Foxfire, Wolfskin – Blog Tour

 

 

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Synopsis:
‘Part rally cry, part warning, part manifesto and all parts enchanting, Sharon Blackie’s Foxfire, Wolfskin is a deeply evocative and haunting collection. Humming with the strength of our immutable voices, each story sings with the transformation that is possible when women take agency of our lives. I want to press this powerful book into the hands of everyone I know and say, listen.’  Holly Ringland, author, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
‘Sharon Blackie has wrought a new-old magic for our times: glorious, beautiful, passionate myths written for this critical moment in time. They show who we could have been, and they give us a glimpse of a world-that-could-be. There’s still time to make it happen.’ Manda Scott, author of the Boudicca series, and A Treachery of Spies
Charged with drama and beauty, this memorable collection by a master storyteller weaves a magical world of possibility and power from female myths of physical renewal, creation and change. It is an extraordinary immersion into the bodies and voices, mindscapes and landscapes, of the shape-shifting women of our native folklore.  We meet the Water Horse of the Isle of Lewis, the huldra, the Scandinavian supernatural forest-dweller, and Baba Yaga of Slavic folklore (but will she help you or kill you?) Here too is the Snow Queen; the wild bird-woman of the Sliabh Mis Mountains; Blodeuedd, the Welsh ‘flower-faced’ woman.  
Drawing on myth and fairy tales found across Europe – from Croatia to Sweden, Ireland to Russia – Sharon Blackie brings to life women’s remarkable ability to transform themselves in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances. These stories are about coming to terms with our animal natures, exploring the ways in which we might renegotiate our fractured relationship with the natural world, and uncovering the wildness – and wilderness – within.

Book Information:
Written by: Sharon Blackie
Published by: September Publishing
Published on: 2 October 2019
Price: £ 14.99
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781910463680

 

My Review

You ever get a book and just from the moment you hold it, you know you’re going to really enjoy it?

This was one for me. I love folklore and it’s clear that Blackie does as well, she takes these myths and tales and weaves them into stories greater than what we’d been given. To make the stories about women for women in a way.

How often have we’ve seen folklore show its fear of women? Oh, that’s not to say that there are no tales of courageous women, it’s just, more often than not you can find a plethora of stories where women are not praised for their strengths and kind hearts, but rather used as warnings.

Overall it was an amazing collection of 13 vibrant, touching, and surprisingly beautiful stories.

I loved all 13, we get to see a bit of Baba Yaga, Mad Mis, waterhorses, wolf versions of selkies, and so much more.

I think Mad Mis and Foxfire were both my favorites from the collection but there wasn’t one story I didn’t find enjoyable. [Though I mean, I can see why Baba Yaga did not particularly welcome that protagonist from her story, I almost half-wished she’d been frightened to death lol]

Women are allowed to be wild, they are allowed to feel to make choices that only men seemed to be able to make in the original tales. They have decided to take their lives in their own hands, to return to the earth and run through forests. And I thought that’s what made this book so beautiful.

Not to mention, this book is a great read for October, a bit of a spooky/witchy read just in time for Halloween. I loved it, five cups of coffee from me and my absolute adoration.

Thanks to Anne and September Publishing for a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the blog tour.

 

The Illustrations

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About the Author

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Dr Sharon Blackie is a writer, mythologist and psychologist, and an internationally recognised teacher of the mythic imagination. Her bestselling book, If Women Rose Rooted, won a 2016 Nautilus award, and laid out a haunting heroine’s journey for every woman who finds power, inspiration and solace in the natural world.  She has an international following through her online communities, and the courses and workshops she offers through ‘The Hedge School’.  Her first novel, The Long Delirious Blue, was described by the Independent on Sunday as ‘hugely potent’. She lives in Connemara, Ireland. 

Author’s Website

Website

 

Author’s Other Works

Sharon Blackie’s titles available from September publishing:  The Enchanted Life (ISBN 978-1910463888, £14.99) and If Women Rose Rooted (978-1-912836-01-7, £8.99 paperback published August 2019)

 

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The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan – Blog Tour

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Synopsis: 1660, England. War is at an end, yet for Christopher Morgan his personal conflict rages on. Haunted by the tragic death of his wife, Christopher is desperate to escape the pain her memory brings, although looking into the eyes of his young son, Abel, he cannot help but be reminded of what he has lost. Over time, father and son develop a strong bond until they are callously torn apart when Abel is snatched by smugglers and sold overseas. From the shores of Constantinople to the coast of Jamaica, time and tide keep them apart. Christopher will sail across oceans to find Abel, never losing faith that one day they will be reunited, and, as the years pass, Abel will learn that fortune favours the brave.

Book Information:
ISBN: 9780749023348
CATEGORY: Fiction
BIC: FV
FORMAT: B format
PB PAGES: 384
RIGHTS: World English
PRICE: £8.99
Turnaround Publisher Services Pubeasy E:
orders@turnaround-uk.com
EBOOK EDITION ISBN: 9780749023294
DISTRIBUTION: Faber Factory

My Review

Going to start off by saying that this was a really well-drawn out and plotted book, the pacing didn’t drag and the characters are so unique from each other. The plot and subsequent sea adventuring had a very Stevenson feel to it, I was transported back to Treasure Island in the whimsical and realistic writing style and I enjoyed that more than anything else.

While this is more about Abel when he gets older, it’s certainly just as much about his father and I have to say that Christopher was my favorite character in the novel. He had an array of emotions, prone to bouts of melancholy, and yet, there is a true kindness to him a lot of the times. He’s also proven to do whatever it takes to save his son, trying to track him down all the way to Constantinople! He finds himself along the way and redemption, never daring to seek forgiveness for past actions that haunt him but forced to face some of them along the way.

He is a man with certain morals and values and in my opinion the true hero of this story.

Another aspect I absolutely loved about Christopher was that he was bisexual, having an eternal love for his wife and well, I won’t spoil it for you, but also keeping another in his memory, a man yes, and a man that he often recalled on in his thoughts.

Abel doesn’t share as many as his father’s qualities, but he’s not to blame considering he was ripped away from his father and grew up under very different circumstances. Unfortunately, I didn’t really find him sympathetic after he gave up his seafaring ways. He does not have the same gentleness, again he grew up differently and at the end, I suspect I was ‘team’ Turlough rather than team Abel. This doesn’t take away from the journey of Abel and the subsequent journey of his father and they both have such fascinating lives because of this tragedy set in motion when Abel was taken.

I give this four cups of coffee just for Christopher and seafaring adventures alone, and the love of a father and son ❤

Content/Trigger Warnings: Slavery, abuse, marital rape, violent deaths

Highlight for Marital Rape explanation/spoilers: I really didn’t like Abel after a scene of Marital rape, I’m not sure it added anything to the story which is why I did not give this five stars. My sympathy lay with Marie after that and after another certain tragedy and from then on I couldn’t find Abel to be sympathetic. I do understand that his wife was supposed to be viewed as manipulative but it just didn’t seem to fit the rest of this really wonderful story.

 

About the Author

Cynthia Jefferies

Cynthia Jefferies is a long-established writer for children, whose work has been
translated into more than a dozen languages. She was born in Gloucestershire
and her love of history was encouraged by regular family outings to anything of
interest, from great cathedrals to small museums. Having moved to Scotland
and back to Stroud, she has always made time to write and her abiding interest
in Restoration England has never left her. The Outrageous Fortune of Abel
Morgan is her first historical novel for adults.

Author Website

 

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In Truth, Madness – Blog Tour

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In Truth, Madness is the fictional story of a correspondent driven to despair by the Middle East and South Asia. A reporter strives to find the truth. The more truth they find, the more maddening the world becomes.
Meet Malek Khalil. In his mid-40s, Malek is a brilliant reporter with decades of experience in the field. If there has been a war, natural disaster or political crisis, Malek has been there and will be there. But the years of conflict reporting have taken their toll and Malek is slowly unravelling. His colleagues, Neeka and Justin, have noticed a change in him. Neeka should know, she has been his producer for decades and knows him better than he knows himself. Justin the cameraman has shot his material for just as long. Together they make a formidable team. But they are only as strong as each other – and Malek is fast going down the rabbit hole. 
Born a Muslim but an atheist to his core, Malek undertakes a voyage that takes him around the world and back in time to ancient Babylon as he finds himself arguing with a God in whom he doesn’t believe. 
The novel takes place throughout Middle East, South Asia and London where the backdrop of war, religion, political skullduggery and love play out to take the reader on a journey through some of the most dangerous parts of modern culture and the ancient world. 

Book Information: 
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
BINDING: Demy PB
SIZE: 216 × 135 mm
CATEGORY BIC: FA
ISBN: 978-1-911586-90-6
FORMAT: Paperback
ALTERNATIVE EDITION 978-1-911586-91-3
PRICE: £10.99 

PRAISE 

“Life on the road was never this much fun! All reporters should time travel!” – Adrian Finighan. Senior anchor, Al Jazeera English 

“A darkly comic tale artfully blending mysticism and current affairs’ – Arwa Damon Senior International Correspondent”

My Review

 

It’s always great when someone uses their knowledge to enhance a story and Khan used his experience and knowledge to such a great advantage to bring us this book. In Truth, Madness reads a lot like speculative/contemporary fiction but it keeps throwing curveballs with the inclusion of the book and the fantasy undertones. There’s this question put to Malek now in his 40s whether there’s a god, he’s staunch in his lack of belief. But what happens to his lack of faith when he’s suddenly and seemingly given the power to determine a person’s fate, or at least weigh in.

And is this really such a heavenly gift?

Up to a certain point, it all flows together in supreme cohesion but eventually Khan guides and Malek toward the deeper depths of his novel and it’s at that point where it almost felt like I was reading another book. Still, it was so enjoyable and the whole time you are as much in the dark as Malek, you may have hints or inklings but there’s no sure way of knowing the truth. What’s real and what’s fake? Is this a mental breakdown from seeing the many horrid truths there are in the world or is this something greater than Malek?

He has a huge spiritual journey and not just in the faith of possible religion but in his own personal growth and it’s interesting to see how his life evolves, including his relationships with those he works with.

I really enjoyed this read and found myself being put through a read that I both appreciated for its honesty of the world and its problems and the heart it had in its faith, which rested quite a bit on humanity.

Thank you to Unbounders and Anne Cater for a copy of this to review honestly as part of the blog tour.

About the Author

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Having kickstarted his career in the heady world of 1990s independent magazine publishing with work on Dazed and Confused, and launching seminal style title 2nd Generation, Imran Khan jumped into the mainstream with BBC London – hosting radio shows on popular culture, arts and news as the millennium approached. Despite having a face for radio, in 2001 he produced a series of short documentaries for BBC Newsnight, Britain’s leading current affairs programme. His work was noticed in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and Channel 4 commissioned the award-winning film “The Hidden Jihad”, which he wrote and presented. Imran subsequently moved full-time into TV news, working as a BBC producer and correspondent reporting from Lebanon, London and Qatar, with freelance stints in Afghanistan and Iraq. 
He became a correspondent for Al Jazeera English in 2005 and is known for his extensive reporting from Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Libya, as well covering the Arab Spring and the conflict in Syria. He continues to work as a correspondent for Al Jazeera English, dividing his time between the Middle East, South Asia and London.

 

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Life Ruins – Blog Tour

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Blurb:

A body, briefly glimpsed at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft, vanishes when the police investigate. Jared, recovering from an almost fatal injury and addicted to painkillers, knows he saw something terrible in that mine… but he has no evidence, and fears he’s losing his grip on reality.

A girl is attacked so savagely she can’t be identified, and dumped late at night in an isolate campgroud. She’s alive, but only just. Becca, tossed out of university and just let go from her dead-end job, is certain she knows who the victim is. But no one will believe her, and she can hardly even trust herself.

Kay, recently widowed and coming to terms with life on her own, suddenly finds herself forced to get involved. For years she and her husband fostered diccicult children – including Becca, whom trouble follows like a stray puppy. Now Becca seems to be in the worst trouble of her life.

And then Jared and Becca meet. Becca, strong-minded and fiercely independent, is confident they can figure out what’s going on. She pulls Kay into the mix, knowing they’ll need all the help they can get… because the police don’t believe them. And more girls are vanishing.

Book Information:
Publishing Date: July 25, 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781471175930
Price: £8.99

 

My Review

A lot of times a thriller needs to be shorter on the page count for me, there are exceptions of course and Life Ruins is one of them because it’s not just a thriller, it’s about the three characters, their lives, the towns, the corruption flowing underneath everything. So, Danuta Kot has successfully written a slow burning thriller which I particularly enjoyed.

It’s a great variety when it comes to the three MCs, we have Becca the girl who had been fostered by Kay and her now-deceased husband. She appears to be a success story until things start to unravel for her and it harkens back to her troubled youth but is she still troubled or is it more than that?

Then you have Jared who has been through his own rough times but as a young adult instead. And after a terrible accident, his way of life just can’t continue but he struggles to and the painkillers help. In a way. He’s not beholden to anyone but he after the strange happenings lately he finds himself entangled in something greater than himself and there are lives at stake.

Lastly, we have Kay, she’s the widowed ex-foster mum who always worked alongside her husband to help the children. They had to ‘retire’ and now she’s left in the house they bought while Matt, her husband, is no longer there to fill in the silence of the countryside.

They were all unique in personalities and quirks, I have to say, I loved how patient Jared was and how caring and protective Kay was while not being overbearing to Becca. Then there is Becca and she is the most unique of the three in my opinion. She’s just gone through so much and there’s a reason for her temper, for her ‘troubles.’ Becca is just a young girl who has gone through too much and did what all of us do, she made a mistake.

The corruption of the crimes and assaults were fascinating to unearth and I didn’t want to put the book down after about page 230. I thought it really was unique with its use of the abandoned mining shaft, Jared and Becca’s pasts and the way things were connected. Still, though there was so much in the book that spoke of the truth about the situation for fostered kids, or kids who hare underprivileged in general and you can tell that Kot knows what she’s talking about and it’s appreciated in this day and age. So while the book was great and fun, it also made you remember how things still need improving in society.

As far as issues go, I think I was only bothered by what I perceived to be loose threads at the end, I wanted a couple of things to be tied up, it almost felt anticlimactic.

However, there were other aspects of the ending I really appreciated, such as Becca’s life where it stands at the end of the book, and obviously I can’t go into more because you know, spoilers, but suffice to say I thought a lot of things were realistic instead of being magically fixed and I really liked and appreciated that.

Overall 3.5 huge cups of coffee from me, I plan on lending this one out to all my friends. Definitely a great summer thriller read.

Thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours and Simon & Schuster for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Danuta Kot Author Picture

Danuta Kot grew up with stories. For many years, she worked with young people in Yorkshire who were growing up in the aftermath of sudden industrial decline. She uses this background in her books to explore some of the issues that confront moder, urban society: poverty, alienation and social break down, using the contexts of the modern crime novel. She had previously written under the names, Danuta Reah and Carla Banks. Danute was also a former char of the Crimer Writers’ Association.

 

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