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text 2017-09-02 08:10
Book Tour - Outsider
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NEW RELEASE...
On the western highlands of Scotland, a springtime storm pummels the coast while Kristie's brother is out fishing. When he fails to return home, Kristie turns away from her list of chores to search the loch in an effort to ease her pregnant sister-in-law's fears. Instead of finding Domnall, she discovers a naked and battered man washed up on shore and worries he could be a thieving reiver or worse--an Englishman.

When the handsome outsider wakes, he is unable to remember who he is or how he came to be there. Although the feisty and melancholy Kristie isn't keen on him remaining, her young neighbor, Jock, takes to the playful stranger and names Creag after the rocky crags where the loch meets the sea. Not long after the lad speaks of selkies, magical seals who shed their skins to live as humans, Creag dreams he is swimming deep beneath the waves.

Kristie is desperate to keep the farm running for her missing brother while Creag's sleep is filled with strange visions--glimpses that may reveal secrets to his past, but he may soon wish they were only a dream.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

TIME OF MYTHS 
Shapeshifter Sagas {Western European Myths from the Middle Ages}

Widow {13thc. | Black Shuck | England}
Scars {10thc. | Fenrir | Iceland}
Tides {10thc. | Kraken | Great Britain/Ireland}
Outsider {14thc. | Selkie | Scotland}

Available to buy from....
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Paperback

Also Available
Widow (Time of Myths: Shapeshifter Sagas Book 1)
Lady Rayne has few options as a young widow. Either her father will marry her off to a wealthy nobleman--no matter how old and disagreeable he may be, or she will become a nun like her aunt at Grimsford Abbey. The choice is easy: her interest in writing is not supported in the dark halls of her father's home. Rayne eagerly anticipates becoming a scribe and learning the art of illumination and book making. But first she must travel along the treacherous roads of East Anglia.

Far from the confines of Norwich, Rayne hears fables of an enormous ghostly hound called the Black Shuck. She tries to ignore them until she finds herself staring into its expressive brown eyes. With every heartbeat, her chances of reaching Grimsford Abbey disappear. If only she could live to tell the tale.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**
 
 

Scars (Time of Myths: Shapeshifter Sagas Book 2)
Along the breathtaking and unforgiving coast of Snæland, Ásta’s ancestral farm is plagued with bad luck. The kinless maiden’s turf walls continue to be found damaged, and there aren’t enough farmhands to maintain the property. Claw marks in the dirt revive old memories of the wolf attack that left her scarred, and she begins to fear the whispers are true—that Fenrir, son of Loki and king of the wolves, has come to claim her and her land.

Torin often leaves his uncle’s farm in the southern hills to track and ensnare valuable gyrfalcons. His secret ability to turn into the birds he trains means his falconry skills are unparalleled, earning him precious silver and gold. If the ghosts of his past didn’t haunt him daily, pushing him to numb his senses with drink, Torin might have married by now—as his uncle often reminds him. He knows the time has finally come to find a wife and settle down.

During the Althing, the gathering of the year, Ásta’s ability to maintain her property comes into question while Torin wonders if a woman in jeopardy of losing her farm is really worth the trouble.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from....
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Paperback
 

Tides (Time of Myths: Shapeshifter Sagas Book 3)
It’s Leif’s eighth summer going viking with his father on their ship the Kraken—and he’s had enough. For as long as Leif can remember, his father has claimed to be a descendant of Ægir, god of the sea, and has exploited their shape changing ability—all this to amass enough gold to gain entrance into the ocean god’s halls. Leif hopes that time’s drawing near so he can free himself from Ragna’s domineering shadow.

On the green hills of Éire, Eilish is content learning traditional folk cures from her father until a Finn-Gall raid disturbs the peace. Desperate to protect Eilish from harm, her father cuts her hair and disguises her in his old clothing before she’s ripped from the only home she’s ever known. Sold as a thrall in Duiblinn, she must hide out as a young man on a ship full of barbarians.

Now Eilish, who fears she’ll become Ægir’s next sacrifice, and Leif, who isn’t prepared to stand up against his father’s powerful wrath, must face the tides of change—no matter how ominous they may seem.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from....
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk    Paperback


About the author:
Natasha was born in Nevada City, California. Being an only child, she resorted to using her imagination while exploring the forest surrounding her home (a nasty habit she hasn’t been able to break). Her natural interest in fantasy ignited when her parents read The Hobbit to her as a youth, and from then on anything seemed possible. Once awarded with a Hershey’s bar ‘the size of a Buick’ in her high school English class for creative writing, her passion and interest in literature has never dimmed.

She now lives in Littleton, Colorado, with her husband, two children, and two dogs.

Find the author on the following sites...

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text 2017-08-21 00:04
Edinburgh - Bookfest Mini-haul

As I know that some of you are awaiting an update from Edinburgh, I've spent much of yesterday and most of today at the Book Festival - because Simon Callow and Ali Smith. OK, mostly because of Ali Smith. You all know I love Ali Smith, so I don't need to go into that again. Except, that I will do exactly that ... but in a separate post.

 

Anyway, for those of you rolling their eyes already at my fangirling over Ms Smith, below is a picture of my (very restrained) efforts at the Book Festival this weekend. They are all signed by the authors, tho, so extra credit for that. (Tho, Thin Air and Unspeakable I managed to just pick up - no queueing for autographs.)

 

 

 

And, ahem, "Autumn" is a fantastic book. I've read it when it was released last year, but got it as a kindle version (because who can really wait for their favourite author's work to arrive by post?!). This new little treasure is just so I can love looking at it on my shelf at home.

 

"Unspeakable" looked really interesting: It is a novel based on a real event: the last person in Britain to be tried and executed for blasphemy. It is set right here in Edinburgh.

 

"Thin Air" is one I have read lots of reviews (rather mixed) about. It also is a ghost story, which means that I will have to re-shuffle my Halloween Bingo plans already. But as one of the local(ish) bards has proclaimed "The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men 
Gang aft agley,"

 

Lastly, who can resist Simon Callow? This looked really interesting and Callow's talk at the Fest yesterday just meant I wanted to know more about Wagner. So, friends, prepare yourselves for some upcoming posts that may feature some pompous and extravagant musical accompaniments. :)

 

Other noteworthy sightings were Tracey Chevalier and Roger McGough, but I didn't get to see either of their events. :( I was booked to see a discussion with Jackie Kay and Margo Jefferson, but Ms Kay was not able to attend at the last minute.

Still, it has been a great trip. (Even for meeting Ms Smith again...but you might have already guessed that, right?).

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review 2017-08-12 03:58
Virtue
Virtue (Sons of Scotland Book 1) - Victoria Vane

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Title: Virtue
Author: Victoria Vane
Publisher: Dragonblade Publishing
Series: Sons of Scotland # 1
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five
Review:

"Virtue" by Victoria Vane

MY SYNOPSIS

As always this author gives her readers another well written read that will keep one thrilled and intrigued with a story that also keeps one turning the pages to see what will happen next in this Highlander Scottish Romance series. The story features two main characters...Sibylla Mac William and Alexander. It was very interesting that when these two meet you will be able to feel the connection that is their between them. We find Alexander not really knowing of his heritage, left to leave as a monk but goes as a teacher to help a Highland family that needed a Tudor. After arriving and seeing and meeting Lady Sibylla his finds that his heart is conflicted. Now, why is that? This is where I say I don't want to spoil it for you so, you will have to pick up this read to see if these two will get their HEA.

I liked how the twist and turns, fast pace and surprises that were feed into the story that really keeps the reader on the edge of there seats wondering how this story will come out in the end. Be prepared for a little bit of it all from... 'secrets, betrayals, danger, passion and love' that will take the reader into the next series of 'Sons of Scotland.'
 
 

 

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review 2017-07-28 20:19
Sunset Song - Canongate Books Ltd,Lewis Grassic Gibbon,Eileen McCallum
Why did I read it? Sunset Song is supposedly regarded as an important Scottish novel, and is (sometimes) studied in secondary schools, because it touches on important themes from the time period in which it is set. I thought I might enjoy it.
 
What is it about? Sunset Song follows the life of Chris(tine) Guthrie from arrival in Kinraddie (north-east of Scotland) as a young girl in the early 20th century. The Guthries' lease a croft, and we follow the fortunes of the Guthries, and other families in the rural community through to the end of the first world war.
 
What did I like? Very little. Kudos to the narrator, [Eileen McCallum, for her vocal skills, both as a speaker, and singer when required. Ms McCallum created unique voices for each character, and her Scots accent was such that the dialogue will still intelligible. If there had been a duller narrator, I might not have been able to finish the novel at all. The one star rating is entirely for Eileen McCallum.
 
The author used some very interesting, and unique similes.
 
What didn't I like? From the start, this novel strained to keep my attention. It opens with a description of every family within Kinraddie, and tells quite a bit of their history, some of which occurs after the novel's actual end, as I was later to learn. This opening section of the novel felt interminable. I kept waiting for some semblance of a plot, and, after quite some time, began to wonder if there was one, or if this was a collection of short stories.
 
The descriptions of people, and places seemed to stretch on, and on, too. I like rural settings, I like descriptions of rural places that can evoke a character of the land itself. Other authors manage this beautifully, and elegantly, without devoting paragraph, after paragraph to the description of a single character before relating their part in tale.
 
The inner thoughts of Chris were far from cheery, which is not a complaint in itself, but Chris's sombre, morbid musings were just too much to bear for this listener. I found myself turning the volume down, waiting a few minutes before turning the volume back up, and then hoping that there was movement in the time line. I don't think I missed much by doing this. I got quite depressed listening to these sections of inner dialogue, and there were too many of them in my opinion.
 
Lewis Grassic Gibbon constantly jumped forward in time, and then would proceed to reflect on the events between the last point at which he left the tale, and the point to which he had just jumped. Why not just progress in a linear fashion? I am of the opinion that nothing would have been lost in the telling by doing so. I have seen this time jump technique used to great effect in other novels, but, in Sunset Song, it was pointless.
 
Other thoughts: My sympathies go to any secondary student for whom Sunset Song is required reading. I get it: There is no such thing as the rural idyll; it's a tough living. It is not necessary to cram your story with as many instances of human defect as you can recall into one novel.
 
Would I recommend it? No. Nor will I be reading the remaining two books in the trilogy, because I cannot face any more dark, depressing navel-gazing.

 

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review 2017-07-28 16:58
I continue to be drawn in by beautiful cover art
The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle - Janet Fox

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox is another prime example of an eye-catching cover which I couldn't resist. It evokes a certain gothic mysteriousness which I'm happy to say was delivered. From the very beginning,  the reader is launched into a tale of magic, wickedness, desperation, and all-consuming power. The story follows a family of children who are sent to stay at an estate in the country during the Blitz of WWII. However, all is not what it seems at this country school as the oldest daughter, Kate, quickly realizes after meeting the lady of the house. Much of the drama is tied to a chatelaine (a chain decorated with different items used around a house and usually worn by the woman in charge of the household affairs) worn by this woman. There are a lot of different threads to follow in this narrative which made it a little challenging to follow at times. The reader is sent back in time to follow this woman's history and then suddenly we're back with Kate in the present. That was a bit jarring but easily overcome. I'd say that the book's biggest strength was its originality in using magical artifacts of an unusual sort (I don't want to give it away entirely). If you are a fan of boarding school mysteries with a healthy heaping of dark magic then you'll most likely enjoy this book. It's a 6/10 for me but it would have been higher if the narrative thread had been a bit tighter.

 

I mean how could I have turned down this cover?!

 

Source: Amazon

 

What's Up Next: Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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