#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.

Octavia Bloom and the Missing Key By Estelle Grace Tudor #Spotlight on #OctaviaBloomAndTheMissingKey@E_G_Tudor @BBNYA_Official @The_WriteReads @WriteReadsTours #BBNYA2021 #BlogTour

Octavia Bloom and the Missing Key
By Estelle Grace Tudor

I received this information about Octavia Bloom and the Missing Key, which is a BBNYA Finalist, to write a spotlight on it, to highlight it as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest. Firstly, a little bit about BBNYA and then onto discover a bit more about book itself and how to purchase it, as I shine a spotlight onto Octavia Bloom and the Missing Key.

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BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website http://www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.

The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!

Now onto the book – Octavia Bloom and The Missing Key. The cover itself is enticing with the giant key for the fairy door, to turn and see what happened to it and what adventures that ensue. The book has mysterious intrigue and secrets to discover, a couple that are life-changing. There’s a quest to reunite a family in this book that will take readers to deeper and deeper into the pages that are just as you go “Through The Fairy Door”. Check out the cover and the blurb below…

Octavia Bloom and the Missing Key Cover Photo

Blurb

One tiny discovery can have enormous consequences…

Almost 10-year-old Octavia Bloom is looking for adventure, but when it comes it’s in the shape of a tiny fairy door.

Dragging her reluctant sister and cousins into the mystery, Octavia discovers her family are hiding not ONE but TWO life-changing secrets.

Why is her mother searching for an elusive flower? And does she have what it takes to reunite her fractured family?

Octavia’s certain the answers lie behind the fairy door, if only she could just find the key…

Bravery, secrets & magic intertwine in this fantastical adventure

Links

Publisher: Inlustris      Length: 228 Pages          Date Published: July 20, 2020

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.ca/Octavia-Bloom-Missing-Through-Fairy-ebook/dp/B089QQDQNS  (Canada)

https://www.amazon.com/Octavia-Bloom-Missing-Through-Fairy/dp/1838029206  (USA)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Octavia-Bloom-Missing-Through-Fairy/dp/1838029222 (UK)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53863194-octavia-bloom-and-the-missing-key

#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 of Stranger Back Home By E.L. Haines #ELHaines #Fantasy #YoungAdult #YA

Stranger Back Home
By E.L. Haines
Rated 5 stars *****

Stranger Back Home by E.L. Haines is a well-crafted fantasy book for Young Adults and Adults alike who enjoy this genre. Thanks to E.L. Haines for contacting me via my Contact Me page on my blog to request I review this book and for gifting me a copy to review from. Find out a little about the author, the blurb and the rest of my review below…

Stranger Back Home

About The Author

Ethan reads all the time, and writes so that you can read. He travels the world, ignoring the usual boundaries of space and time, collecting stories, which he loves to tell almost as much as Sparrow himself does.
He has visited more than 25 countries in person, and perhaps more than a hundred in books. He has also time-traveled to more than 40 different years in history. We won’t tell you exactly which ones.

Blurb

Stranger Back HomeOne day, your father is a renowned diplomat. The next day, he’s an infamous terrorist.

When Sparrow is summoned to the reading of his father’s last will and testament, the most he hoped for was a minor bequest. Instead, he inherited suspicion and accusations from the Empire that his father helped unite.

Locked away in a vault are the secrets that will reveal Xavier DuMont’s mysterious past and shine a light on Sparrow’s future. Perhaps even the future of the entire realm.

Of course, these secrets won’t be obtained easily. Especially when everyone in this magical world seems so casually racist.

Social dynamics in this world were already pretty strange. Somehow, Sparrow makes everything stranger.

Review

Told in the first person, the character of Sparrow really takes you with him into the fantastical dystopian world he and others find themselves in. It gives Sparrow a really compelling voice, as though the storyteller is with you.
There is a map of Middle Telleron, which is great for illustrating the size of the area and the places around it, and in detail, a map of City of Dragon’s Mouth where the more official government buildings are and where the upper and middle classes reside.

Apart from Sparrow, there are also orcs and an old wizard, gobins, dwarfs as well as humans and halflings. It’s a bit The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings like in this respect and readers who are fans of those books will enjoy this. The world building is is done well and the writing is beautifully descriptive of the places and of Lazaretto Manor, where you can be met by a butler who is a ghost and there is talk of vampires who are pretty fiesty.

As much as it feels like every fantastical creature and being is thrown into the world, it is done so in a way that still flows and it feels like different communities of people or creatures, just like you get different communities of people in the real world.

The book has a grounding in the real world too and almost straddles between the fantasy and world we know as it highlights issues, such as a grim robbery happening and other social and class issues. There are also jobs, such as tax collectors, barbers, actors and there are even laws. There are also family fueds about life choices, conflicts and tensions amongst characters as tensions rise due to suspicions being created due to certain events surrounding Sparrow’s father.
This all adds something more identifiable, in this otherwise, strange, yet intriguing world that sees peace and unrest within it as well as mystery, the prospect of kidnapping or death looming, secrets and a touch of humour. There is also the existence of retirement, but not as we know it…

The book sweeps you along into its world as there are so many hooks within it and it is pretty entertaining to read.

#Review by Lou of Evergreen – A New Fantasy Audio Serial by Sam Russell Narrated by Catherine Russell @SamRussellComic @catherinerusse2 @evergreenbook1 #fantasy #podcast #podcastandchill #audioserial

Evergreen – Book 1 of Everman Trilogy –
A New Fantasy Audio Serial

Written By Sam Russell
Narrated By Catherine Russell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Evergreen banner

Reviewing Evergreen came about because I was approached by Catherine Russell to do some retweets about this fantasy serial that I had started to listen to. Catherine Russell is known for Holby City and more… Sam Russell for improv comedy… There’s more about them at the end of my review.
I am enjoying Evergreen so much, that I though it worth the time on writing a blog review too, so just maybe people not on Twitter etc could get to know about it. I have provided their links below so you can find where to listen to Evergreen. It is FREE to tune in. It’s broadcast fortnightly, but all the episodes recorded so far are there, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re up to date or just starting out in listening to it.

Thanks to Sam Russell for providing the artwork, which I must admit, is very cool. Take a look for yourselves, and also find out a bit more…

Evergreen image 4

EVERGREEN – Book 1 in the Everman trilogy 

THE NUTSHELL

Adam, the first man and his wife, the first woman, Eve, were punished by God with separation and immortality.

Adam spends his long life searching for her, inadvertently becoming the catalyst for many of humanity’s myths and legends.

Now, after 200 years searching other realms, Adam lands, a fish out of water, in present-day London with a fresh lead on his wife’s location…

THE PROJECT

Evergreen is an audio fantasy serial released just like a podcast, a new chapter every two weeks. The vibe of the project is to create that same atmosphere of when you used to listen to a tape at bedtime as a kid. 
 

THE REVIEW

Evergreen image 2Evergreen is set between Sherwood Forest and Nottingham Castle; with so many myths, legends and history, it is a great setting for this audio podcast/graphic novel, which in itself is also an ingenious idea for storytelling as it allows readers to listen from many places. Please see the link to show you how and where.

Evergreen image 1From the outset, this is an intriguing story about Norman who suddenly finds himself in a castle in a precarious position. Norman is a character who is quite ordinary as his work in in the bakery, but extraordinary things happen as he becomes a castle guard. 

Evergreen image 6There are twists and turns, some humour and a quest.  Norman changes career from the bakery to castle guard, big difference in career, but to Norman the shift makes sense, but he is far from your typical guard in personality and this makes it even more intriguing to see what happens.. Action ensues and there’s a lot for Norman to learn in this fast-paced, curious and absolutely enthralling fantasy story that has its characters on edge and ready for any siege on the castle.

The way characters make appearance is absolutely wonderful, especially for readers who perhaps are not too familiar with Sherwood Forest and its people, for those who are, nothing is lost either. This is skillfully thought-out and somehow still adds intrigue and excitement, especially to see what happens to Norman.

There is a clever mystique about this story and there is a quest. A quest to find a mysterious man’s wife.

There is the weaving into Brian’s life in very modern times, which injects some romantic times of his past, however awkward from this business man, into the tale. He’s a very particular man and there it shows how society has changed and how times have moved onwards for better or worse. It is most observant and it is bittersweet and intriguing as something unexpected happens when he is on a patch of land he likes so much in London.

Evergreen reels you in and makes you want to know more and more until you’re so immersed that there is a need to listen to more episodes and then there’s that sweet anticipation when waiting until the next episode.

The descriptions are rich. The weaving of intrigue, social aspects, illness, sadness, kindness, romance, bittersweet and a terrific dose of humour makes Evergreen a most entertaining and poignant tale to listen to.

There’s an amazingly long friendship who are kindred spirits in Evelyn and Faye. When younger, their imaginations were funny that bring back childhood memories. Listeners also get to know about their adult-lives and then something happens with a man in a nearby boat…

It shows London through new eyes, in a way that perhaps in a new appreciation of what is there, yet often taken for granted.

This is a story that is also about being in places you may not quite feel like you belong in and so much more…. It’s also philisophical, especially where life, love and romance is concerned.

The time changes give depth and much interest.

Peter “Pete” Smith at the UCL brings something more political to the story. Amongst the wit is something deeper and  thought-provoking and which brings a truth of today’s world. It also brings a certain reunion so, just as you wonder where this fits in, it really does and the two people end up on a quest…

The writing is fantastic, every word counts and matters, with every scene painting a picture of what is happening. The narration is easy to listen to. Catherine Russell is excellent at narrating/reading this. It would be easy to listen to all day. She really brings the story to life, as though many people are playing the parts. She uses a lot of her acting skills with aplomb!

The Links

Click linktr.ee/evergreen_book for options where to listen.

The Author and Narrator

Evergreen image 3

Sam Russell is perhaps best known for his comedy and being part of Improv Comedy group – Shoot from the Hip. Click Here for more info.
Follow on Twitter – @SamRussellComic

Catherine Russell is best known for acting on stage and screen. She has starred in many tv shows from Chandler and Co. to The Inspector Lynley Mysteries to Holby City and more… and in films such as Bridget Jone’s Diary – The Edge of Reason.
On stage she has appeared in many theatre plays, such as What the Butler Saw, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and more. She is also Patron of Streatham Hill Theatre.
Follow on Twitter @catherinerusse2

#BookReview by Lou of Journey To The Moon And Other Stories By Ed Goodwin @whizoap @ConradPress @RandomTTours #JourneyToTheMoon #ChildrensBooks #MiddleGrade #9-12yearolds #Humour #Fantasy #Unicorns #Space #Humour

Journey To The Moon
And Other Stories
 By Ed Goodwin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3 stories in 1 provide adventure, fantasy, humour, realism all for 9-12 year olds. Find out more in the blurb and my review below…
A little later than planned due to unforseeable circumstances.
Thanks to Random Things Tours and Conrad Press for the book and invite to review.

Journey to the Moon Cover

Blurb

Fantasy, reality and humour are blended in three adventures. Nothing is as it seems as two young girls go to the moon, present a unique style of Punch and Judy and try to look after a unicorn.
In ‘Journey to the Moon’, with the help of a possibly over-optimistic dad and practical mum, two young sisters make their dream visit to the moon and back despite numerous setbacks. In ‘Punch and Judy’ the question of what would happen if violence was banned in Punch and Judy shows is explored. In the story ‘Unicorn Tale’, looking after a unicorn presents more challenges than expected, especially when it disappears into a dream world.

Journey to the Moon Cover

Let’s start with the cover. It’s just so eye-catching and fun. This is a book where children can go and have adventure that will send their imaginations soaring. 3 stories in 1 also makes this fun and rather special.

This hits some trends for children, including unicorns. There’s much fun and humour to have in these stories. The puppet shows that the family perform is great and may well spark the imaginations of its readers. That is possibly one of the best bits as it brings puppets back into the modern sphere again.

The family is one that I think children will have fun within this book during quiet times or bedtimes. It’s great for wherever you want to read.

Each story brings something different. From an adventure to the moon, which brings about a touch of reality to the realms of fantasy, such as in working out how to look after a unicorn. Each story provides entertainment in different ways. that are sure to surprise and give children space to have a laugh.

Journey To The Moon BT Poster