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Top Ten Tuesday – 12th April 2022

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday question comes from  Deanna at A Novel Glimpse who has requested a list of the authors I haven’t read, but want to. I found this a lot harder than I thought because there are so many wonderful authors out there that I just haven’t got round to trying yet. I decided to split my list between some authors whose books I own, but still need to read, and some authors who come highly recommended, but whose books I am yet to purchase.

  1. Victoria/V.E. Schwab – I own The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and I have watched numerous online chats that Victoria has given and her books all sound right up my street, but for some reason I have never got round to reading any of them.
  2. Jay Kristoff – I have owned the Nevernight series for a while, but even though I haven’t read a single page, I was totally won over by Jay in an online interview he gave, and went dashing out to buy the hardback edition of Empire of the Vampire from my nearest bookshop. It is a beast of a book though, and so far I just haven’t managed to squeeze it in between review commitments. I love Jay though – if you don’t already follow him on social media, I highly recommend it.
  3. Katherine Arden – In Katherine’s case, I have purchased the entire Winternight trilogy before even reading the first book, purely off the back of an interview that I read with her about the first book. It just sounded so wonderful and exactly the kind of book I love. In my head, they are books to be read curled up under a blanket in the middle of winter, so I think I will be setting aside some time this winter to really immerse myself in them.
  4. Stuart James – now, this is a tricky one. I know Stuart through a Facebook book group and have even met him (lovely guy), and I really want to support his writing. I have heard amazing things about his books, but quite frankly, I am a big fat chicken and I worry that they will freak me out! Just as soon as I can work up the courage though, I will be reading them!
  5. Holly Bourne – I have picked up various book by Holly Bourne, but something has always stolen my attention away from them for a variety of reasons. I am determined that 2022 will finally be the year that I will check her out!
  6. Colleen Hoover – I have added Colleen Hoover simply because her books seem to be everywhere I turn right now. I know very little about her writing, but with so many people talking about them, I feel a little bit like I am missing out.
  7. Meredith Russo – Meredith is an author who was recommended to me by a friend, and whose work I am interested to discover more about.
  8. Shea Ernshaw
  9. Elizabeth Acevedo
  10. Lara Avery

These last three entries on my list were recommended by my oldest, dearest friend, the one person in this world who knows me better than I know myself. I can guarantee, without a shadow of a doubt, that if she thinks I should read a particular author, then I will absolutely love them. As such, all three of these authors have made it onto my “Must Read in 2022” list.

Have you read any of the authors on my list? If you were to recommend one of their books as the best one to start discovering the writing through, which would it be? Which authors would make your Top Ten of authors you haven’t read yet, but want to?

As always, thanks to Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl for hosting!

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Book Blogger Hop – 8th April 2022

This week’s Book Blogger Hop question comes from Julie at Stepping Stones Book Reviews

ARE YOU ABLE TO CHOOSE YOUR FAVOURITE BOOKS?

I feel that’s a little like asking me to choose my favourite child (if I had children)! To a certain extent, the books I would claim as my favourites fluctuate from day to day depending on my mood, but there are a handful that are permanent fixtures on the list. Even making a list of just my favourite authors is hard enough, never mind my favourites of each of their books! If my life depended on it, I could probably narrow it down to the following five, and I think from this list it is very obvious what my favourite genre is:

  1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  2. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  3. The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale
  4. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  5. The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

Does everyone else find it as hard as I do to choose a favourite? Which books would make your list?

Thanks as always to Billy at Coffee Addicted Writer for hosting the Book Blogger Hop!

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Top Ten Tuesday – 5th April 2022

Stage two of the plan to get me blogging more regularly again is to pick up with Top Ten Tuesday from Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week is a freebie week, so I am opting to pick up one of the prompts from March and share the top ten books from my Spring TBR pile.

The first four of these are upcoming releases, that I was lucky enough to receive ARCs for from NetGalley. They all sound fab and I can’t wait to get stuck in, especially to Danielle Jawando’s When Our World Collided because I adored her previous book. Keep an eye on things here because I will be sharing my reviews very soon.

  • Theatre of Marvels – Lianne Dillsworth
  • When Our Worlds Collided – Danielle Jawando
  • Hotel Magnifique – Emily J Taylor
  • The Thief – Megan Whalen Turner

The remaining six are all books that I have on my bookshelf – some of which have been there longer than they should have been!

  • Witches Steeped in Gold – Ciannon Smart
  • Ariadne – Jennifer Saint
  • Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin
  • The Cat Who Saved Books – Sosuke Natsukawa
  • Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E Harrow

What books are you most looking forward to reading this spring? Help me make my TBR even longer with your suggestions!

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Book Blogger Hop – 1st April 2022

Spring is here, and so it feels like the perfect time to rejuvenate my blog and start adding a few posts that aren’t purely book reviews. My first step is to rejoin the Book Blogger Hop, a feature hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer which I used to really enjoy until I fell totally by the wayside!

This week’s question comes directly from Billy at Coffee Addicted Writer, and it’s actually quite a timely one for my current state of mind.

DO YOU EVER GET BURNT OUT FROM READING?

The quick answer to this is yes, I do. I don’t know if it’s because I read a lot of books from the same genre and every now and then my brain just decides it needs a break, but every few weeks or so, I will go through a period where I barely read a page for about a week. Whatever book I pick up, I can’t absorb a word. It can be an absolute favourite and I still won’t be able to bring myself to care about what happens. Even a genre switch won’t work. When this happens, the only answer is a week long boxset binge! My most recent binges have been all seven series of Scandal (although that did take longer than a week!) and The Girl Before. I am also working my way through just about every film on Disney+ – if you haven’t seen Encanto yet, I highly recommend it.

I also find that the amount I read often correlates with the state of my mental health. When I was younger, reading was definitely an escape from whatever was going on in my life at the time, but as I get older, I find it incredibly hard to switch my brain off from real life worries to concentrate on a book – that’s when the old favourites come out and I find myself turning to the likes of Rainbow Rowell, Deborah Harkness, and Isabella May for comfort.

I definitely get burn out from reading books specifically for review, and that is partly why I have cut back a bit just recently on the blog tours I am taking part in and on the books I request from NetGalley. I really need to rediscover my love of reading just for fun (that and I have a huge backlog of reviews to share for NetGalley).

I would love to know what everyone else does when reading burnout hits, and any tricks people have for making it go away!

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SuSTYLEability Cover Reveal

The wonderful Lexi Rees is back with another activity book, and I am delighted to be taking part in the cover reveal for it, not least because this one is a subject close to my own heart. Here comes all the info, before I share the cover with you all.

BLURB:

suSTYLEability (noun)
The art of making small changes to the way we dress in order to make big changes in the world.

If you love fashion and want to live more sustainably, this activity book will help you create a wardrobe which reflects your personal style AND is mindful of the impact the fashion industry has on the environment and human welfare.

  • Learn the shocking facts about fashion
  • Make better choices when shopping
  • Develop your own unique style
  • Have fun with friends and family
  • Discover unique ways to upstyle and upcycle your wardrobe

Give old clothes a second life with creative crafts

PRE-ORDER LINK:

Order here

And now, drum roll please, because here comes the cover!!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south where she’s slave to carrot obsessed gelding, a frisky mare, a dog who’s convinced he’s not been fed in a month, and a house of hungry boys.

She writes action-packed adventures and fun activity books for children. She’s passionate about reducing her footprint on the planet and becoming more self-sufficient.

She has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

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2021 Top Reads

Happy New Year everyone! It’s that time again when I share with you my Top Ten reads of the outgoing year. Now, I may have cheated a little with my Top Ten of 2021, but then my blog, my rules, so you will spot a couple of entries that contain more than one book. As usual, these books are in no particular order. There are one or two that I still owe a review, but where I have reviewed, if you click on the title, it will take you to the full review.

(I know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I have to say, the books on this year’s list are particularly gorgeous, aren’t they?)

This Can Never Not Be Real – Sera Milano and Where Hope Comes From – Nikita Gill

These two, very different, books had a long-lasting effect on me, and in fact I think they are books that have probably changed me forever. I read This Can Never Not Be Real way back in April, and I still find it hard to put into words how it made me feel. It is a startling raw book that invaded my thoughts even when I wasn’t reading. Where Hope Comes From was exactly the book I needed to get me through the year. After shielding for most of 2020, and then heading back into lockdown this year, my mental health has taken something of a battering, and this beautiful book was a real comfort.

Kingdom of the Wicked and Kingdom of the Cursed – Kerri Maniscalco

I fell in love with Kingdom of the Wicked long before I ever opened the first page, having seen it in so many beautiful Instagram photographs. I just knew I had to get my hands on a copy of the hardback, and I wasn’t disappointed when I did. As soon as Kingdom of the Cursed became available to pre-order, I was straight on the case, and now I am impatiently awaiting the release of the final instalment, Kingdom of the Feared.

Threadneedle – Cari Thomas and Twisted Roots – A.G. Parker

Next up are two magical YA books that were wonderful summer reads. A large majority of the books I read are YA, and I can never resist a book with even a hint of magic or witchcraft, so these were perfect for me.

Once Upon A Broken Heart – Stephanie Garber and Witches of Barcelona – Caedis Knight

Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of both Stephanie Garber and Caedis Knight, and if they have a book out in any year, the chances are it will appear in my Top Ten. These are authors who I swear just get better and better with every book they release, and I am very excited for their forthcoming 2022 books (one of which I may have already pre-ordered).

The Nightgarden Saga – Lucy Holden

Okay, I am cheating a little here as I am including four books as one entry. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Red Magnolia from NetGalley, and I absolutely fell in love with it. As soon as the rest of the books became available for pre-order, I ordered the entire series, and having read the first four I am now counting the days until book five is released. I think this is quite possibly my favourite YA paranormal series. I can’t get enough of it.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Bar – Isabella May and Midnight in Everwood – M.A. Kuzniar

Rounding out my Top Ten are two wonderful festive reads, both of which are totally magical in very different ways. I adore Isabella May and always devour her books, and it was a real treat to revisit some familiar characters in a return to Glastonbury. Midnight in Everwood is a beautifully imagined retelling of The Nutcracker, and I completely fell under its spell. I know I will be returning to both of these books for many Christmases to come.

Have you read any of these and did you love them as much as I do? What were your top reads of 2021? I would love to hear your recommendations.

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Temerran – Bard of the Borrows

Bard of the Borrows, a wonderful tale of the travels of charismatic Bard, Temerran, written by Emma Miles, is released today. I had the honour of sitting down for a chat with Temerran in between his adventures on the high seas, and this is what he had to say.

Hello and welcome Temerran. Thank you so much for speaking with me today.

Hello Maria. I love your name, it sounds like a cat’s purr.

Thank you, I have never thought of it like that before. I love cats though, so the comparison has made me smile.

You have travelled to so many places and are always looking for undiscovered lands, but do you have a bucket list of places you haven’t been to but would love to see?

There is a huge part of me that wants to set sail and keep going until I have found every land under our sky. But after what happened with Geladan I have learned caution. The longing is still there, though. Of places I know, I have seen little of Chem. It’s such a large land, and most of it not accessible by ship. I journeyed to Arkoom once, to see the old capital. It’s an eerie place, even now. Like bright flowers growing over ruins. Birds singing in a graveyard. I’d love to visit the mysterious sanctuary of the Rakinya to the north of Snowhold. That would mean negotiating Queen Catya’s court though! How about you? If I could take you anywhere on the Undine, where would you ask me to take you?

I would love to visit the Fulmers – it sounds so beautiful there, and they have a wonderful community. Do you think Jorrun would let me explore his library if we paid a visit to the Northold?

Ha ha, I’ve never been allowed to set foot in the Raven Tower, not sure that I’d dare ask! Though Jorrun has been kind enough to lend me books on occasion. Perhaps he would make an exception for you.

I can understand Jorrun wanting to protect his books. I am fiercely protective of my own library. It is a sign of great trust that he has lent you books!

If I could relocate the Undine to my world, I would love to sail the Mediterranean with you and show you some of my favourite places in Spain and Italy.

Your Mediterranean sounds delightful.

It is beautiful, and there is so much history to explore, I think you would love it.

I have just realised I have been really rude and haven’t offered you any refreshments while we chat. Can I get you anything to eat or drink?

I’d love some nettle tea if you have any?

I’ll pop the kettle on right away and rustle up some nettle tea for you.

I would imagine that captaining the Undine keeps you busy for the majority of the time, but when you do have some time to yourself, how do you relax and unwind from the pressures of captaincy and being a Bard? Are there hobbies you would like to do that just aren’t practical on a boat?

My ship and music are my life. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Playing my fiddle in particular helps me relax, and as I mentioned I do sometimes have time to read. Walking the coastline of Fulmer Island or sitting at the Undine’s prow composing music are where I am most at peace. As for hobbies… I can’t ever see myself leaving the Undine, so I don’t think I’d have time. I guess perhaps my studying of the origins of languages could be considered a hobby, though it is linked to my craft.

I love learning new languages. I am studying a few myself at the moment. It’s fascinating seeing similarities in different languages and being able to identify their roots through these similarities.

You understand me exactly. You can see how language travels across the lands. How the interaction of cultures influence each other. It’s fascinating, isn’t it?

There are so many beautiful languages to learn too – although I must admit I am finding some more difficult than others, especially when there is an entirely new alphabet to learn!

Or when the sentence structure is very different to our own. But the harder the language, the greater the satisfaction in conquering it.

That is so true. It is good to do something to keep the mind active and studying languages definitely does that.

How are you with accents? I’m lucky enough to have a very good ear for even the slightest variations, so for me it’s like playing a note the right way.

I am a bit strange with accents. I often find it easier to understand English spoken by someone who speaks it as a second language than I do with some regional accents where English is the first language. With the languages I am learning, I like to tell myself that my accents aren’t too bad, but a native speaker would probably tell you that they were horrible!

I’m sure your accent is better than you think. Ah, regional accents are fascinating aren’t they? In Chem they almost purr their r’s. In the Borrows the consonants are shorter and sharper. And not just the accents but the unique words too. In the Borrows they had an almost separate language from the rest of the four lands, as well as their runes as opposed to letters. Raiding, trading, and the arrival of the Bard had them slowly adopt the principle tongue of the north again. There are many who still use the old words, though.

You have beautiful hair, by the way. Dark and curling like midnight passion flower tumbling over a wall. You could easily be mistaken as coming from the Borrows. Were your people ever raiders?

Thank you so much. In a way, I suppose they were. One side of my family history can be traced back over 900 years to an invasion by foreign forces who conquered the country I live in. They could probably be considered to be raiders.

How amazing to be able to trace your ancestry back so far. I’m impressed, Maria. I know little of my actual family because… well, I lost my father when I was very young. My mother I never sought out again after I stole a boat to make my own way in the world. As you know, I did dedicate much of my life to trying to find out where the first Bard came from.

I must let you get back to the Undine now Temerran. I know you don’t like to leave her for too long. I look forward very much to hearing more about your explorations in the future, and thank you again for spending time with me.

BLURB:

Hold fast, my friends, we steer for the fierce winds of change through the storms of war.

Grieving for his lost friends, and battered by life and war, Temerran, the enigmatic Bard of the Borrows, sets sail on his graceful ship, the Undine. To protect those he loves, he must risk his crew and his beloved vessel, and guide them into enemy waters. Unknown lands beckon the audacious captain, and a new crew tests both his skill and patience as well as that of his loyal first mate. For not only has he taken aboard a feisty warrior-woman to help lead his crew, but also the absconded prince of Elden, who is more than a fish out of water.

Can he steer them through the perils of the sea, betrayal, and the machinations of foreign lands, or will his quest be the end of the Undine and the Bard of the Borrows?

Bard of the Borrows is part of the Land Beneath the Sky collection, companion books to the Fire-Walker saga. Bard of the Borrows Volume one follows immediately after the last book of the Fire-Walker saga, Raven Fire.

 

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SFFRomFest Blogger Spotlight

Everyone here already knows that I am a huge fantasy fan, so I was delighted to be asked to be part of the SFFRomFest to help launch a very exciting new podcast that celebrates SFF Romance. You might have seen that I have been taking part in the SFFRomFest Insta Challenge this month – I would love to see all your photos for each day’s challenge. Just use #SFFRomFest and #Bookstagram to join in, and don’t forget to follow @SFFRomCast on Instagram and Twitter.

As part of the festivities, myself and some of my fellow book bloggers have been answering a few questions about our love of SFF Romance. Here are my answers – it would be great to hear what your answers would be too.

What has been your favourite SFF Romance from 2021 so far?

Oh that is a tough one! I don’t think I can choose just one! I have just finished Red Magnolia, the first book in Lucy Holden’s YA series, the Nightgarden Saga, and I absolutely loved that. But then there is Stephanie Garber’s Once Upon a Broken Heart which was amazing – Caraval is one of my all time favourite series, and this spin off did not disappoint! Cassandra Clare is an author that everything else in my life stops for, so Chain of Iron also has to get a mention. Clara O’Connor’s Once and Future Queen series I devoured in its entirety this year, and I would highly recommend it to fans of British history as it offers a very alternative spin on what life could have been like if certain things had been different. All of these books were 5* reads for me.

Which subgenre of SFF Romance do you tend to read most of and what do you love about it?

I lean more towards fantasy than sci-fi, and then more towards YA and urban fantasy than the epics (although I do love the occasional epic fantasy). I think it is the idea of there being something other, something tucked just out of sight in the world we live in that appeals more than being transported to a completely different world. I love the idea of being in the know about things that normal people, or “mundanes” as Cassandra Clare would call them in her Shadowhunter Chronicles series (one of my favourites), are totally blind to, be that magic, or vampires, or shapeshifters, or any paranormal being (not zombies, I can’t cope with zombies – are zombie romance books even a thing?). 

What was the first SFF Romance you can remember reading?

I’m not sure if everyone would consider this as SFF Romance, but for me it was Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis – the hint of romance between Susan and Caspian really had me hooked, even more so when the film was made and the delicious Ben Barnes was cast as Caspian. Then, after an interval of more years than I care to think about, it was probably the Twilight books.

What SFF Romance do you always recommend?

It depends on who I am making the recommendation to. If I know they like their romance on the spicy side, then it has to be the Blood Web Chronicles by the fabulous Caedis Knight. I love the richness of their locations, and the diverse nature of their characters, plus their covers are absolutely stunning. They are quite wild though, so for more conservative readers, I would perhaps go for something like Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy, or the spin off book, Time’s Convert.

What SFF Romance is next on your TBR pile?

I haven’t entirely decided yet, but I think it will be either ghostly romance, The Wanderer, by Josie Williams or Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco (I am hoping for some romance in this one anyway with a certain Prince of Hell). I might have to toss a coin to decide!

The other blogs taking part are shown below – head on over to read their answers to these questions.

To celebrate the launch of their podcast on 13th October, SFFRomCast have teamed up with Words & Kisses to offer a fabulous giveaway. They will be running a competition to win three book bundles and all you have to do to enter is head over to @SFFRomCast on Twitter and follow the instructions in their pinned tweet.

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Books On The Hill – Part Three

By now you will hopefully have seen my previous posts about the Books On The Hill Open Dyslexia Kickstarter campaign, so you will already know a lot about this project. Today, I would like to introduce you to the authors who are involved with this wonderful scheme, and review another of the books.

WHO ARE WE WORKING WITH

BOTH logo 7 shop coloursWe have been so fortunate that many great authors have agreed to contribute to this project. All are brilliant authors and are names I am sure you will recognise.

Stan Nicholls, who has been a great support to me particularly with my PhD. He is the author of many novels and short stories but is best known for the internationally acclaimed Orcs: First Blood series.

Steven Savile, the fantasy, horror and thriller writer, now lives in Stockholm whose father is a customer of our bookshop.

The horror duo that is Thana Niveau and John Llewellyn Probert, both well established and engaging authors and also residents of Clevedon.

Adrian Tchaikovsky is an Arthur Clark Award winner and best known for his series Shadows of the Apt, and for his novel Children of Time.

Steven Poore is the highly acclaimed fantasy writer who I first met on my first fantasy convention in Scarborough.

We finish the Magnificent Seven with Joel Cornah, who also has dyslexia, and with whom I participated in a podcast on dyslexia for the Clevedon Literature 2020 ‘Festival in the Clouds’.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

We are launching a Kickstarter beginning in April 2nd 2021 for 30 days, with the focus on paying for the printing of our books and giving us starting capital to continue to print more titles.

There will be many ways you can be involved in this. You can contribute on the Kickstarter website itself. There will be a number of different options of donating money, in which you will receive rewards, such as ebooks of a title or a paperback of one or more of the titles to be published. In addition a unique reward from authors who are contributing to the project.

You can still contribute outside the Kickstarter. We are happy to receive your help in the shop, where we will have a donation box available.

Now, time for my final review of the campaign, for The House on The Old Cliff, by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

BLURB:

A collection of desperate investigators are unleashed on a mysterious disappearance, by a lawyer working for clients who care little about the quarry’s fate and more for their own interests.

THOTOC_cover A_FRONT

REVIEW:

I think of the three books I have reviewed as part of this campaign, this one has to be my favourite. The whole concept of a group of people, virtual strangers, heading off to a remote house to investigate a disappearance gave me chills from the very start.  These people were polar opposites of each other, and you can just feel that their relationships are going to be strained, to say the least. Add to that a creepy, deserted house located on mist shrouded cliffs in Scotland and you have a very creepy tale on your hands.

The outcome to the mystery is incredibly imaginative, and I found the whole thing absolutely fascinating. I would love to see this story expanded, and feel that it would make for a very dramatic screen adaptation.

IMPORTANT LINKS:

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Books On The Hill – Part Two

Hopefully you will have seen my post earlier this month about the Books on the Hill Kickstarter (if you missed it you can read it HERE). I am back today to tell you all about the team behind the campaign, and share my review of another of the books.

THE TEAM

Books on the Hill is Alistair Sims. He is the manager and commander-in-chief of the bookshop (though his partner, Chloe and his mother, Joanne, who set up the bookshop with him, may disagree with this description ). Alistair is dyslexic and has a PhD in history and archaeology. Alistair could not read until he was 13 and is passionate about helping anyone who has difficulty reading. He is the driving force behind BOTH Press and has been involved in every step in this project, from finding award winning authors to contribute, the cover design, and the road to publication, including setting up for distribution.

Books on the Hill are collaborating with Chrissey Harrison, who is also an local author and member of North Bristol Writers Group. Chressey and Alistair have designed the book-covers together, with Chrissey creating the finished product we now look on at awe with. Nearly all the design work has been done by Chrissey, and she is also in charge of the printing process, typesetting. We are so proud and appreciative to be working with her.

Special mention must go to Harrison Gates, who runs Nine Worthy, and who has dedicated his time and expertise to produce our print catalogue for us free of cost.

Joanne Hall is an author, editor and formerly the Chair of BristolCon, Bristol’s premier (and only) science fiction and fantasy convention. We must give a huge thank you to Jo for proof reading the stories free of cost.

Vicky Brewster has edited all the new stories by the authors. She specialises in editing and beta reading long-form fiction. Vicky is a great professional editor.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

We are launching a Kickstarter beginning in April 2nd 2021 for 30 days, with the focus on paying for the printing of our books and giving us starting capital to continue to print more titles.

There will be many ways you can be involved in this. You can contribute on the Kickstarter website itself. There will be a number of different options of donating money, in which you will receive rewards, such as ebooks of a title or a paperback of one or more of the titles to be published. In addition a unique reward from authors who are contributing to the project.

You can still contribute outside the Kickstarter. We are happy to receive your help in the shop, where we will have a donation box available.

For my second review of the books involved in this campaign, I will be looking at Sherlock Holmes and the Four Kings of Sweden by Steven Savile.

BLURB:

Summoned by the Swedish royalty, the Great Detective must solve a seemingly unsolvable riddle – how can the King be in three places at once? What devilry is it that has thousands of eye witnesses placing the monarch at cities a thousand miles apart? Witchcraft? Sorcery? Why? And how does this tie in to a string of crimes that seem to hound the King’s footsteps?

REVIEW:

I must confess, I have never read a single Sherlock Holmes story, although they are on my TBR pile and I have recently downloaded the audiobooks narrated by Stephen Fry which I am very much looking forward to listening too. That said, I am a fan of a couple of the screen incarnations of the famous detective, and so I was keen to read this book.

I am pleased to report that my first experience of reading a Sherlock Holmes story did not disappoint. In fact, I absolutely loved it! It was fast-paced and twisty, and put me very much in mind of the Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law pairing. I thoroughly enjoyed trying to unravel the mystery as I read, but as always I remained totally bewildered until Holmes and his superior intellect revealed the truth in a suitably dramatic fashion.

This was a great fun read, and I heartily recommend it.

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