The Legend of Black Jack By A.R. Witham #Blogtour @arwitham @The_WriteReads #TheWriteReadsOnTour #Fantasy #YoungAdult

Today I have a spotlight for The Legend of Black Jack. Thanks to The Write Reads for inviting me to spotlight this fantasy for 13 to 18 year olds. Find out more below…

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#1 New Release in Teen & Young Adult Norse Myths & Legends
Prepare to be whisked away to another realm in this epic fantasy adventure, perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman’s
Stardust characters or Patrick Rothfuss’s prose in The Name of the Wind.

Jack Swift can remember anything—even the horrible things he’d like to forget. To keep his guilt-ridden memories from haunting him, and to dodge his abusive foster mom, he buries himself in any book he can find, dreaming of his ultimate escape: becoming a doctor.

But fate has another escape in mind.

At 3:33am on his fourteenth birthday, Jack is kidnapped by a monstrous rhinoceros and whisked away to another sphere of existence: the land of Keymark. Though this world is filled with pixies, monsters, pirates, elves, warriors, and all sorts of mythical wonders, it is without healing magic—that magic was stolen by an evil, immortal prince hell-bent on domination. With no understanding of medical science to heal their wounds or illnesses, Jack’s kidnappers ask the impossible of him: use his knowledge to save a life…or be trapped in this bizarre world with no chance of rescue.

Jack doesn’t have secret magic, a great destiny, or any medical experience.

Why do they all expect him to become a legend?

They say he was an outsider. A man with no home, no family, and no friend to call his own. The man with nothing left to love. The empty man.

They say he talked to animals. They say he traveled between worlds. They say he killed a god, and they may be right. He prowled the border between light and dark. He beat the devil himself with a walking stick. He healed a thousand people in a single day and killed a dragon the same midnight.

They say there was a woman. They say he died for her. No one knows the truth.

Those are the legends about him.

If you want to know the truth I will tell you.

About the Author 

A.R. Witham is an Emmy-winning writer who has written for film, television, and books. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and son, who is the reason Black Jack is being published (he’s just old enough to read it). He has hiked the Appalachian Trail, canoed to the Arctic Circle, and been inside his house while it burned down. This is his first fantasy novel.

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#Review By Lou of The Disappearance of Emily By Elizabeth Pantley @elizabethpantley @DestinyFallsMysteryandMagic #LoveBooksTours #Fantasy #CosyCrime

The Disappearance of Emily
By Elizabeth Pantley

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour to present my review of The Disappearance of Emily. The book has elements of fantasy and cosy mystery within it. Find out more in the blurb and my thoughts in the review below of what is book 2 in this series. Thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me to review and for the book. Discover more in the blurb and review below.

Blurb

A magic mirror. An enchanted world. A mysterious missing mother. A suspicious package. An unexplained death. A community of strange, quirky people. A sassy cat and a hilarious, perpetually annoyed witch. Come visit Destiny Falls and escape to a great time.

…Hayden’s life was normal until she fell through a mirror and was thrust into an alternate, magical place. Destiny Falls is not on any map and is home to a family she never knew she had. The town is enchanted and charming, and the amazing mansion she lives in changes to meet the needs of the people who live there, including her! Every day she discovers a new enchantment.

But something is amiss. Hayden gets an ominous warning from a strange woman, who promises to tell her the town secrets and give her a package – if she’ll meet her at the mysterious ferry that lacks a published destination. The ferry visit is cancelled, but the package is delivered. Once it arrives, someone turns up dead. Then the suspicious episodes start, too many to call them coincidences. She and her family are targeted and in danger.

Who or what is causing the chaos? All signs point to the mysterious disappearance of her mother – way back when Hayden was just two days old. Can she identify and eliminate the threat before another person in her life is stolen away? Can she learn more about the secrets kept for her lifetime? With the help of her sassy sidekick cat, and a host of new family and friends, Hayden finds herself surrounded with support as she solves the mystery of the death and learns secrets about herself.

Review

Firstly, that cover definitely is eye-catching for cat-lovers. The cat is within the story in a sassy way.
Onto the story. It is mysterious and quirky. There’s a scene with Alice in Wonderland themed food, that sort of gives a bit of flavour to the mystique that is to follow as readers head onwards with Hayden…
It is in a way, Narnia and Alice in Wonderland like in the places readers will go to, so would suit fans of these books, although this has elements of crime genres too.

There is Edna, a local historian in a library, even she is mysterious and seems to perhaps be hiding a secret as is the library itself…

Hayden is the most interesting of all the characters and is central to the story, and the witch is intriguing as the story moves along.
The book has cosy mystery and fantasy elements to it with the mysterious disappearance of Emily and other mysterious goings on and she also gets caught up in a murder to solve. What captivated and intrigued most, was the quirkiness build up of the world she found herself in, the behaviours of the characters and the ferries with no destination on them. This is what kept me reading, than the mystery itself in some parts.

Destiny Falls is the place to be and it is full of adventure, crime and magic and a world that is captivating that totally captures imagination. I realised I was enjoying it more than I thought I would by the end and its so easy to just get swept along in the atmosphere and scenery of Destiny Falls. I suspect there will be a third in the series to come.

The Beast and the Bethany – Revenge of the Beast By Jack Meggitt-Phillips @MeggittPhillips @FarshoreBooks #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour #MiddleGrade #RevengeOfTheBeast

The Beast and the Bethany – The Revenge of the Beast
By Jack Meggitt-Phillips

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Revenge of the Beast Tour Banner

The Beast and the Bethany – Revenge of the Beast is the second book in this series, the first being The Beast and the Bethany, popular amongst the Middlegrade readers for all its fun and havoc. Today I am on the blog tour, thanks to The Write Reads, with a review of Revenge of the Beast. Discover more in the blurb and then my review and a bit about the author below…

Blurb

Revenge of the Beast Cover PhotoLemony Snicket meets Roald Dahl in this riotously funny, deliciously macabre, and highly illustrated sequel to The Beast and the Bethany in which Bethany and Ebenezer try to turn over a new leaf, only to have someone—or something—thwart them at every turn.

Once upon a very badly behaved time, 511-year-old Ebenezer kept a beast in his attic. He would feed the beast all manner of objects and creatures and in return the beast would vomit him up expensive presents. But then the Bethany arrived.

Now notorious prankster Bethany, along with her new feathery friend Claudette, is determined that she and Ebenezer are going to de-beast their lives and Do Good. But Bethany finds that being a former prankster makes it hard to get taken on for voluntary work. And Ebenezer secretly misses the beast’s vomity gifts. And neither of them are all that sure what “good people” do anyway.

Then there’s Claudette, who’s not been feeling herself recently. Has she eaten something that has disagreed with her?

Review

First of all, I was somewhat surprised at their being a second book, to start creating a series and then I got excited for Middlegrade readers because the first was so good (so great in fact that it is tipped to be made into a film by a major film company).

This sequel reunites readers with Ebenezer and Bethany and it doesn’t disappoint at all and is rich in story and has lots of humour, especially the sarcastic wit that readers got to know in the first book.

Ebenezer isn’t your average person, in fact he is far, far from average and so far away from any average age. He is 511 years old. The book leads children on an entertaining story, full of humour and like Roald Dahl, it gives readers a whole gambit of emotions and a terrific plot. Ebenezer wants to de-beast as it were and become a better person.

Bethany wants to become a “Do-Gooder”, but she first has to work out what that actually means. This in-turn has humorous consequences as she grapples with this concept and her inner-self wanting to still cause havoc and be the prankster.

There is also a shirt that seems to become a character with a mind of its own and Claudette the Bird acting very strangely.

There are also a few new characters to enchant children as they find out more about Ebenezer and Bethany’s lives, from what they have lived to their present. 

Expertly weaved through this are other themes about how people sometimes treat others and it will keep children engaged to see if Ebenezer and Bethany can really change and become better people, like they want to be. 

About the Author

Jack Meggitt-Phillips is an author, scriptwriter, and playwright whose work has been performed at The Roundhouse and featured on Radio 4. He is scriptwriter and presenter of The History of Advertising podcast. In his mind, Jack is an enormously talented ballroom dancer, however his enthusiasm far surpasses his actual talent. Jack lives in north London where he spends most of his time drinking peculiar teas and reading P.G. Wodehouse novels.

#Review By Lou – Femlandia By Christina Dalcher #Femlandia @CV_Dalcher #Fiction #GeneralFiction #Fantasy #SciFi #JoinTheSisterhood

Femlandia
By Christina Dalcher

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Femlandia is interesting in presenting a dystopian world and throwing up huge questions within its scenario. This book is from the author of VOX. Thanks to Christina Dalcher for gifting me a review copy. Take a look at the blurb and my review below.

Femlandia Cover

Blurb

Miranda Reynolds has lost her home, her job and her husband – all thanks to an economic collapse that has brought America to its knees.

The shops are empty; the streets no longer safe. Miranda and her daughter Emma have nowhere left to turn.

There is one final hope, a self-sufficient haven for women who want to live a life free from men. Femlandia.

For Miranda, the secluded Femlandia is a last resort. Life outside the gates is fraught with danger, but there’s something just as sinister going on within.

Welcome to Femlandia… It’s no place like home.

Review

Like most dystopian novels, Femlandia has grounding, even though it takes readers practically off the edge and into the extremes of what they know or how they live in present times. It is quite common these days for women to wonder what a land without men in it would be like. This book hows that it may not all be the utopia, some women may imagine it to be. From each dystopian book, the realities are still there and show how the world is sometimes just a few steps away from those dystopian earthly worlds they create. This book has that and becomes thought-provoking as it has realities, such as financial crashes and what an alternative may look like.

There is the breaking down of relationships and the sort of reunions that are very rocky, including between Emma and her mother, Miranda. There is also a rape scene and before that, a suicide scene that is written well as well as economic hardships. Throughout are the differences between Mianda and her daughter, Emma, and it is soon seen as to why she distanced herself away from her mother to make her estranged.
Miranda is the founder of Femalandia, an international living community. Through Emma, we get to know more about this commune which is feminism at its extremes of having an uneasiness about it due to its air of almost cultish ways. Set in the US, this book is more international than one country. It could be set anywhere in the world as the themes and the dystopia within them could happen anywhere.

The book, especially in entering the so-called sanctum of Femlandia itself, is intense. It poses the question as to how safe such places can really be and how shows how heading into the extremes of life is not always necessarily the answer, nor healthy nor the outcomes being what is expected, even when intentions are seemingly there to entice them to look good and shows what Miranda wants from the community.

As you read on the real darkness of the ideology of how Femlandia is run is revealed, including its colonies. It’s not far off Gilead in the Handmaid’s Tale in its treatment of its population. Femlandia shows that things from an initial ideaology can grow and get carried away and how even women can take unsavoury choices, violence, which in-turn balances the book out and demonstrates that it isn’t just men who are capable of that.

The epilogue certainly concludes things, perhaps not quite as expected, in the life thoughts of a younger relative of Emma’s. The book may make people think of extremeties and how this book is set in the not too distant future and parts of it could, rather worryingly, exist. It’s a well plotted book that is far, far from a cosy read.

#BookReview by Lou – Remnants of Magic By Alicia R. Chapin @ChapinAlicia @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Fantasy #Ad #Gifted

Remnants of Magic
By Alicia R. Chapin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Time to enter Etharum and meet all sorts of characters and explore this new and exciting, richly imagined, fantasy land. Thanks to Love Books Tours for gifting me the book. Discover more about this fantastical adventure that is Book 1 in the blurb and what I thought about it in the review.

RoM-V1-EBOOK (1)

Blurb

The Master Sword Bryan is an elite warrior on the Prince of Shelkite’s council. When Shelkite is threatened by Ret, a wizard-king, the Master Sword is ready to fight. However, his plans are spoiled when he discovers his assignment is as the personal guard to the young half-blood witch sent to their aid—Alexandra.

Alexandra is determined to prove herself to the skeptical Master Sword. Though her powers haven’t fully manifested, she’s ready for anything, as long as she has her faithful mount, Zhan, and her trusty bow. As the quest deepens, she knows she must press on. For whether she does or not, she’s the key—for either good or evil.

Review

RoM-V1-EBOOK (1)Remnants of Magic welcomes readers into Etharum, a place where the Haiprian Mountains rise majestically up and holds an ice palace, and Charad Forest grows below. There are many places inbetween, with Kaltraz split between east and west by a stream and its tributories borne out of the mountains and finishes in the Faded Sea in the east side of the forest. 

Bryan is the first character to stumble upon and is Prince Alkin’s personal guard, who meets Lady Evelyn – ‘The Goddess of Chaos’ each week. Bryan also hangs out with the friendly folk of Fordorn. Pretty pictures of happy folk and a unicorn is painted well in writing. He can’t stay long though as debate of adventure with Keavin Sword ensues and whether a nymph in the Faded Sea of Carthorn can be trusted or not. The pace mounts up and readers learn of other people in this kingdom, including a wizard masquerading as an innkeeper and many more. 

This is a book that is rich and has a good drive in plot to keep readers invested and a whole fantastical world is soon built up, with the assistance of a map at the very beginning and a world full of characters ranging from a wizard, a stallion called Dragon, a unicorn, a prince, half-bloods, a witch, a warrior and more…
There is high adventure and missions and a slow-burn romance in this mystical land that uses its powers to suck you into its mysterious depths, of which there is much to travel through and tread carefully into parts of trepidation and danger.

Readers who enjoy Lord of The Rings and fantastical creatures and grownups are now searching for whole new land to explore, will enjoy this.

About the Author

RoM author pic
I enjoy the outdoors, reading, spending time with my family (that includes pets!), hanging out with horses, and archery. I graduated from Michigan State University in Equine Management and love to incorporate my love of horses into my stories. I’m a huge Star Wars fan (original trilogy), Lord of the Rings fan, Harry Potter fan….and Jane Austen fan. A couple of nerdy facts, I love John Wayne movies and collect the vintage My Little Ponies from the 80s. 

 

 

#Bookreview by Lou – Honeycomb by Joanne M. Harris – Happy Publication Day to Joanne Harris @joannechocolat #CharlesVess @alexxlayt @orionbooks

Honeycomb
By Joanne M. Harris
Illustrated by Charles Vess

Rating: 5 out of 5.

To my absolute amazement and joy, I have been gifted Honeycomb. Readers are in for a treat with this enthralling and enchanting book of 100 short stories by Joanne Harris. They are full of betrayal, gifts, magic, love, beautiful illustrations and much more…
Discover more in the blurb and my review…
I thank Alex Layt at Orion Books and Joanne Harris for gifting me a copy of Honeycomb.

Honeycomb 3

Blurb

An astonishing, richly interwoven story from #1 bestselling author Joanne M. Harris (The Gospel of Loki, Chocolat), beautifully illustrated by the multiple award-winning Charles Vess (Stardust, The Books of Earthsea).

Long ago and far away,
Far away and long ago,
The World was honeycomb, we know,
The Worlds were honeycomb.

The beauty of stories is that you never know where they will take you. Full of dreams an nightmares, Honeycomb is an entrancing mosaic novel of original fairy tales from bestselling author Joanne M. Harris and legendary artist Charles Vess in a collaboration that’s been years in the making. Dark, gripping, and brilliantly imaginative, these magical tales will soon have you in their thrall.

Review

HoneycombFairytales aren’t just for children, infact they were originally written for adults. Joanne Harris has done exactly this, created fairytales that are gorgeously illustrated and with all the hallmarks of a fairytale, with adult themes. Split beautifully into 2 books in 1 where land meets sea.
Imagine a honeycomb, with its hexagonal shapes, creating little pockets. Now imagine going into each one and finding stories that create the honeycomb, some are loosley interconnecting, others overarching, each one, unique and can be read as standalone, but together paint a bigger, wider picture. This in turn makes it a fabulous book to both read all at once (because it is pretty hard to resist) and to leisurely dip in and out of. People who follow Joanne Harris on Twitter will have familarised themselves with some of the short stories form of how they start with the bees, which are beautifully depicted on the front cover.

It’s clearly carefully planned and I love that the book starts with a short story about Nectar, which sets the scene of the Honeycomb Queen and other bees and ends with Honeycomb, just as bees do, as they go about their business. The writing is rich and not only full of descriptions, placing readers exactly where she wants them to be, they tell of something deeper. It’s like eavesdropping on the bees, who have something important to say and they deliberately want you to listen in as you are guided into where the Lacewing King and be transported into different worlds, which are entrancing and involving.

The writing is lyrical as fairytales are and magically captures the attention very quickly and draws you into many different places to meet many different creatures etc, that in turn become relatable to humans and the world we live in, with its abundance of societies. Each tale, intelligently has the insect world colliding with and criss-crossing with the human world. Meet Royalty, a Chancellor, a Teacher, the Slightless Folk and the Silken Folk, Death and more in this beautifully illustrated book that has many highly accomplished stories to easily lose yourself in. Some have trepidation, some allude to politics, some have warnings, and morals with each story carrying a message for readers to find within these expertly crafted tales you can easily lose yourself in.