Book Review

Too Early For Death – Simon Farrant

Today I am jumping on board the blog tour for the first book in the brilliant Limbo Island series by Simon Farrant. My thanks go to Simon, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, for inviting me to take part and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Death can take you to the most unexpected places.

Damien Lennon finds himself on a mysterious island… and dead.

He has more questions than answers. Why? Where? How? What next?

In a place where forests hide secrets and a leader rules with an iron fist, can Damien change his destiny?

‘Too Early for Death’ starts a journey through the Limbo Island trilogy, a series that unravels a story of life after death, hierarchy, tragedy, jealousy and eternal love. A heartbreaking yet heartwarming adventure awaits.

You can order your copy of the book here.

Too Early For Death Cover

REVIEW:

I have been meaning to read one of Simon’s books for ages, so when the chance to take part in this tour popped up, I jumped at it.

Too Early For Death is made up of short chapters, making it a fast read, but also meaning that it is far too easy to fall into the, “Just one more chapter,” trap and end up reading all night. I am one sleepy blogger at the moment!

In this book, we see an idyllic family life torn apart when Damien is suddenly and unexpectedly taken from his wife and young son, vanishing without a trace. Whilst Damien seems, on the whole, strangely calm about this predicament, watching his family try to rebuild their lives without his presence definitely tugged at my heartstrings, and in all honesty at times had me shedding a tear or two.

The strange island with it’s mysterious forbidden areas, unpredictable passing of time, and the all-seeing Eloise lent a slightly surreal air to the entire book, and I think it is because of this that I was taken by surprise at how emotional it was, especially with the presence of the portals showing snapshots of Damien’s family.

Whilst all the characters and their relationships are well-developed, I found that I was particularly fond of the growing friendship between Damien and Hector as they explore their surroundings, pushing boundaries at every turn.

The entire premise of this book is like nothing I have ever read before, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Simon Farrant Author Picture

I am an emerging author, a submission to a short story anthology kicked it all off.

Black Cat is my first short story, and the hero isn’t maybe who you would assume.

Originally from Doncaster, South Yorkshire and now Corby in Northants. I’m in my forties, married with three children. We share our home with a Bengal cat and a Pink Tongued Skink.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had an interesting (well to me!) life. I have been a truck driver, university graduate and motorbike salesman amongst other things.

My two novellas, Newdon Killers series, The Crucifix and Famously Ordinary are out now! The third book, Death Dolls is coming soon estimated launch date 22 August.
Later this year a new series in a different genre Mystery / contemporary fantasy will be published.
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I have a Facebook page, Simon Farrant Official, I’d be pleased to see you there.

Twitter @asfarrant

I also have a newsletter. Sign up to receive the latest news first 🙂
https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/b2t0m0

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part in the tour.

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Book Review

Sacrificing Starlight – David Pipe

I am stepping away from what has seemed to be a spate of fantasy book reviews just lately, and venturing in to another of my favourite genres, in the form of the crime thriller, Sacrificing Starlight by David Pipe. Many thanks to David, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in this tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Time’s running out for DCI Hunter. His wife and child are missing, perhaps even dead. Unable to pursue those responsible he’s transferred to the wild landscape of Cornwall where another child has disappeared.

Alice Trevelyan’s father has his own agenda and wants retribution for the loss of his little girl and metes out his own violent justice.

Will Trevelyan help or hinder?

Hunter has to make his move if he wants to save Starlight.

But can anyone in this remote location be trusted?

You can order your copy of this book here.

Sacrificing-Starlight_eBcov_FINAL (2)

REVIEW:

At first glance Sacrificing Starlight may appear to be a simple police procedural. However there is much more to this thrilling book than meets the eye. David Pipe weaves an extremely tangled web, as both the book’s hero, Hunter, and the reader are left wondering just who can be trusted and which side everybody is on.

Although the book centres around the difficult subject of a child sex ring, it is written in an easy style, and I found myself flying through the chapters. In fact, I was so caught up in the story that I read it from cover to cover in a single day. The writing style did change through the book, switching from structured to frenetic as the action moves between cool, calm Hunter, and frenetic, half-crazed Ben. I really enjoyed this, and found that it helped me to get right inside the characters’ heads.

Just a little warning to the men out there – there are one or two scenes in this book that made my eyes water, so goodness knows what they will do to you! I wish you luck!

I found that there was more I wanted to know about Hunter and the situation that he finds himself in during this book, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that this isn’t the last we have seen of this enigmatic character.

ABOUT  THE AUTHOR:

Sacrificing Starlight - Foto 27.09.16, 09 25 51 - KopieDavid Pipe was born in 1949 in a small Essex village. He attended a local grammar school then the University of Hull where he took a B.Sc in chemistry. He worked in the pharmaceutical industry in England and South Africa before studying for a PhD in organic chemistry at Imperial College. After spells at universities in Geneva and Mulhouse he joined the oil industry in Germany where, aged 53, he gratefully took a redundancy package. Following a period of self-employment he wound down his business, eventually giving it up to scratch the writing itch which has produced Sacrificing Starlight, a timely reminder of the risks our children face and Henry’s Tale, where ghostwriting for his furry friend he describes the emotional growth of a puppy on the rollercoaster of life, compressed into a few weeks because puppies learn faster than their staff.

When he’s not writing David spends his time travelling, reading, swimming and jogging. He is married and lives in Hamburg with his wife and their Border terrier Henry.

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Book Review

Creative Writing Skills – Lexi Rees

I have got something for aspiring authors of all ages today, in the shape of Creative Writing Skills, a fantastic little workbook from Lexi Rees. Many thanks to Lexi, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of today’s blog blitz, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Discover the secrets to becoming an amazing author

  • Find your creative spark
  • Grow your skills and confidence
  • Have more fun with your writing

Packed with top tips, this awesome workbook has everything you need to know about creating colourful characters, perfect plots, dynamite dialogue, and lots more …

Creative Writing Front Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

REVIEW:

Creative Writing Skills is a book that just leaps out at you with its brightly coloured, eye-catching cover. The chapter headings are snappy and attention grabbing, and the book itself is clearly set out. The different fonts used, and the pages littered with doodles to keep it interesting, rather than it just being a flat, boring textbook of instructions, as some creative writing books can be. It offers an instant confidence boost to the nervous would-be writer, stressing that it is the story that is important, and not whether or not you can spell or sail through a grammar test.

Although this book is very much aimed at kids, I loved the little exercises and I can see myself using these to get the creative juices flowing on days when my writing is a little blocked. There are so many different writing prompts and exercises covering all sorts of genres meaning that there is something for everyone, no matter what their interests or favourite genre to read.

This really is a great, fun, little book and is something I would have killed for when I was a child – it would definitely have been worthy of me saving my pocket money up for!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lorraine-16Lexi Rees writes action packed adventures for children. As well as the Creative Writing Skills workbook, the first book in The Relic Hunters Series, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids and is currently longlisted for a Chanticleer award. The sequel, Wild Sky, will be published in November.

When not writing, she’s usually covered in straw or glitter, and frequently both.

She also runs a free club for kids designed to encourage a love of reading and writing which you can check out here https://lexirees.co.uk/kidsclub/

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GIVEAWAY:

Win 2 copies of Creative Writing Skills –

Choice of paperback or pdf for UK winners and pdf for international winners.

https://kingsumo.com/g/gw6isv/creative-writing-skills-workbook

Book Review

Empire’s Daughter – Marian L Thorpe

If you are a fan of trilogies like me, you will like today’s book. The alternative universe medieval adventure Empire’s Daughter, by Marian L Thorpe, is book one in the Empire’s Legacy trilogy, and although it can be read as a standalone, I know I won’t be the only one heading off to read the remaining books. I am delighted to be joining the blog tour for Empire’s Daughter today. My thanks go to Marian, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in the tour and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

For twenty generations, the men and women of The Empire have lived separately, the women farming and fishing, the men fighting wars. But in the spring of Lena’s seventeenth year, an officer rides into her village with an unprecedented request. The Empire is threatened by invasion, and to defend it successfully, women will need to fight.

When the village votes in favour, Lena and her partner Maya are torn apart. Maya chooses exile rather than battle, Lena chooses to fight. As Lena learns the skills of warfare and leadership, she discovers that choices have consequences that cannot be foreseen, and that her role in her country’s future is greater than she could have dreamed.

You can purchase your copy of this book HERE

Empires Daughter ebook cover

REVIEW:

I had a feeling that Empire’s Daughter was a book that I was going to enjoy from the moment I started reading and discovered not only a character list but a map, two things that always put a smile on my face. It is one of the downsides of reading on a Kindle that I can’t flick back and forth as easily as I would like, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Empire’s Daughter presents the fascinating premise of a society segregated by duty, only reuniting twice a year, until everything that they believe in is shaken to its foundations. As if it wasn’t sad enough that boys of seven leave their homes, unlikely to return, the further divisions between loved ones tugs even harder on the heartstrings. As the women of the Empire discover skills they never dreamt they had and forge new relationships, I was utterly gripped by the story.

While a lot of books from this genre save an epic battle as the story’s climax, Empire’s Daughter goes deeper than that, and whilst the the battle may be over by halfway through the book, the lives of so many people are changed forever. It is these changes that really caught my attention and will keep me coming back for the rest of the trilogy. There were so many characters that I fell in lovely and I am eager to find out what the future holds for each of them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Empires author photo

Writer of historical fantasy and urban fantasy for adults. The Empire’s Legacy series explores gender expectations, the conflicts between personal belief and societal norms, and how, within a society where sexuality is fluid, personal definitions of love and loyalty change with growth and experience.

The world of Empire’s Legacy was inspired by my interest in the history of Britain in the years when it was a province of the Roman Empire called Britannia, and then in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire. In another life, I would have been a landscape archaeologist, and landscape is an important metaphor in the Empire’s Legacy trilogy and in all my writing, fiction and non-fiction.

I live in Canada for most of the year, England for the rest, have one cat, a husband, and when I’m not writing or editing, I’m birding.

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GIVEAWAY:

Win all 3 paperbacks of the Empire’s Legacy trilogy (Open INT)

Empires Giveaway Prize

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

ENTER HERE

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Book Review

The Silent Seas Chronicles – Suzanne Rogerson

I have exciting news for those of you who haven’t picked up your copies of the Silent Seas Chronicles by Suzanne Rogerson! The box set containing all three books is released today, and for a limited time will be at the amazing price of 99p/99c. Honestly, this offer is just too good to miss.

SERIES BLURB:

Tei has magic in a world where people like her are persecuted and forced into exile. Whilst fleeing their home, her father is attacked and his deathbed confession reveals a dangerous secret that will change her life forever.

Tei’s homeland, the magical island of Kalaya, is dying and without a Sentinel to restore the magic, it’s only a matter of time before all life is wiped out.

She must join the exiles in the search for the lost Sentinel, but they are not the only ones after the missing guardian. Sinister Masked Riders are on their trail and time is running out.

Tei must risk everything she loves to save Kalaya, but is she ready to make that sacrifice?

This epic fantasy box set contains:

The Lost Sentinel – Book 1

The Sentinel’s Reign – Book 2

The Sentinel’s Alliance – Book 3

1396 pages of magic, adventure and intrigue.

SSC box set teaser

Praise for Silent Sea Chronicles…

This is a story about war, magic, and destiny, which you cannot miss. Following the characters during their journeys has been incredible… (Goodreads) Sofia – A book. A thought.

Love this series!!…The Sentinel’s Alliance is an epic conclusion to a fantastic series. (Amazon) Jessica Belmont

I have really enjoyed this series and strongly recommend it to those that enjoy fantasy stories… I can’t wait to read more from Suzanne Rogerson. (Goodreads) Jessica Bronder

What an epic journey this trilogy has been…There are some terrific battle scenes, with massive shocks, and mouth dropping moments that I just hadn’t seen coming, all delivered with Rogerson perfection. (Amazon top 1000 reviewer. Vine Voice) Susan Hampson

(The Sentinel’s Alliance) This has been a fantastic finale to the trilogy, it’s had everything that made the first two books to good and then some. All of Suzanne’s brilliant world building skills are still shining through… (Goodreads) KT Robson

Rogerson has managed to craft together a fantasy trilogy that is simultaneously complex and quick. So many layers and twists are woven throughout the books and yet it never feels too heavy, the pace moves at a determined clip and action holds one’s attention captive. (Amazon) Angela – Pooled Ink Reviews

Fabulous Saga… it’s well written and utterly magical! (Amazon) Shelley Clarke

“The Sentinel’s Alliance” The story is skilfully elaborated, comprises interesting turns, and has a great flow. Suzanne Rogerson introduces each character with finesse… Highly recommended. (Goodreads) Karen.

Silent Sea Chronicles Box Set complete display

You can read my reviews of each of the books in this box set here:

The Lost Sentinel

The Sentinel’s Reign

The Sentinel’s Alliance

The epic fantasy box set will be on sale for £6.99 but for a limited time you can buy it for just 99p worldwide.

Silent Sea Chronicles Universal Amazon link

Add Silent Sea Chronicles to your Goodreads bookshelf

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

author photo 2018 (2)Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her husband, two children, a highly strung cat and a crazy puppy.

Her writing journey began at the age of twelve when she completed her first novel. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave Suzanne the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Now an author of four novels including the recently completed Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and a Czech translation of her debut, Visions of Zarua, Suzanne hopes the dreaded ‘W’ word will never rear its ugly head again!

She loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

Suzanne collects books, is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles and old ruins whilst being immersed in the past. She likes to combine her love of nature and photography on family walks, but most of all she loves to escape with a great film, binge watch TV shows, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

You can follow Suzanne Rogerson – author of epic and heroic fantasy on:

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ssc box set promo 1

 

Book Review

A Rhyme of Dark Words – Jeremy Smith

I am kicking off October with a suitably spooky book in the form of A Rhyme of Dark Words, by Jeremy Smith. My thanks to Jeremy for providing me with a copy of the book to read.

BLURB:

Tilly Hart is grieving for her mother when she moves to the ancient village of Witheridge. Finding friendship and love, she also finds a place steeped in witchlore and the legend of a beast that stalks the moor. Supernatural events and a hidden diary guide her to a village lost in time, a place where magic exists and demons walk the land.

With her newfound friends and the deadline of Halloween drawing near, she sets out to prevent an ancient evil destroying all she loves.

Being both the hunter and hunted, she discovers she can control magic. But magic is an addiction that can lead to evil.

A Rhyme of Dark Words is the first book in the Tilly Hart series, and you can find out more about the series and the author on Goodreads.

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REVIEW:

I am not one for horror books, or anything overly spooky – in fact my friends will tell you that I am a big old scaredy cat! However, every October when my fellow bookworms are dusting off their favourite scary books for Halloween, I start to feel a bit left out and look for something that is more my level. As a YA book that is also described as being suitable for younger teens, A Rhyme of Dark Words seemed the perfect book for me to kick off my  Spooktober reading.

I was instantly grabbed by this book, which kicks off in 1645 in the heart of a witch hunt for the Brocken witches. I would happily have stayed with this story to discover what happened  to the sisters, and the prologue left me hoping that we would find out more as the story progressed.

Moving to the present day, we meet Tilly Hart, the newest resident of Brocken Manor, and her new found friends, Becca and Wilf. As Tilly settles into her new home, she encounters a number of strange goings on, and I will confess that early on in the book I had concerns that perhaps even this book was too much for my over-active imagination. However, after a few heart-stopping moments, things settled down and I found myself swept away by the story.

As Tilly and co uncover the secrets of the Manor, and find out what really happened during the witch hunt of 1645, I became more and more invested in what they were doing. I loved Wilf, so unendingly loyal in his devotion to Becca, and I had everything crossed for him that he would get the girl in the end.

A Rhyme of Dark Words is a well thought out novel, and the intertwining stories flow seamlessly as everything begins to fall into place.

Every now and then I will be reading a book that ends up being accompanied by an almost constant chain of messages to a friend telling them how great the book is and they simply must read it. This is one such book, and I am heading off now to investigate the rest of the series.

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Book Review

Writing Fiction – A User-Friendly Guide – James Essinger

I am joining today’s blog blitz for Writing Fiction by James Essinger, a handy little guide to writing fiction. Many thanks to James, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the blitz, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Writing Fiction is a little pot of gold… Screenplay by Syd Field for film, Writing Fiction by James Essinger for fiction. It’s that simple.’ William Osborne, novelist and screenwriter

Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a must-read if you want to write stories to a professional standard.

It draws on the author’s more than thirty years of experience as a professional writer, and on the work and ideas of writers including:

  • Anthony Burgess
  • Joseph Conrad
  • George Eliot
  • Ken Follett
  • Frederick Forsyth
  • Dan Harmon
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • David Lodge
  • Norman Mailer
  • John Milton
  • Ben Parker
  • K. Rowling
  • William Shakespeare
  • Martin Cruz Smith
  • R.R. Tolkien

The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including: devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.

Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Future movies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster  Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (1)

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

Writing Fiction is a useful aid for both aspiring writers and writers with more experience. Written in short, concise chapters it is easier to follow than some weightier writing books that I have read, and I am sure it is a book that I will dip in and out of throughout my writing journey. James Essinger is clearly well read and coming from both the writer’s and agent’s perspective, he has a lot of helpful tips. I was also pleased to see that he recommended a few other books that are worth looking at, and I will definitely be investigating those.

I did find that this book felt more structured towards male writers. The majority of the examples cited from both page and screen were works that I had heard of, but had not read or watched, but I know that my Dad is a fan of all of them. A broader spectrum of examples would perhaps have made the points the author was making more relatable to a wider audience. The examples felt a long way from the type of book that I read and that I hope to one day finish writing, so it could just be that this was not the right book for me and would suit authors of different styles and genres down to the ground.

At times, the author could be quite brutal about the chances of success that a new author faces, and although this could be discouraging for some, I found it refreshing that the author chose not to sugar-coat the current publishing market, and was sending new authors into the literary world with their blinkers well and truly removed.

I enjoyed the three appendices, and I found some of the tips in Appendix 1 regarding common mistakes that writers make particularly useful.

All in all, I found this book easy to access and far less intimidating than others I have read on the subject.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (2)James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019). His novels include The Mating Game (2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project (2019).

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