Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Folk Tales, Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Jupiter’s Fire William Osborne 4*#Review @ConradPress @rararesources #WilliamOsborne #HistoricalFiction #Jupiter #WW2 #YoungAdult #BlogTour #BookReview #RachelsRandomResources

When Franco, a teenager living in the monastery at Monte Cassino in 1944 uncovers a long-lost Roman Eagle, the fabled Aquila for the Jupiter Legion, he sets in motion a desperate struggle to prevent the Nazis from using it to win the war. In a do-or-die mission, Franco and Dulcie, a teenage mountain girl, must steal the Eagle back and escape before its deadly power is unleashed. Pursued by the implacable forces of the SS they will discover not just the secrets of the Eagle but also themselves.

Amazon UK


I received a copy of this book from The Conrad Press in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I like the staging of this story before the tale, set towards the end of WW2, begins. The legend of Jupiter’s Fire is retold in an exciting visual way. The story is fast-paced. with recognisable historical characters, and full of visual imagery, which allows the reader to see the events in their mind as they unfold.

The protagonists are youthful and the mix of courage and naivety is realistic. The ethos of the final months of World War two is well portrayed, and the historical characters add authenticity to the story. There is a strong thread of myth and supernatural in this story, which makes the conflict the young couple have to face harder and their chances of success less likely.

An interesting story in the style of the ‘mythical search for the holy grail’, against a background of evil, legend and war, full of dangerous secrets and self-realisation for the two young protagonists.

William Osborne – Born 1960 – educated at Greshams School, Holt, Norfolk and Robert Louis Stevenson, Pebble Beach, California,  studied law at Cambridge,(MA),  barrister at law, Member of the Middle Temple. Screenwriter and member of Writers Guild of America (West) – Author (published works, 1994, 1998, Hitler’s Angel, Winter’s Bullet, Jupiter’s Fire).  Lives in Norfolk, enjoys life, film, dog walking, cold water swimming, lego, collecting odd stuff, driving his beach buggy.   

Posted in Book Review

Street Soldier – Andy McNab- 5* Review


Mystery Thriller Blurb

Sean Harker is good at two things: stealing cars and fighting. One earns him money, the other earns him respect from the gang that he calls family.

A police chase through the city streets is just another rite of passage for Sean . . . as is getting nicked. But a brutal event behind bars convinces him to take charge, and turn his life around.

Now he must put his street skills to the ultimate test: as a soldier in the British Army. And the battlefield is London, where innocent people are being targeted by a new and terrifying enemy.

Undercover, under threat – only Sean Harker can save the streets from all-out war.

Mystery Thriller Buy Links

Amazon UK


My Review -1

Street Soldier

The story’s vivid imagery draws the reader into the world of London’s street gangs. Sean Harker has many commendable qualities, despite his criminal intentions and is an easy anti- hero to identify with, whatever your age but particularly for the intended late teen, young adult audience.
This is a hard-hitting story. The reality of Sean’s life as a gang member is often sordid but when his luck runs out, the chance to start again beckons but will he survive it? The scene setting of the first few chapters is so important for the rest of the story, as Sean’s new life collides with his old with alarming consequences.
Although Sean makes some questionable choices and friends, these illustrate his naivety, despite his former life as a gang member. The plot is simple to follow but the strong characters make it exciting and page turning and Sean is definitely a character who could have more adventures in future books.
‘Street Soldier’ is great storytelling with a realistic edge. Fast paced action with a true hero and an overriding theme of hope, whatever the challenges.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.


Street Soldier by Andy McNab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Street Soldier by Andy McNab

Andy McNab

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Posted in Book Review, New Books

5* Review of Ever Near Melissa McVicar

Ever-Near-800-Cover-reveal-and-PromotionalI was asked to review this Young Adult Paranormal novel by the author Melissa MacVicar. Before my review here’s what you can expect from ‘Ever Near’ the first book in the Secret Affinity series.

‘Love is ever near. But trouble is never far.

Nantucket Island is haunted, but only sixteen-year-old Jade Irving knows it. Ignoring the disturbing spirits isn’t an option, because one dwells in the enormous historic home she shares with her newly blended family. Jade is finding it more and more difficult to explain away Lacey’s ghostly, anguished tantrums, especially with Charlie, her gorgeous, almost step-brother, living right across the hall.

When a power-hungry ghost hunter tracks down Jade and blackmails her, Jade’s secret teeters on the edge of exposure, and her entire future hangs in the balance. If anyone finds out Jade can talk to ghosts, her life will be forever changed.

Can she save herself, free Lacey, and hang on to her tenuous connection with Charlie? Or will everything she ever wanted slip through her fingers?

Add Ever Near to your Goodreads

My Review

 Ever Near is a Young Adult Paranormal romance.

Teenage Jade’s unusual supernatural gift seems like a curse. It frightens her and interferes with her already complex life. Living on Nantucket Island with her mother who is about to remarry is complicated enough. Jade rarely sees her father or her paternal grandparents whom she loves and misses. Then there’s Charlie her soon to be step brother who she is crushing on. Fair Ever her new family home proves more challenging than she imagined. Only she can see the sad, tormented ghost who lives there.

Terrible nightmares threaten to reveal her secret and Charlie who sleeps across the hall starts to suspect something is amiss with Jade. As they become emotionally attached Jade’s gift threatens to destroy their new-found feelings.

Jade is a lovely character courageous and vulnerable as she battles with entities she cannot fully understand. She turns to the local ghost hunter for help but he only wants to exploit her gift. Dealing with him matures her and proves she isn’t a victim. Until Charlie realises her secret only in her journal can Jade record and make sense of what she sees. Charlie is a great young hero willing to support and protect Jade despite his misgivings about the truth of Jade’s stories.

The story is interesting and well paced and Jade’s observations about the community humorous. I particularly liked the descriptions of the ghosts which produced vivid images in my mind.
The plot is full of suspense as Jade faces conflict on all sides. Help from an unexpected person makes the ending of the story satisfying and believable.
Ever Near is a charming story with romance, humour, poignancy and suspense which make it an absorbing page turning read.
I received a copy of this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Melissa MacVicarMelissa MacVicar has lived most of her life on Nantucket Island. A true native, she’s able to trace her ancestry back to the island’s first settlers. After attending The Pingree School, she went on to graduate from Franklin and Marshall College with a degree in English. She also received a master’s degree from Boston University School of Social Work. When she turned forty, Melissa decided to renew her adolescent passion for fiction writing. Having once thought writing a novel to be an impossible dream, she’s proud to be achieving her childhood ambition.
Melissa currently lives with her husband and two children on Nantucket where she teaches 7th grade Writing Composition. When she isn’t teaching, parenting, and writing, Melissa enjoys running, eating expensive chocolate, and watching her beloved Patriots.

Posted in Author Interview

Author Interview: Cally Ryanne

Today I am interviewing Cally Ryanne whose debut Young Adult novel Echoes of Balance will be released by Reuts on 17 December 2013.

Welcome to First Steps Cally.

Thanks Jane its great to be here.

What influenced your career choice as a writer?

I don’t really know if I can consider it a career choice; I have a minor in creative writing, but my day job has very little to do with writing (very little because, obvi, literacy is everyone’s problem). But that being said, I’ve been making up stories – and eventually writing them down – ever since I was little, so I think the whole full book thing was just an inevitable hold over of being an only child, or something. And I enjoy it, to boot – you should always do what you enjoy.

What would you like your potential readers to know about ‘Cally Ryanne’?

It’s a pseudonym! It has a blog! It enjoys listening to this one extremely well-trained Pandora station!

What inspired you to write your debut novel ‘Echoes of Balance’?

Chloe (and most of the other characters in Echoes Of Balance) have been with me for a really long time. Like, since I was 11-ish. They had A LOT of remakes between then and now, and a lot of tweaks to their ‘big story’ as I became more of an adult. I took a break from them towards the end of high school/start of college, but when I finally picked them back up, I felt like I was ready to finally give them the stories they deserved. Echoes Of Balance is the first book in Chloe’s story; there’s a few off shoots planned for other characters.

Where do you create your wonderful characters and stories?

Oof, nowadays? Mostly in my apartment. I have a great desk in my bedroom and I have a living room that hates WI-fi, so it’s a nice distraction free environment. When I was writing the first draft of Echoes of Balance, a lot of it was in my college art studio and also at my job. I worked at a place with a lot of downtime, so I’d plot in a notebook and then go home and write.

What is your favourite time of day to write?

Evening-ish I guess? Anytime is fine as long as I can get focused. I don’t do well in extremes – too early and too late and I just won’t be able to think straight.

Tell us a little about ‘Echoes of Balance’.

It’s book one of a planned trilogy that makes up the first half of Chloe’s story. Chloe is the youngest of the Naimei – an ancient line of people charged with keeping the universe in balance. The tasks can often be tedious, and as the youngest, Chloe is always stuck with the most boring tasks. She’s tried to rebel before by striking out on her own as a vampire hunter, but she always comes back to the fold – this time, just in time to help her family to prevent the return of Pan and Damonos, the original demons. At first, her family thinks the situation is – as most imbalances are to the Naimei – an easy fix. But then their Ways begin to fail and Chloe is approached be a debonair vampire named Josef who seems to know more about the situation than any creature should. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if the Naimei weren’t incredibly secretive, xenophobic, and slow to place trust in people. Chloe finds herself quickly led to a darker side of the supernatural, and she has to decide quickly if she accepts the help of the outsider at the risk of betraying her family in order to save the world.

As a new author have you any tips for other new writers?

Mostly, just stick with it. Be willing to rework. I’ve started writing stories about Chloe since I was a kid, and it took me over a decade to find the one that made sense for her as a character and the world she lived in and actually stick. Be willing to go back to the basics and strip everything else away. And if you get to the point of writing something you like, still be willing to rework it! I wish I had a screenshot of what my document looks like after a round of edits. It’s crazy!

Have you written any other books to be released soon?

I don’t know about to be released SOON but there is a draft of the second book in The Ways Trilogy underway and pretty heavy plans for books after that. There’s also a book already started about Maya, a minor character in Chloe’s story.

Where can your readers connect with you on social media?

I have a blog ( and a twitter (@callyryanne) and you can always get in contact with REUTS to get at me.

Where can we buy ‘Echoes of Balance’?

It will be available as a printed copy for order online as well as an e-book in most formats. Stay tuned to for more details!

Add Echoes of Balance on Goodreads.

Thanks for visiting First Steps  today Cally. I am looking forward to reading Echoes of Balance and reviewing here on 18 December 2013.

Here’s the  Echoes Of Balance blurb:

For Chloe Moraine, fighting wild bears– and the occasional vampire– is a better pastime than the tediousness of keeping the universe in balance. But balancing is the family business. It comes with being one of the last in the ancient line of Naimei.

So when the impending return of the Original Demons threatens global harmony, Chloe is obligated to help. Even when that means the dull-as-dirt task of following a human girl who “might be involved, maybe,” instead of the thrilling hunt she craves.

With their powerful magic and ancient Ways, Chloe’s family is unconcerned, certain they’ll quickly fix the imbalance while she’s preoccupied with human high school. But when the Ways start to fail, the threat becomes more serious, and the only person that seems to know anything is a debonair vampire with an offer to help.

If Chloe chooses to trust him, and the darker side of the supernatural he represents, she’ll betray her family and risk losing them, and herself, in the process. But if he’s right, he may just be their only chance to stop the return of the Originals and save the world.

Maybe high school won’t be so boring after all.

Connect with Cally on Goodreads

Connect with Cally on Figment

Here’s more about Cally

 Cally Ryanne is a vegetarian, with a serious avocado habit, in search of the perfect leather jacket. She graduated from a Midwestern art school in 2012 with a BFA in Drawing and a minor in Creative Writing, and then proceeded to do exactly what most art students do after graduation – nothing to do with art. She currently teaches math in New York City to a bunch of kids who call her “Miss.” In her spare time (between the day job and the night-time superhero persona), she writes, piecing together characters and stories that have been following her around since she was a child. She currently lives in uptown Manhattan with some awesome roommates – including her best friend from middle school – and a cat that can’t keep his tongue in his mouth. Echoes of Balance is her debut novel and the first in The Ways Trilogy, a Young Adult urban fantasy.