This is a delightful book that follows the journey of Abigail Shepherd from unpublished writer to debut novelist, with the release of her YA book Victoria’s Victorian Victory.
In My Year of Stories, we follow Abigail’s journey with twelve stories to represent each month, preceded by an excerpt from her journal. I like the addition of this diary extract as it gives the reader an idea how each story was created and when.
This is a book you can read in one sitting or go to when you want to read another story for the first time or as a reread. You’ll find you’ll want to do that. I read the first story, The Dandelion Clock when it was first published in Whim online magazine but I enjoyed reading it again as January’s story in this book. There is also a prequel to Victoria’s Victorian Victory.
The stories are each different, some sweet and moving, others humorous and some a little dark.
I highly recommend My Year of Stories. You’ll enjoy the read.
Beauty in Thorns – Kate Forsyth
I love Kate Forsyth’s writing and when Beauty in Thorns was released I couldn’t wait to read it.
It is a story set around the Pre-Raphaelite circle of artists and poets, including William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
For many years, I’ve adored their wonderful paintings, so I knew I’d love getting lost in their tumultuous world. I discovered there was so much I hadn’t known about their work and their relationships. Kate Forsyth brings to life their story of love and heartbreak with such care and beauty.
I also loved learning about the women in this circle. Lizzie Siddal, Georgie (Georgiana) Burne-Jones nee Macdonald, Jane Morris nee Burden, and later in the novel Margot Burne-Jones the daughter of Georgie and Ned (Edward)Burne-Jones. I was especially moved by Lizzie Siddal’s tragic life. I think I admired Georgie’s stoicism the most.
Kate Forsyth’s research is excellent and her story telling is superb. If you haven’t read Beauty in Thorns as yet, I highly recommend it.
If you’re unfamiliar with the art of the Pre-Raphaelites, it will add to your appreciation of this book if you look up some of their paintings.
Thornton Park is the Thornton family home and is where the mystery takes place in my book The Dragon Sleeps.
It’s a murder mystery set in the late 1920s.
A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. What treasure is worth killing for?
Alexandra Thornton is determined to discover how these things are connected to the antiques her great-grandfather brought with him from Hong Kong so many years ago. What secret has remained hidden for the last eighty years?
Top left is the main hall, the others are of the drawing room. Far right is my book.
These photos are of the real house that inspired me – Werribee Mansion in Victoria.
You can go through the mansion if you’re visiting Melbourne or Victoria. It’s definitely a worthwhile day.
I am so thrilled to be a part of this fabulous post by Sarina at the Cookie Break.
Go to Sarina’s blog to read everyone’s advice.
Today is an exciting days, friends. Today is the day we kick self-doubt where it hurts because today, 14 wonderful authors have come together to talk about how to go to war with it! If you’ve written for any length of time – or if you’ve put it off because of self-doubt, perhaps? – you’ll…
via Self-Doubt: 14 Authors Share Their Advice — Cookie Break
I was so thrilled to receive this wonderful review. Please read on!
“A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. What treasure is worth killing for? It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A hedonistic time after the Great War when young people knew they could enjoy life without the threat of war hanging over them. A time when women have more options opened to them. There is a weekend house…
via Review: The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read — Cookie Break
Chains of Gaia by James Fahy
(Book Three of The Changeling Series.)
With each book, I love returning to Erkling and the Netherworlde, to catch up with Robin, Henry, Karya, Woad and the other Erklingers.
This time, Robin and his friends have to retrieve the Shard of Earth from the heart of the Everhart Forest. A scourge lies over the great forest, as a rampaging beast lays waste to it, and to villages that border it.
Their journey is fraught with danger as they encounter centaurs, a minotaur in an ancient labyrinth, and let’s not forget the Grimms and Redcaps.
We meet new characters including Ffoulkes (with his affectations), a population of gentle green Dryads and a new Fae.
It’s wonderful to see Robin maturing and learning to be his true self. Henry and Karya are also growing up and there’s a lot more to learn yet about them, I’m certain. Woad keeps being Woad, which is just what I hoped.
James Fahy creates a very believable fantasy world. His writing is concise and his imagery is magical. I felt totally immersed in it. The characters are all well written and well rounded. The author’s wit shines through them.
I feel like I want to say more and more. The book has such depth but moved along at a cracking pace. I thoroughly enjoyed Chains of Gaia and can’t wait for the next instalment.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.
This is a fantastic second book in The Changeling Series. I loved the Isle of Winds, the first book, and I wasn’t disappointed with The Drowned Tomb.
I was excited to get back to Erkling Hall and the Netherworlde to meet favourite characters once again. Robin is as amazing as ever. Henry is a real favourite of mine, with his humour and easy-going manner, as is Woad and his new pet. Karya retains her aura of mystery but we are teased with some hints about her past.
New characters are added seamlessly into the story. Some intriguing, some evil, some filled with menace. New and old, all are brilliantly written, well-rounded and believable, even the antiheroes.
The development of the story and the world building are superb. When I think of The Drowned Tomb, I think of Lords of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. Like these timeless favourites, The Changeling Series is for all ages.
James Fahy’s writing is witty, sincere, and concise, with a narrative that takes you on a fast and exciting ride, while at other times immerses you in scenes of beauty and magical wonder.
If you haven’t read it yet, I’d highly recommend you plunge into The Drowned Tomb soon, ready for Fahy’s third book, which is to be released on 12th June.
I was so thrilled to receive this fantastic 5 Star Review on Amazon from Charlie Edwards.
Thank you so much.
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a huge fan of Agatha Christie and the other masters of crime I went into this book with high expectations and I’m happy to say that those expectations were exceeded! Set in the grandiose estate of Thornton House and taking place in the heart of the antiques trade of the 1920s, The Dragon Sleeps is a clever little novel that keeps you guessing throughout and which is equal parts murder mystery as it is a charming look into the past.
One of the aspects that really stood out for me was Read’s use of music and other well researched parts of the history that brought the 20s setting to life. I found myself googling various pieces of music she mentioned, letting them play as I read the book so that I could fully plunge myself into the story and experience what her characters were enjoying at the same time, an interesting experience which really added to the charm of the book as a whole.
The characters are full of vitality and believable, and the relationship between Lexy and Edie in particular was really charming to experience, not to mention the smooth suave of the ever charming Benedict whom I’m sure is the sort of man that no woman could find fault with.
The mystery itself is well researched and cleverly put together, and of course I won’t spoil it but the solution is not as straightforward as you would initially presume – the twists and turns keep the novel going exactly as a murder mystery should.
An enchanting and engaging novel that sets the stage for murder and intrigue with aplomb, I can’t wait to read more of what Ellen Read has to offer – here’s hoping she is writing more!
My latest news is that I’m on YouTube. I have four videos up. One is a channel trailer. The other three are trailers for my book The Dragon Sleeps.
Please go and have a look.
If you’re an author and like the idea for yourself, please let me know. We can follow each other.