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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Interview with Tiffany Shand

As promised in my last post, I’ve scored an interview with Tiffany Shand, author of Denai Touch, her debut novel. And here it is:

Book Cover

CC: Hi Tiffany! Welcome and congratulations on your debut novel.

TS: Hi Carlie, thanks for having me. Don’t mind the mad cats jumping around!

CC: That’s no problem. They’re really cute.

Let’s start you off on an easy one – can you tell us a bit about Denai Touch?

TS: It’s about a witch named Cate McCray, who is prophesied to defeat a terrorist organisation named the Covenant. The story mainly focuses on her relationship with her partner Jason and how they fight to stop the Covenant before it’s too late.

CC: What made you choose witches as your theme?

TS: I’ve always loved witches. I thought it would be nice to betray them in a different way rather than hooked nosed hags. My witches are sexy and bad arse!

CC: Why did you pick this genre?

TS: I got bored of contemporary fiction in my teens and that’s when I first discovered my love of paranormal romance/fantasy and knew they were the kind of genres that I wanted to write in.

CC: What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

TS: The hardest thing for me was probably motivation. When I get to the middle of a story I sometimes get a bit bored and really have to motivate myself to finish it.

CC: What was the easiest part of the whole process for you?

TS: Writing the book was probably the easiest thing. The hardest thing was the lead up to the publishing process. Editing took over a year which I was not happy about and did wonder if it would ever end. It was a big letdown.

But despite the bad things that happened I have learnt a lot during this process and know I won’t make the same mistakes with my next book.

CC: I know from experience that a part of the author somehow ends up in the persona of one of the characters. Which of the characters is most like you and why?

TS: That’s a tough question! But probably Cate, she’s a strong woman and I think that strength helped her get through some of the hard times she’s had and I can relate to that in some ways. She’s tough, feisty and sometimes outspoken – which I don’t think I am, but she also has a vulnerable side. We also both have a car named Ruby!

CC: Do you have a particular writing routine?

TS: I usually tend to do other things done in the morning and then write during the afternoon – if my laptop isn’t jumped upon by my two cats! Or I usually spend half an hour removing cat hair from my keyboard.

CC: What can we expect to see next from you?

TS: I’ve almost finished my second novel, Denai Bound which I’m hoping to publish later this year. They are going to be part of a series and I also have a spin off series in the works.

CC: Now for a few fun ones to finish with:

Tea or coffee?

TS: Definitely tea.

CC: Spring or autumn?

TS: Spring.

CC: Sandals or barefoot?

TS: Sandals.

CC: Cocktails or shots?

TS: Neither, I don’t drink.

CC: Green or Purple?

TS: Purple.

CC: Silver or gold?

TS: Silver.

CC: Thanks very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me today, Tiffany. I wish you every success with Denai Touch.

TS: Thanks Carlie!

Well, I hope you enjoyed that and getting to know Tiffany a little better. If you’re intrigued about her book, check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

 

 

Book Review – Denai Touch by Tiffany Shand

In my last two posts, I treated you to the cover reveal, blurb, and a short excerpt for Denai Touch, the debut novel of Tiffany Shand. I promised you a review and I’m pleased to reveal it below.

Book Cover

But just before I do, let’s just have a quick reminder of the blurb:

Cate McCray is no ordinary witch.

Prophesised to be the one to destroy the Covenant, an age-old organisation who seeks to enslave all Magickind, the race is on for them to kill her before she attains immortality.

But before receiving the phenomenal power that comes with it, she must first survive the ascension and the only person who can help her is her elemental partner, Jason Talbot. But when the time comes, her forbidden love for Jason threatens to destroy them both.

As leader of Excalibar, an elite team of Enforcers, they work to infiltrate the Covenant leading Cate into life-threatening situations. Can she outwit them before it’s too late?

My review

I don’t want to give any spoilers during this review, but somehow I think it’s going to be hard not to.

Denai Touch centres around Cate, a very gifted young witch who is waiting for ‘Ascension’ when she will come into her full powers. The problem is there are those who are trying to stop her.

Cate really leapt off the page. She is larger than life and the author has done a great job of building her character. She comes across as feisty, confident, and in full control of her powers, but underneath is a vulnerable young woman who fears her ascension as much as she wants to embrace it. She’s also unnerved at the speed in which her powers are growing and how inconsistent they can be.

With a foe leading the Covenant, a band of dark witches who have been trying to take her family down for generations, who has targeted Cate and wants her dead before she ascends, the young witch has a great deal hanging over her head. Some of her insecurities show she has an Achilles heel, the main one being her Elemental, Jason, who she has feelings for. Cate is a well-rounded, realistic, and relatable character.

Jason is an enigmatic character with a huge secret. It becomes clear quite early that he cares for Cate and does everything in his power to protect her, even when she doesn’t want it. He has to endure a great deal of verbal abuse as he’s seen as a slave by the leader of Cate’s coven (her grandmother), but has the guts to answer back when he feels it’s necessary. I rather liked his character.

The Covenant is led by Raven, a dark witch who is focussed on what she wants and is willing to go to any lengths to get it. She doesn’t care about hurting innocents and encourages her right hand, the loathsome Tasha Phelps, to experiment on then. These are characters you love to hate and they come across as deliciously wicked.

All the other characters have their own personalities, some more so than others, and most are interesting in their own right. There were a couple who came across as bland, even though they were featured quite often and realistically it was possible to give them a bit more personality. However, the pace of the novel didn’t really allow for it.

The world building has been done well and, for the most part, you can picture the surroundings easily. There is good use of description throughout.

The plot itself is interesting, original, and well paced. It unfolds in such a way as to keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. This is always a good sign as far as I’m concerned!

All things considered, this is a great debut novel and I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Would I recommend it? If you love the Paranormal Romance genre then I absolutely would! Even if you don’t, it’s still a good read.

One thing’s for sure, Tiffany Shand is an author to keep an eye on!

To buy Denai Touch from Amazon, click here.

Coming up soon, is an interview with the lady herself so keep a close eye out for that. But in the meantime, here’s a short bio.

Profile Picture

Tiffany Shand was born in Essex, UK and started writing short stories when she was a child.

She has always done writing in one form or another and started writing novels in her early teens.

Tiffany loves to read books and discovered her love for fantasy and paranormal romance during this time.

She writes both non-fiction and fiction, but mostly fantasy and paranormal romance.

After doing a creative writing course in her early 20s she is now a freelance writer and professional proofreader. She is currently studying for a journalism degree.

Tiffany lives in Essex with her two spoiled cats and one very nutty hamster.

 

Cover Reveal & Launch – Denai Touch by Tiffany Shand

As you know, I enjoy promoting other authors’ work and especially those who are new to the big, bad world of publishing.

Today I’m thrilled to reveal the cover (and more) for Denai Touch, the debut novel by Tiffany Shand. Having read the story, I have to say the woman on the cover is so like the main character, Cate.

Anyway, drumroll and fanfare please… Ladeez and gentlemen, I give you Denai Touch:

Book Cover

Isn’t it gorgeous? Now what kind of host would I be if I didn’t give you a little something more? I could try holding you to ransom and make you wait, but I’m not feeling that wicked today, so here are the crucial words from the back cover of this Paranormal Romance:

Cate McCray is no ordinary witch.

Prophesised to be the one to destroy the Covenant, an age-old organisation who seeks to enslave all Magickind, the race is on for them to kill her before she attains immortality.

But before receiving the phenomenal power that comes with it, she must first survive the ascension and the only person who can help her is her elemental partner, Jason Talbot. But when the time comes, her forbidden love for Jason threatens to destroy them both.

As leader of Excalibar, an elite team of Enforcers, they work to infiltrate the Covenant leading Cate into life-threatening situations. Can she outwit them before it’s too late?

Doesn’t that sound spine-tinglingly good? And now, here is her book trailer:

Over the coming month, you’ll get to know more about Tiffany and Denai Touch as I’ll be hosting a few stops on her virtual book tour. It actually launched yesterday so click on the cover to go straight to Amazon and buy a copy!

Until then, here she is and just a few details about her.

Profile PictureTiffany Shand was born in Essex, UK and started writing short stories when she was a child.

She has always done writing in one form or another and started writing novels in her early teens.

Tiffany loves to read books and discovered her love for fantasy and paranormal romance during this time.

She writes both non-fiction and fiction, but mostly fantasy and paranormal romance.

After doing a creative writing course in her early 20s she is now a freelance writer and professional proofreader. She is currently studying for a journalism degree.

Tiffany lives in Essex with her two spoiled cats and one very nutty hamster.

Cover Reveal – The Prince’s Man

When I saw the blurb for this book, I knew I had to put it on my TBR list. I’m honoured to be able to share the cover reveal for this exciting new book by author, Deborah Jay.

So, drumroll please . . .

PM-EBOOK_FLAT

Cool, isn’t it?!

Here’s the blurb – fantasy lovers take note:

Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN, has been described as ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’ – a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

Rustam Chalice, hedonist, dance tutor and spy, loves his life, never better than when he’s bedding a gorgeous woman.

So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.

And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.

This sounds amazing, doesn’t it?! I have a feeling Deborah is going to be an author to watch. Let me share a bit about her . . .

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.

THE PRINCE’S MAN, her debut novel, first in a trilogy and winner of a UK Arts Board award will be published on 29th July 2013. She also has non-fiction equestrian titles published under the name Debby Lush.

Find out more about Deborah at www.deborahjay.wordpress.com or follow Deborah on Twitter https://twitter.com/DeborahJay2 and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

So put this date (29th July) in your diary, folks and be one of the first to get your hands on this debut novel.