Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Book Review #15: Hegemonian by Tom Reinhart


Yarrh! If it isn't another of them sword and slash and cut and run epic fantasies.....

Now this really is up my street. I love epically laden stories....Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Iron Fey series.....too many to mention really.

Hegemonian, by Tom Reinhart, was one of two books I won in a giveaway. Now, in approaching my own take on the genre with Stormling, I had the same fears as Tom, and still do, in that 'would I do the genre justice'.

It's a big worry. If you are writing a book that could be shelved alongside JRR Tolkien's works, better be good.

So where does Tom's book stack up?

I'll admit that the last fantasy I read of this kind was Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind and....I couldn't finish it, friends. I really tried to like it, but it fell on its face, I am sorry to say.

From the off, Tom gets us into the action straight away. There's a view that maybe you have to world build from the off, and of course, you can. But our hero, Lucan, is a fighter, a warrior, a savage, a nobleman. And does he know how to use a sword.

The initial chapters feature bloody encounters which were a little strong for me (given I wrote a horror...hello pot, hello kettle!!) but it is in the context of the story. We cannot expect Lucan to wander the lands without anything happening. It's clear that this book is not the total story, and that there is more to come. Good...because this story uses the fantasy genre to its full strength, mixing in the kind of creatures I would struggle to minotaurs, for instance!

Tom's writing is easy to follow but I don't mean that in a demeaning way. This is an author who has a handle on his subject, and I commend him for writing different book genres in this, also Das Vampyr (go team fang!) and Saint Monolith (which I am currently reading).

Naturally, we can't cheer for Lucan unless he has a total nutjob to face off against, and in Vargas, we have our man.

What happens in the end? Does Lucan win, and what does he do then? Sit on the spoils of his victory? Or seek more adventures. Yaarrrh...I'm your huckleberry....let's go on another adventure then.

This is a great tale, and I think I'd give it the full five stars if not for the bloody detail in the book. I get's in context, but I think younger readers might balk at reading this because of the gore, which would be a shame, as it is a rip roaring fantasy adventure.

Great stuff from Tom Reinhart!

Buy the book on Amazon here: here
Tom's website:- here

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Book Review #14: Claiming the Duchess by Sherry Thomas


I know I haven't reviewed it yet, but Sherry Thomas' book The Luckiest Lady in London was the first of hers that I read. Now we received news of her new novella...and it is for free on Amazon!

In 'The Dark Knight', the Joker says "if you're good at something, never do it for free." Clearly, what the author wants us to do is to understand who she is as a storyteller, and Claiming the Duchess is a brilliant book to read, even if you are familiar with her other novels.

Given I have been in a heavy book edit / re-draft of my own, I'm slowly coming out of the haze and I am reading again. This was a quick read for me, one night and one morning...and it centres around our recently widowed duchess, Clarissa, who keeps sane with the correspondence of her long term friend Julia Kirkland, and hopeful of maybe finding a soul mate (are there ever more than one in your lifetime?) through Mr James Kingston.

The reveal is built up, slowly, carefully, steadily. When it came, I wasn't overly surprised, but that doesn't matter. The point is, Sherry Thomas is a joy to read. Sometimes, I read these kind of stories to fall in love again. Whilst that might sound soft, when you have been with the same person for a long time (over a decade in our case) sometimes you need that reminder that it is possible to keep the romance alive, and the magic of just being together a welcome release from the stresses of life (yeah, I'm talking about writing!).

I think Sherry Thomas is an utterly brilliant storyteller. Predictably, her tales are set in London, but read the richness of her stories....enjoy her witty style and elegant prose....even if this isn't your kind of book, she is an excellent writer.

I liken her quality of writing to that of Anne Rice, who many of you will know is a horror writer. So it is not about genre, it is about enjoying an author at the height of their powers.

Claiming the Duchess is the (0.5) first story in the Fitzhugh series....I am seriously tempted to just blow the book budget and buy them all!

Happy reading!


Monday, 28 April 2014

Book Review #13: Ice Angel by Elizabeth Hanbury

Ice Angel by Elizabeth Hanbury is the first of the Cavanagh Family series, but it was A Bright Particular Star that re-introduced me to regency romances, and this is as strong as Miss Hanbury's other works.

I found myself falling heavily for Isabella, the so-named Ice Angel of the story, but it's the other characters, especially Hal, which make the story what it is - a thoroughly enjoyable tale.

I'll admit that I'm new to Georgette Heyer's books, but this stands up with one of my first fave authors - Jane Austen, and one might just think that a tea party with Jane, Georgette and Elizabeth...well - no-one should feel out of place!

Sometimes these tales are considered a light read - not a bit of it - the layers are well done and the character interaction - primary and secondary leads, are brilliant done.

That just leaves The Paradise Will of the books I need to read of Miss Hanbury's. Suffice to say, she is a wonderful writer, really makes you feel the London style and Regency feel of the well as creating a deftly told tale. I kind of wish I had read the before A Bright Particular Star...and if you haven''t read that one, I suggest you do. Now!

Elizabeth's website is here:-

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

25 Things I Know To Be True (since writing Stormling)

So when you have completed a task, reading, writing, squirrel racing...or whatever's your thing.....what have you learned?

1. Things that fall from the sky are generally to be avoided.
2. Keep the eyeballs.
3. Being the ‘head’ of anything can suck.
4. Magic can usually beat swords. Just sayin’.
5.  Beware an un-hatched egg.
6. If someone is staring at you, they’ve probably got issues.
7. When travelling in a group, someone always gets lost.
8. Try to keep things unofficial.
9. Never underestimate just how angry a woman can get.
10. Choosing the one to spend your life with is so difficult.
11. Any worthwhile advice is never given for free.
12. Cheats do prosper. For a while.
13. Some jewellery shops really can do an overnight service.
14. If he’s nearly double your height, and in your way, you probably do have to listen to what he says.
15. Perhaps the greatest love you can have for someone, is to make sure you don’t  exercise any power you might hold over them.
16. If you’re going on a journey, always bring a coat.
17. There’s always a light in the darkness.
18. If someone makes you a promise, hold them to their word.
19. Sales people are rubbish fighters.
20. Sarcasm is often used by people who want to hide what they really feel.
21. Humour can’t always diffuse a situation.
22. It’s Elves, not elfs.
23. Prison cells are locked for a reason.
24. Once in a while, an alcoholic’s drunken gibberish can reveal a truth.
25. Sometimes, you just have to get over yourself, and drink decaff.

Stormling is on Amazon and other retailers from the new date of 1st June 2014. Get the low-down on it here

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Stormling - Teaser Synopsis

Hello all :)

Today's teaser is from the cover and synopsis of the new book, Stormling. I hope you all visited Chanzie@MeanWhoYouAre for the cover reveal on Thursday, and my eternal thanks (and cookies) are sent to you for hosting it there :)

Well. Not long to go now. I've got April 25th 2014 as *the day* and it will be awesome to know what you all think of it. I chose April 25th as it is the birthday of my long departed Nan - the character in Dark Winter is not totally based on her, only in part. RIP Nan.

Here's the cover, worked on by the very awesome Claudia@PhatpuppyArt, who also did the cover for Dark Winter. Typography by the super talented Ashley@TheBookishBrunette.

So yes, to quote Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises, 'there's a storm coming,'....
But I hope you'll like it!

As any writer will know, the synopsis is perhaps the hardest thing to write. Even if you know your own story well, how do you summarise it in such a short word frame? Well, there is a LOT that goes on in Stormling, so I thought we'd go for a pivotal point on the cover, and reference a key decision by one of the characters in the synopsis.

Thanks for reading the blog, now please go to GoodReads and add the book....there's a cookie in it for you... :D