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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Blinded by the Light by Joe Kipling

(The Union Trilogy Book 1)

Blinded by the light

In the near future, when the world’s population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside. MaryAnn is one of the privileged. It doesn’t matter that her friends can sometimes be cruel or that the boy she likes just threw up on her shoes, it’s all about being noticed at the right parties.

But it takes a single event to rip her life apart.

Struggling with physical and psychological scars, MaryAnn must face up to the truth about the foundations of the Neighbourhood and the legacy of her family. Once she learns the truth she can never go back, but can she really put her faith in the Union?

Blinded by the Light is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown. It is the first book in The Union Trilogy.

This dystopian young adult fiction book set in the near future critiques aspects of society such as a preoccupation with celebrity, materialism and privilege. It Shows that in real life good and evil are never clear cut and we all have to decide what it means to ‘do the right thing’.

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My Review:

Set in a future where the population has been decimated by the Sandman Virus and the elite live in Neighbourhoods run by The Light Foundation. This was an enjoyable read, told from MaryAnn’s point of view.

MaryAnn’s father is an important man in The Light Foundation and at the start of the book MaryAnn has a perfect life, she’s a spoilt rich kid who has everything she wants.

After meeting her estranged brother, Daryl, at a party, disaster strikes and MaryAnn has to live with the Director of the Foundation. Although still rich and spoilt, she becomes isolated with only the Director’s daughter, Maud, for company.

When her brother contacts her again, she discovers he is a Unionist. The Unionists live outside of Neighbourhoods and know the truth behind The Light Foundation. As MaryAnn is introduced to other Unionist members, including her Uncle Patrick and Daryl’s friend, Peter, her beliefs are challenged, and her world changes from the ‘them and us’ attitude that she was brought up with.

The characters were well written and multi-dimensional, my favourites being MaryAnn and Peter. I loved seeing MaryAnn adapt and mature as the story went on, and the developing friendship between her and Peter, though it was heartbreaking watching the life she knew collapse around her.

The Author has done an amazing job of world building and how her society is structured, and it’s easy to imagine living there, either as one the elite or one of ‘outsiders’

Overall, a topnotch and imaginative start to a trilogy for young adults, and older adults also. I’ve already started Book 2, Light the Way.

About The Author:

Joe KiplingJoe Kipling is a West Yorkshire based young adult fiction writer with a lifelong passion for Sci-Fi, particularly the post-apocalyptic variety.

She currently lives in Holmfirth with her dog Kenny and is a full-time consultant and part-time writer.

A lifetime of travelling and avoiding near catastrophe has provided endless inspiration for The Union Trilogy.

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Five on Friday

Five on Friday

Five reviews that made my to-read list longer…

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The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

Reviewed on The Tattooed Book Geek

dragonsSome books start quite slowly, setting the scene, others, they start with a bang. The Rage of Dragons is one such book, starting with a bloody sword thrust through the chest cavity, one that explodes out the back in a profusion of action.

After fleeing their previous home, the land of Osonte and a catastrophe known as ‘The Cull‘ the Omehi are newly arrived on the shores of Xidda looking for a new home but the current population has other ideas. What follows is a violent battle (highlighting the powers of the Omehi Gifted and the strength of Winter’s ability to write detailed and dynamic battle scenes that populate the whole of The Rage of Dragons right from the get-go) and many die on both sides. The Hedeni (also known as the Xiddeen the original inhabitants of Xidda) are overwhelming the Omehi, with no wish to flee and as a last gasp, the last roll of the dice, the Omehi summon a guardian (dragon). The dragon turns the tides of the battle, the Omehi win and in Xidda they have a new home.

Continue reading this review.

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The Poison Song – Book 3 of The Winnowing Flame Trilogy by Jen Williams

Reviewed on Brainfluff

thepoisonsongI have thoroughly enjoyed the ongoing adventure in this excellent trilogy – read my reviews of The Ninth Rain and The Bitter Twins. The progression of this story, taking it from a straight epic fantasy adventure into a science fiction mash-up was masterfully handled, as are the steady revelations of new twists about aspects that we previously understood to be facts…

The very nature of the way Williams crafts her books makes it unlikely that you will be able to fully enjoy what is going on unless you read them in order – and as those of you who are regular visitors to my site know, I habitually crash midway into series without turning a hair. However, I wouldn’t want to make such a move with this series and strongly recommend that you don’t attempt it.

Continue reading this review.

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Beyond the Gravy by Mandy Morton

Reviewed on Auntie M Writes

beyond-gravyYou don’t have to be a cat person to take great delight in the world of cats created in Beyond the Gravy, Mandy Morton’s newest entry in the No. 2 Feline Detective series.

Hettie Bagshot and her partner Tilly have endured a long winter and are looking for a nice change in the weather and a new case to fill their coffers, when Tilly wins a contest that involves a cash prize and the promise of the duo traveling to Agatha Cripsy’s Devon home for tea.

But before that can happen, they are approached by psychic Irene Peggledrip, who has been having visits from a group of murdering spirits, intent on bringing chaos to her home. Hettie and Tilly are present for a round of, among other things, indoor snowstorms and a lovely Victoria sponge thrown against the bookshelves, to Tilly’s dismay, only a part of the hijinks these restless spirits produce.

Read more of this review.

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Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

Reviewed on Fictionophile

Sweet Little Lies“Good daughter. Bad cop”

Good cop. Bad daughter.

This is the conundrum Cat Kinsella finds herself in.

I read a lot of police procedurals and enjoy them very much. “Sweet Little Lies” was different in that the protagonist is not a Detective Inspector, or someone of high rank. She was a twenty-six year old Detective Constable with little experience on the murder squad. Unmarried, she rents an attic room from a family with young children. She likes her work and is good at it, yet she fears that family loyalty has jeopardized her career. She compromises her personal and professional ethics and is deeply conflicted over this. Also, Cat is still reeling from emotional trauma she experienced on her last case. She drinks too much. She is obsessed with fairness and justice.

Read more of this review.

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Infinity 7: Gods Among Men

Reviewed on Literary Titan

Infinity 7A superhero mashup from the talented minds of Cosby, Dodds, and Champion containing all your favorite characters from the authors own respected series. These three well-accomplished authors team up to produce an ambitious novel. At times this story works well and seamlessly provides a world where these superheroes can come together and fight yet falls short to bridge the gap between each story line and harness a collective voice among the numerous characters.

Infinity 7 begins with the rise of a dark power. As the growing threat draws closer to earth the Capes, Majesties and Solar Warriors band together to solve the mystery of their fearsome foe and hold their own against the escalating violence around them.

Read more of this review.

Moon Sworn by J.F. Holland

(The Bound Series #1)

Moon Sworn is an introduction to ‘The Bound Series’, (Heated Shifter Romance). The story and the characters continue throughout the PNR Serial. (Not a standalone).

 
35267975At 4-years old Maya Rawlings witnessed her own father horrifically murder her mother. Brought up by an older aunt she knows nothing of her family history.

She wants a family of her own to make up for all that she’s lost, but it’s difficult to achieve when she’s not attracted to anyone. That is until the night of her 21st birthday when a strange mark appears on the palm of her hand. The mark was followed by re-currant nightmares of fleeing for her life, and the voice of a man offering her things she’s always dreamed of. Is he real or is she finally losing her mind?

Jaden Matthews is a loner who never settles in one place. He doesn’t do forever, not after the murder of his parents and younger brother. That is until fate decides to step in and a mark appears on his hand, it seems he now has a mate.

After waiting for 21-years for her to mature, the clock is now ticking. First, he needs to find her and his search leads him back to a place he’d vowed never to return. He’s not the only one there hunting her though.

Can he use his skills to not only get rid of the threat to her life but also persuade her to agree to the binding? Or will he be destined to walk a limited lifespan alone, as the animal he becomes?

Contains erotic scenes and profanity.

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My Review:

An entertaining shifter mystery romance with suspense, humour and some steamy scenes.

 
Even though they had never met, Maya has been dreaming about Jaden for the past five years, and Jaden has been searching for Maya, his mate. Not everything goes to plan however when they meet.

Both Maya and Jaden have tragic pasts, and they’re not the only ones, other members of the supernatural community have been targeted by rogue shifters. When Maya’s life is threatened, her friends, Binks and Sam, help Jaden protect her and her newly found family members from danger.

I enjoyed meeting the cast of diverse and complex characters that are gradually introduced. I hope we get to know more about the other characters in future books. Maya is smart and sassy, and is no pushover and although to begin with, Jaden comes across as a pushy alpha male, he also has a much softer and caring side.

I like the way the author has built a supernatural community in the quiet village of Lunaton, living side by side with unsuspecting humans, and the way she has tied in things like crop-circles to that community.

 
This is the first book I’ve read by JF Holland, and it was a super introduction to The Bound Series. I will certainly be reading more.

 

The Author

J_F_HollandI still live in the small town in Partington in Manchester, UK. I was born at home on January 10th 1968. Now a wife and mother, I live with my husband and 6 children, and a small menagerie of animals, still in the town I was born, raised, and attended school.

I’ve always loved the underdog, the fighter. But, let’s face it, we all want to believe in a happily ever after. As a huge fan of books (book nerd is the endearing term, my children use), as I have an immense romance collection (which also includes paranormal romance). It usually means if I’m not writing, I’ve got my head stuck in a good book.

You can’t beat reading. I love watching the plot and characters come to life in my imagination; so much better than television. When I was younger, I tended to re-write books and fairy-tales where I wasn’t completely happy with the ending. It confused the hell out of my children once they learned to read as none of the books matched the stories I’d been reading to them growing up.

Until I became ill, I had a varied career including Admin, Customer Service, and Teaching unemployed adults IT and customer service skills. I’m now at home full time, classed as disabled (neuro fog can make life, and writing fun and challenging at times). So instead of twiddling my thumbs and feeling sorry for myself, I decided it was time I started to do something which I love with my life. So, I began to write my own stories again, it keeps my mind active and it’s fun. I’m also happy to receive feedback about my books (stories) or just to connect :-

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Retriever of Souls by Lorraine Mace

(D.I. Sterling Book 1)

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The first title in a dark and gritty crime series.
Brought up believing that sex is the devil’s work, a killer only finds release once he has saved his victim’s souls. Abiding by his vision, he marks them as his. A gift to guide his chosen ones on the rightful path to redemption.

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling is out to stop him, but Paolo has problems of his own. Hunting down the killer as the death toll rises, the lines soon blur between Paolo’s personal and professional lives.

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My Review:

I really enjoyed this great British crime drama. It’s the first of a series and I’m already looking forward to reading the next.

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling’s personal life is a mess. He’s separated from his wife and has high hopes of getting back with her, and his teenage daughter, Katy, is going off the rails. His professional life isn’t faring any better. His new partner, Detective Sergeant Dave Johnson,  is obnoxious and has no respect for women.  Add to that, the fact that someone is murdering prostitutes and dumping their bodies in rubbish dumps and there aren’t any leads.

While we follow Paolo as he deals with his complicated relationships and tries to solve the case, we also get a close look at the murderer. The villain was brought up by a religious zealot who taught him that sex was a sin, and he believes that by killing the women he is saving their souls.

There is much more to this book than the crime and solving of it. It’s a character-driven book and they are well written and relatable… easy to like, or hate. It was interesting to watch them and their various relationships evolve and grow.

This was a gripping, gritty, and, at times, gruesome thriller, with interesting characters, a number of suspects, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

 

About The Author:

Retriever of Souls - Lorraine MaceWhen not working on her crime novels, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions.

A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service.

She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of The Writer’s Abc Checklist (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel Vlad The Inhaler – Hero In The Making, and Notes From The Margin, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

In Memory Trilogy by Joshua Sutton

(In Memory, Shadowborn and Shards of Shaz’uul.)

25867415In Memory

Sarah Summers was normal once, but now she spends her nights plagued by dreams of her dead family. When a demon is sent to possess her, can Sarah fight back against it and overcome the evil that not only threatens her sanity, but humanity itself?

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ShadowbornShadowborn

They thought it was over, but Death disagreed. With Sarah gone and Marcus slowly gaining power, can Teo and his friends find Sarah and stop a war before it even starts?

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Shards of Shaz'uulShards of Shaz’uul

It had been many years since the fighting stopped. Humanity had moved underground, in an effort to hide themselves from the demons on the surface. They thought it was all over. For real this time. They were wrong. After ritualistic murders begin happening Teo must find out what has happened all the while hoping Sarah and Cornelius can complete the Shaz’uul Crystal and seal the demon world away for good.

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My Review:

The premise of the trilogy was imaginative and original.

Marcus has lost the love of his life and will do anything to get her back, including driving people insane and having them possessed by demons. Sarah is one of those people, however, having been possed by Cornelius, she teams up with him and fights back.

As the story moves on, the reasons behind Marcus’ actions change, and he sets out to rule the world(s).

There were quite a few characters in the first book, and more introduced in the following one. I would have liked to get to know the characters better, their reasoning or motivation. As it was, I didn’t connect with any of them and apart from Cornelius, none were particularly memorable.

The entire trilogy fills approximately 400 pages and there’s a lot of action packed into those pages. For me, there was too much action at times in book one, and too many interconnecting events, which got a bit confusing and made the book seem rushed.

I was however intrigued enough by the first book to read the rest of the trilogy.

Book 2 continues the story after a 15-year gap, and book 3 many years after that. Both books still had plenty going on but at a less manic pace.

 

About The Author:

Joshua SuttonJoshua Sutton grew up in Kent in the UK. From an early age he wanted to write books and after taking time away to study Music Technology and Production at university, finally came back and released his debut novel In Memory on July 4th 2015. The sequel Shadowborn was released June 2016, and the final book in the trilogy Shards of Shaz’uul was finished on the 18th Feb 2017.

Joshua writes Paranormal Fiction but dabbles in other genres and is working on other projects as well that you will see in the near future. It was his life long dream to write and now he is fulfilling his dream, he hopes you enjoy his work.

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April Round-up

monthly roundup

Books I Read In April 2019

I read my five books from my  Five on Friday (April 5th). Having read the final book on the list, In Memory by Joshua Sutton, I dove straight in and read the other two books of the trilogy, Shadowborn and Shards of Shaz’uul.

My Reviews:

The Basement by Dianne Hartsock
Jay-Jay The Supersonic Bus by Sue Wickstead
Fog by Michael Wombat
The Case of the Curious Client by T.G. Campbell

My review for In Memory Trilogy by Joshua Sutton will be posted later in the week.

 
Roundup

 

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

The Case of the Curious Client by T.G. Campbell

(Bow Street Society #1)

 
30828825The Bow Street Society is a fictional group of amateur detectives operating in London in 1896. Each of its civilian members has been enlisted for their unique skill or exceptional knowledge in a particular field. This ensures the Society may work to solve cases on the behalf of their clients regardless of their client’s social class or wealth; cases that the police either can’t or won’t investigate. From an artist to an illusionist, from an architect to a veterinary surgeon, the Bow Street Society is justice by all and for all.

In The Case of The Curious Client, the Bow Street Society are hired by Mr Thaddeus Dorsey to locate a missing friend he knows only as ‘Palmer’ after he fails to keep a late night appointment with him. With their client’s own credibility cast into doubt mere minutes after they meet him though the Society are forced to consider whether they’ve been sent on a wild goose chase. That is, until events take a dark turn and the Society have to race against time not only to solve the case but also save the very life of their client…

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My Review:

*I won a signed copy of this book at the UK Indie Lit Fest last year.

Although I don’t usually read historical books, I do read mysteries and thrillers, so the crime aspect of this one intrigued me and I decided to give it go. I’m glad I did!

The Bow Street Society comprises a mixed bag of members with different skills, from all walks of life and is overseen by Rebecca Trent.

We join some of those members in this book as they search for Thaddeus Dorsey’s missing friend, Palmer, which leads to them investigating a murder and trying to save their client from being convicted of the crime.

The Case of the Curious Client was a fascinating read with an intriguing plot and plenty of twists which kept me guessing ’til the end. The characters were well-rounded and I enjoyed getting to know them, their flaws, and their quirks.

The author’s patent love of the Victorian era shines through this book, and she has, without doubt, done an impressive amount of research, as the evocative and authentic descriptions transported me back in time to 1980’s London.

I will definitely be reading more of this series.

 
About The Author:

6af07c396b9dfcfbc82b1406bbcc4cf5Tahnee Georgina (T.G.) Campbell wrote her first crime fiction story at the age of sixteen as a gift for her best friend. At only 40 pages long it fell considerably short of a “novel” but it marked the beginning of a creative journey that would eventually spawn the first of the Bow Street Society mystery novels; The Case of the Curious Client. During that time she attended the University of Winchester where she acquired her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Studies and wrote a dissertation on the social and cultural importance of the works of Agatha Christie.

She also became a volunteer member of staff on an international text-based gaming website where she was responsible for creating, and facilitating, storyline-games in a Victorian Era setting. The historical content of the reference pages for this setting were therefore researched, collated, and maintained by her.

It was as part of her work for this site that she came up with the idea of The Bow Street Society. Though The Case of the Curious Client is a project independent from the website the time she spent as a member of staff there helped her better understand character formation/evolution, effective use of description, and clue-puzzle mystery plot mechanics.

More recently, she attended her very first book signing event in the form of the UK Indie Lit Fest in Bradford on the 28th July 2018. She’s currently planning a schedule of similar events in 2019, to give her readers even more opportunities to meet her and have their Bow Street Society books signed. The second and third instalments of the Bow Street Society mysteries The Case of The Lonesome Lushington and The Case of The Spectral Shot are on sale now. There are also two published volumes of the Bow Street Society Casebook: The Case of The Shrinking Shopkeeper & Other Stories and The Case of The Peculiar Portrait & Other Stories. T.G. Campbell also writes monthly features for Fresh Lifestyle Magazine and releases new Casebook short stories in the monthly Gaslight Gazette. The fourth Bow Street Society mystery is due to be released in 2019.

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