I sing the wind…

*taps mic*

*glances round*

Hello? Is this thing on?

Oh, good! It’s been far too long, hasn’t it? I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone…um…*checks calendar*…four and a half months without a single post. But school’s out for summer (cue Alice Cooper), and I am ready for the break. And what better way to kick off summer than with a book review?

I’ve read a ton in the last nine months. Some I enjoyed, some not so much, but today I want to talk about Windsinger by A.F.E. Smith. It’s the third book in her Darkhaven series, and it’s been sitting on my phone just begging to be read for an entirely unforgivable length of time. I don’t even know what happened; it arrived last year, but for the first time ever, reading held no joy for me, so in my phone it sat.

What’s it about? Glad you asked!

Ayla Nightshade prepares to meet with the Kardise ambassador to sign a treaty between Mirrorvale and Sol Kardis. However, negotiations are halted as the ambassador is discovered dead in his chambers, poisoned by the same bottle of taransey he and Ayla had shared the night before.

Ayla has been framed for murder and the peace between two kingdoms is at stake. Tomas Caraway and his Helmsmen must rush to prove her innocence before war destroys all they have fought for.

Along the way they discover the plans for a Parovian airship, the Windsinger, which reveal a chamber designed for a special cargo: a living one.

Together Ayla and Tomas set out to uncover their real enemies – a search that will lead them closer to home than they ever anticipated.

If you’ve read the first two books, you won’t want to miss this one, as it brings back a load of interesting characters and throws a whole new set of challenges at them. After slogging through a semester of Milton, this was a refreshing adventure that I couldn’t put down. It was brilliantly well-written, and I loved seeing how Ayla and Tomas’s relationship had grown, how Ayla herself had grown. The love they have for each other is evident, and a joy to see.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is about that love:

‘Anyone can hate,’ Caraway said. ‘It’s love that requires courage.’

But it’s not just about Tomas’s love for Ayla and their children, it’s about love for Mirrorvale as well, and really, it applies to us as well. There is so much hate in the world, and most of it’s senseless, much as in this book. If we can all remember that love is more powerful, and try to show it more in our daily lives, perhaps the world will become the better place we’d all long to see. This book is a wonderful reminder that love can accomplish anything.

In short, if you haven’t read this book, or the others, you definitely should. Pick up a copy at HarperCollins, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or anywhere that fine books are sold, and let me know what you think! After all, nothing cures a book hangover like a great discussion. 🙂

Have you read the Darkhaven novels? What did you think?

(c) 2018. All rights reserved.

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An impending review!

tiposwrAh, books. Glorious books! Wonderful books! How I love thee! 🙂

Yep, I’ve been reading again. This time, my literary obsession is The Impending Possession of Scarlet Wakebridge-Rosé by S.L. Saboviec. It’s a stand-alone novel from the same universe as Guarding Angel and Reaping Angel, and it was the perfect way to whet my appetite for the next book in the Fallen Redemption series.

Wow, so that’s a lot of titles right there. A person could be confused by all that, I suppose, so allow me to tell you what this book is all about …behind the cut!

Another review!

mmmwmjMalevolent, Macabre, and Mysterious is a collection of short stories and poetry by the inimitable Will Macmillan Jones. The collection lives up to its name, though it’s not without a comedic twist here and there (the end of “Road Trip” amused me greatly).

I particularly liked the story “Truckers” – I even read it to the kids around the campfire this summer – as well as the poems “The Wedding” and “Death Holds a Rose.” “Dry Eyed” was good, too, but the first two reminded me a little of Edgar Allan Poe, which I didn’t even know I’d missed reading till I picked up this book. I seem to recall having read “Hachette” once before, and of course “The Showing” and “Portrait of a Girl” evolved into full-length novels (see my reviews here and here), but it was nice to revisit them for a moment, especially as I can’t wait to read the next in the Mister Jones series.

So, if you’re in the mood for a spooky story or a  atmospheric poem, pick up Malevolent, Macabre, and Mysterious today!

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.

Hysterically historical

It’s no secret that I LOVE history (or at least it shouldn’t be). History was one of my favorite subjects in school. In fact, I liked it so much that I took it twice on year. (Who knew that World History and World Cultures were the same thing? Spoiler alert: Not me.)

If, like me, you love history, then sit back and relax – you’re in for a treat. But if when you think of history, you think of Professor Binns droning on about some battle or other that no one still living even cares about, then I’m here to tell you you’ve been doing it wrong.

Don’t believe me?

Well, why not? 😛

hhmrhAllow me to present Exhibit 1 in my defense. I give you Hoosier Hysterical: How the West Became the Midwest Without Moving At Allby Mark R. Hunter. This entertaining look at Indiana’s history had me laughing out loud as I read. From paleo-armadillos to Mad Anthony Wayne, from beets to presidents (no presidents were beaten in the making of this book – at least, not that I know of), this book’s got a little bit of everything. It’s even got…

Adventure time!

Can you believe June is half gone already? It seems to me like school just ended. Hard to believe that was two weeks ago already. At this rate, my little Cricket bug will be heading off to kindergarten before I know it!

*counts weeks left of summer*

Only ten weeks left. That’s not nearly enough summer! 😀

I had great plans for this summer. Plans for writing and querying. Plans for camping and adventure. Plans for fun. But after a spring filled with revisions left me sapped of my writerly mojo, I haven’t written a word in weeks. So what have I been doing?

Well, I have been camping. Twice, even. We had an adventure at the campground pond this past weekend, and an adventure in an antique store on our first camping trip. Said antique store had a calligraphy set, complete with a pen, four nibs, ink, and instructions for several different calligraphy styles, for only a dollar. I’ve taken up the pen a couple of times, but with less-than-stellar results. I can’t wait till I have more than a half hour at the very end of a long day to get in some practice. 🙂

I’ve listened to birds singing, cats fighting, and thunder crashing. I’ve seen roads washed out and rivers raging. And I’ve read a couple of fantastic books.

Yes, books. Glorious, wonderful books.

I’ve always got something to read with me, but it’s been a while since that something was a book. And not just one book – two books! I’ve read two books in the last two weeks, and it’s been a very long time since that happened last.

Oh, you want to know which books I’ve been reading? Very well, then… (Please be warned: mild spoilers lie ahead.) 🙂

The House Next Door…

thnd…is a frightfully fun read. A spooky tale of demons and darkness, with a fabulous cover by Hazel Butler, this book had me afraid to turn off the light. Mister Jones’ luck is as bad as ever in the third installment of this series, thanks to his equally unlucky neighbor lady, and many of the same characters from the first two books have returned as well. The enigmatic Eric is rapidly becoming one of my favorite characters.

I haven’t enjoyed a series like this since I read the Goosebumps and Fear Street books as a kid. I do hope there will be many more to come. 😀

So, what’s Mister Jones gotten himself into this time? Behold, ze blurb:

Mister Jones thought he had finished with the supernatural world – but the supernatural hadn’t finished with him…

When Sheila Balsam finds herself compelled to buy a genuine antique in a strange little shop, she didn’t bargain for what came with the statuette – and Mister Jones finds himself once again drawn into the dangerous world of the paranormal : this time via the house next door.

An ancient evil has found a way to break from his enchanted prison and the only one who is going to stand in his way is the unfortunate Mister Jones, who seems destined to live in interesting times.

About the Author

Will Macmillan Jones lives in Wales, a lovely green, verdant land with a rich cultural heritage. He does his best to support this heritage by drinking the local beer and shouting loud encouragement whenever International Rugby is on the TV. A fifty-something lover of blues, rock, and jazz, he has just fulfilled a lifetime ambition by filling an entire wall of his home office with (full) bookcases. When not writing, he is usually lost with the help of a satnav on top of a large hill in the middle of nowhere.

His major comic fantasy series, released by Red Kite Publishing, can be found at www.thebannedunderground.com, and information on his other work and stuff in general at www.willmacmillanjones.com. There’s a blog. There’s always a blog, isn’t there?

You can find The House Next Door wherever find e-books are sold.

Of course, if something a bit lighter is more your cup of tea, I’ve got the cure for that, too. Feeling froggy? Check out The Banned Underground books. And for the young (at heart or otherwise), there’s the Snort and Wobbles books as well. I recommend reading them all – you won’t regret it! 🙂

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.

Tomb-yard Follies, a review

tyfSo my reading has been a little slow of late. Between sick kids and school events, revisions and renovations, it’s been a little hectic around these parts. But over the weekend, I managed to carve out enough time to read Tomb-yard Folliesthe latest in Jim Webster’s Port Naain Intelligencer series, and these be my thoughts.

To begin with, I thought it was great fun. The beginning, in particular, had me intrigued. After all, nothing breeds potential conflict quite like a mysterious group of people in robes ambling through an orgy.

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Getting back to the point, this was a bit different from the last two in that Tallis and Shena appeared less than they did in previous stories, but it was interesting to get more of a feel for Benor. I’d have liked a bit more in the way of explanation about Tizah, but perhaps the enigma that is Tizah will be further expounded upon in later stories?

Please? *looks hopeful*

Anyway, this was a lovely way to dispose of an afternoon, and I can’t wait to see what Mr. Webster comes up with next.

To get your copy of Tomb-yard Follies, head on over to Amazon or Amazon UK!

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.

Two down, sixteen to go!

PoaGIt’s been a while since I’ve kept track of the books I read in a year, but I signed up for a Goodreads challenge last week. My goal: read eighteen books this year. I figured one book a month wouldn’t be too terribly difficult, and I could maybe squeeze another six in around them. It feels like a cheat; in the old days, I could’ve read eighteen books in a matter of weeks. But now?

Such book binges are a pipe dream.

I’m well on my way to meeting my goal, though. In the past week, I’ve knocked out two books, and I have three more lined up and ready to go. Then there’s that plot book I’ve been meaning to read…

But today I want to tell you about Portrait of a Girl by Will Macmillan Jones. You may remember him from such reviews as The Showing and Snort and Wobbles and The Banned Underground books. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan, or at least it shouldn’t be, and I wasn’t disappointed with this latest book:

Does lightning ever strike twice? It would seem so for the unfortunate Mister Jones. After a harrowing encounter with the paranormal in The Showing, once again he again finds himself in mortal danger on the borders of that shadowed world.

An antique painting holds a strange fascination for him – and others. What does the girl in the portrait want from Mister Jones and from the others who become entranced by her beauty? And can she be stopped before she unleashes her ancient evil into our modern world in a lake of blood?

‘Portrait of a Girl’ is the second in the collection of Mister Jones paranormal mysteries.

This story engaged my attention at once; I sat down to read this story and finished it in a single sitting. The further I read, the more difficulty I had in putting it down for such trivial things as food and sleep. Like any good tale, the tension grew steadily right to the very end, and I’m fairly certain that the goosebumps on my arms throughout my read had as much to do with the story as they did with the cold breeze sneaking in around my window.

If you’ve read The Showing, you’ll be pleased to see some familiar faces in this tale, as well as some new ones. And if you’re like me, you’ll be keen to reread the pair of them until the next in the series comes out!

Check out Portrait of a Girl today – you won’t regret it!

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.