Book Review

Wunderkids: Wakefield Manor – Jacqueline Sylvester

Back in August last year, I was lucky enough to discover the first book in the Wunderkids series and I loved it. You can read my review here. Now, I am excited to be telling you all about the book’s sequel.

BLURB:

No peace for the mad.
No glue for the broken.
No shelter for the hunted.

Nikka Mason may have escaped the clutches of Wildwood Academy, but she now finds herself in Mexico, entangled in a more grand, and far more dangerous, web. 

Imprisoned in his childhood home, Izaya Wakefield is forced to face his demons and family secrets. Secrets that hold the key to destroying Wildwood Academy. Secrets that might also destroy him.

As the pair try to make their way back to each other, the decisions they make will determine not just their fate but each others future too. 

In the sensational second book in the Wunderkids series and follow-up to acclaimed Wildwood Academy, Wakefield Manor will take both Nikka and Izaya to the brink, where gilded lies and uncovered truths make their paths more twisted than ever . 

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PURCHASE LINKS:

You can find out more about this book, and purchase a copy here.

REVIEW:

Picking up almost instantly from the conclusion of Wildwood Academy, I found that I was instantly gripped by the events of Wakfield Manor. Where Wildwood Academy was a slow burning, scene setting start to the series to a certain extent, there is none of that with Wakefield Manor, and you are thrown straight in to the action and the new dangers that Nikka and her friends now find themselves in.

Wakefield Manor follows a split story line with chapters being split between Nikka and Izaya. Although Nikka’s story was the more action packed, I found myself drawn more to Izaya’s story, trapped in Wakefield Manor with his sinister uncle. The two different storylines balance each other well though, as you are thrown from the instant threat of danger to the underlying feeling of menace and back again.

Alongside the action and intrigue, Wakefield Manor is also laced with heartbreaking betrayals from every angle, and the the changing dynamics between the characters as more and more lies and deception come to light is fascinating.

I am already itching to get my hands on book three, to find out just what else these poor teens will have to deal with!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

16599005Jacqueline has had a colourful and dual life thus far; she’s lived in a refugee camp in Sweden, a castle in France, a village in Germany, and spent her formative years in between Los Angeles, London and New York. As a result, she speaks four languages. In 4th grade she won her school’s poetry contest and she has not stopped writing since. She has written in many forms ranging from poetry to screenwriting, from prose to copywriting, and on one occasion a viral jingle.

Jacqueline has a Bachelors in English Literature from the University Of Massachusetts, and a Masters in Screenwriting from Royal Holloway, University Of London. After graduating she wrote her first novel and began writing (and selling) cartoon screenplays. The two years she spent in an arts boarding school in the woods have inspired the particular world described in debut novel Wunderkids. She lives in London with her husband, her excessive YA collection and a hyper husky named Laika.

 

Book Review

The Sentinel’s Reign – Suzanne Rogerson

It is time for part two of the blog tour bonanza for Suzanne Rogerson’s Silent Seas Chronicles, and today I can tell you all about book two of the series, The Sentinel’s Reign. Thanks again to Suzanne 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:

The Sentinel’s reign is doomed to failure unless Tei can prevent the Kalayan people from plunging into war.

With the new Sentinel initiated and the magic restored on Kalaya, life is flourishing for Tei and the exiles. But Rathnor’s plans for war soon escalate and thwart any chance of peace.

Brogan’s position on the Assembly is uncertain as rumours circulate that he is an exile spy.

After an attempt on his life, Farrell is more determined than ever to build a home for his people on Stone Haven. But the council have their sights set on Kalaya and Farrell struggles to steer them from war.

As trouble brews within and outside forces gather against them, can the exiles keep their hold on the magic, or will this spell the end of Kalaya and its people?

The Sentinel's Reign ebook complete

PURCHASE LINK:

Purchase here

REVIEW:

I want to write this review without repeating too much of what I said about The Lost Sentinel, but I do have to make mention of Suzanne’s beautiful world building and character development again. Her vivid descriptions make me wish I could pay a visit to the Silent Sea and meet the inhabitants of Kalaya and Stone Haven in person.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters better this time around, and really understanding what made some of them tick, finding out why they acted the way they did. For more than one this meant a major change of opinion about them, and my favourite characters were constantly changing. I found my emotions wildly bouncing from joy, to heartbreak, to triumph and everything in between as the story unfolded around them, and lives were changed forever.

Throughout this book, the tension continually builds and builds before reaching a dramatic conclusion, and just when you think a resolution has been reached, Suzanne unleashes a huge cliffhanger that sent me scurrying for book three (more on that in a few days).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

author photo 2018 (2)

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her 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.

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

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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Goodreads

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For more information on this, and the first book in the series, make sure you pay a visit to the other blogs taking part in the tour.

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Book Review

The Lost Sentinel – Suzanne Rogerson

Today marks the start of a trilogy of reviews coming up over the next few days for Suzanne Rogerson’s brilliant Silent Seas Chronicles. Many thanks to Suzanne, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of this blogging bonanza, and for providing me with copies of the books.

BLURB:

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel.

The Assembly controls Kalaya. Originally set up to govern, they now persecute those with magic and exile them to the Turrak Mountains.

Tei, a tailor’s daughter, has always hidden her magic but when her father’s old friend visits and warns them to flee to the mountains she must leave her old life behind.
On the journey, an attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He entrusts her into the care of the exiles and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession.
Struggling with self doubt, Tei joins the exiles search for the new Sentinel who is the only person capable of restoring the fading magic. But mysterious Masked Riders are hunting the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.

Against mounting odds it will take friendship, heartache and sacrifice for the exiles to succeed in their quest, but is Tei willing to risk everything to save the island magic?

THE LOST SENTINEL COVER

PURCHASE LINKS:

Purchase here

For the duration of the blog tour all books in the Silent Sea Chronicles series are 99p.

REVIEW:

The Lost Sentinel starts with a prologue that gives an instant sense of peril and I knew straightaway that this would be a book that I would not be able to put down. I am a big fan of prologues in books anyway, but this grabbed my attention and sucked me straight in to the magical land of Kalaya.

Suzanne Rogerson is a skilled world builder and I found that I was totally immersed in the story, the real world just falling away from me. This is exactly why fantasy is my favourite genre, but it is rare that a world absorbs me to the extent that the Silent Seas did.

The Lost Sentinel is a rich storyline told from various viewpoints, and as I tried to work out how these would all intertwine over the course of the books, I found I was asking more and more questions, and reading faster and faster. It is the sort of book that you want to read slowly so it doesn’t end, but at the same time you can’t help but race through.

Among the many characters, there were many that I loved, but special mention has to go to honourable Brogan, sweet little Beliss, and dedicated Farrell. There were also characters I loved to hate but I will leave you to discover them for yourselves.

As soon as I read the last page, I had to move straight on to book two. There was no way I could wait to find out what was going to happen next!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

author photo 2018 (2)

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her 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.

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

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Bookbub

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part, and head back over here on 30th June for the next instalment.

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Book Review

Space Dragons – Robin Bennett

We’re headed back to the world of Middle Grade Fantasy today with the action-packed Space Dragons by Robin Bennett. Many thanks to Robin, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

If Stan Pollux had known he would be spending his summer holidays in the outer reaches of our solar system, he would have put on different underpants.

But when he gets kidnapped by the Planet Dragon Mercury, most things suddenly seem small and insignificant. Stan finds himself in a universe of dragons who had once ruled the skies as gods: Mars, Venus, Saturn and even Uranus way out back. This is shaping up to be the best summer holiday in the history of the cosmos until Stan discovers his stupid sister is missing and that Pluto (AKA Hades) is trying to use her to destroy the Solar System. And it will be all Stan’s fault if he doesn’t get Poppy back.

So, all Stan has to do is learn how to fight like a hero in space armour, defeat the dragon god Hades, rescue his sister and save the world. All before his parents realise she is missing.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

Space Dragons instantly struck me as a book that would appeal to so many different children (and adults for that matter), whether they have a fascination with dragons, are a future astronomer, have a passion for mythology, or are just fans of adventure. Add to this the fact that although the main character is a young boy, he has a fiesty little sister who girls will love, and this book really does have something for everyone.

As a Rick Riordan fan and a lover of mythology in general, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this incarnation of the ancient gods. Having the appearance of each dragon reflect that of their namesake planet is just such a clever way of educating children without them even realising, and with each dragon taking to the extreme their individual quirks and foibles, the astronomical information takes on a form that will give kids a point to focus on so it will stick in their memory. Add to this the little facts and snippets of information at the start of each chapter and you have a young scientists dream.

Although this book is clearly aimed at the young market, the language used manages to feel mature enough for adults to also enjoy it, but still perfectly reflects the thought process of an 11 year old boy. Even as an only child I could feel the frustration caused by a careless younger sibling, and by the inability to stand up to the school bully. I think a lot of children will find Stan to be an extremely relatable character.

I loved getting to know each of the dragons, with their complicated family dynamics. Their reunion dinner on Jupiter was a true feast for the imagination, both in terms of the food they eat, and the way they interact with each other. I found I was particularly fond of excitable Mercury and fierce Mars. I even found I developed a soft spot for the hellhound Cerberus.

This book is a thoroughly enjoyable read for all ages, and struck me as the perfect bed time reading, when the young readers could view the night sky as they read, and maybe spot a dragon of their own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robin Bennett is an author and entrepreneur who has written several books for children, adults, and everything in between. Listed in the Who’s Who of British Business Excellence at 29, his 2016 documentary “Fantastic Britain”, about the British obsession with fantasy and folklore, won best foreign feature at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards, and his first book for young adults, Picus the Thief, won the Writer’s News Indie Published Book of the Year Award in 2012. Robin is also a director at Firefly Press.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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GIVEAWAY:

Win 10 x Hardcover Copies of Space Dragons – UK Only

*Terms and Conditions – UK 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 this competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winner’s information. This will be 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

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

Book Review

Birdie and Jude – Phyllis H Moore

Today’s review is for the bittersweet Birdie and Jude by Phyllis H Moore. My thanks go to Phyllis, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

A moving novel of loss, regret, denial, and discovery on Galveston Island, from the author of Opal’s Story and The Ember Months.

Birdie has lived to regret many of her decisions, but she doesn’t regret offering a stranger, Jude, shelter from an approaching hurricane. Their serendipitous meeting will form a bond that will change their lives forever.

In a character driven story with memories of the protests and inequalities plaguing the 1960’s, Birdie’s reached middle age and questions her life. Jude is striking out on her own, but has been derailed by a fatal accident claiming her only friend. Although their backgrounds and lived are vastly different, they recognise something in the other that forges a friendship.

As their relationship solidifies, they share glimpses of their pasts. Birdie is a product of the’60’s, an aging hippie, with a series of resentments. She had a sheltered childhood in an upper class family. Her parents longed to see her make the Texas Dip at the Mardi Gras ball. Jude, however, entered foster care as an infant. Her parents, victims of a murder/suicide, left her and her siblings orphaned and separated.

There is something about their connection that strikes Birdie as familiar. Can souls know each other in different lives? Birdie struggles with the awareness that she has had regrets and hasn’t lived an authentic life, while Judd faces an uncomfortable truth about her own.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to take in much of what is written in book dedications, especially the longer ones, because I am usually far too eager to start reading the book. That said, something about the dedication in this book caught my eye, and I am so glad that I read it. I was really touched by the author’s words, and it made me curious about what was to come.

Straight off the bat, it felt like there was more to both Birdie and Jude than met the eye. While Birdie seemed feisty and full of life, despite the struggles of old age, you could feel a darkness, a sadness, to her character. In contrast, Jude is quiet and self-conscious, a troubled soul with more than her fair share of secrets. Alongside Birdie and Jude, comes Ollie, Birdie’s faithful canine companion. I absolutely adored the fact that he comes with a fully developed, almost human character himself.

This book has the feel of a coming of age story, as both women come to terms with their pasts and learn to accept their futures. There is a beauty in the gentle friendship that develops between them as they help each other in more ways than either of them realise when they first meet.

What I expected to be a sweet, simple story of friendship touched my heart in ways that I never imagined it would.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Phyllis H. Moore wants to live life experiences more than once: doing it, writing about it, and reading about it. The atmosphere of the south draws her in and repels her. The characters are rich with dysfunction and redemption, real. She’s had two careers and two retirements. Both careers gave her inspiration for her novels.

The Sabine Series, Sabine, Billy’s Story, Josephine’s Journals, and Secrets of Dunn House, Opal’s Story, Tangled – A Southern Gothic Yarn, and The Bright Shawl, Colours of Tender Whispers, The Ember Months, Birdie & Jude, and an anthology of spooky short stories inspired by real places and events, The Bridge on Jackson Road.

In 2018, she also released a new genre for her, A Dickens of a Crime – A Meg Miller Cosy Mystery. She has authored one non-fiction book, Retirement, Now What? Phyllis has been published by Caffeinated Press in the anthology, Brewed Awakenings 2, Fifteen Tales to Jolt Your Mind Awake. She blogs on her website, http://www.phyllishmoore.com

Phyllis is a retired social worker and former owner/operator of a small bed and breakfast. She’s lived in the rural areas and cities of south Texas. She currently lives on Galveston Island with her husband, Richard.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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Don’t forget to have a look at the other blogs taking part in this tour.

Book Review

A Little Hotel in Cornwall – Laura Briggs

Back in February, I was lucky enough to be able to take part in the cover reveal for A Little Hotel in Cornwall. Fast forward to today and it is publication day for Laura Briggs. I am delighted to be able to share my thoughts of the book with you, and would like to thank Laura, and Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in the publication day activities, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Struggling American waitress and aspiring novelist Maisie Clark dreams of becoming a full-time writer — even though in real life she’s just lost her chance at an exclusive writer’s mentorship program that would give her novel its big break. Desperate, she decides to take a chance and ask her favourite writer, a celebrated but reclusive English novelist, to help her find a second chance. 

When she receives the author’s reply in an envelope with a Cornish postmark, Maisie decides not to take the writer’s half-hearted ‘no’ for an answer. With nothing to lose, she takes off for the author’s last known location, a beautiful hotel on Cornwall’s western coast. But when the hotel mistakes her for the latest applicant for a maid’s position, Maisie finds herself given an opportunity too good to lose … and a chance for a summer adventure far bigger than she ever imagined.

Surrounded by breathtaking Cornwall and working in an elegant hotel, Maisie’s world becomes one of secret identities, quirky friends, and unintentional mishaps — and despite reminders of past relationship disasters, a certain handsome, charming local resident Sidney Daniels has her conflicted about her heart’s desires, too. 

Will Maisie find the chance she’s been waiting for — and a possible new romance — in her perfect Cornish summer?

You can order your copy of A Little Hotel in Cornwall here.

Cover Reveal-A Little Hotel in Cornwall

REVIEW:

A Little Hotel in Cornwall is a lovely little book, and at just 130 pages it is the perfect read for an afternoon sitting in the sunshine (although as I am typing this, it is absolutely bucketing down! Welcome to the English summer!). I loved the warm conversational style of writing, which made it feel as though Maisie was sat opposite me telling me her story face to face over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.

Cornwall is one of my favourite places in the world, and Laura really brought it’s beauty to life in her writing, and made me yearn to be back there, exploring the stunning coastline.

I adored Sidney, and would love another book so that I could get to know him and his pack of dogs better.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Briggs Author Pic

Laura Briggs is the author of several chick lit and romance stories, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

 

 

 

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Book Review

March Book Jar

Well, these updates seem to be happening later and later each month don’t they! I can’t believe we are halfway through April already! This year is just romping by. Three books came flying out of the jar and I would like to tell you that I am starting to make a dent in my TBR pile, but one or two other books seem to have snuck on to my Kindle – oops!

41087327First out this month was Gone By Midnight by Candice Fox, which is a book that I received from NetGalley. Now, this book was I think number three in a series, which I didn’t realise when I started reading it. There were a few things that were mentioned that made me wonder if this was the case though, and a quick Amazon search confirmed things. To be honest, this wasn’t really an issue, and this reads just fine as a stand alone. The premise behind this an interesting one, and I enjoyed the characters in it a lot. It was perhaps a little predictable in places, but I still enjoyed it and would read more by this author – probably the ones that came before this one in the series for starters.

39964740My second book was another NetGalley book, and it was the wonderful The Binding by Bridget Collins. I absolutely fell in love with this book, and will be doing a full length review very soon. It is so beautiful that I could do a whole post just talking about the cover and what the inside looks like, never mind how fantastic I thought the story was.

 

 

 

33391439I had to cheat a little with my third book from the jar this month and dig through until I pulled out a paperback to read while my Kindle cooked. The winning book was Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi, but sadly it just wasn’t for me. The book was originally written in French and at first I just thought that maybe something had been lost in translation. Because of this I was determined to give it the benefit of the doubt and finish reading it. However, when I got to the end I really wished I hadn’t bothered. I don’t want to give anything away, but I felt completely cheated by the ending.

 

If you want any more details about any of these books, here are the Goodreads links for you:

Gone By Midnight

The Binding

Black Water Lilies

I have a feeling that next month could be a little quiet on the book jar experiment, because I have one new release coming that will be jumping the queue the second I get my paws on it, and I seem to have an awful lot of blog tours coming up. What with that and NaNo, it’s going to be a busy month.