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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

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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 Centurion’s Son by Adam Lofthouse – Review

Today I’m reviewing The Centurion’s Son by Adam Lofthouse.

Here’s the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction/Romance.

Amazon Verified Purchase.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars.

Albinus, the son of a revered Roman veteran Silus, has always longed to be a farmer, not a soldier, and live his days ploughing and reaping the harvests, with his bride-to-be, Licina. But Silus’ has darker ambitions, for Albinus to follow in his footsteps in the army.

But, as the conflicts between father and son come to a head, a growing threat comes down from the vengeful Germanic tribes to the north. Just as Albinus and Licina are about to marry, their settlement is raided by barbarians and Silus and his veteran comrades are brutally killed, while Licina is kidnapped by the raiders and taken to their king as a gift.

Believing her to be alive, Albinus sets out on a quest to find Licina, finally fulfilling his father’s wishes as training as a soldier, even as he is spurred to avenge his father’s death. As the barbarian hordes gather and plan major rebellion against the Romans, Albinus finds a new fighting spirit within him and grows in stature among the legionaries.

Licina meanwhile has a fight of her own, to escape from slavery and find Albinus. Time is running out, as the northern tribes head for Rome, decimating everything in their path…

Review

Albinus is the son of a famous Centurion but he’s nothing like his father..he’s just not cut out to be a solider and because of this the tension between them could be cut with a knife.

Silus, Albinus’s father, is retired and has set up a nice little place for his son and former colleagues to live out the rest of their days. During an outing to secure supplies for the community we get our first glimpse of the differences between the two. Albinus wants to make his dad proud but he just can’t see any way to do it.

The plot moves quickly as two Romans are captured as slaves.. will Silus help free them? The choice made haunts Albinus for a time and I’m sure he will never come to terms with it.

We next see a few really good plot developments as a strange figure appears, he’s got an agenda and is willing to do anything to make sure events play out the way he wants. At the same time we also see an enemy of Silus plot revenge for what he sees as a past wrong to be put right. These events lead Albinus and Silus down very different paths and is the making of Albinus.

Silus is now dead with Licina, Albinus’s love interest, taken. Albinus sets out to be the man his father would have always wanted. It’s time to join up and become a solider.

The story is told from different perspectives and this made for a fun read and you can see things developing quickly. You’d get engrossed and just at the right point the author would switch focus building the excitement and ramping up the suspense.

I really enjoyed the book. At times the soldiers were a bit too lovey dovey for my tastes, I prefer my soldiers to be rocks and simple nod or grunt to show affection ha.

The plot certainly has promise and I’d like to see where Albinus ends up. The development of this plot really made it what it is..and to top it off it’s a very easy-going read so someone of a younger age wouldn’t struggle with the language or word count.

A good read and an author who shows promise in the areas I like.. keep switching perspective to build on that strong plot that’s developing and you’ll have me back for the rest of the series when published 🙂

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

Retalio by Alison Morton – Review

Title – Retalio (Roma Nova #6)
Author – Alison Morton
Genre – Alternative History
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

“A classic tale of resistance and resilience – the only regret is when the action stops.” – Douglas Jackson Early 1980s Vienna. Recovering from a near fatal shooting, Aurelia Mitela, ex-Praetorian and former foreign minister of Roma Nova, chafes at her enforced exile. She barely escaped from her nemesis, the charming and amoral Caius Tellus who grabbed power in Roma Nova, the only part of the Roman Empire to survive into the twentieth century. Aurelia’s duty and passion fire her determination to take back her homeland and liberate its people. But Caius’s manipulations have isolated her from her fellow exiles, leaving her ostracised, powerless and vulnerable. But without their trust and support Aurelia knows she will never see Roma Nova again.

Review

We are back with Aurelia Mitela in a world where Rome didn’t fall completely and women have a much more prominent role in society. Not everyone is happy with this power divide..none more so than Caius Tellus.. a horrible worm of a man..

To truly understand the buildup to this novel you need to have read the previous two novels AURELIA and Insurrectio.

The government of Roma Nova has been overthrown and Aurelia is duty bound to help put things right..her people are being treated badly, many have died..and many more will. Caius will stop at nothing to have the power he craves even though the situation is highly volatile and he is slowly losing control.

It’s a fast paced novel full of action as the resistance fight back to take control of Roma Nova.

There’s some great twists as the resistance struggle to come together and trust each other..who wouldn’t have issues..after-all anyone could be working for Caius and one bad move could mean death for them all.

While this novel is a work of alternative history it feels quite real and plausible giving the very real political issues we are facing in the present day.

This series is all about ideals..knowing right from wrong and standing up to fight even when you know the cost may be too high.

A great addition to anyone’s library.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

The Cold Light Of Dawn by Anna Belfrage – Review

Title – The Cold Light Of Dawn (The King’s Greatest Enemy #4)
Author – Anna Belfrage
Genre – Historical Fiction/Romance
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

After Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regents’ puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer.

Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.

Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edward’s man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is.

Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers don’t always help.

Review

The Cold Light of Dawn is book four in the highly enjoyable The King’s Greatest Enemy series by Anna Belfrage.

You can read my reviews for the rest of the series by clicking the links below.

In the Shadow of the Storm

Days of Sun and Glory

Under the Approaching Dark

I had high hopes for book 4 of this series. I’m invested in Kit and Adam’s future and I just hope one day they get the peace they deserve..will they get this in book 4??? Not bloody likely ha.

King Edward is growing up fast and he’s starting to resent his mother’s control and Lord Rogers more so. Lord Roger may have become regent with the best of intentions but power has a way of changing a person and Lord Roger is no exception.

The this tale Adam is torn even more in two and both the King and Lord Roger questioning his loyalty..the trouble is he’s loyal to both but that’s not going to be acceptable by either of them..it’s time he picks a side one way or another and without giving the game away something rather personal for Adam happens that really tests loyalty to both.

The plot is strong but also balanced well with the personal aspect of Kit and Adams relationship. I’ve said it every time but I’m no fan of romance in novels but the romance in the Cold Light of Dawn builds on the story for me rather than distract from it.

We see more of Queen Phillipa in this tale and Kit has her own issues when she finds herself a pawn being controlled by two Queens.. how can she please them both while not betraying either?

The ending of the story does give the reader a little closure as the tension that has been brewing finally plays out but at the same time leaves the door open for more tales from our favourite knight.

This series is exactly what I love about historical fiction. A tale of the authors imagination written around facts. While the life of King Edward and Lord Roger have already been written in history but Kit and Adam’s story belongs to the author and her alone and what a wonderful, heart wrenching tale of love and loyalty we’ve been given.

I challenge anyone to read this series and not enjoy it..it would be impossible not to love it.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.