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This is the sequel to Innocent Mage that I read around December/January.
It was every bit as good as the it's predecessor.

"The evil foretold has risen ... and we are all that stands between it and the end"

Asher has come a long way for a fisherman's son. Together with his friend Prince Gar, he has defended their kingdom against its bitterest enemy, but at great cost.

Now the evil mage Morg is preparing for his most deadly assault. Desperate, trapped in a broken body Morg has little time and fewer scruples. And he has a plan.

As Gar and Asher unwittingly fall into a dangerous deception, Morg gets ever closer to his goal. And this victory would be particularly sweet - for who better to destroy the kingdom than the two who would give anything to save it? (bumph from back of book)

As with the previous book, once I got into this one, I found I couldn't put it down. If you are interested in reading the pair, I suggest that you manage to get hold of both at once, as the literal "cliff hanger" at the end of Innocent Mage made me want to read on.
I just got another of Karen Miller's books, but again it is one of a pair, and I think I will try to get hold of the second before reading.
Have a dig around Karen Miller's website to find out more.
Have just noticed on the site, the second of the new duo I have bought is published on Monday!

In the golden time of Arthur and Guenevere, the Island of the West shone like an emerald in the sea - one of the last strongholds of Goddess worship and Mother right. Isolde is the only daughter and heiress of Ireland's great ruling queen, a lady as passionate in battle as she is in love. La Belle Isolde, like her mother, is famed for her beauty, but she is a healer instead of a warrior, "of all surgeons, the best among the isles." A natural peacemaker, Isolde is struggling to save Ireland from a war waged by her dangerously reckless mother. King Mark of Cornwall sends forth his own champion to do battle with the Irish - Sir Tristan of Lyonesse - a young, untested knight with a mysterious past. When he lies victorious but near death on the field of battle, Tristan knows that his only hope of survival lies to the West. His men smuggle him into the Queen's fort at Dubh Lein and beg the princess to save him.

Setting aside the fact that I generally dislike romances, and for some reason it took me a bit to figure out why I really didn't like this story I will do my best to offer a non-biased review.

The first good thing I will say about this book is that it is a fast read. The story takes up a whopping 340 pages which I've devoured in a week. Perhaps it's because it's half the size of the books I've read lately, but it just feels like I've slid right through the story.

The second good thing I can say about the book is that I've learnt that in the beginning of the age of chivalry when knights competed in tournaments, they were more like a free-for-all, with the winner being the one left standing. This is something new to me as all I've ever known of knights and tournaments was jousting and sword play. Sort of the stereotypical thing.

As far as historical accuracy, Miles seems to be in line with the general consensus of the story of the 'real' Tristan and Isolde, from what I have been able to gather.

The only thing that really bothered me was from an editor's point-of-view, Miles head-hops a lot. Too much of the multiple-points-of-view within the same scene.

Overall I'd give this 4 out of 5 stars, historical romance not withstanding.

‘Agricola turned to the east, where Rome lay. He had been kind and just, but like a primitive beast, Alba continued to bite the hand of friendship that his empire extended. Finally it was time for Alba to pay.’

For Rhiann – a Celtic priestess and queen in ancient Scotland – and her warrior husband, Eremon – an exiled Irish prince – the prospect of a peaceful and free future is wrecked by the threat of a Roman invasion into the north. Theirs was a political marriage, but from it has emerged a passionate love as well as a powerful public alliance. Now in them lies the hope of a nation. For there is a new Emperor in Rome, Domitian, and he has commanded Agricola, Governor of Britain, to crush the troublesome realm of Scottish Alba once and for all. The predestined day draws near: the armies of Alba and Rome will meet in an epic battle to decide the fate of a country. Rhiann searches for guidance in the spirit world, little realizing how big a part she will play in this endgame. Eremon knows only that he must risk – and sacrifice – many lives, perhaps even his own.

This second book in the Dalriada trilogy is just as epic as the first, but more gut wrenching by the end. While Rhiann continues the work of drawing the Alban tribes together, he husband, Eremon travels south to test the Roman waters and let them know what they're up against. In this story, as in the first, I felt like I was there among the Albans fighting for their land their homes and their lives. Jules Watson definitely has a knack for drawing you into the story.

As for the history itself, there were a few changes here and there, but mostly points that historians in general have disagreed on.

Author's website: Jules Watson

At first I thought that this book would be quite sad, but it isn't.
It's narrated by 12 year old Gussie.

It could be very easily overly sentimental, given Gussie's circumstances, but she is quite a gutsy young lady.
She is going through all the usual teenage angst things, but with a very grown up head on her shoulders. Gussie is wise beyond her years.

For the bumph on the book and the chance to read an extract;

for more about Ann Kelley visit her website

This book won the children's Costa Book Award.

Well, this isn't a book for those put off by lengthy tomes. Saying that, it has only taken me a week to read the 838 pages. It is a very fast moving text, and could put off the reader reading for light entertainment purposes only.
I loved the way the characters narrate their parts of the novel, internally as well as externally, giving you their insights to the situation. At first I will admit I was a little confused, but once I realised how the book was meant to be read I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The incipient possesion of the characters was very well done, and the fact that Dory seems to have a strange personanlity to start off with all adds to the fun. I found myself laughing quite a lot at the antics. Some of the situations are farcial, but what else can you expect when one of the characters is suspected of being fathered by the deranged ghost of an evil 500 year old court jester. Although Darkmans himself is mentioned, by name, (as Darkmans,) a couple of times.
Some parts of the text are like a bad dream the reader has the priveledge of being in, but not suffering.
I liked this book a lot, and even looked up other books by the same author when I went to the bookshop.
I don't think I am alone in having liked the book, however some haven't liked it. is a blog from someone who hasn't enjoyed it, but each to their own. The Guardian review is much more positive.
The brief bumph here is unbiased as it is from the Man Booker prize website. Is an article from the Times, and when I read it, I must say, having read Alan Garner's The Owl Service, yes, the texts does have echoes of it. for more about the author.

Interesting book this!
Although the cover pictures a certain notorious child murderer, nowhere, absolutely nowhere in the text is she named.
At first, I thought the book was going to be along the lines of Tomorrow by Graham Swift, (see previous post,) in that the whole story takes place overnight, whilst PC Billy Tyler is guarding the body of the woman.
However, after about halfway through the book, the atmosphere changes, and it becomes part "ghost" story.
I really don't want to spoil it, so won't give away too much.
It did not, nor does not try to gain the reader' sympathy for the woman, if it had, I would have stopped reading it at the first attempt to gain sympathy.
It is a very engrossing book, I just wanted to keep reading "one more page" or "to the end of this section". about the author. for read extracts from the book. for further information.

What I will add about this book, is, I have read a biography on the couple, and come from the area where they operated. The facts in the bock are very accurate, and the passage where Billy recalls visiting the Moors is very accurate and evocative.

I don't normally read what I would describe as "chic-lit", but the bumph on the back of this book intrigued me. Yes, it has the "chic-lit" type cover, and I very nearly didn't buy it. However I did.
Imogen is married with a 9 year old son, and a husband who works in "the city". They live in London, but her husband Alex's job is not as secure as it once was, and they are living beyond their means. They consider "downsizing" when an old friend of Alex's offers them a cottage on her husband's estate. They accept, the story covers the transition from town to country, and various relationships that may or may not be going on.
Imogen muddles her way through the new experiences she is encountering in a humorous way. The story was engaging, yet light hearted. Although I enjoyed it, I don't think I could read too many in the same vein.
I would say that it is a good book to read when you need something light.
Here's a link to some bumph;

Most people think immediately of the "Talking Heads" monologues when Alan Bennett's name is mentioned, but to tell the truth, when I picked this book up, I never even looked at who the author was. Perhaps I should look, but I will admit to reading blurb on books without looking who has written it. That way I have found "gems" in the past.
This is a slim volume, with a irreverent "what if" as a plot line, and a brilliant end.
To read a brilliant review ;

For more about Alan Bennett;

There is one point I would say about this one, borrow it from the library, as at £6.99 for a mere 121 pages, it is a dear little book, in more ways than one.

I loved this book. It only took a couple of days to read as I kept picking it up, instead of doing what I should have been doing.
The novel looks to be a simple crime thriller at first, but is in no way simple.
The story is told from an omniscient narrator and in the first person by Naomi. The chapters narrated by Naomi are as if addressed to Robert, her married lover.

This is a book you really won't want to put down. The characters are thoroughly rounded and believable. The plot well woven. I'll definitely be looking out for other books by Sophie Hannah

I decided to read this book as it had received a good write up in the Waterstones Magazine.
It's a first novel, and despite what I see as it's shortcomings, it is a very good, readable novel.
The setting is the music publishing industry, the main character, thoroughly unlikeable, but interesting man named Steven Stelfox. By that I mean, if he were real, and I met him, I would steer well clear, as he lives in the "rarefied" world of the music industry and his only use for women is to save him a little DIY.
This novel would probably make for a very interesting film, and if it is made into a film, it would be worth a viewing. Mind you...I hated the Bridget Jones character in the novel, but thoroughly enjoyed the film. Casting, and bringing the characters to life can do wonders.
The other thing I disliked about the novel was the use of profanities. They may have been instrumental to the plot, but there were more than I thought necessary.
That aside, I DID enjoy the novel, and if I ever met Steven Stelfox I think I'd want to slap him, but I guess that is the anticipated reaction. After all, Casanova was cavalier in his treatment of women, but it didn't stop them liking him enough to sleep with him.
To find out more, follow the link below;

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