Book Review – Cursed by Sue Tingey

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the first book of the Soulseer Chronicles, Marked, by Sue Tingey. It was more than good enough for me to want to read and review the second. Before we get to my opinions, here is the cover:

Gorgeous, isn’t it?!

And here is the blurb:

Lucky de Salle thought she was human, then she discovered she was a daemon princess – and now it’s looking like she’s something much more…

Lucky knows she has some hard choices to make: will it be Jinx, the sexy Deathbringer, or Jamie, the gorgeous Guardian?

But before she can even start to enjoy life in the Underlands, her sister’s men are slain and Kayla herself is kidnapped by the Sicarii, assassins-for-hire members of a death-cult.

They can’t be working for Lucky’s nemesis, for Henri le Dent is being held in the court’s dungeons, at least according to court torturer, Amaliel Cheriour – but the Chambers of Rectification are empty, both Amaliel and Henri have fled and it soon becomes clear that Kayla is just bait to catch Lucky.

Lucky’s emerging powers are growing, and Amaliel intends to use her for his own nefarious purposes – though first he has to get past her Guards, not to mention Lucky herself.

Interesting, huh?

My review:

Book Review – Cursed by Sue Tingey

Cursed is the second book in the Soulseer Chronicles. Before reading it, I wondered if it was going to be one of those awkward, fill-in type books, full of waffle, bridging the gap until the exciting third and final book came along. I’m very happy to say that this wasn’t the case.

The action began early on and continued throughout the book. There were many shocks and surprises which drew me further into the story and I didn’t want to put it down. The narrative was smooth and flowed well. It captured my imagination and I found myself by Lucky’s side, like a shadow.

The plot was inventive with many twists and turns. It was set mainly in the daemon world and gave a greater insight into the machinations that existed there. It was interesting to see how Ms Tingey played the good and evil factions against each other and it made the story all the more creative.

In Cursed, you get to see a great deal more of the landscape and make-up of the world. The descriptors used brought the land of daemon kind to life, painting it gloriously like an artist would a canvas. There was a richness to it which was by no means overdone.

Lucky shone in Cursed. She grew and became a more rounded character, fulfilling her role with aplomb. As she learns what she can do, it brings a new dimension to her character which is both thought-provoking and fascinating. There were one or two areas where she didn’t tap into her emotions as well as she could have done, especially when something devastating happened. Although her feelings were portrayed reasonably well, there wasn’t as much angst as might have been expected given the situation. However, that was just a minor blip for me. Overall, she started to gain increased mental strength, making her character more interesting and relatable.

Jamie showed more of his true colours in Cursed. He was still the nice guy, protecting Lucky, even from herself, but he proved to be not quite as trustworthy. As he became secretive and began to lie to Lucky, even she wasn’t sure if she could trust him at times. However, it became clearer that his feelings for Lucky had grown and he was more protective than ever. Jamie became more fascinating to me in this second book as more of his character was revealed and I look forward to seeing how Sue takes him forward into book three.

Jinx made me laugh. He’s such a cheeky chap with a teasing and provocative side which endeared me to him. Because of how forward he is, in the beginning it’s hard to tell whether he has genuine feelings for Lucky or if he’s just being playful. The answer becomes apparent as the book progresses. The rivalry between him and Jamie is well thought out and comes across well. I also saw more depth to his character. His title of The Deathbringer is well-deserved in this book and it was good to see that side of him. On occasions, he also portrayed a softer side to his nature — a stark contrast to his title — but nonetheless, enjoyable to read.

Other characters also grew in this book, making them much more interesting. The interactions of them with the three main characters added more intrigue and depth to the novel, proving again Tingey’s mastery of character development.

This book is another triumph for Sue and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in book three: Bound.

Highly recommended — a damn good read!

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cursed-Soulseer-Chronicles-Book-2/

If you missed my last post, here’s a bit about the author:

Sue Tingey is the author of the fantasy romance series The Soulseer Chronicles and lives with her husband in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

She spent twenty-eight years working for a major bank and, after taking voluntary redundancy in 2001, spent another fourteen or so years working as a practice manager for an arboricultural consultancy. She has now given up the day job to allegedly spend more time with her husband; he however has noticed that an awful lot more writing appears to be going on.

Sue admits that storytelling is her obsession and was thrilled when she was offered a three book deal by Jo Fletcher Books in 2014.

You can learn more about Sue on her website www.suetingey.co.uk or contact on Twitter @SueTingey

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Marked by Sue Tingey

I came across this book at FantasyCon two or three years ago. After meeting the author, and reading the blurb, I was sufficiently intrigued to want to read it. I thought the cover was pretty interesting too, and here it is.

Here is the blurb:

Lucky de Salle can see ghosts, but it’s daemons she should be worried about.

With no family and very few friends, Lucky’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast. The only person she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has been with her since she was born.

 But Kayla is not all that she appears.

 Then again, neither is Lucky…

MARKED is the first book in the Soulseer Chronicles and the debut novel for Ms Tingey.

It’s so hard to write a review of a book like this without it containing spoilers, but I’ll do the best I can. The action starts right at the beginning of the book and rolls on from there, gaining momentum with each turn of the page. The plot was certainly original and unlike anything I’ve read before. It was well planned and overall, the pacing was good. The writing flowed seemingly effortlessly and there was no point at which I was jerked out of the story by the use of an incorrect word or the phrasing/sentence structure being off. I did notice a few small mistakes, but that was obviously down to the publisher/editor rather than the author. They were things that should have been picked up during editing or proofreading.

Many surprises appeared during the story, none of which I saw coming, and that added to my enjoyment of it.

The author crafted her characters like an artist creates a masterpiece! Whether a leading character, or a minor one, each had a different personality and it was so well done that it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. All her characters were believable and relatable – even the baddies.

Lucky de Salle – the lead protagonist: She is so realistically designed, I could relate to her immediately. Yes, she can see the dead and is psychic, but in the normal course of events, it doesn’t faze her at all. However, not all the ‘dead’ are friendly and when she comes up against her first daemon, she is petrified. She can be feisty, stubborn, vulnerable, frightened, and normal; these are all traits everyone can relate to in one way or another, and it makes Lucky more real for me. Yet there’s much more to Lucky than I’m going to reveal here as I don’t want to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of it.

Jamie – a leading protagonist: Known as ‘The Guardian’, Jamie is Lucky’s protector. He was a bit of an enigma for me. Most of the time, he appears kind and gentle, and obviously seems to have some feelings for Lucky. Yet, he can also be frightening, secretive (much to the chagrin of Lucky), and has a bit of a wicked streak. By the end of the book, very little is known about him or what it means to be ‘The Guardian’. I’m looking forward to learning more about him in book two.

Jinx – a leading protagonist: He is known as ‘The Deathbringer’, the polar opposite of ‘The Guardian’. I loved this character! Jinx is a cheeky daemon who is enrolled in Lucky’s guard. It becomes obvious early on that he fancies her. He’s generally happy, smiles a lot – Lucky often receiving mischievous or inviting ones – yet there’s a dark side to him which one might guess from his title. He’s a bit more transparent than Jamie, but I feel he has hidden depths that haven’t been revealed so far.

Kayla – is another major character and Lucky’s best friend, even though she’s a ghost. She can be nice and supportive however, Kayla can be one hell of a bitch, and callous. She cares about Lucky a great deal and tries to protect her, but does she have her own agenda? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Other notable characters – Lord Baltheza, Shenanigans, Kerfuffle, Pyrites, Amaliel Cheriour, and Vaybian.

Tingey uses description to good effect. You can easily picture a person or place in your mind and for me that adds a deeper dimension to the story. However, none of the portrayals or depictions are overdone.

In conclusion, this is a great debut novel. It’s gripping, unique, alluring, magical, and has a little romance thrown in. I loved this wonderful story and couldn’t put the book down. If you’re a fan of fantasy novels, I would highly recommend you spend some money and buy this. I’m sure that after reading it, you’ll be reaching into your wallet or purse to buy book two… I did and it’s a fantastic investment!

Look out for my forthcoming review of the second book in the Soulseer Chronicles – Cursed!

BUY THE BOOK FROM AMAZON: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marked-first-magical-Soulseer-Chronicles/

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sue Tingey is the author of the fantasy romance series The Soulseer Chronicles and lives with her husband in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

She spent twenty-eight years working for a major bank and, after taking voluntary redundancy in 2001, spent another fourteen or so years working as a practice manager for an arboricultural consultancy. She has now given up the day job to allegedly spend more time with her husband; he however has noticed that an awful lot more writing appears to be going on.

Sue admits that storytelling is her obsession and was thrilled when she was offered a three book deal by Jo Fletcher Books in 2014.

You can learn more about Sue on her website www.suetingey.co.uk or contact on Twitter @SueTingey 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: VIKINGS: THE TRUTH ABOUT LAGERTHA AND RAGNAR

Since the TV series hit our screens, there has been a great deal of interest generated in the Vikings. Personally, and not having seen the series, I wasn’t bothered in finding out more about them. But then I read Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha and Ragnar by Rachel Tsoumbakos.

Before we go any further, here’s the fantastic front cover:And now here’s the blurb:

Lagertha was known to be one of the wives of the famous Viking, Ragnar Lodbrok. But did you know they first met each other at a brothel?

And just how long did their marriage last?

Plus, was Lagertha really the revered shield maiden we see her as today?

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ will unravel all these secrets and reveal a story that is more interesting than anything you knew about them previously.

In Part One their story is brought to life with a historically accurate retelling. Part Two then explores the historical facts surrounding this story.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to discover just how much of what we know of the shield maiden, Lagertha, and the famous Ragnar Lodbrok in popular culture today is actually true.

Discover the truth today!

The ‘Viking Secrets’ series explores the historical fact from present day fiction in regards to the Vikings and the extraordinary women who existed in the Viking era.

PLEASE NOTE: Each of the books in this series can be read as standalone books due to the nature of the sagas involved. Therefore, the book numbering indicates the order in which the stories were published and not the order in which they are required to be read.

My review:

This book has been cleverly written in two parts: the first part is what happened to both characters in story form; the second are historical facts. Both parts make for an extremely entertaining and interesting read.

In part one, Tsoumbakos brings the characters to life to such an extent that I was totally hooked and had trouble putting the book down. I became so invested in Lagertha and Ragnar’s story due to how well the characters were drawn. The emotions portrayed were relatable and not exaggerated giving additional intensity and showing the complexity of the characters. This shows the talent of the author.

The story itself was easy to follow and flowed effortlessly. The descriptions used, while not overdone, were sufficient for me to picture each scene as clearly as if I were there.

The dialogue was realistic, although we obviously don’t know for sure exactly how they spoke in the Viking era, but it gave extra depth to both the story and the characters.

Overall, I can honestly say it is one of the best stories I’ve read in the past six-months (and I’ve read quite a lot)!

With part two being more factual, I wasn’t gripped like I was with the story. However, the facts were well-presented and interesting enough to keep me reading until the end. Tsoumbakos has obviously researched the subject thoroughly and with the way this part is written, it’s easy to make correlations with part one.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book, even if you aren’t into Vikings. The story alone is exceptional enough to capture your interest and well worth investing in!

Rachel Tsoumbakos

Author Bio:

Rachel Tsoumbakos has had several articles published through mainstream magazines and currently writes extensively for The Inquisitr.

Over the years, Rachel has been interested in many aspects of history. When studying a Library Studies diploma, she discovered just how much she enjoyed researching and has since used these skills in several of her novels. However, it was her work with The Inquisitr that brought her into the world of the Vikings and she has spent several years delving into the sagas of this culture as well as the history of the Viking Era.

Rachel lives with her husband, two kids, three cats and a flock of chickens in the idyllic Yarra Ranges, Australia. When she isn’t writing, she is working on her cardio as she trains for the zombie apocalypse.

Amazon Buy Links:

hyperurl.co/LagsandRags

Book Review: The Wayward Son by Connie J Jasperson

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything and I’m sorry if you thought I’d deserted you. In truth I’ve been busy writing a new book and am revising it before it goes to my editor. I’m hoping to get it published before Christmas, but with NaNoWriMo in November, it may be doubtful. I’ll share more about it another time. Anyway, enough about me for now. I’ve read an amazing book and wanted to tell you what I thought.

First off, here is the great cover:

the-wayward-son-front-cover

I hope you like it as much as I do! Here’s the blurb:

Deeds done in the heat of battle cast long shadows.

The most famous man in the history of the Temple, retired Commander John Farmer, has left the militia behind. War looms and John must answer the call to serve, but his terrible secret could destroy everything. A broken mage trying to rebuild his shattered life, he must somehow regain his abilities, or everyone and everything he loves will be lost.

John must face the crimes of the past to become the hero he never was.

I don’t know about you, but that really grabs me!

And here is my review:

The Wayward Son, a companion book to the fantastic Forbidden Road, part of the Tower of Bones series, follows the story of John Farmer, the father of our hero in the series, Edwin.

This book fills in some of the gaps from Forbidden Road as John remains in Aeoven while Edwin is fulfilling a task in the dangerous country of Mal Evol.

The characterisation of John is a work of art. Jasperson has crafted him to perfection so you almost feel what he does and go through the ups and downs, the happiness and sadness, the worry and the contentment with him. Having read the Tower of Bones series, I could even see some of John’s traits in his son. The supporting cast were just as realistic, especially Cane and Marya, whose emotions are every bit as powerful as John’s.

I was pleased to see how the plot revolved around John and his life in Neveyah, meeting his friends, and following his career. Of course this is what was expected, but so often companion books tend to bring in too much of the other book and I’m extremely happy Connie didn’t do this. Another good point in this book’s favour is that you see and experience events that were only alluded to in Forbidden Road. I particularly liked how a sub plot concerning one of his friends weaved its way back to John, like a spider constructing a complicated web around him without the reader knowing he was the prey.

The pacing was well timed throughout, never rushed and definitely not slow.

The world of Neveyah was expertly crafted by the author in the Tower of Bones series and she was true to it in this book. However, she does take you to different areas that hadn’t previously been mentioned and, in my opinion it gave the realm even more depth. She describes the surroundings just enough to leave the rest to the reader’s imagination.

This book was a page turner for me, as the previous books in this series have been, and I resented going to sleep as I wanted to continue reading.

The only downside I could find was that I would have liked the story to continue a bit further, up to a particular event in Forbidden Road. This is just my personal choice, but the book did finish at a satisfactory point.

I think this is Connie’s best book to date (and that’s saying something!) and if you haven’t read the Tower of Bones series, you need to get them and this. As epic fantasies go, this series is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure to sink into the world of and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend all the Neveyah books.

If I could I’d give The Wayward Son more than 5 stars!

Click the title to go straight to Amazon so you can buy this for yourself.

About the author

Connie 2014

Connie J Jasperson

Connie J. Jasperson lives in Olympia, Washington. A vegan, she and her husband share five children, a love of good food and great music. She is active in local writing groups, an editor, and is a writing coach. She is an active member of the both the Northwest Independent Writers Association and Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and is a founding member of Myrddin Publishing Group.  Music and food dominate her waking moments. When not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly.

You can find Connie on her blog, Life in the Realm of Fantasy

 

 

 

Podcast

Back in the summer, I was asked if I would like to be interviewed for a Podcast for Blondie and the Brit. Through Facebook I’d already become friends with ‘Blondie’ aka KJ Waters – you might remember the posts on her book, Stealing Time – and we were working on my book cover together (along with Jody Smyers), so I was looking forward to chatting with her again. Also, I’d done one before so it didn’t faze me. The time was set for the recording and after a couple of minor technical hitches, it went ahead.

'Blondie' aka KJ Waters

‘Blondie’ aka KJ Waters

I have to say I had a brilliant time. It was lovely to get to know Suzanne Kelman, ‘the Brit’, and between the three of us there were plenty of laughs. We obviously did some serious stuff as well though. I can’t believe how many subjects we covered in ninety minutes: editing; jewellery making; book reviews; Of Ice & Air; my publishing group, Myrddin; the writing group I lead, Writebulb; inspiration; and, of course, writing.

'the Brit' aka Suzanne Kelman

‘the Brit’ aka Suzanne Kelman

Anyway, the great thing is that the interview went live yesterday. The timing could not have been more perfect with the launch of my new book today!

Here’s the MP3 link so you can listen to it:  <a href=”http://blondieandbrit.podbean.com/mf/play/8z67fg/Carliecullenfinal1118.mp3“>Download this episode (right click and save)</a>

I hope you enjoy it and if podcasts are your thing, check out Blondie and the Brit. They have some great ones already on their backlist and plenty of talented people still lined up.

Click to go directly there

Click to go directly there

 

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.

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