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New books – February 2015 Hot Picks

3 Feb

Hello and welcome to February! I’ve had quite a slow start to my reading year – we’re moving house soon and there’s been lots going on at work so my reading and blogging had to take a bit of a back seat but I’m hoping to pick up the pace again this month! With that in mind, here are the books that I’m hoping to read this month – what’s on your list for February?

ivy laneIvy Lane by Cathy Bramley (12th February, Corgi)

I read this book when it was published as a four-part serial last year. I loved it so much that I can’t wait to get my hands on a paperback of the complete story to add to my favourites shelf. I’ll publish a full review near publication date but I can’t recommend this book highly enough if you’re looking for a lovely story filled with romance and great characters. Look out for the first part of Cathy’s new serialisation Appleby Farm on 5th February too!

From spring to summer, autumn to winter, a lot can happen in a single year . . .

Tilly Parker needs a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude if she is ever to leave the past behind and move on with her life. As she seeks out peace and quiet in a new town, taking on a plot at Ivy Lane allotments seems like the perfect solution.

But the friendly Ivy Lane community has other ideas and gradually draw Tilly in to their cosy, comforting world of planting seedlings, organizing bake sales and planning seasonal parties.

As the seasons pass, will Tilly learn to stop hiding amongst the sweetpeas and let people back into her life – and her heart?

The May Bride by Suzannah Dunn (12th February, Abacus)the may bride

I really enjoyed this historical novel, written in the first person from the point of view of the young Jane Seymour. Tudor history fans will love the new perspective on Jane’s life.

When Edward Seymour brings Katherine Filliol home to Wolf Hall, his sister Jane is captivated by his new bride. Over the course of a long, hot country summer, the two become close friends and allies, while Edward is busy advancing his career at court.

Two years later, the family is torn apart by a dreadful allegation made by Edward against his wife. The repercussions for all the Seymours are incalculable, not least for Katherine herself. When Jane is sent away, to serve Katharine of Aragon, she is forced to witness another wife being put aside, with terrible consequences. Changed forever by what happened to Katherine Filliol, Jane comes to understand that in a world where power is held entirely by men, there is a way in which she can still hold true to herself.

hurricane sistersThe Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank (12th February, Simon and Schuster)

I’m reading this book now and can’t believe I haven’t read a book by Dorothea Benton Frank before – great setting and lots of sassy characters!

Hurricane season begins early and rumbles all summer long – for three generations of one family, drama is headed in their direction too. At eighty, determined matriarch Maisie Pringle is a force to be reckoned with. She will have the final word on everything, especially when she’s dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz’s beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, dreams of a future that keeps them all at odds. This storm season, Maisie, Liz, and Ashley will deal with challenges that demand they face the truth about themselves. Can they establish a new order for the future of the family? This is the often hilarious, sometimes sobering but always entertaining story of how these unforgettable women became The Hurricane Sisters.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (12th February, Orion)red queen

I’ve heard lots of good things about this debut fantasy and am looking forward to finding out more.

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .

vintage weddingA Vintage Wedding by Katie Fforde (12th February, Century)

A new Katie Fforde book is always a treat and this one sounds like a fab spring read.

In a small Cotswold country town, Beth, Lindy and Rachel are looking for new beginnings.

So they set up in business, organising stylish and perfectly affordable vintage weddings.

Soon they are busy arranging other people’s Big Days.

What none of them know is that their own romances lie waiting, just around the corner …

finn fancyFinn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson (13th February, Titan Books)

Randy Henderson’s debut has been likened to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline which I absolutely loved. Randy won the 2014 Writers of the Future Award so I’m looking forward to reading this one.

Found guilty of a terrible crime he didn’t commit in 1986, 15-year-old necromancer Finn Gramaraye was exiled to the Other Realm for 25 years. But now he s back in the mortal world and is disappointed to discover that he s middle-aged, DeLoreans can’t fly, and he s been framed for using dark magic, again. All Finn wants is to pick up the pieces of his life and patch things up with his family: his mad scientist father, the ghost of his mother, a sister who is allergic to magic, a younger brother who thinks he s a werewolf and an older brother who is most unhappy to see him. But with just three days to clear his name before he is sent back into exile forever, Finn will need all the help he can get to figure out who wants him gone, and why.

fire sermonThe Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig (26th February, Harper Voyager). 

I recently attended a launch event for this brilliant book and heard Francesca talk about her inspiration for it. Set to be a big hit!

When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. The complete set. They would have been disbelieving – nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega.

Nobody.

Born as twins. Raised as enemies.

One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.

The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.

The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they’re free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.

Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.

The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power.

The Dandelion Years by Erica James (26th February, Orion)dandelion years

I’ve not read any of Erica James’s novels before but I love discovering new authors and this story promises three of my favourite topics; books, history and romance!

Ashcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling pink cottage on the edge of the Suffolk village of Melbury Green, its enchanting garden provided a fairy-tale playground of seclusion, a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood.

Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to the broken, battered books that find their way to her, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a notebook carefully concealed in an old Bible – and realising someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own – Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love…

summer at beach streetSummer at the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (26th February, Sphere)

I’m really looking forward to another seaside-set read from Jenny. This book sounds delicious!

Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn’t be happier. Because Polly is in love: she’s in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she’s in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she’s in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there’s something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that’s floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend’s fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he’d left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (26th February, Tor) rithmatist

As you may have gathered, I’m aiming to read a lot more fantasy this year and this crossover novel from Brandon Sanderson sounds right up my street!

Joel is fascinated by the magic of Rithmatics, but few have the gift and he is not one of them. Undaunted, he persuades Professor Fitch to teach him magical theory. Joel can’t infuse his protective lines and circles with power, or bring his chalk-drawn creatures to life, but he’s quick to master the underlying geometric principles. His unique skills will soon face an extraordinary test when top Rithmatist students are kidnapped from his Academy.

Since he’s not a magic user, Joel appears to be safe – but he’s desperate to investigate and prove himself. Then people start dying. However, can Joel really stop a killer alone? As even more students disappear, he realizes he’ll need the help of Rithmatist apprentice Melody. Together, they must race to find clues before the killer notices them – and takes them out too.

darker shade magicA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (27th February, Titan)

There’s been quite a buzz about this book on Twitter already and one of my favourite authors, Deborah Harkness described it as ‘wonderful’ which makes me very excited to read it!!

Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There is Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There is Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…

 

New books – January 2015 Hot Picks

4 Jan

Happy New Year! And welcome to a fabulous new reading year. There are lots of excellent new books out to start the year so if you’re holding on to your Christmas book tokens then here’s my ten hot picks for this month to tempt you …

lucy-diamond-untitled-1-978144725778301The Year Of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond (1st January, Pan Macmillan)

I love Lucy’s books so this is the perfect way to start the year!

Because love is always worth the risk…

It’s New Year’s Eve, and Gemma and Spencer Bailey are throwing a house party. There’s music, dancing, champagne and all their best friends under one roof. It’s going to be a night to remember.

Also at the party is Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her much-missed mum’s house and to figure out what to do with her life; and Saffron, a PR executive who’s keeping a secret which no amount of spin can change. The three women bond over Gemma’s dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and vow to make this year their best one yet.

But as the months unfold, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin find themselves tested to their limits by shocking new developments. Family, love, work, home – all the things they’ve taken for granted are thrown into disarray. Under pressure, they are each forced to rethink their lives and start over. But dare they take a chance on something new?

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin (1st January, Black Swan)rabbit hayes

I’m reading this one now and it’s brilliant, heartbreaking and funny. It’s also just been picked as one of the Richard and Judy Book Club Spring Reads!

Here is a truth that can’t be escaped: for Mia ‘Rabbit’ Hayes, life is coming to an end …

Rabbit Hayes loves her life, ordinary as it is, and the extraordinary people in it. She loves her spirited daughter, Juliet; her colourful, unruly family; the only man in her big heart, Johnny Faye. But it turns out the world has other plans for Rabbit, and she’s OK with that. Because she has plans for the world too, and only a handful of days left to make them happen.

Here is a truth that won’t be forgotten: this is a story about laughing through life’s surprises and finding the joy in every moment.

Miss PrimThe Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera (6th January, Abacus)

I read this book over Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it! Look out for my full review later this week.

Prudencia Prim is a young woman of intelligence and achievement, with a deep knowledge of literature and several letters after her name. But when she accepts the post of private librarian in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois, she is unprepared for what she encounters there. Her employer, a book-loving intellectual, is dashing yet contrarian, always ready with a critique of her cherished Jan
e Austen and Louisa May Alcott. The neighbours, too, are capable of charm and eccentricity in equal measure, determined as they are to preserve their singular little community from the modern world outside.

Prudencia hoped for friendship in San Ireneo but she didn’t suspect that she might find love – nor that the course of her new life would run quite so rocky, would offer challenge and heartache as well as joy, discovery and fireside debate. The Awakening of Miss Prim is a distinctive and delightfully entertaining tale of literature, philosophy and the search for happiness.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (15th January, Tor)the-invisible-library-book-one-978144725623601

A fantastic debut filled with books, magic and action packed adventure – highly recommended!

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently.

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

SummertimeSummertime by Vanessa Lafaye (15th January, Orion)

If historical fiction is your thing then you’ll definitely want to add Vanessa Lafaye’s debut to your reading list!

Florida, 1935. Heron Key is a small town where the relationships are as tangled as the mangrove roots in the swamp. Everyone is preparing for the 4th of July barbecue, unaware that their world is about to change for ever. Missy, the Kincaid family’s maid and nanny, feels that she has wasted her life pining for Henry, whom she has not seen since he went to fight on the battlefields of France in WWI. Now he has returned with a group of other desperate, destitute veterans on a government works project, unsure of his future, ashamed of his past.

When a white woman is found beaten nearly to death in the early hours, suspicion falls on Henry. Old grievances and prejudices threaten to derail the investigation. As the tensions rise, the barometer starts to plummet. The residents think they’re ready, and so do the soldiers. They are wrong. Nothing in their experience could prepare them for what is coming. For far out over the Atlantic, the greatest storm ever to strike North America is heading their way…

Mobile Library by David Whitehouse (15th January, Picador)mobile library

I love books about books so this one is a must read for me!

Twelve-year-old Bobby Nusku is an archivist of his mother. He catalogues traces of her life and waits for her to return home.

Bobby thinks that he’s been left to face the world alone until he meets lonely single mother Val and her daughter Rosa. They spend a magical summer together, discovering the books in the mobile library where Val works as a cleaner. But as the summer draws to a close, Bobby finds himself in trouble and Val is in danger of losing her job. There’s only one thing to do — and so they take to the road in the mobile library…

Quirky, dark, magical and full of heart, Mobile Library is both a tragicomic road trip and a celebration of the adventures that books can take us on. It’s a love-letter to unlikely families and the stories that shaped us.

now that vive found youNow That I’ve Found You by Ciara Geraghty (15th January, Hodder)

I’m a big fan of Ciara’s books and this new one is no exception! Look out for my stop on her blog tour later this month.

Vinnie is an ordinary man. Ellen is an ordinary woman.

Ellen is unable to move on after a terrible accident that left her mentally and physically scarred.

Taxi driver Vinnie is struggling to cope with bringing up two children on his own.

Everyone deserves to find that one person who’s meant for them, don’t they?

Fall in love with the story of Vinnie and Ellen. Because ordinary lives can be extraordinary.

Frostfire by Amanda Hocking (15th January, Tor) Frostfire-by-Amanda-Hocking-393x600

I enjoyed Amanda Hocking’s Trylle trilogy so I’m excited to read this new series set in the same world.

Will she give up her dream to follow her heart?

Bryn Aven is determined to gain status amongst the Kanin, the most powerful of the hidden tribes. But as a half-blood, winning respect is a huge challenge. Bryn’s almost-human community distrusts people, and those from other tribes are almost as suspect.

She has just one goal to get ahead: to join the elite guard protecting the Kanin royal family. And Bryn’s vowed that nothing will stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss, Ridley Dresden.

But her plans are put on hold when fallen hero Konstantin starts acting dangerously. Bryn loved him once, but now he’s kidnapping Kanin children – stealing them from hidden placements within human families. She’s sent to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

first frostFirst Frost by Sarah Addison Allen (29th Janury, Hodder)

I’m such a big fan of Sarah Addison Allen’s books and so excited that she’s written a sequel to Garden Spells – if you haven’t read it yet, there’s still plenty of time to read or re-read before First Frost s published at the end of the month!

Autumn has finally arrived in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina, heralded by a strange old man appearing with a beaten-up suitcase. He has stories to tell, stories that could change the lives of the Waverley women forever. But the Waverleys have enough trouble on their hands. Quiet Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies, but it’s nothing like she thought it would be, and it’s slowly taking over her life. Claire’s wild sister Sydney, still trying to leave her past behind, is about to combust with her desire for another new beginning. And Sydney’s fifteen-year-old daughter Bay has given her heart away to the wrong boy and can’t get it back.

The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith (29th January, The Borough Press)landa and sea

I’m always attracted to books about the sea so couldn’t resist adding this to my list.

August, 1793. On the hot, humid coast of North Carolina nine-year-old Tabitha fills her pockets with fish bones and shells, to bring the ocean back to her room. The act, perhaps, of a child conceived at sea.

At night young Tab sits with her father by the shore to hear stories of her mother Helen, the pull of the ocean born into them both. John longs to sail the sea as he did before the war, but knows he must stay on steady land for his daughter. But when Tab catches yellow fever John turns to what he knows, and steals her onto a boat bound for Bermuda in the hope the sea air will cure, as Tab’s precious life hangs in the balance.

The same coast twenty years earlier, and Helen is given a slave girl for her tenth birthday. Moll’s arrival is intended to teach Helen discipline but soon the girls are confidantes, an unlikely alliance. It’s an enduring friendship until the arrival of John, a pirate turned soldier. And as the town is threatened in the dying embers of the Revolution, Helen must decide between a life of security on the family plantation and a sea adventure with the man she loves.

 

So there you have it – my first hot picks for the year. What’s on your must read list for January?

 

Giveaway! Two copies of Lost Souls by A. O. Esther to be won!

15 Nov

Last week I posted an extract from A.O Esther’s UK fantasy debut, Lost Souls and today I’m excited to announce the chance to win a paperback copy of the book!

Book1-LostSouls-Cover

 

When angel Sophiel is instructed to head down from Heaven to save the souls of the dead on Earth, she finds herself at the centre of a war with the dark angels. Stripped of her celestial form and mortally wounded Sophiel comes face to face with Elijah, the angel of fire, and is in grave danger … until Elijah saves her. Carrying her to safety and away from his army of mercenaries, Elijah and Sophiel find themselves drawn to one another. Can they face the evil Magus together? Amongst his soldiers and courtesans, how much will Elijah risk to keep Sophiel alive? Torn from The Forest and Sky dwellers who call themselves her kin, and held in a human body driven by desires she doesn’t understand, can Sophiel trust the Dark Angel at the centre of everything she has been sent so far to stop?

To enter this giveaway just leave a ‘pick me’ comment in the box below and I’ll draw two winners using Random.org after the closing date.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Saturday 23rd November.

Good luck!

Book review: Vowed by Liz de Jager

6 Nov

Vowed-cover-visual-395x600The Blackhart Code: Don’t let the monsters grind you down

A Blackhart can see the supernatural behind everyday crimes. But some crimes hide even greater evils . . .

Kit Blackhart must investigate why children are disappearing from a London estate. Their parents, the police and Kit’s fae allies claim to know nothing. And as more children disappear, the pressure mounts. Luckily, or unluckily, government trainee Dante Alexander is helping Kit with the case. Yet just as her feelings towards him begin to thaw, his life falls apart. As Kit struggles to unravel Dante’s problems and solve their case, she meets fae Prince Thorn in her dreams – but their relationship is utterly forbidden.

Then Kit digs too deep, uncovering a mystery that’s been hidden for one thousand years. It’s a secret that could just tear down our world.

I’ll start this review with full disclosure – Liz de Jager is a friend of mine. We met as fellow bloggers at a publishing event a few years ago and it’s been wonderful watching Liz get her publishing deal and seeing Banished and now Vowed hit the book shelves. I reviewed Banished - book one in the Blackhart Trilogy earlier this year and I’ve been dying to share my thoughts on Vowed with you for a long time now!

Vowed takes the elements that I enjoyed most in Banished and turns them up a notch putting the ‘urban’ to the fore in this fantasy novel.With a thrilling opening which had me hooked, we are drawn into a new case for Kit to try to solve; young children being abducted by what appears to be a paranormal entity. Although the main story-line runs in parallel with flashes to Prince Thorn’s experiences in the Otherwhere, providing continuity from the end of Banished, this novel felt quite different in tone to me. It’s only months since she fought an almighty battle at the end of Banished and Kit is still the kick-ass heroine I loved in book one but with a new-found maturity and assurance, particularly in relation to her powers.

I was pleased to see plenty of werewolf Aiden in Vowed too as he was one of my favourites from Banished and I loved the details of his character and boyfriend/girlfriend preferences that Liz slipped into the story. As with Banished, there are certainly hints of romance in Vowed but they aren’t the focal point for the story and this is refreshing. Kit and Aiden’s banter keeps the narrative flowing and with the addition of new guy Dante, the story zips along at a great pace.

So, let’s talk about Dante for a minute. I think he will gain a place in many people’s book boyfriend lists! With Prince Thorn stuck in the Otherwhere, Dante becomes the other side of the Kit and Aiden triangle and I enjoyed the new direction that he added to the story. Dante is a junior agent with Her Majesty’s Department of Supernatural Defence and Intervention and immediately sets Kit on edge. It was fun to watch their relationship develop and I liked the mystery surrounding Dante and his background.

Vowed is peppered with film and comic book references and told with dry wit that often had me smiling. With action taking place in an expanded world featuring a much larger cast of supporting characters and a fabulous fictional nightclub Milton’s alongside familiar London settings like, Brixton Greenwich and The British Museum, the believable mythology that Liz has created really comes to life; I could actually believe that this story was happening down the road from where I live!

The mystery element makes Vowed a real page turner and I couldn’t guess what the reason behind it was. When the big reveal came I was wowed because it was something that I’d never have imagined and I love that Liz managed to completely surprise me. The finale leaves us all set for the conclusion to this trilogy but Vowed also reads well as a standalone story. If you haven’t read Banished then I urge you to do so soon and add Vowed to your reading lists now!

5/5

Vowed is published by Tor and is released today in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank Liz for sending me a review copy of this book.

Find out more about Liz de Jager and her writing at: http://www.lizdejager.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect Paranormal – Halloween Hot Picks 2014

30 Oct

From vampires and werewolves to witches, magic and haunting ghost stories; there’s something for everyone in this year’s paranormal picks. Happy Halloween reading!

rooms laurenRooms by Lauren Oliver (Hodder, September 2014)

A haunting adult fiction debut from this bestselling children’s and young adult author. Look out for my interview with Lauren tomorrow!

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong (Orbit, October 2014)

otherworld nights

I read one of Kelly Armstrong’s young adult books earlier this year and was intrigued to dip into this collection of short stories and novellas featuring characters from the Otherworld series. I loved the way Kelley brings the paranormal into our world and was so impressed that I’ve ordered the first book in the series!

A suspenseful, new collection of stories and novellas, both original and curated by the author from her short fiction.

Sunday Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong captivated readers with her Women of the Otherworld series of supernatural thrillers. In this new anthology, favourite characters return in stories of drama, danger and desire. Legendary werewolf partners Elena and Clay stalk the pages of this book, along with vampires, witches, half-demons and sorcerers.

Filled with fan favourites and rarities, Otherworld Nights concludes with a brand-new novella, ‘Vanishing Act’. This thrilling longer story is set after series finale 13, and features much-loved characters Savannah and Adam as they begin a new life – and a mysterious new case – together.

Declan CoverThe Keepers: Declan by Rae Rivers (HarperImpulse, June 2014)

Gripping paranormal romance from Rae Rivers – one of my favourite paranormal romance series of recent years. You can read the prequel to this series:,The Keepers: Sienna for free!

Declan Bennett has zero tolerance for thieves. He and his brothers, the Keepers, are fiercely protective of their witch, Sienna, and their privacy.

So when Kate Carrigan breaks into their estate, he’ll be damned if he lets the little wildcat get away with it – especially after she seduced him three months ago, leaving him buck-naked in a New Orleans hotel. Declan wants payback – and some answers.
Before she was murdered, Kate’s mother ingrained it in her not to trust anyone. Kate’s magical powers make her a pawn in the war between good and evil, a war she’s always avoided. Declan is everything she’s been taught to fear, even if she can’t forget the memory of his touch that one night…

Trouble is brewing as the powers of evil regroup – bolder and hungrier than ever – and Kate is forced to choose a side.

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (Headline, July 2014)book of life

The brilliant final part of the trilogy. I can’t recommend these books highly enough!

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

After travelling through time in SHADOW OF NIGHT, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchant­ing series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home in France they reunite with their families – with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowl­edge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

Banished-by-Liz-de-JagerBanished by Liz de Jager (Tor, February 2014)

Feisty Kit Blackheart is a match for anyone in this excellent debut – you’ve just got time to read it before the second novel in the trilogy, Vowed is released next week!

Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s living with her unorthodox cousins and sharing their strange lives. Especially since their home-schooling includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons.

But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies.

As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.

My So Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray (May 2014) my so called afterlife

Released with this fab new cover, earlier in the year, My So Called Afterlife is in turns wickedly funny and hauntingly heartbreaking. I love the way Tamsyn writes!

Imagine setting off for home one dark New Year’s Eve and never reaching your front door. Imagine losing everything you’ve ever known in one horrific moment. Imagine knowing you’ll never hug your mum or dad again. And imagine having to spend eternity in the most horrific, awful place you can think of… For fifteen year old Lucy Shaw, that’s reality. Stuck in the men’s toilets on Carnaby Street, she’s trying to come to terms with her own death, the bone-crushing loneliness and a floor that’s swimming with pee. Until the unlikeliest of saviours walks into her afterlife, that is – a twenty-seven year old lighting engineer called Jeremy, the only person who’s ever known she was there. Together, they find a way to get Lucy out of the loo and discover there’s a whole afterlife of mates, parties and boys just waiting to be discovered. But the shadow of Lucy’s murderer is looming again and it’s only a matter of time before someone else gets hurt. Is Lucy about to lose everything she loves again?

thinking womenThe Thinking Woman’s Guide to Magic by Emily Croy Barker (Penguin, July 2014)

A detailed and impressively imagined magical debut novel with elements of time travel, fantasy and romance in turns glittering and dark!

When Nora Fischer stumbles, quite literally, into a magical world where everyone is glamorous and life is one long party, she’s immediately captivated.

What she doesn’t realise, because everything is such fun, is that there’s a darker side to her new friends. In fact, it’s only after she agrees to marry the charismatic, masterful Raclin that she discovers she’s a prisoner in this new world.

If Nora is to escape, then she has just one hope: the magician Aruendiel. And if she can also persuade him to teach her the art of real magic, then she might just be able to return home.

Is that what she wants, though? Aruendiel has a biting tongue, a shrouded past and no patience, so there’s no way Nora could be falling for him… Is there?

The Winter Ghosts Kate Mosse (Orion, October 2014) winter ghosts

I’ve enjoyed a number of Kate Mosse’s novels and am looking forward to reading this book soon – I love this newly released cover.

The Great War took much more than lives. It robbed a generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson’s case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. Unable to cope with his grief, Freddie has spent much of the time since in a sanatorium.

In the winter of 1928, still seeking resolution, Freddie is travelling through the French Pyrenees – another region that has seen too much bloodshed over the years. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Shaken, he stumbles into the woods, emerging by a tiny village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful local woman, also mourning a lost generation. Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories of remembrance and loss. By the time dawn breaks, he will have stumbled across a tragic mystery that goes back through the centuries.

By turns thrilling, poignant and haunting, this is a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.

 

Book news: Vowed by Liz de Jager

25 Jun

I was so excited to see this yesterday over on the TOR books blog – I loved the cover for Liz’s debut Banished but I think I love this one even more! I can’t wait to see it sitting on my shelf!

Vowed is the second book in The Blackhart Legacy trilogy and will be released on 6th November so you’ve got plenty of time to read (or re-read) Banished before it comes out and if you haven’t discovered this fantastic series yet, I’m giving away two signed copies of Banished at the moment so get your entries in!

Vowed-cover-visual-395x600

 

The Blackhart Code:
Don’t let the monsters grind you down

A Blackhart can see the supernatural behind everyday crimes. But some crimes hide even greater evils…

Kit Blackhart must investigate why children are disappearing from a London estate. However, their parents, police and fae allies claim to know nothing. And as yet more children disappear, the pressure mounts. Luckily, or unluckily, government trainee Dante Alexander is helping Kit with the case. Yet just as her feelings towards him begin to thaw, his life falls apart. As Kit struggles to unravel his problems and dangerous secrets, she meets fae Prince Thorn in her dreams – but their relationship is utterly forbidden.

Then Kit digs too deep, and uncovers a mystery that’s been hidden for one thousand years. It’s a secret that could just tear down our world.

Find out more about Liz and her writing at: http://www.lizdejager.co.uk/

Follow Liz on Twitter:  @LizUK

Follow Liz on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/lizdejagerwriter

Book review: The Keepers – Declan by Rae Rivers

14 Jun

Declan Cover“You lied to me, misled me, attacked me,” Declan murmured, dipping his head toward hers, “but what we had three months ago wasn’t fake, was it?”

Kate’s gaze faltered to his lips, heat pulsing between them. But she didn’t deny it.

Declan Bennett has zero tolerance for thieves. He and his brothers, the Keepers, are fiercely protective of their witch, Sienna, and their privacy.

So when Kate Carrigan breaks into their estate, he’ll be damned if he lets the little wildcat get away with it – especially after she seduced him three months ago, leaving him buck-naked in a New Orleans hotel. Declan wants payback – and some answers.

Before she was murdered, Kate’s mother ingrained it in her not to trust anyone. Kate’s magical powers make her a pawn in the war between good and evil, a war she’s always avoided. Declan is everything she’s been taught to fear, even if she can’t forget the memory of his touch that one night…

Trouble is brewing as the powers of evil regroup – bolder and hungrier than ever – and Kate is forced to choose a side.

I’ve been excitedly waiting for the next book in Rae Rivers Keepers series since The Keepers: Archer was released a year ago. This book turns the spotlight on middle brother Declan. Declan is the wild and adventurous Keeper brother and as he meets his match in feisty Kate, this is an action packed and gripping paranormal romance read.

The action really does start from the first page and I loved the pace of this novel as Sienna and her Keepers struggle to keep harmony between the supernatural worlds and the world we know. The fight scenes are energetic and imaginative and I’m impressed by Rae’s world building.

Although we met Kate briefly at the end of Archer, this is the book where we really get to know her. Kate is only just beginning to discover her powers and what they mean. She is a fabulously strong character both mentally and physically and I loved her ability to defend herself and constantly surprise her pursuers and captors!

It was interesting to see how she was viewed and the reality of the situations she finds herself in and I think Rae strikes just the right balance between Declan and his Keeper urge to protect and Kate being able to look after herself an assert her independence. There’s much to discover about Kate’s powers in this book and some fabulous twists to the story as the truth is revealed.

I loved Rae’s use of different locations; from a heaving bar in New Orleans to a lakeside mountain retreat in Canada and the familiar sanctuary of Sienna and her Keepers home in Rapid Falls, the locations are beautifully described. I could easily see The Keepers as a TV series and I loved the humour and banter that the characters have with each other.

I think Rae has really hit her stride with this second book in the series; the relationships and characters feel more established and the mythology is strong and original. Add to that the brilliant spark between Kate and hot-headed Declan and The Keepers: Declan is a winner! This series is fast becoming one of my favourite adult paranormal series and I can’t wait for the final installment which will focus on the youngest Keeper brother, Ethan.

5/5

The Keepers: Declan is out now in ebook formats.

Find out more about Rae Rivers and her writing at: http://www.raerivers.com/

Visit

Giveaway and author interview: Jane Lovering

13 Jun

Today I’m delighted to welcome author Jane Lovering to One More Page to celebrate the paperback release of her latest novel Falling Apart, the second book in The Otherworlders series. Jane lives in North Yorkshire with her family and pets. Jane’s likes include marshmallows, the smell of cucumbers, words beginning with B, the smell of the understairs cupboard, and Doctor Who. You can find out more about Jane from her blog and website at http://www.janelovering.co.uk Welcome Jane!

Jane with award copyThe second book in The Otherworlders series has just been released. Please could you tell us a little about it.

Falling Apart revolves around the same central cast of characters as Vampire State of Mind, but now with added Zombie!  We’re following Sil and Jess’s relationship as they try to work out how the hell a vampire and a human(ish) woman can ever really be together, especially as, in the course of the book, Sil does something very, very bad.  There’s a lot of biscuits consumed, a lot of filing is done, and Jess and Liam are still very badly underpaid – oh, and the zombies are under attack; it’s Jess’s job to try to keep them safe from the Britain for Humans party that keeps trying to set fire to them.

Did I mention that there are also biscuits?

What drew you to writing paranormal romance and what are your inspirations for The Otherworlders series?

I thought it might be fun to play with some of the stereotypes in vampire fiction – after all, no-one ever asks the question ‘how the hell can a vampire and a human ever be together, when he’s going to live for hundreds of years and she’s going to get older and more wrinkly and irrascible’, do they?  I wanted to take the whole ‘vampires are amazing’ thing and dirty it up a bit – one of my vampires is very OCD, and they’re all a bit sarcastic.  Although they look fantastic, they’re just humans at heart, with all the flaws and tics that humans have.  They just look better when they’re being obsessive, that’s all.  And you can forgive a lot from a man in Armani…

I’m not sure where the inspirations came from.  My characters use ‘Buffy’ as a bit of a yardstick, so I think I may have watched a little bit more than is good for me.  Plus The Count from the Muppets.  These two are pretty much the only vampires I’ve ever watched, so they must have been my inspirations, surely?

I love that this series is set in one of my favourite UK cities, York. Why did you choose York as the setting?

I live about 30 miles north of York, so it’s my nearest shopping town, which makes research very easy.  Whilst wandering the lanes looking for shoe-related bargains, or hanging round outside Hotel Chocolat with a longing expression on my face, I’m really doing research.  Plus, if you ask me, London gets far too much of the literary action, sometimes it’s nice to read about places north of Watford, and York is such an iconic city, it’s wonderful to drop vampires on it sometimes.

If you could be one of your characters for a day, which of the Otherworlders would you choose and what would you do with your new powers?

My vampires don’t really have much in the way of powers. I mean, they can glamour people, but that’s only glorified hypnosis, they can hear and see better and move faster than humans, but then, so can dogs.  Anyway, I think I’d be Zan.  He’s tremendously cool and very in control, plus he knows everything about computers, so I’d be able to use his abilities to see if I can get Facebook to stop switching between Most Recent and Top Stories. I bet Zan could sort that out.

Vampires! They’re everywhere. Aside from your own lovely creations, who are your favourite literary vamps? 

I’d have to say, Terry Pratchett’s vampires.  They’re very cool and vampiric, but still a bit rubbish at times.

Finally, what can we expect next from Jane Lovering?

Well, I might get up, go for a bit of a walk, maybe have a cup of tea…oh. I see what you mean.  Well, I’ve got another book out with Choc Lit in December, it’s a contemporary romantic comedy called How I Wonder What You Are, and stars an astrophysicist, the North York Moors and a horse called Stan.

Thanks Jane – I’m already looking forward to How I Wonder What You Are and any book that features lovely Yorkshire is a sure fire hit for me!Falling Apart is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

You can follow Jane on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/janelovering
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1tqEnow
Her Blog: 
http://www.janelovering.co.uk/ 

9781781891131Giveaway!

Jane’s lovely publisher ChocLit has kindly given me a shiny new copy of Falling Apart to give to one lucky reader.

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment in the box below.  I’ll draw a winner using Random.org after the closing date.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Tuesday 17th June.

Good luck!

Book event: Join in with #BookADay in June

2 Jun

Publisher Borough Press has come up with a fab idea to get everyone talking about books this month with #BOOKADAY. It’s really easy to join in – just tweet your book each day under the headings below.

photo (1)

I’ll be tweeting mine each day but I thought it would also be nice to record my answers here on the blog with a little more on my choices. Do feel free to join in by leaving a comment in the box below.

faraway tree1st  Favourite book from childhood 

The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. My Mum read these and The Wishing Chair stories to me and my brother when we were little and they bring back magical memories for me. I’m looking forward to sharing them with my boys now. My other childhood favorite when I was a little bit older was What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge!

2nd Best bargain photo (24)

I often buy bargain books in charity shops because they have lovely or unusual covers. I found this beautiful version of The Life and Death of Charlie St Cloud by Ben Sherwood in a local charity shop for 99p. Bargain indeed!

3rd One with a blue cover

4th Least favourite book by favourite author

5th Doesn’t belong to me

6th The one I always give as a gift

7th Forgot I owned it

8th Have more than one copy

9th Film or tv tie-in

10th Reminds me of someone I love

11th Secondhand bookshop gem

12th I pretend to have read it

13th Makes me laugh

14th An old favourite

15th Favourite fictional father

16th Can’t believe more people haven’t read

17th Future classic

18th Bought on a recommendation

19th Still can’t stop talking about it

20th Favourite cove

21st Summer read

22nd Out of print

23rd Made to read at school

24th Hooked me in to reading

25th Never finished it

26th Should have sold more copies

27th Want to be one of the characters

28th Bought at my fave independent bookshop

29th The one I have reread most often

30th Would save if my house burned down

Book review: Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

11 May

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. 

Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn’t want. When she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot, everything is about to change. Chris is different from the guys at school… really different. He can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. The brothers are powerful and dangerous. And now that Becca knows the truth, so is she.

When the mysterious new kid, Hunter, turns up, Becca thinks she can trust him. But when he goes head-to-head with Chris, Becca’s left wondering who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

Storm is the first book in the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer and is a fast paced and exciting addition to the young adult paranormal genre. I really enjoyed the mysteries set up at the start of this book. As we meet the Merrick brothers and their enemies, it’s clear that the brothers have some sort of link to the elements and I enjoyed discovering what exactly their powers were and how they fitted into the big picture as I read.

This is a testosterone-fuelled read (with five male lead characters!) but the key female protagonist, Becca more than manages to hold her own amongst them all and the chemistry between her and the Merrik brothers is fantastic right from the start. Throw the enigmatic new kid Hunter into the mix and you have a story that I could not put down.

As a character, Becca is intriguing; we know she’s had some problems at school and has a bit of a reputation but this seems very much at odds with her character and is another thread to the story that kept me turning the pages to find out what had really happened. Becca’s banter and relationship with best friend Quinn made me smile and although their friendship is strong, the ups and downs will be recognisable to many readers and felt very believable.

I also liked Becca’s relationship with her mum and the strength and independence that gave Becca. The Merrick home is quite a contrast with Michael, taking on the father role and Nick and Gabriel the tearaway hot-headed twins and finally Chris who is the main focus of this novel as he struggles to get to grips with his powers amidst a long running feud.

I’ve read quite a few high school paranormal novels now and I’m impressed that Brigid has come up with a twist that is different. Storm is an engaging and fast paced paranormal romance read with action and characters that will get your pulse racing. I think the premise behind the elementals is fascinating and look forward to learning more about the exciting new world that Brigid Kemmerer has created in future books.

If you’d like to try this series for free I highly recommend reading Elemental which is a free ebook novella set before the events of Storm and a great way to get a feel for the series.

4/5

Storm is out now in paperback and ebook formats. Spark, the second book in the series will be released in August.

I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book.

Find out more about Brigid Kemmerer and her writing at: http://www.brigidkemmerer.com/