Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Tales From Harborsmouth by E J Stevens + Giveaway


Tales from Harborsmouth by E.J. Stevens 
(Ivy Granger Psychic Detective, #0.5, #1.5, #2.5, #5.5)
Publication date: July 11th 2017
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy the ebook from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the ebook from Kobo
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Add Tales From Harborsmouth to your Goodreads

In Tales from Harborsmouth, readers get the chance to delve deeper into the award-winning world of Ivy Granger.
Ivy Granger is a psychic detective with ties to Harborsmouth’s paranormal underworld. Too bad those ties tend to ensnare Ivy and her friend Jinx in the Machiavellian schemes of the city’s teeming population of bloodsucking vampires and psychotic faeries.
Tales from Harborsmouth is the first time the Ivy Granger novellas are together in one collection and features two exclusive short stories the series prequel Frostbite and the newest Ivy Granger tale Thrill on Joysen Hill.

FROSTBITE (Ivy Granger #0.5) Everyone knows that there's no such thing as ghosts, but when a client claims that her house is being haunted, Ivy tries to keep her mind open and her weapons handy. If her psychic gifts and recent cases have taught her anything, it's that you're better off arming yourself for the unexpected. Anything is possible in Harborsmouth.

BLOOD AND MISTLETOE (Ivy Granger #1.5) Holidays are worse than a full moon for making people crazy. In Harborsmouth, where many of the residents are undead vampires or monstrous fae, the combination may prove deadly. Holidays are Hell, a point driven home when a certain demon attorney returns with information regarding a series of bloody murders. Five Harborsmouth residents have been killed and every victim has one thing in common-they are fae. Whoever is killing faeries must be stopped, but they only leave one clue behind-a piece of mistletoe floating in a pool of the victim's blood. The holidays just got interesting.

CLUB NEXUS (Ivy Granger #2.5) A demon, a human, an Unseelie faerie, and a vampire walk into a bar... These four intertwining short stories are set in Club Nexus, the hidden haunt of Harborsmouth's paranormal underworld. Iced: A bargain gone wrong leads a highborn Unseelie faerie to life as an enslaved bartender with a taste for revenge. Dusted: Being a highly skilled predator doesn't necessarily put you at the top of the food chain at Club Nexus. A southern vampire with a hankering for blood and wanton violence may have bit off more than he can chew. Demonized: The demon attorney we love to hate has his eye on a certain rockabilly human. Too bad she's brought a crossbow loaded with holy water dipped bolts for this night on the town. Jinxed: Just when Jinx needs a carefree girl's night out with Ivy, a smoking hot demon tries to buy her a drink. She really is the unluckiest human on the planet.

THRILL ON JOYSEN HILL (Ivy Granger #5.5) Few places are as rife with opportunity or as fraught with danger as Harborsmouth's notorious Joysen Hill. Vampires own the real estate, and even the most ruthless human thugs won't venture out after dark, but when Torn gets stuck babysitting, he can only think of one place in Harborsmouth interesting enough to take a demon toddler, a teenage bridge troll, and a grouchy hearth brownie. What happens next substantiates the city's advertising slogan. No matter who or what you are, no matter how young or old, you can find your thrill on Joysen Hill.



AUTHOR BIO:
E.J. Stevens is the bestselling, award-winning author of the IVY GRANGER, PSYCHIC DETECTIVE urban fantasy series, the SPIRIT GUIDE young adult series, the HUNTERS' GUILD urban fantasy series, and the WHITECHAPEL PARANORMAL SOCIETY Victorian Gothic horror series. She is known for filling pages with quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines. Her novels are available worldwide in multiple languages.

BTS Red Carpet Award winner for Best Novel, SYAE finalist for Best Paranormal Series, Best Novella, and Best Horror, winner of the PRG Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Paranormal Fantasy Novel, Best Young Adult Paranormal Series, Best Urban Fantasy Novel, and finalist for Best Young Adult Paranormal Novel and Best Urban Fantasy Series.

When E.J. isn't at her writing desk, she enjoys dancing along seaside cliffs, singing in graveyards, and sleeping in faerie circles. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.

Connect with E.J. on GoodreadsTwitter @EJStevensAuthor and Facebook.
For more, including a list of her books, freebies, and upcoming events visit www.EJStevensAuthor.com


And now it is time for the Giveaway! Open worldwide until the 6th of July, up for grabs is a $25 Amazon gift card and a swag pack
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Books by E J Stevens / Short stories / Books from America

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Ireland's Fairy Lore by Reverend Michael P. Mahon


Ireland's Fairy Lore by Reverend Michael P. Mahon
First published in one volume in 1919 by Thomas J Flynn and Company. Republished in the UK by ForgottenBooks in November 2013.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the paperback from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Downloaded from ForgottenBooks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ireland's Fairy Lore is a collection of 31 separate tales of lore and legend. While the stories do an excellent job of illuminating Ireland's history of Gaelic literature, the author does not treat the works with too serious an interpretation, and in fact is downright lighthearted in many instances. This is especially appropriate for such an entertaining collection.
Standout entries include the story of The Pooka, a goblin like creature that is said to bring either good or misfortune upon people, and is the inspiration for many place names throughout Ireland. The history of The Dagda, a father figure God of frightening power, is another entertaining and illuminating chapter. In fact, of the thirty-one entries included in this collection, almost all are worthy of your attention. They were originally published as individual articles in Pilot magazine.
Ireland's Fairy Lore is an enduring and entertaining examination of Ireland's mythical landscape. The relaxed tone and brief chapters make this an easy read, one that you could get through in a couple of sittings, or go back to regularly over time. For anybody interested in Irelish folk lore, or even just a good fairy story, this book is highly recommended.

From the synopsis on the ForgottenBooks website I was expecting 31 Irish folk tales but this book is more of a survey of the influence of the faery folk on place names and Pagan traditions in Ireland. Rev Mahon was obviously widely read and quotes many medieval and earlier works as he traces the history of the fairies. This is interesting but I did find irritating his patronising assumptions that later Christian beliefs were automatically superior to these Pagan ones - especially at times where one has merely taken over the other. Also, the essays might be 'light hearted' by 1919 standards, but they've become considerably drier by 2014!


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Books by Reverend Michael P Mahon / History / Books from England

Monday, 26 June 2017

Wolf Hunt by Ivailo Petrov


Wolf Hunt by Ivailo Petrov
First published in Bulgarian by Profizdat as Hayka za valtsi in 1986. English language translation by Angela Rodel published in America on the 16th May 2017 by Archipelago Books.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
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Buy the ebook from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
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How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published in 1986, three years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Wolf Hunt was the first novel to portray the human cost of Communist policies on Bulgarian villagers, forced by the government to abandon their land and traditional way of life. Darkly comic and tragic, the novel centers on an ill-fated winter hunting expedition of six neighbors whose history together is long and interwoven. The ensuing story takes the reader on a voyage of shifting perspectives that places the calamitous history of twentieth-century Bulgaria into a human context of helplessness and desperation.

A long novel by my usual reading standards, Wolf Hunt is told in six stories each centred around one of a half dozen men who unexpectedly go out on a night-time wolf hunt in a blizzard. We see their lives briefly on this night and then jump back to mostly see how they lived in the mid-1940s onwards when the introduction of communism to their village changed every aspect of their existence in a very short space of time. Petrov's portrayal was most poignant in the 1960s scenes as I realised that the vibrancy of the village just twenty years previously had been completely destroyed and now just a dwindling elderly population remained. I particularly appreciated his vivid and thoughtful descriptions of pastoral life that seemed essentially unchanged for centuries. This contrasts sharply with the rushed switch to co-operative farming and social communism and one character even states that the first failed co-operative farm might have been successful had the people been allowed to come to the idea in their own time. Instead the peasant farmers are left substantially worse off than when they tended their own micro farms.

Petrov's viewpoint is overwhelmingly male and we only see the village through the eyes of his six hunters, some of which have remarkably similar voices so I did often lose track of whose story was being told, especially when events overlap. Women are relegated to secondary roles and often presented in a very romanticised way which I found irritating. It would have been more interesting for me to have had a balanced portrayal with less emphasis on macho power struggles, grudges and vindictive behaviour. However Wolf Hunt is still a fascinating read and unusual in its subject matter so I was glad to have stumbled across this new English translation. Rodel does a good job of retaining the flavour of village life and traditional Bulgarian culture without her translation becoming clumsy or too bogged down in explanation.


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Books by Ivailo Petrov / Historical fiction / Books from Bulgaria

Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane


The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane
First published in the UK by Granta in 2007.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the book from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the ebook from Kobo
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Borrowed from my partner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wild Places is both an intellectual and a physical journey, and Macfarlane travels in time as well as space. Guided by monks, questers, scientists, philosophers, poets and artists, both living and dead, he explores our changing ideas of the wild. From the cliffs of Cape Wrath, to the holloways of Dorset, the storm-beaches of Norfolk, the saltmarshes and estuaries of Essex, and the moors of Rannoch and the Pennines, his journeys become the conductors of people and cultures, past and present, who have had intense relationships with these places.
Certain birds, animals, trees and objects - snow-hares, falcons, beeches, crows, suns, white stones - recur, and as it progresses this densely patterned book begins to bind tighter and tighter. At once a wonder voyage, an adventure story, an exercise in visionary cartography, and a work of natural history, it is written in a style and a form as unusual as the places with which it is concerned. It also tells the story of a friendship, and of a loss. It mixes history, memory and landscape in a strange and beautiful evocation of wildness and its vital importance.

If you are looking to get out into nature this summer before Michael Gove does away with Britain's natural world altogether, allow yourself to be inspired by The Wild Places. I loved immersing myself in MacFarlane's descriptions of the wild places he visited around Britain and Ireland, finding this book even more inspirational that the previous one of his I read, The Old Ways. While I don't think I'm personally up to sleeping out on iced over tarns, I would love to discover for myself some of the places he so eloquently describes.

My only real disappointment with this book, which may be more true in the Kindle version I read than for a paper version, is that the text suddenly ends at around 77% to be followed by an extensive bibliography and index. I've now several further titles to search out, but I mistakenly thought I still had hours more reading first!


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Books by Robert Macfarlane / Natural world / Books from England

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Not In The Eye by C Z Hazard


Not in the Eye by C.Z. Hazard
Published by B*Kitty Press on the 23rd December 2013.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In a world running rapidly out of new ideas, the most precious commodity is innovation. In a future so near that it may already be upon us, Western society faces cultural bankruptcy. Our creative heritage has been looted, recycled and plagiarised to the point of exhaustion. The entertainment industry has traded artistic merit for commercial success and mass appeal. Everything is just a rehash of something that came before. Nothing is original.
When a radical new phenomenon erupts (quite literally) onto the porno scene, it changes the industry forever, and forces audiences, jaded by endless reiteration, to sit up and take notice. It’s a watershed moment in these culturally bereft times, and – for a select few – it’s a chance to make some serious money. But wherever there’s serious money to be made, you can bet there’s a lawsuit just around the corner. Join Indigo Julius, self-styled godfather of NuGonzo™ journalism, as he searches for the story behind the story behind the most controversial porn sensation in history, and examines its far-reaching consequences. Across a series of probing interviews with the stars of this media spectacular, Indigo brings you their compelling – if often conflicting – versions of events, as everyone tries to stake a claim in this pornographic goldrush.

C Z Hazard is Nico Reznick's editor so I discovered this book of his after reading her novel, Anhedonia. Told through a series of overlapping interviews, Not In The Eye explores an imagined consequence of society's insatiable search for novelty and drama in a near-future America. Humorously named writer, John Thomas (a running gag), might have invented an innovative gimmick that made incredible profits for the pornography industry. Or maybe his then boss, Mike Man, should have all the credit? Either way, their protacted court case means the only people profiting right now are lawyers and possibly influential journalist Indigo Julius, our interviewer, who is piggybacking on John and Mike's notoriety to increase his own mass appeal.

As an examination of the lengths industries will go to to maintain audience interest, Not In The Eye provides a light but thoughtful look at Taking It Too Far. I liked the story idea and wouldn't be surprised if something along those lines becomes (or already is!) reality in a struggling studio. However I didn't think the character portrayals were strong enough to set our protagonists up as individual people. Perhaps that was the point - they are all actually shallow media-tarts - but without additional detail to round out these creations, I found it difficult to really become involved with their story.


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Books by C Z Hazard / Humorous fiction / Books from England

Friday, 23 June 2017

Guest Review: The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway


The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
First published in America by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1952.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
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Guest review by Scott Kauffman
Californian author and attorney Scott Kauffman got in touch to offer me a review copy of his novel Revenants, The Odyssey Home which I am looking forward to reading and reviewing in July. His fiction career began with an in-class book report written in Mrs. Baer's eighth-grade English class when, due to a conflict of priorities, he failed to read the book. An exercise in invention was called for which scored more highly than previously when he actually read the book. Thus began Scott's life-long apprenticeship as a teller of tales. Scott has kindly donated a Guest Review to Literary Flits and chose Ernest Hemingway's Pulitzer Prize winning classic, The Old Man And The Sea.

Scott's rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The last novel Ernest Hemingway saw published, The Old Man and the Sea has proved itself to be one of the enduring works of American fiction. It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.

Scott says: Wondering if it had improved any with age in the forty-five years since I garnered my gentleman’s “C” on a book report from an English teacher likely being generous, I again cracked open The Old Man and the Sea. While my first reading of a fish story about the one that got away bored me to tears, or maybe only to Bonanza that evening, my second left me unsettled for Old Man I see now is Hemingway’s brooding meditation on approaching death. Like Santiago who catches the biggest fish of his life only to lose it to sharks and in that moment knows his best days as a fisherman are forever behind him, so too Hemingway saw his best days as a writer slipping fast as fish line through his fingers. Old Man proved to be his last novel, and he wrote little thereafter that did not require heavy editing. In its pages he foreshadows his own suicide ten years later on an Idaho mountaintop where, ever the showoff, he unloaded both shotgun barrels into the back of his mouth. A not surprising death for a man whose father took his own life as did two siblings and at least one grandchild. A death foreshadowed even earlier in The Sun Also Rises, set almost 30 years to the day before his suicide, and later in For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Hemingway leaves us with the question of how should one meet death? Santiago’s answer is by struggling on come what may: A man, he insists over and over, can be destroyed but should never allow himself to be defeated. Old Santiago fought the good fight until he had nothing but a skeleton of a great fish left to defend and sailed home to die dreaming of the lions he once saw in his youth as they played on a beach in Africa.

So what to make of Hemingway in the end giving in to the despair of defeat? His failing in the fight he wanted most to make, feared his whole life he would not make, and in the end did not. Perhaps this final tragedy, of not going down with both fists swinging, is a fate awaiting us all unless we have lived without ideals, which, Hemingway says, would for us be the greater tragedy. Hemingway’s Dilemma tells us that life gives us a choice between two tragedies: Living a life absent of ideals or living one with ideals but in the end failing to live up to them.



Thank you Scott!

Do you have a book review that you would like to share on Literary Flits? Details of how to do so are Here. I look forward to hearing from you!


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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard


Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard
First published in the UK by Bantam Press in January 2010.

I registered my copy of this book at Bookcrossing

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the book from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Swapped for in the book exchange at Serro Da Bica campsite, Ourique, Portugal.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eldritch Swan is a dead man. Or at least that is what his nephew Stephen has always been told. Until one day Eldritch walks back into his life after 36 years in an Irish prison. He won't reveal any of the details of his incarceration, insisting only that he is innocent of any crime.

His return should be of interest to no-one. But the visit of a solicitor with a mysterious request will take Eldritch and his sceptical nephew from sleepy seaside Paignton to London, where an exhibition of Picasso paintings from the prestigious Brownlow collection proves to be the starting point on a journey that will transport them back to the Second World War and the mystery behind Eldritch's imprisonment.

In 1940, he was personal assistant to a wealthy diamond dealer in Antwerp, whose collection of modern art was the envy of many. The subsequent disappearance of those paintings began a trail of murder and intrigue which was to have a catastrophic effect on Eldritch's life. But untangling the web of murky secrets, family ties and old betrayals that conceals the truth will prove to be a dangerous pursuit for Eldritch and Stephen. Before long, a mysterious enemy is doing everything possible to stop the truth emerging - at whatever cost

I was pleasantly surprised by this thriller which was much more convoluted and well-plotted than I expected it to be. The plotlines jump between two main time periods - the 1940s and the 1970s - and I was interested in the differences in detail between the two. Goddard evokes each period well and I loved his scene-setting which adds immensely to the atmosphere of this novel. Subsequent generations of several families become involved in the intrigues which did mean I needed to concentrate in order to keep awareness of who was who, but that is certainly not a bad thing! Overall I found Long Time Coming to be an enjoyable and satisfying read.


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Books by Robert Goddard / Thrillers / Books from England