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The Druid by Steven A. Mckay (@SA_McKay)- Review

Today i’m reviewing The Druid by author Steven A. Mckay. Here’s the blurb

Genre : Fantasy/Historical
Pages : 290

Northern Britain, AD430

A land in turmoil. A village ablaze. A king’s daughter abducted.

In the aftermath of a surprise attack Dun Buic lies in smoking ruins and many innocent villagers are dead. As the survivors try to make sense of the night’s events the giant warrior-druid, Bellicus, is tasked with hunting down the raiders and thwarting their dark purpose.

With years of training in the old ways, two war-dogs at his side, and unsurpassed skill with a longsword, Bellicus’s quest will take him on a perilous journey through lands still struggling to cope with the departure of the Roman legions.

Meanwhile, amongst her brutal captors the little princess Catia finds an unlikely ally, but even he may not be able to avert the terrible fate King Hengist has in store for her.

This, the first volume in a stunning new series from the bestselling author of Wolf’s Head, explores the rich folklore and culture of post-Roman Britain, where blood-sacrifice, superstition and warfare were as much a part of everyday life as love, laughter and song.

As Saxon invaders and the new Christian religion seek to mould the country for their own ends one man will change the course of Britain’s history forever. . .

. . . THE DRUID.

Review

You should know who Steven A. McKay is..author of the Forest Lord series based around one of the best historical figures ever in my mind Robin Hood..after what seemed like forever the end of the series came hard like a punch to the gut.. I needed more.. but could the author ever live up to the expectations set..well lets see.

The Druid is a brand new tale for the author, this tale follows Bellicus. Religion is changing but Druids still hold some power..and as such when the King’s daughter is taken he sets out to rescue her. What he doesn’t know is that every corner he will be tested to his limits.

There’s twists and turns as Bellicus deals with the changes in the world around him. He’s been closed off abit in his own little bubble so he taken aback when people don’t give him the respect his station once demanded.. it’s doesn’t help that he’s a giant of a man..only his weapon makes him stand out as the Druid and as soon as people see it you seem them quickly decide to help the man out..for the most part.

He’s hot on the trail from the start but there’s numerous challenges ahead but Bellicus can handle everything..well at least that’s what he thinks..he either wins or will go down fighting.

The plot was good but I just know the author has more to give. It just proves McKay has a natural talent for storytelling, that he’s able to change the focus of his tales after such a well-developed series like The Forest Lord series. He still manages to give us a tale where there’s a clear ending but leaves so much open left to develop if he wishes. An ending like that just has me desperate for more.

Overall I thought it was well written, It flowed well and it seemed effortless..at no point did it feel like the story lost its way or that things didn’t make sense..it just worked.

Being such a fast paced action tale where the heat is on from the start it’s a wonder the author managed to develop the characters at all but he managed it perfectly.. at one point I even started to really like one of the kidnappers..that’s how easy McKay manages to control your thoughts.

Cracking read and a nice change from the authors previous work. Plenty of life left in the tale to see this develop further and I’d love to see how it continues.

5* .. I can’t give it any less.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

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In Harm’s Way by Owen Mullen – Review #BlogBlitz

Today I’m reviewing In Harm’s Way by Owen Mullen. I’ve had the pleasure to read the authors previous works so was fully expecting an riveting read that packs a punch.. and boy does it hit the right notes with me.

Here’s the blurb :-

In Harm's Way (1)FINAL

Genre – Psychological/Thriller
254 Pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

What if someone you loved was in harm’s way?

What if you were being stalked and no one believed you?
What if you were abducted in broad daylight?
What if you were held captive in a cellar?
What would you do?
Mackenzie Crawford screamed.

What if your wife admitted she had a lover?
What if she went out without saying where she was going?
What if you discovered she’d left?
What would you do?
Derek Crawford fell apart.

What if a troubled woman disappeared?
What if her brother begged you to help?
What if there was no evidence of a crime?
What would you do?

The tale focuses on Mackenzie Crawford, she’s on a bit of a downward spiral and when she starts telling tales about someone stalking her people just don’t believe her. She’s a bit of a wild one at times and it hard for family to look beyond their opinions and see the truth that’s right in front of them.

Mackenzie’s family will soon regret not paying more attention when one night she doesn’t return home. With recent events including a family bust up it takes a while for anyone to really suspect fowl play..they are just blinded by preconceptions they just won’t take on board the chance she’s in danger.

There’s a ton of twists in the tale to keep you gripped. You see things from multiple points of view and you question your own views on the events as things start to fall in place..when they do though..wow.. I’ll not lie I had an inkling that proved to be right but the way the author plays events out really had me hooked and to be quite honest until the picture became clear the author could have thrown another twist in there..you just never knew what to expect.

It’s a dark tale that really makes you think..it really shows the damage rifts with family can cause.. as much as you dislike some of the family you can see their thought processes..and how easy it is to have a clouded point of view.

A dark, gritty and suspenseful thriller that tickles the taste buds to the max and another cracking read from Owen Mullen! Keep up the good work

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

The Blood Road (Legionary #7) by Gordon Doherty (@GordonDoherty) – Review #HistFic

Today I’m reviewing The Blood Road (Legionary #7) by Gordon Doherty, here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction 
Pages – 345 pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

381 AD: The Gothic War draws to a brutal climax, and the victor’s name will be written in blood…

The great struggle between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Gothic Horde rumbles into its fifth year. It seems that there can be no end to the conflict, for although the Goths are masters of the land, they cannot topple the last of the imperial cities. But heralds bring news that might change it all: Emperor Gratian readies to lead his Western legions into the fray, to turn matters on their head, to crush the horde and save the East!

The men of the XI Claudia legion long for their homeland’s salvation, but Tribunus Pavo knows these hopes drip with danger. For he and his soldiers are Gratian’s quarry as much as any Goth. The road ahead will be fraught with broken oaths, enemy blades… and tides of blood.

Review

Usually when I read a book I make a few key notes to help when writing the review. I just wasn’t able to with this book.. because I couldn’t put it down long enough to write even one word. The only way to describe this book is simply tremendous!

It says something about the writer when they are able to keep a series going..and to keep it fresh and interesting.. It just never feels like the end for Pavo will ever come, even though I know one day this great series will draw to an end. That will be a sad day indeed!

But for now at least we have a new book in the series! The Blood Road, book 7 in the series. The situation with the goths is turbulent to say the least but it’s time to draw an end to the war as the western and eastern armies clash with the goths with heavy losses felt on both sides. Emperor Gratian wants to be the saviour but just how much is he willing to sacrifice to ensure glory?

I really enjoyed the warfare in the tale which was easy to immerse myself in and get lost. I’m no historian but I loved the detail of the places, weapons, clothes the author put into the tale. All of which make the story feel real as you can imagine it in your mind’s eye.

Fans of a good battle will love this tale as there’s plenty of detailed battles, and when I say detailed I mean both factual and down right engrossing man vs man to the end type of fights when your heart pumps so hard your chest will burst.

Caught in the middle of everything is Pavo who has made himself quite the enemy in Emperor Gratian and Pavo has to do his very best to stay out of harms way…in doing so he puts everyone he cares about in danger but the only way to stop things is to help end the war! but if you know the author then you’ll already know not everyone will come out of this unscathed.

There’s twists as usual from the author that really do keep you hooked and that ending had me fuming! how could you leave us like that Mr Doherty! ha.

Overall a smash hit of a book that continues to add to an already riveting series! Detailed enough to please fans who enjoy historical details but not so much as to alienate those who prefer the thrill of the plot and warfare. Gordon Doherty always has that knack of writing things exactly how I like it and long may it continue.

Hats off to the author, simply wondrous.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Royalty and Ruin: Modern Magick #5 by Charlotte E. English – Review

Today I’m reviewing book 5 in the Modern Magick series by author Charlotte E. English.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Fantasy
Pages – 200 pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Fresh from a successful incursion to the Fifth Britain, Ves and Jay are summoned to the Troll Court at Mandridore — and instantly put to work, for Their Majesties have concocted exactly the kind of wild and crazy plan of which Ves approves. Could it, would it, be possible to restore the lost city of Farringale?

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but there’s the tiny problem of how. Who better to dig up the truth than the Society’s most colourful agents? They’re off to Whitmore once more, armed with a long list of questions, two winning smiles (well, three, if you count the Baron’s — and who wouldn’t?) and a certain Dappledok pup. Only, history has a way of being… slippery.

The truth being more complicated than Ves is inclined to hope, the only way to find out what really happened at Farringale is to go back, poke it with a stick, and see what falls out. And try not to die in the process. With her enchanted pipes in tow, a unicorn at her command and three trusty Society allies at her back, what could possibly go wrong?

First of all are you up to date on the series? No? well click the links below to read my reviews for the rest of the series 🙂

The Road to Farringale: Modern Magick, 1

Toil and Trouble: Modern Magick, 2

The Striding Spire: Modern Magick, 3

The Fifth Britain : Modern Magick, 4

Ok so on with the review.

Charlotte E. English for me has always been Queen of the short story. There’s just so much packed into her books and Royalty and Ruin is no different..at 200 pages it’s a quick fun read but it’s such a full tale that it feels like a much longer tale.

We are back with Ves and Jay as they try to protect magic in the world. This time our duo are summoned to the Troll court who require their assistance.

It’s time to head back to Farringale where this adventure started to find out the truth about what happened there. Things still aren’t adding up and Ves is determined to get to the bottom of this one way or another!

Some interesting twists in this one that really starts to tie the books together nicely. Not to give the game away but Ves might just find out why magic is on the decline but can she find a way to save it?

We get more character development during the book and I really enjoyed the growth with the Baron, sometimes he’s just there..you don’t really get much from him..he just keeps himself to himself but in this tale we get to learn more and it does make you think a little differently of him.

A magical fun ride for any fantasy lover. Perfectly paced and with a continually engrossing plot. It just ticks all the boxes for me.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

An English Revenge by Gabriel Stein – Review

Today I’m going to be reviewing An English Revenge by Gabriel Stein. The author contacted me to see if I was willing to review his work and I gladly bought a copy via Amazon.

Here’s the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction
Pages – 475 pages
Rating – 4/5 Stars

The greatest battle lies within…

England is at war.

Edmund has fought the Normans all his life. First at Hastings, then in uprisings against William the Conqueror.

But as the rebellions fail, Edmund leaves England and eventually travels to Constantinople, where he joins the Byzantine Emperor’s elite Varangian Guard.

Yet Edmund is at war with himself too, torn between his new life and his dreams of revenge against the Normans – of leading an army of battle-hardened Englishmen back home to restore an English King.

Before fighting the Normans in his homeland however Edmund must defeat his enemy on the blood-soaked lands of Greece.

Edmund is a soldier. And a soldier must fight.

But not all will go according to plan. War – and revenge – always exacts a price.

Review

The tale follows Edmund a solider who has fought battles but has many more to come.

After the defeat at Hastings and the Norman’s tighten their rule Edmund finds himself drafted to Constantinople to join the Byzantine Emperor’s guard. England may have lost the will to fight but Edmund hasn’t.

An English Revenge is the authors first novel and I was surprised just how extensive the plot is.

There’s a lot going on in this tale as the Emperor has many enemies so at times It was a little hard to remember who was who when the author set the scene but as soon as we get to the juicy action I couldn’t find fault.

The pace jumps around a bit but with a plot like this one it was expected and quite easy to follow.

I enjoyed the overall plot, the characters were likable and interesting and the more I read the more I was sucked in.

Ultimately Edmund’s goal is to come back to England and rid the country of the Normans but along the way he changes..grows and while he still wants to go home you can see he’s got some inner turmoil brewing.

Edmund has found not only a place to live but also someone to love and as he starts to form some friendships you can see him slowly start to accept his lot in life.

Overall a cracking read which is well worth reading.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Confessions of a Learner Parent: Parenting like a boss by Sam Avery – Review

So today I’m reviewing Confessions of a Learner Parent: Parenting like a boss by Sam Avery. Here’s the blurb :-

Page count – 289 pages

‘I always wanted kids – but then again, I always wanted a loft conversion. Both are pretty easy to put off as they’re very expensive and tend to wreck your house.’

Stand-up comedian Sam Avery (aka the Learner Parent) started his award-winning blog when his twin boys were born. A million nappies, Peppa Pig episodes and a lot less sleep later, he shares all the lows, highs and hilarious in-betweens of his experiences of first-time parenthood in this, his highly anticipated first book.

Sam’s honest, messy and laugh-out-loud account of trying for a baby (which transpired to be babIES) and figuring out what to do with them once they arrived – right up to the toddler years of talking, walking and tantrum-ing – will have you crying with laughter between your own nappy changes and nursery runs.

Review

My wife has raved about Sam Avery for a while after following him on Instagram. Like any good husband I wondered who this bloke was so I had a look for myself.

I liked his posts and found his comments more than a little funny so when I noticed he had a book out it was a no brainer and I picked up a copy.

I’m a dad of twins myself so I was really interested to see if this book fitted with my own experiences and for me Sam got things spot on.

What I really enjoyed about the book is its honest.. so honest it’s funny. I don’t think you can every be the perfect parent and you’ve got to be able to take a step back and relax and this book certainly made me do that.

There are bits that made me actually laugh out loud on this bus to work.. here’s just a few things that had me gagging.. “leak week”, “baby gravy”, “ever-expanding Grand Canyon”, “putrid string of aubergine” and not to forget the line “I’ve shat myself”

This book is a very fun take on becoming a parent but it’s more than just that. It’s reminder to take stock once in a while…laugh..and keep these moments alive.

It made me genuinely smile and because of that it’s worth every penny!

I enjoyed this book so much so that I’ve got tickets to his show in Newcastle later this year!

Well worth a read!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

 

The Screaming Mummy (Quest Chasers #2) by Thomas & Grace Lockhaven – Review

Title – The Screaming Mummy (Quest Chasers #2)
Author – Grace & Thomas Lockhaven 
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The Quest Chasers series, which debuted with the fun, fast, and fantastical Deadly Cavern, returns with the equally enthralling The Screaming Mummy. The evil Ranger has a track record of eliminating children, and he again (along with his creepy sidekicks) has Tommy and Eevie in his sights—this time with greater vengeance.

What sets this series apart from the competition is the loving and humor-laced companionship of Tommy, Eevie, and pal Drew. They rely on each other to solve riddles, wield magic, escape danger, and heal from relentless attacks—physically and emotionally.

The author deftly takes us from warm, quiet moments between friends to harrowing adventures, with the emotional roller coaster ride continuing throughout. Just when you think they’re safe, they’re not, and the closing chapters reveal one stunning twist after the other.

Review

Sometimes I truly believe books written for young adults are just so much better than adult novels. There’s so much freedom with the story as you try to stoke the imagination of your audience.

If you’ve not read The Deadly Cavern yet you should do! it’s fun and fast paced and is very engaging with the reader.

We are back with Tommy & Eevie. They escaped the evil range once but he’s not about to let them get away that easy. Our team grows with the addition of Drew. The three of them need to use all their knowledge to solve the riddles of the past and find a way home.. will they make it out alive this time?

The ending leaves me eagerly awaiting more. The plot is fun, the characters are likable and it’s perfectly written for a young adult who is a fan of fantasy. I dare so it’s perfect for an adult of 33 too :).

Quest Chasers is an intriguing series and I’d love to see how things play out.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon