Tag: blog tour

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!

 

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

 

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!

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 9th September 2018

Good evening – I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, as always!

It’s time to share my Sunday Summary again! Where do the weeks go? Isn’t it scary how time flies…? I can’t exactly say it’s been fun. I’ve had an exceptionally busy week at work, with colleagues on holiday or off getting their little ones into primary school. So sweet!

Anyway, less about them and more about me. I can be such a diva sometimes!

Earlier this week, I shared my top ten authors in a Top Ten Tuesday post. I actually enjoyed writing this post as it gave me the scope to talk about more books. Frankly, there are so many books out there that deserve recognition. Writing this from an author perspective felt less restricting. I did find it difficult to narrow down to ten though. I enjoy reading books from MANY authors. If you weren’t included, then I am sorry. I love you all really!

On Thursday I published another Throwback Thursday mini-review. This week, I featured two books by Rachel Hartman – Seraphina and Shadow Scale. These two books take a completely different approach to a world in which dragons and humans live together. I really enjoyed reading them, with their interesting characters and gorgeous descriptions of music. If you want to read more, you can do so in that post.

On Saturday I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger award by Emma @ Emma’s Chapter. I’m very grateful and excited to have been nominated for the award!

 

Books Read

Last Sunday I mentioned that I was going to finish reading Three Bloody Pieces that night. I didn’t have long left with the book, after all. I confess though, I did not. My blog post was finished and published later than I expected, so I finished the book on Monday instead.

Next, I started reading The Barefoot Road by Vivienne Vermes. I am about halfway through the book at the moment, but I want to read more tonight to get further along. (I know I said this last week, but oh well!) I had hoped to have this book finished by today, as I want to have plenty of time to write my review prior to the Blog Tour on the 19th. I haven’t, but I’ll be making a conscious effort to get this book finished early next week!

 

Books Discovered

I told you last week that I had nothing to report here. I regret to inform you, friends – I lied.

I didn’t mean to lie to you; I just kinda forgot I bought a book. That happens to us all, right? So, I apologise. Last week, I bought a copy of The Chalk Man. Having read some excellent reviews, I wanted to pick up a physical copy of the book, and I did!

The second book on the list this week, A Discovery of Witches, was recommended by Paige @ Just One More Paige.  Thank you very much for suggesting this to me!

 

Coming Up…

 

So, what posts are coming up on my blog this week?

Striking whilst the iron is hot, I’m going to write my own Mystery Blogger post in reply to Emma’s nomination (above). I truly am grateful that she has thought to include me in that list. A little bit of recognition can go a long way! I’m going to have to get blog-hopping to find some other posts fit for nomination! I’ll admit I’ve been a bit lax on that lately anyway. Better late than never!

 

 

 

My nomination for the Mystery Blogger award recognises the mini-review series I started a few weeks ago now. The aim of that series is to look back at books I have read previously and feature them on my blog. I feel it only appropriate to write another one of those posts again. This week though, I’ve decided the subject already. I felt it to be a little cliché starting the review series with these books, so I held back. Now though, I think I’m ready to talk about the books I would argue J. K. Rowling is most famous for. It’s a series that I can hand on heart say I grew up with; as I am sure many of you did too.

 

Reading List – September 2018

Good evening folks… I hope you are having a great weekend!

A new month is upon us once again, so it’s time to dust off the shelves and see which books I’ll be reading in September! Ironically, I’ll actually be reading the books on my list for Blog Tours mostly this month, so the TBR isn’t taking much of a dent. Shall we have a look at which books I’ll be reading/featuring on my blog soon?

 

The Barefoot Road – Vivienne Vermes

Goodreads – The Barefoot Road

 

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.

 

I’m looking forward to taking part in the upcoming tour for the novel, which has been organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. My review of the book will be published on 23rd September. I hope you can join me for that.

I was drawn to the book by the synopsis, in particular, the mystery of the girl and what kind of hysteria is associated following her presence in the town.

 

 

Ragis – Donna Migliaccio

Ragis

Goodreads – Ragis

 

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.

 

I first featured this series on my blog at the beginning of this year… and I have really come to love it! Ragis is the fourth installment – anyone who wants to brush up on the earlier books can do so by reading my reviews of Kinglet, Fiskur and StoneKing by following the links.

I love epic fantasy, so being a part of the Blog Tour for Ragis was a no-brainer for me! I’m reviewing this book as a part of the tour on 25th September.

 

 

A Stain on the Soul – Elizabeth Davies

Caitlyn is resigned to another lifetime of being a familiar – the witch’s lifetime that is, not her own – and has found a degree of peace in her role as the Duke of Normandy’s protector and spy.

That peace is shattered when she returns to England and comes face-to-face with her past, and with a man who she desperately hopes will become her future.

 

I am reading the first book of this series, Three Bloody Pieces at the moment. As yet, the cover has not been revealed for this book, but that is being published later this month! The Blog Tour is taking place in October, but to make sure I have plenty of time to read this, it is on September’s TBR.

 

 

Desolation – Jesper Schmidt

Goodreads – Desolation

 

Just as Aea had finally found happiness in her troubled life, everything starts to fall apart. When she discovers that her sister, Isota, is still alive, Aea ventures to save her, well aware that every Duian who leaves the forest realm of Thaduin will inevitably catch a deadly disease, the Field Blight. Aea finds herself in a race against time.

Arkum’Sul really wants nothing but to be left alone. Being the sole survivor of his race, and the son of a dragon god, makes such desires difficult to fulfill.

Meanwhile, Ayida, another Duian, resides in the Bronze Tower, far north of Thaduin, where she has grown to become a powerful spellcaster. However, it requires all of her skills to heal herself of the Field Blight daily. This place is the heart of the Magio Order, a dominant organization of female magic-wielders, where Ayida has tried for decades to ascend from Apprentice to the rank of Sienna… and failed every time. As she makes another attempt, all goes horribly wrong.

Will the world of Erisdün survive as ancient myths and reality become one?

 

I’ve had an ARC copy of this book to read for some time…but something else always managed to creep up and take priority. Well, enough is enough! Described as a “fast-paced fantasy, with dragons, demons, and magic”, I really hope to enjoy reading this one!

It’s waited long enough…

 

 

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…

 

This is the third book in the Caitlin series, and again, no cover has been revealed as yet. This is due to come out in October, with my review on the blog tour coming at the very beginning of November. I figure I am as well continuing with the series whilst it is fresh in my mind. That also means that I can have my review prepared in plenty of time for the Tour!

 

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

the eye of the world

Goodreads – The Eye of the World

 

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

 

Yes, this is on the list AGAIN!

I managed to read about half of the book last month, so I am pleased with that much. It’s a long book, okay? It’s also quite difficult to follow. I found myself picking it up and reading other books in between last month, just because I needed the breaks to digest what was going on. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do the same this month and work my way to the end!

 

So… that’s the list! What are you reading this month?

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The London Murder Mystery series – Alice Castle

I am very pleased to be taking part in this Blog Tour today. The tour features the first two books in The London Murder Mystery series, Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery.

I was very kindly provided with free copies of each book in exchange for a review by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I cannot wait to share my thoughts with you guys!

 

Death in Dulwich

Death in Dulwich (London Murder Mystery 1)

Goodreads – Death in Dulwich

Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane is forced to become Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple when she stumbles over a murder victim on her first day at work. To clear her name, Beth is plunged into a cozy mystery that’s a contemporary twist on Golden Age crime classics. But can she pull it off? She already has a bouncy young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and lots of bills to pay, as she struggles to keep up with the yummy mummies of SE21. Join Beth in #1 of the London Murder Mystery series, as she discovers the nastiest secrets can lurk in the nicest places.

My Thoughts…

Beth is a bubbly young woman, who discovers a murder on her first day back at work. Having convinced herself that she is implicated, she delves in to try and uncover the murderer and motive.

I quite enjoyed her bouncy, ditzy character. She loves to think she is organised; she cleans and tidies the house to “get her thoughts together”. The facade slips whenever she has to tip the contents of her handbag out to find her phone though. It is her way of determining that she is in control. But, as a single mum, things can get pretty hectic. I like the “modern” family structure in the book – increasingly there are more families, for one reason or another, that are reliant on a single parent. I thought it was great that this was recognised.

Alice Castle’s description of Beth is on-point, even down to the rogue, uncooperative hair (anyone with long hair will really relate to this, I’m sure). Her personality makes her the perfect candidate to want to uncover the mystery, despite being warned of the potential dangers by Inspector York. Exasperated at her meddling and finding her around the corner of every development, York has to concede to her knowledge of the small, exclusive community in order to solve the case. Whilst most of the narrative is written from Beth’s perspective, there are small sections from Inspector York. I would have liked to see a little more from his perspective, as the expert on the case.

The narrative is full of plot twists, leaving you guessing the next move and the identity of the perpetrator. What makes it even better is that the final twist was one I didn’t expect at all.

 

The Girl in the Gallery

The London Murder Mystery series #2

Goodreads – The Girl in the Gallery

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane sneaks off to visit one of her favourite places – the world-famous Picture Gallery.

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy, Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Who is The Girl in the Gallery?

Join Beth in adventure #2 of The London Murder Mystery series as she tries to uncover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.

 

My Thoughts…

I moved on to reading The Girl in the Gallery almost immediately after Death in Dulwich. A number of the main characters are already established; therefore the plot flows effortlessly, without filling in too much back-story. The tale continues shortly after Death in Dulwich leaves off, making the book easy to pick up. There are plenty of references to the previous book to remind you what has happened before anyway.

The biggest plus point is how well the book tackles the sensitive issues within. Body image and the impact of social media are explored in detail. I particularly like how different characters in the book have various views on the struggle teenage girls’ experience. On the whole, the narrative has a balanced approach. This topic is completely different from the first book, so neither narrative nor setting is stale and repetitive.

The dynamic between characters is familiar, yet boundaries are tested in this second installment of the series. Inspector York has come to appreciate that in Dulwich, Beth has access to the inside scoop and enough curiosity to investigate to make his job easier. Where there was a reluctance to involve her in the previous case, now he calls upon her insight willingly.

One of my observations from Death in Dulwich is that there was little input from Inspector York into the narrative. Small sections are devoted to his viewpoint on the case, but they are few and far between. Whilst the sections in The Girl in the Gallery are still quite brief, York certainly has more of a voice and presence than before.

I really enjoyed reading both of these books and cannot wait to see what Calamity in Camberwell has in store! Once again, a huge thank you to both the author and Rachel for organising the tour! If you would like to read either book featured today, a copy can be purchased using the following links:-

Alternatively, the author is running a GIVEAWAY of a signed copy of each book via Rafflecopter. Please note that this is only available to UK residents at this time. See the Terms and Conditions below:-

*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link above. 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 be 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.

 


 

About the Author

Before turning to a life of crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, was a European best-seller which sold out in two weeks.

Alice is currently working on Calamity in Catford, the sequel to Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery. It’s the third instalment in the London Murder Mystery series and will be published by Crooked Cat next year. Once again, it features Beth Haldane and DI Harry York. 

Alice is also a top mummy blogger, writing at DD’s Diary.

She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

Join Alice Castle on her Facebook page.

Alice is also on Twitter and sometimes even on Instagram 

Blog Tour: Ravencry – Ed McDonald Review

Today I am incredibly lucky, as I get to share my review of Ravencry for the ongoing Blog Tour. Firstly, a huge thank you to Stevie, Gollancz and of course Ed McDonald himself for all the hard work!

 

Ravencry

Goodreads – Ravencry

Amazon     Book Depository

 

Synopsis

Four years have passed since Nall’s Engine drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but as they hurl fire from the sky, darker forces plots against the republic.

A new power is rising: a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady manifests in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power even as the city burns around them.

When Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached, an object of terrible power is stolen, and Galharrow and his Blackwings must once find out which of Valengrad’s enemies is responsible before they have a chance to use it.

To save Valengrad, Galharrow, Nenn and Tnota must venture to a darker, more twisted and more dangerous place than any they’ve walked before: the very heart of the Misery.

RAVENCRY is the second book in the Raven’s Mark series, continuing the story that began with the award winning epic fantasy BLACKWING.

 

About the Series

Blackwing, the first book of the series, is one of the best debut novels I have read to date.

The Raven’s Mark is an Epic Fantasy series set in a magical, semi-postapocalyptic world. Magic has destroyed the landscape now known as the Misery.  Vicious monsters roam that poisoned land, scoured by the Nameless identified only as Crowfoot. Anyone roaming the Misery can fall victim to any of the creatures that lurk there.

Ryhalt is Blackwing and bound to serve Crowfoot. In between he takes mercenary jobs, chasing deserters and preventing them from crossing the Misery to convert to the Deep Kings. It is a long war, but Ryhalt soon finds his involvement is about to get a lot deeper.

Events in Ravencry take place four years after Blackwing. Whereas Ryhalt isn’t a particularly changed man, Valengrad has moved on from the events of the first book. The devastation is still evident though. The Bright Lady, who first appeared at the pinnacle of disaster is making appearances again. A new religion is founded under her visage and the preachers proclaim her return to save them in their darkest hours…

 

My Thoughts…

One of the things I really enjoyed about Ravencry is that the narrative isn’t identical to Blackwing. Having read Blackwing only a couple of weeks prior, it was clear that events were progressing. The setting and characters are familiar, but what has transpired before has changed them. Ryhalt’s cynical perspective on life is as humorous as ever, although in this book we get to see a slightly less hard-faced side to his personality. Shaped by the experiences of his past, we get to see the man he could have been… if the Nameless and Deep Kings hadn’t intervened with their war, that is.

I have always been a fan of magic with roots in scientific realism. Brandon Sanderson is particularly good for this, basing his magic on alchemy (Mistborn series) or around light (Stormlight Archives). In this series, magic centres around the filtering of light. The ability to wield magic isn’t granted to everybody, thankfully. Light spinners manipulate the light from the moon into stored energy. There are larger and darker powers too, more vast than we can imagine – known only to the Nameless and Deep Kings. Personally, I enjoy magic systems this way as it brings that world just one step closer to reality.

There is plenty of world-building throughout these books; Ed McDonald reveals the backstory gradually as the narrative continues to grow and evolve. With such a rich history, it would be easy to reveal too much too quickly. A lot of Ryhalt’s character is conveyed here, but details are divulged at the right time to compel you to read on.

Ryhalt, (or Captain Galharrow) is the perfect character to lead the narrative; he is inseparably entwined with the magic manipulating the world. Servitude to Crowfoot leads him down dark paths and lends him a depth of experience to draw upon later. Even when Ryhalt reflects on his own life, the narrative is not even for one second dull. He recognizes his flaws, doubts himself, laments his mistakes and lets us into his thoughts uncensored, proving he is as human as we are. None of the characters fall flat on the page.

I would even go so far as to call them friends.

 


 

About the Author

Ed McDonald has spent many years dancing between different professions, cities and countries, but the only thing any of them share in common is that they have allowed him enough free time to write. He currently lives with his wife in London, a city that provides him with constant inspiration, where he works as a university lecturer. When he’s not grading essays or wrangling with misbehaving plot lines he can usually be found fencing with longswords, rapiers and pollaxes. You can find out more about Ed by visiting his website or following him on Twitter (@EdMcDonaldTFK) and Facebook.

***Profile originally published on Gollancz’s website

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected

Blog Tour: Chilling Tales of the Unexpected – Ann Girdharry

Guess who almost mixed up their dates for their slot on the blog tour for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected?

Yep, that would be me.

Normally I am so on-the-ball with checking these things – I have never been wrong before!  The one time I don’t check before hitting publish on my Sunday Summary post, however, it’s a different story. At least I checked at all, so I am posting on the correct day!

Source: Giphy

My next blog tour is scheduled for the 14th July, so that is where I got muddled. Anyway, less about my epic failures and more about books, yes?

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected

Chillig Tales of the Unexpected

Goodreads – Chilling Tales of the Unexpected

Purchase via Amazon

Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice 
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree 
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?

 

*** I kindly received a copy of Chilling Tales of the Unexpected via Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are my own***

These tales are a fabulous read when you have a few minutes to spare.

I usually find myself engrossed in epic tomes; books jam-packed full of detail and as solid as a brick. Seriously, I am not a small handbag girl…. anything less than War & Peace and the kitchen sink and I consider myself under-equipped. In complete contrast, I had forgotten how refreshing it is to have such a light, quick read whenever you have a cheeky five minutes! Hefty books are great if they are your thing – but you have to have the time to dedicate to them in order to make it work.

Each of the four stories within Chilling Tales of the Unexpected is broken down nicely, so each part takes no longer than ten minutes to read – if that! It makes it ideal for sneaking a few pages in before work, in your lunch hour… or even a quick read before bed (so long as you don’t have an overactive imagination at least!) Each part is paced in such a way as to keep each story moving forward without a clutter of unnecessary detail. This is essential for short stories because their structure requires a minimalist approach. I also think this was used in such a way as to hide plot twists until their due time.

If I had to choose, I think my favourite story was Tell Me A Secret. It’s a complex tale of trust, deception, and manipulation and in my opinion, struck up the best balance of plot/character development whilst keeping a concise narrative.

If Ann’s work as a psychotherapist inspired some of the character’s that feature in her stories, let me say that I am glad I lock my door at night! Each story is different from the next, but most have either unsavoury characters, involve death in one way or another, or both. What makes these stories unnerving is how close a “perpetrator” (for want of a word) is to the “victim”. Think about it too hard and you’ll start overthinking about the people in your life…

No seriously, don’t.

 

In Summary…

I really enjoyed this short collection of stories. If you enjoy genres like psychological thriller or crime then these tales should appeal to you.

Well-written and concise, yet not lacking for detail either, these are perfect for filling a few minutes of free time and then occupying your mind for the rest of the day! Perhaps not ideal for those with a vivid imagination, or trust issues.

 

Want to know more? I would love if you could also check out some other stops on the tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources… or you can find out more about the author herself below:-

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected Tour Dates

 

Author Bio

 

Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK. Her crime thriller novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, was an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist 2017. Two of her thrillers are READERS’ FAVOURITE Five Star Books.

 

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