blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Identity Thief – Alex Bryant*

A shapeshifting sorcerer called Cuttlefish unleashes a terrifying wave of magical carnage across London. A strange family known as the River People move into Cassandra Drake’s neighbourhood. Are the two events connected?

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Alex has led a largely comfortable but unremarkable life in North London, and more recently Oxford. His main hobbies as a kid were reading and sulking.

When he’s not writing, he’s performing with his improvised comedy troupe, Hivemind Improv. And when he is writing, he’s procrastinating.

The first idea for The God Machine came when he was 19, shortly after falling off a horse. Or possibly shortly before – the exact chronology is lost to history. So is the horse’s name, in case you were wondering.

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My thoughts:

This is a fun, clever fantasy novel, which plays with some of the conventions of the genre, with several surprising twists along the way.

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

books, reviews

Book Review: Plan for the Worst – Jodi Taylor

I would have trusted this man with my life. Until a couple of days ago, anyway.

You know what they say – hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

Max is quite accustomed to everything going wrong. She’s St Mary’s, after all. Disaster is her default state. But with her family reunited and a jump to Bronze Age Crete in the works, life is getting back to normal. Well, normal for St Mary’s.

And then, following one fateful night at the Tower of London, everything Max thought she knew comes crashing down around her.

Too late for plans. The worst has happened. And who can Max trust now?

My thoughts:

The Chronicles of St Mary’s are some of my absolute favourite books, hilarious, ridiculous, thrilling fun.

I am so pleased that another one has been published because they cheer me up no end.

In this, book 11, Max and co are off to Crete, to witness the end of the Minoan culture, get chased by bulls and then several natural disasters, of course.

There’s the general mayhem that ensues whenever the History Department is involved, a few scrapes with the Time Police and an old foe or two, plus Max in the Tower of London, but thankfully not under arrest.

Laughed out loud several times, to the horror of my husband, in my defence he’s normally at work, but that’s lockdown life for you!

I was super kindly sent a copy by the publishers, but all opinions remain, as always, my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Night of the Dragon – Julie Kagawa*

All is lost.

To save everyone she loves from imminent death, kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko gave up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must make one desperate final effort to stop the Master of Demons from using the scroll to call the Great Kami Dragon and make the wish that will plunge the empire into chaos.


Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil — the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko to stop a madman, and to separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.


But even with their combined skills and powers, this unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realised existed…until now.

My thoughts:

I didn’t realise this was the third book in a trilogy till I started reading it, however I still really enjoyed it despite not having read the previous books.

The back story would have been useful but this still stood on its own merits and was readable without knowing the previous adventures of the characters.

Building to a climatic battle between good and evil, the heroes travel to stop an evil mage from summoning a god and destroying the world.

Drawing on Japanese myth and culture, the story is epic and sweeping, the writing rich and gripping, you are carried along by the plot and the strong characters.



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

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Blog Tour: War of the Snakes – Julian Cheek*

“Dreams can’t be real, can they?”

Such is the gnawing question reverberating through Sam’s head as he battles with a dilemma, which refuses to be ignored.

In his dreams, he is always confronted by one simple point: Muanga-Atua exists! And for some un-asked for and un-wanted reason, he – Sam – is expected to save this place from the calamity that engulfs the people of the Turangai. Not only that, but he is also supposed to have some sort of incredible power by which he is expected to destroy both the Bjarke and their leader, Lord Elim, the Turangai’s oppressors.

“But that is ridiculous! Right?”

Determined to ignore all that occurs in this so-called ‘dream world’, he does nothing. That is until one cold, grey, autumn morning a TV news flash captures a shocking series of events, which leads to one undeniable truth; what he has tried to ignore all along in Muanga-Atua has somehow incredibly exploded into his world and it is searching… Searching for him.

His do-nothing approach is just not good enough. Not now. He will have to go back to Muanga-Atua to seek out this power he was supposed to have obtained. Find the power, accept what it can do through him, and go out into that awful place to do battle with someone, or something that makes his very blood run cold.

But how? How can he go into this world and be all that the Turangai think he is, when he still cannot accept the truth? That he is ‘The One’. Sam, Wielder of the Staff of the Ethereals and saviour of their world. And now, apparently, of his own as well.

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I am an architect by profession and have been practicing for almost thirty years. My passion for design and for creating lasting spaces has pushed me to the forefront of this field and some of my projects include Mercedes World in Brooklands, NikeTown in Berlin and Europe’s largest pharmaceutical project for Hexal in East Germany. Currently, as Head of Design for a leading International developer, I am looking after the design and delivery of the first Versace-branded residential tower in Europe, in London.

It has long been my drive to challenge and test the people I work with, to demonstrate to their respective audiences how best to explain a concept. It is this vision that I hold closely to in my direction in creating stories and ideas such that the reader is also able to quickly understand what the story is about, and also to associate themselves with it and the characters within.

I live with my partner and our dog in Hampshire. Collectively, our four children have all grown up and flown the nest and we now enjoy seeing our own children learn themselves the tough lessons that life sometimes throws one. Mitch, my partner, is my inspiration and joy. She is my rock and we often discuss ideas for plot lines ( we both write) and both love bouncing ideas off each other.

The subject matter that forms the trilogy, “The Ethereal Series”, of which “The War of the Snakes” is book two, was brewing in my mind for quite a few years. I wanted to explore the idea where the “the good guy” doesn’t always win. I describe this as “In our lives, we all often hit obstacles that cause us to react, sometimes with frustration, rage, despair. Often, we carry this burden by ourselves, too afraid, and at times, too British, to share these with others”. The series, tries to unpick the various and numerous layers of the “onion skin” that Sam, the main protagonist, has built up around himself over the years, due to a tragedy he is unable to cope with. It is, hopefully, a story that a great many readers will associate themselves with, either from personal experience, or through friends who have gone through deep valleys, or may still be in them. The book is not intended to be too dark, so a few wobbly bridges are thrown it at times so that the reader is reminded that all is OK ultimately.”

As a Christian, my faith is important to me, as are my beliefs. A life message I have learned and now try to carry around with me, is that every person is precious. It does not matter what creed, race, sexual orientation, religious standing or place in society one finds themselves in, rather what does matter, is that when all the “stuff” is peeled away, whether self-built or applied by others, God sees us for who we really are; which is a beautiful creation, made wonderfully, and with care and attention. I try to share this in my outlook and acceptance of others. This lesson has been taught, often through extreme tragedy and loss, as well as times of great joy. These are reflected in the various scenes Sam and his family find themselves in.

The bright times include when I spent my youth growing up in South Africa. As a child growing up in what, for me, was a beautiful country, where kids did not differentiate between skin colour or culture, the pure exhilaration of being able to explore the mountains, the lakes and rivers and the landscapes, often at great peril to life and limb, cemented a rich tapestry in my life that helped me to look outward and see how peaceful things are, when one is able to turn one’s head to one side for a moment and smell the flowers.

A darker side was the struggle when my two children were diagnosed with an incredibly rare genetic disorder of which, only 12 have been recorded. The first child was born in Germany and whilst I could speak German, the medical and technical issues around the condition and trying to speak to doctors about it, led to extreme periods of sadness. Often, I was told by one of the doctors that, in their opinion, my daughter had this or that condition, and would probably die before they were 4. The angst that came from this, only to find out some months later, that actually, the doctors were shown to be wrong and that my daughter now had “this” condition (probably), and that life expectancy was not very good, was beyond description.

In this darkness, a light was switched on by the healing touch of a wonderful church, and of being introduced to many other children who were in a much worse condition than my daughter. I learned that it was OK to be scared and afraid and worried, but that if I looked outside for a moment, all was at peace. The children are now both leading active “normal” lives and are 24 and 21 respectively and they both delight and frustrate as children do. I wouldn’t swap them for the world. Valuable life lesson there.

Both me and Mitch enjoy painting. For me, my forte is portraiture and I find that by studying this subject matter, it helps me to see the nuances that make up a person’s face or a setting for a scenic composition. It is a challenge to try to capture the character. A lesson I take with me when writing.

In conclusion, if there was a strap line I would want to adopt or uphold, it would probably be, “Laugh when there is no reason to, and never forget to stop looking out. Peace reigns even in the worst of chaos!” I trust that the reader will immerse themselves in “The War of the Snakes” as well as my first published novel of the series, “The Awakened” and be there ready to support me and the travails of Sam when book three comes to print in Autumn 2021.

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The street lights quickly left the small, crude shelter behind off the pathway he now found himself on and slowly, Sam became aware of more small buildings gradually emerging out from the gloom as if afraid to reveal themselves. They were arranged higgeldy-piggeldy, bouncing off each other, at crazy angles as if seeking support from their neighbours. All were dark, empty it seemed, foreboding and bereft of light and life. “Most definitely houses of some form.” Thought Sam. “But where is everybody?” This question uttered, almost impossible to respond to. Everything was still, unmoving and yet jumping to life it seemed, whenever the lightning struck, bringing their silhouettes into sharp relief before plunging them once more in to the vestigial darkness that surrounded this place.

No wait! Just there ahead. Another light, lower down, almost at eye-level. A half-illuminated sign slowly came into view, its buffeting to and fro, restrained to a timber post by two clanking chains which were hooked into the top of the sign. “The Fickle Thistle” loomed out suddenly announcing a small, ramschakle stone façade, within which stood a stout looking door from which a hearty orange glow seemed to shine out from a small window cut into its front. “A pub? Here?” Thought Sam. It looked completely incongruous in its surroundings but Sam threw all caution to the strong wind hurling itself around him, hurried over to the door and pushed it open.

Inside, almost as if the storm outside had thrown a make-shift bomb into the surroundings, the piano playing, juke-box of noises evaporated and at least thirty pairs of eyes swivelled and fixed themselves on the door and the stranger who had just entered, as if studying a leper. The cessation of the thrashing rain at his face, having now entered into this “lion’s den” that was “The Fickle Thistle”, was more a reason to stay than the accusing eyes boring into him were a reason to leave. With a sharp intake of breath, Sam continued on in, closing the door behind him with a “clunk” of finality, shutting the tempest out from his world, if only for a moment. Then he turned and peered slowly into the pub.

The punters were all staring at him as if some nasty curse had entered into their private domain. Even the barmaids, some with beer tankards sloshing their frothy suds to the floor, stood rooted to the spot in mid-stride, gazing at Sam, almost as if in fear.

A movement in the dimness of the rafters caught his eye and he peered up, if only to break contact with the wall of hostility that greeted him from the occupiers within. If the scene at the ground floor plain was disconcerting, the view into the rafters was, if anything, even more bizarre. At least five birds, all shapes and sizes, gazed down at him from the sanctuary of their dim perches. One had its wings at full stretch as if ready to launch off its perch to attack him. It was then that Sam began to notice a different “layer” of activity that was occurring in and around the clientele of this establishment. He became aware of a multitude of creatures, if they could be called that, snaking and slithering around the crowd at floor level. Some hiding behind bar stools, afraid to look at him, others, with fur bristling and teeth barred, standing their ground, looking at him. All, without exception, seemed to be waiting though. “Waiting, if anything,” thought Sam, “for further instruction from someone or something!”

“Padme!” The thought thrust itself into his mind like a cannon ball. “Of course!” These animals and creatures were the companions and protectors of the customers and staff in this place of solace from the storm outside that was hurling itself with full wrath against the building’s flimsy shell. For the first time, Sam felt a sense of security and belonging, for he was able to fix where at last he was. Definitely no longer in the sanctuary of Greyshott. (“Although, thinking back, even the village at the moment was not exactly a haven of peace and tranquillity.” He reminded himself) When he left it “a few short minutes ago!?” he mused, there was utter chaos, with what seemed like flesh-eating maniacs at his tail and a directive from Alice, proprietress of “Timbers Tea House” and part time angel, to go and destroy….. “Yes, it was all coming back now.” Sam had a mission to undertake, why, he still had no real clue about, but, for some reason, he was living a normal life one second, “if that could be classed as normal”, he reminded himself, and the next, he was being thrust into a strange world with flying, thought-communicating beasts from some wild, weird crazy land, with a task to go and kill some Lord, save that world and come back and save his own! “All before bloody breakfast!”

He knew at some deep, intuitive level, that he was finally back in Muanga-Atua, and the people and animals around him seemed to fit at last, into a jigsaw, even though this was without any picture to base it on, or number of “pieces” still to go. He breathed out and started to move towards the bar, there to seek out any information as to where “here” was.

He had taken only a few short steps when some men at a table closest to him stood up and blocked his passage further. They were not in the mood to let him pass. Perplexed, Sam looked up at them and cowered slightly as he saw their anger and determination to send him rapidly back from whence he had come, it seemed. But what they said next threw him into a turmoil of emotion.

“Where is your Padme, young man?” They challenged. One reached into his coat as if to draw out an article, “Or weapon!” Sam assumed.

Sam’s last half hour cascaded like so many dominoes into a pile of scatterings and threatened to burst out of his head, leaving him an empty, destroyed shell. He saw the start of the chaos back at home; He saw Alice coming to rescue him, his flight away and up Blacknest Hill and his arrival at the totem at the top. He remembered then why he was running and, more importantly, what he was running to. Now he was here, wherever that was. He knew that he had to find a staff of some description, which had been lost, but he hadn’t the foggiest idea where it was or how he was supposed to find it, now that this reality had taken over.

“I said,” threatened one of the men, pushing his dirty fingers into Sam’s chest with each syllable, “where. Is. Your. Padme?” At last, a small piece of this jigsaw managed to emerge from his mind’s eye and settle itself into place. ”Of course! It is impossible to be in this world without a Padme, and to walk without one meant you were either dead, or demon…….. Or Sam!” Thought Sam.

Without thinking, Sam blurted out, “Um. Well. I am known here as Sam-of-the-Shades. I have a Padme called Babu but we can exist apart. I lost him at Watamka during a battle with the cursed Bjarke and I have to find him quickly, rescue Pania and Ma-Aka, find the missing staff of the Ethereals and then do battle with Lord Elim and his horde before he destroys this world and mine!”

As Sam was vomiting words out as fast as his mind could conjure them up, one of the men, eyes as large as saucepans, pulled out an incredibly large, and most certainly, “deadly” knife, and started towards Sam with clear intent. Sam saw it all as if in slow-motion but knew what the outcome was to be. He closed his eyes in resignation and some frustration and started to cower down, expecting at any moment, to wake up again in Greyshott with a very painful chest and having to go through the process all over again.


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

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Blog Tour: The Great Devil War IV: The Angel of Evil – Kenneth B. Andersen

Nothing will ever be the same. Satina is gone, kidnapped by the enemy. Disobeying Lucifer, Philip heads out to find her, journeying into the deep darkness of Outer Reach. But nothing can prepare Philip for the horror that awaits—or the demons he will face.


Meanwhile, Lucifer’s kingdom is threatened as the Great Devil War draws closer. All Hell is about to break loose.


The Angel of Evil is volume 4 of The Great Devil War series.

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I WAS BORN IN DENMARK ON A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT IN DENMARK

… and I began writing when I was a teenager. My first book was a really awful horror novel titled Nidhug’s Slaves. It didn’t get published. Luckily.


During the next 7 years, I wrote nearly 20 novels–all of which were rejected–while working as a school teacher. The rest of the time I spent writing.


In 2000 I published my debut fantasy book, The Battle of Caïssa, and that’s when things really took off. Since then I’ve published more than thirty-five books for children and young adults in genres ranging from fantasy to horror and science fiction.


My books have been translated into more than 15 languages and my series about the superhero Antboy has been adapted for film, which is available on Netflix. An animated tv series is currently in development.


A musical of The Devil’s Apprentice opened in the fall 2018 and the movie rights for the series have also been optioned.


I live in Copenhagen with my wife, two boys, a dog named Milo and spiders in the basement.

The Great Devil War was published in Denmark from 2005-2016, beginning with The Devil’s Apprentice.


Even though the story (mostly) takes place in Hell and deals with themes like evil, death and free will, it is also a humoristic tale about good and evil seen from a different perspective. A tale that hopefully will make the reader – young or old, boy or girl – laugh and think.


Welcome to the other side!

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                 Chapter 29

        The War Against God


This is the beginning. Life’s beginning. Mankind’s beginning. 

    He is back in Paradise, surrounded by its splendor. The dew drips from the leaves and treetops, shining like pearls in the light from a sun that seems brighter than ever. A cool morning mist drifts between the trees. The forest is quiet, although it is filled with animals. They carefully sniff their way around on shaky legs. Silent. Curious. Newborn. They are only a day old. 

    In front of Philip, standing in a little meadow, is God. His gray cape is spotted with mud. He observes the figure before him. A human being. No, not a human being. A sculpture. A man molded from dirt and water. His eyes are closed. He isn’t alive. 

    Not yet. 

    Jehovah reaches out and smoothes the man’s cheeks, presses the eyes a little closer together, makes the nose a little smaller. Then he nods and smiles. He leans toward his creation and blows softly on his face. Seconds pass. Then the man’s chest begins to rise and sink as he slowly starts to breathe, and then the eyes slide open. 

    “Adam,” Jehovah says, not noticing the figure standing nearby, watching, hidden within the dark of the forest. It’s merely a shadow among shadows and in the sky a single cloud drifts over the deep blue sea and…

   

    … he stands in front of the Tree of Knowledge. In front of the juicy red apples, which offer the wisdom of good and evil, and which one day will lead to the fall of man. 

    He isn’t alone. There’s someone standing next to him and Philip gasps when he sees who it is.

    Lucifer.

    But he can hardly recognize him. The half-long dark hair frames a vibrant and glowing face. It looks so different without the horns. The eyes that one day will be blacker than an abyss are a fierce dark blue. His swan-wings peek out from under the white cape. It is Lucifer. But it’s Lucifer the archangel, not yet the Devil. 

    Not yet. 

    He’s holding an apple. He’s plucked it from the Tree of Knowledge and the second he takes the first bite, a voice calls out to him from within the forest. 

    Lucifer doesn’t react, he just keeps chewing. 

    The voice calls again, louder this time. 

    An angel walks out of the forest. He’s youngermuch youngerthan last time Philip saw him. It’s the angel who brought him to his father’s house. Michael. 

    “Oh, there you are,” he says, smiling. “Why didn’t you answer?”

    Lucifer tosses the apple and turns around. He doesn’t smile. “I was lost in thought.”

    “Come on. It’s time. Jehovah’s latest creations are ready and we have to—”

    “No,” he interrupts.

    The smile on Michael’s lips droops slightly. “No? What you do mean, no?”

    “I’m not going.”

    The smile is gone, the forehead furrows. “But Jehovah has ordered it. You can’t just dismiss it. Man was created and we’re going to celebrate…”

    “Celebrate?” Lucifer takes a step toward Michael. He suddenly appears threatening and his eyes… They appear a shade darker. “Celebrate? How? By humiliating us, ridiculing us, and making a mockery of us!”

    “Watch your mouth!” Michael warns, and now his own voice turns hard. “Why would you say something like that? Man is an exceptional being, created in Jehovah’s own image, out of

    “Out of dust and mud!” Lucifer yells, incensed. “A simple creature! Inferior! Lowly! I’m supposed to bow to him? Never! We were first. If anyone’s going down on bended knee, it’s him! That creature should be worshiping us!”

    “If you don’t do what the Lord commands… He’ll get mad.”

    “Then it’s his anger against mine. Let’s see who wins.”

    “What are you talking about?” Michael shakes his head in disbelief. “What’s going on with you? Where is all this darkness coming from?”

    “What’s going on with you, Michael?” he hisses back. “Why do you put up with it?”

    The snow-white wings unfold, sparkling like sword-blades in the sunshine, and in the flash of an eye, Lucifer is gone. The half-eaten apple is still lying on the ground and… 

   

    … everything is darkness. Philip can’t see a thing. He can only hear a velvety voice, talking in a whisper. Lucifer’s voice. Bewitching. Seductive. Tempting. He’s still an angel, but his voice is the voice of the snake. It’s inescapable, engulfing Philip in the darkness that fostered it.

    “Throw ourselves on the ground for a man?” it asks. “Are we nothing but slaves?”

    “Mankind is an inferior being,” it says. “It is not to be worshiped. It is he who should worship us.”

    “Mockery!” it says. “Degradation! Humiliation! How could Jehovah stoop this low?”

    “He’s not our master,” it says. “Not any longer.”

    “Follow me,” it says. 

    Hisses.

    Tempts.

    “Join me.”

    And the voice is the darkness and the darkness is the voice and the darkness is everywhere.


To win a digital copy of this book, enter the giveaway here.

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Book Review: The Rearranged Life of Oona Lockhart – Margarita Montimore

A remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of order.

It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins The Rearranged Life of Oona Lockhart

Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.

My thoughts:

This is a really clever take on time travel, Oona wakes up each time at another point in her life, completely unaware of how old she is and what’s happened recently.

Clever, funny and well written, this romp through one woman’s life, completely out of order as she tries to find some.

The supporting characters of Oona’s mother and assistant are great too, as the holders of Oona’s secret they could be the villains but they choose instead to help her and fill in the blanks.

I was kindly sent a copy of this book by the publisher with no obligation to review.

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Blog Tour: Hidden Magic Anthology

No matter the world, life can be dangerous. Be they wizards and shamans, assassins, or everyday people, Hidden Magic tells their stories about escape, consequences, and most of all, magic.

From Earth cities and fantastical new worlds comes twenty-three stories where heroes grapple with the seen and unseen in order to save themselves, their families, and often the world. This collection features:

Elderly antiques experts interacting with souls

Shamans growing outlawed magic

Baby chimeras battling for their lives

Children sprouting fluffy tails

A king’s boat thrown off-course

A perfect life coming at a not-so-perfect cost

Vikings defending a village against the unseen

A lone shifter atoning for his past mistakes

Trolls and pixies tumbling through the doorway to another world

And more!

Fans of Patricia Briggs and Tamsyn Muir will love Hidden Magic, first of the Magic Underground trilogy of anthologies… Get it today!

Authors in this anthology include: USA Today Bestseller Joynell Schultz, L.C. Ireland, USA Today Bestseller Melinda Kucsera, Seattle Times regional bestseller & multi-international award winner Raven Oak, Tiffany Shand, Alesha Escobar, USA Today Bestseller Lee French & Erik Kort, H.B. Lyne, Anela Deen, Majanka Verstraete, Krista Ames, C.K. Rieke, Devorah Fox, Leah W. Van Dinther, C.S. Johnson, Barbara Letson, Toasha Jiordano, Gwendolyn Woodschild, H.M. Jones, Stephen Wallace, AR Johnston, and William C. Cronk.

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“Mail Order Witch”

It didn’t take long for the word of an enchanted item shop to spread throughout Watersedge like a fire in a used bookstore. Gawkers walked slowly by the front window during the month it took me to enchant supplies and set up the shop, staring inside like I was on display at a zoo. What kind of animal did they think I looked like? A flamingo with my long legs and too-short body? A black panther with my dark hair? Or maybe I looked like a pig—I mean I could devour the aforementioned pumpkin pie almost as quickly as my sister.

Or was I just a perfect specimen of a witch, with the natural blue highlights in my hair that I refused to cover like so many witches did?

Win a copy here and win an Amazon gift card here

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Book Review: Belle Rèvolte – Linsey Miller

Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a terrible war, Emilie and Annette come together to help the rebellion unearth the truth before it’s too late.

My thoughts:

A French inspired, queer, role swap story with magic.

I thought this was great fun, Emilie and Annette are great characters, as her friends and allies, as they fight to save their country and stop the corrupt king and generals from slaughtering innocents and dragging their people into endless war and mayhem.

The plot is clever and full of joy, even as it heads towards the culmination of the story and the two girls join forces to fight back against their enemies.

From discovering their gifts and learning how to use them, to falling in love and finding their person (Annette’s gentle kitchen based romance with Yvonne is a delight).

Miller explores gender identity and queerness through these characters, but doesn’t make it the focus of the characters’ side plots, just part of who they are – which is refreshing.

While it works well as a standalone novel, the ending leaves it open to the possibility of a sequel, which would be interesting.

I was gifted a copy of this book by the publisher with no obligation to review.

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Blog Tour: Venators Magic Unleashed – Devri Walls*

Welcome to Eon.

An alternate dimension where fantasy and paranormal is reality, and humans sit at the bottom of the food chain. In this world of unadulterated power and ability, the innocent suffer greatly.

The ruling council of Eon has selected two humans, born of the Venator bloodline, and brought them through the gate—wishing to manipulate their strength and special abilities for the council’s corrupt purposes.

But, Grey and Rune have very different ideas. When their college dorm is infiltrated by creatures from another realm, Rune Jenkins, her twin brother Ryker, and old friend Grey Malteer are thrown into unexpected, twisted chaos. While Rune and Gray are able to escape, Ryker is kidnapped away to Eon, the alternate world from whence these dark beings came. With the help of a supernatural guide, Rune and Gray must now travel to Eon to save Ryker, and discover the illuminating truth about their ancestry.

In this new world of fae, vampires, werewolves, and wizards, power is abundant and always in flux. Rune and Grey are being set up as pawns in a very dangerous game and must find their way through – and out of – Eon before it consumes them.

Devri Walls is a US and international bestselling author. Having released five novels to date, she specializes in all things fantasy and paranormal. She is best known for her uncanny worldbuilding skills and her intricate storylines, and her ability to present this all in an easy-to-digest voice.

Now gearing up for her first national release, Devri is excited to introduce her sixth novel, book one in the Venators series. She loves to engage with her loyal following through social media and online sessions she organizes for her readers.

Devri lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband and two kids. When not writing she can be found teaching voice lessons, reading, cooking or binge watching whatever show catches her fancy.

My thoughts:

This was an interesting idea – two humans are pulled through a portal into a world inhabited by magical beings. Humans are at the bottom of the heap and have limited powers of any sort.

This was very readable and enjoyable, Devri is a good writer with a strong understanding of plot and world building.


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

books, reviews

Book Review: The Mermaid of Black Conch – Monique Roffey


April 1976: St Constance, a tiny Caribbean village on the island of Black Conch, at the start of the rainy season. A fisherman sings to himself in his pirogue, waiting for a catch – but attracts a sea-dweller he doesn’t expect. Aycayia, a beautiful young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid, has been swimming the Caribbean Sea for centuries. And she is entranced by this man David and his song.

My thoughts:

This was a really interesting folktale set in the modern age, where a mermaid falls for a fisherman, who unfortunately decides to take her from the sea.

Others lay claim and she yearns for her watery home.

Akin to the stories of other ocean dwellers trapped on land, like selkies, and indeed other mermaids, the existence of such a beautiful creature stirs desire and greed in the hearts of many and places these mythical beings in peril.

Roffey writes with confidence and assurance – as befits an accomplished writer.

Written in Trinidadian dialect, the cadences of people’s speech really adds to the sense of place and gives it an authenticity and character all of it’s own.

I was kindly sent a copy of this book by the publisher with no obligation to review.