blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Devil’s Apprentice – Kenneth B. Andersen*

 

The Devil's Apprentice: The Great Devil War I by [Andersen, Kenneth B., Andersen, Kenneth Bøgh]

Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy.

Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training Philip in the ways of evil. Philip is terrible at being bad, but when he falls in love with the she-devil Satina and experiences the powerful forces of love and jealousy, the task becomes much easier.

Philip finds both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld–but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?

The Great Devil War is a gripping and humorous tale about good and evil seen from a different perspective, making the reader laugh and think. It’s filled with biblical and historical characters and set in a world beyond your wildest dreams. Or nightmares …

 

My thoughts:

This was a fun read, although the concept isn’t entirely new, it’s well executed and features a talking cat (always a good thing). First in a four book series, featuring some characters you may have heard of.

Philip as a character got a bit annoying at the beginning, he’s a bit pathetic but he improves as the plot goes along and he discovers he isn’t as useless as he thought he was.

I hadn’t heard of the Danish author before reading this, and I’m quite impressed with his world building and the humorous moments he works into the narrative.

If you are looking for a new fantasy series, this is worth a read, and there’s a talking cat (did I mention that already!?!)

*In exchange for taking part in this blog tour I was kindly gifted a copy of this book but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Vagabond King – Jodie Bond*

T hreon, the Vagabond King, is torn from a life in the palace by raiders and forced to scrape a living on the streets of a foreign land.

Meeting a witch from distant mountains, a rebel soldier and a woman cursed by a god, he seeks retribution through a quest to reclaim his home and throne.

Together they rekindle old allegiances, face an immortal army and learn to trust one another.

But when the gods begin to interfere with their plans, is it a curse or a blessing?

Jodie Bond comes from a family of gin makers in the mountains of north Wales. She works in marketing and performs as a burlesque artist.

She had an unconventional childhood, dividing her time between a quiet life on her mother’s farm and her father’s home which was infamous for holding some of the UK’s biggest raves in the 90s.

My thoughts:

This is an interesting start to what could be a cracking series, as Threon, the titular Vagabond King reclaims the kingdom that was stolen from him and fights for his people.

The premise is interesting and I found the direct involvement of the gods reminded me of Greek mythology, where everyone treats it as normal for a god to just pop by for a chat, and a bit of manipulation.

There are also several strong female characters, Savanta and Azzania in particular, one gods-touched and one a powerful Druid type figure.

I look forward to seeing this series grow, building on from this one and developing the characters further and expanding the world building the author has already developed.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part on the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Book Tour: Love Potions and Other Calamities – Charlie Laidlaw*

Love Potions and Other Calamities by [Laidlaw, Charlie]

Rosie McLeod, pub proprietor and a gifted herbalist of local renown, is thirty-nine and holding, but only just. The talons of her fortieth birthday are in her back and her bloody, bloody husband hasn’t laid a lustful hand on her for months.

Rosie sets out to discover if her husband is having an affair, using deductive powers based solely on the careful preparation of plants and herbs. But as her well-laid plans entirely fall apart, the sighting of a large black cat sets off another chain of events.

Rosie now realises that a psychopath is on the loose and that she’s been selected as his next victim.

My thoughts:

This was a clever entertaining read, Rosie is fast approaching forty and is fed up, her skills in herbal medications mean that she knows all about what effects something as simple as a few herbs and hedgerow flowers have on the human anatomy.

While she’s wrapped up in fears over her marriage, someone is following their own conspiracy – about witches.

I liked the links with Scottish history, including the tragic history of women accused of being witches, Scotland being the only place in the British Isles who burned witches (everyone else hanged them).

There has been a resurgence of modern witchcraft and herbal knowledge and this feeds nicely into this, becoming a crime thriller as the witchfinder circles closer.

Then there’s the mysterious giant black cat, a bit like the Beast of Bodmin, that several people have seen and an election campaign taking place in the village at the same time.

The book is very funny at points and great when you need something fairly light-hearted (murders aside) to read.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books

New Book Alert: Vile – Keith Crawford


Elianor Paine is a Magistrate of the Peace in the Kingdom of Trist and a republican secret agent. She has 6 days to subvert her investigation, supplant war-hero Lord Vile, then coerce his adult children to start a revolution, before her masters discover the truth and have her killed. Just how far is she willing to go? And can she change the world without changing herself?

Amazon

Keith Crawford is a retired Navy Officer, a disabled veteran, a Doctor of Law & Economics, a barrister, a stay-at-home Dad, and a writer. He has written for collections of scholarly works, academic journals, and newspapers including The Economist. He has had more than thirty plays recorded or produced for stage, been listed in a variety of short story competitions (in spite of his hatred of short stories), and runs a radio production company, which regularly runs competitions promoted by the BBC to help find, develop and encourage new writers.

In 2014 he was lecturing at Sciences Po in Paris and negotiating a contract to write a book on banking regulation, when he and his wife discovered to their delight that they were due to have their first child. Rather than writing more work that would only be read by his poor students, and then misquoted by politicians, he decided he would do his bit to stick his fingers up at the patriarchy and stay home to look after his own kids rather than the grown-up kids of rich people. Two more children swiftly followed. Keith has discovered that if you recite Stick Man backwards you get the lyrics to AD/DC’s Highway to Hell.

This (looking after the kids, not satanic rites with Stick Man) allowed him to support his wife’s career, which appears to be heading for the stratosphere, and also gave him the space to write about swordfights and explosions. And spaceships. All of which are more fun than banking regulation. As an extension to his work in radio production, he set up his own small press, and his first novel, Vile, is due to be published in December 2019. More novels will swiftly follow, like buses in countries that don’t privatise the bus companies.

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Doing Time – Jodi Taylor*

Introducing The Time Police, the brand-new series by international bestselling author, Jodi Taylor – an irresistible spinoff from the much-loved Chronicles of St Mary’s series. Perfect reading for fans of Doctor Who, Ben Aaronovitch and Jasper Fforde.

A long time ago in the future, the secret of time travel became known to all. Everyone seized the opportunity – and the world nearly ended. There will always be idiots who want to change history.And so, the Time Police were formed. An all-powerful, international organisation tasked with keeping the timeline straight. At all costs.Their success is legendary, and the Time Wars are over.

But now the Time Police must fight to save a very different future – their own.This is the story of Jane, Luke and Matthew – arguably the worst recruits in Time Police history. Or, very possibly, three young people who might just change everything.

Jodi Taylor is the internationally bestselling author of the Chronicles of St Mary’s series, the story of a bunch of disaster-prone individuals who investigate major historical events in contemporary time. Do NOT call it time travel!

Born in Bristol and now living in Gloucester (facts both cities vigorously deny), she spent many years with her head somewhere else, much to the dismay of family, teachers and employers, before finally deciding to put all that daydreaming to good use and write a novel. Nearly twenty books later, she still has no idea what she wants to do when she grows up.

My thoughts:

I love the disaster magnets of St Mary’s and was thrilled to get the chance to read this book ahead of publication and tell you it is brilliant. The Time Police are often the thorn in St Mary’s side, refusing to even try to blend in when they appear to arrest people for time crimes.

Here the tables are turned somewhat; with three new recruits trying not to mess up the timeline while carrying out their duties. One of them is Matthew Farrell, son of Maxwell and Leon from St Mary’s, genetically attracting chaos!

Funny, silly, brilliantly written and completely marvellous.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Sapphire Smyth & The Shadow Five Part One – R.J. Furness*

SHADOWS: Sapphire Smyth & The Shadow Five (Part One) by [Furness, R.J.]

Have you ever seen something you can’t explain? Did it vanish as fast as it appeared?
Perhaps that thing you saw was lurking in the shadows, and you caught a glimpse of it before it went back into hiding.
There’s a good chance, of course, that the thing you saw simply emerged from your imagination.
Or maybe, just maybe, it didn’t…

Sapphire Smyth is no stranger to rejection. When she was only a baby, her father abandoned her after her mother died. Since then, Sapphire has never felt like she belonged anywhere, or with anyone. To make things worse, her foster carers have now turned their back on her – on her eighteenth birthday. After living with them throughout her childhood, Sapphire has to find a new home. Is it any wonder she finds it hard to trust people?

Abandoned by the people she called family, Sapphire is alone and searching for some meaning in her life. Except that meaning has already come looking for her. When she discovers mysterious creatures lurking in the shadows, Sapphire soon realises that her fate is unlike anything she had ever imagined.

My thoughts:

The serial novel isn’t something new, Charles Dickens serialised his stories in magazines, as did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, back in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. We don’t really do the same thing nowadays, but the rise of e-books could potentially be a new way to serialise stories for a modern readership.

However, I don’t think this particular story needed that treatment, in fact I think it could have done without it. This first tranche is weak, needing to pack a lot of information into its pages, and with multiple chapters, perhaps gives too much. Tighter editing would have been a real blessing as the concept and ideas within the story are pretty sound.

Sapphire Smyth turns 18, inherits an unusual heirloom, and discovers the world beneath the humdrum existence that she never knew was there. That’s a pretty decent concept, and one that could have been really interesting to play with.

But, the plot is all over the place, as is the characterisation. Sapphire isn’t very empathetic or relatable, she’s just a spoilt brat really. And the other characters are so weak as to be non-existent, where they needed to be stronger, in order to balance Sapphire out.

I have the next two instalments to read, and hopefully it improves and becomes a much more interesting and enjoyable read, and this uneven and overly exposition heavy first section is just a glitch as I really did want to enjoy this.

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this e-book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: North – Edith Pattou

This is a beguiling epic of magic, love, loss and betrayal based on the traditional fairytale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”. The lyrical writing and bold sweep of the story as Rose travels north will cast a spell over every reader. “A rich tapestry that will resonate with readers…The stuff of epic tale-telling, replete with high drama and compelling characterisations.” – Booklist. Rose was born into the world facing north, and as a north child, superstition says that she will be a wanderer, travelling far from home. This prophecy is fulfilled when she is taken on the back of a white bear to a mysterious empty castle, where a silent stranger appears to her night after night. When her curiosity overcomes her, she loses her heart, and must journey to a land east of the sun and west of the moon to reclaim it.

My thoughts:

I won this book in a Twitter giveaway from Usborne and will be published in November.

This is a beautiful retelling of a fairy tale hailing from Scandinavia, with a clever and resourceful young heroine who goes on a magical quest to find her white bear and bring him home. A love story, not just between the two protagonists, but also between Rose and her family.

While this book is aimed at younger readers (what publishing calls Middle Grade) this gentle, moving tale would resonate with readers of all ages.