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

Yay for Friday!

Hey everyone, this week has felt like it has dragged really badly, so I’m thankful we finally reached Friday! 😀

Just a quick post today.

I had an awesome interview over Lit World Interviews, by RonovanWrites, why not go check it out? 🙂

http://litworldinterviews.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/mishka-jenkins-interview-prophecy-of-stones/

Hope everyone has a great weekend and I will try to be around more next week! 😀

Books and Reading Wednesday: End of October Indie Review

Hands of Evil by Melissa Barker-Simpson

Goodreads synopsis:
Jonathan Jukes is accustomed to working alongside the police within his role as close protection officer at Morgan and Fairchild. But when Detective Sergeant Charles Macavoy requests the team’s help, JJ finds it’s his toughest case yet.

A serial killer, whose calling card is to remove the hands of his victims, is targeting interpreters. When lines begin to blur and JJ’s past comes back to haunt him, he soon discovers the biggest threat comes from a woman who stands at the centre of it all

Review:

This is the second book I’ve read by Melissa Barker-Simpson and it most certainly will not be the last!

The author’s ability to draw the reader into the story and characters is incredible. Each time I sat down to read I planned on only doing it for an hour, but every time it ended up much longer. I would glance up at the clock and not even realise two hours had flown by.

The characters throughout were brilliantly written, and I loved how Melissa wrote the character of Grace. The interactions between the characters flowed really well and the dialogue was engaging and realistic.

Throughout the book the romance and action is balanced perfectly. The plot is well paced and I never once found myself skipping through sections, in fact, it was almost the opposite as there were some scenes I read over twice because they were so good!

I highly recommend this book. Melissa Barker-Simpson creates a engaging story filled with great moments, along with high quality writing and enjoyable characters.

Links:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly!

Thank you to everyone who commented on my posts over the weekend 🙂

I am trying to add a change to my routine which started today, and has left me completely out of whack! So, I haven’t had time to write a blog post and I haven’t been able to manage commenting on many blogs yet!

So instead, enjoy this awesome vlog review of Prophecy of Stones by Sierra of Permashift!

I always love her vlogs, she’s hilarious and always makes me smile 🙂

The Queen’s Jester also got an awesome review from Teri Lloyd! 🙂

Sorry for the all about my stuff post! Will hopefully get a hang of this new routine soon.

Tomorrow won’t be a Romance Weekly post as (again) still shuffling my work around. I will have a normal post instead tomorrow though! 😀

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 2830 (Total word count: 20,710).

Books read: 2/4.

Mid-October Book Review: Yeah, not going so well!

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.

August 2014 Round-Up and September 2014 Plan

Books and Reading Wednesday postponed until Friday, because I am currently writing it! 😀

So, September already!

Actually this month felt rather normal compared to the others which have whipped by! It was still a busy month, but a bit more manageable at least.

Now a round up of August:

– Kept to schedule even though I completely skipped a week of writing.
– Posted every scheduled day.
– Started posting scheduled posts on a weekend.
– Got some great reviews for my books, including my newest, Prophecy of Stones.
Connected regularly with other bloggers, who I have to say are some amazing, talented, and very supportive people!
– Found the ‘Home’ button on Facebook! 😀 Meaning I can share other authors links more effectively.
– Read 5 books (1 over target, oh yeah!)- Scandal of the Season by Sophie Gee, In Search of a Love Story by Rachel Schurig, Sins of the Father by Melissa Barker-Simpson, The Unraveling of Lady Fury by Shehanne Moore, The Camelot Code by Sam Christer
– Started my Books and Reading Wednesday posts!
– Managed to write a couple of short pieces.
– Had an amazing interview done with DKC
– Didn’t do well on marketing 😦

I really am going to have to market better and in an imaginative way!

I have hardly done any marketing and seeing as I am trying to make this my career I am just going to have suck it up and get to it 😀

I’m still tempted by trying my hand at drawing, which I took back up this month after having a break. I did a couple of fan art pieces (sorry about quality, my scanner hates me so I took pics with camera):

Daniel and Teal'c from Stargate SG-1

Daniel and Teal’c from Stargate SG-1

Anders and Hawke from DA2 (Far too obsessed with this game!)

Anders and Hawke from DA2 (Far too obsessed with this game!)

Maybe a teensy bit obsessed with this Stargate SG-1 too!

Maybe a teensy bit obsessed with this Stargate SG-1 too!

Would illustrations of scenes from a book be the type of thing that might get you interested in it? Any idea for other forms of imaginative marketing?

Anyway, moving onto September.

Plan:

1st-5th- Self edits of manuscript/ Hopefully come up with a title!
6th-14th- Vacation! Woohoo! 😀
6-21st- Off to the readers/Work on cover/ Work on blurb/ Create interest in my other books (aka. The dreaded marketing!).
17th- Mid-September Book Review.
22nd-29th- Final edits and read out/ Finish formatting/Drum up interest!
24th- End of September Indie Book Review.
30th- Release day!

Wow, that was a bit confusing 😀

Goals:

– Read 4 books (which I should hit as I plan to read A LOT on my vacation).
Do some actual marketing instead of grumbling about doing it 😀
– Continue to actively support others and find new inventive ways of doing so.
– Write short and prompted pieces on regular basis.

Some other stuff that went on this month:

Elaine Jeremiah released her latest book, Reunion of the Heart!

The Amazing Winter (which should be her title with the amount she manages to accomplish!) got signed twice!

I won a copy of A Gift of Wings by Stephanie Stamm on the blog of L.Marie!

Blimey, that was a lot longer post than I meant it to be! Should be an exciting month 😀

How was your August? Have you got much going on in September?

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Editing first draft.

Books read: 1/4

Mid-September Book Review: Read, need to write review.

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.

Just sit down and read!

Lately I have been struggling to read as much as I want. I think it’s because I fell out of the habit a while back and now it’s difficult trying to get back into it. Getting into that regular routine is much harder than it should be.

Recently, Callum posted about his approach of reading little and often, which got me thinking about how I could better my reading routine.

So, to try and help myself find a better schedule, but also just to motivate me to read more in general, I have decided to make every Wednesday a post about reading and books by others. And I am going to write an extra book review a month.

I will probably post the new book review in the middle of the month, and it will be either traditional published or indie published, but my end of month book review will still always be indie/self-published books.

I’m going to try reading for an hour and a half on an afternoon, rather than trying to read on a night, which I have been failing at. I read an article somewhere that changing the time you read might work well, so I’m going to attempt to give it a go 😀

My goal is to still read 4 books a month, and maybe I can work my way to upping that number by next year.

Remember, if you would like me to review your book, then just drop me an email 🙂

Do you have any tips on creating a good reading routine? How many books do you manage to read in a month? When do you find the best time to read is- day or night?

Also HUGE thank you to Winter Bayne and S.R.Carrillo for helping with my cover reveal, and to all of you who tweeted and reblogged! I am always so grateful for your support 🙂



Progress Report:

Status of Prophecy of Stones: Final read-out and Marketing.

Books read: 3/4

July eBook review: Written and ready.

And I’m feeling good!

I got the first manuscript back from my readers last night, which was pretty awesome as it usually takes quite a bit longer. So, I was already taking that as a good sign that the story flowed and read easily.

When I give my manuscripts out to my readers, I ask that they note any parts they particularly liked, so as I can get a sense of what people enjoy and what are my strengths (also to make me feel a bit better as I slog through their notes for edits :D).

It’s fun finding out which bits they pull out as liking and find interesting.

But, I have to say I felt pretty darn tootin’ good when I got the manuscript back this time and found comments like this:

'Nice, nice, nice, nice.'

‘Nice, nice, nice, nice.’


'Fab! !- Highlighted! Love it!'

‘Fab! !- Highlighted! Love it!’


'You can just 'take it as read' from here on in that I love all the Sindrin bits!'

‘You can just ‘take it as read’ from here on in that I love all the Sindrin bits!’


'Love it!'

‘Love it!’

It really made me smile! 😀

I am proud of all the stories I have produced so far, but I was particularly glad to see comments like this on this manuscript, because I worked really hard on bringing everything I’ve learned and making this one of my best books. Really, really hard!

Normally I try not to write these kind of bragging posts, but I am so proud of this story I could burst! 😀 I can’t wait to get it out into the world and see what others think. I promise on Monday it will be back to regular posting 🙂

Now it’s just waiting for the last 2 manuscripts, and seeing what they think!

How is your writing coming along? If your in CampNaNo, are you doing well with your word goals?

Progress Report:

Status of fourth manuscript: Waiting for copies from the readers (1/3 returned).

Books read: 1/4

July eBook Review: Written and ready.