Tuesday, 29 November 2016

REVIEW - MONSTER ISLAND: THE NOOSE - MONSTER ISLAND SERIES BY KATIE FRENCH

Title: Monster Island: The Noose
Series: Monster Island
Author: Katie French
Genre: YA, Action, Adventure, Thriller
Release Date: 12th November 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
My name is Kat Voss. 
I was kidnapped, along with other teenagers like me, and dropped on an island where creatures stalk us in the night. 
Then someone hung my twelve-year-old baby sister from a tree like bait. 
The voice on the other end of the camera tells us we have one hour to find her. 
What if I’m too late? 


Goodreads Link

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK

REVIEW
I received a free copy of this book directly from the author in exchange for my honest review.
I was certainly eager to read this one, wanting to know more about Kat, Lucca and Dev. As well as being super curious about the reasons why the teens were where they are and who had kidnapped them and taken them to this island. I had so many other questions after finishing reading Monster Island: Taken.
The cover of this book is very similar to Monster Island: Taken other than obviously the title "The Noose". This time we have a brown hue for the background colour. The trees are still there and this time though the title font has remained the same the colour is blue. Could this be suggesting the teens situation is improving? Is more light being shed on their situation?
I think specified genres of YA, mystery, thriller are still right but personally I feel it also has a bit of a dystopian, and horror edge to it aswell, maybe thats just me or because I have read other books by Katie French that are dystopian. I'll be interested to read what other readers would say on this. 
Monster Island: The Noose instantly picks up where Monster Island: Taken had left us and a certain character quite literally hanging! I felt immediately pulled back into the mystery, intrigue, and horror of the book as well as the characters dragging my back into their feelings of confusion and disbelief that they are in this situation at all. So we know that one of the younger characters is dangerously suspended from a tree in the forest somewhere. Kat and Lucca watch in horror as she is lowered towards whatever monsters are circling below her. Obviously petrified of being mauled by the animals she does as she is instructed to do, which is to look straight into the camera and scream hers sisters name whilst crying.  The electronic voice informas the teens they have on hour before the girl is lowered to the forest floor and the awaiting beasts!! Kat's reaction is naturally to run right out into the dark wilderness they are in, to attempt to find her sister. Lucca tries to use a more reserved common sense approach, that they need weapons, warm clothes etc.
We also get some flash back scenes from Lucca in The Noose. We learn he and his mother have recently been forced to leave and sell their beautiful home and most of their treasured possessions because "things have gone bad" for Lucca's father where he works. Lucca is annoyed as the move has of course upset his mum, whom he loves dearly and as his father is away for the majority of the time feels very protective towards. Lucca's relationship with his father is what at best I would call poor. 
In this book we have chapters from the point of view of four out the five characters featured in it. Five chapters of the story are told from Lucca's point of view so it makes sense we learn more about him, his interests, his family and begin to see he may have had a small clue or two that can explain just a little of clues that are being left around for the teens to find. We, the reader, also have two chapters from Kat, one from her sister Joslyn and a rather disturbing chapter from the perspective of Dev as he is tricked by a new character the teens meet on their search for weapons to defend themselves. Dev finds himself in the postition of meeting one of the teens captors, though not discovering their identity as they are masked. We do leave Dev in a really precarious situation, so we now have two characters lives "hanging" in the balance and their fates in the hands for the prople who kidnapped them. 
Again I found my favourite characters to be Kat, who continues to be a strong teenaged girl even in the face of the horror of seeing her sister being dangled above strange beasts in the forest. The other character I have taken most to is Lucca, you really do feel his emotions during his flashbacks. As we meet Lucca's family in the flashbacks, it also makes you think about what his mother may be going through, has she realised he is missing yet? Or because Lucca was allowed to leave school early, is his mother still oblivious to the danger her son is in?
Some of the questions I had from bk one, Monster Island Taken were answered, some of the answers are still fascinatingly obscure. I think for ever little clue to an answer the reader is given there are maybe another five questions that arise. So yes aspects in Monster Island: The Noose are still shrouded in mystery and secrecy.
I read this book in just one sitting and as I came to the end have to admit to shouting (silently in my head) "You cannot be serious! You can't be leaving this book here, now?" So to say Monster Island: The Noose left me wanting more is an understatement!! 
What else can I say about this series other than I am enthusiastically, though a little impatiently awaiting more! I certainly recommend this series so far!




Tuesday, 22 November 2016

REVIEW - MONSTER ISLAND:TAKEN - MONSTER ISLAND SERIES BY KATIE FRENCH

Title: Monster Island: Taken
Series: Monster Island
Author: Katie French
Genre: YA, Action, Adventure, Thriller
Release Date: 29th October 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
My name is Lucca DiVitas. I woke up in a burlap sack in a dark shed, and outside someone is screaming. 

In my pocket is a note: Pay for your sins. 

Escaping my bonds, I realize I’ve been kidnapped. Tall trees and snow-capped landscapes tell me I’m far from suburbia. And then there’s the ocean crashing angrily against the rocks. I’m on an island with no way off. 

Rushing toward the screams, I find Kat Voss, a scared teen, who claims she’s running away from a “snake with arms.” I decide she’s in shock until we find cages large enough to fit the world’s most dangerous animals. The cages are open, and they’re empty. 

We uncover more mysteries—an observation room with cameras, a bloody operating table, and a fully stocked torture chamber. 

Then we realize we aren’t alone. 

A voice over the loudspeakers begins directing us, like a guide on the world’s most sadistic tour. The voice tells us to smile for the cameras. Blood is good for business. 

If we can’t figure out who is doing this and why, it’ll only be a matter of time before one of us, or ALL of us, ends up dead. 


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I don’t normally read this genre but have read other titles by this author and loved them so decided to give this one a go.
The cover has tall trees, a forest with a dark background to represent the night. So not a place you’d like to be in the dark. The title is in a bright green, so you’ll see this one on the bookshelf, and you really don’t want to miss this one!
I agree with the description of "action, adventure" but think that there are some spooky, scary, horror bits in there too!!
When you start reading this one you are pulled straight in, and held there until the last word on the last page. I hated having to put the book down to do other things and would have loved to have had the time to sit and read it all the way through. The book is from the point of view of the two main teenage characters within the book, Lucca and Kat. I thought the way the author builds the tension slowly is really great, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing along with the characters themselves. I was pleased by the fact that as a reader we only know what the teens know, so we are as puzzled as them as to where they are and why they are there. 
The book begins with us meeting Lucca, a brown eyed, long haired rock and roll type of guy, into music such as Jim Morrison. Lucca wakes up or should I say regains consciousness and soon concludes he isn’t where he is supposed to be. The last thing he can remember is taking his last exam and his teacher Mrs Knight allowing him to finish school earlier than normal so he could “rest his brain”. As he moves about he works out that he is in fact in a sack! How on earth did he get there? Whilst he is attempting to fathom his strange situation out, he hears a girl screaming! It sounds like she is in danger or like someone is trying to murder her! Lucca quickly wriggles and struggles out of the sack to discover he is inside a shed. Before he gets chance to take much of a look round the girl is screaming again. He immediately decides he needs to help this screaming girl and runs out of the shed to find himself in the bitter cold weather and standing in snow. . . the exact opposite weather conditions to those he was in earlier at school in Michigan. Lucca runs towards the screams and finds a girl attempting to claw her way up a tree! The girl is Kat, a green eyed crimson haired teenage girl and she is screaming because she is in danger of being attacked by what initially looks like an Amazonian Snake, but it turns out to be something even more unusual and bizarre. Kat panics, and sets off running blindly in the opposite direction to the snakelike creature. She suddenly feels an arm grabbing her and pulling her back. She thinks she is going to be attacked but Lucca was merely saving her from toppling over the edge of a steep cliff. Kat pulls away and runs off again, but Lucca persists in following her, wanting to know if she knows where they are and why? Lucca puts his hand in his pocket searching for his phone but finds a mysterious note with the peculiar message of “Pay for your sins”. He shoves it back in his pocket and continues after Kat. The two teens don’t get off to an easy start with Kat thinking Lucca is going to attack her. Both of them are scared, they don’t know where they are, or how they got there either. As he looks back up from his pocket he sees Kat has suddenly stopped and is transfixed by something in the distance. Lucca follows her gaze and sees what she is staring at. There are eight large cages, the metal doors to them are wide open. The two teens discuss what could have been in the cages and where it or they could be now. Worried about being out in the open they notice a cinder block building and head towards that hoping for some way to contact someone, anyone that can help them solve this unsettling position they both find themselves in. The building is dark but they brave going into it. They compare stories. Kat was snatched from her home where she had been alone with her younger sister Joslyn. Neither of the teens are dressed particularly appropriate for the environment or weather condition of this mystery place. They find a room that is full of monitors, each with different dark fuzzy images on them. Then they notice a boy on one of the monitors, and he is running, he is being chased by something, and the two stare in silent horror as a large. . . no really large animal of some sort catches the boy! They are horrified and begin to think at least they are safe inside. . . when they hear a door creaking.. . .and that’s the only the beginning of their problems. 
I liked how both Lucca and Kat try to think if they have done anything bad enough to warrant them being kidnapped from their homes and dumped in this isolated, potentially dangerous place that shows no signs of civilisation.
The teens do discover cryptic sayings or quotes in the same handwriting as the note Lucca found in his pocket such as “If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not REVENGE?” Kat instantly recognises it, not that it really reveals anything to the two teens.
I should say I grew quite fond of both of the main characters Lucca and Kat throughout the book, they both seem like normal individuals. Neither comes from an especially wealthy family, so at this stage I personally don’t think they have been kidnapped for ransom money. I am still perplexed on what anyone could do to warrant the punishment or revenge of being put on such a dangerous, horror filled place.
If I had to choose just one favourite character it would have to be Kat, she is quite secretive and so cautious around Lucca to begin with. Then she seems to really warm to him, after all they are both stuck here together, but I think there is a lot more to learn about her. What is she hiding from Lucca? . . 
I really enjoyed this book a lot! Which being 100% honest with you I wasn't sure I would, as this book is not my in any of my usual favoured genres. I can't wait to read more. . . I’m wanting to know what is going on, and why it is that Kat thinks she may have done something to deserve this level of punishment? What could a teenage girl have done to deserve this revenge? Love the almost immediate friendship between Lucca and Kat (though Kat took longer). I have so many questions!!
I’m looking forward to learning more about the weird, exotic monsters/animals. As well as fathoming out what they are, they could be animals from a foreign land, or maybe some eccentric scientist has played with genetics and created hybrid monsters!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

REVIEW - ALPHA - MACKENZIE GREY SERIES BY KARINA ESPINOSA

Title: Alpha
Series: Mackenzie Grey
Author: Karina Espinosa
Publisher: Black Quill Press
Genre: Paranormal,Werewolves, Vampires, Witch's, Roomance
Release Date: 15th November 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
It’s hard being a Princess.

Mackenzie Grey never felt as vulnerable as she does now—but that won’t stop her from getting what she wants: revenge. Kenz and her friends journey to a new land where everyone has a motive and everyone is a suspect.
The Lunas find their voices after the massacre but question still stands—who is the real enemy? If Mackenzie wants to free herself, she will need to free them all; and it won’t be easy. As she approaches her 24th birthday—in the middle of a web of lies, deception, and murder—Kenz has to weave her way to the truth before she’s next on the chopping block.

With her companions, Mackenzie will make her final stand and change the course of the Lycan world forever…
 


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

REVIEW - PENNSYLVANIA - PENNSYLVANIA SERIES BY MICHAEL BUNKER

Title: Pennsylvania
Series: Pennsylvania
Author: Michael Bunker
Genre: Sci-Fi
Release Date: 3rd April 2013

BLURB from Goodreads
Jedidiah Troyer just wants to start a farm and homestead on some affordable land in a new Amish community, but... what if the only good, cheap, available land was on another planet? So now Jed has signed up for an emigration program that is intent on colonizing the distant planet of New Pennsylvania. He faces a despotic government agency at war with rebels, the caprices of interstellar travel, a shadowy futuristic insurgency on his new planet, and more mysteries than he can count as he tries to fulfill his dream of owning his own farm. Space pioneering isn't as easy as it sounds when you're "plain." Things might work out for Jed... if he can ever get to his new home.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
This series was recommended to me by another author after I read and enjoyed his book. As Phillip Harris’s book The Girl in the City is set in the society/world created in the Pennsylvania Series by Michael Bunker. So I decided to give reading the first part of the series a go. I am quite fascinated with the Amish culture so that was another point that drew me to the book.
I was quite quickly drawn in and my attention was definitely held throughout this book. I really didn’t want to put this book down and read very late into the night on a few occasions.
The cover depicts quite a barren looking isolated landscape, and there’s the Amish carriage on the winding road. 
The genres I’d personally say this book falls into are dystopian, and science fiction with some post apocalyptic aspects thrown in as well. It will be interesting to see how the Amish featured in the book cope with the genre aspects within it. On one hand their plain ways, and self sufficiency should make it easier for them to do without technology, however on the other hand there are science fiction parts in the book so how will they deal with what technology may be forced upon them. Will they continue to isolate themselves and keep to their own kind or will they reach out and help the non plain/Amish community.
So the actual book is a great introduction to what I personally hope will be a fascinating series. The setting is sometime in the future with advanced technology such as airbuses and the colonisation of other planets than earth. Earth has become over populated with less and less land to be purchased and worked. The Amish have to an extent been exempt from certain rules in this society such as having compulsory TRID’s fitted. TRID’s are an identity chip that is installed and does away with the old identification, passport papers. The Amish went to court and won their appeal against having them having them compulsory fitted like the English and rest of the society. The Amish also do not use the new currency that is placed on a card. This system is explained in detail within the book and was originally called Unilets which were derived from LETS. LETS = Local Exchange Trading System. The English keep their LETS on a card and pay for things electronically. Which to be totally honest is not a million miles away from our own contactless credit card system. Another popular technology that is widely available is B.I.C.E. which is a Beta Internet Chip Enhancement or as Jed refers to it as the “Internet in your head”. Not everyone is rich enough to pay for this chip and some still have to go to a place called an “Insta” where they can access the internet. Quadrille is a popular, and legal drug that the English seem to take in large quantities on a regular basis. 
The book begins with the main character of eighteen year old Jedidiah Troyer (Jed) who is attending to the chore of milking a cow on his family’s farm with his fourteen year old brother Amos Troyer. Amos asks for what must be the hundredth time if Jed will tell him about the journey he will be beginning later today. Jed is a patient older brother and it seems he is secretly pleased to tell his younger brother what he wants to know over and over again. Jed goes on to explain the whole journey or as they call it a pilgrimage and the colonisation process too.. 
Jed is going to inhabit a new planet called New Pennsylvania which is almost the same size as earth, and lots of the Amish people are making this move, which when you think of the Amish culture means that even they are having to adapt to continue their way of life.
Saying that the whole trip does not go to plan is somewhat of an understatement! First there seems to be something wrong with the amount of LETS on Jed’s card but a Transport station operative conveys that he should not question this, so he rather naively just goes with the whole situation that becomes more strange as his pilgrimage progresses. The book covers the small mindedness and discrimination of the English as Jed is bullied on one of the airbuses he travels on. It is nothing for them but when another English man named Jerry comes to his aid he feels warmed by the actions, not all are prejudiced against the Amish. 
Unfortunately for them it seems that Jed and Jerry have been unknowingly pulled into a much larger plan of resistance against the government. They also discover that New Pennsylvania id not as idyllic as they have been told.
I love the character of Jed, the brave and curious eighteen year willing to leave everything he knows and loves at a chance of working hard and eventually purchasing his own land. Jed is described as being a younger version of his father who believes in hard work. Working on the farm has made Jed a strong, lean and sturdy man, prepared to work hard for the prospect of a new life. He has long term plans, hoping that when old enough his younger brother will come out to join him on his land in New Pennsylvania. I did also like the younger character of Amos, and hope to see him, featured somewhere in the future of the series. Jed shows he is adventurous going to a new country but that he dearly loves and will miss his family and their love. There are some quite poignant, emotional moments within this book. One is the moment when Jed thinks back to the old barn window he broke when he was younger and the punishment his father gave him was to fix the window. Jed did fix it, just not with glass. He found a tin can and flattened it our filling the gap the glass breaking had created.
I loved reading this book and can’t wait to read even more of it soon! I really liked the mix of the society and cultures. I could go on and on about this book! Oh wow! what a place to end! What a cliff hanger! loved it, loved it, loved it! I want to read more... much more of this series.

Monday, 7 November 2016

BLOG TOUR - FOR SALE BY OWNER BY MARLENE BATEMAN

BLURB supplied by the Author
Filled with plans, McKenzie Forsberg returns to her hometown to spend Christmas with her family. Stressed by a year of intense, ongoing problems, she quit her high-powered job to move back and rebuild her life.  Kenzie desperately needs the peace and security she is sure will come from buying the home she grew up in. But when she arrives, Kenzie discovers that a handsome widower, Jared Rawlins, has already put an offer on the house. However, he can only close the deal if he sells his own house by Christmas Eve.


When Kenzie unexpectedly runs into a couple who are considering buying Jared’s house, she unthinkingly gives them information that changes their mind. Jared is more than a little interested in Kenzie, but has second thoughts when it appears Kenzie may have attempted to sabotage the sale of his home. Feeling bad, Kenzie apologizes but the damage may be too much for their relationship to overcome. Despite themselves, sparks of attraction grow into something more. Then, a few days before Christmas, Kenzie makes a stunning discovery about her past. In that moment, everything changes. Will the power of love be enough to bring Jared and Kenzie together and allow them to find their happily ever after?

PURCHASE LINKS
Seagull Book; https://goo.gl/yQboNh
GoodReads;  https://goo.gl/ksPihN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Sandy, Utah.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House.

Marlene has also written a number of LDS, non-fiction books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die. 

BOOK EXCERPT

“What made you decide to move to Lake Forest?” Kenzie asked.
“I’ve always loved it here,” Jared said. “It’s a beautiful area, and there’s a special atmosphere here. People are so friendly. I guess part of the reason I came is because I needed to go someplace new and kind of start over, you know?”
            Kenzie did know. That was exactly what she was doing now. She’d gotten over Larry, but she needed to go someplace new and reinvent herself and her life.
“Now let me ask you,” Jared said. “What made you decide to come back?”
            “A lot of reasons. I need a fresh start too. I’m tired of the hectic pace in Chicago.” Impulsively she added, “Also, I had to get away from my job at Midwest. A guy was causing some real problems for me—” She stopped. Their eyes met and lingered. Jared’s compassion was evident and the expression on his face kind. She felt so comfortable talking with him—as if they were kindred spirits. Something in her heart softened into a spreading pool, and she smiled at him.
Tearing open his packet of Oreo cookies., Jared took one and dunked it in his hot chocolate.
Kenzie frowned. “Figures. You’re a dunker.”
“And I bet you’re a twister.”
Snatching up a cookie, Kenzie twisted it open and took a bite of the creamy middle. “Ummm.”
Jared shuddered. “That’s wrong in so many ways.”
Picking up her mug and warming her fingers, Kenzie sipped her hot chocolate. “This is wonderful!”
“It’s a secret recipe—been in my family for generations.”
            “Really?”
            “No, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?”



Friday, 4 November 2016

FILM REVIEW - THE HUNTSMAN WINTERS WAR

Title: The Huntsman Winter's War
Distributed By: Universal
Age Rating: 12
Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale, Re-Telling
DVD Release Date: 15th August 2016
DVD Run Time: 109 minutes

CAST
Eric the Huntsman - Chris Hemswoth - Been in: Neighbours & Ghostbusters 2016.
Queen Ravenna - Chalize Theron -Been in: Italian Job & Snow White & the Huntsman.
Freya (Queen's sister) - Emily Blunt - Been in: Devil Wears Prada & Queen Victoria.
Sara the Huntsman -Jessica Chastain - Been in: Interstella & The Help.
Nion - Nick Frost - Been in: Shaun Of The Dead.
Gruff - Rob Brydon - Been in: Gavin & Stacey & voice over in The Gruffalo.
Doreena - Alexandra Roach - Been in:Being Human & Testament Of Youth
Bronwyn - Sheridan Smith - Been in: Two Pints Of Lager & A Packet Of Crisps & Mrs Biggs
Andrew - Colin Morgan - Been in: Merlin, Humans & the Living and The Dead. 

INITIAL THOUGHTS
Not sure what to expect from this one really. I have heard it is a prequel to another film called Snow-white & The Huntsman which I'd like to watch. So it makes sense to watch this one first.

COVER
This cover is dominated by the pictures of four main characters, Queen Ravenna, her younger sister Freya, and the two Huntsman Eric and Sara. Also featured in the background on the cover are shards of glass and what looks to be a mounted army in the bottom left hand corner.

REVIEW
I purchased this on from Amazon UK. So once I began watching this one I began thinking certain parts seemed familiar but weren't from Snow white as I had expected. By the time I got to the end of the videa I realised that this was a mish-mash of parts of Snow-white written by The Brothers Grimm and the other parts were from Han Christian Andersons Snow Queen, which I has in book form as a youngster and had always loved the story.
So the main gist of the story is that Eric is tasked with retrieving the famous Mirror. Along the way we learn more about Eric, how as a child he was kidnapped and trained to become a Hunstman. Whilst training Eric falls in love with the female Huntsman Sara who is also traning. When they are found out they are separated "forever" so that's the romance part of the dvd, because of course Sara and Eric meet up on the search for the Mirror and end up on another more personal quest of does love still exist between Eric and Sara? I think Chris Hemsworth as Eric and Jessica Chastain as Sara make a believable couple. I like the fact Sara is allowed to be as "kick-butt" as Eric, in fact at some points she looks and performs as a Huntsman even better than Eric. She proves on many occasions that she "never misses her target". 
The other character's the pair meet up with are what I'd describe as a couple of "double acts". There's a couple of male dwarve's, Nion & Gruff, and a couple of female dwarve's called Doreena & Bronwyn. The two sets of dwarve's end up having their own "love stories" which is quite funny and cute.  I think Charlize Theron is perfect casting as she is very believable as Queen Ravenna.
Does love survive? with any of the couples? Will love conquer all? Can the unlikely group of friends get the Mirror? Does good overcome evil? well you'll have to watch it to find out!
I fell I should mention that there is "bad language" within the DVD used by Bronwyn which in my opnion could have easily been left out with no detriment to the plot or characters at all. I suppose that's partly why the DVD is rated a 12.
I did enjoy the DVD, I think it will probably make even more sense and become more relevant when I get around to watching Snow White & The Huntsman.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Yes, I enjoyed the DVD and I guess it will appeal to those who love fairy-tale re-tellings. It has also made me interested in watching the next film/films to see how much of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson will feature in it.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

PROMOTIONAL SPOTLIGHT - BOOKS OF DOWN BY SIMON MORDEN

Title: Down Station
Author: Simon Morden
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: 18th February 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through...and find themselves on a wild shore backed by cliffs and rolling grassland. The way back is blocked. Making their way inland they meet a man dressed in a wolf's cloak and with wolves by his side. He speaks English and has heard of a place called London - other people have arrived here down the ages - all escaping from a London that is burning. None of them have returned. Except one - who travels between the two worlds at will. The group begin a quest to find this one survivor; the one who holds the key to their return and to the safety of London.
And as they travel this world, meeting mythical and legendary creatures,split between North and South by a mighty river and bordered by The White City and The Crystal Palace they realise they are in a world defined by all the London's there have ever been.
Reminiscent of Michael Moorcock and Julian May this is a grand and sweeping science fantasy built on the ideas, the legends, the memories of every London there has ever been.

Award-winning author Simon Morden's stunning quest continues, 
unraveling magic and uncovering secrets on the way...
Title: The White City
Author: Simon Morden
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: 4th April 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
LET'S FACE IT, NONE OF US DESERVE TO BE SAVED.
Since escaping London's inferno, Mary and Dalip have fought monsters and won - though in the magical world of Down, the most frightening monsters come from within. 

Now they hold the greatest of treasures: maps that reveal the way to the White City, where they can find the answers they're looking for, and learn the secrets of Down. 

But to get there they must rely on Crows, who has already betrayed them at every turn. As they battle their way towards the one place in all of Down without magic, they must ask themselves how far they will go to find their way home. 

After all, if there's one thing the White City offers those brave enough to enter, it's more than they bargained for. 


Goodreads Link

AUTHOR INTERVIEW
What genre/genres would you place Down Station & The White City into?
This is actually trickier than it sounds. While they’re both Portal Fantasy, and deliberately so, almost everything I write, even the stuff with honest-to-god magic in, is mostly science fiction. So while the magic is real and works, if you lift the bonnet, there’s a scientific rationale for the whole world. Whether it’s a good rationale, I’ll leave to the readers to decide.

Is it a genre you enjoy writing and why?
Who doesn’t love a good portal fantasy? A great many of us were brought up on them, whether it was Narnia or John Carter of Mars, or Peter Pan, or Alice in Wonderland. There’s something both bright – New world! Adventures! Heroes! – and dark – I don’t know how things work! I don’t like the monsters! I don’t know if I can get home! – about the whole scenario. And, naturally, because it’s me, we go to some very dark places really quite quickly. I always maintain that if you’re not enjoying writing the story, it’s going to be obvious to the readers, so it’s important to pick projects that you’re not going to hate half way through (or sooner). The first draft is for the author: the editing is for everyone else.

Do you have a Series name for your Down Station & The White City books yet? If so what is it please? If not are you not having a Series name?
The books are collectively part of the Books of Down.

Could you tell us a little about your overview for your Down Station & The White City books?, and what your plans for it? ie. How many books will there be in the book collection/series?
So there are three planned, of which Down Station and The White City are one and two. There is a sort-of overview, in that the characters who leave our world for Down have to learn how Down works, and try and then use that knowledge for hopefully good, and possibly evil. The law of unintended consequences is a bit of a recurring theme, and those consequences compound as the plot develops.
Hopefully, everything is going to be solved in an emotionally satisfying yet ingenious denouement.

Are the Cover Designs & Titles for the rest of the book collection/series already chosen? (& Who has/is designing the covers for you?)
This is as far as we’ve got – but Blacksheep studio who’ve designed the first two covers have done an absolutely knock out job on them. They’re genuinely vibrant and exciting, and very different from the usual fantasy fair. I love them to bits.

Did you plan out the whole book collection/series or are you planning and writing as you go alone wherever the plot & characters take you in each individual book?
When I proposed the series to Gollancz, I couldn’t just say, “I’ll write you something, it’ll be brilliant!” So there was most of Down Station already done, but not any of The White City, so I made something up and used that as a synopsis. Some of it even ended up in the book. I am, however, a ‘pantser’ by habit. I might have an image or a start, or sometimes an end, but that’s often it. The rest I make up as I go along and just have to trust that my subconscious has got my back.

Do you already know what happens, right up to the last word of the last book in the book collection/series?

And in this case, I know exactly how it’s going to end. What I don’t know is how I’m going to get there. It’s going to be fun finding out.

Do you have any plans for a prequel or novella's to be part of this book collection/series?

No plans, but you’re right: the possibilities of Down are endless. If inspiration strikes, I’ll write it.

How long did it take you to write Down Station, from the original idea to finishing writing it? Did it take longer, shorter or about the same time length to write The White City?
Right then. This probably isn’t the answer you expected, but this is how it happened. I started Down Station in March 2014, as an on spec project. Gollancz bought it and scheduled it for publication February 2016, with a first draft deadline of Christmas 2014: The White City had a provisional publication date of February 2017. So plenty of time.

I found out at Easter 2014 that my father had incurable cancer, and I submitted the first draft of Down Station a day or so before I went down to help my mother look after him in what were to be his final weeks. That was the start of September 2014. I knew that if I didn’t hand the draft in then, I’d never hand the draft in, and Gollancz deserved better than that.

My dad died at the back end of October. I didn’t write a single word until the January, and it was like wading through treacle. I had no idea what I was doing, and even if I wanted to do it, and those first few chapters are pitch black. But they did fit, and slowly I regained my confidence, and it all came spilling out.
I’d finished the first draft by the end of July. That was 98,000 words. After that was a 45,000 word hard SF novella (At the Speed of Light, published next year by Newcon Press) which took six weeks from start to finish, and another on spec project (historical/fantasy adventure) which was 85,000 words and took eight weeks.

I stopped for a bit after that. I think I’d managed to say everything I needed to for that moment. Which is a long way of telling you why The White City is coming out five months early.

Is there anything in the book collection/series so far that you would change now if you could and what would it be?
That’s an almost impossible question to answer, because I was literally a different person when I wrote both Down Station and The White City. And yes, if I was going to write them both now, they’d be different books. But they are what they are. So no, I wouldn’t change anything. You can never go back.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

LAUNCH DAY BLITZ - ONCE A GYPSY - THE IRISH TRAVELLERS SERIES BY DANICA WINTERS

Described as thrilling and romantic, ONCE A GYPSY (Diversion Trade Paperback Original; $14.99; November 1, 2016) begins the brand-new Irish Traveller series from award-winning author, Danica Winters.
Recommended for readers of Chloe Neill’s Devil’s Isle books as well as Nalini Singh’s Psy-changeling novels will delight in the alluring and mysterious world of the Irish Traveller series. ONCE A GYPSY has everything that paranormal romance fans will love, from a sexy heroine coming into her own abilities to a hunky kilt-wearing hero with some serious rugged charm.

Title: Once A Gypsy
Series: Irish Travellers
Author: Danica Winters
Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Release Date: 1st November 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Even for a clairvoyant, the future is never a sure thing.

Helena has always struggled to fit in with her Irish Traveller family. It’s not just her opposition to getting married or her determination to attend university; Helena also has one talent that sets her apart from the rest of her clan―the gift of the Forshaw, the ability to see the future.

Graham is the groundskeeper at a manor in Adare, Ireland. Though the estate appears idyllic, it holds dark secrets, and despite his own supernatural gifts, Graham can’t solve Adare Manor’s problems by himself. Desperate for help, Graham seeks out a last resort: Helena, whose skills are far greater than even she knows.

When he promises to teach her to control her powers, Helena resists, afraid both of the damage her abilities might do and her increasing attraction to the handsome groundskeeper. Her entire way of life is at risk: Any involvement, especially romantic, with non-Travellers like Graham is forbidden. But Helena’s future is anything but certain, and fate has other plans for her family, her powers, and her relationship with Graham.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Danica Winters is a bestselling author who has won multiple awards for writing books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and occasionally a touch of magic. Most recently, Danica was the winner of the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Paranormal Romantic Suspense Book of the Year Award and Chanticleer Media’s Paranormal Book of the Year for her novel Montana Mustangs. She is currently the finalist for the Chatelaine Award. When she’s not working, she can be found in the wilds of Montana testing her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery, and painting are not her thing). She always believes the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but it better be filled with wine.