blog tour, books, reviews, steampunk

Blog Tour: Geminicia – Nicholas Lovelock*

Revolution, romance and technological wonders are all in a day’s work for the decorated hero of Alavonia, Sir Arthur Pageon.

An acclaimed explorer and inventor, Sir Arthur Pageon takes his unofficial role as defender of the realm of Avalonia very seriously. A fantastical world, Avalonia is home to the Discoucian Monarchy, as well as monstrous creatures and secretive academies for the highly gifted.

Upon returning from his most recent exploits aboard on his personal flying galleon The Nostradamus, Pageon is treated to a hero’s welcome and celebratory procession through the streets of Avalonia’s capital, Evermore. Little does Pageon know he’s being followed by a mysterious group known as the Purple Guard, whose devious leader is his estranged sister, Queen Lily Pageon of Harrha Island. Fiercely intelligent, Lily specialises in dastardly technological inventions with the aim of bringing down the Discoucian Monarchy so that she may reign as its dictator. However, the heir to the throne is one Princes Josephine Oladine, whose youth and royal position masks her role in the Discoucian Secret Service.

Joining forces, Princess Josephine and Sir Arthur’s adventures will take them across the whole of Avalonia — from the fog-bound shores of Karga, to the secret underground shanty town beneath the frozen prison of Icester, south to the verdant city of Proceur and from there to the affluent Starfall Academy — in their quest to foil Lily’s revolutionary plans.

The second part of Arthur and Jo’s strange adventures throughout the land of Discoucia, and a time when Archie the Water Goddess has made the ultimate sacrifice to rid the world of her nemesis, Cordelia Paradise, the Fire Goddess.

However, things rarely go to plan and Arthur finds himself at war with Archie’s hidden agenda rather than the insane task that he has to help Archie complete.

Hidden around Discoucia in its sixteen major cities are sixteen gems that Archie must collect before a year is up. If she wins then Cordelia will disappear to another dimension and not return until she agrees to stop causing forest fires, volcanic eruptions and droughts.

Team Archie has Arthur and Jo, who both have the understanding that by collecting these gems a natural order can be brought back and maybe Jo’s father will get well again. Team Cordelia has Alicia May, who has a talent for becoming anyone and a deep malicious streak; and Iren, who has a fanatical hatred for Archie, which Archie herself doesn’t like to talk about.

Along the way they meet old friends and old enemies, as well as Archie having to perform miracles without the use of divine power. From the murky ruins of Tanalos to the haunted corridors of Ashin Dance Academy, the frozen caverns of Icester and the verdant streets of Proceur, the adventure will take them around Discoucia and beyond, unless Cordelia and Alicia May can stop them first…

About the author

Nicholas Lovelock lives in a small village in Oxfordshire and has already published Discoucia, the first part of the Alavonia Series which spans multiple novels set to be released in the future. He enjoys riding around the countryside as well as illustrating his own works, as can be seen in his second novel Gemenicia. These Illustrations in stark black and white provide a glimpse into the world of Alavonia and how he sees it, as well as showcasing the different locations and characters that make up the Alavonia series universe.

He is a keen musician capable of playing the electric guitar as well as the acoustic and the piano, often trying to play like his musical heroes David Gilmour, Jimmy Page and Jeff Lynne. His coin collection has transformed from a hobby to a passion and obsession as he attempts to collect one of every issued coin in Great Britain. He is over halfway in that respect collecting such treasures as a 1675 Charles the Second Crown and an extremely rare Edward the Seventh Half Crown of 1905, and has begun metal detecting in an effort to tick some boxes in the Hammered Coinage section.

His love of Steampunk literature and cinema has been with him from a young age when he first saw the film ‘Wild Wild West’, sought out the original series and discovered a world of fantasy that he has painstakingly tried to pay homage to in his novels, to bring the wild west to an English setting and to create something that has never been done before.

History has always been a major passion of his as he makes many references in his literature, from characters whose personalities resemble those of eccentric historical characters or monarchs. The ability to change history through literature was one of the things that attracted him to become an author in the first place, to create similar timelines and put a unique spin on the mundane.

My thoughts

At first I struggled a little to get into the first book, its unique style and the mise en scene opening took a minute to engage with. These books are great, quirky romps through a colourful world a little like ours but mostly completely different. The characters of Arthur and Jo are vividly drawn and you get swept up in their adventures. If you like steampunk, fantasy and adventure these are worth a whirl.

Find them on Amazon here:

Discoucia

Geminicia

*I was gifted these books in exchange for a review, all thoughts and opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Smoke in the Glass – Chris Humphreys*

Today I’m hosting a review blog tour stop for Chris Humphreys’ new book Smoke in the Glass, the first in a series set in a world where some people are born immortals and worshipped as gods.There are four lands, surrounded by impassable mountains and uncrossable seas, to most of the residents this means they are the only people in the world – unaware of others beyond their borders.In Midgarth (think Norse mythology) immortals are seen as gods who live amongst us, fighting each other over territory and drinking mead at feasts. Luck has always thought there might be more than just this and when someone starts murdering gods starts to look for a killer.Ferros is a soldier, sworn to serve the empire (Greco-Roman), finding out he’s immortal after a fight with bandits leads him to the school of immortals and as his life starts to change, new enemies threaten the Empire, he must lead the fight.In Ometope (Incan/Mayan) the god Intitepe has killed all his fellow immortals and his sons, sacrificing them to the volcano Toluc, trying to prevent a prophecy about his own death from coming true. When he banishes the latest of his women, Atisha and her newborn to the City of Women, his tightly controlled domain starts to unravel.A fourth land waits for the One, neither male nor female, they will bring changes that affect all four worlds, breaking down barriers and crossing impassable terrains. What is the strange addictive smoke they carry, and why are they so interested in Atisha’s baby Poum?Cleverly written, at times very funny, I thoroughly enjoyed this new book. I liked the clever usage of ancient religions from our world and the characters of Ferros, Luck and Atisha.This first novel nicely sets up the rest of the upcoming series, explaining the history of this world and how it works without being dry or boring. The plot jogs along at a nice pace, switching between storylines and protagonists confidently and smoothly.I look forward to reading the rest of the series and finding out more about the mysterious fourth land.*I was sent this book in exchange for my review, however all words and opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Book Review: Outremer III – DN Carter*

In preparation for this book review I also received books 1 and 2 of the series, there will also be a fourth volume.

My husband often complains about all the books I receive from generous publishers and PR teams to review, so this one is for him.

Set during the Crusades in the Holy Land, which spanned more than a few years and saw kings, queens and even children (both Alianor of Aquitaine and her son Richard the Lionheart would spend time in Jerusalem) travel to the front in order to fight the Muslim forces led at one point by the legendary Saladin.

These books are part fantastical story and part discussion of religious texts and beliefs.

My husband reviewed them thus; “Really interesting, but I got attached to one set of characters and wanted more of them and less religion. This book is trying to do something different and I got a bit frustrated when it left one plot for another. ”

A lot has been written about the Crusades, about the ‘right’ of European monarchs to control and repress the local population (remember Jerusalem is holy in all three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam) but not like this.

This is an unusual series and will appeal to people interested in history, religion, and also fantasy as it follows two young people caught up in the chaos of the time.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Everlasting Rose – Dhionelle Clayton

This is the sequel to The Belles (I recommend reading it before my review as there may be some mild spoilers of that book)

Following the events of The Belles, Camellia, her sister Edel and bodyguard Remy are on the run in the queendom of Orlèans from the dangerous Princess Sophia while searching for Princess Charlotte.

Camellia has learnt the terrible secrets that lurk beneath the beautiful surface and must stay alive long enough to right these wrongs and save not only herself but the whole of Orlèans.

I found The Belles to be full of clever ideas and fun details like the teacup animals and this book builds on the ideas and expands the world building.

Dhionelle is an excellent writer, and carries you along with her words. The plot is a lot more interesting than the first book, I think because there is less world building and scene setting needed.

I enjoyed this, although I had to read it as an e-book after the Royal Mail lost the copy I was kindly being sent by the publisher (which is less than ideal for me for several reasons).

I definitely think you need to read the first book though, this is very much a sequel as opposed to something that could stand alone.

books, fun stuff, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes, reviews

Illumicrate #13 Clever Ruse

This month’s Illumicrate has arrived! Yay and it’s a really cool one too.

There are 2 exclusive editions inside along with a host of bookish goodies.

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean. This gorgeous hardback edition has an exclusive cover, sprayed edges and a signed bookplate.

Wild Magic – Tamora Pierce. An exclusive edition of one of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors.

Circus Top Banner designed by @Illumicrate – inspired by The Night Circus and Caravel. I’m going to transfer all my book related pins to this.

Stag Amulet Necklace designed by @fableandblack – this was the first item I picked out of the box – I don’t think it’s something I’d wear but it will look excellent hung up in my book lair.

Diner Drink Cosy art work by @gicatam – this made me squeak out loud. I love To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, both the book and film so this is super cute.

Warcross Woodmark artwork by @chattynora – I read Warcross with my book club earlier this year and found it interesting. I collect bookmarks and this is going to hang out with its new pals.

Mulan inspired scarf artwork by Feifei Ruan @ruan0v0 – this is beautiful. Silky and soft, I can’t wait to gently tuck this in around my neck.

Bonus items: The Poppy War, This Mortal Coil.

I loved this box, a beautiful mix of books and lovely items all lovingly designed and curated. The Illumicrate team are doing a fantastic job putting these boxes together for all of us book loving souls.

books, reviews

Book Review; The Relic Guild Trilogy – Edward Cox

The first Relic Guild book (called The Relic Guild) introduces us to the remaining members of the Guild, 40 years after they last worked together.

Their old enemy Fabian Moor has reappeared in Labrys Town and chaos follows in his wake. The Guild must come together again and find a way to defeat their enemies one last time.

Flipping between the present day and the events of forty years before, this three book fantasy romp heads into the labyrinth surrounding the town and worlds beyond it.

Each volume rachets up the adventure and peril as our heroes race against time to stop an army of demons from destroying everyone in the town and beyond.

To begin with I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this series as I felt the first book was a bit slow getting going (I am an inpatient reader) and it took me a while to get into the plot. However once it did I raced through it and was eager to get into book two (The Cathedral of Dead Things).

books, reviews

Book Review: Empress of all Seasons – Emiko Jean

Set in an alternative feudal era Japan-like country, this story follows Mari, born a yokai or demon, and her attempt to become Empress.

The Emperor has had built 4 rooms, one for each season, that prospective empresses must conquer to win the hand of the reluctant Prince Taro.

Mari has been trained for this her whole life by her mother, an Animal Wife – who seduce wealthy men, marry them and steal their fortunes before retreating to their secretive village in the mountains.

Meanwhile in the capital city yokai are forced to wear iron collars that cause them pain and serve the humans. However a revolution is brewing and Mari’s friend Akira is drawn in.

This is a really interesting book, Japanese mythology is rich with unusual creatures, ghosts and monsters. Emiko Jean has woven just a few into this tale of survival – ancient beings against the humans who would wipe them out or enslave them.

The plot is gripping, with shades of the Hunger Games, drawing on the rich mythology and geography of Japan’s islands. The characters are well rounded and likeable.

The way it ends suggests there could be a sequel but it can also be read as a standalone novel.

It’s refreshing to have a different traditional backdrop in YA, rather than the Western mythos that has been common over the last few years (minus a few books like the excellent Jade City). I’m interested to see where the author goes next.