concerned with the duality of man, this sequel deals with the possibility of identity theft of the most audacious kind. Can it really be that this man who looks and acts so precisely like Dr Henry Jekyll is an imposter?

This is a book I purchased for a Facebook group called A Love of Books “Book Night Read”. Available to buy from Amazon UK Amazon US and my thoughts are HERE.


 

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#BookReview | BLACKWING by ED McDONALD

Blackwing (Ravens' Mark #1)
MY THOUGHTS:
This was a difficult book for me to rate, there is a huge amount of detail and also a lot of things I liked about it, but then some things that left me frustrated.  The characters on the whole were well described, my initial thoughts on the main protagonist and narrator, Galharrow, was that he was arrogant and pompous, but as the story unfolded and more was discovered my opinion changed, thinking him to be tenacious and steadfast.  The other human characters were equally hard and rugged due to the post-apocalyptic style of the setting, living on the edge of the Misery, a  desolate wasteland inhabited by a number of strange and terrifying creatures, sorcerers, wizards and god-like beings.   These creatures I found to be less well described and at times slightly confusing.  When the main defence system goes down. it is responsible for keeping the things that live in the Misery staying in there, it is then up Galharrow and his band of men / mercenaries to help try to save the city.
On the whole I enjoyed this book, but the erratic pace of it and not fully understanding some of the aspects took the edge of it for me, also the lack of description for the creatures in the Misery.  On the plus side the magic, action and human characters were well described.
I think this would appeal to readers of YA Fantasy and Adult Fantasy genres, with a little bit of a horror steam punk feel to it.  Also made me think a little of Frank Herbert and Dune.
I will be keeping my eye out for Book 2 as there were things I enjoyed.
I wish to express my thanks to Netgalley, Orion Publishing Group and Gollancz for allowing me a copy of this book for my honest and unbiased review.

SYNOPSIS:

Set on the ragged edge of a postapocalyptic frontier, Blackwing is a gritty fantasy debut about a man’s desperate battle to survive his own dark destiny…

Nothing in the Misery lasts…

Under a cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, created when the Engine, the most powerful weapon in the world, was unleashed against the immortal Deep Kings. Across the wasteland, teeming with corrupted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies are still watching—and still waiting.

Ryhalt Galharrow is no stranger to the Misery. The bounty hunter journeys to a remote outpost, armed for killing both men and monsters, and searching for a mysterious noblewoman. He finds himself in the middle of a shocking attack by the Deep Kings, one that should not be possible. Only a fearsome show of power from the very woman he is seeking saves him.

Once, long ago, he knew the woman well, and together they stumble onto a web of conspiracy that threatens to unmake everything they hold dear and end the fragile peace the Engine has provided. Galharrow is not ready for the truth about the blood he’s spilled and the gods he’s supposed to serve…

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 960 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (27 July 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English

AMAZON LINK

 

MANY THANKS FOR READING MY POST

#BookReview | Oblivion’s Forge by @SWilliamsAuthor

Oblivion's Forge
I would like to say a big “Thank You” to Simon for bringing this book to my attention, for my honest and unbiased review.
This is the first book of Aona Series of, if the initial book is anything to go by, then I cannot wait to read the rest.
MY THOUGHTS:
This is a wonderfully written first book in a series of five.  The detail contained is huge and is a book you will want to savour and not race through.  There is a vast array of well described and developed characters , with the setting as engrossing as the characters themselves and their stories.  As I was reading this I felt myself thinking that there was a strain of Tolkien in the background.
It has an amazingly intricate and complex Good ‘v’ Evil storyline to it. To give a full review without giving away some of the plot is very difficult as it is so tightly entwined.  There are some great characters, I really liked the diversity and memorable nature of those such as Vornen, Jaana, Iyoth, Lyya and Amethyst to name a few.
If in a story you love and relish grim, gripping, addictive sorcery, portals, assassins, mysterious foul and unwholesome beings, shadows and this is only scratching the surface, then you will really want to read this.
I would highly recommend this book to readers of Dark Fantasy.  I look forward to reading the rest of this series in the future.
BOOK SYNOPSIS:
For thousands of years they have sought the world from which they were cast out. Now, at last, Aona has been found. The younger races of this world will all be swept up in a struggle for survival, as their ancient, malevolent masters, guardians of all Aona’s secrets, rise to do battle with their foes, remorseless destroyers of world after world throughout the known Existence.
BOOK DETAILS:
Paperback, 346 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Completelynovel.com
ISBN 1849141754 (ISBN13: 9781849141758)
Edition Language English
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Simon Williams is an author of dark fantasy with elements of science fiction and horror, and a rather shapeless male of indeterminate age who seems intent on writing about himself in the third person.

If you’re especially lucky you may see him half-shambling, half-rolling along the street in his home town of Trumpton. You’ll catch the best view from the other side of the road, which is probably where you’ll be anyway. Small children will point excitedly and turn to their parents to exclaim, “It must have been *one hell of a* spade to do that!”

He is the author of the Aona series (five books in all, and the series is complete) and Summer’s Dark Waters, which is a fantasy / sci-fi adventure aimed more at children and teens although judging by the reviews a lot of adults seem to like it too.