About Carlie M A Cullen

Hi, I'm Carlie & I live for writing. My genre is Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. I love the creative process of building unique worlds, designing monsters and crafting characters. I'm fascinated by my own imagination and the places it takes me to. Writing - well it's something I'm really passionate about. I can lose myself in the beauty of words for hours and truly respect those who do it so much better than me. My first two novels - Heart Search: Lost, and Heart Search: Found - are published with Myrddin Publishing. I've started writing Heart Search: Betrayal but it has to go on the back burner occasionally as I edit for Eagle Eye Editors. Being an editor as well as a writer gives me a whole new perspective on my writing and it's taught me a great deal. It's challenging work, and something I really enjoy, but nothing can compete with my love of writing. I'm proud to be holding the reins of Writebulb - a writing group who support each other with honesty, integrity & respect. If you're a writer and you live in Essex, UK, you need to join this amazing group. We are working on our third anthology with all proceeds going to support a local hospice.

LAUNCH DAY EXCLUSIVE: Huw The Bard by Connie J Jasperson

Well, today’s the big day for the mega talented Connie as Huw The Bard, her latest book, officially launches.

On Friday, I revealed the cover and blurb, Saturday saw the book trailer, yesterday I gave you my review, and now I have an exclusive excerpt to share with you. So, drumroll please . . . no louder . . .That’s better *clears throat* . . . Ladeez and Gentlemen, for your delectation and enjoyment, I give you - Huw the Bard:

Excerpt from ‘HUW the BARD’ by Connie J. Jasperson, Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved

“With Lackland helping as well as he could, Huw saddled Farroll while he drank; all the while Lackland warned the horse to be sure not to drink too much. Once watered, the unhappy horse desperately munched on grass while Huw began getting him laden with numerous heavy saddle bags and weaponry. “I know entire families who don’t travel with this much baggage,” muttered Huw, as he made a third trip with yet more of Lackland’s luggage. “No wonder you require a horse of this size!”

“Now, now, Jak! You sound like Chicken Mickey, clucking away at me like that,” replied Lackland cheerfully. “It’s all necessary, I promise!”

“Chicken Mickey?” Huw was at a loss. “I don’t believe I know this person.”

“Of course you don’t. The man is our provisioner, and he’s an absolute genius at it,” replied Lackland, lobbing the last saddlebag atop the horse. “You just reminded me of him. He’s always accusing me of overburdening Farroll with my luggage.”

“I see his point,” Huw said, struggling to hold the horse still while Lackland finished tightening the last straps. “I have no idea what a provisioner is, but he sounds interesting.”

“Interesting? Mick is definitely that!” His face lost its mirth as he considered the task of mounting his horse. His legs could barely hold him up, and he had to lean on Farroll just to stand. “I’ve no strength in my legs, and I doubt you could lift me to the saddle. I’ll have to walk as best I can.”

Nodding, Huw jumped nervously as pre-dawn sounds of birds alerted him to the danger they were in. He began to panic. “Lackland, we must get your horse moving! We must be away from here now!” He picked up his kit and looped his arm around the knight, half carrying him with Farroll supporting his other side. Then, at Huw’s urging, Lackland walked as swiftly as he was able. Farroll was not happy about having to walk when he wanted to eat. Huw grabbed the startled horse’s bridle and tugged, saying “Come, Farroll! They’ll have you back in the hellhole we just left if you don’t help me get your master out of here!” The occasional call of the birds spurred Huw as nothing else could have. The eastern horizon began to glow a fiery red, heralding the imminent advent of the dawn. “There’s the gate! Hurry!”

Almost running, Huw dragged Lackland and Farroll down the street and out of town as fast as he could. They stumbled to the opening just as the sun’s first ray pierced the sky, and with the light, the gates shuddered and began to close, creaking and groaning. Struggling desperately, Huw pulled the knight and his horse through. With a loud thunk, the gate swung closed behind them, catching the horse’s tail.

Farroll kicked at the gate, but although his tail was stuck fast, his hooves passed through the wood as if through fog. Skeletal hands began pulling the great beast backwards by the tail. He whinnied and his eyes were wild; Lackland struggled to keep him standing still. Quickly Huw raced back and, dodging Farroll’s stamping hooves, with a flick of his knife cut the tail free. He slapped Farroll’s rump and the horse shot forward, knocking Lackland down.

“Gah! They nearly had us!” Overcome with terror, Huw pulled Lackland to his feet. Grabbing Farroll’s harness, he dragged the two down the rutted overgrown road as fast as he could. He kept urging them on until they could no longer see the village.”

This is just a little taster of the adventures Huw experiences on his long journey. To buy this amazing book click on Amazon to be taken straight to the site relevant for your country. Well, don’t just sit there, CLICK ON THE LINK!!!!

Review: Huw the Bard by Connie J Jasperson

I have to say, this is one of the most unusual fantasy books I’ve read in a long time. Set in an alternate medieval dimension, it is chock full of adventure, treason, rape, murder, and magical creatures the like of which I’ve never before encountered.

HTB New Front Cover copy

The main strength of this book, apart from the wonderful storytelling, is the depth of characterisation given to Huw. He is an eighteen-year-old bard at the height of his craft when disaster strikes and he is forced to flee the city he has called home since before reaching double digits. With nothing but the clothes on his back, Huw, now a wanted man, must make his way to safety if he wants to survive.

As you take every step with Huw, you feel his pain, desolation, joy, and sorrow, and by the end of the book, he’s become a friend to treasure. Jasperson has crafted her main character richly; you see his transformation from a talented, spoilt, and somewhat vain young man who’s used to being fawned over and adored, to a humbled, desperate, penniless one who finds courage and a good heart.

At no time is the emotion overdone; it is layered with sufficient detail for the reader to empathise with each situation Huw finds himself in and, in my opinion, strikes just the right balance.

Each of the supporting cast is given definable personalities and, along with Huw, leap off the page.

The world-building is expertly designed and described in colourful detail. The magical creatures are, in some ways, the stuff from nightmares yet in the author’s skilled hands, they are believable and realistic.

The plot is adventurous and well outlined. There is never a point when a reader will not want to turn the page to see what’s going to happen next, yet it’s not a ‘fun and frolics’ type of adventure (although there are a few amusing bits). There’s plenty of sadness, guilt, anger, and revenge, to accompany the bravery, battles, romance and light-hearted banter.

Already a big fan of Jasperson’s work, Huw the Bard, took me in an unexpected direction, showing what a versatile fantasy author she is. I loved this book and it gets a solid 5 stars from me.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for an exclusive excerpt from this great book!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Connie 2014

Connie J Jasperson lives and writes in Olympia, Washington. A vegan, she and her husband share five children, eleven grandchildren and a love of good food and great music. She is active in local writing groups, and is the Olympia area municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo. Music and food dominate her waking moments and when not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly.

You can find her blogging at: Life in the Realm of Fantasy

http://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com

Tower of Bones Series – Book I, Tower of Bones takes the reader to the world of Neveyah, where the Gods are at war and one man holds the key to winning that battle. Book II, Forbidden Road is the follow-up, and picks up the story six years after the end of Book I, Tower of Bones.

Tales from the Dreamtime, a novella of new fairytales told in a traditional style, consisting of two short stories and one novella.

Billy’s Revenge Series Huw, the Bard takes you to the world of Waldeyn, and a medieval alternate reality. Fleeing a burning city, everything he ever loved in ashes behind him, penniless and hunted, Huw the Bard must somehow survive.

 

Book Trailer – Huw The Bard by Connie J Jasperson

Yesterday, I revealed the unusual and striking cover of Connie J Jasperson’s, Huw The Bard, her latest book which officially launches on Monday 31st March. Now I have another little treat for you – the book trailer.

So let’s have lots of applause, whistles galore, and plenty of yells of excitement for . . .

 

I don’t know about you, but I think the music is quite haunting, and believe me when I say it’s very fitting for a book which gives you adventure, magical creatures as well as sadness and injury. Huw’s journey through this book is laced with love, laughter, despair, triumph and revenge!

Now, don’t forget to pop back on Monday for the exclusive excerpt on launch day and by then I should have the links to take you straight on over to Amazon to get your hands on a copy!

 

COVER REVEAL: Huw the Bard by Connie J Jasperson

Every now and then, a fantasy book comes along that’s really different and unique. As a principle editor at Eagle Eye Editors, I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with the editing of this novel, but I’m not allowing this to colour my judgement. If it wasn’t truly special, I wouldn’t be bringing it to your attention.

Huw the Bard, the first in the ‘A Tale of Billy’s Revenge’ trilogy, is being launched in a few days and I’m so pleased to be able to share this cover reveal with you. It’s a lovely piece of artwork – so eye-catching. So without further ado. Fanfare please . . .

Check out this blurb:

Huw Owyn is the last true bard in Waldeyn.

Fleeing a burning city,

Everything he ever loved in ashes behind him,

Penniless and hunted, no place is safe.

Abandoned and alone, eighteen-year old Huw the Bard must somehow survive

It’s two-hundred leagues to safety,

And then two-hundred more.

A lot can happen to a man on a journey like that.

Piqued your interest yet? On the launch day of this medieval fantasy, I’ll be featuring an exclusive excerpt so check back in about three days. Believe me, you won’t want to miss it!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Connie 2014

Connie J Jasperson lives and writes in Olympia, Washington. A vegan, she and her husband share five children, eleven grandchildren and a love of good food and great music. She is active in local writing groups, and is the Olympia area municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo. Music and food dominate her waking moments and when not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly.

You can find her blogging at: Life in the Realm of Fantasy

http://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com

Tower of Bones Series – Book I, Tower of Bones takes the reader to the world of Neveyah, where the Gods are at war and one man holds the key to winning that battle. Book II, Forbidden Road is the follow-up, and picks up the story six years after the end of Book I, Tower of Bones.

Tales from the Dreamtime, a novella of new fairytales told in a traditional style, consisting of two short stories and one novella.

Billy’s Revenge Series Huw, the Bard takes you to the world of Waldeyn, and a medieval alternate reality. Fleeing a burning city, everything he ever loved in ashes behind him, penniless and hunted, Huw the Bard must somehow survive.

 

 

Burdens of a Saint – Character Interview

Last week, I treated you to my review of Joan Hazel’s latest book, Burdens of a Saint, the second novel in The Guardian series (click here for a reminder). When I asked Joan if I could interview one of her characters, she very graciously agreed. My biggest problem was choosing which one.

I made Joan chuckle with my choice - I picked the one she least expected!

Let me tell you a wee bit about him. Fergus Wolfe is the Delta pack leader (or Alpha), the oldest shapeshifter at Theriontrope, weapons specialist, power-house, and elder biological brother to Saint. He’s the sort you want on your side if there’s trouble, but he can be quite terse as you’ll see from some of his responses.

Joan, thank you for bringing Fergus here today – I hope he’s in a good mood!

JH: You are most definitely welcome.  I hope he is in a good mood too!

CC: Welcome, Fergus. I’m very interested in your relationship with Ghost. Why are you so short-tempered with him?

FW: Because he is a pain in the arse. He knows exactly what to say to irritate me, and he takes pleasure in doing such.

CC: He’s still a ‘youngster’ compared to you – can you not cut him a little slack?

FW: Cut him some slack? Excuse me, Madame, but in all honesty, I believe that is his problem now. You must understand when I found Ghost he was only 10 years old. He was near death and his mother had given custody of him to Haven and the guardians. Often, I would find it difficult to discipline him due to his fragile state. That is his problem.

CC: Do you think there’s a particular reason why you let him get under your fur to such an extent?

FW: Although, as you say, Ghost is a youngster, he is well past 100, and it is time he accepts responsibility for his actions and his words. So far, he has done neither of those things.

CC: Okay. Changing the subject – I admire you for how much you care about Saint. However, you don’t seem exactly pleased about his burgeoning relationship with Janet. Why is that?

FW: Really? I did not realize I gave that impression. However, Saint is already dealing with many complications in his life. I suppose I don’t want to see him add to that.

CC: What are your thoughts on Eric? He obviously has some quite strong powers – are you concerned by them at all?

FW: Eric is an interesting boy. So far I find no reason to be concerned about his burgeoning powers. Hopefully with our guidance, there will not be an issue.

CC: I can understand why you worry, bearing in mind what Bridget did to Saint. What are your plans for dealing with her? Are you really intending to kill her?

FW: Death? Yes. That is my only plan for her.

CC: Well, that’s pretty final! What about Bridget’s son, Mingon? Are you going to ostracize him because of who his mother is?

FW: I believe the human Bible states, “The son shall not suffer the iniquity of the father” or in this case, mother.  He cannot help who his mother is anymore than I can help who my parents were. Mingon will be given every chance to prove himself as his own person.

CC: That sounds fair. Has it crossed your mind that Mingon might be Saint’s son too?

FW: Not possible. Next question please.

CC: Hmmm, touchy subject? Uh-oh! The look on your face speaks volumes. Ok, I’ll move on then. How do you think CJ has settled into her new position?

FW: CJ is settling in well. I think it is good to have a female presence within our pack.

CC: Do you think she’s a good guardian or do you feel she still has much to learn?

FW: I believe she is doing well as guardian. Yes, there is still a great deal for her to learn, but all in due time, and what she doesn’t know, I am positive Saint will be able to assist her.

CC: Are you pleased about CJ and Mika’s wedding? Will you be giving the bride away?

FW: I have no feelings either way on the subject. I am pleased if Mika and CJ are pleased. No, I will not be giving the bride away. Actually, I do not believe anyone will be.

CC: What are your aspirations for Haven and the pack?

FW: The pack will continue to do what we have always done, protect the guardians and take on whatever mission Theriontrope has for us. Our immediate goal is to destroy the Alliance.

CC: Thank you so much for being here and answering my questions with such candour. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you better.

FW: You are most welcome.

* * *

See what I mean about terse? And he doesn’t really respond to compliments either. There is actually a softer side to Fergus – he just likes to keep it hidden – bless his furry paws.

To learn more about Fergus, Theriontrope, the Delta pack of shapeshifters at Haven, and the guardians, click on one of the links below and pick up the books. If you love paranormal and fantasy, you won’t be disappointed!

The Last Guardian (book one in the Guardian Series) :  Amazon US / Amazon UK

Burdens of a Saint (book two in the Guardian Series) : Amazon US / Amazon UK

About the author:

Joan Hazel Pic

Joan Hazel has written three novels that range from paranormal fantasy to contemporary to historical fiction. An accomplished actress and vocalist, she has performed with companies across the eastern United States. In her spare time, she plays with a colorful cast of characters who live in her head. She currently resides in DeLand, Fla., with her husband, Ricky, and their two fur kids.

Joan’s contact info:

Website: www.joanhazel.com

Blog: http://joan-hazel.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @guardianwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Hazel/362411800440684?ref=hl

 

Book Launch & Review – Burdens of a Saint by Joan Hazel

One of the coolest things about being with Myrddin Publishing Group (apart from the awesome writers, great friendship, and the support we give each other), is discovering when new books are going to be launched before everyone else. It’s exciting to find  some real gems and having the chance to review them, especially when they’re fantasy or paranormal romance. Such is the case here.

My good friend and Myrddin colleague, Joan Hazel, launched her latest book on Monday – Burdens of a Saint. Check out this fab cover:

Cover BOAS3

This is the blurb on the back:

Your life will change today…

When Janet Beesinger writes the words in red on her calendar, she has no idea what they mean. But, as a psychic, she knows when the Universe gifts you with personal information, you listen.  How was she to know the Universe meant an irritating and sexy shape-shifter who would challenge everything about her life?

Saint Wolfe can feel the gravity of his arrangement with the goddess Hel closing in around him, forcing him to confront his past and the betrayal of the woman he was to marry. Needing to make peace with his past, he returns to New Orleans in search of forgiveness, only to be confronted by his own immortality. His only hope for atonement lies in the hands of a woman claiming to be a psychic. Will she be able to help Saint find salvation before his debt to Hel comes due?

Intrigued yet? Well, if you want to know what I thought of it, read on. Here’s my review:

After reading, and enjoying, the first book in this series – The Last Guardian [What? You haven't read it yet? Get over to Amazon now and click that buy button! Yes, I'll wait for you to come back . . .] – I was looking forward to seeing how the story would develop. I was also a little concerned as to whether Burdens of a Saint would live up to my expectations. I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed.

I don’t like writing spoilers, although it’s going to be hard with this story running through my head, but I’ll try.

The characterisations in this book grew beautifully and organically from book one. I felt I got to know them in greater depth and found myself longing for Saint to achieve the happiness he’d been denied for so long. Ms Hazel created further nuances to the personalities of the characters which made them more fascinating, although with some, not always more likeable. Saint, the main character in this book, was like an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum – at times puzzling, occasionally a challenge, sometimes uncomplicated yet also with an endearing vulnerability. I love the way he was portrayed – the author did a great job of balancing the different facets of his personality while still making him relatable and believable.

The new cast interacted interestingly with the existing members. I particularly liked Janet and could empathise with her on many levels. I was intrigued by Eric; it was a tad exasperating not finding out from where his powers originated, but hopefully that will be covered in a future book. It was great to see how CJ (the Guardian) had grown into her role – I had to smirk a little when she exerted her authority – but I would have liked to see her do so a bit more often. However, maybe that’s yet to come; CJ wasn’t the main focus of this story.

The plot moved along at a steady pace and kept me turning the pages long after I should have stopped reading and switched off the light! The introduction of clairvoyance in this story was very realistic and the author obviously knows this subject well. The paranormal and magic aspects were believable and natural.

Thus far, this series has left enough cracks and lingering thoughts about what’ll happen to certain characters in the future for there to be more books about the Guardian and her wards. There are also some unanswered questions. There’s certainly plenty of scope for the author to do so, and I really hope she does.

Would I recommend Burdens of a Saint? ABSOLUTELY! I would advise you to read The Last Guardian first though, as it firmly establishes the relationships and hierarchy, and it would make reading Burdens of a Saint even more enjoyable.

My rating: 4.5 / 5

Now I’ve told you how good it is, click on one of these links and get yourself a copy:

Amazon US / Amazon UK

Oh, and check back next week for a character interview (and no, I’m not telling you which of the shapeshifters it is)!

About the author:

Joan Hazel Pic

Joan Hazel has written three novels that range from paranormal fantasy to contemporary to historical fiction. An accomplished actress and vocalist, she has performed with companies across the eastern United States. In her spare time, she plays with a colorful cast of characters who live in her head. She currently resides in DeLand, Fla., with her husband, Ricky, and their two fur kids.

Joan’s contact info:

Website: www.joanhazel.com

Blog: http://joan-hazel.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @guardianwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Hazel/362411800440684?ref=hl

Book Launch – DESPRITE MEASURES by Deborah Jay

I know, I know! I promised you a series of reviews and nothing’s appeared. In my defence, I lost internet for two whole weeks (I was devastated!), went to World Fantasy Con 2013, came back and launched straight into NaNoWriMo (which I completed, thanks for asking)! I’m now trying to play catch up as well as continuing to write the final book in the Heart Search trilogy.

But now I want to tell you about a fabulous new book which is launching today – Desprite Measures by the lovely Deborah Jay. I was lucky enough to meet Deb at WFC in Brighton and she gave me an advance glimpse of the fantastic cover. Take a look at this beauty . . .

Desprite MeasuresEBOOK

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Here’s the blurb:

On the surface she’s a cute and feisty blonde, a slender pocket rocket fitness coach. But Cassiopeia Lake has a secret; she’s really a force of nature – an elemental.

Water sprite, Cassie, has lived undisturbed in her native Scottish loch for eons. Now, one encounter too many with modern plumbing has driven her to live in human guise along with her selkie boyfriend, Euan. It’s all going fine – until a nerdy magician captures Cassie to be an unwilling component in his crazy dangerous experiment.

Escape is only Cassie’s first challenge.

She’s smitten by her fellow prisoner, the scorching hot fire elemental, Gloria. But how do you love someone you can never touch?

And what do you do when your boyfriend starts to hero-worship your persecutor? Not to mention that tricky situation of being the prize in a power contest between two rival covens of witches.

So when Gloria’s temper erupts and she sets out to murder the magician, can Cassie keep her loved ones safe from the cross-fire, or will she be sucked into the maelstrom of deadly desires and sink without trace?

Sound intriguing? Well, let me whet your appetite a little more. Deborah has graciously allowed me to treat you all to a wee excerpt. Feast your eyes on this:

“Cassie, meet WynterRain,” said Gloria.

WynterRain. Yeah, right.

“Pleased to meet you, I’m sure,” said the witch. Despite its lyrical Irish lilt, her voice was as rough as the rest of her. “I believe we almost met earlier today.”

She’d noticed. I was under no illusion; she could see right through my human shape to the sprite beneath.

“Likewise.” I kept it short, not confirming her supposition. Gloria already looked too interested for my liking, and I had no intention of relating my earlier humiliation.

“Wynter is going to help us with our little problem,” said Gloria. “Aren’t you, Wynter?”

Wynter glanced nervously towards Alastair, and I wondered what hold the vamp had over her. 

Alastair maintained his silence. I stared at him in suspicion. He was quivering, the minute, rhythmic clenching of his fists visible in the firelight, and I wondered when he’d last fed.

Alarmed, I turned back to Wynter and found my answer. Even in the half light, the peculiar mixture of fear and desperate longing that twisted her face was unmistakeable.

Wynter was a vampire junkie.

“Oh, do get on with it,” snapped Gloria. “We’ll wait out here.”

Neither of them needed a second invitation. Wynter started to turn back into her van, but Alastair was on her before she completed the move. He buried one fist in her untidy thatch of hair and yanked her head back. She uttered a little scream as his fangs sank into her neck, but there was no real protest in the sound, or fear.

Wynter moaned and squirmed in Alastair’s arms. The vampire’s body jerked sporadically, and loud suckling noises interrupted the quiet of the forest. It felt obscenely like watching someone being raped, yet their enjoyment was all too apparent.

I wondered what it must be like, to be so desperate for something that you were willing to surrender your whole self, mind, body and purpose to another’s control. Was the pain worth the adrenalin rush and the aphrodisiac in the vamp saliva? Or was pain an integral part of the whole thing?

Wynter uttered a groan that rose to a shriek. Consumed by a bizarre envy for an experience I was never going to have, I averted my face.

To be stopped cold by the sight of Gloria, her eyes riveted to the unfolding performance. Flames reflected in glittering splendour across the surface of her eyes, and something even hotter writhed in their depths. Her perennial scorching scent over-rode even the smell of the burning logs.

It was my turn to gasp. This time in recognition of my utter blindness.

Alastair was Gloria’s lover. It was so plain I couldn’t believe I’d missed it before. Pain stabbed through me. It had never occurred to me that she might have a regular lover. How stupid was that?

Has this little taster piqued your curiosity? If so, click on one of the links below to pick up a copy:

Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H6UKH5A

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Desprite-Measures-Caledonian-Sprite-Series-ebook/dp/B00H6UKH5A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386609997&sr=1-1&keywords=Desprite+Measures+%28The+Caledonian+Sprite+Series%29#_

Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-gb/Search/Query?query=1230000201660&fcmedia=Book

If you love a series, keep your eyes peeled for the next book in the Caledonian Sprite adventures.

And now to introduce you to the lovely lady who’s written this amazing story. Drumroll please . . . here’s Deborah Jay!

Debby

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

Her debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in a trilogy and winner of a UK Arts Board award, was published in July 2013, with THE PRINCE’S SON due out summer 2014.

Urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, is the opening novel of the projected five book CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES.

She also has non-fiction equestrian titles published in her professional name of Debby Lush.

Find out more about Deborah at http://deborahjayauthor.com/ or follow Deborah on twitter https://twitter.com/DeborahJay2, facebook https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay and Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

 

Book Review: Darkness Rising – Chained (Prism series) by Ross M Kitson

I’ve been meaning to write a review for this book for ages, but you know how it goes – things just get in the way and the good intentions get pushed lower down the pile. Since reading this fantastic book, I’ve devoured the next three in the Prism series (there will be six in total), so I’ve decided to treat you to all four reviews, one after the other. Here is the first one; the rest of them will follow over the next couple of weeks.

Anyway, down to business.

DR1

Click on image to go to Amazon

The Blurb

Wild magic comes at a cost… that of the mind.

Emelia dreams of escape from her life of servitude. She dreams of magical powers; she dreams of dark things. When tragedy awakens the sorcery within her she embarks upon an epic journey in the company of two charming thieves.

In the Dead City an ancient evil awakens. The Lord of the Ghasts covets a magical Prism, the clues to which lie with Emelia. And when he begins to share her dreams, surely it is only a matter of time until she succumbs to his power?

My Review

I’ve always loved fantasy so when this book was recommended to me by a friend, I jumped at the chance to read it. I expected it to be good, but it wasn’t – it was fantastic!

Emelia is an impoverished girl who was sold into servitude by her island-dwelling parents. She works hard, dreams a great deal, and has a sassy side (although she doesn’t dare show it at the beginning). She has a voice in her head (Emebaka), an alter-ego of sorts, who often encourages her to step outside her comfort zone yet is occasionally the voice of reason. When Emelia’s closest friend is murdered by the father of her unborn child, Emelia’s wild magic awakens within her.

I loved Emelia’s growth as a character in the story. When she meets Hunor (a thief), and Jem (a sorcerer and thief), she’s gradually accepted into their ‘team’ and learns survival skills; she becomes proficient in the use of weapons, Hunor teaches her how to steal without getting caught, and Jem guides her in gaining control of her magic.

Emelia is not without flaws, but that makes her more real, and I found myself rooting for her.

The main supporting characters of Hunor and Jem were extremely well-crafted. Hunor comes across as a cocky, cheeky chap with a ‘devil-may-care’ attitude. He’s an accomplished thief who has made quite a few enemies on his many journeys yet he seems, on the surface, to have no fear. Jem’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder adds a twist to his character. He’s obviously gifted in the magical arts, but at the same time, there’s a vulnerability about him that is refreshing.

Vildor, Lord of the Ghasts, is deliciously evil. He and his minions will stop at nothing to get what they want and, as one might expect, are prepared to murder, subvert and possess whomever they choose.

I found all the characters to be totally believable in their respective roles and superbly written. They are complex, riveting and vibrant. I loved the way they grew naturally through the story.

One of the most important things in writing an epic fantasy is the world-building and Kitson has built a memorable, realistic and relatable realm. His description brings each city, each land, to life with colour and clarity. The history and cultures of the different lands and the events which shaped them make an impressive and interesting background which has been cleverly created. It’s richly detailed, diverse and its inhabitants are as atypical as those in our own world.

The plots and sub-plots have many twists and turns, and while some may view the overall premise of the tale as ‘predictable fantasy fodder’, I found it exciting, compelling and unexpected.

This book is incredibly well-written. The author took me on a fantastic journey that I didn’t want to end. Ross Kitson is certainly a name to watch out for – if there’s any justice in the world of publishing, he’ll be bombarded with offers and contracts!

If you love an epic fantasy that grabs you in the first couple of pages and leaves you breathless at the end for more then don’t hesitate – get this book NOW! 5 STARS FROM ME!

 

Cover Reveal: Unremembered Things by Rachel Tsoumbakos

As some of you may remember, I reviewed two of Rachel’s books earlier this year (Click here for a recap), so when I heard she’d written another one . . . SQUEEE! She’s a fabulous writer with a great imagination.

I’m honoured and excited to be able to reveal the cover of her latest book ahead of the launch and share the blurb. So . . . drumroll please . . . here is the cover to Unremembered Things:

Unremembered_Things_Cover_for_Kindle

Ooo, a heart drawn in blood – nice yet slightly creepy touch. Does that tell us anything about the sort of book this is? Well, let’s take a look at the blurb and find out:

One woman, two worlds and nothing but UNREMEMBERED THINGS separating them. 

Indiana Shamira has a dark secret that could shatter her very existence and get her killed in the process. Now if only she could remember what it is…  

Life is hard when you have amnesia. Indiana Shamira found that out the hard way when she woke one morning and found her whole life had been erased. Getting up out of bed and slipping her feet into fluffy purple slippers she could only assume were hers; she had the task of having to discover the world around her once more. 

When she finds a vampire called Sam hanging from the rafters in her cellar, she knows things are about to get nasty. Not only does Sam know all about her previous life, but he seems intent on seducing her as well. Of course her boyfriend, Kurt, has different ideas – like making her open the portal to hell! 

And then there is the nagging suspicion that Indiana is not entirely human, now she can see ghostly images from the Otherworld. Or could it be from her past life? They include the flickering effigy of Kurt and a redwood forest that conjures up repressed magic. 

Not only will Indiana have to risk everything to keep the door to another dimension closed, she will have to decide whether she is ready to lose her heart to someone who has more secrets than herself. 

Set in the lush Australian bush, UNREMEMBERED THINGS is a fusion of fantasy and forbidden romance.

Hmmm. Well, I don’t know about you, but this has definitely piqued my interest! Keep your eyes open on social media for news about the launch (I believe it’s due out sometime in December 2013) of this New Adult Paranormal Romance and be one of the first to get your hands on it. Don’t forget to leave the author a review!

I wish Rachel every success with her new book and I can’t wait to get my hands on it (hint, hint)!

ABOUT RACHEL

RachelRachel Tsoumbakos is a stay home mother of two.
Her main passions are writing, reading and organic gardening. Rachel lives with her husband, two kids, three cats and seven chickens in suburban Melbourne, Australia.

While she has had several articles published through mainstream magazines, she has also written extensively for Suite 101 and True Blood Net.

In between writing novels, Rachel also runs a successful copy-writing and formatting business.

Emeline and the Mutants is her first published novel and available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/EATMUP A new novel, The Ring of Lost Souls, set in an abandoned mental institute on the outskirts of Melbourne, is also available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/TROLSRT

Her current work in progress, Unremembered Things, is an edgy paranormal trilogy about a woman who is in charge of saving the world even though she suffers from amnesia. Make sure you follow her blog at  http://www.racheltsoumbakos.wordpress.com for more information.

Her newest endeavour is Zombie Apocalypse Now! This is a zombie apocalypse serial written entirely from a female perspective – and these gals know how to kick some butt!

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rtsoumbakos

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/mrszoomby

About.Me: http://about.me/Rachel.Tsoumbakos

GoodReads link for Unremembered Things :  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17061976-unremembered-things

Links to other books by Rachel Tsoumbakos:

Emeline and the Mutants

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004PGNBCO

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/ie/book/emeline-and-the-mutants/id580299051

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/212929

Angus & Robertson: http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/ebook/emeline-and-the-mutants/39524764/

The Ring of Lost Souls

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00879OR6O

iTunes: https//itunes.apple.com/ie/book/the-ring-of-lost-souls/id551780796

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/212931

Angus & Robertson: http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/ebook/the-ring-of-lost-souls/36845144/

Zombie Apocalypse Now!

Amazon:

Part 1: http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Apocalypse-Now-Part-ebook/dp/B00B7T1EXU/

Part 2: http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Apocalypse-Now-Part-ebook/dp/B00BMH1B12/

Part 3: http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Apocalypse-Now-Part-ebook/dp/B00C0KMGTQ/

Sanitarium Magazine (Parts 1-10): http://sanitariummagazine.com/

Book Review: War of the Flowers by Tad Williams / The Power of Reviews

As an author, I love seeing reviews written about my books. When a reader takes the time to write what they thought of my work, it’s very gratifying (especially if the review is good) to know my words have touched someone and made an impression on them. However, I did wonder how much of a part reviews played in promoting books and whether they actually had an impact on people other than the author.

I’ve come to the conclusion that reviews are very powerful. Some positive words written about a book CAN influence readers to buy and is one of an author’s most powerful marketing streams. Let me explain how I came to this conclusion:

I follow the Best in Fantasy blog written by Connie J Jasperson. She only reviews books she loves and will never allow herself to be coerced into writing anything but the truth. In April this year, she wrote a review about War of the Flowers by Tad Williams (click here to read her review). By the time I reached the end, I knew I had to buy it. There have been others by Connie that have influenced parting with my hard-earned cash as have some reviews written by Laura Thomas. Friends have also been persuaded to buy books based on reviews they’ve read.

So if it’s having this effect on me and my friends, it would be fairly safe to assume it’s doing the same to other book lovers. Something to think about the next time you read a good book (you don’t have to be an author to write one and it doesn’t have to be long either)!

* * *

Like I said above, I bought War of the Flowers, and here is what I thought of it:

WOTF2

Click on cover to go to Amazon

The Blurb (from Amazon)

In the great city, in the dimly lit office of an impossibly tall building, two creatures meet. Gold changes hands, and the master of the House of Hellebore gives an order: ‘War is coming. The child must die.’

 In our own world, a young man discovers a manuscript written by his great uncle. It seems to be a novel – a strange fairytale of fantastic creatures and magical realms. But it is written as a diary … as if the events were real … as if his uncle had journeyed to another world. For the young man, the fantasy is about to become reality.

My Review

When I first started reading this book, I had to wonder where it was taking me and what the significance of it was. There was nothing ‘fantasy’ related to it and it made me wonder. Then, as the author wove in the first threads of fantasy and the story progressed, I began to see the relevance.

The story is about a (sometimes naïve)  30-year-old man (Theo), a musician who never reached stardom but still dreams of getting his big break, who finds a manuscript written by his great-uncle. Theo reads it, believing it to be an unfinished fiction novel . . . until he finds himself thrust into the world his uncle described.

As the story unfolds, you see Theo struggle to accept this new world and its culture. He’s surrounded by fairies, goblins and other creatures and he’s really not sure who to trust – and with good reason. There’s a war brewing; Theo finds himself slap bang in the middle of it and certain parties want him dead – he just doesn’t know why.

Williams has created an interesting lead character with Theo. He’s not without his faults, and although at times you might want to give him a shake and tell him to grow up, I found he grew on me. As the story progressed I began rooting for him, wanting him to prevail against all the odds. Theo was given real depth, and his emotions and dialogue were realistic and relatable.

Other key characters were also superbly crafted. I loved Applecore – the tiny fairy who befriends Theo. She’s sassy, sarcastic and forthright to the nth degree yet you also see a softer side emerge. She’s also fiercely loyal and courageous. Cumber, a Ferisher, was also interesting to learn about, especially when he began to shake off his subservient mentality. Poppy, the spoilt ‘rich kid’ from one of the leading Flower families, became less of a brat and more humane as the book progressed, and Lord Hellebore was deliciously evil and tyrannical.

The plot was brilliantly conceived; forget about fantasy fiction you’ve read before – this is something unique and totally different. Whilst having some of the classic elements – like fairies, goblins etc, – the ‘alternative world’ of Faerie was far removed from the norm. The hierarchy of flower ‘houses’, who ruled the land since the death of the king and queen, was well thought out, as was the technology employed in Faerie. I particularly liked how Williams likened it to our world, with shops, houses, skyscraper-type buildings and even cars of sorts. If you think Faerie is going to be a sweet place, think again. It’s urban, dirty, shady, and sometimes corrupt.

This is a thick book, but very worth the time investment. The story had me gripped (once the fantasy portion really began) and I found myself losing hours when I thought it was mere minutes. This was the first book I’d read by Tad Williams and it definitely won’t be my last. A great fantasy tale – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it! 5/5 STARS