Review of ‘The Beetle’ by Richard Marsh: A Haunted Library Horror Classic @PPPress #netgalley #hauntedlibraryhorrorclassic

Paperback, 400 pages
Expected publication: May 1st 2020 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 1897)
Original Title: The Beetle
ISBN: 1492699713 (ISBN13: 9781492699712)
Setting: UK

To pre-order or buy, please click here

 

Front Cover

What’s it about?

A creature that seems to have crawled out of our worst nightmares…

Meet Paul Lessingham: an up-and-coming statesman, known for his unflappable calm, winning the respect of his peers and the admiration of the people with his powerful convictions and finely crafted speeches in Parliament. A man at the height of his powers, politically and personally, recently engaged to a beautiful young woman who adores him. A man on top of the world—reduced to a cowering, sniveling heap of abject terror at the utterance of two words: “The BEETLE!”

Set in London at the end of the nineteenth century, this blood-chilling tale is told from the viewpoints of four characters who have the distinct misfortune of stumbling into a diabolical scheme of revenge, with a scorned would-be lover—a strange, seemingly magical creature—at its core. Snubbed marriage proposals, secret engagements, deadly chemical experiments, and mysterious visitors all weave their hypnotic spell upon the reader, culminating in a desperate hunt for an abducted young woman whose life, it seems, is the price to be paid for her lover’s indiscretion some twenty years prior.

Though published the same year as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Richard Marsh’s The Beetle was far more popular in its day. This curated edition, based on the original 1897 publication by Skeffington and Sons, London, will horrify and delight the modern reader with its timeless tale of jealousy and its many hideous faces—as relevant today as it was over 100 years ago.

My thoughts:

Most of us have heard of Dracula, published in the same year as The Beetle, and I think one possible reason for one having endured and become entrenched in our culture and the other not so much, is that Dracula is ostensibly a more straightforward story.

The Beetle is a tangling intrigue, from start to finish, and is a very rewarding read if you stick with it. It begins in an almost Dickensian way, with a man who is very much down on his luck, making his way around some lonely London streets in a deluge, searching for the workhouse. We get the impression that this chap is not the typical workhouse lot, but he is desperate. On turning one particular corner, he notices a large house, dark and lonely, with an open downstairs window. He decides to climb through to seek shelter – after all, the house seems empty….

Blimey, I bet he wished he hadn’t. He finds there, in that house, a creature hell bent on revenge on the politician Paul Lessingham, and who it seems, must have an agent to act on its behalf. Poor Robert Holt.

“I became, on a sudden, aware, that something was with me in the room. There was nothing, ostensibly, to lead me to such a conviction; it may be that my faculties were unnaturally keen; but, all at once, I knew that there was something there. What was more, I had a horrible persuasion that, though unseeing, I was seen; that my every movement was being watched.”

The Beetle is an insidious, sinister and malevolent story, with links to mesmerism, shapeshifting and Egyptian lore. It is told from four viewpoints, the first three describing the same skin-crawling events from their own perspective and adding extra detail each time. I found some parts of it a little slow and repetitive, but it is very much worth completing.

Marjorie Linden is a very progressive character, often confidently rejecting what is expected of her as a woman from a prominent family. She deals with the erratic, jealous courting behaviour of the scientist Sydney Atherton as though she is dealing with a silly child of whom she is fond, and her character gave me joy, particularly in the dealings with her father. Her rationality, even with her fear of beetles and her ordeal, stands in stark contrast to some of the fragile masculinity in this novel, and it’s a standout contrast to the perception of the time. Which does seem rather strange after 60 years with Queen Victoria as regent. The first three accounts are essentially horror stories, with Sydney Atherton’s being decidedly odd, but in the final quarter we are transported to a Sherlockian style chase to the conclusion.

If you choose to read ‘The Beetle’ in this stunning new edition, I hope you feel as I do; being glad that you’ve found something perhaps you hadn’t heard of before from the gothic period in English literature, and feeling just that little bit richer for having done so.

I received a digital ARC of ‘The Beetle’ via Netgalley, in exchange for honest feedback on my reader experience.

About the author:

Richard Marsh

Richard Marsh (October 12, 1857–August 9, 1915) was the pseudonym of the British author born Richard Bernard Heldmann. He is best known for his supernatural thriller The Beetle: A Mystery, which was published in the same year as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and was initially even more popular. The Beetle remained in print until 1960, and was subsequently resurrected in 2004 and 2007. Heldman was educated at Eton and Oxford University. He began to publish short stories, mostly adventure tales, as “Bernard Heldmann,” before adopting the name “Richard Marsh” in 1893. Several of the prolific Marsh’s novels were published posthumously.

‘A Portrait of Death’ by Rhen Garland @rararesources #APortraitofDeath #BlogTour #BookReview @RhenWitch

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for ‘A Portrait of Death’ by Rhen Garland. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to the author for the e-copy of the book in exchange for my thoughts.

What’s it about?

A Portrait of Death Front cover 2018

In the quiet English village of Marmis Parva, a weekend house party is organised by a society hostess and all the top names are invited.

But this is no ordinary party.

Two men are savagely murdered during the course of the first evening and a young man, presumed dead, returns home after two years imprisonment in South Africa bringing with him proof of treason.

Detective Chief Inspector Elliott Caine’s long-awaited holiday in the Lake District is cancelled as he is brought in to investigate the peculiar nature of the murders. More bodies are discovered and Elliott has to manoeuvre between high society, Government protocols, and the heinous nature of the crimes if he and his old friend Detective Sergeant Abernathy Thorne, are to catch the sadistic killer, and the traitor lurking amongst them.

When Caine’s past comes back to haunt him, will his judgement be too clouded to focus on solving the crime?

Will the Boer spy’s identity be uncovered before they can flee?

How are these murders connected to another in New York?

My thoughts:

There are two separate prologues to set the scene for this macabre tale, and they set the scene for the gruesome crimes to follow.

Marmis Hall is the perfect setting for some nasty goings on, and the novel sits comfortably in the Victorian era which is one I particularly like reading about.

Detectives Caine and Thorne are called after two people are murdered at a dinner party, and the story follows their investigation into the killer, at odds with high society. There are false trails aplenty, and it is a satisfyingly gruesome tale, laced with the supernatural.

Lots of time and effort has been put into each sentence, and this pays off well. The plot is well organised and twisty, and the characters are complex and believable. I won’t spoil it any further but suffice it to say that I enjoyed it.

Buy yourself a copy here:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author:

Me September 2018

 

Rhen Garland lives in Somerset, England with her folk-singing, book-illustrating husband, approximately 4000 books, an equal number of ancient movies, and a large flock of stuffed sheep.

She enjoys the countryside, peace, and Prosecco and the works of Ngaio Marsh, Glady Mitchell, John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, Agatha Christie, and Terry Pratchett.

“I watch far too many old school murder mystery films, TV series, and 1980s action movies for it to be considered healthy.”

“A Portrait of Death” is a murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches set in late Victorian England and is the first book in the Versipellis Mysteries Series.

To connect with Rhen:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Bookbub

Goodreads

For other perspectives, please check out the thoughts of the other bloggers on the tour.

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The Case of the Reincarnated Client by Tarquin Hall #netgalley @rararesources @tarquinhall @severnhouse #vishpuri #blogtour #bookreview

I’m very pleased to be on the blog tour today for the marvellous ‘The Case of the Reincarnated Client’ by Tarquin Hall. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and for including me, and my copy of the e-book from the publisher and author, via Netgalley.


What’s it about?

The Case of the Reincarnated Client Cover
When a young woman comes forward saying she’s the reincarnation of Riya Kaur, a wife and mother who vanished during the bloody 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Puri is dismissive. He’s busy enough dealing with an irate matrimonial client whose daughter is complaining about her groom’s thunderous snoring. Puri’s indomitable Mummy-ji however is adamant the client is genuine. How else could she so accurately describe under hypnosis Riya Kaur’s life and final hours?

Driven by a sense of duty – the original case was his late father’s – Puri manages to acquire the police file only to find that someone powerful has orchestrated a cover-up.

Forced into an alliance with his mother that tests his beliefs and high blood pressure as never before, it’s only by delving into the past the help of his reincarnated client that Puri can hope to unlock the truth.

My thoughts

This is my first brush with Vish Puri from Most Private Investigators, and it certainly won’t be my last.

Relentless and resolute Mummy-ji begins to harass Puri at his office, to his intense irritation, with her staunch belief that a case Puri’s father left unsolved; the murder of Sikh woman Riya Kaur in the horrific massacre that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi, is now on the verge of being solved. A young woman, undergoing past life regression therapy, claims to be the reincarnation of the murdered woman, and Mummy-ji wonders if, finally, they will be able to prove how she died.

Teeth gritted and disbelief suspended (because good boys do what their mummies want), Puri starts to juggle this investigation along with other pressing matters, like the sudden and urgent need to bank a lot of cash and solve the mystery of the Snoring Husband. Not to mention an impromptu reconnaissance into Hairy Toes (as observed from under an executive toilet cubicle door) and a clandestine snoop which must be concealed from his wife, Rumpi.

So begins an energetic and entertaining story. Mummy-ji and Puri’s verbal ripostes are delightful, as she outmanoeuvres and out-detectives him at every turn. His team at Most Private Investigators are inspired. There are also considerable ventures into Indian history, politics, injustice, pollution, and the daily lives of ordinary people in a populous city, trying to make ends meet. We live and breathe (through a facemask, if we’ve any good sense) in Delhi for the course of the story and the sense of place is outstanding.

Puri, or ‘Chubby’, as he is affectionately known, spends a great deal of the story either eating or fantasising about food. My stomach rumbled constantly throughout his vibrant gastronomic tour of Delhi. It’s almost worth reading for this alone, although if you include the car saga it’s all the better.

Superb use of language (both English and Hindi), brilliantly plotted, imaginative, colourful, witty and amusing, (though in parts, harrowing) with great characters – there is everything to love about this story.

Most Highly Recommended.

If you wish to buy The Case of the Reincarnated Client, please click on one of the following purchase links:

UK Amazon

US Amazon

Author Bio:

Tarquin Hall Author Picture
British author Tarquin Hall in Nizamuddin, New Delhi Photo: Tom Pietrasik New Delhi, India February 15th 2012

Tarquin Hall is a British author and journalist who has previously lived in the USA, Pakistan, India, Kenya and Turkey.

He now divides his time between the UK and India and is married to BBC reporter and presenter Anu Anand.

He is the author of four previous Vish Puri mysteries and The Delhi Detective’s Handbook.

To connect with the author:

Twitter @severnhouse

Twitter @tarquinhall

Instagram @severnhousepublishers

 

As usual, this is a blog tour, and there will be many other unique perspectives on the book. Do please visit the bloggers to read them.

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‘The House That Sat Down’ by Alice May #bookreview #booktour @rararesources @AliceMay_Author #thehousethatsatdown

I’m so happy to be on the blog tour today for ‘The House That Sat Down’ by Alice May. Sincere thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to Alice, Chaos and Logic for the copy of the omnibus edition, in exchange for my thoughts.

What’s it about?

The House That Sat Down Omnibus Cover

Inspired by a true story, The House That Sat Down Trilogy is a tale of triumph over tragedy. It is an astonishing account of sudden, first-world homelessness in the heart of the New Forest, and the unexpected consequences.

Written entirely from a mother’s point of view, following the collapse of her family’s home, it is an uplifting and positive read in spite of the subject matter, with a thread of wry humour throughout. Follow this ordinary woman on an extraordinary journey of survival and self discovery as she reels from disaster, before picking herself up and coming back stronger and wiser than before.

Packed with humorous observations about what it is like to live in a tent in your garden with your husband and four children after a significant part of your house falls down out of the blue one day, this story takes you from the depths of despair right through to the satisfying heights of success against the odds, with lots of tea and cakes on the way.

Follow this crazy family as they cope with disaster in their own truly unique and rather mad way, and celebrate each small triumph along the way with them.

My thoughts:

In some ways, this review wanted to write itself, and was furiously scribbling itself down in my head while I was reading. Yet, I have given myself enough time and rewrites to hope that I can do this remarkable story justice. I have already written the screenplay, cast it, produced it, edited it and timetabled it for TV, all without the prerequisite skills, experience and contacts to make it so (and thus, regretfully, all in my mind). I hope then, that you can see just how much I loved this book. I gratefully received the omnibus edition, thoughtfully complete with postcards of Alice’s art. The edition comprises ‘Accidental Damage’, ‘Restoration’ and ‘Redemption’. For ease of reference, I have used ‘the book and ‘the story’’ to refer to all three.

The main part of our heroine’s 350 year-old family home in the countryside split open. Wide open. Sufficiently to allow a man and a dog to walk through. Blaming herself entirely, she gave up a part of herself, which, as we can only come to truly appreciate throughout the trilogy, must have been devastating, and the family were thrust into a position that few truly can imagine, living in a borrowed tent in their garden, with the possibility of this being for an indeterminable period.

Luckily, the story was written with the benefit of the passage of time giving much needed perspective, and despite the desperation of this predicament, this is one of the funniest pieces of writing I’ve ever read, gently acerbic, wonderfully witty, with a huge heart. And a skeleton. Not in a cupboard. I’ll come back to him later.

With a cast of tremendous characters; Beloved Husband, Chaos, Logic, Quiet, Small, Skelly, Various Builders, The Insurance People and Some Genuine Experts, our heroine transitions from despair, through grim acceptance, to hope, some journeys back and forth between them all, and then to a level of personal fulfilment, which would not have happened without the events back in 2014.

Which leads to the book. She is an artist, and this is a clear case of art begetting art. The cathartic voyage through painting from beginning to end is mesmerising, and the book being written is an extension of that extremely capable, intelligent artistic ability. It’s an absolute joy; a stream of thought masterpiece. The omnibus is a Big Book, and I worried I hadn’t left myself enough time to complete it, although I shouldn’t have been concerned. This is not a book to skim read; it is worth reading every sentence.

I’m plucking something out of my dim and distant memory, which is going to require a brief google. Please bear with me one moment…
….
Yes, erm… Picasso said, (fingers crossed this is true) “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction”. This works well on so many levels in this story, and in ‘Redemption’, our heroine reflects on the silver linings, the opportunities created, the self-reaffirmation and the blessing which is her family.

And yes, here we are on the book tour. I couldn’t recommend this more highly. It is not purely a self-indulgent exercise. It has the potential to speak to so many people who are, or have been, sailing in a similar boat. I live in Doncaster, and we have recently seen dreadful flooding, with many people facing lengthy separation from their family homes. They are at the despair/grim acceptance phase. Stories like this could make a real difference.

I’ll conclude on a lighter note… If Alice May ever feels like a further foray into fiction, I would like to take this opportunity to ask for the main protagonist to be Skelly. I can’t help thinking he would have a tale or two to tell.

P.S. I’m leaving the recipes lying around the place, just in case any of my four Barbarians take the hint….

Buy the book (you won’t regret it):

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author:

The House - Alice May

I am a multi-tasking parent to four not-so-small children, and I am fortunate enough to be married to (probably) the most patient man on the planet. We live in, what used to be, a ramshackle old cottage in the country. Our house began to fall down out of the blue one day, which resulted in the whole family living in a tent in the back garden for quite some time, while we worked out how to rebuild our home.

A few years afterwards, I decided to write a book and, once I started, I found I couldn’t stop.

Inspired by true-life events ‘Accidental Damage – tales from the house that sat down’ wouldn’t leave me alone until it was written.

Within six months of self-publishing my novel, I was delighted to learn that it had won two ‘Chill with a Book Awards’. This was a massive honour and motivated me to continue writing. Accidental Damage became the first book in a trilogy.

The Omnibus edition of all three books in the House That Sat Down Trilogy is now available via Amazon in both paperback and kindle format

To connect with Alice:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

This is, of course, a book tour, and there are other wonderful perspectives on ‘The House That Sat Down’ for you to read. Please see the tour banner below x

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#bookreview of ‘The Raided Heart’ by Jennifer C Wilson as part of the @rararesources #blogtour @inkjunky1984 @OcelotPress #GIVEAWAY

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Jennifer C Wilson’s ‘The Raided Heart’. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation, and to the author and publisher for my e-copy of the book, in return for my thoughts.

What’s it about?

TheRaidedHeart-Cover-HiRes
Meg Mathers, the headstrong youngest sibling of a reiving family on the English-Scottish border, is determined to remain at her childhood home, caring for the land and village she’s grown up with.

When an accident brings her a broken ankle and six weeks in the resentful company of ambitious and angry young reiver Will Hetherington, attraction starts to build.

Both begin to realise they might have met their match, and the love of their lives, but 15th century border living is not that simple, as Meg soon finds herself betrothed to the weakling son of a tyrannical neighbour, Alexander Gray.

When tragedy strikes, can Meg and Will find their way back to each other, and can Will finally take his own personal revenge on Gray?

My thoughts:

One of the aspects of this historical romance that I really appreciated was the scene setting; it captured the life of a 15th century reiving community and had memorable and well-drawn characters. I felt completely at ease in the world Jennifer C Wilson had created in this novel, despite the tumultuous times in which it is set.

Meg is a likeable character, although to begin with, I think I had imagined her as older, given her position in the bastle (lots of historical detail to learn!). Will is troubled, and there is an uneasy relationship between them in the beginning. The level of romance, as it develops, suited me; it doesn’t overbear the historical elements.

The unpredictability of borderland boundary safety and protection during the hard winter months leads to Meg’s brothers playing a dangerous game between rival factions, and I enjoyed the tension this gamble brought to the story.

Alexander Grey is the monster of the piece, and he pulls off a few horrible stunts. I did find some of his actions predictable, but this didn’t spoil anything, as he is a character without any moral compass whatsoever, and I always find a bit of joy in these villains.

Readers who enjoy historical romance, will I’m sure, enjoy ‘The Raided Heart’. A solid recommendation from me!

If you are tempted to reive yourself a copy (no, really, you’ll have to buy it), please click one of the purchase links here:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

You can also enter the exciting giveaway at the end, and give yourself the chance to win a copy of The Last Plantagenet?!

About the author:

The Raided Heart - JenniferCWilson-Castle-Cropped

Jennifer C. Wilson is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history and historical fiction whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots on childhood holidays (she has since moved on to Richard III).

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east of England for work reignited her pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since.

In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and has been working on a number of projects since, including co-hosting the North Tyneside Writers’ Circle.

Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and her time-slip novella, The Last Plantagenet?, by Ocelot Press.

She lives in North Tyneside, and is very proud of her approximately 2-inch sea view.

To connect with Jennifer:

Author website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Exciting Giveaway to Win 2 x e-copies of The Last Plantagenet? (Open Internationally)

The Raided - Giveaway Prize

Please enter here

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


To read lots of unique perspectives, author interviews and extracts, please visit my fellow bloggers (shown below):

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#Halloween #BookReview of ‘Starve Acre’ by Andrew Michael Hurley #netgalley @johnmurrays #andrewmichaelhurley #StarveAcre

What’s it all about?

The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby’s son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place.

Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.

Starve Acre is a devastating new novel by the author of the prize-winning bestseller The Loney. It is a novel about the way in which grief splits the world in two and how, in searching for hope, we can so easily unearth horror.

My thoughts:

I was falling over myself trying to get an ARC of Starve Acre, having loved The Loney so much that it makes my top ten every time I’m asked! I was beyond excited when I was accepted by the publisher. Thank you so much Netgalley and John Murray Press.

Starting with the sudden death of their five-year-old son, Ewan, Richard and Juliette are trying to cope with the aftermath. Juliette is unwilling to let go, and we soon suspect that there is more to this than mere grief. Her authoritarian sister, Harriet, arrives to try to prise Juliette from the house and back to her parents, but realises there is no chance until the Beacons, a seeming innocuous group of occultists have visited to impart some other-worldly knowledge upon the bereaved parents. Great characters, deliciously chilling folklore, adept capture of the divisive nature of grief, and perfect setting.

Dripping with menace, it plays on our darkest fears and intensifies the superstitious mindset of some British countryside folk. It’s gorgeous.

The story reminded me of Henry James and the best of MR James, and one Stephen King novel in particular *feels hair on arms rise. It’s brief; I read it in one sitting. It feels like I’ve been given a flash of something awful in the torchlight and now all I can do is think about it and let my imagination do the rest. This is also a BBC Radio 4 Book At Bedtime. Sleep well listeners….

Having experienced the worst nightmare of my adult life halfway through reading The Loney, I am pleased to confirm that Starve Acre is another masterpiece of modern folk horror. My only regret is that I read this on a sun lounger in Morocco and not cosied up in a chair, with a suitable autumn storm blowing wildly outside. I’m going to read it again in the dark when the weather turns. Stunning, Andrew Michael Hurley. I can still feel this one in my bones.

To snare yourself a copy:    Wordery

Amazon UK

 About the author:

Andrew Michael Hurley picture
Andrew Michael Hurley has lived in Manchester and London, and is now based in Lancashire. The Loney, his debut novel – was first published in October 2014 by Tartarus Press, a tiny independent publisher based in Yorkshire, as a 300-copy limited-edition. It won the Costa First Novel Award 2015 and went on to be named Debut of the Year and Overall Book of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards in May 2016.

#BlogTour #BookReview of ‘Weave of Love’ by Rachel J. Bonner @racheljbonner1 @rararesources #bookreview #choicesandconsequences #giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Rachel J Bonner’s third instalment in the Choices and Consequences series, ‘Weave of Love’. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me on the tour, and for my copy of the book.

Weave of Love correct front

The Blurb:

What if the choice you have to make has devastating consequences for others?

How can anyone know the right thing to do?

Leonie chose to sacrifice everything to save other people. Now those around her have to face the consequences – and those consequences are not what they expected.

Prospero must deal with his own guilt. He was the one who gave Leonie the tools she needed – her life was in his hands. To make the most of what she did, he will have to face up to all the family issues he has avoided for so long. Whatever he chooses to do, someone he loves will be hurt. For Leonie’s sake, is he now strong enough to make the choice he couldn’t make before?

The crisis predicted by Lord Gabriel has come and gone. But his task isn’t over. Leonie’s very existence may be out in the open but Gabriel discovers that the past is never what it seems – and nor is the present. How can he use what he now knows to bring together those who have been enemies for as long as anyone can remember?

If he fails in this, everything he’s had to do so far will be in vain.

My Review:

I read ‘Weave of Love’ having not read the first two in the series, and from the outset realised that I had arrived in a story wishing I had read the others. There is a brief and very helpful summary of the action so far, and I did try to glean as much as I could from other sources to understand what I had missed. This is such an involved story and I felt that I had arrived at the immediate aftermath of something very significant, without properly understanding what had gone before, and there is no substitute for reading the series in order I think!

Having said this, Weave of Love is an character driven and absorbing read. I think it’s probably the least action packed of a series which so far must have had a great deal happen, but it is intriguing, emotional and tense, just the same. There is a Christian theme, but this by no mean limits the intended audience for this series and could be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of belief system. It’s really well written with convincing dialogue and great character dynamics.

It is post-apocalyptical and complex, with tense situations, yet the love, belonging and selflessness pervades throughout the story and it feels very comforting somehow. I wouldn’t mind spending a while with Perry’s family!

Without knowing more, and I do think I would like to read the previous books, it seems to be a story which concentrates more on relationships between people rather than being fast paced and action driven. This makes this a very individual and personal book, and I suspect, series.

The Gifts and Shields are a really interesting premise and I enjoyed how this in particular, played out between some of the drama between the various important families in House St. Peter.

All in all, I’d highly recommend ‘Weave of Love’ to fans of character driven romance, with the caveat that the series must be read in order! ‘Strand of Faith’ is the first, and ‘Thread of Hope’, the second. I must get on with it myself!! For an exciting bookish giveaway, please read on below.

Purchase Links to buy for £2.99!:

Amazon UK

Associates

Other Retailers

Google Play

Author Bio:

Weave of Love Author Photo

Rachel J Bonner is the author of the compelling and enthralling four book Choices and Consequences series. The first book in the series, Strand of Faith, was published in November 2018. Book 2, Thread of Hope, released on 2nd May 2019, followed by Weave of Love on 24th October, and Cloth of Grace at the end of February 2020.

Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in fantasy or romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun.

When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club. Shooting targets only, honest. Nothing to worry about. (Okay, sometimes we shoot Polo mints. Or cabbages. Still nothing to worry about.)

She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary. It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.

You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at www.racheljbonner.co.uk

To connect with Rachel J Bonner:

Author page

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

***GIVEAWAY!!!***

Win signed copies of Strand of Faith, Thread of Hope and Weave of Love, plus a selection of bookmarks, plus three MixPix acrylic photo tiles (Open INT)

Weave of Love Giveaway 1

Enter here!

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Finally, as usual, this is a blog tour, and there are many other reviews, guest posts, extracts and interviews to read, and I would urge you to read them! The other bloggers on the tour are listed on the banner below:

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‘Tangled Roots’ by Denise D. Young @rararesources @ddyoungbooks #BlogTour #TangledRoots

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Denise D Young’s paranormal fantasy ‘Tangled Roots’, the first book in her Tangled Magic series. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to the author for the copy of the book, which I have reviewed as a reader, honestly, individually and impartially.

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The Blurb

A beautiful witch lost in time. A brooding farm boy with magic in his blood and a chip on his shoulder. Dark secrets and shadowy magic. Paranormal romance with a time slip awaits in the first book of this new series.

Cassie Gearhart casts a spell in the forest in the summer of 1974. The next thing she knows, she wakes up to find the world irrevocably changed.

It’s 2019, for one thing. For another, all of her coven members have vanished, leaving behind only one man who holds the key to their secrets.

Nick Felson has sworn off magic, until a confused Cassie knocks on his door in the middle of the night, somehow missing forty-five years’ worth of time. But Nick knows falling for the captivating witch means letting magic back into his life—and that’s one line he swore he’d never cross.

Can Cassie unravel the mystery that transported her decades into the future? And can Nick resist the powerful magic and heart-pounding passion that swirl in the air whenever he and Cassie are together?

The Tangled Magic Series is intended for readers 18-plus who enjoy fast-paced reads, wild and witchy magic, swoon-worthy kisses, and small-town charm. The series is best read in order.

My Review

Paranormal fantasy is not a genre I have much dabbled in, and so I did not really know what to expect from this book. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not much of a swoony romance type of girl, but the first thing about Tangled Roots that struck me was the quality of the writing. It has an intense, almost poetic style and an ethereal feel; the author is clearly competent in wordsmithery!

It’s brief but immersive, a passionate romance which thankfully didn’t get bogged down in erotica, which would have put me off!

I enjoyed the witchy aspect and the sensations relating to nature as the identity of each person’s magic, and how Nick and Cassie’s romance develops so quickly because of this. It is mysterious and although the brevity of the novella doesn’t allow us to get to know the intricate ins and outs of the characters, we know enough to feel their fears and desires and to wish for them to work out what is going on, even if it means they could be separated by time again.

Willow Creek became familiar very quickly, so the scene had been set well. Small town gossip is very accurately described and elicited a few wry smiles from me.

I enjoyed Tangled Roots, with its many goings on squeezed into a quick read, but it is a good story which is well-paced. Fans of adult paranormal/magical fantasy will no doubt enjoy it.

If you wish to buy Tangled Roots and set off on what promises to be a great series, please click here.

About the author

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Equal parts bookworm, flower child, and eclectic witch, Denise D. Young writes fantasy and paranormal romance featuring witches, magic, faeries, and the occasional shifter.

Whatever the flavor of the magic, it’s always served with a brisk cup of tea–and the promise of romance varying from sweet to sensual.

She lives with her husband and their animals in the mountains of Virginia, where small towns and tall trees inspire her stories. She reads tarot cards, collects crystals, gazes at stars, and believes magic is the answer (no matter what the question was).

If you’ve ever hoped to find a book of spells in a dusty attic, if you suspect every misty forest contains a hidden portal to another realm, or if you don’t mind a little darkness before your happily-ever-after, her books might be just the thing you’ve been waiting for.

To connect with the author:

Website

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Pinterest

As always, this is a blog tour, and there are many other perspectives, extracts and guest posts to read. The other bloggers involved are shown here on the tour banner:

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Happy reading!

‘Empire’s Daughter’ (Empire’s Legacy, Book I) by Marian L Thorpe @marianlthorpe @rararesources @gilbster1000 #amreading #bookblogger #bookworm #bookreview #giveaway

I am very pleased to be on the book tour today for Empire’s Daughter, the first in the Empire’s Legacy series, by Marian L Thorpe. Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed as a reader, honestly, individually and impartially. Also, don’t forget to enter the exciting bookish giveaway at the end!

Empires Daughter ebook cover

The Blurb:

For twenty generations, the men and women of The Empire have lived separately, the women farming and fishing, the men fighting wars. But in the spring of Lena’s seventeenth year, an officer rides into her village with an unprecedented request. The Empire is threatened by invasion, and to defend it successfully, women will need to fight.

When the village votes in favour, Lena and her partner Maya are torn apart. Maya chooses exile rather than battle, Lena chooses to fight. As Lena learns the skills of warfare and leadership, she discovers that choices have consequences that cannot be foreseen, and that her role in her country’s future is greater than she could have dreamed.

My Review:

This novel has a great premise, and really appealed to the lover of Roman and medieval history in me. It diverges slightly and intentionally to make the story work, but this neither matters nor disappoints.

The story begins in a village called Tirvan which is entirely comprised of women, who undertake all the work to supply the Empire, and are visited by men, twice a year only, at Festival. This is a time where willing women of age can form brief relationships in order to bear children. This system is known as Partition and is governed by an agreement made between men and women, some years hence. They undertake the work of the Empire, to support the ongoing military campaigns. At seven years old, male children are permanently removed from their families for army training.

Most women are for the remainder of the time, in same sex relationships. Seventeen-year-old Lena is partnered with Maya, and together they skipper a fishing vessel. Her mother is one of the village leaders, and the local political system is participative. Lives are peaceful and ordered, until the arrival of a male emissary, Casyn, who has been sent from the Emperor to warn them that there is going to be an invasion from the island of Leste. He tells the village women that their coastline is going to be one of the landing points, and they must be taught and organised to fight. Lena secretly relishes the excitement of this, but Maya is angry.

I don’t want to spoil the story from there, as Empire’s daughter is a book well worth reading for yourself. I would class it as YA historical fantasy, as the story centres around young people, but as a 41-year-old, I enjoyed it too! There are some great themes around history, gender, politics, relationships, family, love, loss and adventure. The world building is rich and well thought through.

The women all appear literate and have always had a key role in making decisions in society, down to the arrangement of Partition years ago and the level of female empowerment was not as I expected, and great to read about.

Lena has a range of emotions and convictions that I simply did not have at seventeen. In the context of the time though, when boys were sent into military training at seven, it seems appropriate that Lena behaves more like someone in their mid-twenties at such a young age in this novel. I lost track of the characters quite often, as there are many, and I had to refer to the character page at the beginning a fair bit to refamiliarise myself. The author clearly preempted readers like me! I was well invested in the storyline of the main characters though. I didn’t envy Lena for the choices she had to make, but I enjoyed the plot very much.

Those who enjoy strong female characters, keen world-building and the history of civilisations and how they evolve will, I think, really enjoy Empire’s Daughter. I am looking forward to reading the next instalment.

Purchase Link – buy here!

About the author: Marian L Thorpe

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Writer of historical fantasy and urban fantasy for adults. The Empire’s Legacy series explores gender expectations, the conflicts between personal belief and societal norms, and how, within a society where sexuality is fluid, personal definitions of love and loyalty change with growth and experience.

The world of Empire’s Legacy was inspired by my interest in the history of Britain in the years when it was a province of the Roman Empire called Britannia, and then in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire. In another life, I would have been a landscape archaeologist, and landscape is an important metaphor in the Empire’s Legacy trilogy and in all my writing, fiction and non-fiction.

I live in Canada for most of the year, England for the rest, have one cat, a husband, and when I’m not writing or editing, I’m birding.

Social media links:

Author website

Twitter

Facebook

EXCITING GIVEAWAY!!!!

Giveaway to Win all 3 paperbacks of the Empire’s Legacy trilogy  (Open Internationally)

Empires Giveaway Prize

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Enter here!

As usual, of course, this is a blog tour and there are many other insights into Empire’s Daughter, the series and the author. Please do check them out!

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#BookPromo of ‘False Flag’ by Rachel Churcher @rararesources @Rachel_Churcher #BattleGroundBookSeries #falseflag #blogtour

Today, I am delighted to be promoting ‘False Flag’ by Rachel Churcher on my stop of the blog tour. Thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for including me. ‘False Flag’ is the sequel to ‘Battle Ground’ and is part of the Battle Ground series, which imagines a dystopian near-future UK after Brexit and Scottish Independence. As a Brit, this is a very interesting premise and an engaging topic for young adults facing a post-Brexit future.

False Flag Rachel Churcher cover

The Blurb:
Ketty Smith is an instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.

There has been some enormous enthusiasm for this series so far, and here’s what the good people on the blog tour have been saying:

“Before reading this book I thought I knew how I felt about all the characters, but now I’m torn & unsure, & I’ll be going into book 3 feeling very confused on where my loyalties lie. Rachel has made this series a lot deeper & dangerous by choosing to write book two how she has done, & if anything, it just goes to show how much of a talented writer she is.” Writing with Wolves

“for the intended target YA audience, this one gets 5*.” Ayjaypagefarerbookblog

“Rachel Churcher is fantastic at world building and character crafting” Jessica Belmont

“I am enjoying this fascinating and plausible series and I’m looking forward to reading book 3” Just Books

“Frighteningly close to real” … ”While these books focus on young adults, the situations and the ways in which Churcher handles them are, by necessity, very grown up. This should appeal to all fans of dystopian fiction (or, as some folks are calling it: Current Events).” I feel you, Joe’s Jots!

“Churcher pulls off a real trick by giving us exactly the same events but from a completely different viewpoint.” Rea’s Reads

“This is again a fast paced book that is full of action conspiracy and has a challenging reader dilemma.” Me and my Books

“I found False Flag to be a fascinating read. It was more thought-provoking, seeing how things played out from a different character’s perspective” Jazzy Book Reviews

Check out all the other reviews by following the author’s social media links, or @rararesources on Twitter!

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I’m sold! I don’t know whether it is the current political atmosphere, which I’m fairly sure should be making me anxious, but I have a real penchant for dystopian fiction at the moment. The series so far is going for a song at  Taller Books.

Author bio:

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Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction.

In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

To connect with Rachel:

Goodreads

Twitter

Instagram

Blog