Good morning and happy Friday everyone! Blogtober may be over but there is no rest for the wicked. Today’s post is my fourth and final blog tour book review of the week. After Whorl: Bran Reborn is the second book in the Celtic Fervour series by Nancy Jardine. If you haven’t seen my review of the first book, The Beltane Choice, you can read that post using the link here.
Thanks again to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organizing the tours for this series.
After Whorl: Bran Reborn
AD 71 Northern Roman Britain
Ravaged at the Battle of Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed. He embraces a new identity as Bran, vowing to avert Roman domination of Brigantia. Though how, when he and Ineda – his healer’s granddaughter – are forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion? Trading with the usurpers provides opportunities for gathering information, but after they are attacked by a Roman patrol, Ineda cannot be found.
Distraught with her loss, can Bran find a new occupation?
The events of After Whorl: Bran Reborn pick up immediately after The Beltane Choice, albeit from a new perspective. Brennus is recovered from the battle at Whorl and over the course of several months is nursed back to health. In his shame for the loss of the battle, he takes on a new identity and begins a new life. The Roman threat is never that far away, however, and he is captured by them and forced into hard labour to sustain their camps.
I was promised that this second book of the series would have a greater historical fiction element compared to The Beltane Choice. The first book of the series is a romantic fiction novel as much as it is a historical one. I preferred the style and genre of this second book a lot more. I’m not that big on romantic fiction. The more subtle elements of romance in After Whorl: Bran Reborn was a lot easier to read, whilst still present. It is a nice balance for my taste.
As with the first book, the pace of the story entertains the reader without sacrificing taking the time to link back to the back-story and elements of the first book. The references are done subtly and at the appropriate time to help us follow other characters in the series. Perhaps we will get to see more of them in the next book, After Whorl: Donning Double.
I am really enjoying reading about a new era of British History. I’m enjoying how much detail is being put into the progress of the Roman invasion and what is being done by the early Celtic tribes to try to repel them! I haven’t read anything like it before, so I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series pans out!
Giveaway to Win x1 signed paperback of After Whorl: Bran Reborn to one UK winner; X1 kindle copy worldwide
*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course)
A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.
Hi everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post! I have been away from my keyboard for over a week, which has been both nice and very strange. Hopefully, you didn’t notice my absence though, as I scheduled plenty of blog posts to tide you over until my return! Today’s post is going to be a fairly quick one, as I have two week’s worth of content to cover and all the mundane jobs of returning from holiday to deal with too.
Since my last Sunday Summary post, I have published a number of posts as part of Blogtober. I can’t possibly discuss them all individually, but if you want to catch up on any of these posts if you missed them they are listed below: –
Since my last Sunday Summary post, I spent the week leading up to my holiday making progress with After Whorl: Bran Reborn by Nancy Jardine and Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson. Most of the week was spent on the latter book in preparation for the blog tour I took part in last Sunday. The majority of my reading has been done this week whilst on holiday. Before going away, I also made the briefest starts on listening to Thunderhead by Neil Shusterman.
My first completed book of the holiday was After Whorl: Bran Reborn, as I read the last third of the book in the first couple of days of the trip. From there, I moved on to Circe by Madeline Miller, which took me around three days to read, on and off, whilst enduring some bad weather. Later in the week, the sun came out and I managed to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor in less than two days. Finally, in the last couple of days of the trip, I started reading Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. As of writing this post, I am 22% through the book and hoping to make further headway with it next week.
I have added a few books to the TBR in the two weeks since my last post. The first of these books is Violet, which I added having read a review of the book. I have also added another book to the TBR following a review by the same blogger, which is Defender by G X Todd. The review I read was for the recent third book in the series, whereas I have added the first book to the TBR.
I have also added The Flood to my TBR, I think from reading a review or seeing it on Goodreads. However, I have done my usual and not made a note of where I have seen it so I’m not 100% sure.
I had all my posts scheduled up until my return from holiday, so I am going to be playing catch up this week to finish off Blogtober and complete the challenge! The vast majority of the posts to the end of the month are book reviews for blog tours I have signed up to… so no pressure!
Tomorrow’s post is called Halloween Horrors – I’ll be sharing some spooky reads I have enjoyed if you are looking for inspiration ahead of Halloween this week. On Tuesday I start my four-day blitz of blog tour reviews, the first being for Hallowed Ground by Paul Twivy. Wednesday’s review will be for To Snare a Witch by Jay Raven and Thursday’s post for The Haunting of Paradise House by Killian Wolf.
By then I am done with Blogtober, however, I have an additional blog tour spot on Friday 1st for After Whorl: Bran Reborn. Then, I’m taking a much-deserved break until my usual round-up of the week next Sunday!
What have you been reading recently? Please feel free to drop a comment below!
Good evening readers! It’s Sunday night again, so you know what time it is… time for my Sunday Summary post!
Even though I have published posts every day this week, I don’t feel that it has been all that stressful. Now that I’m a little ahead of myself and have gotten into the routine of writing more than one post in a sitting, it’s become easier. I’ve also ended up going to two work social events this week, which has probably contributed as well.
What have I been gracing your screens with this week? I began the week with a discussion post about how to write book reviews, and what I think is important to include. In that post, I talk about why I don’t really use a star rating system on my blog and why it is important to express yourself as honestly as you can, even if you don’t love a book. I published another Top Ten Tuesday post (you guessed it, on Tuesday), in which I list what I think are my top ten achievements since starting my blog. When I started the post I imagined it to be a nice, light-hearted one, but it actually ended up quite personal.
Wednesday was the day for me to publish an audiobook review. This week’s subject was a little okay a lot overdue, having finished listening to it over four months ago. The Painted Man by Peter Brett is an enjoyable read (or listen) for fantasy-lovers and you can find all my views in that post. On Thursday I discussed the results of an experiment I conducted at the end of September. If you are a book blogger and want to find out whether paid advertising is really worth it, I strongly recommend you check out my results before you spend your money. Seriously. Know what you are getting yourself into.
On Friday I shared the introduction to last month’s work book club read (that I didn’t get around to… oops!) in my First Lines Friday post. I definitely want to try and read it on holiday though, so fingers crossed I can catch up with it. Then, yesterday, I shared my list of books I wish I had never read. Thankfully, these are very few and far between; there is nothing worse than investing time in books to end up disappointed.
Between drafting blog posts, meeting friends for lunch, taking part in a Quiz Night and going bowling with my work friends, it’s amazing I have had time to fit in any reading this week! Following on from last week, I started by making progress with The Haunting at Paradise House by Killian Wolf. You can tell I had a busy week as I only really finished this on Friday after bowling. I had only just about started this last week, so I suppose I almost read it all in a few days.
Yesterday I picked up After Whorl: Bran Reborn by Nancy Jardine. This is my last read of the month for which I have an upcoming blog tour. I have already read 36% of the book and found it quite easy to do so. I can’t see that this will take me too long to finish at all. It’s a lot easier to read than The Beltane Choice, in my opinion. It’s definitely more historical fiction than romantic fiction, which I like.
Visions of Zarua is taking me a lot longer to listen to than I would have liked. My blog tour post is coming up pretty imminently, and I still have seven hours left to listen to. I’m going to put some serious time into listening to it next week to have this completed in time to write my review. I have to. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, because I am, I just don’t listen to audiobooks very quickly.
So, a few books have been added to the TBR this week. My first addition of the week came from a charity stall in my local Tesco, for the benefit of Cancer Research. I managed to pick up a second-hand, but a good-as-new copy of The Forbidden Queen by Anne O’Brien. You can tell it has never been read by the condition of the spine – not only has it not been cracked, it’s not even stretched.
Thanks to Bookbub, I have also added a couple more books by John Marrs to the TBR. I have already added The Good Samaritan to the list. This week, I added When You Disappeared and Her Last Move, because both sound fantastic!
Blogtober continues and I have a mixed line up of posts to keep things fresh for you guys. Here is what to expect popping up in the near future: –
Monday 14th October – Quintessential Quotes: Margaret Atwood edition
Tuesday 15th October – Top Ten Tuesday: New releases I am excited for
Wednesday 16th October – Book Review: Crowfall by Ed McDonald
Thursday 17th October – Book Promo: Darkest Hour by Rachel Churcher
Friday 18th October – Shelf Control
Saturday 19th October – My Holiday Reads
Sunday 20th October – Blog Tour: Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson
Monday 21st October – Netgalley: Yay or Nay?
Tuesday 22nd October – Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Worlds I Love
Wednesday 23rd October – Tips to get out of a reading slump
Thursday 24th October – Autumn: The Season of Reading (for me!)
Friday 25th October – First Lines Friday
Saturday 26th October – Blogging and Social Media
Sunday 27th October – Sunday Summary
I have lots of blog posts in this week’s list as I am going on holiday very soon! I already have four of these scheduled, with a draft for a fifth post well underway. I’m going to be prepping these posts before I go, with the exception of my Sunday Summary on the 27th. Even if it’s a brief list, I am going to do my best to update you on everything I have been reading in the two weeks since my last summary.
Wish me luck…
Top Blog Posts of the Week
It has been a few weeks, but here are a few blog posts I have stumbled across and enjoyed reading this week: –
Hello spooky friends! It’s time to share this month’s reading list – and it’s a bumper one! I am going on holiday with my lovely sister a little later this month and I’m crossing my fingers for lovely sunshine and some R&R – reading and relaxation time!
A combination of blog tours and a few reads of my own choice to check off the list make for a busy month. In order to keep up with this list, I am looking at having to read an average of 59 pages a day. Combine this with taking part in Blogtober, and you’ll see that I don’t like to make my life easy!
It’s a good job I like a challenge right? Are you ready to check out the books on this month’s TBR?
Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles – Paul Twivy
This magical story is inspired by the most haunting and least explored country in the world – Namibia – with its foggy Skeleton Coast, buried goldmines, shocking secrets and awe-inspiring sand dunes.
Spread across the face of its deserts are hundreds of miles of ‘fairy circles’ : vast enough to be seen from space. They grow and die with the same lifespan as humans, yet no-one has been able to explain why or how they appear.
Then one day, three teenagers and their families arrive from different parts of the globe. Helped by bushmen, the buried possessions of a Victorian explorer, and a golden leopard, they solve the mystery of the African Circles. What will be discovered beneath the hallowed ground? And how will it change the future of the planet above it?
My blog tour post isn’t until the end of the month, but I am prioritising reading these books first.
The synopsis is both unusual and intriguing for this book; it’s what drew my attention to it. The blog tour has been extended too, so it has grabbed a lot of bloggers attention. The book also has some sci-fi elements to it, so I can’t wait to see how this ties into the book!
To Snare a Witch: Book 1 – Bell, Book and Candle – Jay Raven
A chilling historical tale of lust, sorcery and devastating revenge.
No female dares spurn the lecherous advances of Sir Henry Cruttendon, 17th Century England’s most reviled nobleman. To do so risks a retribution that would terrify the Devil himself.
But Elizabeth Fiennes is no ordinary woman, blessed with stunning beauty, intelligence and guile. Coming from an influential family, she believes she is safe. What she doesn’t understand is that the Earl is determined to satisfy his lust at any cost and plans to use the wave of witch trials, fear and superstition sweeping the countryside to force her into his clutches.
And as he springs his malicious trap it triggers a chain of unholy events plunging hunter and prey into a maelstrom of deceit, terror and depravity – leaving them both staring into the face of true evil…
I am reading this novella for a blog tour as well, one day after Hallowed Ground. The end of the month is packed with reviews – four in four days!
At 85 pages, this one is comparatively short so I can probably read it in one sitting. I really enjoyed reading Game of Crones, also by Jay Raven earlier this year. The writing style of Game of Crones suited me really well and I devoured it quickly. I trust I will be able to read To Snare a Witch in good time too.
If you were given the chance to become a powerful sorceress, would you leave behind everything you thought you knew?
When Addison is offered the position of her dreams through a mysterious phone call, she rises to the occasion and moves to the Florida Keys to a mansion called Paradise House.
Footsteps from playful ghosts, a room of killer dolls, and an all too intelligent owl lead her to the mysteries that lie within the walls, to reveal the true reason behind her invitation. When dark forces get a hold of her and her patient, Addison is left with no choice but to take extreme measures to protect the ones she loves.
Will Addison be able to acquire the necessary skills fast enough in order to protect her patient, and defeat the evil entities that thrive in the mansion?
I have the pleasure of reviewing this mystical, arcane novel on none other than Halloween (or Hop Tu Naa here). It feels very appropriate to be reading books with spooky and sinister goings-on this month. How could I refuse this blog tour spot?
RAVAGED BY WAR …AD 71. After the battle at Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed. Returning to Marske, Ineda finds her grandmother dead, though Brennus is not. Snared by a Roman patrol, they are marched to Witton where he is forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion. Embracing his new identity as Bran, Brennus vows to avert Roman occupation of northernmost Brigantia. Ineda becomes his doughty spying accomplice, though sometimes she’s too impetuous. Trading with the Romans lends excellent opportunities for information gathering. Over time, Bran’s feelings for Ineda mar with his loyalty to Ineda’s father. When she disappears, and cannot be found, Bran enters direct service with Venutius, King of the Brigantes.
If I want a rest after Blogtober then I have to go a few days longer before I can get it! After Whorl Bran Reborn is my last blog tour read of the month, with a tour date of 1st November. I recently read the first book in the series, The Beltane Choice. I enjoyed reading about a completely new period in British history. This book picks up after the events of the first book and I cannot wait to see how the story progresses.
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
I first took an interest in Greek Mythology earlier this year, reading Mythos by Stephen Fry. There are a lot of good reviews of Circe, and it won a Goodreads Choice award last year. I bought a physical copy of the book earlier this year and I am taking this on holiday with me. Given the choice, I like a mix of e-books and physical ones – it’s not so large that it’ll compromise my luggage space.
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
I bought my copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone at the same time as Circe. Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer duology was absolutely fantastic! I wouldn’t describe myself as a champion of YA literature; I don’t read all that much of it, but I adored these! Based on my love of those, it was a no-brainer decision to try her other books. This also isn’t too large, so it’s coming away with me!
We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.
Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.
At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.
Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.
Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend. The epic work of literary horror from the #1 bestselling author of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.
I won a Netgalley download of Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. Given the nature of the book, it’s appropriate to wrap up with this book for Hop Tu Naa. Doesn’t it sound really creepy?! It reminds me a little of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary with the whole small town and sinister forest vibe. I loved that book. I wonder how it will compare.
So, seven books… I think that’s got to be one of the longest reading lists I have set for myself. Have you read any of these books? What spooky reads are you reading this autumn?