Fantasy

#BookReview
The Things We Learn When We’re Dead
by Charlie Laidlaw @claidlawauthor

#BookReview The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw @claidlawauthorTitle: The Things We Learn When We're Dead

Author: Charlie Laidlaw

Published by Accent Press Ltd on January 26, 2017

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction

Pages: 501

Format: Paperback

Source: Charlie Laidlaw

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is about how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, but how we can sometimes get a second chance.

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.
It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN, because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… or does God have a higher purpose after all?
Despite that, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is neither sci-fi nor fantasy. It is a book about memory and how, if we could remember things slightly differently, would we also be changed?

In HVN, Lorna can at first remember nothing. But as her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that, maybe, she can find a way back home.


Review:

Fresh, fantastical, and unique!

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is an exceptionally innovative adventure that takes you on a journey with Lorna Love as she remembers her life back in North Berwick, explores an afterlife on HVN, meets some outrageous characters, including God, and realizes that every choice, good or bad has a consequence.

The prose is humorous and expressive. The characters are complex, rich, reflective, and intriguing. And the plot written in a back-and forth, past/present style is a well-crafted tale about life, death, emotion, introspection, friendship, acceptance, and second chances.

As most people know, I’m not a huge lover of sci-fi or fantasy novels, but The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is definitely an exception. It’s creative, compelling, and witty and does a tremendous job of highlighting all the quirky intricacies of life, and ultimately reminds us that change is inevitable.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

 

http://picasion.com/gl/9CQG/

 

 

Thank you to Charlie Laidlaw for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review and for his patience while it made it to the top of my TBR pile!

 

About Charlie Laidlaw

I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland (quite near Paisley, but thankfully not too close) and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember.

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in East Lothian.

 

#BlogTour #GuestPost #Giveaway
The Curse of Time by M. J. Mallon
@Marjorie_Mallon @NeverlandBT

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who’s imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house. When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden pathway where she encounters Ryder, a charismatic, but perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set, and some crystal wizard stones she discovers the truth about a shocking curse that has destroyed her family’s happiness.

 

 

About Marjorie Mallon:

I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years at my lovely blog home Kyrosmagica: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, middle grade fiction and micro poetry – haiku and Tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much-loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six-foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

WEBSITE / COLLABORATIVE BLOG / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM GOODREADS / FACEBOOK / TUMBLR

 

 

And now Marjorie Mallon:

 

My motto is to do what you love! Stay true to your heart’s desires, remain young at heart, and inspire others to do so, even if the odds are stacked against you like black-hearted shadows.

Recently, I had a conversation with my eldest daughter which really struck a chord with me. She is working in South Korea teaching English as a Foreign Language, following her dream to travel, teach and live abroad. I so admire her adventurous spirit. During this conversation she mentioned that studying English Literature at degree level had almost killed her love of reading. Can you imagine? How could this be? The course had been so analytical that it had dissected the pleasurable aspect of reading; emotion had been hung, drawn and quartered. Reading and writing should be about expressing our deepest emotions and passions. There have been countless occasions when I have cried when reading a book. The emotional response should be paramount, whether we respond by laughing, crying, exclaiming, or screwing up our faces in horror or disgust.

I am so thrilled to say my daughter has now re-discovered her love of reading. Thank heavens! A love of creativity is both a popular pastime and a career choice in my family. My youngest daughter Georgina is a keen photographer, following in her great uncle’s and her grandfather’s footsteps. (They ran the successful photographic business Ingram & Co in Edinburgh before the Second World War.)

Georgina’s wonderful photographic portrait of Elise Hackney, portraying my main character, Amelina. Interview with my character: https://mjmallon.com/2017/08/20/mj-interviews-amelina-the-curse-of-time-bloodstone-sundayblogshare/

Samantha Murdoch, https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com kindly gave me permission to use her son Alex’s photography to promote my black cat character Shadow:

And here’s a close up of the wonderful Bloodstone crystal photography which appears on the spine of my paperback, via Samantha too.

Dr John C Taylor OBE gave me permission to use his wonderful images of The Corpus Christi Chronopage in my book. http://www.johnctaylor.com/the-chronophage/

 

When I read I enter a precious world, the domain of the author’s imagination. What a wonder and privilege it is to enter that realm. It has been a delight to read extensively and to review too. To date I have written over a hundred reviews. Now that I am a debut author the boot is on the other foot. Not, that I was ever a hard-nosed reviewer! It is the strangest experience reading reviews written about my book! Some of which fill me full of delight, some less so. But, that is the price an author pays. Not everyone will love an author’s book, whether their current novel is a bestseller or not. Even best-selling books are blighted by reviews which tumble mercilessly below four stars! Reading is and always should be a personal and subjective affair.

Recently, I received a review which said: ‘Enjoyable novel’ ‘This book has a complex mix of themes running through it, and at times my head did spin as I tried to keep up.’ Another reviewer remarked that: ‘This is a brilliant book for young adults interested in magic, supernatural, paranormal, fantasy and myth. I found it highly readable and the author’s imagination is phenomenal, as is the fluency of her language and the dazzling way she describes the curious events and characters in her story.’

Readers’ opinions will differ and that’s what makes reading and writing so unique, special and wonderful. I urge you to support a debut author by reading and reviewing The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone. It is (as one reviewer states,) ‘a clear labour of love.’

 

International Giveaway:

 

A £35 Amazon Gift Card

(or equivalent to £35 for an International winner either by gift card or if not possible and if it’s  not possible the cash equivalent.)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you to Marjorie Mallon for being a guest on my blog today! It was truly an honour!

 

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

#BookReview
The Reflections of Queen Snow White
by David Meredith

#BookReview The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David MeredithTitle: The Reflections of Queen Snow White

Author: David Meredith

Published by David Meredith on October 2, 2013

Genres: Fantasy

Pages: 155

Format: eBook

Source: David Meredith

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone? 

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing: 

The king is dead. 

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old. 

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means? 

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.


Review:

Thank you to David Meredith, the author, for sending me a copy of his book for an honest review.

This is a unique and interesting story that starts approximately thirty years after the original fairy tale ended.

It delves into the psychological and physical damage suffered by Snow White through the years, as well as the love and comfort she found with Charming.

It is a story about abuse, loss, depression, strength, courage, love, and ultimately the power of discovery and introspection.

The writing is well done. The plot uses a past-present style that allows the story to flow nicely. And the characters are complex and creative, especially the magic mirror who once again has a starring role.

If you love fantasy and dark, macabre tales, you will definitely enjoy this book.

 

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