Author Archives: Bairdy1985

Gods of War (King’s Bane #2) by C. R. May – Review

Title – Gods of War (King’s Bane #2)
Author – C. R. May
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 332 Pages
Publication – August 2016
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Spring 524A.D.
As the last settlers board the ships which will carry them to Anglia, Eofer and the men of his war band are sent to harry the Danish coast, drawing the enemy eastwards as King Eomær’s host lands in the west.

But the gods of war can be fickle, and the ravaging does not end as planned.

A warlord, Ubba silk beard, leads the counterattack. Driving the raiders from the kingdom he pursues them through the forests of Scania as the war of fire and steel rages on.

Other forces are at work, other ventures already in play.

Seizing his chance for kingship an assassin strikes, and a new power emerges from the ruins of the old as the young Danish king gathers his army and marches to confront the invader.

Gods of War is the second volume in the bestselling King’s Bane series, the genesis of England.

Review

Before you go any further why not read my review of Fire & Steel, book 1 in the series.

It’s taken me too long to get back to this series but i’m so glad I did.

We are back with Eofer, King’s Bane and it was genuinely a thrill to get back in the action with him and his warband.

For me what made this book a step up from the first is the bond Eofer has with his men. The connection they have with each other is more developed and believable.

This bond is strengthened throughout the book when Eofer is in need of his men more than ever.

The plot has a lot of meat on the bone as I like to say, lots to get to grips with but not so much that you are bombarded with too much info. If anything it was the sheer amount of action and the fast flowing plot that sucked me in.

The Angles are leaving, headed for what they hope is a better future but while the last of them race to get aboard a ship there’s still the chance of attack.

Eofer’s men have great comradery and some very fun conversations which give some light relief at times from all the heavy action.

Spearhafoc, who you may remember from the first installment is back and her story gets dark and complicated, I really enjoyed it but I do hope that her story isn’t over.

What I really liked about this book is the setting. As there’s not a lot of information known about the events it’s given the author the chance to weave a believable tale at times but also exercise his imagination. I want to say more but I don’t want to give away too much of the plot.

For me this is a complex tale, it’s a battle to see which tale is more important, Eofer’s tale or the historical tale. There’s a lot crammed in with this one but it all worked for me. Fun, exciting and it’s left me wanting to get on to the next book in the series quickly.

The action is spot on but varied in such away it doesn’t feel repetitive. We are given raids, full on wars, surprise attacks and you just never know where the author will take you next and that made it all the more exciting to read.

There are a few really emotive scenes also which knock the wind from your sails, this gave another edge to Eofer and for me these moment stole the show, I hope the author throws in more moments like this in book 3.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

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10 Questions with……. Jesse Teller PLUS SNEAK PEAK :P

Hello!

Did you see my review of Liefdom by Jesse Teller? No!! well click here to read it quick! 

Today I’m very glad to continue my 10 questiosn with feature with non other than Jesse Teller himself who very kindly took the time to answer some of my questions.

I do hope you enjoy, keep reading to the end for sneak peak of whats to come next from Jesse!


Wellcome Jesse,

Q1 – For anyone who’s read my reviews they will already know about the life of Gentry Mandrake but for those who’ve not had a chance to read the book yet can you give them a little insight into the story?

Okay, so Gentry Mandrake is a fairy. In my world, fairies are born to a different realm called The Veil, and every time a fairy is born, a child is born. That fairy and that child are bound together. The fairy serves as the child’s immune system to magic and other properties of my fantasy world. If the child dies, the fairy dies, and vice versa. All children are born innocent. So when Mandrake is born and he’s of monstrous size, has natural armor, and natural weapons, it begs the question, what kind of monstrous baby could have inspired such a monstrous fairy? We find out during the course of the book whether Mandrake is really a monster, serving a monstrous child, or if he is something else.

Q2 – I love the idea of the connection between humans and fairies..and especially the idea of the consequences of being a bad human/fairy has on the other.. Where did this idea come from and did it take a while for you to develop it fully?

Well I guess you could say parenthood. If a parent goes sour, usually the child does as well. Not all the time, but sometimes. So, in my world, when a fairy becomes jaded and dark, so does the child, and vice versa. This puts fairies as the guardians of the child’s innocence. Just as, in many ways, a parent is the guardian of a child’s innocence. When a person goes truly evil, when a child goes truly evil, it’s soul is severed from the fairy, and the fairy has a chance to turn itself back. This is the shift between changeling and imp. This mimics parents and children too, because when people become truly evil, it’s not necessarily a reflection of the way they were raised. At a certain point, they just cannot blame the parents anymore for their own decisions. In Liefdom, as in most of my work, I’m studying the relationship between parents and children.

Q3 – Something that really sticks with me from the book is the progression Mandrake goes through as the story develops. My number 1 must for a book is character development and I loved how you managed this. Was it hard for you to find the right balance between action and character development?

Not really. Character development is not an engine in itself. A lot of writers consider themselves masters of a train yard. On one track, they have plot development, on another they have character, and still another they have scene development, setting, voice. To these writers, they are managing the travel of all these different trains on many different tracks, trying to get all the goods, all of the story, in one place at one time, at different paces, with different strategies. For me, this analogy doesn’t hold up. I’m more like an arsonist burning the story to the ground. Create certain things, let’s call the heat of the fire the plot, the smoke is character development, the fire itself is the action. All these things go up simultaneously. All these things happen at the same time. So, the action creates the character development. I don’t see them as separate entities at all, just one great conflagration.

Q4 – How long have you been a writer and what influenced you to first put pen to paper?

Well it was my first writing assignment, right? That’s when everybody starts writing. They’re in grade school and they’re told to write some sort of short story. Mine was about a purple hippopotamus. I was in fifth grade. Some writers, it starts in college, when they can put together their ideas and they are driven. They’re telling themselves, this is what I want to do for my career, and they’re moving towards that goal. With me, I didn’t have that. There was a whole life full of distractions. I wrote occasionally. I wrote when I was given an assignment to. I didn’t really start creating a world until I was much older. Didn’t start writing with purpose until high school. But the thing that told me I really wanted to do it was the way it felt. Telling a story, creating a story, something captivating, something that pulled the reader, if just for a second, out of their world, their understanding. I was aware of that in fifth grade. I became aware of it with every story I told. It gets seductive after awhile. Coming up with a story for people to talk about, for people to experience, you can get carried away with it if you let yourself. It pulls at you, gently at first. If you write another chapter tonight, then you can spend the day talking about it with your wife, with your friend. It gets seductive. It can turn you into a junkie if you let it.

Q5 – Would you contemplate writing a book in any other genre?

I’m working on an autobiography. I’m not intellectual enough for sci-fi. Not funny enough for comedy. I’d love to be able to write historical fiction, maybe medical drama, but these have a lot of research to them. I respect authors of all genres, but fantasy is really my thing. In fantasy, if you can dream it up, you can find a way to make it happen. In fantasy, you can be undone by an infection, or standing your own against thousands of men. Fantasy is really the only language that I speak.

Q6 – How important is feedback from your readers?

Well, you can’t grow without feedback. That’s just a fact. If you’re writing in a bubble, you can’t expect to move on when you find yourself churning the same ground over and over again. I’ve got two people who have read everything, and they keep me honest. When a new review comes out, good or bad, I’m excited about it, because I learn from all of it. I find peer review to be the most helpful, hearing the opinions of other writers. But everybody who reads my work has an opinion, and I’d love to hear all of them.

Q7 – Who have been your biggest influences within the writing community?

Anybody who works really hard, who puts out quality work relentlessly. Glen Cook was really big for me in this respect. He put out a lot of solid work and I liked his gritty take on the fantasy genre. I went to a lot of workshops with an agent named Donald Maass. He had a big influence on how I wrote, process and technique. I’m inspired by author/marketers. There are indie authors who write and publish their own work and then spend years marketing it and getting it out to the world. That’s just inspiring to me. I can’t really pull that off. I’m obsessed with the work. I find myself working late at night, isolating myself in the work, pounding out one word after the next. But my wife does all my marketing. If she didn’t, nobody would ever hear of me. I’m not even sure I would ever publish, just sit in my basement and pound out one word after the next.

Q8 – What books are currently on your reading shelf?

Paradise Lost, John Milton. This has been a dream for a long time, a long time. The idea of the process of writing this piece sets my imagination on fire. This guy was blind when he wrote this epic poem. He was blind, which means he couldn’t write it out himself, he had to dictate it. When you’re writing, part of your mind’s eye is in the place that you’re writing, but your actual eye is on the board or on the screen. You’ve got that veil between you and the world that you’re writing about because you’re looking at a screen. This veil, this tiny step of distance that most writers have, Milton didn’t have. So when he described the fall of Lucifer, he was in the air tumbling at the same rate as Lucifer. When he described the building of the castle Pandemonium, he stood on its foundations as it was being erected. He knew the fires of Hell. He knew the bliss of Heaven. He experienced it all as he was dictating it. I’m also going to read the rest of Robert E. Howard. I’ve got his complete works. He’s my favorite writer of all time. I want to say I’ve read everything he’s done. He was a contemporary of H.P. Lovecraft. He wrote pulp fantasy and horror, created Conan, Kull, Bran Mak Morn. He wrote Solomon Kane, the puritan warrior witch-hunter, demon-hunter. Can’t get enough of that guy. I’ve got some of my own contemporaries on the list as well, other indie authors, Dyrk Ashton, Josiah Bancroft, M.L. Spencer. It’s an exciting time to be a reader. Before now, there was never really a viable way for a writer to get his or her work out unless they were traditionally published. Now there’s a free flowing of ideas and experimental projects that we’ve never seen before.

Q9 – What’s the best bit of advice you would give to those considering writing a book?

Write all the time. Pick a small window of time during your day every day and allow yourself in that time to obsess about your work. Throw everything else away, just for those brief half-hour, two hours, four hours, throw everything else away. Allow yourself to say, “Nothing else matters at this moment but my work.” And then just go, just pound out the words, just write and write and write, and when the timer goes off, and it’s time to go back to the real world, do so, content in the knowledge that tomorrow that same window of time will be open to you.

Q10 – Future plans? And will we see Mandrake again any time soon?

My future plans are to publish 1-2 novels every year for the rest of my life. I’ve got a book coming out in October where Mandrake makes a cameo. But in the releases for the next 15 years, we won’t see Mandrake. As time progresses, I believe he’ll come back into the main story unfolding of the world, but for now, Liefdom is the only glimpse we have into Mandrake. I’ve written a number of rough drafts, they’re poised and ready to go. I’ve got a lot of story saved up, waiting on a shelf. So keep your ear to the ground. You’ll hear more from me soon.

Thanks Jesse!


 

What’s next for Jesse.. well pn the 5th October his new book Song is released!

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Here’s the blurb –

Some of the darkest minds in Perilisc attacked Mending Keep, releasing all its prisoners. Despite his strained relationship with the crown, Rayph Ivoryfist calls old friends to his aid in a subversive attempt to protect King Nardoc and thwart terrorist plots to ruin the Festival of Blossoms. But someone else is targeting Rayph, and even his fellow Manhunters might not be enough to save him.

Jesse has kindly given me a excerpt to share with you all, do let me know what you think of it. If you like what you read head to Amazon to pre-order your copy now!

The Guard of Mending Keep

One Year After The Escape

The serving boy’s face was stained green with disgust and horror. He looked about to be sick, about to flee, about to weep. Rayph saw the trembling lip and the panic in the eyes, and he knew what the boy was carrying. It was small, maybe a little over a foot wide, spherical, and covered with a towel. The boy wove a path through the reclining bathhouse patrons and made his slow, methodical way around the main tub to the corner where Rayph sat with his good friend, playing crease and taking in the steam.

As the boy drew closer, the dread that rose up within Rayph prompted him to turn to Dova and grimace. Rayph moved his tile, tapping it lightly with his finger, and shook his head.

“I’m afraid we are about to be interrupted,” Rayph said.

The boy trembled beside the gaming table. His white, sweating face held the world’s shock, and Rayph nodded at him. “Set it down.” He waved his hand across the boy’s eye line and muttered his spell’s incantation. The serving child’s face smoothed clear of all trepidation, and he let out a long-held breath.

“Where did you get it?” Rayph asked.

The boy’s dark eyes looked troubled even through the effects of the spell. “He hurt me,” the boy said.

“Hurt you how?” Rayph asked.

The boy pointed to his temple. “He got in here. He burned me.”

Rayph clenched his fist and anger bubbled deep within him. “What did he look like?”

“He was trimerian, but his third eye,” the boy rubbed his forehead, “it seemed to be flaming. He stunk of sulfur.”

Rayph’s blood ran cold, and he stood. “Watch the boy. Lock down the house. If he returns, do not engage, just defend, Dova. He is beyond even you.”

He looked to his ethereal friend, naught but churning wind where his body sat. The towel draped over Dova’s shoulders and tied around his waist, the only indicator of his form.

Rayph grabbed the boy’s shoulders a little too rough, just a little too hard. “Where did he go?” Rayph tried not to let fear get the better of his voice, but it trembled. There are so many innocents here. If he unleashes, how much of the city can I save? The answer was very little.

Dova exploded with a slight puff of wind. The towels fell to the floor. Rayph could feel his friend fill the room, warm air, fluttering and vibrant with life, swelled, blowing curtains in a flurry. The doors to the bathhouse slammed shut.

“Where did he go, son?” Rayph asked the boy.

“Who said he’s gone?” The voice held a new lilt of arrogance to it, a soft tinkling, musical and filled with spite. The boy leapt back. His forehead ripped open, betraying an eye. His back split and out flapped two wings that bled greasy smoke.

“Clear the room,” Rayph commanded as he loosed his spell. The power of the spell’s thrall was so great that every reclined man leapt to his feet and rushed for the door. The doors flew open to slam closed again. Every lamp in the room surged, hissing flame before dying completely. The room was thrown into gloom, the only light issuing from the great opening in the roof centered over them.

With a flick of his wrist and the uttering of a command word, the air around Rayph’s right hand tore and his sword dropped from the wound. The air zipped closed again, and Rayph turned to the serving boy, who hovered before him.

“You harm that boy any further and I will hunt you, Meric. I will plunge into that darkness you surround yourself in and I will rip you from it.”

The boy tossed his head back and unfurled a hideous laugh that trembled the ceramic tiles of the wall. “I have not come to quarrel with you, old friend.”

“You and I were never friends,” Rayph said. The sky above the opening darkened, and Rayph stepped closer. “Why have you come here? Why show yourself now, after this many millennia?”

“The nation is wide open, dear friend. No one is watching over Lorinth in your absence. You have forsaken your post.”

“I still guard this nation. I serve not the throne, but this is still my home. I will return as court wizard one day.”

The boy’s head lobbed back, and he poured out another hideous laugh, so violent the corners of the mouth split, and the boy coughed blood. “Too late, Rayph, you will return too late.” The head shook. “You have not yet looked at the present I left for you. How rude you are, Ivoryfist.”

Rayph extended an arm toward the table and muttered a word. His eyes stayed locked to Meric as the object floated the room to hover before Rayph. With a jerk of the cloth, he unveiled the severed head. Rayph looked in horror at the face, so contorted in pain from its last moment he could not recognize it.

He stared at it. The left side of the face was badly burned, the neck severed with some keen, hot blade that cauterized the wound perfectly. Deep claw marks covered the right side of the face and neck. Blood stained the chin and mouth.

Rayph’s heart broke out in a rampaging rhythm, and his mind burst into flames as he recognized the face. “No.” He looked away, but his eye was drawn to the head again as the identity of the head locked in his mind. “It can’t be.”

A gurgling laugh filled the room, and Rayph summoned forth the power to smite Meric.

“No, Rayph, you mustn’t!” Dova screamed. He threw his whistling form before Rayph, and two thrumming hands landed on his shoulders. The air that comprised Dova’s body filled with the water of the tub they stood in, making a figure of rampaging moisture. “If you engage him here, you will destroy my city. You must not.”

“Listen to Dova, Rayph. He always was one for caution,” Meric said. “Caution and cowardice looking so much alike and all.”

“Rayph, who is it?” Dova motioned toward the head.

“Stoic,” Rayph breathed. “He has killed Stoic.” Saying it aloud let the words take on meaning. His friend was gone, his guard, dead. What would become of Mending Keep? Had they all fled? Had the world’s unkillable fiends made good an escape?

He knew the futility of the words before he spoke them but felt helpless to say anything else. “I will make you hurt for this, Meric. In this one act, you have killed yourself.” Rayph felt nauseous.

“Step aside, Dova,” he said.

“Oh, my dear Rayph, please do keep tight check on that temper of yours. I would hate to reduce this city to rubble because you threw a fit,” Meric said. The black smoke issuing from the flapping wings filled the room with unbreathable air. “Stoic is gone, as are his charges, but that does not mean we need come to blows. I was not the one that killed your boy.”

“This head was severed with your blade. Do not try to deny it.”

“Yes, for easier transportation, I assure you. He was dead long before I got there.”

Was Meric lying? Did he have any reason to? Why bring the head at all? Meric was not one to gloat. It was not his way. Why alert Rayph the prison had been broken in to? There was an element to this Rayph could not see, something big moving powerful pieces about the board.

“Who did this?” Rayph asked.

The boy laughed again, weaker this time. He doesn’t have much time. I have to get Meric out of that boy as soon as possible.

“I won’t do all of your work for you, Ivoryfist,” Meric said. Lightning flashed outside, the inky clouds that followed Meric everywhere boiling in the sky above them.

“Does this mean you’re coming off sabbatical?” Meric asked.

“I will find out who did this and why, and when I do, if your name comes up at all…”

The boy laughed again, a hissing wheeze that scared Rayph.

“Remember who helped you when it all comes out, Rayph. Remember who alerted you to the break. You owe me now,” Meric said.

“I owe you nothing. You did not do this for anyone’s reasons but your own.” It’s big. It’s really big, but I can’t see it.

Meric laughed again. The wings pumped, throwing blood through the air, and the boy’s body lifted.

“Leave the boy!” Rayph said.

“You don’t give me orders any more, Rayph. Those days are over.” The boy’s body lifted high above the bathhouse, and Rayph splashed into the center of the tub to stare up at darkened skies. With a deafening explosion, Meric broke loose of the boy’s body, and the child dropped. Rayph set his feet and watched as the body tumbled. The boy dropped through the opening in the ceiling, and Rayph caught him in his arms. The sky opened and rain hammered the city. Rayph looked up at his friend and grimaced.

“I must leave, Dova,” Rayph said. “But first I have to know what happened to Stoic. Can I use your lab and summoning room?”

“Everything I own is at your command, Ivoryfist, you know that.”

The boy woke up screaming.

Did you enjoy that? if so why not pre-order your copy of the book – Amazon

About the Author

Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.

He lives with his supportive wife, Rebekah, and his two inspiring children, Rayph and Tobin.

Recognition

SPFBO 2017 entrant
Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner, April 2017
Drunken Druid Editor’s Choice, March 2017
Drunken Druid 2016 Book of the Year Short List
Hungry Monster Gold Book Award Winner, September 2016

“Jesse Teller is a talented author with the future in his hands.” —Peter Tr, booknest.eu

“A very strong author who boldly builds the world he has created with strong themes and no apologies.” —Dianne Bylo, Tome Tender Book Blog

“Jesse’s newest project, Song, is part of his Perilisc fantasy world: a richly detailed setting, ripe with legends, magic, and secrets whispered but not yet explored.” —Bookwraiths.com

Author Links:
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Amazon
Twitter
Reddit
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Cometh the Hour by Annie Whitehead – Review

Title – Cometh the Hour – (Tales of the Iclingas Book 1)
Author – Annie Whitehead
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 249 Pages
Publication – September 2nd
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

In seventh-century England, a vicious attack sets in motion a war of attrition which will last for generations.
Four kings, connected by blood and marriage, vie for the mantle of overlord. Three affect to rule with divine assistance. The fourth, whose cousin and sister have been mistreated and whose friend has been slaughtered, watches, and waits.
He is a pagan, he is a Mercian, and his name is Penda.
By his side is a woman determined to escape her brutal past. She aids his struggle against his treacherous brother and their alliance founds a dynasty with the potential to end injustice and suppression, if only they can continue to stand together…
A story that spans generations, and travels from Sutton Hoo to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and back to the buried treasure of Staffordshire, this is the first volume of the tales of the Iclingas, the family who ruled Mercia, fighting to avenge their kin and to keep their people free.

Review

I’ve been a fan of Annie’s work for a while, Click to read my reviews of To Be A Queen and Alvar The King Maker if you’ve not seen them already!

Annie is great a weaving a historic tale that much I already know, so this one had to give me something more to top her last effort. I’m glad to say this indeed gave me the oomph I wanted.

What set this book apart from the rest was that it covers a wide period of time and you see events through many different perspectives. This gives you get much fuller picture of events as they flowed from one King to another, you can see how things fit together and overall get a much clearer picture.

This tale really shows that being King wasn’t always the position you’d want to be in, war can breakout at any time, you are constantly watching your back as even your friends might not be as loyal as they say they are and marriage is a political tool and to survive you need to be able to navigate all.

Penda was the biggest draw in the book for me, a lot focuses around him and rightly so, but what I really enjoyed was insights into the man I’ve read about before. I know we don’t know truly what went through people’s heads but we do have a lot of evidence to events that happened and I like how Annie manages to put fact and fiction together in a way that brings life to a historical individual.

What the author gets spot on for me is the flow of the story, effortlessly mixing detailed descriptions of places and people but at the same time never slowing down the pace of the tale.

Religion plays its part in this book and I felt the author depicted this period of transition well, when people changed from worshipping one god to another and highlighted how many would not change their beliefs along with some who would gladly worship anyone as long as it meant they would come out on top.

I’m not going to give away the plot of the tale but it really shows the political nature at the time. Sons are groomed to be King’s while daughters are simply seen as bargaining chips to create power links to other kingdoms.

To sum up, a wonderfully detailed account of the power struggles during the 7th century. There’s a lot of players involved so don’t rush it, take it slow and enjoy. Annie Whitehead has manged to again give me another action packed, engrossing historical read that I highly recommend to all.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Blog Tour – The Keeping of Secrets by Alice Graysharp – Review

 

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Keeping of Secrets by Alice Graysharp, here’s the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 289 Pages
Publication – 5th September 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The keeper of family secrets, Patricia Roberts grows up isolated and lonely. Trust no one and you won’t be disappointed is her motto. Three men fall in love with her and she learns to trust, only to find that their agendas are not her own. With secrets concealed from her by the ultimate love of her life, and with her own secret to keep, duplicity and deceit threaten their relationship. In a coming of age story set against the sweeping backdrop of the Second World War – evacuation, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, buzz bombs and secret war work – Patricia ultimately has to decide whether to reveal her deepest held secret for the sake of her future happiness.

Review

The Keeping of Secrets is a coming of age tale that unfolds as World War II erupts.

Now I’m going to start this review off a little differently than usual. I’m going to talk about the end of the story first. I’ll admit stories can really move me at times but this one literally made me shed a tear at the end, I was so racked with emotion. I’m telling you this now as I really want you to know just how moved I was by this one.

The story follows Pat, a young girl on the cusp of womanhood. Set in the backdrop of World War II it really made me consider what it must have been like growing up at that time, being shipped off for your own safety, not knowing if your parents are safe and well.

There’s a lot of emotion in this tale, love and lust high up there. At first Pat needs to fend off an unwanted love interested then when she finds someone she likes he moves a little fast but leaves a lasting impression. Obviously I wasn’t alive at the time but I could really understand the urgency placed on love at the time..the uncertainty..the fear.

Pat is a strong person but she holds her cards close to her chest, she doesn’t open up easily so trust needs to be earned. The most amazing thing about Pat is her determination to have a career rather than settle for being a housewife. It showed the attitudes at the time and how things have changed since.

We follow Pat’s life through the ups and downs, the anxiety and fear everyone must have been feeling so we see her forced to grow up rather quickly.

I’m no lover of romance, I’ve always made that clear but this one is done perfectly as it’s encompassed by the sheer emotion of the time. It’s an historical fiction book about life and love during what would have been a very hard period to live in for all. Wonderfully written, so much so I flew through the book .

Alice Graysharp has given readers a wonderfully emotive tale that will sick with you.

I received a copy of the book for a review but I loved it so much I bought a copy too. My thanks go to Authoright and the author for the chance to be part of the blog tour.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon


Alice has very kindly wrote a piece on the inspiration behind the book, I hope you enjoy it –

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Family History as Inspiration behind The Keeping of Secrets

Until I became closely involved in another family through marriage I thought all families constantly reminisced about past events and long dead relatives in such vivid and immediate terms that you felt somehow you’d been there too or known them personally. I don’t know if my family was unusual, but certainly my childhood was steeped in such reminiscences, often told with humour and irony.

Many were of the Second World War, like the night, following a series of raids, my paternal grandfather (who was a shoe repairer by day and an air raid warden by night) was determined to have a bath, but every time he was about to hop in the siren sounded again and this continued through the night so that he never got his bath after all. I recall my grandparents laughing uproarously as they told the story. Or the time my father dived beneath an armoured vehicle as enemy fighters swooped only to find himself stuck when the raid was over and having to wait for his army mates to jack the vehicle up to release him. Not so amusing, though, was the one of my mother in the dentist’s chair, her close brush with death bringing a chill to the spine.

In 2011 I took my widowed mother to the Spring Meeting of St Martin-in-the-Fields Old Girls’ Association held at the school. Having never been there before I was astonished by the school’s elegant Georgian building and its sense of history. That and driving around the streets of Brixton where my mother grew up brought me a three dimensional  aspect to the past – Acre Lane, Water Lane, Brockwell Park, Tulse Hill, to name but a few places I’d heard of so often, all echoes from my mother’s and my grandparents’ lives experienced vicariously.

Later that year, realising my mother was not getting any older and wanting to capture her stories for all time, over a series of Sunday afternoon visits I took notes as my mother recalled her wartime experiences, which I wrote up as a narrative and which she read and approved for publication. I also wrote the first term’s evacuation experiences as a short fictionalised biography.

In  2015, following my mother’s death, I thought to write a novelised memoir based on these recollections in her honour. However, in adapting the short story and planning out how to move it on to become a full book, I found the main character was proving not to be the same person as my mother but instead a person with a life of her own and her own story to tell. So I moved away from the ‘memoir’ approach and  instead came to regard the information I had amassed rather as source material for a novel. This gave me the opportunity to take the storyline and the characters in it where I felt they would go, my parents’ and grandparents’ recollections being my inspiration rather than my text.

Thus while I have identified the evacuated school St Martin-in-the-Fields and I quoted from the school song, all the teachers and pupils depicted in the novel are the product of my imagination. Further, St Birstan’s school is wholly a figment of my imagination. While my mother’s school was evacuated to Leatherhead, there is no school there by the name of St Birstan’s, not the buildings or the location described, and the St Birstan’s pupils referred to are entirely my invention.

However, I thought the story of the night in the theatre was too good to miss out. When we went to that theatre in the 1980s my mother pointed out the wall against which she had lain, just as in the novel, with her mother outside her and  her father outside them, ‘to protect my virtue.’

The Beaver Club did exist and my grandmother worked there during the War. A poignant reminder remains with my family, a square of lace given to her by a Canadian soldier on leave in late 1944 or early 1945 who had taken pity on one of many starving Belgians lining the roads during the Allied advance desperate to sell anything for food, and bought it from them.

In an era now where oral tradition is virtually lost and many people know little of the generations that went before them, I hope The Keeping of Secrets provides a window into the lives of ordinary people like my mother living through those extraordinary times.

AliceGraysharp_Banner

 

The Fantasy Collection – Competition

Ok so I’ve raved about StoryBundle before. If you’ve not heard of it then take a look here – www.storybundle.com  .

What StoryBundle offer you is brilliant chance to own a collect of books at a bargain price. Authors get together to offer the collection of books and you decide how much to pay (minimum $5) and how much of that goes to the authors and how much goes to StoryBundle itself.

I really like the idea, it quickly give you a bunch of books which are along the same theme at a reasonable price and it’s a great way to be introduced to new authors.

A new bundle is now out which one of my favourite authors has curated, Charlotte E. English.

Here’s some blurb –

The Fairytale Fantasy Bundle, curated by Charlotte E. English: Most of us grew up with fairy stories, of one sort or another. Almost everyone has a favourite, or a whole book of favourites. Tricky things, fairy tales; they change with the years, adapt themselves to their audience or their culture, fade in one place only to reappear in different clothes half a world away. They are stories of magic and enchantment; of men in the worlds of faerie (or more recently, faeries in the worlds of men); of talking animals and curses, enchanted shoes and porridge-pots; of ogres and dragons and giants, quests and princesses and pixies.

Fairy tales have been inspiring and influencing the fantasy genre for many years, adding colour and quirks and style – and sometimes running off, giggling, with the plot. This is a bundle full of wonder, fairytale-fashion. Well-loved stories come up new in Christine Pope’s Ashes of Roses and the multi-author anthology Once Upon a Kiss. The darker side of the fairy tale comes to the fore in Gwynn White & Erin St Pierre’s Queen of Extinction. Talking animals, witches, damsels and royalty predominate in T. Kingfisher’s quirky tale The Raven and the Reindeer, and Alethea Kontis’s Trixter. Deb Logan and Anthea Sharp mix fairy-tale lore with the modern world in Faery Unexpected and Feyland. And I offer a gallimaufry of magic markets, wayward boots and faerie royalty in Faerie Fruit and Bessie Bell and the Goblin King. 

You can click here to read much more about the bundle, and make sure to click on each cover for reviews, a preview and a personal note from our curator!

Pay the minimum and you’ll get 4 books, pay $14 and you’ll get an extra 5 books so 9 books for just over £10! Not bad eh?

Well even better is I’ve managed to get my hand on a code to give one lucky winner all 9 books for free! A big thank you to Charlotte for allowing me to offer this as a prize on my blog J

I’ll be doing a twitter competition where you must RT and follow both myself and Charlotte so keep an eye out for that one, below is the terms and conditions of the competition

  • To enter the competition you must RT the competition tweet posted on the @DavidsBookBlurg twitter account
  • Additional requirements for entry are to follow both @DavidsBookBlurg and @Charlottenglish on Twitter.
  • Winner will be selected using Tweetdraw, Tweetdraw will randomly select a RT and I will confirm they follow both twitter accounts required to enter.
  • If the randomly selected RT entry does not follow both twitter accounts another randomly selected RT will be chosen until one is found that meets all the requirements.
  • End date for entries is 18th September @ 12 noon UK Time.
  • Winner will be announced 18th September @1pm UK Time via David’s Book Blurg twitter account
  • Winner will be contacted via DM on twitter to confirm their contact email address to receive the redemption code and details on how to redeem it.
  • Winner must redeem before the bundle expires, 29th September 2017.

This competition is for 1 redeemable code for the Fantasy Bundle for more information on how StoryBundle works please look at their website – https://storybundle.com/faq

Light Dawning by Ty Arthur – PROMO

So today i’m going to be bringing to your attention the work of Ty Arthur. I’m going to be reading his book Light Dawning soon.

Here’s some blurb –

Following his debut sci-fi novella “Empty” from 2016, Ty Arthur returns with new full-length horror novel “Light Dawning.” Pivoting away from the emptiness of space, the book dives headlong into the waters of fantasy, but with a seriously grimdark twist. This next foray into the bleaker corners of human existence was released May 2017 and is available now at https://www.amazon.com/Light-Dawning-Ty-Arthur-ebook/dp/B0722FJ3ZB/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Once known as the City on the Hill and revered far and wide for its independence and boundless opportunity, Cestia has become home only to the damned. Surviving under the brutal occupation of a southern empire for three long years, the oppressed populace has lost hope of liberation, turning instead towards an increasingly desperate rebellion willing to commit any atrocity for a chance at freedom.

As total war approaches, four lost souls trapped behind Cestia’s walls are on a collision course with fate, destined to either save the city or see it utterly destroyed while calling on forces beyond mankind’s comprehension. For good or ill, the light of a new day is about to dawn.

“As with all my work, this story is inspired by a real life experience translated into a fictional setting, and completing this book took a lot out of me,” Arthur said of the upcoming release. “Its set in an unquestionably fantasy universe, but you won’t find any elves or farm boy chosen ones saving the world. My take on the genre draws more from cosmic dread and the horror of war than anything with unlikely heroes or lovable rogues. Don’t expect any happy endings.”

Like its predecessor, the creation of “Light Dawning” was driven forward by the power of music. To get an advance preview of the themes and tone of the novel, a music playlist matching several scenes can be heard via Spotify at http://goo.gl/dYxaVq

The author peaked my interest, fantasy and war always work well together for me so i’m looking forward to getting to grips with it soon.

Ty also sent me some character profile images to further wet my appetite

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I was already interested before these images but even more so now.

I’d love to get some feedback from my followers. Have you read the book already? If so what did you think? If like me you’ve not read the book yet what are your initial thoughts? Would you be tempted to buy the book?

Here’s a bit more info on the author if you’d like to know more or to keep up to date with his work –

AUTHOR BIO

Ty Arthur gets to meld his passions with his work while freelancing for the likes of Metalunderground.com and GameSkinny. His debut sci-fi / horror novella “Empty” was released in early 2016, with many more dark tales still to come. Arthur writes to exorcise his demons and lives in the cold, dark north with his amazing wife Megan and infant son Gannicus Picard.

LINKS

Official website: https://tyarthur.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12585427.Ty_Arthur

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ty.g.arthur

The Reaper’s Touch (The Ripper Legacies Book 2) by Robert Southworth – Review

Title – The Reaper’s Touch (The Ripper Legacies Book 2)
Author – Robert Southworth
Genre – Alternative History/Fantasy
Length – 308 Pages
Publication – August 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

London 1890, William Harkness is summoned to the scene of a grisly murder. The victim is not a woman of the night, nor a member of the underclass. Nonetheless, Harkness is certain the Ripper has resumed his slaughter. He and his men resume the hunt for the infamous killer but all is not as it seems. William Harkness soon realises that hunters can also be prey…

Review

For me this has to be one of the most hotly anticipated releases this year. Rob likes to tease us readers and keep us waiting but it’s worth it. Rob’s never given me anything other than a 5* book previously and he’s done it again.

What I’ve always really enjoyed about Rob’s work is that I’ve been there from the first book and I can really see how he’s grown. Don’t get me wrong.. I never found fault with any of his books but this one just seems a step above the last as he continues to rattle out fun and mesmerising tales that really suck you in.

What I really enjoyed about this plot is that with a hint of history and a pinch of imagination Rob gives us something completely original and so god damn exciting.

So this is the second book in the Ripper Legacies. If you’ve not read the first book click here to read my review.

We are back with William Harkess and his rabble of men as he joins forces with Inspector Abberline to hunt down The Ripper. This time his foe is more dangerous as William becomes more of an annoyance to him.

The book has some rather vivid moments where some unfortunate people do meet their end. While this is a completely new tale it does link well with The Ripper’s own handiwork, it makes it so much more believable and sets the tone/period of the story perfectly.

Another plus for this tale is that this time the heat is really turned up on William. Not everyone will make it out alive and this really built up the pressure.

Rob did a great job of quickly reminding me of the main players in the story and also helped me remember the previous tale in the series by mentioning a few certain characters and events that brung everything flooding back.

Southworth develops his characters well, each has their own role in the tale and there’s a few great additions to this one. I won’t spoil it but Bessie and Faraday really made an impression on me.

Do you like twists? I know I do. Well this book had a couple that hit hard..In a good way. What I expected was turned on its head within a page then the author pieces everything together nicely leaving you to wonder why you didn’t see it from the start. To be honest with Robs work I do very little thinking.. I simply enjoy the tale.

The ending sets up book 3 nicely, leaving you craving more.

All I know for sure is Rob keeps offering up brilliant stories so I’ll certainly be buying the next book as soon as it’s released.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.