“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is:

Bookstores/Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

For a slightly different spin I’ve listed either bookshops or libraries from the fictional world:

1.The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman.  This is a library with portals to an infinite number of worlds at different periods – either past, present or future.


2. The Library or the bookshop in Beauty and the Beast – both look brilliant.

3. The University Archives in Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.


4. Toby Daye – the Library of Stars – to be honest, I can’t remember which book this first appeared in – maybe One Salt Sea – I would love to go visit.


5. Hurtfew Abbey, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clark – magic!


6. Young Frankenstein – I love this film, it makes me laugh, this is a scene not so much with a library but with bookcases and secret passages – that lead to nothing less than a medical library.  I want to visit this place.

8. Hogwarts.  I mean, you must want to visit Hogwarts and whilst there, well, there is all this…


9. The Citadel in A Song of Ice and Fire.  A place of learning where Samwell Tarly is sent to become a Maester.

The healers of the Citadel are the best in the Seven Kingdoms.[7]

– Samwell Tarly


#SPFBO 2018, Batch 3 books 4-6

Posted On 15 October 2018

Filed under #SPFBO, Book Reviews

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As mentioned in my post here as part of the SPFBO competition I’ll be randomly choosing six books per month for the next five months, I will then aim to check out at least the first 30% of each book during that month.  I’ll post information about the first three books chosen at the start of the month and then about the remaining three during the mid way point with a conclusion around the end of the month about which books will be going forward or which will be eliminated.  The conclusion for my first and second month’s reading can be found here and here.  Ultimately, the aim is to choose one book from the thirty I’ve been assigned – that chosen one will then be my finalist.

Books 4-6 in my third batch of books are as follows:

Dark of Winter by Christopher Percy

darkofwinterThe people of Sumner are odd. Their village, far to the north where the weather is worst, is lost to a world of snow and ice and freezing death. No one trusts Sumner. No one goes there.

Until now.

King Fialsun’s soldiers are battle weary. They have spent years carving an empire that starts from the south and rises up like an inexorable branch, twisting east and west and now to new territories in the north.

Despite growing dissent, Fialsun’s power remains absolute and his might infinite. But one village remains outside from his sovereignty: Sumner.

Fialsun sends one hundred of his soldier veterans to find and to decimate the village. To bring an end to its stigma and to quash the dreaded infamy of its most lethal warrior: Threecuts.

But strange events have been unfolding in Sumner. A girl has gone missing and warriors deem they have captured a creature from mythology. All the evidence leads to the conclusion that an ancient evil is coming.

In one night the fate of Sumner will be decided. If the King’s soldiers do not reach them first, then the creatures of the Dark of Winter will.

Author Page

twitter: darkofwinterbk

Website : http://www.christopherpercy.co.uk

How to go to Hell in 10,000 Easy Steps


How to go to Hell in 10,000 Easy Steps by Douglas Todd 

Valerie wants to sell her soul. But it seems like Hell doesn’t want it, which is a real disappointment.

Actually, Hell is having some serious problems, and it looks like Valerie is going to get ensnared in them whether she likes it or not. Along the way, she’ll meet a lot of colorful and interesting people, most of whom are immortal, many of whom aren’t very nice, some of whom would like to see her dead.

She’ll also experience some truly horrifying things because, no matter how nice some of the people in it are, when it comes right down to it, Hell just isn’t a very pleasant place.

Author page

Forsaken Kingdom


Forsaken Kingdom by JR Rasmussen

At his kingdom’s darkest hour, the lost heir returns. A pity he can’t remember who he is …

To save his people and the forbidden magic they’re sworn to defend, Wardin Rath surrenders his birthright and his past. For seven years he’s held at the court of his deadliest enemy, oblivious to all he’s lost. Until one day, the spell that stole his memories begins to crack.

On the heels of a harrowing escape, Wardin’s quest for answers leads him to the last magistery, where he studied magic as a boy. But he’ll find no safe haven there—or anywhere. Plagued by threats and suspicion, hunted relentlessly by the king who will stop at nothing to crush him, Wardin is soon battling for his life, his home, and the survival of magic itself.

And this time, the enemy will take no prisoners.

Author’s Page

Weekly Wrap Up : 14th October 2018 + A Giveaway

Posted On 14 October 2018

Filed under Book Reviews

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So, I’ve not been up to too much this week.  My better half has conspired to hurt his back and has been a little bit laid up – he’s getting very bored but these things will take their own sweet time to work out.  I’ve managed to read two books this week and also made an attempt to catch up with with three reviews.  I’m also listening to The Boy on the Bridge and I’m a third way through Ben Galley’s Chasing Graves.

Week ending 14th October:

  1. Charmcaster by Sebastien DeCastell
  2. Soulbinder by Sebastien DeCastell

Next week’s reads:

  1. Chasing Graves by Ben Galley
  2. In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey
  3. Slenderman

Upcoming reviews:

  1. Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
  2. Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace
  3. Noir by Christopher Moore
  4. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
  5. Dracul by Dacre Stoker
  6. The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
  7. Creatures: The Legacy of Frankenstein by Emma Newman; Tade Thompson; Paul Meloy; Kaaron Warren; Rose Biggin
  8. Charmcaster by Sebastien DeCastell
  9. Soulbinder by Sebastien DeCastell

Also, my giveaway for a copy of Laurence MacNaughton’s No Sleep Till Doomsday is still open so if you’d like to chuck your hat into the ring the giveaway is international, there are two copies available and there are no rules at all so just give me a shout.

I’d love to know what you’re reading this week.

#SPFBO Interview with Andrew Einspruch, author of Purple Haze


purpleToday I’m pleased to welcome to my blog Andrew Einspruch, author of Purple Haze.  Purple Haze was one of the books I rolled forward from the first month of the competition (you can check out the first chapter here) and my update for the first month of SPFBO reading is here.

Hi Andrew, thanks for agreeing to take part in an interview.

I was checking out your social media places earlier. You’ve already got an impressive amount of books under your belt.  Your author page mentions a number of books for primary age readers and I think Purple Haze is your debut (into the fantasy YA market).  How did the two compare in terms of challenges??

My publishing career has had two distinct phases. Starting in the mid-90s and going up to a few years ago, I had traditionally published around 120 children’s books, mainly for primary-aged readers in the education market. These books were done, for the most part, to publisher specification. The challenge there was to make the reading interesting, while still meeting all the criteria they wanted the book to meet—the number of words per spread, trying to get a particular set of words used in the book, making sure the difficulty level was right, and avoiding taboo subjects and references that would make the book unsellable to conservative US book buyers. Plus, I’d end up writing on topics I knew nothing about, like Christmas Island red crabs or the quirks of Australia’s different state and federal proportional voting systems, so there was a lot of research involved.

This year starts a new phase: publishing novels. You’re right that The Purple Haze is my debut into the world of humorous YA fantasy. The challenges are very different. First, there are all the words. The Purple Haze, book one in the  Western Lands and All That Really Matters series, is around 125,000 words long. That compares to the primary readers I wrote that might be 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 words long. The next challenge is telling a story that’s engaging and fun, and to realise that if you want the character to be at a particular place facing a particular problem, you have to write your way there, write it, and then write your way out of it. Then there’s the matter of the lack of boundaries. A text that needs to be 1,500 words long on the first indigenous Australian to start in an NBA game and which uses a set number of “-ing” words has a lot of boundaries. With my novels, all that went out the window. I had to learn the discipline of putting a story together, and meeting even modest word count goals to make sure things marched forward and didn’t bog down..

Purple Haze has a decidedly amusing feel and I’m thinking it’s going to subvert a few tropes and maybe be a bit tongue in cheek??  Humour can be tricky in books, not to mention some people are mood readers!  What made you take the choice to go down that particular route?

The reason I made the choice to go down the route of humour is… (I hope you’re sitting down for this… ) that’s what came out.

I trod the boards as a comic for years, doing improv comedy and also sketch comedy in a show with my wife. My hope and intention is that my books bring a smile and make people feel uplifted and better. The world needs more of that right now.

Reading the first chapter of your book I’d say it comes across as though you enjoyed yourself writing Purple Haze, how important is that do you think to the success of the book?

I’m loving writing this series. It is definitely fun to do! And yes, I do believe this affects the success of the book because an audience will feel it. If it is fun for me to write, then it will be fun to read.  The vibe will be upbeat, and people will pick that up.

I understand that you run an animal sanctuary along with your wife and daughter? I checked out your blog of course which is fascinating but could you share with readers how this all began?

Red Moon and Equinox

Photo used with permission

Our farm animal sanctuary, A Place of Peace, is the largest in Australia, with around 460 souls (mainly cows, sheep, horses, goats, dogs, cats, and geese) who’ve found a forever home with us. It is the boots on the ground, compassionate action arm of our charity, the Deep Peace Trust (deeppeacetrust.com). My wife, Billie Dean, and I have done rescue or animal care in one form or another since we’ve been together, starting with a puppy we took sight-unseen from a pound in the late 1980’s. My wife is an animal psychic and has a huge, wonderful, open heart, which makes it difficult to say “no” to animals who call to her for help. Sadly, there’s an infinite supply of animals in the world who need help, and we can only do so much. Our sanctuary is basically full, so we put our energy into education, to help people get a closer connection to animals and nature, and to foster the understanding that we won’t have peace on the planet until we expand our circle of compassion to the non-humans who share the earth with us.

Do you have any amusing stories about the sanctuary?

Every animal here is an individual, with a history and a personality. They love their families, and unlike most farm animals, get to live with them for their entire lives. So yes, lots of stories.

For example, the first sheep we ever took on was Sarah. She came to us from a farmer. Her mother had died, and he couldn’t raise a poddy. Sarah was brought up in the house and loved it when I played piano. She’d come up close and sit at my feet like a dog. She adored classical music.

When Sarah started living outside, she chose a life among the goats, and was most offended if you asked her to hang out with other sheep. She thinks of herself as a goat, not a sheep, because that’s who she was raised with. But her fondness for the house remains — every night she comes to the kitchen door where we sneak her a treat.

Willow and Sarah

Photo used with permission

Sometimes, the animals just surprise you with what they’ll do, and if you’re lucky, you can catch it on camera.

A kitten eating a banana? Sure: https://youtu.be/33ZcXms6jy8

A goat kid climbing a tree? You bet:

How have your experiences played into your writing?

I like to think I have a great empathy for all species, and can treasure their similarities and differences. Animals feature prominently as equals in the Western Lands and All That Really Matters series, and that willingness to include other species in the action and decisions of the fiction world stems from my interactions with them in our world.

What do you hope for in terms of the future – both in writing and the sanctuary?

I’m at the start of my novel writing career, and my hope is my books will find their home in the world and lots and lots of people will read and enjoy them.

As for the sanctuary, in the short term, my focus is helping the animals here make it through the worst drought in living memory (https://chuffed.org/project/drought2018). In the long run, we’d like to have have a green, verdant, peaceful place for the animals to live out their lives in happiness, and for everyone, everywhere to treat animals as the feeling, sentient beings they are.

Andrew, thank you so much for taking part.  I love the sound of your sanctuary and the way you look after, respect and treat the animals and I can’t wait to finish your book.

All the best with the SPFBO.

For more information about Andrew check out the following links.

Email: andrew@wildpureheart.com
Web: https://wildpureheart.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/einspruch
Facebook: http://facebook.com/wildpureheart

Friday Face Off : “The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”

Posted On 12 October 2018

Filed under Book Reviews
Tags: ,

Comments Dropped 24 responses


Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – the list has been updated to help out those of you who like to plan ahead – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme. This week’s theme:

“The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”  – A cover for a mystery novel

I hope everyone had fun with this one – I had a few books in mind but I couldn’t resist going for a classic : The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes #5) by Arthur Conan Doyle.  My covers:

My favourite this week:


I’m trying to add a Mr Linky here so that you can leave a link if you wish – of course, I may have botched this up (and won’t find out until the post is published) in which case please leave your link in the comments.  Thanks

Next week – a horror cover

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ of one of your favourite covers)

19th October -“If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!”  – A horror cover

26th October – Trick or treat – A halloween inspired cover

2nd November – ‘Remember, remember the fifth of November,’ – A cover inspired by Bonfire Night (i.e. Guy Fawkes, Gunpowder Plot – think fires, fireworks, historical)

9th November – ‘All right! They’re spiders from Mars! You happy?’ – A cover featuring a critter of the eight legged variety

16th November – There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.’  – A scary cover

23rd November – ‘The child is in love with a human. And not just any human. A prince!’ – A cover featuring a mermaid/man

30th November – “..the children of the night. What music they make!” – a cover with a vampire

7th December – ‘I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will.’ – A cover featuring a hero

14th December -“Heavy is the head that wears the crown”  – A cover featuring a crown

21st December – ‘ho, ho, ho’ – A seasonal cover

28th December – A freebie – choose one of your favourite titles and compare the covers


4th January – A cover that is fresh – New beginnings for a New Year

11th January – ‘I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king’ – A cover that depicts a novel set in the Tudor period

18th January – A cover featuring an Amulet – either in the cover or title

25th January – ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ – A cover featuring a monk/priest/person of the cloth

1st February – A comedy cover

8th February – ‘Hi little cub. Oh no, don’t be ssscared.’ – A cover with snakes

15th February – A heart – for Valentine’s day past

22nd February – “Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.” – A cover with abandoned building/s

1st March – ‘who will buy this wonderful morning’ – A cover featuring a shop or market

8th March – ‘Two little fishes and a momma fishy too’ – A cover featuring a fish/fishes or other sea creatures

15th March – ‘Beware the moon, lads.’ – A cover with a shapeshifter

22nd March – ‘A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse’ – A cover featuring a king

29th March – “I thought unicorns were more . . . Fluffy.”  – A cover featuring a unicorn

5th April – ‘nomad is an island’ – A cover featuring a desert landscape

12th April – ‘Odin, Odin, send the wind to turn the tide – A cover featuring a longboat

19th April – ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – A cover featuring a school

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