My Review Oron Amular by Michael Harvey

My Review

Oron Amular by Michael Harvey

Oron Amular is a very well written and descriptive book. I very much liked the descriptions of the building and secret passages and the forest journey. I also thought this book has so many interesting and well-developed characters with names that are both intriguing and challenging to pronounce, reader will have fun trying as they join the journey I think.

The story follows Curillian as he is sent a scroll that only he can read. The scroll is sent by a magical keeper and invite him on a journey to a tournament that offers power beyond his wildest dreams. But to what cost will this journey be as he ventures into magical forests and meet with elfin’s that hold power of their own? Will Curillian complete his journey and find his true purpose? You’ll have to read this book to find out.

My favourite character was Curillian and his wife because I could picture their relationship and their drive to run their kingdom. I also loved the thought of magical creatures like wood elf’s and could imagine the history behind their lives.

I thought the author did a great job at putting a character list at the back of the book so that you can go and read their names again and what part they play in the world as this book is far more than I think my review can describe in terms of world building and story arc. But well worth reading.

If you love books that are full of magic, mystery, fantasy and great characters to journey with, you’ll  enjoy this story.

Link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Oron-Amular-Mountain-Michael-Harvey-ebook/dp/B081299BL4/

My Review of The Militia Man’s Lady by Alexie Bolton

My Review of

The Militia Man’s Lady by Alexie Bolton

The Militia Man’s Lady is one of a few books I read in December. I was excited to finish this story. I have to say this book brought me through many emotions, and I thought Helena was a great character. A strong woman with so much on her shoulders. I liked Denman too, you could tell from the beginning that he was a good man with many scars for his troubles. It was clear that when two strong people cross paths there is going to be challenges between them.

The story itself follows Helena as her carriage get raided by bandits on her way home. Denman come to rescue her and helps her get back to her farm. He later finds out her drunk brother is trying to get his sister married to some unpleasant men. But fate has other ideas and after her brother returns, he’s later found murdered on the farm. Now who murdered him is the question that is on everyone’s lips. Was it Denman as he tried to protect a woman he just met but admire? Or one of her loyal workers finally snapped seeing their mistress being treated so badly? You’ll have to read this book to find out.

My favourite character was Helena because at heart she values others. She wants to help everyone around her, even if her life has been plunged into ill-repute in others’ eyes. I also thought the author did a great job at showing how strong and untrusting she had become and her challenges to open or even accept help from others because of past experiences in her life

I also liked Denman, he was at a crossroad in life and let himself get swept up in Helena’s life and troubles. I thought the contrast between his family and hers was also very telling to how they both viewed people and the world differently.

The author also has you at the edge of your seat towards the end wondering just what will become of Helena and Denman when her brother’s debts come calling. There are some dark and unanticipated twists and turns in this novel, that build the tension very well for the reader.

If you love gritty novels with historical feels, great characters and scenes that will both touch and break your heart then this book is for you..

Amazon Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Militia-mans-lady-Dredas-Book-ebook/dp/B079YKTJNW/       

 

Happy New Year Everyone…

Happy New Year Everyone

Well what a year it has been, I got engaged, created some lovely memories with my mum and my boyfriend’s family and really felt the glow of my caring friends. Also felt the fun of two very bright and happy cats running around entertaining me with their cute ways. I think those you love and care for are what make Christmas and all year round so very meaningful and special.

Christmas eve with mum was really lovely, we did face masks, put on matching unicorn slippers and drank reindeer hot Chocolate by the light of the Christmas tree. We both had a lot of fun and created many fun new memories to last the year ahead. Also, the boyfriend and I drank hot chocolate, had a nice Christmas eve tea together, dressed the cats in their fun outfits he sent them and watched a movie together.

My friends also made Christmas special by their thoughtfulness and the lovely time we had catching up over the festive season. You are all beautiful and cared about friends that I feel blessed to have in my life and I do hope the new year brings you all lots of happiness and joy.

Christmas day was lovely too, spent time with mum and had a nice Quorn dinner together and pulled some fun crackers, had an igloo ice-cream cake for afters where you have to pour glitter on it before eating. Looked very festive and tasted too yummy . We exchanged gifts and watched Smokey and Holly go completely insane for their presents. They love treats and toys and Christmas very much… and the boyfriend and I also spent special time together, watching movies and reading our lovely festive emails we write to each other and eating party food.

On 27th it was five years since my lovely boyfriend asked me out. We celebrated our love that day, read the stories and letters we’d wrote for each other and exchanged the little special presents we got for each other, had pizza for tea and watched a nice romantic movie and just had a beautiful time remembering all that makes our relationship special.

Now we look towards the new year and all that 2020 could bring. My new year will start with catching up on the books I started and didn’t get to finish in December because of some family things that came up. So, you’ll all have a few reviews to read on here in January. Also, I have a lot of creative projects to start and  my boyfriend coming over next year too. What are your plans for the new year?

Also, I plan keep up with my lovely friends and family and try to have a less stressful year overall. But mostly I want to invite more happy memories into my life and leave those negative ones behind. So that should be my new year resolution, more good memories and creative days and less stress. What is your new year resolution ?

My wishes to you all, may books, family and happiness be a huge part of your 2020 and wishing you all a healthy and beautiful new year!!

 

Katrina x

 

My Review of Dear Jack (Lets Play A Game) by Tayler Macneill

My Review of

Dear Jack (Lets Play A Game) by Tayler Macneill

Dear Jack is a chilling and fascinating read. I found that this book has so many different threads that I couldn’t guess who was playing who until the end.  I liked Jack and Kate’s  connection throughout the book as it added to the shock and chill of the end of the story for me.

The story itself follows Jack as he opens a mysterious note that leads him into someone else’s game. As murders start to happen, his mental state changes. Has the note writer turned Jack into a killer too? Or is his to be the next body to be found? You’ll have to read his book to find out.

I liked how Kate had her secrets and right through the book came off the innocent party fearing as much as Jack did. However, in some places I felt for her as she had a traumatic past and in some ways, this led her to becoming more controlling and rather darker towards the end.

I though Jack was a very well written character with all the making of a killer.  But there is more to Jack than I thought and my perceptions about him changed with each chapter right up until the end.

The author does a great job at writing her characters in such a way that you can’t guess who have good intentions or who does not. And she gets in their minds very well so the readers can also see the strange and wonderful thoughts and emotions of each character.

If you love books with chilling characters and a story that will keep you guessing until the very end, then give this book a try.

Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dear-Jack-Lets-play-game-ebook/dp/B07XVP1FS8/

New Release of Oron Amular by Michael Harvey

Synopsis of Oron Amular

The Mountain has finally broken its long silence. The invitations have gone out, spreading the word far and wide: Kulothiel, the Mage-lord, is holding a tournament. Kings, knights and champions from all the lands of Astrom are all beckoned to compete at the Mountain of High Magic, Oron Amular. The prize held before them is ‘Power Unimaginable’.

Nothing like it has ever been heard of. Oron Amular is the stuff of legend, hidden somewhere in the Black Mountains of ancient Kalimar. Since the demise of the fabled League of Wizardry the Mountain has passed out of the knowledge of mortals, a mysterious place of power whose secrets are known now only by a privileged few.

Curillian, king of Maristonia, is among those invited, and he is only too glad to leave behind the dull officialdom of his capital and relive the adventures of his youth. He takes with him a cohort of Royal Guards under the command of the redoubtable Lancoir, but they won’t get far without someone to show them the way…

Roujeark the wandering conjuror receives a different kind of summons. Turned away from the Mountain long ago after a harrowing tragedy, he has endured years of waiting as an appointed time gradually drew nearer. Now, as the invites hasten out, he gets ready to resume an old journey and fulfil his long-postponed destiny.

All down the length and breadth of Astrom, lords and heroes are embarking on similar quests, all keen to prove their prowess and win the great prize. From north, south and west they set out, employing fair means and foul to find a way to the lost Mountain. Little do they suspect what they are letting themselves in for.

Obstacles and difficulties of many kinds stand between the contestants and their destination, and only through great adventure and dire peril will they even be able to compete. Roujeark must retrace painful steps to bring Curillian’s company safe to the journey’s end, not knowing what might be waiting for him at the Mountain.

But just as the prize offered is beyond their wildest dreams, so the greatest challenges await within the Mountain itself, where the contestants must enter into an ancient world of magic, a haunt of wizards and sorcery.

Treachery, valour and luck will all play their part, and no little dogged endurance. The tournament will test each entrant to the limit of themselves and open mortal eyes to a world far greater and deeper than they had ever imagined.

Who will prevail? And who will live long enough to discover Kulothiel’s true purpose? As storm-clouds gather in the north the leaders of the free world find themselves confronted with hard questions. They went to compete with each other for a chance of winning power over their rivals, but the last of the wizards is poised to interrupt their petty agendas and upend their worldviews. More is at stake than any of them could have guessed, and the greatest test of all is waiting for them once the tournament is over.

Blurb

The news goes far and wide. The Keeper of the Mountain has broken his long silence. Oron Amular, home of the fabled League of Wizardry, had been lost to mortal memory, but suddenly the legends are awakening again. Lords and princes, heroes and wanderers, all have felt the call of the Mountain. Curillian, the restless king of Maristonia, receives an invitation that cannot be ignored, knowing that invitations have also gone to his allies and adversaries alike. A Tournament is to be held, the like of which has never been heard of. The contestants can only guess at the purposes of the Keeper; all they know is that the prize on offer is Power Unimaginable. All are eager to claim the riches of a lost ancient world, but who can even find the Mountain, let alone survive what awaits them there? When the maps are blank and the loremasters at a loss, another way must be found. Such is the hour when a mysterious stranger crosses the threshold of Maristonia’s capital, someone with a call of their own to answer.

Author Bio

Michael Harvey is a fantasy novelist with a degree in Ancient & Modern History from the University of Leicester and a Masters in Medieval History from the University of Cambridge. A blogger, adventurer and traveller, his foremost passion is writing. In Oron Amular, his debut novel, he invites us into his epic world of Astrom and the great adventures that await there. Michael lives in Cambridge with his wife Lucy and two sons Ethan and Luke.

Social Media
Twitter: @worldofastrom
Buy Link Amazon

Are we ever truly equal? by Rosemary J. Kind

Are we ever truly equal?

Unequal By Birth is a story about the fight for recognition and equality. Primarily, it is Molly Flynn’s struggle, as a young woman in the 1860s, to be taken seriously in running a large farm. However, with a farmhand called Ben playing a key role, it is also about the attitude to the black American population at that time.

The strapline for the book is ‘How far will Daniel and Molly go to fight injustice, and is it a price worth paying?’ I won’t tell you too much of the story as I don’t want to spoil it, but part of the land that Molly now owns used to belong to the Reese family. The Reese brothers are good-for-nothing wasters, who spend most of their time in Marsh’s bar. It was their father who lost the land to the bank for much the same behaviour as his sons. It was Molly’s guardian who bought it and then passed it to Molly. The Reese brothers start a campaign to destroy Molly’s farm and the book tells of how Molly and Daniel face what happens.

Unequal By Birth is the next in the Tales of Flynn and Reilly series and whilst readers may want to learn how Molly comes to be in Pierceton in the first place, reading the previous ones in the series is not essential to enjoy this story.

The original idea for the first book in the series came from a chance comment I heard about Charles Loring Brace and the Orphan Train movement. New York Orphan was always intended to be a one-off book. It was when my proofreader said, ‘I can’t wait to read the next one’ that I started thinking about the possibility of a series. I had grown really close to the characters and could really see their potential, almost as though they were real people, but I hadn’t intended to take it any further at that stage.

I was out walking the dogs that afternoon when a thought struck me. I did know where the story went next. I could see it all very clearly. Although I started writing Unequal By Birth immediately, I took some time out to go back and write a prequel to New York Orphan, which is available as a free download. That one is called The Blight and the Blarney and tells the story of how the main character from New York Orphan, Daniel Flynn, came to arrive in America in the first place.

It means that what was intended to be one book about these wonderful characters has already become three and the next one is already in the process of being written.

There are three main characters to the story. Each one will be the lead character in a different one of the books. New York Orphan essentially told Daniel’s story, from arriving on the dock of New York as an orphan to his early adult years. I’m not giving away too many secrets when I tell you that Unequal By Birth starts with him side by side with Molly, who is the main character for this book, working on Cochrane’s Farm. The next one will focus on Molly’s brother, William, and his fight for justice in the fields of law and politics.

Molly, who takes centre stage in this one, is loving, loyal, hard working and feisty, but with a gentle nature that makes her easy to warm to. If I were her guardian, Miss Ellie (and in many ways I probably am, as there’s much of Miss Ellie’s character that reminds me of me), I’d be incredibly proud to call Molly my ward, my daughter, however a guardian chooses to describe their charge. I hope that all of that will come across to the reader too.

I always hope that my stories will evoke an emotional response from the reader and, as with New York Orphan, it is wise to have a box of tissues to hand when you read this one.

Extract from the Book

As Molly paused, apparently ready to continue to berate his tardiness with the books, a scratching at the door caused them both to turn.

“Daphne? Gerty?” Daniel pushed his feet into his boots and opened the door to find, as he thought, the chickens strutting up and down the yard, pecking amongst the dust for any imagined nourishment.

“Oh my!” Molly jumped from her chair. “What are the chickens doing out? They should be safely away in the hen house. I’m quite certain I closed the coop after I fed them.”

Daniel stayed her arm as she reached the door. “You rest a while. I’ll go.”

Molly bristled beneath his touch. “You think I’m becoming as chicken-brained as Daphne, like any other woman with child might.”

Molly flushed, whether through annoyance or embarrassment, Daniel could not tell. He’d heard talk of how her condition might affect a woman, but he hadn’t been about to suggest that now. “I just meant you need to rest, for young Michael’s sake.”

“Oh, will you just stop with the Michael thing? I know I closed the coop. I’m going to get our hens in before darkness starts to fall.” And before Daniel could say another word, Molly marched past him into the yard.

He shook his head and followed. It would not be like Molly to leave the hen house open. He knew that. Pregnant or not, she was meticulous in her farm work. He went around the other side of the yard, driving the chickens ahead of him back in the direction of the coop. It would be dangerous for them to be out as evening fell. With foxes and coyotes about anything could happen. Quite apart from that, it was harder to find their eggs whenever they chose to lay them around the yard. He was looking down as he walked, carefully watching to ensure none of the hens doubled back and, at the same time, trying to count them as he went. He heard a shriek from Molly.

The noise was followed by the booming sound of Molly’s voice at full, but controlled, volume, “Jacob Reese! Reuben Reese! Never mind your poor mama, you might be a good deal older than me, but if I prove this was you, it will be me who tans your backsides.”

When Daniel caught up with his wife, she was holding aloft one of their chickens, its neck broken and the head hanging limply down.

“It might have been an accident. There’s many a hen has got her head trapped…”

“This! This was no accident, Daniel Flynn. This was those Reese boys again. Same as the hole in the bucket was the Reese boys and the well cover was the Reese boys. Miss Ellie bought their daddy’s land fair and square and now they don’t like that it’s me who’s farming it. They wouldn’t do anything while it was Miss Ellie here, except for name calling, but that didn’t get them far and neither will this.” She whirled around as she said that last part as if declaiming it to the brothers, wherever they were at that moment.

In truth, Daniel knew which place they were likely to be right then. The same place they spent most every evening and many days besides, with a pitcher of beer for company.

He took the dead chicken from his wife’s shaking hand, as, with the other hand she wiped a tear away from her eye.

“Now will you just look at that. I must have got some dust in my eyes as I came across the yard.” She sniffed, took a deep breath and marched across to the coop rounding up the remaining chickens as she went.

Unequal By Birth – Blurb

1866 – Daniel Flynn and Molly Reilly’s lives have been dogged by hardship since their orphan days on the streets of New York. Finally, the future is looking bright and Indiana is the place they call home. Now they can focus on making Cochrane’s Farm a success.

The Civil War might have ended but the battle for Cochrane’s Farm has only just begun. The Reese brothers are incensed that land, once part of their family farm, has been transferred to the ownership of young Molly. No matter that their Daddy had sold it years previously, jealousy and revenge have no regard for right. Women should know their place and this one clearly doesn’t.

Times are changing and a woman’s place is changing with it. How far will Daniel and Molly go to fight injustice and is it a price worth paying?

Rosemary J. Kind

Rosemary J Kind writes because she has to. You could take almost anything away from her except her pen and paper. Failing to stop after the book that everyone has in them, she has gone on to publish books in both non-fiction and fiction, the latter including novels, humour, short stories and poetry. She also regularly produces magazine articles in a number of areas and writes regularly for the dog press.

As a child she was desolate when at the age of 10 her then teacher would not believe that her poem based on ‘Stig of the Dump’ was her own work and she stopped writing poetry for several years as a result. She was persuaded to continue by the invitation to earn a little extra pocket money by ‘assisting’ others to produce the required poems for English homework!

Always one to spot an opportunity, she started school newspapers and went on to begin providing paid copy to her local newspaper at the age of 16.

For twenty years she followed a traditional business career, before seeing the error of her ways and leaving it all behind to pursue her writing full-time.

She spends her life discussing her plots with the characters in her head and her faithful dogs, who always put the opposing arguments when there are choices to be made.

Always willing to take on challenges that sensible people regard as impossible, she established and ran the short story download site Alfie Dog Fiction for six years building it to become one of the largest in the world, representing over 300 authors and carrying over 1600 short stories. She closed it in order to focus on her own writing.

Her hobby is developing the Entlebucher Mountain Dog in the UK and when she brought her beloved Alfie back from Belgium he was only the tenth in the country.

She started writing Alfie’s Diary as an Internet blog the day Alfie arrived to live with her, intending to continue for a year or two. Thirteen years later it goes from strength to strength and has been repeatedly named as one of the top ten pet blogs in the UK.

For more details about the author please visit her website at www.rjkind.com For more details about her dog then you’re better visiting www.alfiedog.me.uk

Twitter @therealalfiedog
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rjkind/

Buy Link: https://books2read.com/NewYorkOrphan

Social Media

https://www.facebook.com/rjkind/

https://twitter.com/therealalfiedog

http://rjkind.com/

http://alfiedog.me.uk/

Buy Link for Unequal By Birth

https://books2read.com/UnequalByBirth

Integrating Zeitgeist and Relationships in Fiction by Kate Murdoch

Integrating Zeitgeist and Relationships in Fiction

by Kate Murdoch

In The Orange Grove, my love of French language and culture and my fascination with the complexities of relationships and power dynamics came together. I have a particular interest in the period of Louis XIV’s rule and so set the story towards the end of his reign, in 1705. The relentless striving for status inherent in the French court at the time gave me plenty to work with in terms of conflict. I was curious about how people thrived or suffered in this environment, and how this atmosphere impacted relationships.

In the story, a mistress to a duc is forced to choose between her values and maintaining her position. Henriette is the moral heart of the narrative, a steady presence amongst the other characters. When a new mistress arrives at the chateau, the duchesse is consumed by jealousy. As senior mistress, Henriette enjoys privileges and the friendship of the duchesse. But when she realises the duchesse plans to undermine the new girl in increasingly unpleasant ways, Henriette is conflicted, knowing her refusal to help could cost her everything.

France during this time was strictly divided into three classes: the first estate of the clergy, the second estate of nobles and the third estate of peasants and bourgeoisie. The king was outside this system, more akin to a god.

The nobles lived a life of extreme decadence and did not pay taxes. They collected manorial dues from the peasants who worked their land. Yet the gains of the peasants were pitiful and the parcels of land were often too small for them to be able to produce surplus food for their families. This inequality laid the foundation for the revolution that followed.

Competition amongst the nobles was fierce—to live at court was the pinnacle, but to associate with the king and be wealthy was also highly regarded. The duc in my story flaunts his wealth by having five mistresses. My initial thought was: how would these mistresses have related to one another? To what extent would rivalry have poisoned their interactions? These questions formed the narrative and a theme of morality underpinned it all. I wanted to show that negative actions didn’t emerge from a vacuum and were often caused by childhood trauma or other factors. I wanted to show peoples’ humanity, in positive actions, negative actions and everything in between. To examine the fact that all these points on the spectrum of morality are what make us human.

Writing novels present different areas of challenge, whether it’s discovering who your characters are, chasing a thread of important research or simply getting words onto the page. This book flowed the most easily of the stories I’ve written and I enjoyed the characters coming to life and telling me what they would be doing. In the process, I learnt so much about the period of Louis XIV’s reign and the social conditions of the time. To integrate this research with the plight of my characters and my themes took time, but was a great pleasure. I’m so excited to finally share The Orange Grove with readers.

 

When status is survival, every choice has
its consequence.

Blois, 1705. The chateau of Duc Hugo d’Amboise simmers with rivalry and intrigue.

Henriette d’Augustin, one of five mistresses of the duc, lives at the chateau with her daughter. When the duc’s wife, Duchesse Charlotte, maliciously undermines a new mistress, Letitia, Henriette is forced to choose between position and morality. She fights to maintain her status whilst targeted by the duchesse who will do anything to harm her enemies.

The arrival of charismatic tarot reader, Romain de Villiers, further escalates tensions as rivals in domestic politics and love strive for supremacy.

In a society where status is a matter of life and death, Henriette must stay true to herself, her daughter, and her heart, all the while hiding a painful secret of her own.

Bio: 

Kate Murdoch is the author of Stone CircleShe exhibited widely as a painter both in Australia and internationally before turning her hand to writing.

Her short-form fiction has been published in various literary journals in Australia, UK, US and Canada.

Stone Circle is a historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy. It was released by Fireship Press December 1st 2017. Stone Circle was a First in Category winner in the Chaucer Awards 2018 for pre-1750’s historical fiction.

Kate was awarded a KSP Fellowship at the KSP Writers’ Centre in 2019 to develop her third novel, The Glasshouse.

Her novel, The Orange Grove, about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in 18th century France, will be published by Regal House Publishing in 2019.

Buy links:

Regal House Publishing: https://regalhousepublishing.com/product/the-orange-grove/

Booktopia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-orange-grove-kate-murdoch/book/9781947548220.html

Angus & Robertson: http://bit.ly/2LmLy2U

Amazon: mybook.to/TheOrangeGrove

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Orange-Grove-Kate-Murdoch/9781947548220

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/the-orange-grove-5

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-orange-grove-kate-murdoch/1132202645?ean=9781947548220

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-orange-grove/kate-murdoch//9781947548220

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-orange-grove,kate-murdoch-9781947548220

Blackwells: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/The-Orange-Grove-by-Kate-Murdoch-author/9781947548220

Website:  https://katemurdochauthor.com/

Blog: https://kabiba.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katemurdochauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateMurdoch3

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/katemurdoch73/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/katemurdoch2/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47583097-the-orange-grove