Tag: blog tour

Blog Tour Review: Warrior of Mercia – MJ Porter

Hello everybody and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Warrior of Mercia by M. J. Porter. This is the third book of the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles, and I have had the pleasure I’ve taken part in blog tours for the first two books of the series. If you want to catch up on those before jumping into my review of Warrior of Mercia, you can find links to Son of Mercia and Wolf of Mercia here.

Before I begin my review in earnest, I would like to say thank you to the author, Boldwood Books and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour. It is the last day of the tour, and there are a number of fabulous bloggers who have contributed as well. I’ll share more details on those below.

Now, let’s find out more about the book!

 

Warrior of Mercia – M. J. Porter

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 316

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date: 09 Nov 2022

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

 

Goodreads – Warrior of Mercia

Icel is a lone wolf no more.

Oath sworn to Wiglaf, King of Mercia and acknowledged as a member of Ealdorman Ælfstan’s warrior band, Icel continues to forge his own destiny on the path to becoming the Warrior of Mercia.

With King Ecgberht of Wessex defeated and Londonium back under Mercian control, the Wessex invasion of Mercia is over.

But the Wessex king was never Mercia’s only enemy. An unknown danger lurks in the form of merciless Viking raiders, who set their sights on infiltrating the waterways of the traitorous breakaway kingdom of the East Angles, within touching distance of Mercia’s eastern borders.

Icel must journey to the kingdom of the East Angles and unite against a common enemy to ensure Mercia’s hard-won freedom prevails.

 

Purchase Link – Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

If you enjoy historical fiction novels so full of action that they keep you on the edge of your seat, Warrior of Mercia is for you! With each new chapter, the detailed narrative and political landscape Icel lives in deepens.

Icel has come a long way from the first book in the series, Son of Mercia. By and large, he has kept to his roots and has far more affinity for healing people as opposed to causing harm. However, his character development throughout the series allows him to expand into a more traditional role expected in ninth-century historical fiction novels. England is divided, and invaders from the Norse lands threaten their every way of life. Icel has transitioned from a boy who quails at the idea of harming someone to a young man who will raise his seax willingly to defend his people.

That isn’t the typical plot development you would expect from these kinds of novels. However, it is for this reason that this series really works for me. It offers something different and unique. Icel’s perspective is, at least for me, unseen so far in this historical setting. Whilst comparable to the likes of Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom, the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles has a tale of its own, and from a fresh pair of eyes.

Warrior of Mercia is a fast-paced read. At just 327 pages, it is very easy to pick up and makes for a quick read. The chapters are also nicely broken out so none are too long. It is a small thing but makes a difference to the reading experience. It makes it easier and more enjoyable. You have the option to pick it up and put it down relatively easily – although, you won’t want to! Even though the page count isn’t too onerous, the quality and quantity of the narrative isn’t compromised. On the contrary, the narrative is full of in-depth battle scenes and political machinations. If these are elements you enjoy in your books, just as I do, then you will be just as thrilled with the book as I am.

I am glad I opted to take part in this blog tour. I had high expectations for the book based on the prior books in the series. Needless to say, Warrior of Mercia did not disappoint! It picks up nicely from events in the previous book. Events from the previous books are nicely summarised and spotted in quite naturally to refresh us as readers. Then, the narrative throws us back in to the tumultuous setting I have come to enjoy.

I hope I have inspired you to take a look at this book based on my review. If you are still unsure, I would like to find out more, there are a number of bloggers who have also taken part in the tour. David kicked off the blog tour with a smashing review. I agree with his view that the descriptions within the book are so immersive that you could be right there with Icel in the thick of it. I also enjoyed Amy‘s review. She correctly points out how well the narrative interweaves historical fact with elements of fiction for an all-round, entertaining read! These are but a couple of examples of contributors to the tour, and I hope you can take some time to check out their posts as well! 

I hope between us we can convince you to pick up Warrior of Murcia, or even the series as a whole if that’s your cup of tea! This book could be read perfectly well as a stand-alone, but I would personally recommend the whole series!

Author Bio

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, and in Viking Age Denmark. They were raised in the shadow of a building that they believed housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia – so their writing destiny was set. The first novel in their new Anglo-Saxon series for Boldwood Son of Mercia was published in February 2022.

Social Media Links

Twitter https://twitter.com/coloursofunison

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/m_j_porter/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/MJPorterNews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mj-porter

Monthly TBR: September 2022 (Bookoplathon!)

You can laugh at my expense into today’s September Monthly TBR, so please enjoy the opportunity whilst you can! I’ve decided to take part in another monthly readathon – Bookoplathon! 

Taking a more flexible approach to reading has really worked for me, even when I took part in a readathon last month. I really enjoyed taking part in that readathon, and when I happened to see that there was another one that I really liked the sound of, I decided to do it this month along with other readers. All I can say is it’s a good job I’ve found my reading motivation because as you will see, luck was not on my side with this particular game.

As you have probably guessed by the title, Bookoplathon is based around the board game Monopoly. Each space has a different reading prompt.  To start the game, decide on a number of rolls and as you move around the board you have to pick a book relevant to the prompt you land on.

It would be too much to explain the whole game in detail. If you are interested, here is a link to Becca‘s announcement video which explains all the spaces and rules. The only rule I will explain here is that if you roll a double, you have to add an extra roll to your game. This means you end up adding another book to your TBR. This happened to me a lot! As and when any other rules become relevant, I’ll describe them below.

Here is a copy of my Bookoplathon board, which shows how my game played out.

I decided on five rolls before I started. That way, I rationalised, that if I got a double, I still have the capacity to read six books. Only, luck wasn’t on my side. I ended up rolling three doubles, meaning I have a total of eight books to pick up this month.

I don’t normally compensate with the length of the books I choose to read. When I loosely set a TBR, I’m more likely to read fewer books if the page count is high rather than deliberately choose shorter books. Unfortunately, I have to be conscious of the length of the books I’m going to be picking up this month to satisfy the prompts of bookoplathon. That’s not to say I’ve added eight 20-page books to my reading list this month, because I haven’t. However, I also don’t have multiple 800 page epics like I did for magical readathon. I learned my lesson there!

So, now the basic rules have been explained, let’s jump into the prompts I landed on and the books I have chosen to satisfy them: –

Silverthorn

Starting from the go square, I rolled a seven for my first roll. As with the normal board, the seven lead me to a ‘chance’ space. In bookoplathon, specific books are listed on the ‘chance’ cards, and ‘community shelf’ spaces have additional prompts. For this particular game, I set 6 books for ‘chance’ and 6 prompts on the ‘community shelf’. For ‘chance’, I decided to add books already on my TBR, and for ‘community shelf’ I added prompts that weren’t already included on the board. In order to decide which book I had to read in the case of landing on one of these spaces, it was decided by a single dice roll. For my roll on the ‘chance’ space, I rolled a two. This meant the book I have to pick up is Silverthorn by Raymond E Feist.

I added this book to the ‘chance’ card because I am long overdue progressing with this series. I read the first two books as a teenager, and then again not long after I started my blog. The aim was to refresh myself to continue with the series. That was about five years ago. I won’t be reading them again (again!), in part because I don’t own them anymore, but also because I don’t have the time. I will find a way to refresh myself on events so I can pick up Silverthorn.

 

Red Sister

Next, I rolled a 12. Obviously, this was my first double roll, so I knew pretty much straight away I was already adding at least a sixth book to my list. After rolling 12, I landed on the space for favourite trope. That for me is fantasy.

It’s a very broad prompt, but I have decided to pick up Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. This is one of the oldest books on my reading list, and it fits this prompt perfectly!

A lot of fantasy books can be quite long in length, however this one isn’t too bad at 467 pages. I have read and enjoyed other books by Mark Lawrence previously – his The Broken Empire trilogy. If I enjoy Red Sister as much as I enjoyed those books, then I will be very happy I have another series to dive into!

 

In Case You Missed It

For my third roll, I landed another seven. This took me on to the prompt for reading a book that features romance. Romance is the genre I by far read the least of. However, I have enough books on my TBR that I was able to find one. For this prompt, I have decided to go way off the beaten path and pick up a book that my mum gave to me to try.

My mum is a huge fan of Lindsey Kelk, and when she ended up with two copies of the same book by accident, she gave one to me. The book is called In Case You Missed It. I’m fairly sure I’ve seen this listed as a top read from its publisher recently. If it is the book I pick up to try Lindsey Kelk as an author, then it is probably the best pick!

 

The Long Earth

For my fourth roll I landed yet another seven. Moving around the board, this took me to a ‘community shelf’ space. As with the chance space earlier, I decided which of the six prompts to pick by the roll of a single dice. I rolled a three, and the prompt was to pick up a book that has more than one author. I already have a few books that meet these criteria on my TBR; I’ve decided to pick up a book co-authored by one of my favourite authors of all time.

The book is called The Long Earth, written by Terry Pratchett and Steven Baxter. I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, and my dad is a fan of Stephen Baxter. I’m really enjoying science-fiction in general lately, so I’m looking forward to picking this book up. Hopefully, it goes better than another read I started which was co-authored by Terry Pratchett – Good Omens. That one did not end so well… not such a good omen in itself, but we’ll see! 

 

Ordinary Heroes

Moving onto my fifth roll, I rolled a six. This was my second double of the game, meaning I had to add another roll to the game later. The six lead me to the prompt for the highest rated book on my TBR. For this prompt, I had to go to my existing TBR and select the book with the highest community rating. I actually ended up picking the second book listed, only because the first was an ARC with only 11 votes and I didn’t think that was a fair representation.

The second-highest book had over 850 ratings. That book is called Ordinary Heroes, and is a memoir of the chief firefighter who attended the 9/11 incident. It is fitting that I will end up picking up this book in September.

Fortuitously, it also helps me towards my wider goal of reading at least one non-fiction book a month!

 

Dark Matter

My sixth roll was the first additional roll I had to do as a result of landing a double. I rolled at nine, moved around the board and landed on the ‘pattern and text’ prompt. I had quite a few examples of books with covers fitting the prompt on my bookshelf, but most I’ve read already. In the end, I found one that fit – Dark Matter.

Dark Matter is a relatively short science-fiction/thriller novel. It has been on my reading list since 2018. Reading this book for this prompt will allow me to tick another book off of my reading list once complete. This will be the first book I have ever read by Blake Crouch, and as I’m always excited for new to me authors, I’m excited to see if I want to continue with the series!

 

Carrie

My seventh roll was supposed to be my last roll, but luck was not on my side; I rolled a four which was yet another double! I was a bit frustrated with my luck at this point, I cannot lie. Rolling the four landed me on the ‘poll pick’ space. For this prompt, I had to choose four books and post a poll on Twitter to get the bookish community to choose my read. Here’s how the poll played out!

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