#Tuesdaybookblog The Sentinel’s Reign Pre-order now and call of help #indieauthor #fantasy

The Sentinel’s Reign is due out on 29th June 2018, but you can pre-order your copy here. It is book 2 in the heroic fantasy series Silent Sea Chronicles.

The Sentinel's Reign ebook complete

At present I don’t have plans to run a blog tour, but I would love as many bloggers as possible to post about The Sentinel’s Reign before, during and after its release. Please get in touch and I can send you the promotional bits beforehand.

I am also looking to send out ARC copies if anyone would like to review Book 2 in the series (books should be read in order, but please get in touch to discuss).

My last request for help is that I am tweaking the blurb, so I would love your help to make this really appealing to new readers.

Blurb

The new Sentinel’s reign is doomed to failure unless Tei can prevent the Kalayan people from plunging into war.

With the new Sentinel initiated and the magic restored on Kalaya, the future is thriving for Tei and the exiles. But Rathnor’s plans for war soon escalate and thwart any chance of a peaceful life.

Brogan’s position on the Assembly becomes tenuous as rumours circulate that he is an exile spy.

Farrell is recovering from an attempt on his life and is more determined than ever for his people to build a home on Stone Haven. But the council have their sights set on Kalaya and Farrell struggles to steer them away from the temptation of war.

As trouble festers within and outside forces gather against them, can the exiles keep their hold on the magic, or will this spell the end of Kalaya and its people?

The Sentinel’s Reign is a heroic fantasy. If you like character-driven adventures then you will love The Sentinel’s Reign.

This is the second book in the Silent Sea Chronicles and should be read in order.

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Thank you for your help. I will be running a belated paperback and e-book giveaway for Book 1 – The Lost Sentinel in the next few days so keep an eye out for news of that.

 

#tuesdaybookblog #Bookreview The Sand Scuttler by Rosalyn Kelly #fantasy

Today I am excited to share my review of The Sand Scuttler, which has just gone on sale today. I received a ARC copy from the author ahead of its publication (1st May 2018).

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The Blurb

Ripped from her mother’s arms and forced into slavery, the beautiful Jakira is soon sold. Destined to become her new master’s bed slave when she matures, she’s put to work in the kitchen.

But whilst Jakira is being branded, she discovers she can tame fire.

Determined to gain her freedom and find her mother before Jakira comes of age, she uses her magic to ask the bloodthirsty God for a miracle.

When this fails, a desperate Jakira goes in search of a mysterious creature, the last of its kind, who lives deep in the vast desert. Known as the Sand Scuttler, it can bestow great power on the one it deems worthy.

For centuries it hasn’t met that one, until now.

Set in the same ruthless world as the grimdark, epic fantasy novel Melokai (In the Heart of the Mountains #1) and twenty years before, The Sand Scuttler tells of the early life of Ammad’s mother Jakira.

This adult fantasy novella can be read as a standalone story, no prior knowledge of Melokai is required.
 
My Review
First of all I was drawn to this book by the cover. It feels to me as if Jakira is inviting you to read her story.
I’d heard of Melokai (book 1 in the series) and had it on my TBR list, but when the author called for advance reviewers in her newsletter I jumped at the chance to start with this novella.
From the start you are thrust into a vividly different world with a young girl ripped away from her family when her father sells her and her mother to pay off his gambling debts. In this one act, you realise how cheap life is for these people and that Jakira is not going to have an easy time.
The story of Jakira’s life in slavery draws you along and I found myself desperately turning / flicking the pages on the kindle to see what happens next.
The desert setting is very different to the fantasy I’m used to and is populated with a race of people who have humps on their backs – the richer the people, the smaller the humps as they live closer to the precious water source. I found this concept strange at first, but it’s well imagined and the history of the people is described within the story so there is no need for info dumps.
I really liked Jakira. Her determination to get free of slavery and save her mother made you will her to succeed. When she discovers her ability to withstand any fire, she starts to plan her escape with single-mindedness.
The supporting cast is well drawn including her disgusting master and the disfigured cook who befriends her. The Sand Scuttler is a mysterious and tricky beast, and is one I wouldn’t want to mess with.
I really did not want this book to end. As soon as I finished, I bought Melokai. I can’t wait to see what adventures will befall Jakira’s daughter.
You can pick up your copy of The Sand Scuttler on Amazon UK  Amazon US.

#Tuesdaybookblog Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford #bookreview

My Mini Review

Time Travelling with a Hamster is just as good as the title suggests. It’s fun, action packed and comes highly recommended by my 11-year-old daughter!

Time travel is something I’ve always struggled to get my head around – the flaws in any possible method and the repercussions of what you change in the past altering the future. This book deals with all aspects of time travel perfectly. Despite being aimed at the middle-grade audience, anyone can enjoy the book and I recommend it with almost as much enthusiasm as my daughter.

Al is a great protagonist, one I’m sure all children will be able to relate to. He does act rash, speak without thinking and get himself in difficult situations, but he learns from his mistakes and becomes a better person for them. Another standout character in the book is Al’s Grandfather, Byron.

The book deals with serious issues like loss and the difficulties encountered with a new step family. These issues are well handled, but I did not like the idea of a twelve-year-old sneaking out the house at midnight and stealing a moped etc. Still, if taken in fun, this is a true adventure story and I’m sure every child will enjoy it.

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I love the teaser line ‘My dad died twice. But only the second time was my fault.’ Who could resist reading on to find out more.

I rated this book 4.5 stars.

My daughter gave it a whole-hearted 5 stars. She asked me what could have been done differently to warrant 5 stars from me. I’m not really sure, I suppose it’s the little niggles as a parent that have held me back. Maybe you should read the book and let me know what you think.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads

“My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine and again four years later when he was twelve. The first time had nothing to do with me. The second time definitely did, but I would never even have been there if it hadn’t been for his ‘time machine’…”

When Al Chaudhury discovers his late dad’s time machine, he finds that going back to the 1980s requires daring and imagination. It also requires lies, theft, burglary, and setting his school on fire. All without losing his pet hamster, Alan Shearer…

Goodreads book link

#Bookreview 111 Tips to get FREE Book Reviews by Doris-Maria Heilmann

My review of 111 Tips to get FREE book reviews

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The Blurb

111 Tips to Get FREE Book Reviews provides authors with more than 1,200 direct links to book bloggers and reviewers – clickable links to each website! This valuable guide book by Doris-Maria Heilmann provides authors on almost 200 pages with all aspects of finding, following, and networking with reviewers and influential bloggers. Many important steps, such as researching 111 Tips to Get FREE Book Reviews provides authors with more than 1,200 direct links to book bloggers and reviewers – clickable links to each website! This valuable guide book by Doris-Maria Heilmann provides authors on almost 200 pages with all aspects of finding, following, and networking with reviewers and influential bloggers. Many important steps, such as researching which genre book reviewers prefer and how to connect with them, or how to get media reviews will help you successfully market your books. How to prepare professional ARC’s (advance review copies) in order to get reviews before your book’s launch, is described in detail. Dozens of other valuable insider information, such as how to get endorsements for a nonfiction book, how to leverage your reviews, how to deal with negative book reviews, why join reader communities and plan book blog tours – including tips from bestselling authors and the publishing industry will help you to get lots of free book reviews. Goodreads book link

My Review

Today I would like to share my review of a very helpful book by Doris-Maria Heilmann. First of all I would like to warn you that this book is big and time-consuming – in a good way!

It has well over 1000 clickable links to book reviewer websites and it is strangely addictive clicking through to find reviewers that might be interested in your book / genre. As this was published in 2016 not all the sites are active, and some are closed to new review requests. But still it is a brilliant resource if you have the time to wade through every link.

There are also links to audiobook reviewers and non-fiction reviewers.

Scattered through the pages of links are plenty of informative articles. This format works very well. Here is a list of a few of the helpful subjects covered; Importance of the last pages, virtual blog tours, planning your pitch to bloggers, ARC’s, paid reviews, editorial reviews, and many more.

One criticism – The book could do with updating to get rid of some of the reviewers who are no longer active, but I understand this is something that is constantly changing and you can never be on top of every active link.

I recommend this book to people starting out on their author journey as you can learn a lot. And others, like me, who have been published a couple of years can still benefit from the knowledge in this book.

Note – I was sent a free copy of this book during a Christmas 2017 deal. I purchased a book in the series and was able to request 2 further books from the author for free.  So look out for more reviews in the future.

#TuesdayBookBlog The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick #Bookreview #womensfic #romance

Although I planned to read just fantasy this year, I picked this book up one evening for a quick glance and just couldn’t put it down. The house and Cornish setting were the draws, but I just fell into the character’s stories and they wouldn’t let me go.

Here’s the blurb…

When artist Maddie inherits a house in Cornwall shortly after the death of her husband, she hopes it will be the fresh start she and her step-daughter desperately need. Trevenen is beautiful but neglected, and as Maddie discovers the stories of generations of women who’ve lived there before, she begins to feel her life is somehow intertwined within its walls.

But Maddie’s dream of a calm life in the countryside is far from the reality she faces – and as she pulls at the seams of Trevenen’s past, the house reveals secrets that have lain hidden for generations.

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My Review

First thoughts

Although it’s quite an intense subject dealing with loss and a heartbroken step-daughter, I didn’t find this story depressing or difficult to read at any point. There are plenty of tear-jerking moments, as you might expect from a story of second chances. But new friendships and healing play a big part in the story too. And as I expected, the house and its secrets kept me hooked.

Characters

I really like all the characters in this book, the main characters Maddie and her step daughter Hannah, Mark and Old Tom (OT), Tasmin and Will, plus the other characters that play a part in this small Cornish community.

Maddie is an easy protagonist to like and you feel every moment of her suffering and relate to the hard decisions she’s had to make. I also liked the fact she was an artist struggling to find her inspiration again after the loss of her husband.

Trevenen, the house, is a character all of its own. I’d love to inherit an old house like that and restore it.

Writing style

Told mainly from Maddie’s POV, we also get to see the story through Hannah viewpoint and this works really well.

Final thoughts

I loved the layers to this story, the different pieces that come together from the characters’ recent past and much further back in history.

The story intrigued me, the characters came alive and filled my head, I loved every minute of reading it. In fact, I would love to pick it up now and re-read the whole book again. I will definitely be reading more of Liz Fenwick’s books.

Recommend

To anyone who enjoy women’s fiction, not just romance but something a bit extra.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars, though I wish I could give it more.

Check it on Amazon and Goodreads.

#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine #Fantasy #YA

This is the first book review I have written this year and what better way to start than with Book 3 in the YA fantasy series The Great Library. Originally thought to be the last book in the trilogy (at least by me) I was delighted to hear that Book 4 is due out later in 2018.

For those of you who don’t know the series, I can highly recommend it. Please see my reviews of Book 1 – Ink and Bone and Book 2 – Paper and Fire.

Here’s the blurb for Book 3 – Ash and Quill

Held prisoner by the Burner forces in Philadelphia, Jess and his friends struggle to stay alive in the face of threats from both sides … but a stunning escape guarantees worse is coming. The Library now means to stop them by any means necessary, and they’ll have to make dangerous allies and difficult choices to stay alive.

They have only two choices: face the might of the Great Library head on, or be erased from life, and the history of the world, for ever.

Win or die.

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My review

Ash and Quill picks up where book two finished, with Jess and the gang captured and transported to Philadelphia. It was interesting to get to know the Burners and there are some explosive moments in store!

It is harder to review books from a series without spoilers, so I just want to say that this is another exciting read, full of action, intrigue, plotting, double-crossing and a touch of romance. I love the interaction between the characters, especially Jess and Morgan, and I just want them to save the world and have their happy ever after. Of course that’s never going to happen until they take down the Great Library who have upped the stakes and will do anything, even commit mass murder to stop them.

As with the other books in the series, this is a fast paced story that drags you along and keeps you interested to the last page.

This is a 5 star read and I cannot wait for book 4.

Goodreads link

#tuesdaybookblog The Game Begins by Rebecca Howie @RebeccaH2016 #ya #mystery #bookreview

Today I’m reviewing a mystery book with a difference, it’s a YA featuring a budding young P.I. Sam Beckett.

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Blurb

It’s been four years since the car crash took away her father and Sam Beckett’s nightmares are back with a vengeance.

When her friend suggests she take a PI course to distract herself, Sam agrees, but she soon realises it won’t be as simple as she expected when her first case leads to a woman being killed, her husband accused of her murder, and a series of threatening text messages sent to her phone which lead Sam to believe that her father’s crash might not be the accident everyone thought it was.

My Review

I’ve always loved mysteries, even going back to my childhood when I couldn’t get enough of Scooby Doo. I’ve read countless novels and watched all the shows with their alcoholic, divorced or generally messed up detectives and P.I’s. For a long time I’ve been wanting something different. The Game Begins delivers an altogether different protagonist.

Sam is young (17 and still in school), and haunted by the accident that killed her dad. She suffered memory loss after the accident but she believes there is more to it than anyone else will admit. So she takes a P.I course, deciding to find out the answers for herself.

Her first case is something so mundane that you wonder if its worth her time. Then things start to spiral out of control.

Detective Marshall turns up on the scene and I really want Sam to trust him, but she soon feels she doesn’t know who she can trust.

Shocking events lead up to even more shocking revelations and towards the end you are rooting for Sam to get to the truth and get her life back together.

I really like Sam and Marshall, and I will certainly be reading the next book, A Woman Scorned, which is due to be released in December 2017.

My rating – I have been wavering between a 4 and 4.5 stars as I really feel this is a promising start to a new P.I. series.

There were a few typos and a couple of points in the story that I thought could have been more developed, but otherwise it was an entertaining read from a young, up and coming author.

FYI – Next month Rebecca Howie joins me for a guest post during book 2’s release.

You can check out her website for details.

The Game Begins is on Amazon UK and Amazon US and Goodreads.

#Bookreview Twitter for authors @SchmidtJesper #tuesdaybookblog

Today I am reviewing Twitter for Authors. It was released at the beginning of November, though I was lucky enough to receive an ARC copy from the author.

I’ve been using social media for just over two years and twitter is something that I’ve struggled to master. My twitter presence is close to 4.5k mark so it has grown in the two years I’ve been active on it, but I know I’m not using it to its full potential. I wasn’t sure how to use it as a selling tool or how I could make it work better for me, so I was eager to review ‘Twitter for Authors’ when Jesper Schimdt put out the call in his newsletter.

I was hoping this book would give me pointers on using twitter, but not only did he do that, Jesper Schmidt has made me rethink how I see twitter. I love the quote ‘Your twitter profile is an online business card for your authorship.’ He talks about creating an author brand across all social media platforms and made me think about the content on my twitter feed and the message I want to convey.

The book introduced me to some new software that can help build followers etc. At first I was put off by the idea of paying for software / monthly charges, but as you read on the benefits become clear. Everything is well explained and I really like the handy checklists at the end of each section. I’ve found lots in this book to help me and when I get some time (in between editing and drafting my next book) I’m hoping to put the advice in this book into action.

This is a recommended read for authors and I rate it 4 stars.

 

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Do you feel as if you’re wasting your time on Twitter? Not a single book sold, despite all your efforts?

Then Twitter for Authors is precisely what you need.

It will do exactly what the title says: save you time, get you followers and grow your email list.

The techniques taught in Twitter for Authors can all be executed in under 30 minutes a day, and will drive massive amounts of traffic to your books, blog and everywhere else where you have an online presence.

Throughout the chapters you will find free tutorial videos that show you exactly, with easy, step-by-step guides, how to put a system in place that will deliver upon all the promises made.

Why not put in 20% of the effort and gain 80% of the results?

Check it out on Amazon US and Amazon UK

#tuesdaybookblog The Writer’s Lexicon by @KathySteinemann #bookreview

The Writer’s Lexicon should be on every writer’s desk! Read on to find out why.

Blurb

You’re a writer. You just read your manuscript and discovered your characters nodding like marionettes in every chapter. When they’re not nodding, they’re rolling their eyes.

Oops.

Time to slash the Pinocchio strings and turn them into real live people. Award-winning author Kathy Steinemann will provide the tools. She cuts through the so-called rules and offers simple solutions.

Too many repetitions of “little”? There’s a cure for that. Do you rely on “very” too often? There’s a cure for that too. You’ll find the remedies in this book’s dispensary.

Should you ever use anything other than “said” to attribute dialogue? Are exclamation points taboo? The answers might surprise you.

Learn how to harness body language, cut hackneyed adjectives, and draw on the environment for ambience. No more wooden characters. You’ll transform them into believable personalities your readers will learn to love. Or hate.

Get in the driver’s seat, relax, and enjoy your journey—with Kathy Steinemann’s book as your GPS.

My Review

The author contacted me about reviewing her book and I’m so pleased she did. When I read the line ‘…characters nodding like marionettes in every chapter’, I knew this was a writing resource book I had to read.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’m in the process of fine-tuning the second book in my series Silent Sea Chronicles. I know I’m guilty of creating nodding, grinning character who laugh and cry far too much. There are plenty of other examples of words that you may not even realise you are overusing (that being one!), and a multitude of alternatives to try.

Kathy Steinemann uses imaginative examples of how not to write sentences, along with examples of how to improve your work. There are A-Z lists of alternative words, and story prompts throughout. The book gets you thinking about why you have chosen particular words, and she helps you think of ways a few well placed words can bring your story to life. There are also chapters on punctuation, how to include the senses in your writing, and a list of 400 redundant words.

I think it’s a brilliant book for every writer to have on their desk. Unfortunately, I’ve only read The Writer’s Lexicon on kindle (I highly recommend a paperback). I can imagine my paperback copy would have post-it notes stuck all over my favourite chapters. It has certainly got me thinking, and I will be using this as a guide to help me tighten the writing in my books.

5 well deserved stars.

Amazon UK  Amazon US  Goodreads

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#tuesdaybookblog Therapy by Sebastian Fitzek #audio #bookreview #thriller

Therapy by Sebastian Fitzek is an addictive read / listen that grips you right from the start. Before my brief review; here’s what the book is all about…

Blurb (Goodreads)

No witnesses, no evidence, no body: Star psychologist Viktor Larenz’s twelve-year-old daughter, Josy, who had suffered from an inexplicable illness, has vanished under mysterious circumstances during a visit to her doctor, and the investigation into her disappearance has brought no results. Four years later, Viktor remains a man shattered by this tragedy. He has retreated to a remote vacation cottage on a North Sea island, where a beautiful stranger named Anna Glass pays him a visit. She claims to be a novelist who suffers from an unusual form of schizophrenia: all the characters she creates for her books become real. While writing her most recent novel, Anna has been tortured by visions of a little girl with an unknown illness who has vanished without a trace, and she asks Dr. Larenz to treat her. Viktor reluctantly begins therapy sessions with the stranger, but very soon these sessions take a dramatic turn as the past is dragged back into the light. What really happened to Josy? Do Anna’s delusions describe Josy’s last days? And is Larenz a danger to himself and others?

Therapy is an absolutely gripping psychological thriller, an intelligent, fast and furious read that will stay with you for a long time after you have followed Viktor into the depths of his own psyche, and have figured out who Anna Glass really is.

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My Review

I was totally addicted to this book and found myself listening to it every spare minute I could find.

The premise of a daughter disappearing without trace and a schizophrenic novelist having the answers had me desperate to find out more. With this story you’re never sure what is reality and what is delusion, and it was all very cleverly handled.

I love stories that keep you guessing and I would love to see this one made into a film.

The only possible disappointment for me was the very end. But I’m not giving away any details, so you’ll have to read it and let me know if you were satisfied with the outcome.

This is my first read of a Sebastian Fitzek book and it was so good, I’m almost nervous about picking up another one.

Overall, I rate this book 4.5 stars (only deducted 1/2 for the over use of unnecessary description of characters towards the beginning of the book.)

Why don’t you check the book out on Goodreads and if you have read it, let me know what you thought in the comments.