Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Fans of Christine Feehan, J.R. Ward and Sherrilyn Kenyon are going to love Dark Deceit by Lauren Dawes.  

The Aesir gods' power has waned with their lack of followers.  The valkyries have abandoned Odin, yet remain loyal to each other.  The rest of the pantheon are scattered and a "dysfunctional" family at best.  Dark elves, formerly hunted by the Norse gods, are assassins and Korvain is amongst their best.  Loki...well you'll just have to listen to it to find out what Dawes does with her version of Loki.  All I'll say is that you won't think of him the same way again.

Korvain is sent to assassinate Byrn, Odin's favourite valkyrie.  Now, you know where this is heading - of course he falls in love with her. The romance between the two is written well and is both sweet and very passionate, and counter-balances the violence of the plot nicely.

This novel is rife with ancient feuds, pantheon politics, crime, and murder and is appropriately set in a dark, urban, grimy environment that you'd expect from a crime noir novel.   I liked it.   

I also liked the choice of narrator, which surprised me as I'm not generally a fan of American audio narration.  (Apologies to my US friends.)  Jeremy Cohen is easy to listen to and the clarity and pacing of his voice meant I'd no trouble keeping up with the story.  He produces a broad range of male accents, making it easy to pick characters, and has the kind of voice you'd expect in crime noir.  (He could easily play Sam Spade).  This is ideal in Dawes' dark world.  (My only complaint was that this didn't lend work well with his narration of the female roles - I came away feeling the valkyries were a bit whimpy.)

Overall I enjoyed it and fans of Feehan, Kenyon and Ward will love it.

Overall 4 Stars
Performance 3 Stars
Story 4 Stars


Find it on Audible (click image) 
 

Friday, 27 April 2018

Update... ARC team recruits & Audio Book Reviews


Well things have been quiet on the blog for a while, but I'm getting back into the swing of things. 

I'll have a new section for audio book reviews starting up soon and I'll be catching up on book reviews in my backlog.

Writing for my next book Rada is progressing well. I'm in the home stretch....Yay!




 

Altaica is on sale for 99 cents until May 7, 2018!  Time to grab a copy!






Would you like to be on my ARC Review Team? 

 

Want to be on my personal ARC Review team? Spaces are limited. If you've reviewed my books before & want new one's well before retail release, then fill out the form below! There are also a few copies of Altaica and Asena Blessed available for any newbies.

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Monday, 4 December 2017

Author Interview 

 

Kathryn Berryman is a Sydney based author whose love of history and mythology have led her to write her debut novel Erinland. Erinland is a time travel adventure set in both contemporary Australia and in 9th century Ireland and packed full of historic detail.



Tell us briefly about Erinland.
 Erinland is a virtual reality game (and world). The novel spans the 21st Century and the Viking Age and centres on three main characters who, through the course of the story face many challenges.


Amy, finding it difficult to ‘fit in’, becomes increasingly obsessed with the virtual reality game Erinland. The virtual reality characters and the mists of Erinland gradually invade her dreams and waking moments. Her obsession with the game leads her to be drawn into 9th century Ireland (Erinland), where she becomes part of this magical world joining in the struggle to defeat the Viking raiders.

Richard has a complicated home life and feels he doesn’t belong anywhere. Through a series of events he becomes homeless, desperate and living on the streets of Sydney. When Richard is brutally attacked and almost killed, he is dragged into 9th century Norway by a mystical Viking warrior. Richard finds acceptance with the Vikings and joins them on a colonisation raid to Ireland. 


Choices Amy and Richard make could mean the difference between life and death as the consequences of these decisions reach into their real lives.

Aidan is a monk living in 9th Century Ireland (Erinland). His monastery is facing imminent attack from the Viking raiders. His Abbott charges him with a sacred mission to protect the precious relics and hide them from the marauders. On his journey, Aidan meets many magical beings and his faith is tested.

(Do the three main characters cross paths? Well… you’ll just have to read the book to find out!)


What inspired Erinland?
 

Erinland has taken a long time to see the light of day. The seed for Erinland was sown when my husband and I travelled to Ireland, way back in 1992. We visited Dublin and Trinity College. During the visit to Trinity College I found myself drawn to one particular book – The Book of Kells. In those days the book was stored in a glass case, so visitors had to line up to view it. Every day a page of the book was turned to reveal a new treasure to the waiting, eager tourists. I was instantly drawn to the book’s primal beauty. To think that such an ancient book had even survived! The illuminated work fascinated me as did the intricate knot-work and colourful illustrations. Of course I had heard of The Book of Kells, but to actually witness it first-hand created a feeling of awe and respect. At the end of the day I recorded my reactions to the masterpiece in my travel journal. I had no idea that this experience and my hurried jottings would eventually lead me to write the fantasy novel, Erinland. 


Why the time-travel aspect? What made you go down that particular path?
 

I have always been fascinated with the idea of time-travel. The notion of people going to a different time, being plonked into a situation and culture that is totally alien to them, and having to quickly adapt to that scenario tweaks my interest. In Erinland, the fact that the characters who are transported are teenagers, complete with emotional turmoil (and some very real problems), hopefully make the story line all the more interesting.

Using a virtual reality game seemed to be the perfect vehicle to physically link 21st Century Amy to 9th Century Ireland.

But, who knows? Maybe it’s a hang-over from watching one too many episodes of Doctor Who as a kid!  



Why not put the entire story in the 9th century?  
I wanted to play with the idea of ancient Norwegian and Irish mythology meeting the contemporary world in a head-on clash. I thought it would be interesting for Australian teenagers to be the main protagonists, to be totally out of their depth in a world that is beyond their wildest imaginings – just to be different. 

 

Were you always interested in Irish culture and myth?  
My maternal Grandfather was an Irishman from Galway who came to Australia in the late 1800’s and my maternal Grandmother’s family were Irish Australians, so I guess it’s in the DNA! Families have their stories to tell and our family was no different. There was a lot of story-telling around the dinner table and by the fire at night, stories about Grandad and Ireland, especially when the extended family got together. To be truthful, I think as a kid I often zoned out and fell asleep during these stories! Something must have filtered through because I was eager to visit Ireland and experience the magic of the place first-hand. Visiting Ireland awakened my interest in their myths and culture.

 

There’s an enormous amount of detail in your depiction of what life may have been like in the 9th century for the Irish and the Vikings.  
Yes, there is a lot of detail in the world building of Erinland. In the first book I concentrated on ‘establishing’ Erinland, making the world as real as possible. In keeping with the virtual reality theme, the idea was to recreate 9th Century life in ancient Ireland and Norway, so that the reader could have an almost tactile experience, feeling as if they were almost part of the scene.

In my mind the detail and imagery is necessary so that the characters are developed enough to become acclimatised to their new situation and roles. 



Were you already a bit of history buff or did you embark upon this project and have to a huge of amount of research?  

I don’t consider myself a history buff at all but I do enjoy reading historical stories that explore the cultures, myths and religions of people. Throw in a good fantasy plot-line and I’m hooked! 


Tell us a little about the breadth of your research. Sources? Time taken to research etc?  

I did loads of research for Erinland – to make the world authentic I had too. One bit of research led to another, so I ended up reading a lot more than I initially thought. I found the myths and legends of both the Irish and Viking peoples really interesting – it just took me ages to get my head around them. 


How did you conceive and develop the hybridisation of Christian and Irish myths?

 Interestingly, through my research I found that some Christian beliefs and Irish myths overlapped. There is even a school of thought that the goddess Brigid and St Brigid are one in the same person!

The hybridisation came about because I wanted to include the ancient beliefs and the ‘newer’ Christian beliefs into the fabric of the story, with the ‘old faith’ and the ‘newer faith’ collaborating to protect their homeland. 



The book ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger. What can we expect in the next instalment?

The sequel will be set mostly in the 21st Century, returning to Erinland when the need arises. There will be a few surprises and plot twists. Keep an eye out for the Erinland sequel in mid- 2018.





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https://www.bookdepository.com/Erinland-No-1-Kathryn-Berryman/9781925530001?ref=grid-view&qid=1512348051864&sr=1-1/?a_aid=TracyMJoyce


https://www.amazon.com/Erinland-Kathryn-Berryman-ebook/dp/B01MR9IAQL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512347990&sr=8-1&keywords=erinland












Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Author Interview

Michael W. Huard is an American martial arts instructor and author of several books on self-defence.  His latest book, Land of the Free, is set in America in the year 3016. 

 

 

LIVE FREE or DIE! In the year 3016, the United States of America has fallen into great despair. The advent of advanced technology, robotics, and a power-hungry corporation rule the nation. However, there is hope. A sisterhood of enhanced, highly intelligent, beautiful, patriotic, martial arts masters are out to make the country free again. This is a sci-fi and fantasy book.




 
Looking at the cover art of The Land of the Free and its stars and stripes costume; I'm wondering if you're hoping to appeal to lovers of superhero stories etc?
Absolutely, yet these women are real and based in a non-fantasy world. Each has a super quality about them and I feel people will enjoy such. The dress on the book cover it part of the storyline. I hope people fall in love with the sisterhood as they women are very patriotic!

What age range are you aiming your story at? 
This novel is an 18+ book!

Where did you get the idea for the story?
I have a very creative mind. I have been a game master for over 30 years in dungeons and dragons. My wife keeps telling me write fiction, you have this amazing mind, so here I am.

Why female protagonists?
I think it’s more interesting to have the stars be women; and I find a sisterhood something that really feels like it could work well in a cool fantasy story. It’s nice to see these women be hero’s!

What makes your heroines different?  Do you think all the martial arts training / teaching you have done, obviously working with women, means you are writing female characters in a different way to other male authors? 
My martial art training is very much a huge part of the book. The women are all highly trained experts in fighting via real life skills. They’re a family out to make a difference; this is a hugely female empowering book!  You as a woman can be powerful and beautiful in both ways. The characters are deep not just there to look good.

How has your martial arts background influenced your writing?  (I’m not just thinking of the fight scenes here, but also perhaps regarding the themes.)
I love the way I can incorporate realism in the fights for one; but of course I add fantasy elements for fun. In this future world setting, it’s somewhat apocalyptic in nature so fighting to survive is a key part of the story.

Has the current state of US politics and economics influenced the creation of your story?
Great question, yes! I am patriotic, I want peace, and I love good people; so this sisterhood is out to make these things a way of life even in the harsh future setting of the story … a future which the USA has faltered from such conflicts.

You say the story is inspirational – what is the message that you hope people will gain / learn from this?
That people can live in harmony with one another. We can all find common ground, and that we should love our country, God, and seek the good in all we meet.

Thank you for this interview, it was fun, Land of the Free will be releasing soon to Amazon as well as three novella’s in the Mystical Slayer book series, stay tuned and God Bless.

 - Michael




Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Free E-book!



Rada is nearly finished, BUT while you wait...

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*Rada is the first volume in The Tales of Altaica and is a companion novel to my main series The Chronicles of Altaica.  




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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Book Review


How I Magically Messed Up My Life

in Four Freakin' Days

by Meagan O'Russell

(Published by Curiosity Quills Press, 2017)

**The publisher provided me with an ARC copy of this work.** 



Megan O’Russell’s YA novel,  How I Magically Messed up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days, instantly drew my attention because of its title and its colourful cover art.  However, the following lines in the blurb really got my attention. “I found a magic cell phone, opened an app I shouldn’t have, burned down the set shop for my high school’s theatre, and it was all downhill from there. A drag queen seer who lives under a bridge is my only hope for keeping my mom alive, and I think the cops might be after me for destroying my dad’s penthouse.”

I just had to read it!

For me, the mark of a good writer is one who, within the first few pages, grabs your attention and holds it, but also hits you solidly with a character’s “voice” and gives you a good glimpse into the character's nature and some of the issues that are important for that individual.  O’Russell did this extremely well.

Bryant is a teenager whose mind constantly wanders and daydreams.  He is the smart geek who’s too shy to speak to the girl he admires and who has a handsome best friend who is his opposite and epitomises all that is cool.  From the first page the quips and one-liners keep going throughout the entire novel; several times I found myself laughing out loud as I read.

Bryant’s troubles start when he finds a cell phone in a cab and decides it’s safer for him to return it to the owner rather than have it disappear into lost and found at the cab company.  Innocently unleashing a series of magical disasters, being pursued by evil wizards and a group of deranged witches becomes par for the course in Bryant’s life and his dealings with the “Rasputin of phones.”

O’Russell sets a cracking pace from the beginning of the book all the way through to the end.  This was an extremely enjoyable, fast read and I highly recommend it for MG readers all the way through to adults. 
 I hope O’Russell writes more adventures of Bryant Adams, because I’d love to read them and you will too.

Four Stars!