Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Motivational

Questions of Perspective Daniel Maunz 4*#Review @MaunzDaniel @brwpublisher @rararesources #Fantasy #ComingofAge #LiteraryFiction #RachelsRandomResources #BlogTour #BookReview #WednesdayMotivation #WednesdayThoughts

No one knew it at the time, but April 19, 2011, was the most important day in the history of the world.

After his only friend and colleague, John Manta, disappears without a word, Dave Randall further entrenches himself in the humdrum life of an unenthusiastic lawyer. But once he begins to understand what happened, he embarks on a journey to uncover the deeper meanings and implications of John’s fate.

Accompanied by Peaches the cat, Dave uproots his life and reinvents himself in the midst of his search. Along the way, he is haunted by his piecemeal understanding of John’s fate and what it means for his existence. Little does Dave know, his journey of self-discovery will have ramifications that extend far beyond the borders of his own little life.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Entertainment and escapism mix with philosophical questions that most of us consider at some time. Belief, faith love and self-realisation are explored in this story. The multi-layered plot is part fantasy and part literary fiction with a liberal amount of humour.

Relatable characters keep the story moving forward. The cat is a vital companion for Dave on his journey of self-discovery. The motivational ethos makes this an uplifting read that has something of interest for most of us.

Daniel Maunz

When he is not writing, Daniel Maunz works as an attorney as in-house counsel for a major insurance company. He currently lives in Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, with his wife Lynne, their son Patrick, and their two cats: Admiral Meowy McWhiskers and Captain Cutie (or “Admiral” and “Captain” for short). Questions of Perspective is his first novel.

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Posted in Book Spotlight, Fantasy, Thriller

Carrion Graeme Cumming #BookSpotlight #promo @GraemeCumming63 @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #Carrion

CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY. WORDS HAVE POWER.

A sheet of black filled his vision as hundreds of birds dived at the cottage, pointed beaks thrust forward. From this angle, he couldn’t see many of them striking it, but the few he did see held nothing back as they hammered into the shutter. The scale of the attack was beyond anything he’d seen or heard of. And bloodied casualties littered the ground: skulls shattered, wings broken, innards spilling from them. The fact that so many of them continued with the onslaught in spite of this filled him with even more dread.

Salin has always wanted an adventure and, when the opportunity presents itself, he grabs it with both hands, taking his friends along for the ride – whether they want to or not.

With strange lands come strange creatures that stand between them and their goal. And that goal is the same for someone else, a man who believes the prize is worth every sacrifice – especially when the sacrifices are made by others.

The future is about to change. But who for?

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Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult

Magical Intelligence M. K. Wiseman 4*#Review @FaublesFables @rararesources ​ #YA #NA #historical #fantasy#BlogTour #BookReview #RachelsRandomResources #MagicalIntelligence

When you are a member of Britain’s first team of wizard spies, every mission might be your last. But as the dawning of the 20th century draws ever nearer, magic grows weak. Violectric Dampening, the clash of man-made electricity with the Gifts of magekind, threatens M.I.’s existence. And if that isn’t enough, they’ve now been discharged from their own government. Obsolete. Distrusted.

And now hunted by one of their own.

Myra Wetherby has always feared her so-called fits, strange visions of people and places that she cannot explain. It is the emotional manipulation, however, a strange empathic connection to those around her, which threatens her very sanity. A danger to her family, Myra runs away, falling straight into the hands of the newly ousted Magical Intelligence team. Who just so happen to need an ability like hers.

Which makes Myra one of them . . . whether she likes it or not.

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Magical Intelligence Cover

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…​

The opening chapter of this book evokes confusion and mystery. It’s unsettling for the reader. It gives an early insight into Myra’s life. Myra’s abilities and her meeting with Aiden introduce her to a dangerous, magical world and the magical intelligence team.

The historical late Victorian setting makes the battle of industrialisation and magic relatable. There is some world building in this first book of the series, but it also relies on the reader’s knowledge of the era.

Aimed at the young and new adult audience Myra makes a good protagonist she presumably grows with her audience throughout the series. There is a good mix of action and internal reflection.

This series has potential.

M K Wiseman Author Photo
M.K.Wiseman

M. K. Wiseman has degrees in animation/video and library science – both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, her office is a clutter of storyboards and half-catalogued collections of too, too many books. (But, really, is there such a thing as too many books?) When she’s not mucking about with stories, she’s off playing brač or lying in a hammock in the backyard of her Cedarburg home that she shares with her endlessly patient husband.

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Posted in Bookstagram, Excerpt, Extract, Fantasy

Hybrids, Volume Two: Vengeance Jennie Dorny @LoveBooksGroup #Lovebookstours #Bookstagram #BookstagramTour #JennieDorny #Extract #Excerpt

Caught in a web of murder and vengeance, Theo must outsmart the Spylady to save her new friends. 

Imprisoned in a male appearance, can Nand survive deportation without losing herself?

Forced to leave Eridan after her mental battle with Keith of Rain Forest, Theo travels to Earth Metropolis with SpaceSS agent Jack Finch. When Jack is arrested for murdering his husband, Farren, Theo’s plans for a new future collapse.

To impress Declan, Nand face-changes into her cousin’s appearance on the day of the Face Changer Assembly. But her moment of triumph turns into a nightmare when Keith launches an attack against the Face Changers.

Deported to Gambling Nova, the federal prison, with Ashta and a few Face Changers, will Declan be strong enough to overcome his guilt in order to help Nand keep her male appearance and safeguard Eridan’s future?

Convinced that Farren is still alive, Theo must outsmart the Spylady if she wants to get Jack released from the penitentiary and find Farren’s whereabouts. Yet when Sheer, the Savalwomen leader, orders her to rescue the Face Changers, Theo faces a new challenge: is she ready to return to Gambling Nova? And risk her life?

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Excerpt from Chapter 74

Theo fled the Blue Exan.

Determined never to return.

She would run away. She would hide.

But where? Where could she go? What could she do? What would happen to her?

She collided with someone and fell backwards. Her elbow and head bumped against the pavement.

“Sorry, Miss. Are you hurt?”

A man leaned over her. In the dusk and the dim light from the low-energy street lamps, she could not discern his features, only his dark hair. He helped her to her feet.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you before. Did you recently arrive here?”

What could she say? What dare she say?

“Are you hurt?”

Why would he care? She stepped back.

“What’s your name? In which department do you work?”

He was too tall, too pressing.

“Leave me alone! Or, the Winds help me, you’ll regret it!” She flashed her Nuong-bought knife, bent over and slipped past him. He moved. Was it to catch her? She cut him. He swore. She ran away.

She zigzagged through streets and gardens burdened with blooming roses. Their smell, which had gone unnoticed that morning, surrounded her. Panting, she stopped near a cluster of palm trees and glanced over her shoulder.

She was alone.

And completely lost.

Jennie Dorny was born in 1960 in Newton, Massachusetts. She lives and works in Paris with her three cats. She is both French and American. She studied American literature and civilization, Italian and history of art at three Parisian universities. She wrote her Master’s thesis about contemporary Irish poetry after spending a year in Dublin. She loves words and languages, and she can spend hours exploring a thesaurus. Over the years, she has studied Spanish, Japanese, Hindi and sign language, and recently took up Italian again. She has published in French Gambling Nova (1999), Eridan (2002) and Les Cupidons sont tombés sur la tête (Mischievous Cupids gone Crazy, 2007). Gambling Nova and Eridan are partial, earlier versions of Hybrids; science-fiction novels that in many ways deal with the question of gender.

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Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Fantasy, Magic

The Identity Thief Alex Bryant #TheGodMachine @alexbryantauth @lovebooksgroup #Author Q&A #Fantasy #magic #humour #BookPromo #BlogTour #LoveBooksTours

A shapeshifting sorcerer called Cuttlefish unleashes a terrifying wave of magical carnage across London. A strange family known as the River People move into Cassandra Drake’s neighbourhood. Are the two events connected?

Spoiler alert: no.

Reasons to buy this book:

✔ Good cover.

✔ Cheap. Seriously, the Kindle version only costs as much as about 3 mangoes. What would you rather have – 10 hours of gripping urban fantasy, or 30 minutes of biting into sweet, succulent mango flesh?

✔ OK, I shouldn’t have used mango, objectively the best fruit, as a comparison. But buying this book doesn’t stop you from buying mangoes, if that’s what you insist on doing.

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Q&A with Alex Bryant

Where did you get the idea for the novel?

The first idea for the novel came when I was 19, shortly after falling off a horse. Or possibly shortly before – the exact chronology is lost to history. So is the horse’s name, so don’t even ask. The idea was for an opening chapter: a girl comes home one day to find that her dad’s disappeared, and the shadowy organisation he works for wants to take her away for questioning.

The current book, admittedly, has almost nothing to do with that. But from there, the world rolled into life like an out-of-control snowball, picking up all of my other obsessions along the way. Witchcraft and witch-hunts were an obvious thing to include. And the very earliest scene I wrote that made its way into the book actually dates to a dream I had when I was 16. It was about being forced to visit a bizarre old house, meeting its strange inhabitants, and being shown into a vast underground library… It left a strong impression, shaping both Omphalos, the sinister house at the centre of The Identity Thief, and the Lyceum, the shadowy magical organisation which is tied to it.

Which character from The Identity Thief do you most identify with?

Obviously not the main character, Cass, who’s a nasty piece of work, inspired by the kind of girl I was terrified of in school. It’s actually Hector, the quiet and pathologically awkward one who’s probably plotting something evil behind closed doors.

Unfortunately, my friends unanimously agree that I am in fact Cuttlefish, the shapeshifting villain. I resent this – 18 is a perfectly sensible number of masks to own. I go to a lot of parties, and nobody wants to be that guy who’s always wearing the same mask at a party.

Where did you get the idea for the world?

First up,  magic is cool. Books with magic in are better than books without magic in. So there was always going to be magic in any novel I wrote.

In books, everyone is totally chill about magic. But in real life, people tend not to be remotely chill about magic. In fact, for a large chunk of history right up to the present day, people have gone around executing each other brutally for practising magic. In Europe, we literally only stopped doing that when it turned out magic didn’t exist.

In the world of the God Machine, magic does of course exist, so it stands to reason that people are still afraid of it – still hunting down witches and punishing them severely. That’s how I ended up creating the Sorcery Investigation Department, a modern-day Inquisition tasked with stopping sorcery in all its forms.

Who are your favourite authors?

First up is Jonathan Stroud. Specifically, the Bartimaeus trilogy. Possibly the most underappreciated children’s books out there. Not by me, of course. I appreciate them a huge deal. But I’m just one man. I can’t give them all the appreciation they deserve. Go read them! They’re about an alternative modern-day London where sorcery is wielded by a select few. So if you liked The Identity Thief, you like them.

If you like classics, read The Master and Margarita. This book is so influential that I straight up stole several quips and scenes from it. But because it’s a classic, this doesn’t count as theft; it’s an ‘allusion’, which actually makes me a better writer.

Contrary to everyone’s assumption, I don’t like either Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman. Sorry, guys. I’ve just never been able to get into them. Despite having had virtually every book in the Discworld series recommended to me, or just outright bought for me, at some point. And despite The Identity Thief being compared to them most frequently.

Douglas Adams, on the other hand, is great. The best version of the infinite Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy adaptations is, of course, the text-based adventure game. Look it up!

What’s your writing process?

I sit down at my laptop and open my novel manuscript. I like to check my emails before I start writing, to clear all that annoying admin out the way. One of the emails is about booking an appointment. I open my phone to see when I’m free. While I’m checking my calendar, I get a message notification from a friend about something I was supposed to do yesterday. I open up Messenger to say sorry, and I’ll do it now. But before I do it, I see an article someone’s posted in a group chat. I read it, and three more articles that the first article links to. I close the page, and wind up looking at an Amazon checkout page. Oh yeah, I was in the middle of buying a birthday present three days ago, and must have got distracted. Looking at it now, I could probably find a nicer thing on Etsy. I take a look, and spot some way cooler stuff I want but probably shouldn’t buy. I decide I’m better off thinking about it over lunch. Damn, I don’t have any lunch food. I decide to nip to the shops, but remember I have a package to send that I may as well take with me. I go back to print out a postage label. I discover I’m out of paper so I’ll have to go to the shops first anyway. I go to the shops and buy toothpaste. I forget to buy either lunch or paper.

It’s taken me ten years to write The Identity Thief.

Alex Bryant

Alex has led a largely comfortable but unremarkable life in North London, and more recently Oxford. His main hobbies as a kid were reading and sulking.

When he’s not writing, he’s performing with his improvised comedy troupe, Hivemind Improv. And when he is writing, he’s procrastinating.

The first idea for The God Machine came when he was 19, shortly after falling off a horse. Or possibly shortly before – the exact chronology is lost to history. So is the horse’s name, in case you were wondering.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Fantasy

Hybrids, Volume Two: Vengeance by Jennie Dorny @jenniedornyauthor @LoveBooksGroup #Lovebookstours #CoverReveal

Caught in a web of murder and vengeance, Theo must outsmart the Spylady to save her new friends. 

Imprisoned in a male appearance, can Nand survive deportation without losing herself?

Forced to leave Eridan after her mental battle with Keith of Rain Forest, Theo travels to Earth Metropolis with SpaceSS agent Jack Finch. When Jack is arrested for murdering his husband, Farren, Theo’s plans for a new future collapse.

To impress Declan, Nand face-changes into her cousin’s appearance on the day of the Face Changer Assembly. But her moment of triumph turns into a nightmare when Keith launches an attack against the Face Changers.

Deported to Gambling Nova, the federal prison, with Ashta and a few Face Changers, will Declan be strong enough to overcome his guilt in order to help Nand keep her male appearance and safeguard Eridan’s future?

Convinced that Farren is still alive, Theo must outsmart the Spylady if she wants to get Jack released from the penitentiary and find Farren’s whereabouts. Yet when Sheer, the Savalwomen leader, orders her to rescue the Face Changers, Theo faces a new challenge: is she ready to return to Gambling Nova? And risk her life?

Amazon UK

Jennie Dorny was born in 1960 in Newton, Massachusetts. She lives and works in Paris with her three cats. She is both French and American. She studied American literature and civilization, Italian and history of art at three Parisian universities. She wrote her Master’s thesis about contemporary Irish poetry after spending a year in Dublin. She loves words and languages, and she can spend hours exploring a thesaurus. Over the years, she has studied Spanish, Japanese, Hindi and sign language, and recently took up Italian again. She has published in French Gambling Nova (1999), Eridan (2002) and Les Cupidons sont tombés sur la tête (Mischievous Cupids gone Crazy, 2007). Gambling Nova and Eridan are partial, earlier versions of Hybrids; science-fiction novels that in many ways deal with the question of gender.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Fantasy, New Books, Young Adult

Daisy on the Outer Line Ross Sayers @Sayers33 @cranachanbooks #Lovebookstours #CoverReveal @lovebooksgroup #youngadult

Life, Death and Time Travel on the Glasgow Subway…

When selfish student Daisy trashes her stepdad’s funeral, she gets blind drunk and wakes up on the Glasgow subway to find she has travelled back in time. To make amends for her behaviour, she must save a life—but she doesn’t know who, how, or where to begin. She’ll have to find out fast if she wants to make it back to her old life and avoid being trapped in the wrong timeline forever.

This novel was awarded one of the first Scots Language Publication Grants funded by the Scottish Government and administered by the Scottish Book Trust.

Publication Date: 5th November 2020

ISBN: Paperback 978-1-911279-77-8

eBook 978-1-911279-78-5

Ross Sayers

Ross Sayers grew up in Stirling and now lives in Edinburgh. He’s still finding his way around. His debut novel, Mary’s the Name was released in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book Award. He’s currently working on a sequel to one of his books… You can tweet him @Sayers33