Books and Reading… Not Thursday! :D

I’m a day late, sorry!

Still, here’s my first book review of the year! Yay, I’m finally getting somewhere on my to-do and to-read list 😀

Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*

Goodreads Summary: Jon Chandler is a seventeen-year-old youngster presented with a difficult quest-to find a magical flask, destroy it, and then somehow find his way back home.
As Jon reluctantly accepts his responsibility, he is accompanied by the haughty yet beautiful Dorthea, who constantly challenges him. At least his best friend, Samuel, a gentle giant-all eight feet in stature and 480 pounds of him-doesn’t get under his skin like Dorthea does.
But there’s a fine line between love and hate, and Jon and Dorthea hover on it constantly!
Samuel is left behind as the quest leads Jon and Dorthea into a parallel world, where few living people have ever gone before. How can they locate a flask that has been missing for sixteen years?
Along the way, they encounter demons and wizards who will test their strength and ability, and they find they must solve several riddles before they can return home. What they learn about themselves and about life is far more priceless than the magical flask.

From the start this book had a very old-time, classic, fairytale feel about it. I think that kind of writing, which I haven’t read in quite some time, felt almost like being sucked in as though it were a bedtime story.

The writing was engaging, and the story was filled with great settings, a variety of sub-plots, and interesting characters.

I have to admit Samuel was probably my favourite character of the lot 😀 He had a sort of down-to-earth personality which I hooked onto immediately.

But the writing throughout this and the feel of that classic fantasy just held my interest until the end.

It is one of those stories that I enjoyed but can’t really talk about for fear of giving away spoilers as there was so much packed into this book! You can be certain of plenty of fantastical creatures and memorable moments throughout though.

I will admit I found it a bit overwhelming to keep up with so much to begin with, but the further I got pulled into the book, the easier my mind just flowed with the story and I found my imagination going into overdrive there was just so much to think of.

It is a more in-depth book, one you probably would have to give a bit of time to (at least for me anyway), but the flow and writing were easy to read, which certainly helped to keep me going and wanting to find out more about the array of characters and plots within this novel.

Overall, it’s a great read with a real fairytale, class fantasy feel about it. Anyone who enjoys this genre should definitely give this book a look!

Smashwords
Goodreads

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 37,524 (+2832 since last check-in).

Books read towards challenge: 3/50
Currently reading: Snow Hill by Mark Sanderson

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End of Month Indie Review: Destiny of Kings by Fiona Tarr

Destiny of Kings by Fiona Tarr

*I was given this book in exchange for an honest review*

dok

Blurb: The King is going slowly mad, bewitched by the dark magic and seductive powers of the Egyptian Princess Jezebel. Martinez, the King’s general must choose between the life of a young shepherd boy who is like the son he never had or the man who is his King and lifelong friend. The One True God has shared a prophecy with the old seer Samuel, while the little Holy man Narayana claims the Universe has called him out of meditation to restore balance. Francesca the Priestess carries the burden of responsibility, until her faith is rocked, her heart opened and her resolve challenged. In a world where control is only an illusion, evil is subjective and the most righteous are challenged, an unlikely group will be drawn together to restore balance once more.

Destiny of Kings is a retelling of the story of David and Goliath, but involving much more than that. There are witches and priestesses, kings and monks, and a whole plethora of exciting events that bring them all together in a destined path.

Destiny of Kings involves a lot of different points of views from a range of characters. Though the points of view could jump around quite a bit, I didn’t find it difficult to keep up with and enjoyed being able to view different points of the stories through such varying characters.

The story pretty much follows the tale of David as he is destined to become King of Israel and what he must do to accomplish that. The character of David was written really well and, in fact, all of the characters were brilliantly written and unique in their viewpoints. Francesca was probably one of my favourites, and Martinez, the two of them were strong characters that I would have been happy to read a lot more about.

This is a well-paced book that didn’t feel like it lacked at any points, though I did skip over some hunting scenes. Everything flowed nicely and at some points when I thought it was going one way, it would quickly turn in another direction and surprised me, which was nice as it kept me excited to turn the page and find out what came next to these characters I really came to care for.

The way the book was written made it feel like an old book, like a telling of a tale passed down through the years, which I absolutely loved! It gave the whole story a kind of other-world feel whilst I was reading and took me to another world and time.

Now I have to admit, I am not a religious person, so I think a lot of the biblical references were lost on me! But I also have to say not to be put off this book if you’re not a fan of bible tales or religion, it’s a good story in itself, and the religious side of things wasn’t that heavy, it was just like magic or faith in any fantasy-type book.

The only reason I didn’t give this book full 5 stars is due to the amount of errors throughout, including spelling and grammar. It really just needs someone with fresh eyes to go over it and pull them out. Still, I kept reading even through the errors as I was enjoying the story so much.

Overall I have to say I loved this book, the story pulled me in without realising and I found myself eager to read it everyday to find out what happened next. It’s a great read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a sweeping tale filled with great characters and exciting adventure.

Links:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

Books and Reading Wednesday- Mid-September Book Review!

The Scandal of the Season

Very pretty cover!

Very pretty cover!

Goodreads blurb:

London, 1711. As the rich, young offspring of the city’s most fashionable families ll their days with masquerade balls and clandestine court-ships, Arabella Fermor and Robert, Lord Petre, lead the pursuit of pleasure. Beautiful and vain, Arabella is a clever coquette with a large circle of beaus. Lord Petre, seventh Baron of Ingatestone, is a man-about-town with his choice of mistresses. Drawn together by an overpowering attraction, the two begin an illicit affair.Alexander Pope, sickly and nearly penniless, is peripheral by birth, yet his uncommon wit and ambition gain him unlikely entrance into high society. Once there, privy to every nuance and drama, he is a ruthless observer. He longs for the success that will cement his place in society; all he needs is one poem grand enough to make his reputation.

As the forbidden passion between Arabella and Lord Petre deepens, an intrigue of a darker nature threatens to overtake them. Fortunes change and reputations — even lives — are imperiled. In the aftermath, Pope discovers the idea for a daring poem that will catapult him to fame and fortune

This book is a fictionalised version of an actual historical event. A soon-to-be baron, Lord Robert Petre, seduces London’s beauty, Arabella Fermor, whilst he is also involved in a Jacobite plot to assassinate the Queen and put the exiled prince on the throne.

Sounds exciting, right?

It was supposed to be a sexy, thrilling story of a scandalous affair whilst being dangerous with all the Jacobite intrigue.

But when I got to the end I was just kind of like, ‘What actually happened in this book?’.

Don’t get me wrong, it was alright. It was a book I was happy to read, it’s just not much actually happened. It wasn’t all that exciting, the characters weren’t overly compelling, and the main romance wasn’t the romance I was interested in. I didn’t really care if Arabella and Lord Petre got together, I was much more interested in the blossoming relationship between Alexander and Martha, which was sweet and lovely and didn’t get as much attention as it deserved.

There were an abundance of characters and viewpoints throughout and sometimes, especially at the beginning, I struggled to keep up with the amount of characters being thrown at me. But I got there in the end and started recognising who was who.

The writing suited the time period the story was set for, and I did enjoy the fact that it was about real historical events. But again, not the most exciting event to write a book about, in my opinion.

I dunno, it was just not a book that I could get excited over or really involved in. The ending left me disappointed, as it just kind of ended without really wrapping things up.

What I did like most about the book was the Afterword, where the author detailed what happened to the people in real life after the events in the book, that was really interesting.

Overall, it was an OK read, I don’t regret reading it, but it certainly didn’t get me excited to find out what came next or really care about what happened to the characters throughout.

I would recommend it to those interested in this particular event and time in history, as you’d already have an interest in the subject.

Books and Reading Wednesday- Review: Sins of the Father by Melissa Barker-Simpson

End of August Indie Book Review: Sins of the Father by Melissa Barker-Simpson

sins

Goodreads synopsis:

As a former Royal Marine Commando, Brad Morgan is among the best of the best. Now heading up his own unit in the private security world, he lives by the same mottos he served by.

When Alicia Gladstone, a star in the entertainment industry, is put under threat, Brad and his team at Morgan and Fairchild must step in to find a killer before it’s too late.

At the peak of physical and mental fitness, all his years of training are put to the test when he is forced into a world artificial by nature, and too distracting for his own good. But it isn’t the environment that poses the biggest threat. It is the past he ran away from, one he thought he had overcome.

I’ve read some of Melissa Barker-Simpson’s work on her blog, where she posts short fiction, which is always of amazing quality and incredibly gripping. Her book was no different! The opening was amazing, and I was instantly pulled in from the very first sentence.

The characters were all written in such a way that they felt truly real, not like characters on a page, with their dialogue flowing like a real conversation that I could hear in my head rather than written on the page.

There are some great action moments written into the book, and although it is described so that you feel thrown into the scene yourself, it was the glimpses into how the character’s felt that made those moments even more intense and exciting.

The romance was amazingly written and gave me butterflies at some points.

Throughout Sins of the Father, you are thrown into an exciting story of mystery and romance that I couldn’t wait to find out what happened, but then didn’t want to reach the end because it was such a great story!

It was a brilliant ending, where I felt satisfied with how the book finished and no cliff-hanger, but I grew to know the characters and loved them so that I can’t wait for the next book from this author.

This book has high quality writing, well-developed characters, and a good flowing story. I would definitely recommend reading it.

Links:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Goodreads

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 2393 (Total word count: 42091).

Books read: 5/4

Mid- September Book Review: Currently reading.

Books and Reading Wednesday- Mid-August Review

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Blurb:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

I picked up this book because I had seen it reviewed and praised on quite a few book blogs, and it eventually pushed me into buying it.

The opening instantly seduced me into this world of magic and mysticism. As I was reading, I was lost in the book and the incredible dream-like state it evoked. The author’s way with words are almost poetic and really created a smooth feel to the story.

The story began straight away, which I was pleased with, but I have to say the story did drag after that. There were parts that seemed unnecessary filler. Beautifully written filler, but filler nonetheless. I’m not a great fan of books where a lot of it is just fluff, rather than moving the plot along.

But when the plot did move along, I thought it was a brilliantly crafted piece of story-telling that I could completely lose myself in and forget about the things around me.

The descriptions were practically edible they were so good! And I strongly suggest having some kind of yummy food next to you for the dinner scenes, because the way the author describes those moments I could taste the desserts! But again, a lot of the writing was bulked out with beautiful description rather than pressing forwards with action and plot.

The story jumps back and forth between different years and months, which I found a bit awkward to keep up with at first. But, as I got to know the characters and read about the events of the story, I could keep up well and remember easily what had happened and what was to come.

I loved all of the characters, especially Bailey, Poppet and Widget. Each character was unique and distinct, and I found myself connecting to each one in different way.

The love story throughout was beautiful, but again, it took some time to get into. It was worth reading through to get to the end of it though.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Night Circus and am very glad I read it. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a story they can get lost in, who wants to find a magical world of awe-inspiring descriptions and intriguing characters.

But, be warned, it is a long story where a lot of it is just well crafted fluff with stunning descriptions. That is worth reading too though, just for writer’s talent at crafting words.

Make sure you’re in for a slow-burning read.

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Daily word count: 2573 (Total word count: 15757)

Books read: 3/4

End of August Indie Review: Written and ready.

July eBook Review: Olivia’s Choice by Taylor Grace

Olivia’s Choice By Taylor Grace

olivia

Goodreads Synopsis:
When her boss asks her to complete a project that takes her back to the annax city, Olivia’s lifelong avoidance of the race comes to an abrupt end. The last thing she needs is the arrogant son of the annax leader as a co-worker. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she gets. To make matters worse, the pesky tionnax, sworn annax enemies, decide to butt in and capture Olivia. They hurt her so badly that Baphrem can only save her by turning her into what she fears most, an annax. Now, Olivia has to decide: can she love the man who made her worst nightmare come true?

Review

I’ve been excited to read this book for a while, so was really happy when it popped up on the top of my to-read list!

On starting the book, you are greeted by a fairly large glossary of terms which did have me a little concerned! I wasn’t sure how I was going to keep up with all the races and names, but as you went through the story I found I was able to keep up fairly well, and if I did get confused it wasn’t too hard to just click back to the beginning and check.

It starts out following Olivia when she is to be sent to the annax city, which she obviously is loathed and scared to go to. The opening created a great sense of mystery about Olivia and why she didn’t want to go, but I also liked that Olivia was obviously a strong enough character to overcome what she feared. She was a really well written character, who I related to in many ways.

After being introduced to Baphrem, who I have to admit got my heart fluttering even after he chucked Olivia into a river, I got the instant sense of the dislike between the characters which fuelled the eventual attraction.

Throughout the book you are given snippets of Olivia’s memory as to what happened to make her so fearful of returning to the annax city, and I found these really intriguing and kept me reading.

The story had a good pace, and I found myself flipping through the pages to find out where the story and characters were headed.

The intimate moments and scenes in the book were handled very well, and I thought they added much to the book and characters rather than just being there for the sake of being there.

Overall, it’s a great read and definitely one worth checking out if you enjoy paranormal romance with well-developed characters and story.

Links:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Goodreads

Blog

June eBook Review- The Vessel by Callum McLaughlin

The Vessel by Callum McLaughlin

Goodreads Synopsis:

Savaged by disease and riots, the world has descended into a state of chaos. Amidst the desperate remains of humanity, the American government has resorted to extreme measures to try and repopulate their now depleted country but one unwilling subject of their ruthless actions will not suffer in silence.

Escaping from a facility at the heart of their experiments, Eva Cole’s nightmare is far from over. Hunted at every turn, she must fight to survive so that she can expose the truth

Review:

I was excited to read this book as I had already read Callum’s incredible poems on his blog, and was wowed by his talent for the written word.

I didn’t even read the description before downloading this book to my kindle so didn’t know what to expect.

Well, I have to say that I was not disappointed. This book gripped me and my emotions from the very first line and took me along with the story and characters so deeply that I felt like part of their world.

The story is set in a rather bleak version of Earth’s future, a future that felt believable, which I think helped draw me further into the story. We are introduced to Eva, the main character in a rather intense moment, and from then we are along for her journey through the story. She faces a life of being chased and possibly never finding her home, and I felt her struggle and turmoil all the way throughout.

This story was intense and driven forwards by the characters, who were all striving to survive in the world that was around them.

The actual writing was of very high quality, with descriptions that had me in awe at some points.

I would thoroughly recommend this book (as I already have to my mother!). It is a genre I would not normally choose for myself, but I am so glad that I read this. It is going to one of those books that I will think of frequently and a story that will stay with me. Can’t wait to see what he writes next!

Links:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Goodreads