The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher Ellen’s Review

Hi all,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

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Mark is a proudly dyspraxic writer and filmmaker who has made over 100 book promos for a certain publisher named Unbound. He wrote and directed his first full-length play, Not the Story of Me, at 20 and went on to make three shorts which won Best Short awards (plus one Best Screenplay award) at festivals in the UK and the US. The last of these, Only One Person Will Like This Film, was picked by the BFI as one of their ’10 to try’ out of over 300 films at LSFF 2013. He has written short fiction (The Pitch and I Killed Tristan Metcalf and Here’s How I Did It… ) for Lionsgate’s Fright Club ezine as well as articles for Den of Geek and Cult TV Times. Since going freelance in 2013 he has created video content for Santander, Pearson, Choice Support, The Big Issue and MyLex as well as music videos (all based on concepts he pitched to the artists) for Nisha Chand, Ekkoes, Good Work Watson, Morgan Crowley and Go-Zilla. He recently wrote and directed the pilot episode for a sitcom based on his previous career in film marketing entitled It’s All Lies. He isn’t married and doesn’t live in Surrey but he did once climb a mountain dressed as Peter Pan.

About the book:

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When 12-year-old Krish finds out his mum is dying, he is desperate to give her more time to live. This leads to a deal with a devil-like creature to travel to another realm, Ilir, and collect the Myrthali – the essence of time itself.
Ilir is a tiny desert world where the days are a handful of hours long and there is magic and treachery on every corner. Here Krish is set three impossible challenges by the brutal King Obsendei to win from him the Myrthali. He joins forces with the razor-tongued, young girl-wizard Balthrir, who hopes to free her parents from the Black Palace; a living, breathing structure built entirely out of those subjects who have incurred the wrath of the King.

But as Krish battles these impossible tasks he may be about to learn that there is more than his mother’s life at stake as he gets embroiled in a blood-thirsty fight for power in Ilir that will push his friendship with Balthrir to its limits.

The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher

Ellen’s Review:

The Boy Who Stole Time may be aimed at younger readers but I really enjoyed it. Fantastic characters, world building and depth of story were spot on also the cover is so beautiful! It’s definitely an eye catcher which I find an important aspect when my daughters are choosing their next read in the book shop.

The main character in the book is Krish, a 12 year old boy who is confronted with every child’s worst nightmare of their parent being ill and the fear that they may not recover. Krish has always been told how precious time is and becomes more aware with his mum’s sickness; what if he could buy (or steal) her a little more? His desires to have more time appear to summon a devil type creature who tells Krish an ancient tale of a magic powder called Myrthali which is the essence of time itself. The devil persuades Krish to enter into a deal – he will travel to another realm, Ilir, and retrieve the powder from the clutches of the brutal King Obsendei. Of course this was never going to be an easy task and Krish is sent on a magical, terrifying adventure from then on and must complete three seemingly impossible tasks before the King will hand over his treasured Myrthali.

The Black Palace of King Obsendei really grabbed my imagination; a living, breathing structure built entirely out of those subjects who have incurred the wrath of the King. These poor people are forced to clamber and stand on each other to construct the walls and floors of this awful “building”.

Along the way Krish teams up with the awesome Balthrir – a young girl-wizard with a cutting sense of humour and heart of gold. I think that Balthrir was one of my favourite characters. She is seemingly pretty hardcore but carries secrets and heartache of her own. Krish and Balthrir’s worlds collide and they must learn to work together to complete the tasks and survive the cut throat, power-hungry island of Ilir.

This story reminded me of the stories of Arabian Nights/One Thousand and One Nights that I loved to read as a child. There are elements of The Boy Who Stole Time that will appeal to everyone. This book is the first in the series and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next!!

Check out the tour:

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Blog Tour: Anarchy by Megan DeVos

Hi guys,

I’m back with another blog tour review today, YAY! I’m taking part in the blog tour for Anarchy by Megan DeVos and I also have a guest post for you all too!

About the author:

Megan DeVos grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where she currently resides. She graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and have been working as a surgical nurse for the last two and a half years. She has always loved writing, and finally dedicated herself to it during university, where she wrote her first published novel, Anarchy.Connecting with readers worldwide has been the greatest outcome of writing, and is something she will continue to pursue during the rest of her career as a writer.

Side-note: Megan shot to fame on Wattpad, where she wrote Harry Styles fan fiction, and I AM HERE FOR THAT as I’m a huge fan of HS. Needless to say I was sold on Anarchy from the PR sheet 🙂

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About the book:

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The world is different now.

There are no rules, no governments, and no guarantees that you’ll be saved.

Rival factions have taken over, fighting each other for survival with no loyalty to anyone but their own. At 21, Hayden has taken over Blackwing and is one of the youngest leaders in the area. In protecting his camp from starvation, raids from other factions and the threat of being kidnapped, he has enough to worry about before he finds Grace.

The daughter of the head of the rival camp Greystone, she is slow to trust anyone, much less the leader of those she has been trained to kill.

This is danger. This is chaos. This is anarchy.

Available NOW, click HERE to order your copy!

My thoughts:

Anarchy is the first book in the series featuring Hayden and Grace, rivals from Blackwing and Greystone respectively. Hayden is the well-respected leader of his camp, and when he meets Grace everything he has known is thrown into chaos.

Taking place in the aftermath of an event, Anarchy details the survival of those left alive and the lengths to which they will go to survive. It has a really interesting story, and it is written in such a way that it is actually impossible to put down. I read Anarchy in just a handful of sittings recently, I genuinely couldn’t stop reading.

The comparisons to The Hunger Games series are well-warranted as it has very similar ideas, but for me, Anarchy is better. There is something at its core that made me invested in the fates of the characters, a humanity and a vulnerability that the reader can empathise with.

Hayden and Grace are great characters too, and well supported with other characters along the way. I really enjoyed seeing the progression of the story told through their own chapters. The author gives a good glimpse into their emotions and it was interesting to see their growth as they met with obstacles and challenges throughout the book.

I don’t want to say any more about it because I think you should just read it. It’s a fun story. Its got passion, strength and plenty of action to keep you reading. Definitely one to add to your list if you enjoy YA and dystopian fiction! I can’t wait to read the next books in the series!

Highly recommended!

5 Tips for Aspiring Writers from Megan DeVos

1. The first tip I always give to aspiring writers is to write something you’d want to read. If it’s something you’re interested in, chances are, someone else will be as well. If you feel passionate about the story you’re creating, you’ll end up writing the best version of the story that you not only want to create, but also to read. Loving the story you’re writing keeps you motivated, and in the end allows you to create something you’ll always enjoy no matter what.

2. The second tip I have is to know where you want your story to go. This can be as vague or as detailed as you like, but knowing the general direction of your plot is important. For me, the first thing I always do is write out a general outline of the plot, including major and minor points and character development. Some writers like to have their main plot thought out and develop the rest as they go. Some like to have every single detail planned out down to the tiniest one. Some are somewhere in between. How you write it is up to you, but I think knowing what you want to accomplish with your story is essential.

3. Imagine what it would be like if you were in the story. Maybe you imagine yourself as the main character, or maybe you imagine what that character would be like if they were real and standing next to you. Imaging the characters as real people helps to understand their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Get to know them in your head. The more you think about them as real people, the easier it is to write their specific character traits, and the easier it will be for readers to connect with them and make them feel real.

4. Read your work, then reread it, then reread again. Read it until you have it stuck in your head. Knowing your story is essential to creating continuity and keeping the story flowing in a satisfying and believable way. It helps you know when to include details that will be important to the future. It helps you recognize things you may want to emphasize more, and things you maybe can lighten up on. Rereading your story as much as you can, because every time you do, you’re making your story that much better.

5.Finally, my last tip for aspiring writers is simply to write because you love it. If it’s something you truly feel passionate about, go for it! Don’t write because you feel like you should, or because of some other reason. Write because you love it, plain and simple. True passion shows through in the work, and only makes you better with each page you write. If you love it and enjoy it, that’s the most important factor of all.

Huge thanks to Megan for these brilliant tips!

Follow the tour:

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

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About the book:

The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world—and of each other.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

My thoughts:

I’m weeks out from reading Furyborn and I’m STILL having trouble trying to formulate a review decent enough to convey just how much I loved this book. It has got everything I look for in a book. Strong main characters, a truly epic story line and excellent world-building. Once I picked it up, I knew I was on to a winner, and I could not stop reading!

Rielle and Eliana are two of the best female characters I’ve read in a fantasy book this year, and I found myself thoroughly invested in their fates throughout the course of the book. I am still thinking about them and its been two months since I read Furyborn!

I am reminded of the addictiveness of Sarah J. Maas’s Court books when I think of Furyborn. It evoked much the same feelings as I had when I picked those up, and its safe to say that I NEED MORE from Claire Legrand. More Eliana, more Rielle, more Corien, who reminds me of both Rhysand AND the Darkling (Leigh Bardugo’s creation).

I don’t know what else to say. No amount of raving can convey how I actually feel about this book. It left me breathless. Gasping for more. Bereft when I finished it. Lots of feelings, basically!

I absolutely loved Furyborn. Right from the beginning I knew it was going to be a great read. Excellent characterisation, clever magical-type aspects, great world building, I just loved it all. The power struggles, the action, the dual timeline narrative, it all worked really well for me. A perfect foundation for a trilogy. It left me with questions, and wanting more to read, but that’s the beauty of the first book in a series. I can’t wait for the next!

Highly recommended!

Bermuda by Robert Enright

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About the author:

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Robert Enright was born and raised in North London and resides in Chesham, Buckinghamshire. Working as a HR System Manager by day, he spends his evenings and weekends writing (or binge watching TV with his fiance).

In March 2015, Rob self-published ONE BY ONE on Amazon, a violent, revenge thriller which was critically acclaimed, breaking into the top 50 books on Amazon on release. One year later, One by One leapt up to #3 in Kindle Crime and back into the top 50 on Kindle.

Robert then signed with Urbane Publications and his second book DOORWAYS was released on the 13th October 2016. An Urban Fantasy Thriller, Doorways is the first Bermuda Jones Casefile, a series following the aforementioned agent as he struggles to govern the truce between our world and ‘The Otherside.’ Released to critical acclaim, Doorways has achieved consistently high rankings on both the Sci-Fi and Urban Fantasy charts.

In October 2017, ONE BY ONE was republished on Kindle and Paperback by Britain’s Next Best Seller.

In early 2018, DOORWAYS was re-released as an e-book, paperback and audio book under Robert Enright’s management. The sequel, THE ABSENT MAN is released in March 2018. The third in the series, WORLDS APART, is set for a late 2018 launch. A prequel, titled BERMUDA, is available now.

For more information about Rob and his upcoming books, then feel free to check him out on social media:

About the book:

Discover how it all began…

Franklyn Jones is a devoted husband, a loving father and a middle manager working in London. His only secret is he can see ‘The Otherside’, a world that hides in the shadows of our own. After his claims of these creatures leads to the loss of his family and his commitment to a mental health facility, Franklyn’s life came to a complete stand still.

Eventually, Franklyn is recruited by the BTCO, a secret agency that monitors and maintains the truce between both worlds. Thrust into an advanced training regime based on his ‘gifts’, Franklyn soon finds himself out on his first case, investigating the disappearance of several people in Elvedon Forest in Suffolk.

Closely monitored by his trainer, Denham, Franklyn edges further into this new world, hunting a violent entity that lives within the trees, whilst also being watched by a mysterious warrior.

The explosive prequel novella to DOORWAYS and THE ABSENT MAN, BERMUDA takes you back to where it all started.

Are you ready for the answers?

Bermuda by Robert Enright

My thoughts:

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed both Doorways and The Absent Man, its safe to say I was looking forward to reading Bermuda so I could find out how everything came to be.

Franklyn “Bermuda” Jones has been seeing things since he was younger. Horrible creatures that live among us, and when he mentions these aloud, he ends up in a mental health facility because those around him think that he has serious problems.

Eventually, he comes to the attention of the BTCO (Behind The Curtain Organisation), a group who monitor the “Otherside” and try to keep peace between our world and that of the monsters. Franklyn is special, so the BTCO train him up and send him out to work on a case involving the disappearance of people in Suffolk. What follows is an adrenaline-filled story where we learn how Franklyn got to where he is now.

I really enjoyed Bermuda. It answered any questions I had from the previous books and it also packed a hell of a lot in for a novella. Rob Enright has a knack for making you connect with characters, and Bermuda is a great example of this. The emotion and dilemmas that Franklyn experiences really made me feel for him, and I was really wrapped up in his story.

I don’t want to say much more because this is a prequel, and I don’t want to give away anything about the story. All I know is I loved it, and I can’t wait to red the next book in the series.

Bermuda is an action-packed novella, with great characters and some decidedly inhumane entities that will make your skin crawl. Gripped from the outset, I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.

Highly recommended!

Previous Reviews:

Doorways by Robert Enright

The Absent Man by Robert Enright

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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About the book:

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all.

With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most – a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavoury hobby – it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good.

But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

My thoughts:

Buy the damn book.

Can I just leave it at that?! Because I can’t seem to find the words to describe how much I enjoyed To Kill A Kingdom…

I’ve been switching genres lately because I find I get sick of the same kind of stuff if I read a load of similar books, so when I saw To Kill A Kingdom on my kindle I figured I would give it a go. It is a YA fantasy with sirens, mermaids and pirates. It sounded like it would be a fun read, and its safe to say it was that and more!

To Kill A Kingdom kept me company on a flight to Prague recently. I spent the entire plane journey reading it, and found myself over halfway through by the time we landed, I just couldn’t stop reading.

Princess Lira is a siren. She collects the hearts of princes by ripping them from their chests. When Lira has to kill one of her own, her sea queen mother punishes her by making her into something that her kind hate. A human. Enter Prince Elian. A siren hunter, heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Lira must kill Prince Elian in order to be returned to the sea. And there begins the real story.

I don’t want to go into too much detail. Partly because I don’t want to spoil the story for you guys, but also because I’m still struggling to find all of the good words to explain how much I loved this book.

To Kill A Kingdom hooked me from the beginning. It has a great cast of characters, way more action than I was expecting, and Alexandra Christo has created a truly wonderful world for this book. I loved the story, how it all played out, how beautifully drawn the book is as a whole.

Captivating, magical and haunting, To Kill A Kingdom is definitely one of my favourite books that I’ve read recently. So much so, that I am actively looking for books that even come marginally close to this engaging gem, so if you know of any, shout at me in the comments!

Also, I raved about it so much that my husband (who isn’t actually a big reader) read it and he really liked it too! 🙂

I’ll end this review the same way I started it…

Buy the damn book!

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Blood of Assassins by RJ Barker

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About the book:

TO SAVE A KING, KILL A KING . . .
The assassin Girton Club-foot and his master have returned to Maniyadoc in hope of finding sanctuary, but death, as always, dogs Girton’s heels. The place he knew no longer exists.
War rages across Maniyadoc, with three kings claiming the same crown – and one of them is Girton’s old friend Rufra. Girton finds himself hurrying to uncover a plot to murder Rufra on what should be the day of the king’s greatest victory. But while Girton deals with threats inside and outside Rufra’s war encampment, he can’t help wondering if his greatest enemy hides beneath his own skin.

Blood of Assassins: (The Wounded Kingdom Book 2) by RJ Barker

About the author:

RJ Barker lives in Leeds with his wife, son and a collection of questionable taxidermy, odd art, scary music and more books than they have room for. He grew up reading whatever he could get his hands on, and has always been ‘that one with the book in his pocket’. Having played in a rock band before deciding he was a rubbish musician, RJ returned to his first love, fiction, to find he is rather better at that. As well as his debut epic fantasy novel, Age of Assassins, RJ has written short stories and historical scripts which have been performed across the country. He has the sort of flowing locks any cavalier would be proud of.

My thoughts:

In Blood of Assassins, we’re back with Girton Club-Foot and his master, Merela. Events in the previous book have led them back to the the Maniyadoc, where there is a fight for the crown between three kings, one of whom is Girton’s old friend, Rufra.

The place is ravaged by war, with some truly horrible new threats to the characters in this book. If I could read with my hands over my eyes, it still wouldn’t be enough.

So, there is apparently a traitor in Rufra’s midst, and there is a plot to murder him. Girton is tasked with trying to find out who is responsible. What follows is an epic ride across the various encampments, gathering information, and with plenty of bloodshed along the way.

Girton has more than just this to contend with though. There is an inner struggle taking place for him, but he can’t confide in anyone, and more than once it is nearly his ruin. I don’t want to say any more. Except maybe that there is a really unexpected and satisfying arc for a recurring character, but you’ll have to read it to learn for yourself because I am not spoiling it!

If you like fantasy with heart, great characters and clever world-building then you definitely need to add Blood of Assassins to your TBR. You won’t be disappointed.

Highly recommended!

Much blood. Much assassins. #TeamGirton

 

Previous reviews:

Age of Assassins by RJ Barker 

The Hidden Face by S. C. Flynn

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*Many thanks to the author for my review copy*

About the author:

S C Flynn was born in a small town in South West Western Australia. He has lived in Europe for a long time; first the United Kingdom, then Italy and currently Ireland, the home of his ancestors. He still speaks English with an Australian accent, and fluent Italian.

He reads everything, revises his writing obsessively and plays jazz. His wife Claudia shares his passions and always encourages him.

S C Flynn has written for as long as he can remember and has worked seriously towards becoming a writer for many years.

THE HIDDEN FACE (November 2017) is his second novel and the first in the Fifth Unmasking epic fantasy series.

About the book:

A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.

Once every few hundred years, the sun god, the Akhen takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?

Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal death of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a warrior woman named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.

Powerful enemies want the secret as well, including a dynasty of magician-kings who were thought to have died out long before, a mad, murderous hunchback and a beautiful, deadly woman who is never seen. Sunniva and Dayraven fight to survive and to solve the mystery while their own pasts come back to life and the attraction between them deepens.

The Hidden Face by S. C. Flynn

My thoughts:

I’m not going to lie, I found The Hidden Face really hard to get into initially. It was really laden with details and names and I found myself getting confused early on. However, once the main characters met, and they found themselves thrown together to unravel the clues left for them, it really picked up the pace.

Dayraven find his old teacher brutally murdered, ad he is left something that makes him question everything. Enter Sunniva, a female warrior who can help him on his quest for the truth.

At this point, the book pick s up pace as they work together to solve clues left for them to uncover the truth of an ancient secret. It really draws the reader in, as you become invested in their quest.

The Hidden Face is a very intriguing read. It has some excellent characters along with some intricate world-building. I particularly enjoyed seeing the relationship between Dayraven and Sunniva shift as the book changed its course.

If you’re a fan of fantasy, this is definitely one to add to your list.

Recommended for sure!