Book Review

Equinox – Paul McCracken

I am joining the blog tour today for dystopian novel Equinox by Paul McCracken. Many thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part, and to Paul for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

War consumed the world at the end of the twenty-first century. A new dominant empire reigns, the Denestra Empire.

The Empire put tight restrictions on its people, denying them the freedoms that Denestra viewed as fuel to conflict in the past.

A resistance movement rises but is only given real hope when a map is handed down to its leader, a map leading to a powerful device created by one of Denestra’s former enemies, a device that could turn the tide of war.

Cleo Kennedy is the former commander of Denestra’s elite military unit, The Purgery. After a betrayal, Cleo now fights the Denestra Empire alongside a former smuggler, Seif. Cleo is enlisted by the resistance to use the map and find the rumoured device before the Denestra Empire. It is a mission that could bring the end to the conflict and bring Cleo closer to those that have betrayed her.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

REVIEW:

Equinox is a fast-paced, action-packed novel, rich with detailed worldbuilding. With some dystopian fiction, I can find it hard to picture the world that the characters find themselves living in, but that certainly wasn’t the case here, and I came away with a vivid picture of Dinestra and its surrounds.

While lacking nothing in terms of drama and imagery, I did find that Equinox was a little short of emotion for my personal tastes. However, as regular readers will know, I am a sucker for emotion heavy heartbreakers, so other readers may find that there was the perfect level of emotion for them in this book. I could also see that the very reserved nature of the characters may have been a deliberate style choice reflective of the lives they were living, and, especially with Cleo and Fhey, the training they had undergone.

If adventure laden with thrills and spills is your kind of thing, then Equinox is the book for you, and if Paul McCracken could be persuaded to write a sequel, I would certainly be interested to read what happened next for his characters.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Northern Irish novelist, Paul McCracken was born 16th January 1991 in the Ulster hospital, Dundonald, just outside of Belfast. He grew up in the Castlereagh area of east Belfast where he also went to school.

Ever since he could hold a pencil, he wanted to be an artist and no-one, not even the school career advisor could tell him otherwise. He left education with only three GCSE’s and an Art diploma. He tried to make it as a fine artist whilst also trying to find any work to support himself financially. However, the more he learned about the commercial art world, the more he wanted no part in it.

In spring 2011, he enrolled in a five day film making course through the Prince’s Trust charity. He always had a passion for storytelling. During the course, he impressed the owner of the studio at which the course was being held, through the raw creativity he displayed. The studio owner was the first to encourage Paul to write his own material, that material being screenplays. After leaving the course with new found confidence and ambition, Paul started to learn the craft of screenwriting and got to work writing his very first feature film.

After securing full time work later that year, he found a renewed inspiration to write again and wrote a full length film script in the space of a week. Paul kept on writing other projects as well as continually editing the first script, but he kept the fact he was writing close to himself as he didn’t want to face any negativity if he were to tell anyone. The script would go on to score highly in an international screenplay competition, based out of Los Angeles. It would then place in the quarter-finals of the same competition for the next two years in a row, accompanied by another screenplay that Paul wrote next.

Years later, after entering competitions, pitching, submitting and doing some occasional freelance scriptwriting, Paul wanted to find a way to get his work into the public eye. Writing a novel was a challenge that seemed daunting but also exciting. Having first thought of converting his best script into a novel, he decided to come up with a completely original story.

In 2018, he self published his debut novel, Layla’s Song.

In 2020 he secured two book deals with two different English publishers. The Conrad Press and PM Books (Imprint of Holland House Books). The first of these books was Where Crows Land, a detective thriller set in Belfast and published by The Conrad Press.

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Book Review

The Wedding Cake – Isabella May

A huge welcome back to Isabella May and the latest in her delectable Foodie Romances. Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour, and to Isabella for providing me with a copy of The Wedding Cake.

BLURB:

One summer in Spain.

One accidentally double-booked eight-tier wedding cake that needs to put in a same day appearance at a rustic countryside finca AND a beachside villa.

Two brides.

Two grooms.

Hundreds of hungry guests.

Freya Ashcroft, owner and culinary whizz at Marbella’s five star bakery, is going to need a miracle to ‘save the date’. If only that was her sole dilemma – as luck wouldn’t have it, she’s also fallen head over heels in love with one of the aforementioned male clients…

PURCHASE LINKS:

Purchase Link

REVIEW:

It’s no secret that I love Isabella May’s books, and I devour them just as quickly as I would the delicious food that is always a character in its own right in each book. The Wedding Cake delivers everything you have come to expect and love from Isabella May – delicious food, gorgeous locations, a sprinkling of humour, and as an added bonus, the return of some familiar and much loved faces.

Filled with characters that you will fall in love with, and others that you will love to hate, The Wedding Cake is an absolute delight. I have to say the finca sounds like the setting for the wedding of my dreams, whilst the villa wedding is more the stuff of nightmares! From start to finish, I was rooting for Freya to find happiness, both professionally and personally, and for one or two characters to get what was coming to them! Without giving anything away, there are one or two characters that I would love to see pop up in future books so I could find out what happened next for them – but then you all know that once I get attached to characters, I find it very hard to say goodbye to them at the end of the book.

The Wedding Cake is the perfect summer holiday read, and had me counting down the days to my long awaited return to Spain!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. She grew up in Somerset on Glastonbury’s ley lines and loves to feature her quirky English hometown in her stories.

After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children’s publishing… selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!

All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel – both feature extensively in her romcoms.

Isabella is also a Level 4 Pranic Healer and a stillbirth mum.

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Make sure you visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for more on this delightful book.

Book Review

Please Remember Me – Florence Keeling

Way back in 2018, I had the privilege of being part of the blog tour for Reflected Destinies by Florence Keeling. Well, now, this wonderful book is back with a brand new title, cover and blurb. You can read my original review HERE but before you do that, here are all the updated details.

BLURB:

Inheriting a run down house from a stranger isn’t exactly the present Laura had expected for her 30th birthday. Especially when the house in question holds memories of a frightening encounter from her prom night fourteen years ago…

So when a man starts appearing in the house her first thought is that she must be dreaming. But Ben is very real indeed and somehow linked to an antique mirror and another life in 1942.

As their friendship blossoms, Laura learns more about the house and its history…and even discovers some surprises about her own destiny.

With her future foretold, Laura must find a way to alter destiny. But how can you change the future if it’s already written in the past?

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I was born in Coventry but now live in Nuneaton. I married the love of my life over 20 years ago and we have two almost grown up children. We share our lives with two mad dogs as well.

Writing is a great passion of mine, that one day I hope to be able to turn into a career but until that day comes, I will continue working in accounts and payroll.

I also write for children as Lily Mae Walters.

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