WWW Wednesday 8 August 2018 #amreading #thriller #fantasy

This is a weekly meme now hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To take part simply answer the three W questions;

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Post a link to your answers on the above site, and don’t forget to visit other blogs taking part and share the book love!

www wednesdays

What are you currently reading?

Poison Study – Maria V Snyder

poison study

80 pages in and I’m loving this book. I don’t want it to end! Which reminds me, I must look up the rest of the series.

 

I’m currently listening to – My Husband’s Wife – Jane Corry

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I’m still plodding along with this one. I have found it to be a slow paced book, but it is still interesting and keeping my attention, I’m just not compelled to listen to it all the time as I have been with audiobooks in the past.

What have you recently finished reading?

Lie With Me – Sabine Durrant

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This was an unplanned read, one I’ve heard good things about and just picked up to pass a few minutes before bedtime. I won’t be reviewing this as a separate post on my blog, so here’s what I thought of it – A little slow to start with and I was a bit unsure if I would get into it. However the mystery and intrigue soon kicked in and I was literally taking the book everywhere with me because I couldn’t stop reading. Paul Morris is not the nicest of characters and he really acts in horrible ways at times, but by the end of the book you sort of feel for him… a little! Great book. 5 stars.

 

Anthony Ryan’s Collected Non-fiction

I follow Anthony Ryan’s newsletter and this was offered as a free download. I haven’t seen it on Goodreads or Amazon. It’s a collection of essays or blog posts to do with his writing and editing, his ‘overnight’ success, fantasy and David Gemmell amongst other things. Very interesting reading.

What do you think you’ll read next?

David Gemmell – Rhyming Rings.

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I have been saving this book for over a year – I hope I enjoy it!

Then perhaps I’ll pick an indie book from my TBR pile. See my post here on some of the great books I’ve picked up recently during the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off promo.

 

I look forward to sharing my reviews of the above over the next few months, especially David Gemmell’s book (please let me love it!).

#Tuesdaybookblog #Bookreview The Olive Branch by Jo Thomas #romance

This is a quick review because I just have to share this book with you all. First as always here’s the blurb from goodreads…

Escape to Italy with THE OLIVE BRANCH. The irresistibly romantic new novel from Jo Thomas, award-winning author of ebook runaway bestseller THE OYSTER CATCHER.

It’s amazing what you can buy online these days:
Memorabilia
Fashion accessories
A crumbling Italian farmhouse…

After a Prosecco-fuelled girls’ night in gets out of hand, Ruthie Collins awakes to discover that she has bid for her dream Italian home online – and won. Recently out of a relationship, a new start is just what Ruthie needs. Anything is better than sleeping on her mum’s settee.

But arriving in Southern Italy, Ruthie doesn’t know the first thing about running an olive farm. And with new neighbours, the tempestuous Marco Bellanouvo and his fiery family to contend with, all Ruthie wants is to go back home.

Life can change with the click of a mouse. But all good things – friendship, romance, and even the olive harvest – take time to grow. Can Ruthie finally put the past to rest and find her own piece of the Dolce Vita along the way? Goodreads

the olive branch

My review

The Olive Branch drew me in from the first page and I couldn’t stop reading or thinking about it. It had me laughing and crying, and wishing for my own adventure in Italy.

This is the second book I’ve read my Jo Thomas and I’m now planning to stock up on the rest of her novels. She picks wonderful locations and transports you to them, immersing you in the place and the culture of its people. Not only that, but you learn something too. In The Olive Tree I learnt about the olive groves and the olive harvest. It really was fascinating to live in Ruthie’s shoes for a few days. I also got to experience a dream of moving and renovating a rundown home, but without any of the hard work!

I really do recommend Jo Thomas’ books and can’t wait to dive into the next adventure. Have to read any of her books? Can you recommend my next read?

Here’s my review of Late Summer in the Vineyard

Oh and in case you were wondering, this is a heart-warming 5 star read!

Rebecca Reads: Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson

This morning I’m really pleased to share a 4 star review of Visions of Zarua. Rebecca is a YA Mystery author and she says she’s really liked how I merged the genres of fantasy and mystery.

via Rebecca Reads: Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson

#Tuesdaybookblog 4 star #bookreview of The Lost Sentinel #fantasy

Today I’m really happy to share this 4 star review of The Lost Sentinel from Sofia on her blog A Book. A Thought.

via Double Short Reviews: The Lost Sentinel by Suzanne Rogerson & Freefall Summer by Tracy Barrett

The Lost Sentinel – Suzanne Rogerson

Here is a recent review of The Lost Sentinel on Nana’s Fantastical Reads. Please go check it out.

Nana's fantastical reads

The Lost Sentinel - Suzanne Rogerson


The Lost Sentinel
by Suzanne Rogerson is an independently published fantasy book that sparked my interest. I was intrigued by the concept of a magic that connects the people to their land and the consequences that ensue when the magic-wielders are being persecuted. Sadly, it wasn’t easy for me to connect to the characters and understand their development since we have three perspectives and a lot of time jumps that make the connection difficult.

Goodreads summary:

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel. With the Kalayan people turning their back on magic, can Tei help the exiles find their new Sentinel before it’s too late?
Kalaya is controlled by the Assembly – set up to govern but now under the control of Rathnor, who is intent on persecuting those who have magic, many of whom have taken refuge in the Turrak Mountains.

Tei has been raised…

View original post 1,069 more words

#tuesdaybookblog #bookreview Ninja School Mum by @Lizzie_Chantree

I am reviewing Ninja School Mum by Lizzie Chantree.

The Blurb

Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is a lonely elite spy, who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.

Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.

Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?

When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.

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My Mini Review

The cover is very cool. I love the colour contrast and the silhouette. It drew me in to find out more and the premise of the story really appealed. Who can resist a spy story!

There is a lot to like about this book. The characters are colourful and have plenty of secrets between them. Skye, Thea and Zack are well drawn and likeable, though you know they have secrets and you have to read on to find out what is really going on.

The spy part of the plot is important, but perhaps not featured enough. I would have loved to relive some of the backstory through flashbacks.

One of my favourite parts were the unusual business ideas; Skye starts up a self-defence class for children to avoid the school bully, while Zack runs Cloud Climb on his estate, which also sounds like a great idea if you like heights!

For me there were a few issues with this book. The chapters are told from each character’s viewpoints, which I liked, but I did find there were times when we head hopped between characters thoughts. This confused the narrative and I was sometimes left wondering who had been thinking what.

There is a lot of back story that needs to be revealed to the reader, which is understandable for the plot and as I mentioned above I think we could have used a few flashbacks to get the information across in a more involving way. I also thought some of the scenes in the present could have been shown more as there was too much tell and character reflection on things that had just happened. I think the book could have, and should have, been longer – I certainly wouldn’t mind spending longer with these characters and really get to know them better.

There are a few twists towards the end, some of which took me by surprise – always a good thing. But for me the ending was underwhelming and I would have liked something more dramatic for these great characters.

I rate this book 3.5 stars. Why not check it out on goodreads and see what others have to say.

#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).

sand scuttler

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

book cover 111 tips book review

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.