Book Review

Birth of the Mortokai – D.G. Palmer

Happy publication day to D.G. Palmer and Birth of the Mortokai. Many thanks to you and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of today’s festivities and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Daniel Welsh was born different—and to Daniel, to be different means to be alone. But what if he’s wrong?

Born an albino with a photographic memory, Daniel Welsh never expected to fit in. Yet, when he is approached by Trinity—a young girl who definitely isn’t human—she reveals a whole new world where he might just belong. Ariest is a place where his features aren’t a disability or the mark of a freak, but rather a trait of powerful mages born of human-faerie unions. His father is a renowned war hero and swordsman, his mother is a human doctor, and that makes him a powerful mage that’ll tip the scales. Magic is real—and so is the threat it brings.

Trinity and her father, a battle mage, aren’t the only ones to have discovered Daniel and his gifts hidden in the human realm.

The Shade have awakened.

Enemies to the fae realm long thought dead have been lying in wait for their moment to strike. Young mages like Daniel are the perfect morsel for their starving appetites and they start their killing spree without delay with the nearest unsuspecting mage boy. Daniel cannot sit idly by while monsters take innocent lives, so he will embrace a destiny he is only just beginning to understand… even if it means losing a life that’s finally worth living.

Birth of the Mortokai is a young adult coming of age fantasy adventure novel. Trigger warning: this novel contains descriptions of albinism, a real genetic disorder that affects 1/17,000 persons worldwide per year.

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PURCHASE LINKS:

Kobo

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

In Birth of the Mortokai, D.G. Palmer has created a book that flows so beautifully that the stresses and strains of the real world simply melt away as you are completely absorbed by the new world that Daniel finds himself in. Just as Daniel was able to leave behind the upsets of his Earth realm life, I found that my problems were totally forgotten for the few hours in which I was reading this book. Obviously all books act as a form of escapism, but it takes something special for me to shut out the real world as thoroughly as I did with this one.

In some ways, stepping off the train in Ariest felt like coming home, my love of fantasy and folklore meaning I was already familiar with some of the fae that Daniel meets – Selkie, Kelpie and Kitsune to name a few. As well as these familiar faces, I loved meeting fae that I hadn’t come across before, the Bellowers and the Undine (and hopefully more to come in the future because I am really hoping there is going to be a sequel to this book soon). Arriving in Ariest just in time for Beltane, I felt almost as swept away by the festivities as Daniel did – I could practically hear the music and smell the food.

The blossoming relationship between Daniel and Trinity was incredibly touching, two people who have struggled to make connections throughout their existence finally finding each other. As their little band of potential friends and comrades grew it was interesting to see subtle changes to the dynamics and their personalities.

The villains of the piece, the essence-draining Shade were suitably sinister, and the appearance of one at the Beltane festival left me with questions that I hope I won’t have to wait too long to get answers for. How have they managed to hide in Ariest since their defeat? Has someone unleashed them? Have they been coming and going through the doors in Fungal’s castle? I will be on tenterhooks until I find out!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Currently residing in London, England, D.G. Palmer writes in the Spec Fiction genre, using his imagination to create vivid worlds and captivating characters.

An avid reader and player of video games, in the past, he was part of table top roleplaying groups where he nurtured his storytelling by penning several story arcs.

Feel free to follow him on Facebook, Goodreads and Instagram. If you wish to receive updates about his latest books, event dates and other exclusive news, sign up to The World of D.G. Palmer and enter his mind. He warns it can be a mess sometimes, so make sure you wipe your feet on the way out – you never know what you might take with you.

 

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Book Review

Hate Bale – Stephanie Dagg

Happy Publication Day to Hate Bale by Stephanie Dagg. I am so happy to be involved in the publication day activities for this book. Many thanks to Stephanie, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Grumbling guests and escaping piglets are precisely what Martha doesn’t need. She’s already struggling to run a holiday cottage and a rather large smallholding single-handedly. Since her husband Mark died, three years ago, her rural property in France, beautiful as it is, has become an increasingly heavy millstone around her neck.

So whilst she’s horrified to stumble across a corpse at the local farm supplies shop, it does at least distract her from her own woes. Best friend Lottie, the cheese to Martha’s chalk, swoops in to offer moral support, and encourages Martha to join her in some unofficial sleuthing. Meanwhile, police officer Philippe Prudhomme, a former fellow chess-player of Mark’s, undertakes a rather more professional investigation.

However, despite everyone’s efforts the killer remains at large. And when more bodies (one and a bit, to be precise) come Martha’s way, it definitely feels like he’s closing in on her…

There’s suspense, humour and excitement in this entertaining cosy mystery set in the French countryside.

You can order your copy of Hate Bale here.

HateBale Cover

REVIEW:

Just recently I seem to be hearing people talk about the cosy mystery genre more and more, but I didn’t really understand what it was if I am being entirely honest, so when the opportunity to take part in the publication day for this book, I grabbed the opportunity to discover a new genre. It turns out that I am a fan. I often read fast-paced crime thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat, but I found that I thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace of this book. Yes, there were bodies piling up around Martha (sometimes in particularly imaginative ways), but at the same time there was a warmth about the writing, and there was a touch of humour throughout.

I fell in love with adoring Phillippe, and equally adoring pooch Flossie, and I loved that the wayward livestock on Martha’s smallholding was injected with just as much character as the humans were.

I found that I couldn’t take to Lottie at all. She is exactly the sort of person who would instantly rub me up the wrong way and I found reading about her quite jarring. However, I think this was perhaps the point of the character, to act as a counterbalance to Martha’s sweet nature and to prevent the book becoming too sugary. The vast differences between their characters certainly make for a quirky partnership, and I can quite see them getting a taste for investigating and crime-solving in rural France, with their poor loyal policeman following them around and attempting to keep them in check.

As I am sure many people do, I often dream of escaping to a rural idyll, somewhere in the peaceful European countryside, and whilst my own dreams lean more towards France than Spain, I love the idea of running a smallholding with a holiday cottage attached. Obviously, as this book shows, the reality is somewhat harder than the dream, but it was still so attractive to me that I would have happily upped sticks and moved to France to help Martha.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie of animals, has made for exciting times. The current array of creatures ranges from alpacas to zebra finches, with pretty much everything in-between! Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve.

I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.

I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. As well as being an author, I’m also a part-time editor and, with Chris, manager of three carp fishing lakes. My hobbies are cycling, geocaching, knitting and sewing.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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Book Review

The Laughing Matter of Pain: Cynthia Hilston

Today I have the honour of being part of the publication day for The Laughing Matter of Pain. Before I let you know my thoughts on this book, here is the blurb.

BLURB:

Harry Rechthart always knew how to laugh, but laughter can hide a lot of pain that’s drowned by the bottle and good times. He grew up the Joker in early 1900s in Cleveland, Ohio, but as he enters adulthood, conflict splits him. His once close relationship with his brother, Erik, breaks as they come into their own and Erik goes off to college. No longer under Erik’s shadow, Harry feels he might finally shine and make others see him as someone to be proud of. Harry finds an unlikely comrade who understands how he feels – his younger sister, Hannah. Once free of high school, Harry and Hannah double date sister and brother, Kat and Will Jones, attending wild, extravagant parties during the years of Prohibition. Harry thinks he’s won at life – he’s found love in Kat, a good time, and in the bottle. But all the light goes out fast when Harry’s alcoholism leads to disastrous consequences for him and Kat.

Harry thinks the joke’s on him now that he’s sunk lower than ever. He’s in jail. He’s pushed away his family. He’s a broken man, but in the darkest depths of a prison cell, there is hope. Can Harry rebuild his life and learn that true laughter comes from knowing true joy or will he bury himself once and for all in this laughing matter of pain?

PURCHASE LINK:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

REVIEW:

The Laughing Matter of Pain is a cautionary coming of age tale of a young man trying to escape the shadow of a much admired older brother. As he falls under the spell of glamourous Prohibition era parties, Harry’s life spirals out of control. However, as the story is told from Harry’s point of view, Cynthia Hilston skilfully weaves her words so that, much as Harry himself, the reader isn’t fully aware of just how bad things are until it is too late.

As Harry hits rock bottom, and the exuberance of his youth is stripped away, an extremely bleak picture of a 1930s jail is painted. Despite their surroundings, the kindness of strangers shines through as the story develops into one of redemption and second chances, and sometimes even third or fourth chances.

The dialect used by the characters was reminiscent of black and white movies and made it so simple to picture Prohibition era America and the lives that people lived during this time. Cynthia’s other novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful has made its way firmly on to my TBR pile, and I will be keeping my eyes peeled for future releases.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cynthia Hilston is a thirty-something-year-old stay at home mom of three young kids, happily married. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she finally stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction. Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful is her first original novel. She’s currently working on more books. Visit her website for more information.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon

Twitter

Instagram

Many thanks to Cynthia and to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the day, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

Book Review

Forgive Me Not – Samantha Tonge

Hopefully all of you saw the big reveal of the beautiful cover for this book a couple of weeks back. Well, publication day is finally here!!!! Here is a quick reminder of the blurb, as well as some links for where you can purchase your very own copy.

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BLURB:

How far would you go to make amends?

When Emma fled her home at Foxglove Farm, she’d let down and hurt those who cared for her most. But now, two years later, she’s ready to face up to her past; she’s ready to go back.

But Emma’s unannounced return causes more problems than she could have foreseen. The people she knew and loved aren’t ready to forget, let alone forgive. And the one person she wants to reconnect with the most, her mother, can’t remember who she is.

Just as Emma starts to rebuild trust, an uncovered family secret and a shocking past crime threaten her newly forged future…

Sometimes simply saying sorry isn’t enough.

Perfect for readers of Ruth Hogan or Amanda Prowse, this is an extraordinary and unforgettable novel about running away from yourself – and finding a way back.

REVIEW:

Where do I start! This book is just fantastic. Dealing as it does with a number of incredibly sensitive subjects, there was always the chance that things could go very dark, very quickly. However, Samantha’s delicate handling of each and every one of these topics made the book thought provoking, but never depressing.

The flashbacks to Emma’s time living on the streets provide a stark reminder that the homeless people around us are human too. Whatever their current situation, they once had homes, jobs, and people that loved them, and they are certainly not all there because of some wrong doing. I had a particular fondness for Stig and his beloved Duchess. Getting to know this character just shows how close any one of us is to ending up on the streets, a warning that is echoed by the struggles of the village owners fighting back against the rise of the huge supermarkets.

As someone with experience of a relative with dementia, I found that Emma’s struggle to reconnect with her mother heart-breaking, but at the same time Samantha’s description of their interactions were incredibly touching.

Above all, this book serves as a resounding reminder to just be kind to the people you meet. Everyone has their own story, their own struggles, which are not detectable by the naked eye.

On a final note, and without wanting to give anything away, brace yourself for the ending!

Purchase Links

This fantastic book is available from these sellers:

Amazon

Kobo

Google

iBooks

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sam Tonge - Canelo Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and her passion, second to spending time with her husband and children, is writing. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.

When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.

In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.

Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

Website: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Many thanks to Samantha Tonge, everyone at Canelo, and Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for enabling me to take part in today’s publication day events, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

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