Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Dorothy In the Land of Monsters by Garten Gevedon + #Giveaway + Excerpt

Dorothy In the Land of Monsters by Garten Gevedon
Published in America on the 11th October 2019.

Add Dorothy In the Land of Monsters to your Goodreads

Shifters, Zombies, and Vampires? Oh my!

My name is Dorothy Gale, and I think I might be dead. When my dog Toto and I got swept up in a twister, we landed in hell. A very colorful hell. Like a rainbow dripping in blood. Now it looks as though this dreadful underworld plagued with vampires, zombies, and shifters will be the site of my eternal damnation. They say this terrifying land called Oz isn't hell or purgatory and escape is possible, but first I must survive the journey down the blood-soaked yellow brick road to the only place in Oz where vampires dare not tread: The City of Emeralds.

With enchanted footwear and the help of my three new friends - a friendly zombie, a massive shifter lion, and a heartless axe murderer of evil night creatures (who also happens to be the hottest guy I've ever seen) - Toto and I have a chance to make it to the Vampire Free Zone. When we get there, I must convince the most powerful wizard in this magical land of monsters to send us out of this radiant nightmare and back to the world of the living. They say he's just as frightening as this monstrous land, that he detests visitors, and even the most horrifying creatures cower in his presence. But I must seek him out. And when I find him, I'll do whatever it takes to make him send me home.


Gray everywhere. As I stand on the porch of my aunt and uncle’s home, all I can see is the great gray expanse of prairie on every side. No trees, houses, buildings, people, nothing at all breaks the broad sweep of flat gray country that reaches to the edge of the gray sky in every direction. The sun scorched the plowed fields into a dusty, gray mass that expands to the horizon line, the endless gloom broken only by the little black shadows of the fissures running through it like the marbling of a corpse. 
Even the grass is dead and gray—the hot sun singed the blades until they were the same lifeless gray color that blankets everything. Years ago, the house was a pristine white, but the torrid summer sun burned and blistered the paint and the heavy winter rains battered it away, and now the house is as weathered and gray as everything else here. It’s fitting for what it’s like to live here in Middle of Nowhere, Kansas. It looks like what it is—bleak, leached of any color, any excitement, anything interesting at all—drained of life. Gray is gray is gray is my life. It surrounds me from all sides, all the time. And it sucks. Thanks a lot, climate change.
I came to live with my Uncle Henry and Aunt Emily on a crappy little farm when my parents died in a car accident. I was thirteen. Because Emily was the only family I had left, she got stuck with me. She could have refused me and left me as a ward of the state, but she was kind enough to take me in. Even though I don’t share the same connection with Emily and Henry that I did with my parents, they’re still family—the only family I have—so, I may complain about this being the middle of nowhere, but it’s better than being in an orphanage or foster care or some group home. Yeah, their place is tiny, and old, but at least it has four walls, a floor, and a roof. 
The two-bedroom farmhouse I live in is as weathered and brittle as the farm it’s set on. One story with no attic and no basement, the only feature it has is a cyclone cellar which we’ve had yet to use since I’ve lived here. It may lack color and any of the luxuries most people in America have these days—cable, wifi, consistent hot water to shower with—but I am grateful I have somewhere to live, even if life here is so gray that the grayness proliferates, turning everything in it to a gray as dry as dust.
When Aunt Emily came here to live with Uncle Henry, she was a young, pretty, vivacious woman with golden hair and bright emerald green eyes—or I thought I remembered her that way. Even she’s gray now. Just like it changed this once green land, the sun and wind have changed her, and her once sparkling green eyes are now dim and muted, tinged with a melancholy gray. Living here in this sweltering, exanimate world has stolen her radiance and left her ashen. It’s exhausted the red from her cheeks and lips, and now they’re pallid and gray too. Once she was curvy and a little plump. Now she’s gaunt and never smiles. Can’t blame her for never smiling, living in this dull, gray crap hole. 
When I first came to her, Aunt Emily would startle when I laughed. She’d scream and look at me like I was nuts, shocked I could find anything to laugh at in this gray place. Uncomfortable and bored out of my skull, I’d laugh trying to entertain myself, trying not to let the depression get the best of me, but after being here for four years, I get it now—what is there to laugh about when all that’s here is gray?
Uncle Henry never laughs either. Morning to night, all he does is work hard. If he knows what joy is, he doesn’t let on. From his gray beard to his rough boots, Henry is also gray, stern, and solemn. With a permanent stone face, he almost never speaks. It’s like he’s made of hard, gray stone. If he didn’t work so much trying to make this gray land yield something, I’d think he was stone—a gray statue of a man.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s me that’s gray, or the lens I see the world through. Before my parents died, my life was a bright white, like a pristine sheet of paper wishing for a colorful story to grace its surface. Then the black smear of tragedy struck, and it’s as though the thousands of tears I shed diffused the black that blemished my bright whiteness, spreading it over the unsullied parts like watercolor, leaving my world gray. But I don’t think I’m gray. Not yet. I don’t think it has spread to me yet.

Meet the Author 

Garten Gevedon lives in New York City with her family. She's a sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal author who loves taking fairy tales and turning them inside out.

Author links:

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

The prize is a $50 Amazon gift card.
Open internationally until the 7th November.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Etsy Find!
by Cornish Wench Does Art in
St Austell, England

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Monday, 28 October 2019

The Greater Freedom by Alya Mooro

The Greater Freedom: Life As A Middle Eastern Woman Outside The Stereotypes by Alya Mooro
Published by Little A on the 1st October 2019.

One of my 2019 New Release Challenge reads and my Book Of The Month for October 2019

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this rallying cry to outsiders everywhere, Alya Mooro makes her peace with not fitting in.

Egyptian-born and London-raised, Alya Mooro grew up between two cultures and felt a pull from both. Where could she turn for advice and inspiration when it seemed there was nobody else like her? Today, Mooro is determined to explore and explode the myth that she must identify either as ‘Western’ or as one of almost 400 million other ‘Arabs’ across the Middle East.

Through countless interviews and meticulous research, as well as her own unique experience, Mooro gives voice to the Middle Eastern women who, like her, don’t fit the mould. Women under pressure to conform to society’s ideals of how a woman should look and behave, what she should want and be. Women who want to think and act and love freely, without feeling that every choice means ‘picking a side’. Women who are two things at once and, consequently, neither.

Part memoir, part social exploration, this is a book for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.

I hoped when I chose a review copy of The Greater Freedom from NetGalley that Alya Mooro's writing would be thought-provoking for me and that absolutely proved to be the case. I would happily put this book alongside We Need New Stories by Nesrine Malik and My Past Is A Foreign Country by Zeba Talkhani as timely and essential reading for everyone who is seeking new ways to understand our social history and alternative directions for the future. Mooro explores in depth how Middle Eastern women are socially conditioned to have certain life expectations, and how those us from Western countries are conditioned to view Arabs, particularly Arab women. I appreciated Mooro's candid honesty in recounting episodes from her own life, divided as it was between Cairo and London, which allowed her to develop insights into both cultures.

The Greater Freedom is a strong blend of personal memoir, philosophy and social commentary. Mooro includes the words of dozens of other women as well as quotations from a dizzying array of written sources to illustrate and support her ideas. (This is one of those books whose bibliography added lots more reading suggestions to my TBR!) She writes from a perspective which is uniquely her own, however I enjoyed recognising elements of her strict childhood from my own experiences. As women, regardless of where we were born or raised, I agree that we all have a lot more in common than perhaps we have been led to believe and we need to build upon this shared bedrock to support each other achieve our individual life choices. I feel The Greater Freedom is an inspirational call towards the creation of fairer societies where women's lives are no longer restricted by fear of what Everyone Else might say.

Etsy Find!
by Say Hello London in
London, England

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Sunday, 27 October 2019

Escaping The Asylum by Siggy Galaen

Escaping The Asylum by Siggy Galaen
Published by Trollscape Press on the 17th June 2019.

One of my 2019 New Release Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“This isn't the first psychiatric hospital I've been treated at. I've been transferred a few times before ending up here. However, I don't quite remember how it all started – it's a bit of a mental fog now, really. It is for this reason that I recently decided to start writing down my thoughts and elaborate on the situation here.“

“I think the patients, the psychiatrists, the Money Men and the Asylum Manager may have more in common than some of them would like to think. We all have a mental diagnose.”

Escaping the Asylum is a short novel about a psychiatric patient's view of the treatment within the Asylum and the attempts to escape it once and for all. It gives pointers to issues relevant beyond those of psychiatric institutions. The written form resembles a written diary but also the patient as the narrator through present observations and thoughts on various subject.

I wasn't initially sure how well I would get on with this unusual Norwegian novella. It's told in the first person by an unnamed narrator and we are thrust straight into their world without being given much in the way of description or background information. Within a few pages though, I found myself intrigued! Our narrator is in some kind of Asylum. It doesn't seem a particularly unpleasant place, but they are unsure of exactly how they came to be there or, indeed, how long they must stay. In trying to figure out for themselves what is going on, they gradually give the reader enough insight to understand too.

Escaping The Asylum is written in a gentle style that, for me, felt just like listening to someone telling me their personal story. I think it is worth mentioning that there are a sprinkling of grammatical errors such as the use of 'diagnose' for 'diagnosis' in the synopsis. I imagine this is due to the author writing in their second language and I actually found it didn't bother me - a surprise as I'm usually a stickler for proper English! In this case with the direct first person point of view though, the language idiosyncrasies add a layer of depth to the character which compensates for the otherwise deliberate anonymity.

I don't want to say too much about how Escaping The Asylum progresses because I think this is a story that is best appreciated without much in the way of forewarning. Certainly I appreciated it this way. I recommend it as fairly swift read for Black Mirror fans and folks who also enjoyed The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist or I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman. A thought-provoking and rewarding story.

Etsy Find!
by Blue Raccoon Designs in
Virginia, USA

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Saturday, 26 October 2019

The Amorous Nightingale by Edward Marston

The Amorous Nightingale (Christopher Redmayne Book 2) by Edward Marston
First published in the UK by Headline in July 2000.

One of my 2019 Mount TBR Challenge reads and my 2000s read for my 2019-20 Decade Challenge

How I got this book:
Swapped for at a campsite book exchange

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

London 1667. Acclaimed beauty and singer Harriet Gow is the star performer at the famous Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, as well as the favourite mistress of King Charles II. After seeing her perform, Christopher Redmayne is likewise captivated so he is intrigued when the King urgently summons him – it seems Harriet has been kidnapped. Redmayne, with the help of his friend Jonathan Bale is engaged to resolve this delicate affair and they quickly begin delving into Harriet’s background.

The façade of elegance soon begins to crumble in the face of their investigations, and just as Redmayne and Bale start to question whether Harriet is really the victim or the guilty party, a brutal murder provides the answer...

The Amorous Nightingale is the second in Edward Marston's series of six Reformation Era crime mysteries, each of which feature the unlikely detective pairing of architect Christopher Redmayne with constable Jonathan Bale. I haven't yet read the first book in the series, but the few brief nods to its storyline are adequately explained here so I didn't feel as though I was missing information about the characters or their previous lives. The paperback edition I read had fairly large font and wide page margins so, despite this being a 372 page book, it was a quick read which I happily devoured over the course of an afternoon. The kidnapping mystery was convoluted enough to maintain my interest, but without being too taxing.

Where Marston excels, I felt, was in his portrayals of 1660s London. The city is far smaller than its present-day incarnation, even more so as the Great Fire destroyed thousands of homes only a year or so before our story takes place. Through the investigations and exploits of Redmayne, Bale and their friends we get to see varied streets, homes and characters from the no-longer-quite-as-divine King Charles II himself to the thugs and prostitutes who scrape a living on the docksides. I loved Marston's descriptions of the rich males outrageously fashionable outfits and also appreciated Jonathan Bale's crushed Puritan hopes - Cromwell's Commonwealth having existed still well within living memory.

The Amorous Nightingale is more of an entertaining crime mystery than a serious historical novel. I would have liked more depth to the characterisation because I felt we often had too large a cast at the expense of their individual believability. That said, I did enjoy this story and would happily seek out the further (and earlier!) books in this series.

Etsy Find!
by Amulet Art And Antiques in
Delaware, USA

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Thursday, 24 October 2019

The Art Of Taking It Easy by Dr Brian King

The Art Of Taking It Easy by Dr Brian King
Published in America by Apollo Publishers in October 2019.

Psychologist and Comedian King explores the science behind stress in this witty, informed guide. The author uses a bevy of running jokes and punch lines to enliven technical explanations for how and why people experience stress. His metaphors of coming across a bear in the wild as well as being stuck in traffic are also used to great effect to explain a variety of stress responses, such as perceiving a threat and feelings of powerlessness. Reframing thoughts plays a large role in King's advice: Stress is simply a reaction to a perception of threat being able to consciously redirect choices made by other areas of the brain is the key to living a less stressful existence. He also provides breathing exercises, plants for painting physical health and useful advice for setting attainable goals. King's enjoyable guide to living with less will be of help to any anxious reader.

Meet the author:
DR. BRIAN KING trained as a neuroscientist and psychologist and for the past decade has traveled the world as a comedian and public speaker. By day he conducts seminars, attended by thousands of people each year around the US and internationally, on positive psychology, the health benefits of humor, and stress management. By night he practices what he teaches in comedy clubs, and is the founder and producer of the highly reviewed Wharf Room comedy show in San Francisco. Dr. Brian holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, a master’s degree from the University of New Orleans, and a PhD in neuroscience from Bowling Green State University. Hailing from New York and living in dozens of cities throughout the US as the child of a military family, today spends his life on the road with his partner, Sarah, and their young daughter.

Connect with the author:
Website ~ Twitter  ~  Facebook ~ Instagram

Etsy Find!
by Folk Art For Loners in
Texas, USA

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Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Charles And Ada by James Essinger

Charles and Ada: The Computer's Most Passionate Partnership by James Essinger
Published by The History Press on the 22nd August 2019.

One of my 2019 New Release Challenge reads

Add Charles and Ada to your Goodreads

The partnership of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace was one that would change science forever.

They were an unlikely pair – one the professor son of a banker, the other the only child of an acclaimed poet and a social-reforming mathematician – but perhaps that is why their work is so revolutionary.

They were the pioneers of computer science, creating plans for what could have been the first computer. They each saw things the other did not; it may have been Charles who designed the machines, but it was Ada who could see their potential.

But what were they like? And how did they work together? Using previously unpublished correspondence between them , Charles and Ada explores the relationship between two remarkable people who shared dreams far ahead of their time.

I've known of the name Ada Lovelace for some time, mainly through the Ada Lovelace Day initiative, so was aware of her importance to women in science but, I'm embarrassed to say, hadn't actually taken the trouble to find out what specifically she is famous for until I got this chance to read James Essinger's biography, Charles and Ada. I had a similar level of ignorance towards Charles Babbage so reading and reviewing for the book's blog tour has been a real and welcome education!

I felt the book concentrated more on presenting Charles' whole life whereas the title had led me to expect a stronger focus on his and Ada's working relationship, however I understand that original source material is difficult to come by so Essinger is obviously limited on that score. He does allow himself a number of wistful What If moments though and I enjoyed wondering how different our current world might be if Ada's genius had been allowed more scope in the completion of Charles' Engines.

Essinger nicely fills in a lot of background information about the towns in which Charles and Ada lived at various points, and about the political situation in England at the time they lived. The English lack of support for science and scientists rang particularly true when compared to the present day when their work still seems to often be derided or even ignored, and many must still decamp overseas for greater opportunities! I did feel that Charles and Ada might have ended up as too long a book, given the scarcity direct information available about them. While I appreciate the way in which poetry and lengthy quotes were used as scene setting, they did come to feel like padding after a while. The author's insistence on pushing the idea of a romantic relationship between Charles and Ada also wore a little thin. However, overall, I thought Charles and Ada was a neat portrayal of two very unique people and I enjoyed learning about their personalities and their lives.

Meet the author

James Essinger was born in Leicester in 1957 and has lived in Canterbury in Kent since 1986. He was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys, Leicester, and at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he read English Language and Literature. He spent much of his time between 1981 and 1983 teaching English in Finland before working in public relations in London and then in Canterbury.

Since 1988, James has been a professional writer. His non-fiction books include Jacquard's Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019) His novels include The Mating Game (2016) with Jovanka Houska, the film rights of which have been optioned, Rollercoaster (2019) and The Ada Lovelace Project (forthcoming in 2020).

Author links: 
Facebook ~ Twitter

Etsy Find!

by Rachel Ignotofsky in
California, USA

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Books by James Essinger / Biography and memoir / Books from England

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Woodhouse Hall by Sara Marks + #Giveaway + Excerpt

Woodhouse Hall by Sara Marks
Published in America by Illuminated Myth Publishing on the 28th October 2019.

Add Woodhouse Hall to your Goodreads

Amelia is stuck in the worst dorm on campus for a whole year! She'll have to make the best of it in Woodhouse Hall and her roommate Jenna will be her new best friend, Amelia's sure of that. Jenna's sweet personality and openness to new things incite the matchmaking-genius in Amelia to find the perfect boyfriend for her new bestie. She shoots high by attempting to entice Eric, the President of the Student Government, to fall for her roommate. Amelia's past success makes her confident they will be a couple in no time. When that turns out to be a disaster, she is forced to face the lies she's told herself about her strengths and her assumptions about the people she loves. Over the year, Amelia learns who she is, what she wants, and how to fight for what's really important.

This novel, inspired by Jane Austen's Emma, will have you laughing, crying, and finding a little of yourself in one or all of the characters.


Adam and I took the last shift of the day to check in the freshmen. I agreed to this to thank Adam for helping me find a room. Jenna's parents had taken her out shopping for room supplies and dinner. Adam and I had our own dinner at the table while we checked in students. It was our payment for taking the shift.
"Do you like Jenna?" Adam asked me as we took charge of the check-in desk.
"She's sweet," I said.
"She seems to like crafts as much as you." 
"Maybe more than. I'm not that crafty, only knitting." I watched her put her stuff away; she likes all crafts. I saw watercolors, tie-dye, yarn, scrapbook paper, and stickers." 
"It was cool of her to help me out."
"She wants to decorate our door each month. I told her to do whatever she wanted with it." 
"Really? I was expecting you to dominate everything in the room."
I exaggerated rolling my eyes, making sure Adam noticed. This was not the first time he had said this to me. It felt like he always told me this when I made a new friend, including when we moved in as Freshmen and I met Gwen for the first time.
"Amelia, you're an alpha female. You tend to forget there are other people with their own desires."
"What does that even mean? What's an alpha female?"
Adam didn't get to answer as the next wave of freshmen came into the building.
"It's like an alpha male, but, you know, a woman," Adam said picking up the conversation again after the rush died down. "You're always the center of attention, you think you know what's best for everyone, and you push until people do what you want. Look at what you did to Gwen and Steve." 
"I helped two people find love. You make that sound bad," I said, pretending to be confused but really irritated that he wouldn't understand.

Meet the Author 

Sara Marks is a librarian with two masters degrees and plans to never stop getting over educated. She likes the idea of having all the academic regalia she can ever possess. She cries at nearly every movie she sees (ask her about when she cried at a horror movie), but it's full-on weeping for Disney animated movies. She loves reading nearly every genre but likes to write women's fiction, romance, and even horror. You have to balance out the reality of the world if you're going to be a hopeless romantic! Her heroines are women who don't want the expected life, rarely worrying about their age, weight, marriageability, or fertility.

Author links:

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

The prize is a copy of each 21st Century Austen book (autographed), + tons of swag.
Open internationally until the 31st October.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Etsy Find!
by Blackberry Designs in
California, USA

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Monday, 21 October 2019

Alfie And The Dead Girls by Jamie Stewart

Alfie And The Dead Girls by Jamie Stewart
Self published on the 24th July 2019.

One of my 2019 New Release Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The car continued to keep pace, trailing her.
It was unlike any other car she had ever seen. It was old and well maintained, its coat a brilliant aquamarine that gleamed in the sun’s rays.
‘Do you like my car?’ asked Fred, catching her admiring gaze.
Emma’s cheeks burned.
‘Most people do,’ he said, chuckling, ‘it’s a great ride’.

Emma Woods, a quiet, bookish, eleven-year-old is about to start her first day at secondary, which means new classes, new teachers and new classmates.

Emma is terrified and in her terror-stricken state she reaches out to her new school’s social media page to make friends. That’s where she meets Alfie.

Alfie is joining Radcliff Secondary School as well. Alfie likes the books she likes and most importantly he wants to be Emma’s friend. However, now there’s a strange car driven by a strange man trailing Emma with a promise to take her to Alfie.

What follows next is a story that is every parent’s worst nightmare. Alfie And The Dead Girls is perfect for fans of Stephen King, Joe Hill, John Grisham, Shirley Jackson, and Harlan Coben.

Jamie Stewart's short story, Alfie And The Dead Girls, might clock in at less than forty pages, but it really punches above its weight - a deliciously chilling tale that I very much enjoyed reading. Obviously there isn't space for detailed scene setting or in depth character analysis, however I was impressed by Stewart's ability to concisely put across emotions and ideas. A strength of this story, I thought, is that it frequently prompted me to let my imagination jump ahead. Stewart's sharp changes of tack were then very unsettling and, therefore, perfectly suited to the thrilling atmosphere he has created! On the downside, I would have liked stronger proofreading as errors often distracted me. That said however, I felt Alfie And The Dead Girls was a good introduction to Stewart's writing and I look forward to starting his full length novel, Mr Jones, soon.

Etsy Find!
by Hippy Gypsy Fairy Ware
Michigan, USA

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Sunday, 20 October 2019

A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
First published by Viking in March 2013. Audiobook edition narrated by Ruth Ozeki published by Canongate in March 2013.

One of my WorldReads from Canada

How I got this book:
Bought the audiobook via Audible

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Hi! My name is Nao, and I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is? Well, if you give me a moment, I will tell you."

Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes and dreams of a young girl. She suspects it might have arrived on a drift of debris from the 2011 tsunami. With every turn of the page, she is sucked deeper into an enchanting mystery. In a small cafe in Tokyo, 16-year-old Nao Yasutani is navigating the challenges thrown up by modern life. In the face of cyber-bullying, the mysteries of a 104-year-old Buddhist nun and great-grandmother, and the joy and heartbreak of family, Nao is trying to find her own place - and voice - through a diary she hopes will find a reader and friend who finally understands her.

Weaving across continents and decades, and exploring the relationship between reader and writer, fact and fiction, A Tale for the Time Being is an extraordinary novel about our shared humanity and the search for home.

This review was first blogged on Stephanie Jane in May 2014.

I listened to the audio version of A Tale For The Time Being which is nicely read by Ruth Ozeki herself. There is an interesting few minutes after the novel finishes when she talks about the differences between the print and audio versions and I'm confident I chose the right one this time!

The novel is made up of several story strands and I found the Japanese characters fascinating. Nao and her family allows the reader to discover life in contemporary Japan, her great-uncles' letters and diary illuminate WW2 Japan, her great-great-aunt is a Buddhist nun in a temple. By contrast, the other side of the tale, Ruth and Oliver living on a Canadian island, I found irritating and, certainly in Oliver's case, pompous. He came across as a device to explain factual information the reader needed to know and Ruth as a bit of a dimwit on the receiving end of his lectures.

Ozeki explores a lot of theories, environmental and scientific, philosophical and religious. Some of these slot naturally into a story, others felt awkwardly shoehorned. Overall I thought this was a good book, unusual enough to keep my interest while walking my commutes and I'm glad to have heard it read by the author.

Etsy Find!
by Kreativ Werkstatt 24 in
Bulach, Switzerland

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Books by Ruth Ozeki / Mystery fiction / Books from Canada

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Winter's Captive by Robin D. Mahle & Elle Madison + #Giveaway + Excerpt

Winter's Captive (The Lochlann Treaty #1)  by Robin D Mahle and Elle Madison
Published in America on the 21st December 2018.

Add Winter's Captive to your Goodreads

The black X of the Aramach Rebels marks the spot Princess Charlotte’s life was destroyed.

Her fiance taken and her kingdom on the brink of war because of it, Charlie refuses to be the damsel in distress and takes matters into her own hands. She can only trust a handful of people as hints of a conspiracy are uncovered. 

Leaving her castle and everything she’s ever known behind, Charlie ventures into a place she only thought she knew -- her own kingdom. In the face of traitors and thieves and ruthless rebels, Charlie won’t be stopped on her mission to set things right and find her prince.

The only question is: Will she find him before it’s too late?


Honestly, who makes their way in life by taking other people’s belongings?” I grumbled, kicking at a pile of snow. “And who does that wench think she is? Kill me and…” I trailed off.
It was freezing. If we wanted to head back to the village, the trek that had taken us an hour on horseback would take countless more walking. Precious hours that brought us further from any hope of finding Oli or the children. That was if we could even find the path, the way the snow was falling. As such, tempers were short. At least, mine was.
“Perhaps if you hadn’t frightened away my horse and refused to secure me another, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.”
“Yes,” Logan’s tone was dry. “I’m sure the large band o’ thieves that brazenly attacked us on a main road would’ve been markedly warier had there been a second horse.”
I refused to admit the logic of his reasoning.
“What are we supposed to do now?” I pointed around us to the steadily worsening blizzard. I wrapped myself tighter in the heavy wool cloak, pulling my hood lower to ward off the falling snow.
“We walk, Highness. You know, that thing where you use yer feet? Commoners do it all the time.” Logan’s sarcasm snapped the last thread of my temper.
“I’m  quite certain you’ve seen me walk.” Then, I registered his renewed use of my title. “Oh, and as long as we’re reverting to titles, perhaps I’ll start referring to you as Captain Arsehat?” My voice was rising, but I didn’t care. “How very familiar, your treating me like a friend one moment and like a distant monarch the next.”
It was getting difficult to see with the white cascading around us.
“You’re going to draw unwanted attention.” He stiffened and gritted the words through his teeth.
“Indeed, Logan. Perhaps someone will come along and force me to kill them or set fire to a village or steal everything we need to find my fiancé and the kidnapped children! Perhaps they’ll throw our two kingdoms into the brink of war!” I threw my hands up. “Honestly, do you think we have a single thing left to lose at this point? Because I’m not too terribly concerned about it myself!”
For a moment, the only sound in the white silence was my heartbeat thundering furiously in my ears. Then, Logan’s even footsteps crunched away from me. I hurried after him.
“Where are you going?” Surely even Logan wouldn't leave me alone in a blizzard. Still, my heart beat faster.
“To find us shelter, so we don’t freeze to death.” His tone was resigned. “But worry not, Highness. Ye may continue to yell at me while we walk.”

Meet the Authors 

The name Robin D. Mahle represents a dynamic husband and wife storytelling team. They've travelled the world for both love and war, and a tale began to form between the two of them that just had to be told. One's love of anime and comics collided with the other's love of fiction novels to produce a story with action, captivating dialogue, and riveting prose. The female piece to the puzzle that is Robin spends her days as a captioner for the deaf and hard of hearing. She loves to read, write, and loves all things Doctor Who. A Marine Corps veteran, her husband homeschools their offspring, lovingly nicknamed Thing 1 and Thing 2. He loves to write and spend time in his garden.They also have two fur babies: a standard full-sized poodle and a persian cat. Their family lives in Colorado after a lifetime of being way too hot in Texas.

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Elle Madison has a lifelong love affair with escaping into the world of books. Trying her hand at creating a world for others to dive into has been a dream come true. Elle spends her days wrestling and snuggling her two little boys and being a giant nerd with her husband. You can frequently find them at Renaissance Festivals as well as Comic Cons, a.k.a the only places she can dress up as a faerie and it not be weird. Existing on chocolate, pasta, and boxed wine, Elle loves to venture outdoors, explore new places, and volunteer for her community. After a lifetime of searching, she's found her own happily ever after in Colorado with her little family.

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And now it's time for the Giveaway!

The prize is a $25 Amazon gift card.
Open internationally until the 24th October.

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Etsy Find!
by Technodolly in
Holmfirth, England

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Books by Robin D Mahle and Elle Madison / Fantasy fiction / Books from America