Tuesday, 30 May 2017

#bookreview ~ Child of the Kindred: The Rinefield Chronicles: Book 2 @Mtmagee1013M #fantasy


Child of the Kindred

(The Rinefield Chronicles: Book 2)

By

M.T. Magee

 

Enter the realm of Rinefield, where love, danger, adventure and romance awaits you. Their world is changing and a new era has begun. Princess Laurel finds her kingdom of Gwenlais, torn and shattered from a bloody siege. Her people now looking to her, to help them rise above the ruin and misery inflicted upon their once peaceful and sheltered realm. Laurel and her beloved Prince Caleb, must find a way to unite their kingdoms, as never before. The enemy from a distant land makes a bold and savage attempt, to thwart the unity of the two kingdoms of Gwenlais and Heathwin. The odds have never been greater against the realms or the two lovers that hold the kingdoms together. Will their people and their love survive all they have lost? Will new life rise from above the ruins?


What did I think of the Book?


Desperate times call for desperate measures, and sometimes war is inevitable...

Princess Laurel is being held captive by the cruel and wicked, Warrick. Her beloved kingdom, Gwenlais, has been overcome with Warrick's men. There is blood on the street as Warrick's army plunders the kingdom. Laurel's only hope is that her husband, Prince Caleb, will bring the army of Heathwin to liberate Gwenlais. But time is running out for Laurel. Her life is in Warrick's hands, and Warrick is not in a merciful mood.

Well, M.T. Magee certainly kept us waiting for the second part of The Reinfield Chronicles, but boy, was it worth the wait!!

Filled with drama, war, love and hate, Child Of The Kindred did not disappoint. With elegant prose and characters that jumped off the page, this is a world that is very easy to get lost in.

Although both Gwenlais and Heathwin are fantasy kingdoms, it doesn't feel that foreign. I could envisage the grandeur of the Highlands of Scotland and the beauty of Ireland as I read. It is certainly a magnificent backdrop for a compelling read.

The characters are fresh and very real in the telling. Like before, with book 1, I loved the characterisation of Aiden, who despite being a secondary character is so much fun to read about. He is definitely my favourite character in this series thus far. I also adored Queen Alana. She is beautifully portrayed.  Queen Alana is a very loving, but strong woman. I liked her.

What I really liked about Child Of The Kindred is the realism, despite it being a fantasy world. When something bad happens to one of the characters they don't just brush themselves off and act like it never happened, they suffer, and sometimes it takes a long time to get over the event. I thought this especially applied to Laurel, Marina and the children. But despite the suffering their is also much humour in this book. I found myself crying and laughing almost at the same time! Not many books can pull that off! Well done, Ms. Magee.

If you are looking for escapism with a heavy dose of romance, then this is the series for you. Although on the blurb the author states this isn't a standalone, I think it wouldn't take a reader much to catch up with the story. But saying that, I do recommend starting with book one because it would be a shame to miss out on such truly unforgettable characters.

I Highly Recommend.

Links for Purchase




About the author
My name is M.T.Magee I write bestselling YA Historical Medieval Fantasy that is beautifully romantic with whispers of Gaelic legend. On Mar. 31st The Treasure of Gwenlais received the 2015 Silver Medal Winner of Ireland's Drunken Druid Award Finalist for IAN Book of the Year Award 2016 for First Novel on Aug. 31st. On Sept.1st 2016 I received the Finalist Award for Readers' Favorite Book Awards Voted #1 On Listopia's Best Fantasy Romance (not urban).

I live in New England on our small farm with my husband and son. We raise an assortment of silly goats, quiet rabbits, far too many ducks and chickens, and a high strung Border Collie cross named Gronk.

 

Monday, 29 May 2017

And the award goes to…The Du Lac Devil #Historical #Fantasy


Chill With A Book Award

I am celebrating on the blog today ~ 
The Du Lac Devil has been awarded a 

 

Chill With A Book has a five point criteria when evaluation books and thankfully The Du Lac Devil ticked all the right boxes!

 1. Were the characters strong and engaging?
2. Was the book well written?
3. Did the plot have you turning the page to find out what happened next?
4. Was the ending satisfying?
5. Would you tell your friends?

A big thank you to all the reviewers at Chill with a Book who thought The Du Lac Devil worthy of such an honour 


Links for Purchase

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Author’s Inspiration ~ Glen Craney #HistFic #Historical @glencraney


Please give a warm Coffee Pot welcome to historical fiction author, Glen Craney. Glen is going to tell us all about his inspiration behind his fabulous books...


The Fire and the Light: A Novel of the Cathars
In medieval France, heretics protect an ancient scroll that holds shattering revelations about the Roman Church. Swept up by the Albigensian Crusade, a charismatic noblewoman defies a powerful pope and champions her persecuted Cathar faith in this epic of religious intrigue, troubadour valor, and star-crossed love.
* Foreword Magazine Book-of-the-Year Finalist/Honorable Mention Winner for Historical Fiction
* Nautilus Silver Award Winner
* IPPY Silver Award Winner
* NIEA Award Winner for Best New Fiction


The Spider and the Stone: A Novel of Scotland's Black Douglas

As the 14th century dawns, the brutal King Edward Longshanks of England schemes to steal Scotland. But a frail, dark-skinned boy named James Douglas, inspired by a headstrong lass from Fife, defies three Plantagenet kings and champions the cause of his wavering friend, Robert the Bruce, to lead the armies to the bloody field of Bannockburn. A thrilling historical saga of star-crossed love and heroic sacrifice during the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Chaucer Award First-Place Category Historical Fiction
Foreword Magazine Book-of-the-Year Award Finalist
indieBRAG Medallion Honoree


The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller

While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane stumbles upon the infamous Templar Word Square, an ancient Latin puzzle that has eluded scholars for centuries. To her horror, she soon discovers the palindrome has been embedded with a cryptographic time bomb. Separated by half a millennium, two global conspiracies dovetail in this historical mystery-thriller to expose the world's most explosive secret: The real identity and mission of Christopher Columbus.

Books & Benches Scéal Book of the Year Finalist
indieBRAG Medallion Honoree

Author’s Inspiration

Readers are fascinated by how authors find the ideas for their historical novels. When I tell them my characters choose me, they assume I’m speaking metaphorically. I’m not.
Inspiration for my books often comes in dreams—not the usual mishmash of subconscious dross, but in lucid sleep visions that are vivid in color, rich in emotional feeling, and studded with symbols, names, and images. The experience is like having one’s brain downloaded with a compressed digital file that must be unzipped to decode its message.

The first time this happened, I had an intense dream of a robed woman walking toward me across the ruins of a mountain castle. I heard the word “crusade” chanted while around the woman’s feet sprouted dozens of crosses that shifted between possessing two and three horizontal beams. These crosses seemed to mark the location of forgotten graves. I was struck by their resemblance to the logo used by the American Lung Association in its modern crusade against tuberculosis. The woman, bathed in a lucent white radiance, beckoned me with outstretched arms and pleaded, “Peace, child, let the Light.”



This dream launched me into weeks of research. I learned that the triple cross was a watermark used by the medieval Cathars, a sect of pacifist healers. Although raised a Roman Catholic, I had never been told of the Albigensian Crusade, the 13th-century war of extermination sanctioned by the Church. As my investigation into these pacifist Christians deepened, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my mysterious muse had brought a warning for our own time, plagued as it is by religious intolerance and terror.
Months later, I was climbing the heights of Montsegur in the Ariege region of southwestern France. That desolate mount and its haunting castle ruins looked strikingly similar to the landscape in my dream. And that encounter would be only the first of many déjà vu experiences in Cathar country. The Fire and the Light: A Novel of the Cathars was the result of my quest. 

In another dream, I was a mounted knight caught in a death struggle along a stream with a black-robed hag who attacked me with a sickle. The scene then shifted to a celebratory photograph of seven knights standing around a seated monarch. Below this tableau, a caption appeared: “Americans Aid the King at Bannockburn.”
I wrote this down, even though it made no sense. If I had heard of the Battle of Bannockburn, its significance had long since been lost to my school days. And the caption under the photograph was particularly baffling. Robert the Bruce, after all, won his unlikely Scot victory against the English in 1314, nearly five hundred years before the United States was even an idea. 



Two months after that dream, I was in Scotland walking along the burn of Bannock with Stirling Castle looming in the distance. That stream looked similar to the one in my dream. I realized that I had been given another writing assignment. Eventually, I deciphered the meaning of the dream’s intimation that Americans aided King Robert at the battle. That experience led to The Spider and the Stone: A Novel of Scotland’s Black Douglas.

A few years later, I awoke from an extended dream that consisted of a single word repeated through the night: SATOR. My first thought was of the Japanese word for wisdom, Satori. Yet as I dug deeper into its etymology, I discovered the existence of an infamous magic word square, a Latin palindrome often called the SATOR Square. As I worked to solve its message that has eluded scholars for centuries, one clue after another led me to write my dual-period historical thriller, The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller.



I’ve learned to pay careful attention to these inspirational dreams. Now, if only the muses would write the books, I’d have it easy. But, alas, that remains the toil of we mere mortals.


Links for purchase







About the author


Glen Craney is a novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He holds graduate degrees from Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University School of Journalism. He practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to cover national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. He is also a three-time indieBRAG Medallion Honoree, a Chaucer Award First-Place Winner, and a three-time Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Award Finalist. His debut novel, The Fire and the Light, was recognized as Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, to the Scotland of Robert Bruce, to Portugal during the Age of Discovery, to the trenches of France during World War I, and to the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. He lives in southern California.
Useful Links
Author website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

Monday, 22 May 2017

#Newrelease ~ Child of the Kindred: The Rinefield Chronicles: Book 2 @Mtmagee1013M


Child of the Kindred

(The Rinefield Chronicles: Book 2)

By

M.T.Magee

 

Their world is changing and a new era has begun. Princess Laurel finds her kingdom of Gwenlais, torn and shattered from a bloody siege. Her people now looking to her, to help them rise above the ruin and misery inflicted upon their once peaceful and sheltered realm. Laurel and her beloved Prince Caleb, must find a way to unite their kingdoms, as never before. The enemy from a distant land makes a bold and savage attempt, to thwart the unity of the two kingdoms of Gwenlais and Heathwin. The odds have never been greater against the realms or the two lovers that hold the kingdoms together. Will their people and their love survive all they have lost? Will new life rise from above the ruins?

The award winning epic historical fantasy saga continues. Enter the realm of Rinefield, where love, danger, adventure and romance awaits you.  


Links for Purchase



About the author


My name is M.T.Magee I write bestselling YA Historical Medieval Fantasy that is beautifully romantic with whispers of Gaelic legend. On Mar. 31st The Treasure of Gwenlais received the 2015 Silver Medal Winner of Ireland's Drunken Druid Award Finalist for IAN Book of the Year Award 2016 for First Novel on Aug. 31st. On Sept.1st 2016 I received the Finalist Award for Readers' Favorite Book Awards Voted #1 On Listopia's Best Fantasy Romance (not urban).

I live in New England on our small farm with my husband and son. We raise an assortment of silly goats, quiet rabbits, far too many ducks and chickens, and a high strung Border Collie cross named Gronk.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

King Arthur is awesome ~ he pulled a sword out of the stone after all! #Arthurian #kingarthur


“Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil,
is Rightwise King Born of all England”
Thomas Malory


What a romantic thought. No one can take the sword from the stone unless he is the rightful heir to the throne. It beats spending hours looking at a patent of nobility and then going to war if you don't agree with the outcome.

Arthur, the unlikely warrior, if Disney is to be believed, pulls the said sword from the stone. Yes!





Arthur is the King. Fantastic. But it gets better because Arthur is the best King in the history of Kings. He is the best King in the future of Kings. No on can be better him. This is it. He is it. Hazar!



 "What right do you have to the throne of England?"

"I pulled this sword out of a stone."

 "Oh, well, if that is the case..."


Arthur wasn't just a king. He was a king with a vision. Perhaps his vision was ahead of its time, or maybe it was before it. It is so confusing. He certainly wouldn't fit in nowadays, would he? Can you imagine…?


"Good man, I need a Round Table, a large one. And find me some Knights, the noble kind."
"The noble kind, Sire?"
"Yes. The kind who ride around the countryside and rescue maidens, battle dragons and do other noble things."
"Right, I'll just get on my bike then."
"You do that good man. I shall wait here in my castle that I have named Camelot."


Arthur believes in equality. He has a Round Table commissioned for goodness sake. He wants his knights to have a say in how the country is run. It is like parliament, only better, because the Knights are trying to outdo each other in chivalry. They all want to be seen as heroic and honourable. There is no corruption at Arthur's court. No backhanders. No claiming for expenses, unless it involves the Armourer because we all know how much he charges. Oh, and don't forget the livery of the horses, that comes to a pretty penny too. But apart from that...Oh hang on, we are forgetting about the Christmas parties ~ they need to be paid for. But perhaps we can get the Green Knight to pay for it this year. He did make a heck of a mess of the Hall last year with his ridiculous Beheading Game.




And so Arthur sat down with his knights. Life was perfect. There was no scandal, nothing for the Sun to get their hands on and put on the front page for everyone to read over their cup of tea at breakfast. Everyone is happy. The country is at peace. Those pesky Saxon's have been put in their place. Everything as Lego would say, "is awesome!"






Oh come on, this isn't much of a story.


Bring on the drama. Bring on the war.


Maybe Arthur's golden court is not that different after all. I mean Arthur's best friend ran off with his wife. That caused a bit of a scandal. And then there was the dramatic rescue were Lancelot rode into the courtyard like an avenging angel and rescued Guinevere from the pyre ~ as if Arthur was really going to let his wife go up in flames ~ Lancelot should have had more faith. And to make matters worse, while Arthur is away trying to restore his honour by going to war with Lancelot, his nephew, Mordred takes control of the kingdom.


Stop! Rewind back to the beginning....



That was the abbreviated and rather tongue-in-cheek version of King Arthur's life. It was the gilded version of Arthur's life. Let's be honest, the fictitious version of Arthur's life.


So how did this fantasy come about?

Arthur's story is so ingrained in the collective imagination of a nation that we believe what we are told. In fact when Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his great work in the 12th Century, his every word was taken as fact. Well, when I say that, not by all. The 12th-century historian, William of Newburgh wrote.


"…It is quite clear that everything this man wrote about Arthur and his successors, or indeed about his predecessors from Vortigern onwards, was made up, partly by himself and partly by others…"



But for the most part, Newburgh was ignored. Our ancestors liked this version of events, and you know what, so do we, whether we like to admit it or not. Arthur wouldn't be the same without his Round Table and his Knights. We want Arthur to be this formidable warrior but also a genuinely nice person. He is the best. No, he is better than best, he is...I can't think of a word...ummm...He is just awesome!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Author’s Inspiration ~ Anna Belfrage #timetraveller #IARTG @abelfrageauthor



Please give a warm Coffee Pot welcome to author, Anna Belfrage. Anna is going to tell us about her inspirations behinds her fabulous series ~ The Graham Saga. But first, let's take a look at Anna's latest book...

A Rip in the Veil




On a muggy August day in 2002 Alex Lind disappears without a trace. On an equally stifling August day in 1658, Matthew Graham finds her on an empty Scottish moor.  Life will never be the same for Alex – or for Matthew.

Due to a series of rare occurrences, Alexandra Lind is thrown three centuries backwards in time. She lands at the feet of Matthew Graham – an escaped convict making his way home to Scotland in this the year of our Lord, 1658.

Matthew doesn’t quite know what to make of this concussed and injured woman who has seemingly fallen from the skies- what is she, a witch?

Alex gawks at this tall, gaunt man with hazel eyes, dressed in what to her mostly looks like rags. At first she thinks he might be some sort of hermit, an oddball, but she quickly realises the odd one out is she, not he.

Catapulted from a life of modern comfort, Alex grapples with this new existence, further complicated by the dawning realization that someone from her time has followed her here – and not exactly to extend a helping hand.

Potential compensation for this brutal shift in fate comes in the shape of Matthew – a man she should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. But for all that Matthew quickly proves himself a willing and most capable protector he comes with baggage of his own, and on occasion it seems his past will see him killed. At times Alex finds it all excessively exciting, longing for the structured life she used to have.

How will she ever get back? And more importantly, does she want to?

A Rip in the Veil is the first in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

Author’s Inspiration
 


He came to me in a dream. No, that’s a lie, however poetic it sounds. My 17th century dreamboat grew out of the darker recesses of my brain, bit by bit, inspired by my husband. Now, while hubby is my dreamboat, I don’t think he qualifies as a dreamboat. Neither is he a 17th Century Scotsman willing to die for his religious convictions, nor has he ever been plus six feet tall and gifted with magical hazel eyes. So how, one wonders, can hubby have inspired Matthew Graham, protagonist of my 17th century timeslip series called…taa-daa…The Graham Saga?



The secret lies in hubby’s past – or rather in his ancestors. You see, once upon a time the Belfrage family was as Scottish as they came, holding land in Lowland Scotland. In the early 17th century, Henry Belfrage married Joneta Balram—a distant relative to the royal Stuarts. In 1612, the happy couple welcomed a son, John, to the world in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. What happened afterwards is all a bit murky, but come 1624 Joneta landed in Gothenburg, accompanied by her son. The original plan was for Henry to join his little family in Sweden, but that never happened—and no one knows why. What we do know is that Joneta felt obliged to flee her homeland to keep her son safe. We also know she never attempted to return home, so whatever caused her to run must have been serious enough to keep her away. As per what records we have, she fled due to religious persecution—not so uncommon in the 17th century.



I was totally fascinated by hubby’s family history. I imagined little John clad in kilt and sporran but hubby rolled his eyes and said that as far as he knew, his ancestors stuck to breeches. Turns out they did, because they were Lowland Scots, and at the time it was only Highland Scots who wore the plaid—generally not as a kilt which was not quite invented yet, but more like a cloak.
 
I wanted to know more and started reading up on the 17th century. To be honest, until then I’d been more of a medieval gal, but the more I read, the more fascinated I became, and so Matthew Graham began to take shape in my head. At first, this was a somewhat dour gentleman, much burdened by questions of faith and politics. Born in 1630, he grew up during the feverish years of the National Covenant, when the fiery Scots banded together to tell Charles I to back off when it came to their religion, or else…Well, as most of us know, Charles did not back off. Instead, he plunged his kingdoms into a bloody Civil War and ended up dead as a doornail. (Yes; very simplified, I know)



Matthew Graham somehow ended up in the New Model Army. Young and ardent, he quickly realised war was a dirty, bloody business, very far from the lofty ideals he held so dear. Adolescent fervour crashed with crass reality, and along the way Matthew lost his innocence. It didn’t exactly help when his royalist brother not only cuckolded him but also falsely accused him as a traitor to the Commonwealth authorities to save his own skin. Even worse, the men with whom Matthew had fought believed in these trumped-up accusations, and Matthew was imprisoned under dire circumstances.

He almost gave up. The flame of life was on the verge of guttering, and I had no idea what to do to make him regain some sort of hope in the future. Fortunately, this was when Alex Lind popped up. Okay, okay; she didn’t just spring forth out of nowhere. In fact, she’d been loitering in the darker corners of my brain for some time, a modern woman with a LOT of baggage and a very odd mother. Like extremely odd. But when life was at its darkest for Matthew, he happened to glance across the vast expanses of my mental landscape and caught sight of Alex in her bright red jacket and short mop of curls. He froze. He sat up. Those previously so dull hazel eyes lit up. 



“Her,” he said, looking at me. “I want her.”
“Impossible,” I told him. “She’s like three hundred years younger than you.”
“Fix it. Fix it now or I’ll just roll over and die.” His long mouth set in a firm line, and seeing as I know just how stubborn Matthew Graham can be (That Scottish gene is very much alive and kicking in hubby), I realised it was either throw him a time traveller or have him expire.

And so, dear reader, I tore the thin veil of time apart and flung poor, unprepared Alex three hundred years backwards in time. Falling through time is a painful business which is why she landed concussed and burnt at Matthew’s feet. Now and then, she tells me she still hasn’t forgiven me for putting her through that – or at least asking her opinion first. There was no time for stuff like that—after all, I had a dying Matthew on my hands. “You saved him,” I tell her, knowing full well that will soften the look on her face. After all, had it not been for me, she’d never have met the man she was fated for long before she was born. Not that I can take the full credit: after all, it was Matthew who saw her and realised that she was the one. The rest, as they say, is history.




Links for Purchase

About the author

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing.
Presently, Anna is hard at work with The King’s Greatest Enemy, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. 
When Anna is not stuck in the 14th century, chances are she’ll be visiting in the 17th century, more specifically with Alex and Matthew Graham, the protagonists of the acclaimed The Graham Saga. This series is the story of two people who should never have met – not when she was born three centuries after him. A ninth instalment is on its way, despite Anna having thought eight books were enough. Turns out her 17th century dreamboat and his time travelling wife didn’t agree…
Anna can be found on her website, on Facebook and on her blog. Or on twitter and Amazon.