#BookReview by Lou of Tree Magic By Harriet SpringBett @HarriSpringbett @impress_books @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Tree Magic
By Harriet SpringBett
Rated: 3 1/2 stars

Take a journey of nature and life intertwining, with a few magic powers that will sure to pique the interest of any young adult.

Thanks to Impress Publishing and Love Books Tours for inviting me to review.

About the Author

Tree Magic Harriet-SpringbettHarriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition and blogs at https://harrietspringbett.wordpress.com

Synopsis

Thirteen-year-old Rainbow discovers she can communicate with trees.

But that’s just the beginning. Her magic hands can shape trees at her will, but her gift is dangerous and has fatal consequences. An accident that leaves Rainbow unconscious leads her mother to make a confession that will change Rainbow’s life forever. Are her abilities a gift or a curse? Can Rainbow really trust her mother? From England to France, through secrets, fears and parallel worlds, Rainbow’s journey to understand her powers takes her beyond everything she’s ever known.

To find the truth, she must also find herself.

Tree Magic ebook cover (1)

Review

Think of all the components of a tree and you have the parts of the book. Rainbow Linnet and Amrita get this story off with a bang!

Set in Dorset, trees and humans mix in the most extraordinary ways. The components of the trees bring a meaning and new thoughts to Rainbow’s life in a way that all their glorious parts that make up a complete tree, may mean you see them differently and you may look at the people around you differently too.

Rainbow, Bob and Fraser are also into mixing music and making dens in a big way. Then Rainbow discovers her hands are different when she is around trees, like there’s some sort of magic within them. There’s also a perhaps, haunted house, called The Drunken House.

Tree Magic is enchanting and enthralling with a lovely plot. With the enchantment comes a certain comfort as lives and nature bind together in a magnificent way. It seems to be a book that is in-tune with nature, trees in-particular. It’s this that holds the interest most and is the strongest and most beautiful elements of it, rather than the relationships, although some do form a catalyst for propelling the story forward. There are, however some that feel more important than others, that develop more as the story goes on and threads through. The fact that it is set in parallel worlds, which are formed fairly decently, creates a different dimension to the book too.

Rainbow, later, tries to move away to France, which she finds out, could be easier said than done because she needs a job, which, with her magic, makes it even more challenging. There’s also some romance in the air and her admirer takes quite a chance to capture her in his grasp as she works out this stage of her life. The feel of the book changes in this part, as though life is definitely moving onwards. It’s done well, although some of the cosyness that cuts through the consequences of having such powers, is lost a bit, perhaps because I was so enraptured by the entangling of trees and life, in a different way. In France, however there are some lovely moments and some parts when Rainbow is striving to get a job, that I think teens/young-adults will relate to (not with the powers of course). This does work and I like that she had to set her sights just a little lower because it brought a refreshing realism to the book, and yet gives that element of hope and positivity for teens/young adults.
It is a book that I do think Young Adults will find enjoyment out of and will gain something good from it in the end.

The story continues…

Tree Slayer (book 2) and Tree Sacrifice (book 3) are the next installments readers can look out for.

 

Happy Publication Day to Joanne Harris, Bonnie H. Hawkins, Sue Gent @Joannechocolat @BHHillustration @SueGent @Leanne_Oliver1 @gollancz @orionbooks #Review of the stunning novella – ORFEIA by Joanne M. Harris Illustrated by Bonnie M. Hawkins

ORFEIA
By Joanne M. Harris
Rated: 5 stars *****

ORFEIA is based on a couple of the Child Ballads. It’s immersive and incredibly moving. It is a powerful and enchanting book. It is also very hard to put down once it’s started.
It is a emotional, beautiful, thought-provoking, moving and poignant tale of loss that I highly recommend.

I was so, incredibly pleased and full of joy and excitement, to receive a proof copy of the novella – ORFEIA at the request of Joanne Harris after a lovely chat. It was all very kind. I thank Bonnie Helen Hawkins and Joanne Harris for this amazing opportunity to write a review of ORFEIA after having read nearly all her books over the last 20 years. I thank Leanne Oliver at Gollancz/Orion for adding me to the review list and for sending me a copy of the book.

Below you can discover more about Joanne Harris, the blurb, review and social media links. This book is available for pre-order and will be published on 3rd September 2020.

About the Author

Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French writer, whose books include fourteen nevels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic, realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. CHOCOLAT has sold over a million copies in the UK alone and was a global bestseller. She is an Honorary Fellow of St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded and MBE by the Queen. Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16 and runs the musical story-telling show Storytime. Joanne Harris lives in Yorkshire, about 15 miles from where she was born.

ORFEIA Cover 2

Blurb

From No1. Bestselling Author – Joanne Harris –
Orfeia is a gender-flipped retelling of the Orpheus Myth

When you can find me an acre of land,
Every sage grows merry in time,
Between the ocean and the sand
Then will you be united again’

So begins a beautiful and tragic quest as a heartbroken mother sets out to save her lost daughter, through the realms of the real, of dream, and even into the underworld itself.

But determination alone is not enough. For to save something precious, she must give up something precious, be it a song, a memory, or her freedom itself . . .

ORFEIA spine

Review

ORFEIA is tragic, emotional, beautiful, thought-provoking, moving and poignant.
It’s an all consuming, immersive book in the most fabulous way. It wraps you up in its depths of emotion and takes you on a journey that I, certainly didn’t want to leave until the end, and even then, I know this won’t totally leave me. There are few books that remain with me so strongly after I’ve read them. This is one of them that does.

Queen of May had fallen in love with a man from the Folk and sacrificed a lot, so the tale goes. The grief of the loss of a child hits right to your soul.

Daisy Orr is 6 years old and plays the ‘pavement game’. A game familiar to many children or memories to many adults of not standing on the cracks, until she falls between them.

There are parts about identity from being a mother to suddenly, not being one and trying to make sense of that.

The way death and grief is described is beautifully written, in a way I’ve not seen it being done before, and yet it resonates and I am sure it will for so many people who have lost someone, especially a child.

Fay, who has lost her child comes across a few people near at Tube station in London and the dreams and reality is interestingly described and creates a very compelling tale.

Cobweb, Mabs, Moth, Peronelle are introduced to Fay by Alberon, they are found to be sleeping rough and the jovial atmosphere in contrast to the grief is striking. All is richly woven together, but then there’s the question of whether the people she met were real or if it was all a dream.

The story takes readers between reality and dreams where there are travelling people, silken people and the Shadowless Man and wild animals, such as the tiger. It’s all very atmospheric as both states are woven, seamlessly together to bring a fantastic story.
There are also some beautiful songs throughout. It’s all quite rhythmic in a sense.

There are warnings about travelling to ‘London Beneath’, even though it is richly enchanting with all its tribes and wares, but there is trickery all around as the tale layers up even more.

Fay has an interesting philosophy about memory, that’s very thought-provoking and beautifully tender.

The closing chapters are dark as the Hallowe’en King has something in the reflections to show Fay. There’s also in contrast, what the power of love can do.

The final page is one that I think may give a certain amount of comfort in times of grief.

The cover is beautifully created by Sue Gent. There are absolutely fabulous illustrations inside to accompany this story, produced by Bonnie Helen Hawkins. They are striking and evocative; sometimes dark, sometimes filled with beauty and emotion and always atmospheric and outstandingly drawn. She expertly interprets the written word in the most artistic way. How each character is captured and each picture also tells a story is pretty awe-inspiring as they leap off the page (almost). Between Bonnie Helen Hawkins and Joanne Harris, they are creating the most wonderful and beautiful books together. Others are A Pocketful of Crows and The Blue Salt Road; also based on the Child Ballads. Through Joanne Harris bringing the Child Ballads to light by writing books inspired by them, I feel I am also learning more about them.

Social Media Links

You can follow Joanne Harris on
Twitter: @Joannechocolat    Website     Tumblr

You can follow Bonnie Helen Hawkins on Twitter:
 @BHHillustration

written by Louise

OREFIA

#Review of the stunning novella – ORFEIA by Joanne M. Harris Illustrated by Bonnie M. Hawkins @Joannechocolat @BHHillustration @SueGent @Leanne_Oliver1 @gollancz @orionbooks #NewBook

ORFEIA
By Joanne M. Harris
Rated: 5 stars *****

ORFEIA is based on a couple of the Child Ballads. It’s immersive and incredibly moving. It is a powerful and enchanting book. It is also very hard to put down once it’s started.
It is a emotional, beautiful, thought-provoking, moving and poignant tale of loss that I highly recommend.

I was so, incredibly pleased and full of joy and excitement, to receive a proof copy of the novella – ORFEIA at the request of Joanne Harris after a lovely chat. It was all very kind. I thank Bonnie Helen Hawkins and Joanne Harris for this amazing opportunity to write a review of ORFEIA after having read nearly all her books over the last 20 years. I thank Leanne Oliver at Gollancz/Orion for adding me to the review list and for sending me a copy of the book.

Below you can discover more about Joanne Harris, the blurb, review and social media links. This book is available for pre-order and will be published on 3rd September 2020.

About the Author

Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French writer, whose books include fourteen nevels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic, realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. CHOCOLAT has sold over a million copies in the UK alone and was a global bestseller. She is an Honorary Fellow of St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded and MBE by the Queen. Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16 and runs the musical story-telling show Storytime. Joanne Harris lives in Yorkshire, about 15 miles from where she was born.

ORFEIA Cover 2

Blurb

From No1. Bestselling Author – Joanne Harris –
Orfeia is a gender-flipped retelling of the Orpheus Myth

When you can find me an acre of land,
Every sage grows merry in time,
Between the ocean and the sand
Then will you be united again’

So begins a beautiful and tragic quest as a heartbroken mother sets out to save her lost daughter, through the realms of the real, of dream, and even into the underworld itself.

But determination alone is not enough. For to save something precious, she must give up something precious, be it a song, a memory, or her freedom itself . . .

ORFEIA spine

Review

ORFEIA is tragic, emotional, beautiful, thought-provoking, moving and poignant.
It’s an all consuming, immersive book in the most fabulous way. It wraps you up in its depths of emotion and takes you on a journey that I, certainly didn’t want to leave until the end, and even then, I know this won’t totally leave me. There are few books that remain with me so strongly after I’ve read them. This is one of them that does.

Queen of May had fallen in love with a man from the Folk and sacrificed a lot, so the tale goes. The grief of the loss of a child hits right to your soul.

Daisy Orr is 6 years old and plays the ‘pavement game’. A game familiar to many children or memories to many adults of not standing on the cracks, until she falls between them.

There are parts about identity from being a mother to suddenly, not being one and trying to make sense of that.

The way death and grief is described is beautifully written, in a way I’ve not seen it being done before, and yet it resonates and I am sure it will for so many people who have lost someone, especially a child.

Fay, who has lost her child comes across a few people near at Tube station in London and the dreams and reality is interestingly described and creates a very compelling tale.

Cobweb, Mabs, Moth, Peronelle are introduced to Fay by Alberon, they are found to be sleeping rough and the jovial atmosphere in contrast to the grief is striking. All is richly woven together, but then there’s the question of whether the people she met were real or if it was all a dream.

The story takes readers between reality and dreams where there are travelling people, silken people and the Shadowless Man and wild animals, such as the tiger. It’s all very atmospheric as both states are woven, seamlessly together to bring a fantastic story.
There are also some beautiful songs throughout. It’s all quite rhythmic in a sense.

There are warnings about travelling to ‘London Beneath’, even though it is richly enchanting with all its tribes and wares, but there is trickery all around as the tale layers up even more.

Fay has an interesting philosophy about memory, that’s very thought-provoking and beautifully tender.

The closing chapters are dark as the Hallowe’en King has something in the reflections to show Fay. There’s also in contrast, what the power of love can do.

The final page is one that I think may give a certain amount of comfort in times of grief.

The cover is beautifully created by Sue Gent. There are absolutely fabulous illustrations inside to accompany this story, produced by Bonnie Helen Hawkins. They are striking and evocative; sometimes dark, sometimes filled with beauty and emotion and always atmospheric and outstandingly drawn. She expertly interprets the written word in the most artistic way. How each character is captured and each picture also tells a story is pretty awe-inspiring as they leap off the page (almost). Between Bonnie Helen Hawkins and Joanne Harris, they are creating the most wonderful and beautiful books together. Others are A Pocketful of Crows and The Blue Salt Road; also based on the Child Ballads. Through Joanne Harris bringing the Child Ballads to light by writing books inspired by them, I feel I am also learning more about them.

Social Media Links

You can follow Joanne Harris on
Twitter: @Joannechocolat    Website     Tumblr

You can follow Bonnie Helen Hawkins on Twitter:
 @BHHillustration

written by Louise

OREFIA

Review of Crossing In Time by DL Orton – One to go Time Travelling With. @The_WriteReads #DLOrton #Review #Sci-Fi #dystopia

Crossing In Time
By DL Orton
Rated: 3.5 stars

Thank you to Dave at The Write Reads for inviting me on this blog tour to review the interesting, sci-fi book Crossing In Time. I thank him and the author – DL Orton for an audiobook code, so I could listen to it.

About The Author

DL ORTON, THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR of the BETWEEN TWO EVILS series, lives in the foothills of the Rockies where she and her husband are raising three boys, a golden retriever, two Siberian cats, and an extremely long-lived Triops.♂‍

In her spare time, she’s building a time machine so that someone can go back and do the laundry.

Website: http://www.DLOrton.com.

Amazon link: Amazon Buy Link

Goodreads link: Goodreads reviews link

Crossing in Time cover.png

Blurb

The past isn’t over, it’s an opening. The future isn’t hidden, it’s a trap.
If she ever wants to see him again, she’ll have to take the risk.

Fall into this “Funny, Romantic & Harrowing” (Publishers Weekly Starred Review) dystopian love story and prepare to encounter a finicky time machine, a mysterious seashell, and a very clever dog (some sex, some swearing, some violence, but no vampires and absolutely NO ditzes!)

When offered a one-way trip to the past, Isabel sacrifices everything for a chance to change the rapidly deteriorating present–and see her murdered lover one last time. When she arrives twenty years in the past, buck naked and mortally wounded, she has 24 hours to convince a stunned but enraptured nineteen-year-old to change their future. Definitely easier said than done, as success means losing him to a brainy, smart-mouthed bombshell (her younger self), and that’s a heart breaker, save the world or not.

This offbeat tale is about falling madly in love when one is too cynical for such things, letting go of pessimism when it’s the last life jacket on a sinking ship, and racing against the clock when one doesn’t have the proper footwear. It’s a coming-of-age story for old fogeys, a how-to-make-love guide for diehard celibates, and a laugh-out-loud tragedy with a hopeful twist.

Review

Let the cover lead you into another world. A dystopian world. There are a few twists and turns here and there within this dystopian tale of love. It is fast-paced as it takes readers through a dystopian wasteland as Isabelle tries to survive. She is going through a messy divorce and meets up with an old flame, some time before the world becomes an even darker place to be.
There are some intriguing plotlines, one of the strongest ones being about what happens when Diego gets abducted by the government in a strange time travelling sphere. I like the sounds on the finicky time machine. It is a fascinating concept.
The love aren’t always quite believable, but there are some excellent, strong topics within the relationship and being in danger sense, within this book as well as some strong characters.
I thought it lacked in humour a bit, but the tragic side was definitely well told and is emotional and well-handled. The topics huge and do take for an empathetic reader to perhaps grasp the world, without being argumentative and instead empathetic, to be able to enjoy this story. I will say again, the themes are well-handled.

There is adventure, trepidation and I would go as far as saying, danger, within a hope that doomsday won’t actually happen.

The book sets itself well for another to perhaps follow on from the series.

Is it worth a try? Well, yes it is. There are some ups and downs in the book, but in saying that, it does make for an intriguing story and it does hold attention and the maturity within the story is good, in the way the world is created.

#Review of The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons @andyjshepherd @PiccadillyPress #TheBoyWhoDreamedOfDragons #childrensbook #middlegrade #kidslit #parents #edutwitter

The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons
By Andy Shepherd
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
Rated5 stars *****

Thank you to my surpise post of The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons, sent to me by Andy Shepherd, spanning from a quick chat some time ago. So, today, I am delighted to present my review on this great story that is just 263 pages and also has some terrific illustrations throughout, within its vibrant cover. It also, when the book is fully closed, has a special look as the subtle lines going down the pages look rather smart.The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons cover

Blurb

We dream of dragons. Soaring, roaring, fire-flickering dragons. While we’re tucked up in bed, they light up in our sleep. Sparking, glittering, aglow.

But dreams are only the beginning of an even greater story.

Because the truth is, our dragons don’t just visit us in our dreams…

Review

At some point, lots of children (including me when I was a child) have dreamt about flying on a dragon’s back, swooping and soaring through the sky.

Dragon races, friendships, sock puppets, a wormhole in a fridge, a jungle family, humour, warmth, a super hero squad, illustrations, this book has it all in only 263 pages that is  amazingly adventurous, fast-paced and sparky.
This book captures imaginations perfectly. Every page has something to make you smile.

Did you know dragons grow on trees? No? Enter this enchanting tale to find out about them and meet the beautifully coloured dragons called Flicker and Sunny. There’s a race with a difference – it’s a dragon race. It’s also used as a clever way of introducing the characters, such as Thomas and his Lolli, who have the most terrific fun with their games. There’s also great friendships within the characters.

Not everyone knows about dragons, but endearing and very fun grandad does. Grandad hasn’t been too well and had a hospital stay, but back on his feet, he’s as positive as ever with his grandchildren helping out with his vegetable patch and just having fun. I like the positivity around this part of the story.

This book is funny, heartwarming and is just perfect for sparking the imaginations of children and for reading for pleasure. It is also perfect for nature-lovers too, or just lovers of humour. On a deeper level, there is plenty about the world around you to have fun with. There’s also themes of having to move on as Thomas’s mum hears of a new job, meaning the family have to move. The emotion of having to leave what was known and loved behind is captured so naturally as it plays out and Flicker, the dragon also leaves. It’s another big theme for children, but handled so well and not completely negatively, which is thoughtful of Andy.

At school, secrets are inadvertently blurted out by Thomas himself to the new girl – Aura who proudly proclaims herself to be a dragon expert, which really throws Thomas into confusion as his emotions really take over and a chain of further events happen.

This book is great for schools, libraries and within homes. Children can have so much fun with it and within schools, there are subjects within the themes that can be discussed or used creatively within activities, as well as generally being good for reading for pleasure.

Review of Sons of Secrets By N.J. Simmonds #fantasy #blogtour #Review #NewBook

Sons of Secrets
By
Rated: 4 stars ****

After an early morning conversation with the author, I was invited to read Son’s of Secrets and then I was subsequently invited onto her blog tour. It was a very fruitful and interesting conversation that led me decide to lend my support. Thankfully the book actually turns out to be a pretty good and entertaining fantasy book. I thank the author for giving me this opportunity and for also sending me an e-book version of her book to review from. This is an author that is worthwhile giving a chance.

SoS

About the Author

Sons of Secrets Nat_PR_0253I, Natali, write dark fantasy books full of magic, drama, suspense, a bit of history and lots of kissing.

Being an author is all I’ve ever wanted to be. At the age of 5 I used to sit at the dining table while my dad drew me pictures and I’d write stories to go with them. Ever since, my tales have been filled with fantastical worlds and strong girls going on big adventures.

Originally from North London with Spanish parentage, I’ve lived all over the world including Australia, Spain and the Netherlands. That’s probably why my characters never keep still – and why London features so heavily in my work.

When I’m not writing, I’m a public speaker and guest lecturer, as well as run my own brand consultancy business. I’ve written articles for various publications and in 2015 I co-founded online magazine The Glass House Girls.

I live with my family in The Netherlands, where I spend my time apologizing that I still can’t speak Dutch or ride a bicycle very well – although my heart will always remain in sunny Spain, and my soul forever in those wondrous, grimy, magical streets of London. 

Son of Secrets cover.jpg

Blurb

In A  fight against destiny – who will win?

Ella has been waiting for Zac for three years. She’s convinced he’ll return for her, but fate has other plans. When Josh is thrown back into her life, Ella has a choice: step back on to her rightful path, or wait for the one who dared her to rebel.

But Ella’s not the only one missing Zac. Luci has been searching for her blue-eyed boy over two millennia and will stop at nothing to get him back. Even if that means hunting down the only girl he ever loved.

From Tuscany 5BC to 17th century witch hunts, Ella, Zac, Luci and Sebastian’s lives have been forever intertwined. The time has finally come to complete the circle.

Review

The book is so beautifully written and with some humour, lovely scenery. There are some dark bits, but mostly it is an entertaining read as it weaves the real world and fantastical characters together to create The Indigo Chronicles World.

The author has painted a good picture of realism and fantasy. There’s romance, adventure, action, great locations like Highgate and Gibraltar, there are pure angels, dark angels, trepidation, intriguing lives as well as deaths and emotion, magic powers; and all isn’t always what it first seems, which all makes a pleasurable and fun read that spans across millenia.

Meet Ella and Zac and Josh in a place where the Mediteranean and Atlantic Ocean meet. Pizza and wine, it’s a wonderful combination and yet Ella just doesn’t know quite what she is doing with Josh.

Zac is no ordinary person, readers will discover. Not anymore as he finds himself in Highgate Cemetery.  His mission? To find and be with Ella with use of his powers. Powers enough to make you shudder. It’s a bit creepy when you’re a woman reading about a guy who lived 2000 years ago who can sense every part of you. In saying that, it’s fantastic for this fantasy book as I found myself wanting to find out more as this book gets more and more interesting and very quickly so. He meets up with Ylva as they reminisce about a party and discuss Ella.

Fantasy is a genre I can take it or leave it, but this book is good in the way the real world and fantasy elements all collide. It’s grounded in a good way. It has good, strong themes and likeable characters. There’s a bit of a will they, won’t they going on with Josh and Ella and revelations of Ella’s step-brother and the effect he has on how he hurt Ella. Josh is a film star and a bit of a flirt.

Zac is fun as he discovers tattoos because apparently his appearance hasn’t changed in 2000 years and he has now decided to alter it a bit. It’s intersting how Zac is perceived and there’s a wonderful written paragraph that is essentially the butterfly effect. He’s full of dark, creepy intrigue.

There are secrets as to how the characters are connected and who they really are, that are revealed as Arabella, the narrator of this story tells as she’s heard of demons and of the shadows before and she’s on the run over the city walls and it is intriguing to see what she is up to as she comes across Zadkiel. Later on, back home, Arabella, back home is then left by her mother, with Sabinous, a soldier, and knew she needed to follow her destiny…

The feminism notes that are there can be a bit overly strong at times, as much as the passion does come across.

The author’s note is an interesting one about the author’s one experiences and says about the book being a tribute to those who have been hunted and hurt and struggles. This does come through in the book, but written in a creative way.

SON OF SECRETS blog (1)