Manx LitFest – Re-telling of Frankenstein by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones

A couple of weeks ago now I attended a fantastic event – a re-telling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones.

 

About the Book

We all know the story. Frankenstein, in his fascination for creating “perfect life” through his love of science, accidentally creates a monster. Horrified, he shuns the monster which flees and goes into hiding.

Frankenstein’s monster gradually evolves from a base-instinct creature to something more human by learning from them secretly. But humans don’t accept him; they reject him for his horrifying appearance. Therefore, his loneliness and rage for the contempt shown make him a bitter, twisted creature. Frankenstein comes to rue the day of the monster’s creation.

 

 

Organisers

The event was held as part of the Manx LitFest in September. The first Manx LitFest took place in September 2012. So, this year was the seventh such festival.

In addition, as this year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, organisers approached Ben Haggarty for the event. Ben is the leader of the Crick Crack Club, a successful performance storytelling group in the UK. He has performed at the Manx LitFest in previous years and they appealed to him (not for the first time) to perform Frankenstein. This year, he agreed.

 

Location

The Gaiety Theatre was the ideal location. Constructed at the end of the Victorian era and opened to the public in July 1900, it is an old theatre. Historically, it has undergone extensive restoration work to preserve the building as close to the original design as possible. As a result, the ornate Victorian architecture of the building itself truly set the tone before the performance even began.

Fun fact: The Gaiety Theatre is one of the few remaining theatres in the world to have a functioning Corsican Trap.

I also had the benefit of a central seat in the third row… and I confess I turned up quite early. So, I spent a while admiring the place whilst I waited. It’s not that I have never been before; I have never been on my own before. You notice quite a lot of things when there aren’t distractions to keep you from them!

 

My Thoughts…

Ben Haggarty (as the primary storyteller) and Sianed Jones (multi-instrumental and vocal accompaniment) performed Frankenstein very well. The musical pieces performed by Sianed are the perfect counterpart to Ben’s narration. At times the music helps to build the atmosphere and tension. In others, it serves to break up the narration and keeps the performance flowing. As a result, it added the right atmosphere to an already haunting tale.

The storytelling itself was excellent. Ben has a real talent for conducting himself on stage and consequently keeping the audience engaged. No word was left unpolished and no gesture unplanned. Consequently, he portrayed each of the characters clearly and perfectly. Naturally, Ben has to embody a number of roles at any given time and he switches between them effortlessly! The dialogue in which Frankenstein and the monster confront each other is intense and very well executed.

The fact that I rushed home and picked up the book straightaway is a testament to how much I enjoyed this performance. This was the first time that I attended an event like this… and I am glad I did!

I sincerely hope it isn’t the last.

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 7th October 2018

I’m writing my Sunday Summary. That means another weekend is over. Seriously… they go WAY TOO FAST!!

Not to rub it in… Okay, I am totally rubbing it in, but I have some long overdue time off coming up! So, next week is a really short one for me work-wise. Hopefully my next Sunday Summary will be chock-a-block with progress. I’m going to stay optimistic on that point, okay? We’ll see!

So, back to this week – what has happened? Well, I shared this month’s reading list with you all! I have some exciting books on the list, so if you haven’t taken a look yet, please do! On Friday I took part in a much-anticipated blog tour for A Stain on the Soul by Elizabeth Davies. This is the second book of the Caitlin series. In a few weeks time, I’ll be reviewing the next book – Another Kind of Magic. I received my copy on Monday and I cannot wait to read it at last! A Stain on the Soul leaves us on quite a cliffhanger; I cannot imagine how things are going to pick up.

There is also a little something that didn’t happen – sorry guys! I promised a post about the recent re-telling of Frankenstein on Friday. I’m going to make that up to you next week. If I am entirely honest, I had planned that for Friday, forgetting that was my blog tour date. Next week, I promise!

Now, onto a more positive note: what books have I been reading this week?

 

Books Read

It is hardly surprising that after re-kindling my love for the tale of Frankenstein, I picked up the book. Is it on my reading list? Nope. Oh well, the heart wants what the heart wants. I cannot and will not deny myself. I finished the second half of the book this week, with a little less fire and enthusiasm I’ll admit, but I am glad I read it. It isn’t the easiest book to read, but not having to analyse it to death like I did when I was fourteen is a huge help!

School really knows how to be a killjoy when it comes to reading.

This weekend, I moved on to Muse of Nightmares! I picked this book up on Tuesday after work. I practically ran… but only PRACTICALLY. I don’t run. I was fast walking at a push, really.

 

But anyway, I got it, and I started reading this on Friday and have pretty much been flying through it since! Even though I have been out a lot of the day today, I am still 75% through it. I’ll be highly surprised if I haven’t finished it by this time tomorrow night. I know what I am like, after all…

 

Books Discovered

Technically I acquired my copy of Muse of Nightmares this week, after a long wait, so I’ll include it here. As I’ve already talked about that above, I won’t linger on it here!

I also purchased a copy of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories. Not only is this appropriate for the time of year, but it also features stories from authors I like. George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen King are just three of the contributors. I’ll look forward to reading these!

 

Coming Up…

So, what posts can you expect to come up next week?

Well, as promised, I’ll be writing a post about the recent event I attended, a re-telling of the story of Frankenstein. It was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I am also determined to finish the Mystery Blogger post I started several weeks ago! Now, I’ll have the time to mull it over, so I am going to finish it… even if it kills me. Overdramatic much!

I am also using my free time to do some work in the background. Most of it probably won’t even be noticed, but I have some tidying up to do. I experienced some gremlins when I migrated by blog a few months ago, so I’ll be batting them over the head with a stick, figuratively speaking of course. I am also hoping to make a slight change to the appearance of my blog, but fixing the problems are priority… and there’s a few of them.

Fingers crossed I’ll have it all fixed soon!

What books are you reading?

Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Stain on the Soul – Elizabeth Davies

A Stain on the Soul is the second book in the Caitlyn series by Elizabeth Davies. If you want to read my thoughts about the first book, Three Bloody Pieces, please do and then come right back!

 

Good morning, fellow blog lovers! I hope you are well! As ever, I’ve been looking forward to this blog tour! Who doesn’t love a blog tour?!

I’ve recently read A Stain on the Soul in anticipation of the tour; I am even more excited about the series because the THIRD book of the series, Another Kind of Magic, landed in my inbox last night!

A Stain on the Soul has taken everything I enjoyed in Three Bloody Pieces and succeeded in making it better!

 

Pre-Order Link

Goodreads

Resigned to another lifetime of being a witch’s familiar, Caitlyn has found a degree of peace in her role as the Duke of Normandy’s protector and spy.

But that peace is shattered when she returns to her native land only to come face-to-face with her past, and fall in love with a man who she desperately hopes will become her future.

 

My Thoughts…

Caitlyn, our sassy protagonist, is back and better than ever! Enthralled to Arlette, former protégé of Herleva, she is bound to serve and protect her only son, the Duke of Normandy. Raising him almost like her own child, she would happily give her life in exchange for his. In the depths of a political minefield, Caitlyn must be careful procuring other’s secrets whilst guarding her own.

Whilst she doesn’t age, Caitlyn has certainly matured since the first book. Her wild hopes of returning to her former self after the death of Herleva are dead. She is more resigned to her fate… but a small ember of hope remains that the power binding her will weaken. She is no longer the naive young girl she was. Adopting a motherly role has changed her… and for the better, in my opinion.

The plot tackles mature themes well; death, witchcraft (obviously) and the odd intimate encounter run throughout the book, but aren’t so graphically detailed so as to put a sensitive reader off. Anyone following my blog will know I’m not a fan of anything detailed by the way of romance or intimacy. I didn’t cringe away from it on this occasion, although it was close. It’s just a personal thing – it can make me feel awkward if I’m honest.

The narrative picks up from the first book really well. Whilst I think it advantageous that I have not long read Three Bloody Pieces, it isn’t essential. There are more than enough hints to remind you of events in the first book if you haven’t read it recently. This is done very well, so it doesn’t clutter the narrative of current events either. I found the pace and flow of the text better developed than the first book. Overall, I found A Stain on the Soul a little easier to read, with a greater depth of historical background.

 

Author Bio

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

Social Media Links –

Website – www.elizabethdaviesauthor.co.uk

Twitter  – @bethsbooks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethDaviesAuthor/

Instagram – @elizabethdavies.author

 

 

Giveaway!

Win signed copies of Three Bloody Pieces and A Stain on the Soul plus a magic mug and a coaster. (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Rafflecopter – ENTER HERE!

 

Reading List – October 2018

October – the time of year when the nights start to draw in. On the one hand, it’s great! You can come home from work, draw the curtains and not feel guilty about not doing very much. I mean, it’s too cold… and DARK, obviously. I do miss the lighter nights in a way though – leaving work and having several hours of sunshine left means you can go out and do things! Days feel less work-orientated if you have time to sit outside and socialise at the local pub. Don’t think of me as an alcoholic, please! I have literally done this once this summer! Anyway… having the salad justified the wine. Pffft.

Source: Giphy

Once I am used to the dark nights though, I love it! There is no place like home, curled up under a blanket and wearing the thickest pair of socks you can find. Coffee and books are also essential… and this year, I have some great books to look forward to!

 

The Hidden Face – S. C. Flynn

Goodreads – The Hidden Face

A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.

Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?

Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal murder of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a female warrior named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.

The Hidden Face is an epic fantasy novel drenched in the atmosphere of the early Middle Ages and in Kabbalistic riddles and is the first book in the Fifth Unmasking series.

 

This is the first direct review request from an author that I have had for a while, and I’m really excited to read it! It is my favourite genre and I have high hopes for the book, based on the synopsis.

 

Breachers – Anthony Thomas

Goodreads – Breachers

Jason Conners is the last person you’d expect to run into a burning building, unless of course there was something inside worth stealing. Call him what you want: criminal, thief, asshole, but hero? Absolutely not. Jason’s questionable behavior and disturbing antics can only be attributed to one secret.

He can change the future, but with great power comes great responsibility? Hell no. His ability makes him the best thief in the city, and nothing is off-limits. Until Jason’s carefree attitude gains the attention of the Rogues, and the government.

The Rogues want him to stop catastrophic events from taking place, and the government has their own agenda. When the hunt begins, Jason is caught in the crosshairs and learns that breaching is not as limitless as he thought.

Can this anti-hero give up a life of easy money and become the savior the Rogues need, or will it cost him everything—even his immortality?

 

I have been looking forward to this Blog Tour since taking part in the cover reveal back in February.  A while, I know! The synopsis sounds amazing in its own right… but what really sells this book to me is the anti-hero protagonist. I don’t think we see enough of these characters in books. I adored The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence purely because the protagonist Jorg is such an anti-hero! Fingers crossed I’ll love Breachers as much as I have hyped it up!

 

Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Muse of Nightmares

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

 

This is my only non-ARC or review request and I have waited MONTHS for this moment!

I read Strange the Dreamer earlier this year. I suppose you could say by accident. Yes, you read that right. I was bored one Saturday afternoon and decided to sample a couple of chapters to convince myself to read it next month. Next time I looked up at the clock, I had read part 1, around 20% of the book. Two days later, I closed the cover for the last time.

I did not feel guilty either. I can see myself flying through Muse as well, then probably wanting to cry and read the whole duology again. I’m calling it now. Watch this space.

 

Another Kind of Magic – Elizabeth Davies

“I am a cat. But I am no ordinary cat. I am a witch’s familiar. I am also a woman, with a woman’s heart and a woman’s frailty.”

Two hundred years have passed since Caitlyn was trapped by dark magic and she has known many mistresses. This time the witch she is enthralled to is Joan, wife to Llewelyn, Prince of Wales.

For Caitlyn, this mistress appears no different from any of the others she has been forced to serve. That is, until Llewelyn captures William de Braose and holds him and his men prisoner, and Joan falls for William and risks everything, including Caitlyn, to fulfil her desire.​

Caitlyn, meanwhile, has her own cross to bear in the form of the gallant and reckless Hugh of Pembroke…

 

I was hoping to read this ARC last month, to try and get ahead of myself really. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. As yet, I am still awaiting my copy. I’m reviewing this in a month’s time, so there is no rush! Now I have read the first couple of books in the Caitlin series, I think I’ll get into this one straight away! Although, with the way the second book ended, this next one could be very different from the last two. I’ll just have to wait and see!

 

The Swan Keeper – Milana Marsenich

Goodreads – The Swan Keeper

The Swan Keeper is an historical, coming of age novel set in Northwest Montana’s Mission Valley in the late 1920s.

Lillian Connelly loves trumpeter swans and vows to protect them from a hunter who is killing them and leaving their carcasses for the wolves and coyotes to ravage.

On her eleventh birthday Lilly’s family visits the Cattail Marsh to see the newly hatched cygnets. The family outing turns tragic when Dean Drake shows up with his shotgun and fires on not only the swans, but on Lilly’s family. Unable to prevent tragedy, Lillian witnesses Drake kill her father, injure her mother, and slaughter the bevy of trumpeter swans.

The sheriff, Charlie West, thinks that Lilly is reacting to the trauma and blaming Drake because of a previous conflict between Drake and her father. Lilly’s mother, sister, and her best friend, Jerome West, the sheriff’s son, all think the same thing: that Lilly is trying to make sense of a senseless accident.

Left alone to bring Dean Drake to justice, Lilly’s effort is subverted when Drake woos her sister, courts her mother, and moves into their home.

 

I first discovered this author when I was kindly asked to read and review Copper Sky. Also set in Montana, although a few years on from Copper Sky, I cannot wait to see how these novels compare.

So, that’s the list! I also hope to make a little more progress with The Eye of the World, but I’ll have to play it by ear. It depends entirely on how I get on with this lot!

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 30th September 2018

There is no eloquent way I can accurately express how well this week has gone for me!

I don’t know what it is lately, but I have felt a little bogged down. Perhaps it is work in general… or maybe because I have a number of blogging obligations. Either way, things have felt sluggish. I’ll admit I have been a little light on the blog-post-publishing front, but I think I needed those few days. I have no regrets.

This week I have only published one post – a Blog Tour review for Ragis by Donna Migliaccio. I have fallen so hard in love with this series this year; if you haven’t read it yet, I implore you to… you won’t regret it!

I promised a Mystery Blogger post as well. It’s already late (in my eyes anyway) and I haven’t been in the mood to write it. I’m not going to force the issue otherwise it won’t make for an enjoyable post. It’s a work in progress – maybe I’ll publish it one day!

I was having a good week anyway, in reading terms. I’ve also had a bookish event to look forward to, as this week has been the Manx LitFest. Unfortunately, due to other absences at work, I haven’t been able to attend many events. I did, however, attend a re-telling of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” at the Gaiety Theatre on Friday. I loved it; it was the first time I have attended an event like it. I hope I get the chance to again!

After going to see that performance, I feel revitalised. That might sound incredibly bizarre, I know, but it was good to break the norm. There aren’t many bookish events here and I seldom get the opportunity to meet like-minded people. I booked my ticket to attend in May, so I have been looking forward to it for a while! I think I am going to write a separate post about it very soon.

 

Books Read

 

It has been a good reading week, despite one book ending up on the DNF pile. I don’t like doing this, but if I cannot get on with a book, forcing myself to read it is worse.

After last week’s update, I finished A Stain on the Soul by Elizabeth Davies. I recently read and reviewed Three Bloody Pieces; ASoTS follows on from events in book one and I’ll also be reviewing this very soon! I had hoped to move on to the last book in the series next, however, since that book is not touring until November, I haven’t received my copy yet.

I picked up Desolation by Jesper Schmidt instead, although I confess, not for very long. This is the book I, unfortunately, had to resign to the DNF pile. Much of the narrative is spent trying to set up this fantasy world, yet it is difficult to invest into. I couldn’t warm to the writing style. I hate not finishing a book, but I decided quite early on that it wasn’t for me. It isn’t fair to force myself through a book I am not enjoying and even less so on the author when it comes to committing my thoughts to paper.

So, moving swiftly on – with my reading list for September done (as much as possible), I returned to reading The Eye of the World. This book is huge and the plot complicated, so I think I’ll be reading this in dribs and drabs until I get to the end. I have managed to read another 10% of the book, which to my mind is pretty good going. Having taken a break, it wasn’t all that difficult to get back into. I suppose it’s a good job really, given its size!

After going to watch the re-telling of Frankenstein on Friday night, I came home, made myself a cuppa and picked up the book straightaway! If that doesn’t tell you how much I loved it, then I don’t really know what will! I last read the book at the age of 14 and hated it! I have often said this for all the books I studied at school, but changed my mind when reading them again for pleasure. Frankenstein is also proving to be the same. I fell asleep reading this at around 1am on Saturday morning – that’s how unwilling I was to put it down! I am now halfway through the book… it won’t take long to finish either!

 

Books Discovered

Whilst I haven’t *bought* any books this week (which is a miracle, since payday has arrived), I have used some audible credits that I’ve had for a while.

I’ve added my first Phillip Pullman book to the list! I have heard a few things about this author, so when I saw a book by him set in Victorian England, I listened to the sample! This is going to be a really interesting listen and I cannot wait to try this new author!

I have also downloaded Lock In by John Scalzi. I am making a conscious effort to read/listen to more science fiction books, so this is a perfect fit. This will be the first book I have tried from this author too, so I’ll have to see what I make of this. Maybe I’ll be reading more of their books in future!

 

Coming Up…

It’s October tomorrow. The leaves are starting to turn, cold winds are rising and there is a nip in the air. Okay, so I’m being a little dramatic. But, the point is, it’s a new month! You know what that means… a new reading list! It is another busy month of review requests and blog tours, as well as a getting my hands on a much-anticipated release, MUSE OF NIGHTMARES!

Since I enjoyed the re-telling of Frankenstein so much, on Friday I’ll be taking the opportunity to tell you a little about it, as well as those that took part and made the event possible! I hope you can join me for that!

In the meantime, ladies and gents, keep reading!

Blog Tour Review: Ragis by Donna Migliaccio

*** I was kindly provided with a copy of Ragis in exchange for a review. All the opinions stated below are my own***

RagisRagis by Donna Migliaccio

August 28, 2018

Fantasy

The Gemeta Stone Book 4

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

 

Purchase Links:- Fiery Seas Publishing  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Kobo

 

Kristan Gemeta is teetering on the brink of madness.

His sister Melissa has defied him. His friend Olaf has betrayed him. The Wichelord Daazna’s ghostly laughter mocks him when he’s awake and robs him of his sleep at night. Even the protective powers of his legendary Stone are turning against him. 

And now his companions, his ship and its precious cargo have been taken hostage. Kristan must give chase, in an unseaworthy vessel manned by an angry centaur crew. Ahead lie unfriendly waters, an ominous destination and a confrontation Kristan dreads.

In his despair, Kristan longs for the one person he has always trusted: his beloved Heather. But she’s far away, about to step into a trap that will endanger not just her command, but Kristan’s life.  

 

My Thoughts…

I have been looking forward to the next installment of the Gemeta Stone series for some time now… and it was definitely worth the wait!

It cannot be denied that Kristan is a complex character. I love that about him; he has come on leaps and bounds since the first book of the series! I really enjoyed seeing glimpses of the old Kristan in this book. He is far from the ideal, altruistic hero. His life has been far from easy, regardless of the struggles he has with magic. He is a young, sick man trying to rule the realm – everyone he trusts seems to be testing him. His struggles make him feel human and all the more relatable too.

I love Heather as well. Not one to bow to convention, she is headstrong and feisty, yet loyal. She is a strong character, and as a result, easy to love. That isn’t to say I agree with all of her decisions though – there are moments I want to shake some sense into her!

It is really easy to pick up the narrative from the previous book, StoneKing. The first couple of chapters are cleverly written to refresh the reader’s memory. As a result, just the right amount of detail is given to achieve this without weighing down the further progression of the narrative. I also really like Donna Migliaccio’s writing style; it strikes just the right balance of “formal”, yet conversational, to be easy to read. Also, dialogue between the characters flows naturally, dependent on the characters relationships. This has always been consistent throughout the series so far. Please do not misinterpret my saying that the text is formal; by that, I am referring more to the structure of the narrative. It is well written and cohesive, and the perspective is clear throughout.

 

 

Conclusion…

I think the introductions to places in previous books help most of all, but never have I found myself lost as to where each respective chapter is based or whom it centers around. The fantasy realm that Donna has created in these books is vast, but so far has been pulled off seemingly effortlessly. I am fairly sure it is not an effortless task, and so no doubt bringing this series (so far!) together has taken copious amounts of time and effort. It has paid off; I can assure you, dear friends. As I said in a previous post, this series is fast becoming one of my favourites… and I don’t say that lightly.

 

                               

About the Author…

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. 

She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker. 

Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.  

Social Media:    Website     Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 23rd September 2018

Happy Monday all!

I can hear your thoughts ticking over now… “Monday? But this is a Sunday Summary post?”

Yes, you are right. I’m posting this late as I took part in a Blog Tour for The Barefoot Road by Vivienne Vermes yesterday. Anyone familiar with the requirements will know that you don’t post other material on a given day… to give the tour full exposure. So, I am honouring that and posting my weekly update post late – at 00:01 on Monday, to be exact!

I also took part in another Blog Tour earlier this week. Three Bloody Pieces by Elizabeth Davies is the first book of the Caitlin series, and I had the pleasure of reviewing the book for the tour.

All in all, it has been a good week for me. I hope you have had a fabulous week and are looking forward to another one!

 

Books Read

 

I have another Blog Tour coming up imminently for Ragis by Donna Migliaccio. I’ve been reading the series this year; it’s fast becoming one of my favourites. In last week’s update, I had made some progress in reading this book. This week, I finished the book, and quite quickly too! I always find these books really easy to get into, even after a break, which helps a lot! Stay tuned to my blog for my review – it’s coming up really soon!

After finishing Ragis, I began reading A Stain on the Soul by Elizabeth Davies. This is another Blog Tour coming up. You’ll note I haven’t added a cover for this book yet. That’s because the cover reveal is today… and it’s not for me to spoil it! I’m around halfway through this second book of the Caitlin series. If I’m entirely honest, I am finding this easier to read than the first book. The flow is better and a lot of the context is already laid out, so naturally, there is more action than its predecessor.

 

Books Discovered

I have well and truly wracked my brain… and I’m not lying to you when I say that I have nothing to report. Really, I promise… this time anyway! I solemnly swear that I have not added or purchased any books this week!

I must be ill…

 

Coming Up…

RagisRecall I mentioned an imminent Blog Tour for Ragis? Well, that is coming up this week, and I cannot wait! Tuesday is the big day, so I would love if you could check out that post. If the series is new to you, the reviews on the first three books can be found here:

Kinglet – Gemeta Stone #1

Fiskur – Gemeta Stone #2

StoneKing – Gemeta Stone #3

 

A few weeks ago I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award. I tried to write my own post in response to this almost straight away… but I actually found it to be quite tricky! I’m going to pick up where I left off and try to finish that post for you!

 

 

 

 

 

What are you reading this week?

Blog Tour: The Barefoot Road – Vivienne Vermes

The Barefoot Road reeled me in with its promise of mystery, tension and a difficult history for residents to stomach… and I can assure you I was not disappointed!

 

Goodreads – The Barefoot Road

Purchase Link – Amazon

Vivienne Vermes’ debut novel is a gripping read which will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, thrillers and evocative themes. The book begins with a young woman found, emaciated and unconscious, in the mountains surrounding a village in Transylvania. When it is discovered that she is of an ethnic group which was violently driven out of the regions many years before, old wounds are reopened as the villagers are reminded of their role in the bloodshed.

An uneasy peace is maintained until a young married man falls in love with the girl, and tension begin to rise within the community. The mysterious disappearance of a child causes this tension to mount into hysteria, driving the story to its chilling outcome.

 

My Thoughts…

I love books that tackle difficult themes. A number of my favourite books hold that accolade for precisely that reason; To Kill a Mockingbird and The Green Mile are but two examples.

The historical context of The Barefoot Road is clear straight away. In the first chapter, we re-live the persecution and slaughter of a community. When a young woman from that community is brought into the village, mistrust broods. As soon as anything untoward happens the blame falls at her feet; the villagers are quickly roused into seeing her account for her actions.

One constructive point I would like to make is that sometimes the narrative comes across a little stiff when referring to main characters by “first name” “last name”.  As a significant character, addressing Ioan Trifoi in this way (more often than not) distances him from the reader. It makes the narrative feel a little less personal and Ioan harder to identify with. He does grow on you as the tale progresses. Dropping the formal address could speed this up, in my opinion.

I’m glad that The Barefoot Road portrays society in its darkest moments, and how individuals can get swept up into a crowd for not agreeing with the majority. It is a common thing… but this kind of behaviour can have real, nasty consequences. Naturally, this is not a side to humanity we want to acknowledge or recognise. Yet, it happens…and we should recognise it in order to do something about it.

 

Conclusion

The tension that builds as the narrative progresses feels very real. As a reader, you cannot help but delve into the book further to watch events pan out. Themes of religion and witchcraft (and the weight characters lend to their importance) go a long way to setting the book. As a huge fan of historical fiction, I really enjoyed this aspect. The underlying motives, agendas and pre-existing relationships of various villagers within the town adds to the tension and conflict nicely.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vivienne Vermes is a writer and actress of Irish and Hungarian descent who divides her time between Paris and London. She has published four collections of poetry: Sand Woman, Metamorphoses, Passages and When the World Stops Spinning, and has performed her work in festivals throughout Europe. She is winner of the Piccadilly Poets’ award, the Mail on Sunday’s Best Opening of a Novel competition, as well as Flash 500s prize for short prose and the Paragram national competition for best poem and “petite prose”. She has taught creative writing in universities in Transylvania, and runs a writers’ workshop in Paris.

As an actress, she has played roles in a number of French films, including Les Trois Frères, Le Retour and in Les Profs 2 in which she portrayed Queen Elizabeth II.  Her voice also warns passengers on the Paris metro to “Mind the gap”.

The Barefoot Road is her first novel.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/VivienneVermes?lang=en

 

Three Bloody Pieces Book Blitz – Review

I am so pleased to be reviewing Three Bloody Pieces as a part of the Book Blitz today. Not only that, but there is also the chance to win a hardback notebook, a pen and a signed paperback copy of Three Bloody Pieces at the end of my post! Keep reading to find out how to enter.

 

Goodreads – Three Bloody Pieces

Amazon     Apple     Barnes and Noble     Kobo

 

A dead king, a queen who is more than she seems, and a witch who uses the dark arts to entrap her.

Queen, widow, beggar – Lady Caitlyn is all three, and now she can add murderer to the list.

When death and treachery propel her south to Normandy, to seek sanctuary with the exiled Prince Alfred, visions of a woman with ancient eyes travel with her.

Herleva is a woman filled with ambition and greed. A woman who intends to be more than a commoner. A woman who gets what she wants by whatever means possible, even if she has to practice the dark arts to achieve her goals.

A woman who is a witch.

Caitlyn finds herself caught up in a magic which changes her very being. A magic which produces a king to change the lives of every man, woman, and child in England.

 

My Thoughts…

This book is perfect for anyone that loves historical fiction, devious plotting witches and a sassy female protagonist. The flow of the narrative keeps events moving at a reasonable pace. In the first few chapters, danger is always around the corner to spur on Caitlin and her men on to safety. Set in a politically turbulent period of history, the tale is a fantastic blend of magic and fiction, whilst still touching on these historical events without being too heavy.

When we meet Caitlin, her life is in turmoil. Her husband is dead and her lands being raided by Llewellyn ap Seisyll. Those close to her are not as they seem and there are few places to turn to for safety. When she finds herself in Normandy, a mysteriously familiar woman ensnares her. Cast down from her life as a noble queen, magic and the will of a witch dominates her life now.

Written in a compelling first-person narrative, we really come to know and sympathise with Caitlin. Events unfold drastically out of her control, yet she does her best to maintain her composure and a level head even as she flees from danger. That said, she is just as human as the rest of us; she does lose control upon discovering treachery, as anyone would. Her character is very realistic and easy to invest in.

I feel we have a lot more to explore with Caitlin in her newfound life and I cannot wait to continue the series.

 

Author Bio –

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

Social Media Links –

Website – www.elizabethdaviesauthor.co.uk

Twitter  – @bethsbooks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethDaviesAuthor/

Instagram – @elizabethdavies.author

 

 

Giveaway!

Now, for your chance to win a hardback notebook, a pen and a signed paperback copy of Three Bloody Pieces (Open Internationally), please see the Terms & Conditions below:-

ENTER HERE – Rafflecopter

*Terms and Conditions 

Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 16th September 2018

Welcome to another Sunday Summary, my wild weekenders! Well, I can only hope you are – someone has to make up for me not being one at all! I hope you have had a good one, whatever you have been doing.

This week, I had hoped to share a post after my recent nomination for the Mystery Blogger award. I found, however, that the post proved difficult to write. To date, I’ve written about half of the post, so fingers crossed, I’ll share that soon. I did get around to sharing a Throwback Thursday post this week though, which is a relief! This week, I decided it was time to talk about a much-loved series that I had the pleasure of growing up with. Like many teens, I dreamt of getting my letter to Hogwarts. Alas, I just have to content myself with the magic in the pages of books!

 

Books Read

This week I finished reading The Barefoot Road by Vivienne Vermes. When I wrote my Sunday Summary post last week, I was halfway through the book. I’m glad that I managed to read this in plenty of time for the now imminent blog tour. I have a lot of deadlines coming up, so this is one to tick off the list! I enjoyed the book and it’s take on some difficult subjects – but more on that in my actual review!

I’ve definitely been a lot better on the reading front this week. Not only have I matched last week’s progress, I have also read half of Ragis by Donna Migliaccio. This is another tour I am taking part in – and sure looking forward to it too! I started this series at the beginning of the year and I am totally in love with it! So far, Ragis is living up to expectation and is proving easy to read (devour)!

Godsgrave is back on the agenda this week too! Gosh, aren’t I doing quite well?! Whilst working on my arty project, I listened to more of this audiobook. Listening in the morning just isn’t working out for me anymore, so I have stopped trying to be honest. Maybe I should try listening on my drive to work instead – I’m usually more awake then. Well, I sure HOPE so…

 

Books Discovered

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll know Sunday treats (aka books) were purchased today! In my defence though… I was unsupervised. I usually spend Sunday’s with family, however, not today! I went shopping by myself, and before I know it, I was in Waterstones.

#sorrynotsorry

I decided to treat myself to another classic… and I chose Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. I’m trying to build up my collection slowly, so this is the latest edition! I also purchased the next book in The Gunslinger series, The Drawing of the Three. I bought and read the first book of the series in paperback; it would be sacrilegious not to continue the series that way, especially now I have the shelf space!

 

Coming Up…

I always look forward to this part of the post every week. It makes me look at the diary and temporarily cures my paranoia that I am going to/have missed a deadline! As I said above, I have a lot of deadlines coming up – and two of those are this week!

Starting on Wednesday, I have a Blog Tour review for Three Bloody Pieces by Elizabeth Davies. This is the first book of three; I am reading the next two books shortly for review at a later date! In the meantime, I would love if you could check out my thoughts on this first book when I post this week.

Next, I have another Blog Tour on Sunday! This is for The Barefoot Road, the first book I read this week. This is a standalone book that echoes historical fiction in its treatment of ethnic segregation and themes of witchcraft and religion. If you want to read more on that, check out my blog next Sunday.

 

 

Sunday SummarySo, as I have the Blog Tour scheduled, my Sunday Summary post is going to be slightly late. I’m going to schedule it for first thing Monday morning, so you don’t have to miss out on my weekly update and general musings. I hope to see you around for that!