9 December 2016

Book Promotion: Heart of the Mountain by Jeanette O'Hagan

5 - 9 December 2016

is Introducing 
(By the Light Books, 1 August 2016)

By Jeanette O'Hagan

About the Book:
Twins Delvina and Retza’s greatest desire is to be accepted as prentices by their parents’ old crew when they stumble across a stranger. Trapped under the mountain, young Zadeki’s only thought is to escape home to his kin. Peril awaits all three youngsters. Will they pull apart or work together to save the underground realm?

YA Fantasy Adventure in the lost realm deep under the mountain.

About the Author:
Jeanette O’Hagan first started spinning tales in the world of Nardva at the age of nine. She enjoys writing fiction, poetry, blogging and editing.

She is writing her Akrad’s Legacy Series—a Young Adult secondary world fantasy fiction with adventure, courtly intrigue and romantic elements. Her short stories and poems are published in a number of anthologies including Glimpses of Light, Another Time Another Place and Like a Girl. She has recently published her short novella, Heart of the Mountain and, in Mixed Blessings: Genrellly Speaking anthology, also a flash fiction 'Space Junk'.

Jeanette has practised medicine, studied communication, history, theology and, more recently, a Master of Arts (writing). She is a member of several writers’ groups. She loves reading, painting, travel, catching up for coffee with friends and pondering the meaning of life.  Jeanette lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.

Sign up to Jeanette O'Hagan's Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bbLJKT

Website: jeanetteohagan.com/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JeanetteOHaganAuthorAndSpeaker

Twitter: @JeanetteOHagan

Instagram: @bythelightof2moons

8 December 2016

Review: Once Confronted by Lynne Stringer

Brisbane teen Madison Craig wanted to spend her gap year in Europe with her friends, but her parents were worried that was too dangerous. Instead, she’s living in Sydney with her hippy Aunt Myrtle, and working in a bookshop with the rather attractive Evan. It’s all a little boring … until Madison and Evan are robbed at gunpoint.

Madison returns to Brisbane afraid of almost everything, at the same time as trying to convince everyone around her that she’s okay. She enrols in a degree in social work, but worries that she’ll never get over her own problems enough to help other people. An older woman on her course suggests a way for Maddie to get past the attack, but she’s not convinced and Evan is dead against it.

Once Confronted is perhaps best described as a confronting read. It doesn’t gloss over the problems social workers face and provided me with a new insight into a hugely challenging job – not one I’d be good at, both because I don’t think I could handle hearing all the hard things, and because I’d want to tell the clients what to do.

(Apparently this is discouraged, as it’s replacing one form of control with another, and the clients need to be given the freedom to make decisions for themselves. Even bad decisions. While I can see the logic, I don’t think this is something I’d be good at!)

Anyway, Once Confronted was a challenging read, but also excellent. I felt it treated both the attack and Maddie’s resulting trauma and stress symptoms realistically, showing there are no quick or easy answers. It also illustrated that each person has different reactions … and that some are more positive and healing than others.

Once Confronted is written in first person point of view, all from Maddie’s viewpoint. I know some readers don’t like this viewpoint, but I felt it worked in this case as it made sure we really understood what was going on inside Maddie’s head. I think third person might have made Maddie seem too distant, which would have made her emotional journey less compelling.

I know this is a total cliché, but I’d really like a sequel!

Thanks to Rhiza Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Lynne Stringer at her website, and you can read the introduction to Once Confronted below:

1 December 2016

Clash of the Titles Oct-Nov 2016

It's the end of our CLASH year, and we've lined up some awesome holiday reading (and gift ideas!) for this month's Clash of the Titles.
Vote for your Ideal curl up in front of a fire read!

Scroll through these releases and cast your vote for your perfect idea of a next read.
It's a tough choice, but it's up to you to determine our Clash Champion!


Risking Love
Brenda S. Anderson

A play-it-safe bank employee falls for a down-on-his-luck, risk-taking widower.
Can she risk loving a man whose home she may have to take away?


An Unexpected Role
Leslea Wahl

Josie's island getaway becomes the summer of her dreams as friendships grow,
romance blossoms and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. But as
she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only
realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also
discovers her true self.


Forest Child
Heather Day Gilbert

Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable,
conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life and is Book Two in the
bestselling Vikings of the New World Saga.


Can't Help Falling
Kara Isaac

A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a
mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and
picturesque Oxford, England.


The Cautious Maiden
Dawn Crandall

In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with
a taciturn acquaintance; Vance Everstone. With danger stalking her and a new
fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust
and who to leave behind. 


The Thorn Healer
Pepper D. Basham

A wounded nurse battles resentment against a German prisoner as the two work together to save an Appalachian town from deception and disease in the wake of World War 1.


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29 November 2016

Review: The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep

Amazon Description

Proper English governess Eleanor Morgan flees to the colonies to escape the wrath of a brute of an employer. When the Charles Town family she’s to work for never arrives to collect her from the dock, she is forced to settle for the only reputable choice remaining to her—marriage to a man she’s never met. Trapper and tracker Samuel Heath is a hardened survivor used to getting his own way by brain or by brawn, and he’s determined to find a mother for his young daughter. But finding a wife proves to be impossible. No upstanding woman wants to marry a murderer.

My Review

It’s been a while since I’ve read a novel set in America’s Colonial era. It’s an interesting time, as Europe (and even the bigger American settlements) are relatively sophisticated, but out in the back country, Americans are still living in tents and hovels.

The novel begins in 1770, before the American War of Revolution and the Declaration of Independence, but it’s easy to see the hotbed of political activity the country will become.

There are social tensions, as the country is a mix of free immigrants (religious or economic) and those who have immigrated as indentured servants, those who were forced to immigrate as convicts, or the growing number of slaves. There are also the racial tensions—between American settlers and the local Indians, between the Indians and the English, and between the English and the American settlers who want more rights.

The Captive Heart touches on many of these issues without making them the central focus of the plot—which is good. The central focus always remains on Eleanor: on her understandable difficulties in adapting to the hard life of an American settler, on her feelings for Grace, her charge … and her feelings for Samuel Heath, her owner and her husband ... who I liked a lot, mostly because of lines like this:

Samuel has secrets, a lot of secrets, and these are gradually revealed throughout the story. This keeps the plot moving, and gives us more and more reason to want to see Samuel and Eleanor together properly. The writing is excellent, with shades of early Deeanne Gist novels such as A Bride Most Begrudging (which remains my favourite, and which shares a similar time and setting to The Captive Heart).

There are also some minor characters I’d have liked to have seen more of: Molly and Biz, Eleanor’s forced companions on the voyage from England. I’m hoping they will be the subjects of a sequel or two (hint hint).

Overall, I enjoyed The Captive Heart and recommend it to fans of American Colonial fiction from authors such as Jack Cavanaugh, Laura Franz and early Deeanne Gist.

Thanks to Shiloh Run Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Michelle Griep at her website, and you can read the introduction to The Captive Heart below: