They say that the course of true love never runs smoothly, and that is certainly true in Lyndsie Morris’ life.
The fourth book in Hansen’s ‘Wildflowers of Scotland’ series, ‘Sweet William’ is an excellent read in which romance is balanced by sass and snark, and happy coincidence is tempered by tragedy. That balance continues in the characters, some of whom are delightful while others are just plain nasty.
It’s fair to say, then, that this story is quite realistic and believable in the way it reflects the best and worst of life and of human nature and challenges the reader to consider how to beat respond to challenges and trials, and how one might seek happiness with a clear conscience at the same time.
The story is well paced and the writing is very good indeed.
It is a rare thing to find a series of books for Young Adult readers that ticks all your favourite boxes: mystery and magic underscored with macabre and gothic elements, strong female characters, quirky twists, and themes and ideas that are universally compelling and interesting for teen and adult readers alike.
Just as it exists in the world-famous Harry Potter series, it exists in The Network Series by Katie Cross. This first book in The Network Series delivers a well-paced, expertly constructed story that ticks all of those boxes and more.
Make no mistake, though: This is no mere imitation. ‘Miss Mabel’s School For Girls’ is original and unique, and the story is thoroughly engaging. The book ends with sufficient resolution to bring the story to a satisfying conclusion while dangling enough magical carrots to leave the reader wanting to just keep reading.
The writing is excellent, creating an environment and atmosphere that is vivid and almost tangible, and propelling the reader into a story full of mystery, suspense and foreboding.
Readers of all ages will find this book hard to put down, and should expect to be left wanting more. Thankfully, there is an entire nine book series, and another fantasy series featuring dragons by the same author, to look forward to.
Ted Halstead is the author of The Russian Agents thriller series. His latest release is the third book in the series, titled The End of America’s War in Afghanistan.
He served twenty-five years in the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer, most of it overseas, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service after his second tour at US Embassy Riyadh. His tours included four years at US Embassy Seoul, and two years at the East Asia Pacific Bureau in DC. He is a National War College graduate, and served for three years at a regional US military headquarters.
While there is continuity of some characters through the series, each of the books is a standalone novel. it is not necessary to read any one book before reading the others. The books are all set in different countries at different times, and each book’s story ends with a satisfying resolution.
What inspired you to write?
Throughout my career in the US Foreign Service, I had experiences that I shared with my fellow officers. From my very first tour, I was told I should write a book about them. Security classification and privacy concerns have made writing a nonfiction account impossible. However, I have worked many of those experiences into my novels.
What’s your favourite thing that you have written?
That’s a very hard question. I will always have a special place in my heart for my first book, which took me almost seven years to write. I poured a lot of myself into The Second Korean War, drawing on the four years I served at the US Embassy in Seoul. That was also true for my second book, The Saudi-Iranian War. I drew on two tours at US Embassy Riyadh for that book, spaced twenty years apart. My third book, The End of America’s War in Afghanistan, has some of my favorite supporting characters. Sadly, many don’t survive. If I must choose one, I have to say The Second Korean War.
What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?
Wasp, by Eric Frank Russell. I read it when I was starting high school, and it made a great impression on me. Published in 1957, it was incredibly far ahead of its time. I genuinely envy anyone who hasn’t read it yet!What are you working on writing now? The End of Russia’s War in Ukraine. Check out my blog, accessible through my Amazon Author Page, for the first couple of pages.
Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?
Coffee, of course!
Who designs your book covers?
Ivan Zanchetta, for all three of my books. Just Google his name to find his site. Highly recommended!
What’s your favourite kind of music?
At the moment, 1970s R&B. Check out the soundtrack for the movie Shaft and see if you agree with me that Isaac Hayes really did deserve his Grammy. Especially for the block of songs following Cafe Regio’s. Or try the song Natural Man by Lou Rawls, and see if you’re as amazed as I am that it came out in 1971.
What’s the best vacation you’ve had?
Hawaii, during my tour in Seoul. After the pollution of early 1990s Seoul, it was such a pleasure to breathe clean air!
What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?
Bureaucracy. I hated it all 25 years I was part of one of the largest on Earth, and did my best to make it bearable for every member of the public we served. You will see this in all my books in many ways.
What movie can you watch over and over again?
The Incredibles. First, it’s one of those rare movies I can safely enjoy watching with my granddaughter. Plus, there are so many sly references to old Bond and superhero movies it takes repeated viewings to find them all!
What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?
I started self-publishing on many sites, including Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Google Books, Apple etc. But I ended up dropping the others because I decided to try making my first book available through Kindle Unlimited, which required me to do Amazon only. I was honestly shocked by how many people read both that book and the others since through KU – literally millions of pages! That actually means more to me than book sales. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s bought a book and either never read it, or just read a few pages before losing interest. As someone who puts a lot of himself into his books, it’s very gratifying to see that people are really reading them!
Thanks for being here and sharing with us today, Tom!
The fourth book in The Kingfountain Series, ‘The Hollow Crown’ is another wonderful foray into the kingdom of Ceredigion and the surrounding lands.
This book changes the focus of the story from Owen Kiskaddon to his daughter, Tryneowy, and the reader is once again drawn into the intrigue and adventure of life among the noble families, wizrs, the fountain-blessed folk, and the villains who conspire against them. It is an exciting and enchanting tale in which the reader becomes deeply immersed. The storytelling is mesmerising and the settings and scenery are richly and vividly drawn.
Tryneowy’s story is both compelling and interesting. As she grows up, she becomes a young woman of strength and determination, guided by her ethics and loyal to her loved ones and the oaths she makes. She is a character that young women can admire, speaking up for equality in an era where women were not able to do all that men could, and showing that people should be valued for their integrity and abilities regardless of gender.
Readers who have not read the previous books in this series will find this to be a complete story on its own, and thoroughly enjoyable as such.
There is, however, a profound sense of being part of something much bigger—an overarching, ‘big picture’ narrative — and evening a sense of belonging that the reader develops throughout this most excellent series. This is the magic and allure of Wheeler’s writing and the world he has created with Kingfountain and the Kiskaddons at its centre.
This is the first of two books thus far in the ‘Wick and Lovelace’ steampunk/gaslamp fiction series, although both Iago Wick and Dante Lovelace both also appear in ‘Iago Wick and the Vampire Queen’.
Similar to life for a tempter such as Iago Wick, this book is never dull. Mystery, adventure, temptation and danger combine to provide a well paced, very entertaining read that hooks the reader early and proceeds to charm them into feeling far more empathy for a demon than most would be willing to consider wise.
Iago and Dante are delightfully devilish, giving the reader an insight into how demons might go about distracting and tempting humans while at the same time being thoroughly charming and polite.
The writing is fluent and witty, vividly bringing to life the Victorian-esque city of Marlowe, Massachusetts, and the spectrum of characters who live there. This is a story laced with dark humour and keen insight into what makes people tick, making it both very readable and deeply fascinating.
Overall, it’s a fabulously wicked and highly recommended read.
‘Cookies and Scream’ is the second book in the Baker Street Cozy Mysteries Series by CeeCee James, which features amateur sleuth Georgie Tanner, her Aunt Cecelia and the fictional historical town of Gainesville, Virginia.
A visit to a local historical re-enactment places Georgie at the heart of a murder mystery that has many roots in both local history and her own past. What ensues is an intriguing and often dangerous chain of events that nudge Georgie closer to the truth.
The story is well-written and the mystery is challenging and interesting. This is shaping up to be a series I am keen to follow.
The Four Horsemen series by C.A. King is a paranormal suspense series that pitches good against evil in a ‘winner takes all’ struggle that culminates in ‘When The Paint Dries’, the fourth and final book in the series.
Meet the four horsemen: Michael, Gabrielle, Uriel and Raphael.
For centuries their sole purpose has been guarding the sealed gates to hell. Without keys, there was never any real threat. That was about to change…
Blond hair and leadership skills go hand in hand, at least for demigods. That sort of fame and glory, however, comes with a hefty price tag. Raphael is living proof of that. The straight and narrow is his destined path, and in all his years, he never once veered, allowing his personal life to fall by the wayside in the name of duty.
He isn’t buying into the madness his siblings are spewing about true love and the keys—in fact—he’s positive it’s all an elaborate scheme. Whoever is masquerading as Dante picked the wrong family to mess with and Raphael will do anything to prove it.
It’s winner takes all in this final instalment of the Four Horsemen Series. When the paint dries, someone has to come out on top, but can they live with themselves when they do?
As the daughter of a vagabond scoundrel, aspiring minstrel Mya has spent her childhood wary of her magical voice while traipsing through dangerous jungles in pursuit of her father’s dream—fortune and glory.
She never imagined Pa’s latest scheme would have her tangling with thieves, sailing across the world on a ship full of pirates, kissing a prince, meeting the foxy elf of her dreams (literally), and dodging the grasp of the most dangerous Sorcerer in Cerion, all the while wondering: Where is Pa?
A mysterious note promising he’ll meet her soon pushes Mya toward options she never considered before. She could go on living at the mercy of her father’s endless plots, or create the home she’s longed for in Cerion, and finally embrace the power of her own voice.
Missy Sheldrake is an epic daydreamer and a muse of positivity who weaves worlds full of character-driven, complex fantasy adventures.
In 2014, she dusted off an unfinished, Tassy Walden Award-winning manuscript from her college days, started writing her first novel, Call of Kythshire, and never looked back. In four short years, she completed the five-book Keepers of the Wellsprings series, an epic high-fantasy young adult adventure that was awarded the Golden Squirrel Independent Book Award in 2017 for Best Fantasy!
When she isn’t writing, Missy can be found creating fantastical artworks in paint and clay, wandering hidden forest paths, and concocting plots for imaginary people who are beyond real to her.
Find out what she’s up to next at http://www.missysheldrake.com, on Instagram @m_sheldrake, on Twitter @missysheldrake, and on Facebook as Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake
Elfrida, or Ælfryth, was the first anointed and crowned queen of England, ruling alongside her husband, Edgar, in the 10th century.
‘The First Queen Of England’ Part 2 is the second instalment of Elfrida’s story, and shows just how strong and resilient she was in a world dominated by patriarchy, politics and warfare.
Just like the first book in the series, this book is very well written and is entirely consistent with the historical context of the story, even though it is undoubtedly fiction.
It is a significant achievement on the author’s part to reanimate characters from the long-distant past in such a way that the reader feels as though they know them and can understand their concerns, cares and motivations. It is pleasing to witness the dynamics of the characters as they mature, and intriguing to observe the intricacies of the machinations and politics at court and the personal impact on the queen and king as individuals as well as rulers.
The narration by Sheila Daly Payson is most enjoyable. Her voice is pleasant and her reading is fluent. Her characterisation of the different roles is effective, and really brings the various characters to life.
As richly detailed and intriguing as part 1, ‘The First Queen Of England, Part 2’ is a most enjoyable story. This is in every aspect a very pleasurable audiobook experience, and is also available as an ebook or paperback.
A family’s search for a long-lost great aunt turns into a riveting investigation for Morton Farrier, a forensic genealogist with a passion for discovering the truths and intricacies of the past.
This case takes the reader back to 1911 and into the upstairs/downstairs world of a family and estate that rivals those of Downton Abbey for both prestige and drama. It is a world with which we have become very familiar through TV and film as well as novels, but in this book, the author immerses the reader in both the historical story and in Morton’s investigation with a sense of familiarity and first-hand observation that is quite remarkable.
As with the first book in this series, this is a very well written story that, once started, demands to be read regardless of other priorities. It is interesting, dramatic and suspenseful, with some completely unexpected twists.