Book reviews, Classic Fiction, Fantasy

Foxfire, Wolfskin and other Stories of Shapeshifting Women by Sharon Blackie – Book Review. @sharonblackiemythmakings @annecater @septemberbooks @RKbookpublicist #FoxfireWolfskin

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Part rally cry, part warning, part manifesto and all parts enchanting, Sharon Blackie’s Foxfire, Wolfskin is a deeply evocative and haunting collection. Humming with the strength of our immutable voices, each story sings with the transformation that is possible when women take agency of our lives. I want to press this powerful book into the hands of everyone I know and say, listen.’  Holly Ringland, author, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

‘Sharon Blackie has wrought a new-old magic for our times: glorious, beautiful, passionate myths written for this critical moment in time. They show who we could have been, and they give us a glimpse of a world-that-could-be. There’s still time to make it happen.’ Manda Scott, author of the Boudicca series, and A Treachery of Spies

Charged with drama and beauty, this memorable collection by a master storyteller weaves a magical world of possibility and power from female myths of physical renewal, creation and change. It is an extraordinary immersion into the bodies and voices, mindscapes and landscapes, of the shape-shifting women of our native folklore.  We meet the Water Horse of the Isle of Lewis, the huldra, the Scandinavian supernatural forest-dweller, and Baba Yaga of Slavic folklore (but will she help you or kill you?) Here too is the Snow Queen; the wild bird-woman of the Sliabh Mis Mountains; Blodeuedd, the Welsh ‘flower-faced’ woman.  

Drawing on myth and fairy tales found across Europe – from Croatia to Sweden, Ireland to Russia – Sharon Blackie brings to life women’s remarkable ability to transform themselves in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances. These stories are about coming to terms with our animal natures, exploring the ways in which we might renegotiate our fractured relationship with the natural world, and uncovering the wildness – and wilderness – within.

 

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MY REVIEW

This is a collection of short stories with a theme of strong women, all based on myths and legends from countries around the world. 

But, it’s not that simple…..there is magic, heartbreak, love, fear and power. It is beautifully written and really touches a nerve at times and will make you laugh and cry. 

For me, Last Man Standing is heartbreaking, and will make you cry for the old man. For the world we are destroying, but it has love at its core. 

Wolfskin, shows the cruelty of some men, and their comeuppance. 

Foxfire, is just stunning, the descriptions of the woods and the amber fox are just so clear, you can almost feel the silence of the forest.

This is just three tales, but there are many more intense and powerful stories, each with a lovely, simple illustration too.

I have fallen in love with this book and will be encouraging everyone to read it…..there will be at least one story that touches your soul. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here

https://amzn.to/2n4LtZC

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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SHARON BLACKIE:

Dr Sharon Blackie is a writer, mythologist and psychologist, and an internationally recognised teacher of the mythic imagination. Her bestselling book, If Women Rose Rooted, won a 2016 Nautilus award, and laid out a haunting heroine’s journey for every woman who finds power, inspiration and solace in the natural world.  She has an international following through her online communities, and the courses and workshops she offers through ‘The Hedge School’. Her first novel, The Long Delirious Blue, was described by the Independent on Sunday as ‘hugely potent’. She lives in Connemara, Ireland. http://www.sharonblackie.net.

‘A new Sharon Blackie is always a cause for celebration’ Melissa Harrison

Sharon Blackie’s titles available from September publishing: The Enchanted Life (ISBN 978-1910463888, £14.99) and If Women Rose Rooted (978-1-912836-01-7, £8.99 paperback published August 2019)

 

Book reviews, Fantasy, Historical fiction, Thriller

Nexus by Alison Morton – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Mid 1970s. Ex-Praetorian Aurelia Mitela is serving as Roma Nova’s interim ambassador in London. Asked by a British colleague to find his missing son, Aurelia thinks it will only be a case of a young man temporarily rebelling. He’s bound to turn up only a little worse for wear.

But a spate of high-level killings pulls Aurelia away into a dangerous pan-European investigation. Badly beaten in Rome as a warning, she discovers the killers have kidnapped her life companion, Miklós, and sent an ultimatum: Back off or he’ll die.

But Aurelia is a Roma Novan and they never give up…

Set between AURELIA and INSURRECTIO in the Aurelia Mitela Roma Nova adventures.

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MY REVIEW 

Set in an alternate world, where the Roman society still exists….with powerful women in charge.

Aurelia, Countess Mitela is in London for a while as an ambassador, when Harry Carter the Assistant Secretary General to the British Foreign Ministry asks her for a favour. His son, Tom, has gone missing again so could she help find him.

She is recalled suddenly due to murders of important men in Europe, but Miklós is staying behind to search for Tom….

At the same time, Her daughter, Marina is being bullied by a girl at school……Linda Casely……sister to John Casely a violent criminal…

Aurelia has compassion but she is also strong and principled, as an ex-soldier she takes no nonsense and will uphold law and order at all costs. 

Will she be able to find Tom? What is the link to John Casely? 

This may be a relatively short novella, but there is no lack of substance to this tension packed thriller with great characters and twisty story. Nice to catch up with Aurelia and Marina is growing up to be just as feisty. Brilliant.

Thank you to Alison Morton, The Author for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

you can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/31vwPJI

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Even before she pulled on her first set of combats, Alison Morton was fascinated by the idea of women soldiers. After six years in a special communications regiment, she left as a captain, having done all sorts of interesting and exciting things she can’t talk about, even now…

The mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) and their creation by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation made her wonder what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women. 

Now, she writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough heroines, tends a Roman herb garden and drinks wine with her husband.(Courtesy of Goodreads)

 

Book reviews, Fantasy

Children Of Sinai by Shelley Clarke – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

How would you feel if you got caught up in a secret so vast it threatened everything the world had come to believe?

That’s what happened to John Milburn, computer science lecturer, orphan, husband and father, who lived an ordinary life in Haverhill, Suffolk, England. 

That is, until the dreams started…

From the idyllic calm of Cambridge, John Milburn is drawn to the dust and the heat of Jericho. 

Thrown into danger and intrigue, he discovers more than he’d bargained for. 

‘A wowser of a tale that is exciting and thought-provoking with a cast of characters you’ll fall in love with. Inspired by Biblical events, historical finds, theories and the author’s own strange imagination.’

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MY REVIEW 

Set in the present day, but with a prophecy from ancient Egypt. 

This tells of John, a husband and father to twin girls……but then he has a dream about ancient Egypt, and twins that are to be protectors.

A very clever mix of fact, some biblical events and fiction, with so much happening it keeps you hooked from start to finish.

It jumps between the two timelines, but in such a way as to keep it easy to follow, even with its twist and marvellously imaginative plot. An engaging read.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

Author Bio –

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Shelley Clarke was born into a naval family in Kent in 1958, and consequently moved house a lot as a child. She had ambitions to follow in her father’s footsteps and join the Royal Navy, and to become a carpenter, but these were not female occupations at that time. So she learned to type… which has come in jolly handy for putting her stories first onto paper, and now onto screen. 

Shelley is a keen painter, poet, and karaoke enthusiast; she loves mad family get-togethers, hates olives, ironing and gardening, and currently lives in Devon with her husband Kev, and their two Tibetan Terriers Nena and Pepi, who make them smile every day.

Shelley often forgets she is a grown-up. 

Children of Sinai is Shelley’s debut novel. The story had been bouncing around her head for many years, and putting it down on paper has been the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. She certainly could not have got through this experience without a lot of cursing and chocolate!

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/childrenofsinai/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://twitter.com/Shelley62628484
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Purchase Links: 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Children-Sinai-Following-dreams-change/dp/1798931206/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Children-Sinai-Following-dreams-change/dp/1798931206/

 

Book reviews, Fantasy, Historical fiction, Science fiction

Ten Thousand Doors Of January by Alix. E. Harrow – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut. 

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

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MY REVIEW

January Scaller, 7years old and lives with her father’s employer, Mr Locke. He is a wealthy man who is a collector of antiquities and items from around the world. January’s father, Julian is Mr Locke’s Agent, who searches for these items and in return January is cared for and even has a nursemaid.

January finds a diary and writes stories to keep herself amused, she is bored and lonely. One day she runs off and finds a Door, going through it, she finds  another world…..She returns, Locke finds her, throws her diary away and locks her in her room for days until she learns to behave……so she does, for ten years. But she still has the silver coin she found in the other world…

I don’t want to say too much about the actual plot, other than it is utterly mesmerising.

A beautifully written piece of literary fiction, with magic, alternate worlds, and even a vampire. A tale of movement, of not standing still, of taking chances in a world where you don’t feel you fit in….what is behind the next Door?

“Those of you who are more than casually familiar with books—those of you who spend your free afternoons in fusty bookshops, who offer furtive, kindly strokes along the spines of familiar titles—understand that page riffling is an essential element in the process of introducing oneself to a new book. It isn’t about reading the words; it’s about reading the smell, which wafts from the pages in a cloud of dust and wood pulp. It might smell expensive and well bound, or it might smell of tissue-thin paper and blurred two-color prints, or of fifty years unread in the home of a tobacco-smoking old man. Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries.”

I haven’t read a book like this before, it is a masterpiece of storytelling by Alix E Harrow. It will touch a nerve for anyone who loves books, as we know each one opens a door to another world. An absolute must read. 

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here 

 

https://amzn.to/34xhdHz

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

I’ve been a student and a teacher, a farm-worker and a cashier, an ice-cream-scooper and a 9-to-5 office-dweller. I’ve lived in tents and cars, cramped city apartments and lonely cabins, and spent a summer in a really sweet ’79 VW Vanagon. I have library cards in at least five states.

Now I’m a full-time writer living in with my husband and two semi-feral kids in Berea, Kentucky. It is, I’m very sure, the best of all possible worlds.

My debut novel–a historical fantasy called THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY–will be out in Fall 2019 from Orbit/Redhook. 

(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Book reviews, Fantasy

A Different Time by Michael K. Hill – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Keith Nolan falls in love with a remarkable young woman from the past, talking to him on a home video she recorded in 1989. To keep their conversation going, he must find more of her tapes—while forces work against them both, and time is running out.
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MY REVIEW 

Keith spends his spare time trawling flea markets for an elusive comic book to complete his collection. On one of his trips he sees video recorder tape with ornately decorated and he gets an emotional tingle and pops it into his pocket (with the stall holders permission). But this is quickly forgotten when he finds the comic he has been searching for….

One day, at a bit of a loss, Keith comes across the tape and decides to play it….a young woman is doing a video diary, he makes a comment and somehow she hears him…..he asks the year….1989….she says she will record more but he will have to find the tapes…..and so an adventure begins.

This is not the usual genre for me, but the sci-fi element caught my imagination. It’s a beautifully written, charming and emotional fantasy romance. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thank you to The Write Reads for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here 

 

https://amzn.to/2LfWHn9

Book reviews, Fantasy

Balance Of The 12 by Ania Bo – Book Review

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The universe was created by 12 energies which turned into the 12 races on earth. Eleven of these races live in secret among mankind, coexisting in precarious harmony and dependent on the Balance between them to keep the universe alive. If one race falls, the universe falls.

With war at the door, a domino effect of events is about to begin that could bring about universal annihilation. Only Jane, a Reader, and Samuel, a human, have the power to save the threatened races and protect the Balance. Unsure of each other and what lies ahead, they have one chance to learn about the true nature of the 12 races. One chance to witness the last Great War of the 12 races. But what they uncover reveals more than they ever believed possible.

Brought together by the Balance, Jane and Samuel must choose to follow the legacy left to them, or watch as the 12 races erupt in a war that will destroy them all.

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MY REVIEW

Balance of 12 by Ania is a thoughtful fantasy tale.

The premise is that the universe was created by 12 energies which became 12 races on Earth ( 6 year old Amy explains it much better than I can – string theory of 12 dimensions and not 4). These races live in hiding amongst humans, with everyone relying on the balance of the 12 to keep the universe safe.

But, a War is coming that could wipe out all existence. Can Jane, the visionary Reader and her Protector, Samuel, along with Shasta and Wade save the threatened races and so prevent annihilation…..? 

This is not your usual sword and sorcery fantasy, it seems to have a wisdom about a balance to humanity itself. It has many little sayings that bring a sense of hope to the story….’A storm always leads to a sunny day’ and ‘live today, fight tomorrow’.

Will the Balance be restored? Will the universe and Earth survive?

I found this to be an immersive read, with interesting and likeable characters. I love the font too, which gave this the feel of a manuscript. 

My only bugbear is the spine of the Book, on a bookshelf the 12 makes it look like it’s number 12 of a series and not part of the title…(a tiny flaw and my opinion only).

Thank you so much to Ben Cameron of Cameron Publicity and Marketing for a copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Book reviews, Fantasy

In Truth, Madness by Imran Khan – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In Truth, Madness is the fictional story of a correspondent driven to despair by the Middle East and South Asia. A reporter strives to find the truth. The more truth they find, the more maddening the world becomes.

Meet Malek Khalil. In his mid-40s, Malek is a brilliant reporter with decades of experience in the field. If there has been a war, natural disaster or political crisis, Malek has been there and will be there.

But the years of conflict reporting have taken their toll and Malek is slowly unravelling. His colleagues, Neeka and Justin, have noticed a change in him. Neeka should know, she has been his producer for decades and knows him better than he knows himself. Justin the cameraman has shot his material for just as long. Together they make a formidable team. But they are only as strong as each other – and Malek is fast going down the rabbit hole.

Born a Muslim but an atheist to his core, Malek undertakes a voyage that takes him around the world and back in time to ancient Babylon as he finds himself arguing with a God in whom he doesn’t believe.

The novel takes place throughout the Middle East, South Asia and London where the backdrop of war, religion, political skullduggery and love play out to take the reader on a journey through some of the most dangerous parts of modern culture and the ancient world.

 

PRAISE

“Life on the road was never this much fun! All reporters should time travel!” – Adrian Finighan. Senior anchor, Al Jazeera English

“A darkly comic tale artfully blending mysticism and current affairs’ – Arwa Damon Senior International Correspondent”

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MY REVIEW 

This is a clever mix of gritty journalism and a fantasy tale…..all told with a lively humour.

There is history, religion and politics in regions around the world, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. A mix of current affairs, myth and time travel.

Malek also finds a wondrous book that downloads to his Kindle and here he finds he has a theological debate with a mystery voice…..is it God?

A beautifully written, original and engaging read. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook and this is my honest, unbiased review

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Having kickstarted his career in the heady world of 1990s independent magazine publishing with work on Dazed and Confused, and launching seminal style title 2nd Generation, Imran Khan jumped into the mainstream with BBC London – hosting radio shows on popular culture, arts and news as the millennium approached. Despite having a face for radio, in 2001 he produced a series of short documentaries for BBC Newsnight, Britain’s leading current affairs programme. His work was noticed in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and Channel 4 commissioned the award-winning film “The Hidden Jihad”, which he wrote and presented. Imran subsequently moved full-time into TV news, working as a BBC producer and correspondent reporting from Lebanon, London and Qatar, with freelance stints in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He became a correspondent for Al Jazeera English in 2005 and is known for his extensive reporting from Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Libya, as well covering the Arab Spring and the conflict in Syria. He continues to work as a correspondent for Al Jazeera English, dividing his time between the Middle East, South Asia and London.

Book reviews, Fantasy, Science fiction

The Undoing Of Arlo Knott by Heather Child – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

WHAT IF YOUR LIFE HAD AN ‘UNDO’ BUTTON?

Arlo Knott develops the mysterious ability to reverse his last action. It makes him able to experience anything, to charm any woman and impress any friend. His is a life free of mistakes, a life without regret.

But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing could be too much to resist.

Mainstream crossover fiction for fans of Matt Haig, Gail Honeyman and Rowan Coleman, from the author of Everything About You.

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MY REVIEW 

This starts with young Arlo helping his mum in the garden, he’s holding the ladder for her while she sands down some woodwork. He is then distracted by a slowworm and moves away from the ladder……..the tragedy that follows haunts him with guilt….could a slight boy have actually made a difference…?

Arlo then discovers he has a ‘gift’….he can jump back in time a few seconds….with practice this gets a little longer….at first he uses it to get himself out of situations, like eating his nans shortbread, or breaking something….but then he starts using it for his own gain, revenge on a bully, chatting to girls. Somehow just knowing what to say!

He becomes a selfish, self centred young man and takes advantage of many people…but then he falls in love with Sabra, a musician, who came into his life due to an accident that he had caused…….it changed her life plans forever.

While this all seems so lucky, Arlo is always tormented by his actions and never really satisfied with anything and this is a tale of sadness and a bit of melancholy….so many what if I’s?……his gift is a bit of a curse. Can Arlo come to realise his actions have far greater consequences…..? Or will this be his undoing?

I found this to be a captivating read, beautifully written and so thought provoking……who hasn’t had moments of regret and wondering….what if? I can thoroughly recommend it and this will be a must read for Book clubs everywhere.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2YyALMi

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Heather Child’s experience in digital marketing has brought her into close contact with the automation and personalisation technologies that herald the ‘big data’ age, She lives in Bristol and Everything About You was her debut novel.

Book reviews, Fantasy

Thread of Hope by Rachel J Bonner – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

The enthralling sequel to the compelling Strand of Faith.

What if your secrets are so dangerous they could destroy the one you love?
Is honesty always the best policy?

Leonie may have run away but Prospero will find her. He loves her and he wants a future with her by his side whatever the consequences. Only when he does find her, he ought to tell her who he really is, outside the monastery. That’ll make her run again. Dare he risk it? But if he doesn’t tell her, someone else may…


Marriage to Prospero is what Leonie wants most and the one thing she knows she can’t have. If he found out what she was really like, what she’d been, what she’d done, he’d despise her and she couldn’t bear that. Better to leave now than live a lie – but it’s harder than she expected. If only…Gabriel is starting to discover the secrets inherent in Leonie, secrets that not even she knows, secrets that will tear the world apart. And the secrets he is keeping are tearing him apart. How can sacrificing those he loves possibly achieve peace when everything he discovers risks the death of
millions?

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MY REVIEW

Prospero wants to marry Leonie….but he’s a monk and his order do not marry. He will renounce his vows for her…..

Leonie has her own secrets, scars and nightmares, but Perry (Prospero) understands…

The marriage is agreed, and Perry teaches Leonie more….how to teleport…..is this a good idea?

During an incident  Leonie uses her new ability to save other people. But there are consequences and Leonie is left unconscious, in a coma……no one knows if or when she will wake…..Prospero must deal with his own guilt, he gave her the knowledge…and he feels lost without her….

This is a story of faith, god and fantasy all mixed into a beautifully written tale of love and consequences of our actions….one that will stay with you…

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 


Purchase Links:
Amazon Kindle – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NBH7J2T
Google Play –
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_J_Bonner_Thread_of_Hope?id=bMCSDwAAQB
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Other ebook retailers – https://books2read.com/threadofhope
During the book tour Strand of Faith will be at 99p, Thread of Hope is priced at £2.99.


Strand of Faith details…
A girl. A monk. An unthinkable sacrifice.
When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?
In a post-apocalyptic future, a girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love. But their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.
After the troubles of his youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery. Then he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. How can it possibly be right to leave a life of worship and service for human desire? And if he does leave, will the pressures from his past destroy him?


Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the Abbey. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything spirals out of her control. Everyone she’s ever loved has died. She can’t do that to him. But how can she walk away from the first place she’s truly belonged?


Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice. He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war. Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for. Is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?

 

Strand of Faith Purchase Links


Strand of Faith Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GKZT8LF/
Strand of Faith Google Play
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_J_Bonner_Strand_of_Faith?id=bQyBDwAAQBA
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Strand of Faith Other retailers https://www.books2read.com/strandoffaith

 


Author Bio


Rachel J Bonner is the author of the four book Choices and Consequences series, the first of which, Strand of Faith, is due out in November 2018.
Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in paranormal romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun. When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club. Target
shooting only, honest. Nothing to worry about.


She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary. It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.


Website http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/
Blog http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/blogofweek.html
Twitter https://www.twitter.com/racheljbonner1
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/racheljbonnerauthor
Newsletter sign
up http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/newsletter.html or https://www.subscribepage.com/o8x8t3

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