blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Fatewreaker – M.K. Wiseman*

Read my posts on the first two books The Bookminder and The Kithseeker

The Fatewreaker (book 3 of the Bookminder series)
England, 1680 A. D.
Liara and Nagarath’s enemy has unexpectedly come to their aid, surrendering to the magick-
suppressing forces of the king of France so as to buy time for their escape. But that doesn’t
necessarily mean Anisthe is on their side. Vrsar’s war mage, Liara’s father-in-magick, has never been
a man do to things for others. And he has always has plans within plans.
In fleeing to England with his apprentice, the Wizard Nagarath realizes that Liara’s power is no
longer her own to command. With the shattering of Khariton’s magick mirror in the Palace of Versailles, the young woman has become trapped in an alliance with the ancient and evil mage.
What is more, at eighteen-years-old, her life remains tied to Anisthe’s for another two years per the Laws of Magick. Anisthe, who is now imprisoned for having helped them evade the king’s spellpiercers.
Forced to revisit his own past, Nagarath is finally learning that there are some histories you cannot
outrun. As for Liara, the darkness within her heart is greater than she ever could have imagined. This
after Dvigrad’s orphaned magpie having finally learned to love. For, in the words of Khariton himself, “In magick you can never have friends. Only rivals.”
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My thoughts: finally everything has come to this – a great showdown between the legendary Merlin and the wicked Khariton, who has tricked Liara into allowing him to occupy her body and mind.

But Nagarath will do his best to help her and even the formerly villainous Anisthe wants to prevent her death. But things aren’t as easy as they seem.

There is yet more hopping between countries – this time to England and to the strange realm Merlin has been imprisoned in for centuries. Liara needs to find a solution to the predicament she’s in, and Anisthe’s last words to her as they fled France “find the book” are haunting her.

Liara has grown hugely as the three books have gone along – from petulant orphan brat to great and clever mage, and she’s also had to deal with some affairs of the heart too. Her friend Kresimir makes a reappearance and she and Nagarath have grown closer, but she’s afraid of harm coming to anyone she loves.

Merlin isn’t like he is in more traditional, Arthurian, stories, he’s not very likeable at all. He just wants power and doesn’t seem to care if he harms anyone to get it. Only Nagarath seems to feel any guilt about the people he’s endangered as he tries to help Liara and keep her safe.

An interesting and fast paced ending to this smart trilogy.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Serpent King – Tim Hodkinson*

The fight for vengeance has no victors…
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The great warrior, Einar Unnsson, wants revenge. His mother’s assassin has stolen her severed head and Einar is hungry for his blood. Only one thing holds him back. He is a newly sworn in Wolf Coat, and must accompany them on their latest quest.
The Wolf Coats are a band of fearsome bloodthirsty warriors, who roam the seas, killing any enemies who get in their way. Now they’re determined to destroy their biggest enemy, King Eirik, as he attempts to take the throne of Norway.
Yet, for Einar, the urge to return to Iceland is growing every day. Only there, in his homeland, can he avenge his mother and salve his grief. But what Einar doesn’t know is that this is where an old enemy lurks, and his thirst for vengeance equals Einar’s…
Read Tim Hodkinson’s newest epic Viking adventure.

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Tim Hodkinson was born in 1971 in Northern Ireland. He studied Medieval English and Old Norse
Literature at University with a subsidiary in Medieval European History. He has been writing all his
life and has a strong interest in the historical, the mystical and the mysterious. After spending several happy years living in New Hampshire, USA, he has now returned to life in Northern Ireland with his wife Trudy and three lovely daughters in a village called Moira.
Tim is currently working on a series of viking novels for Ares Fiction, an imprint of Head of Zeus.

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My thoughts: I always forget how complicated Middle Ages politics was. The Wolf Coats fight for one king, but would happily swap to another ruler, should their original king do something that negatively effects them. Or interferes with their own plans. In this Einar almost falls out with his fellows when his need for revenge doesn’t match up with the rest of the plans. Luckily they find a way round this and move ahead to unseat Einar’s ghastly father and rescue one of their own from an unwanted marriage too.

I hadn’t read the previous books in the series and I think this works well as a standalone – there’s enough back story given for you to understand what the Wolf Coats are doing and why. The terrible murder of Einar’s mother fuels him and his sworn brothers want to help him, and cause a little mayhem too.

The author has a degree in Norse history and understands the difference between going viking and being a Viking. I think that might be something useful for fans of this strand of historical fiction to learn! He also knows and weaves into the plot, the geography and various kingdoms of Northern Europe, giving a real sense of time and place to the story, which can be missing sometimes. An enjoyable and interesting read all round.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Couple – Helly Acton*

Millie is a perfectionist. She’s happy, she’s successful – and, with a great support network of friends and family (and a very grumpy cat) around her, she’s never lonely. She has her dream job at a big tech firm and is on track to become the company’s youngest ever Innovation Director. The last thing she needs is romance messing up her perfectly organised world.
Besides, normal people just don’t have romantic relationships. Everyone knows that being in a couple is a bit . . . well, odd. Sure, everybody has that one coupled-up friend who messes up the numbers at dinner parties, but it’s a bit eccentric. You know, like having a pet snake or living off the grid. Why rely on another person for your own happiness? Why risk the humiliation of unrequited love or the agony of a break-up when you can do everything yourself? No, Millie is perfectly happy with her conventional single life.
So when Millie lands a new project at work, launching a pill that stops you falling in love, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. That is, until she starts working with Ben. He’s charming and funny, and Millie feels an instant connection with him. Is this the spark that science and society are trying to suppress?

Will Millie sacrifice everything she believes in for love?

My thoughts: in a world where being single is normal, why would anyone want to be in a couple?

This was a really interesting and thought provoking book. I will admit there are days when I think about what my life would be like if I was single – different definitely, tidier and quieter. I married a very loud, messy man. I can work out what he’s been doing by the trail of chaos he leaves. And I know that my single friends get fed up of being asked when they’re going to meet someone, of being left out of invites because everyone else is in a pair.

Flipping that entirely on its head is really clever and really pushes you to think about why things are the way they are, about why society puts coupledom above any other relationship. Especially as you get older. Especially if you’re female.

I liked Millie and Ben, I was rooting for them, he seemed kind and funny and messy and she needed that in her planned out since she was 16 life. I loved her friends too – June and Al and Ruth. I loved that they were all so supportive and fun. That’s how it should be, your friends are just as important as any romantic attachment.

I didn’t like the word “slide”, after a while I began to react to its use the way some people do to the word “moist”, it made me cringe, hard. I needed Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya saying “I do not think that word means what you think it means” to comfort me.***

However, please don’t think any less of me for that, and the book is a lot of fun. And being single is not a crime, neither is being in a couple or even a throuple. As long as you’re happy, I think that’s what the book wants us to remember – that being happy is the key.

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

***please tell me you’ve seen The Princess Bride? One of the greatest movies of all time. The book’s good too.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Wood Bee Queen – Edward Cox*

Read my thoughts on the Relic Guild Trilogy

Somewhere in England, in a small town called Strange Ground by the Skea, Ebbie Wren is the last librarian and he’s about to lose his job. Estranged from his parents, unable to make connections with anyone except the old homeless lady who lives near the library, Ebbie isn’t quite sure what he’s supposed to do next. His only escape from reality is his deep interest in local folklore, but reality is far stranger than Ebbie can dream.

On the other side of the sky and the sea, the Queen of House Wood Bee has been murdered. Her sister has made the first move in a long game, one which will lead her to greatness, yet risk destruction for the entire Realm. She needs the two magical stones Foresight and Hindsight for her power to be complete, but no one knows where they are. Although the sword recently stolen by Bek Rana, small time thief and not very good at it, might hold a clue to their location . . . and to stopping the chaos. But all Bek wants is to sell the sword and buy herself a better life. She’s not interested in being a hero, and neither is Ebbie.

But someone is forcing their hand and playing for the heart of the Realm. Ebbie and Bek are destined to unite. They must find a way to stop the destruction of House Wood Bee, save the Realm, and just maybe save themselves in the process. All victories come at a price. The Oldungods are rising. And they are watching…

My thoughts: hello, excellent new fantasy novel. This is a very enjoyable book with its Oldungods and scheming queens, Ebbie the librarian and Bek the thief.

Blending fairy tales and mythology with completely new characters and stories, magic dripping from the Skea, this is a highly original and very enjoyable fantasy novel from an author who always delivers an excellent story.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Kithseeker – M.K. Wiseman*

Read my post on book one in this series – The Bookminder

The Kithseeker (book 2 of the Bookminder series)
France, 1680 A.D.
Liara’s defense of the Wizard Nagarath has rendered Anisthe incantate—bereft of all magick—but
even this has failed to guarantee Liara’s safety. The death of the war mage would seal Liara’s own fate, and so the wizard and his bookminder must keep him in their sites and yet as far away from themselves as possible.
With nothing but a storybook and a hunch, Anisthe has set off on a journey across Europe, aided by
his half-fey manservant, in search of a legendary mirror that contains the most powerful magick ever known. Although the stuff of fairytales, the merest possibility of its truth embarks Nagarath and Liara on a race to discover the mirror before it falls into the hands of Nagarath’s lifelong foe. Both know should he lay claim to that power, Liara would be at the mercy of her father-in-magick and his
lust for power, and not even Nagarath could save her.
Thus, the pair find themselves at the court of the Sun King, a world hostile to magick users, hopelessly surrounded by agents whose sole purpose is destroy them. Uncertain whom is friend or foe, with Anisthe nipping at their heels, they must unearth the mirror before its evil is released, or worse, lays claim to Liara’s magick as well and brings doom upon them all.

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My thoughts: Liara and Nagarath are in hot pursuit of their enemy, the mage Anisthe across Europe, mostly by ship – cue sea sickness and storms. They meet a variety of people in their travels, some friendly and some less so, always wary of the risk of engaging with the soldiers of Rome hunting magick users. They need to beat Anisthe to a legendary magickal item – the mirror Snow White’s evil stepmother used, if it exists.

Along the way Liara does a lot of growing up and starts to learn how to use her powers to do more than a perimeter alarm. The character development is good and feels realistic, she’s not suddenly a hundred times more grown up and sensible, she still makes mistakes and struggles to trust people. It makes her all the more interesting.

We also learn more about Nagarath and why he and Anisthe parted company as young mages in training. This explains a lot of her concerns about Liara and why he feels they need to chase after his former friend.

This was really enjoyable and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on book three.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Family Affair – Julie Houston*

Read my review of A Village Vacancy

Joining the family business was never going to be easy…
Frankie Piccione is done running away from her responsibilities, well for now anyway. Having escaped Westenbury after suffering a shattered heart, it’s time to take up her place on the family board. Piccione’s Pickles and Preserves needs Frankie. Frankie knows she can make the business work. But with her brother Luca and the new, rather attractive, Cameron Mancini watching her every move, she’s going to have to come up with something special to get them off her back and
recognising she belongs on the board just as much as they do.
With the help of her Aunt Pam and best friend, Daisy, Frankie is thriving with her new sense of purpose. Until someone from her past walks right back into it…
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Julie lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire where her novels are set, and her only claims to fame are that she teaches part-time at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old junior school and her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author, Joanne Harris. After University, where she studied Education and English Literature, she taught for many years as a junior school teacher. As a newly qualified
teacher, broke and paying off her first mortgage, she would spend every long summer holiday working on different Kibbutzim in Israel. After teaching for a few years she decided to go to New Zealand to work and taught in Auckland for a year before coming back to this country. She now
teaches just two days a week, and still loves the buzz of teaching junior-aged children. She has been a magistrate for the past nineteen years, and, when not distracted by Ebay, Twitter and Ancestry, spends much of her time writing. Julie is married, has a twenty-four-year-old son and twenty-one- year-old daughter and a ridiculous Cockerpoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she’s
been told it’s good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book – preferably with Matthew Mcconaughay in attendance.

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My thoughts: I love this series of books, all set in the fictional village of Westenbury, they’re comforting and funny, and this latest is no exception. Frankie’s heart was broken when she left but she’s come back to take up her responsibilities at the family firm.

The most important relationships in this book, as with the series as a whole, is between the female characters. Their bonds and support keep the plot moving as they laugh and cry and hold each other up. In Frankie’s case it’s her best friend Daisy and Aunt Pam, and these women help her find her confidence and assert herself in the face of male opposition. As always, there’s life lessons to learn and some bumps in the road to happily ever after. Another hugely enjoyable 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.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Scandalous Alchemy – Katy Moran*

Fontainebleau in 1825 is a glittering international court, rich with intrigue, passion and simmering violence. Lieutenant Colonel Kit Helford must navigate these treacherous waters to deliver the beautiful, self-destructive Princess Royal to her prospective husband. Kit’s childhood friend, Clemency Arwenack, is tasked with safeguarding her royal mistress’s reputation as the princess awaits a marriage she is dreading.

But both have secrets they will hide at all costs. Kit is on the run – from a man shot and left for dead back in London and a lifetime of scandal that includes a liaison with the princess herself. He will do anything to salvage his family’s reputation. Clemency, meanwhile, conducts a perilous trade in lies and blackmail as she seeks to destroy the princess, not protect her. With the princess’s life under threat, Kit and Clemency are pitted against each other, even as a dangerous attraction grows between them. The past hunts them both, remorselessly, relentlessly, and neither can escape it for long.

KATY MORAN is the author of Wicked by Design and False Lights, published by Head of Zeus. False Lights was originally published under the pseudonym KJ Whittaker.

Katy has taught creative writing in schools, at the Arvon Foundation, and for the charity Waterloo Uncovered, an archaeology project with a support program for veterans which aims to understand war and its impact on people. She visited the battlefield of Waterloo at their invitation, which led to her exploration of combat stress in False Lights. Katy’s research melds the testimony of present-day soldiers with the records of their historical counter-parts, to examine common ground and shared experiences across the centuries.

She is co-project manager for Waterloo Uncovered’s forthcoming educational project looking at the lives of camp followers, women who accompanied soldiers to the Peninsular War and the Battle of Waterloo. The project offers a rare insight into the lives of military spouses in a conflict on the cusp of modern history, seeking to broaden our understanding of history by removing the filter of prejudice.

Katy lives with her husband and three children in a ramshackle Georgian house in the Welsh borders. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association. Website Twitter

My thoughts: this was a gorgeous book and the story inside was a treat too. I love when writers clearly do their research and bring the past to life, drawing you into the world of dazzling wealth and intrigue in this case. The French Court is not a safe place to be, everyone is ambitious and scheming. You have to rely on your wits and be very careful who you trust, especially if you have secrets you need to keep. Kit and Clemency must do their jobs and keep themselves from being found out at all costs, which sets up a complex and clever plot.

I liked these characters, they were struggling against, at times, great odds, fighting to stay one step ahead of their enemies and survive the extravagant but deadly world around them. A highly enjoyable 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.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Rabbits – Terry Miles*

What happens in the game, stays in the game . . .

Rabbits is a secret, dangerous and sometimes fatal underground game. The rewards for winning are unclear, but there are rumours of money, CIA recruitment or even immortality. Or it might unlock the universe’s greatest secrets. But everyone knows that the deeper you get, the more deadly the game becomes – and the body count is rising. Since the game first started, ten iterations have taken place . . . and the eleventh round is about to begin.

K can’t get enough of the game and has been trying to find a way in for years. Then Alan Scarpio, reclusive billionaire and alleged Rabbits winner, shows up out of nowhere. And he charges K with a desperate mission. Something has gone badly wrong with the game and K needs to fix it – before Eleven starts – or the world will pay the price.

Five days later, Scarpio is declared missing.

Two weeks after that Eleven begins, so K blows the deadline.

And suddenly, the fate of the entire universe is at stake.

My thoughts: this is one of those books that boggles the brain a bit, but in a good way. It sort of tips reality over a bit and makes you have to think and try and figure out the puzzles alongside the characters. What is Rabbits? Why are people disappearing or dying? Can K fix it? Lots of questions and at times just not enough answers.

I was reminded of a whole bunch of books, films and even this weird story thread on Reddit, which I can’t remember the name of. Rabbits draws on all sorts of ideas about reality and puzzles, connections and misdirections. As K and various friends, new acquaintances and some very odd people dive deeper into the mysteries and rumours about this strange game, things get more and more peculiar and troubling. A clever, mind bender of a book and one that will be keeping me up at night for a while I think.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Bookminder – M.K. Wiseman*

The Bookminder (book 1 of the Bookminder series)
Istria, 1679 A.D.
Sired by magick and violence, sixteen-year-old Liara is found guilty of witchcraft and banished from
her tiny village by the very priest who raised, then betrayed her. However, a mysterious mage steps forward to assume custody of her: Nagarath, the Wizard of Parentino, whose secret spellwork has long protected both Liara and Dvigrad from the ravages of war.
Despite Liara’s best hopes, Nagarath refuses to apprentice her to his craft but tasks her instead with the restoration of his neglected library. Liara gleans magickal knowledge on the sly, but her stolen spells renew an evil wizard’s interest in the people of the Limska Draga valley.
Only by tapping Liara’s inherent magick and joining it with his own can Nagarath protect Parentino from suffering a horrible fate. However, her discovery of his secrets destroys their fragile trust and ignites the darker tendencies of her gift. Now, he must rescue her from the influence of his mortal enemy before their powerful new alliance destroys them all.

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M. K. Wiseman has degrees in Interarts & Technology and Library & Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her office, therefore, is a curious mix of
storyboards and reference materials. Both help immensely in the writing of historical novels. She currently resides in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

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My thoughts: this new YA fantasy series starts strong and as the book pages turn the characters become more interesting and the plot starts to become very interesting and sets up the rest of the series.

I liked Liara, she reminded me of so many teenage girls, frustrated with their lives, annoyed at the adults around them who don’t tell them the things they believe they need to know. She’s headstrong and slow to trust, but because of her past she’s hurt and vulnerable.

I’m looking forward to sharing the next two books with you over the coming weeks!

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

reviews, books, blog tour

Blog Tour: One Summer Sunrise – Shari Low*

Read my reviews of What If? and What Now?

As the sun rises on a hot summer’s day, four lives are about to be changed forever…
Brand new from the bestselling author of What If?, What Now? and One Day In Summer.
Today, Maisie McTeer decides to track down the ex who jilted her at the altar. Today, she’ll find out
that revisiting the past can also rewrite her future.
After losing her husband, Harriet Bassett can no longer bear her lonely life. Today, a familiar face in a crowd will spark a quest to discover if there’s something and someone worth living for.
Scott and Kelly Bassett’s daughter is leaving home. Today, Scott plans to tell Kelly that he’s ending their marriage to pursue his rock and roll dreams.
However, Kelly, has a bombshell of her own. How will Scott react to the news that a new arrival is on the way to fill their empty nest?
Between sunrise and sunset, there’s love, heartbreak, laughter and tears, but who will find happiness at the end of the day?
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Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In Winter and With Or Without You and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow and her first title for Boldwood was My One Month Marriage in January 2020.

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My thoughts: Shari Low does it again with another fun, funny and delightful romantic comedy. The importance of family, their different shapes and sizes, both bio and found is at the heart of this book.

Maisie is supposed to be one of hands being broken as her best friend gives birth, but instead she’s drafted into look after the catering at a graduation celebration, and keep an eye on the hilarious Janice and Jane.

Meanwhile Carny’s parents are dealing with their own issues as they prepare to celebrate their daughter’s bright new future. And a lonely widow, Harriet, makes plans.

The party in full swing brings all these different families together and while old ties might be severed, new ones will be formed and it’s all so much fun and joy.

I love Shari’s books, they’re so entertaining and enjoyable and always leave me with a smile and a few happy tears (note to self; do not read while hormonal, you get all emotional!)

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