Book Review – Stealing Time by K J Waters

At the beginning of June, I featured K J Waters on here when she was celebrating the launch of her debut novel. If you missed the exclusive excerpt on launch day, interview, and guest post, just click on them to play catch-up.

Well, now I’ve had time to actually read the novel and want to share my thoughts with you. So here’s they are:

Book Review – Stealing Time by K J Waters

KJWaters-Front Cover for blog

I was intrigued by the blurb on this book, especially as it mentioned Hurricane Charley which I experienced in 2004, so although it’s not the sort of book I would normally read, I was interested enough to give it a go and I’m glad I did.

The concept of the plot was very original and I liked the way Waters constructed the method for the time travel to take place. She weaved the plot well and it certainly kept me turning the pages. KJ had certainly done her research about London and the time period. Factually it was very accurate, especially when it came to how women were treated more as chattels to be sold into a loveless marriage to advance the standing or financial position of the family. She’d also done her homework on what happened to women who were accused of witchcraft. The detail she included gave the reader an accurate picture, but I’m glad to say there wasn’t an info dump. The author intertwined it with the plot so it read as a natural progression within the story.

The detail included in the hurricane scenes was scarily realistic. Trees crashing through roofs, bringing down power lines, loss of power and water – these were all things I remembered only too well!

The main character, Ronnie, was well crafted. She had depth, was realistic, and relatable. When Ronnie became Regina, after the time travel incident, the confusion and desperation she felt was palpable – something which isn’t easy to achieve without over-emphasising. However, the author accomplished it with ease. I enjoyed the blossoming love between Ronnie/Regina and Matthias and I hope they meet again in the future. Matthias was the perfect gentleman, perhaps a little too perfect, but I liked him just the same. Jack, Regina’s brother, on the other hand, was a monster and I had a hard time believing parts of his story. I couldn’t understand how a man could treat his sister in such a horrendous way and then denounce her as a witch and all because she didn’t encourage the suitor of an arranged marriage. It seemed to me that his behaviour was way too extreme for the circumstances, which made his character less realistic.

The supporting cast were well thought out and, for the most part, likeable. Jeffery wasn’t a character I warmed to, probably because he used Ronnie for his own ends and was cheating on her too. Those directly involved in the Hurricane Charley part of the story showed myriad emotions and reacted as most people would under the same circumstances; this was very well done. I particularly liked the two main characters in this section.

The writing flowed nicely, the story lines were easy to follow, and the descriptions of places and events were extremely well written, without going over-the-top.

My only real criticism was that the proof reader didn’t do the greatest of jobs. However, this didn’t spoil my enjoyment too much. Overall, this was a page turner for me; I found myself invested in the story and characters to the extent that I really want to get my hands on book two. For a debut novel, I would have to say this is one of the best I’ve read in a while and would definitely recommend it.

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Book Review: Vera’s Song by Natalie Erin

Yesterday my blog was hijacked, but I really didn’t mind. I thought the character interview was great. But moving on to today and it’s LAUNCH DAY for Vera’s Song by Natalie Erin. I have to say, I love this cover!

Vera's Song cover

I received an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of the book in exchange for an honest review and this is what I thought of it:

Book Review – Vera’s Song by Natalie Erin

Having read the first book in this series and enjoyed it, I was interested to see what the author would do with this one. Was it going to be the dreaded second book in a series which didn’t live up to the promise of the first? Actually, no. In fact it was quite the opposite.

Erin introduces some new characters in this story and ties them in nicely with those from book one. Vera’s Song takes us forward about four years from where the previous tale leaves off. Kiatana has grown in confidence and taken the mantle of queen of the forest to the next level. Her son is typical for his age: curious, fearless, and a bundle of energy.

Wyntier, a new character, is deliciously evil. He’s hatching a plot and needs Kiatana’s son and his changer to make it work. Wyntier is cruel to the nth degree. He beats his changer, Vera, for the slightest thing and yet she loves him and does whatever he wants, even if she knows it’s wrong. There are no redeeming features in this character. He shows no remorse for anything he does, or the pain he causes. Driven by his need to be powerful and to control everything around him, he will stop at nothing to achieve it. I had to wonder why he was so brutal and driven and this was never addressed. It would have been interesting to know his background a little more, but even the flashbacks to his childhood showed a nasty boy who bullied weaker kids.

Vera’s a conflicted character who has been in love with Ionan, Keota’s changer, since they were young. She yearns to be reunited with him, but despite the harsh treatment she endures, she still won’t leave Wyntier. Vera’s character is well crafted. You feel her frustration, pain, love, and basically she has a good heart. She wants to do the right thing and tries in her own way to make life more comfortable for Wyntier’s victims. I found myself really sympathising with her plight and she’s the one who has stayed with me the most.

The other new characters all added something meaningful to the story. Some of them were written in a stronger voice though. Those from book one had all grown into their skins or pelts. However, I found Keota to be less effective in places and would have liked to see him as formidable as his wife, Kiatana.

The plot itself was exciting and dramatic. There were lulls, but they didn’t diminish the story; there needed to be some less intense moments so the reader could draw breath and take in what had happened in the previous few pages. There were no plot holes and the only part of it which felt contrived was an altercation with some elves. Later in the story, the elves return and the complete 180 didn’t quite sit right with me. However, the rest of the story was so engaging that this small irritation didn’t spoil it for me.

The world Erin built in book one was equally as strong in this one. From forests to icy mountains and beaches, her description was detailed without being overwhelming. She brought each part of the world seamlessly into the story giving good reasons why the characters were there.

For me, the definition of a good, enjoyable book is one you can remember several weeks later, and that’s exactly what’s happened here. I finished reading Vera’s Song about three weeks prior to writing this review and yet I find myself transported back into the pages as if I’d finished it only yesterday. There were enough errors which made me want to shoot the editor or proof reader for missing them, but they didn’t detract from my pleasure in reading it.

In conclusion, this book was better than expected, a good and memorable story with characters that stayed in my heart long after I finished it. If you’re looking for a fairy fantasy read with something a little different, I would certainly recommend Vera’s Song.

My Rating 4/5 stars

BOOK TAKEOVER: Vera’s Song

Hi! Remy Injay here, indie book reporter! Firstly, I’d like to thank Carlie for letting me takeover her website today for an interview! Today we’re interviewing Ionan, a fire breathing, emerald green dragon who takes center stage in the second book in the Creatures of the Lands series, Vera’s Song! Vera’s Song comes out this Friday, June 10th. 

Vera's Song cover

Thanks for being here today, Ionan. Can you tell us a little about the book?

It’s different, this time around. In the first book my companions and I had to journey the realm in order to find a cure for a strange illness. Now my friend Kia’s son has been kidnapped, and we must go beyond all reason in order to get him back.

This book is about your first love, Vera, correct?

Yes, that is what our sequel pertains to.

And? Details?

I’m not inclined to give any, at the moment. (Lets out a puff of smoke).

Darn! Okay, then tell us about your adventures. What can readers expect this time?

What else? Danger. Excitement. True love gone wrong for multiple couples, and a despicable creature out to destroy the Lands. Usual, I expect.

You sound rather grumpy today.

You cannot possibly imagine.

But this is your book!

Yes, it is my story, though not a particularly pleasant one all the way through. People died, you know. There’s a fair bit of tragedy among the adventure. Not everyone gets their happy ending this time. Sacrifices had to be made for the greater good. The first book was lighter. Things are getting darker.

I see. And you’re not inspired to tell us anything except for what’s on the back?

I am a dragon. I do not meddle in the affairs of humans. 

Irritable reptile.

Did you expect anything different?

Okay, fine. In the first book, you participated in a great battle to save Kia’s forest. Is this book going to be similar to last time?

Things involved more people in Book 1, but now all of our battles are on a much more personal scale. There’s more to lose for all of us, if you can believe it. Our children are at stake, and the people who have them like to play mind games.  

Wait a second…if this is your story then why aren’t you on the cover?

Because dragons are expensive to make, you fool. I suppose none of you humans could catch me in all my scaled, green glory anyway.

Will you behave?

I do not know the meaning of the word.

You know we could call your rider, Keota, in here. He’ll put a stop to this.

That’s what I thought. Can you tell me a little about the book’s antagonist, Wyntier? From your honest opinion?

I could tell you I want to rip him limb from limb until he goes out of this world screaming.

Ionan!

Well, you asked me to be honest. I am a fearsome creature, as you well know, and I don’t take well to people who try to destroy everything I hold dear. I don’t suppose anyone does, really. I’m certainly not going to sit down for tea and crumpets with him…that’s what you humans eat here, tea and crumpets? I’m sure that must be what the phrase is…

Fine, fine. What’s the last thing you want to say to readers?

Expect the unexpected. Things aren’t always what they appear in the Lands, and this time, enemies are lurking everywhere…even from within our circle of friends.

That’s a wrap! Thanks again Ionan for showing up…

I really shouldn’t have.

And make sure you grab a copy of Vera’s Song, which can be found here at Amazon!