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A Visit from Diana Wallace Peach, and an Exciting New Release.

Today, I am honoured to be a part of Diana Wallace Peach’s blog tour. She is stopping by to tell us about the book she has recently released. It’s called The Necromancer’s Daughter, but I’ll let Diana tell you about it.

Take a seat and help yourself to a biscuit while I pour you some coffee.

Isn’t this a beautiful cover?

Now you’re comfortable, I’ll hand you over to Diana.

Thanks for having me over to your blog, Viv. I’m delighted to share a thought or two about The Necromancer’s Daughter, and in this case, the challenges of crafting “good” characters.

My latest book has a couple of virtuous characters, different from my usual mixed bag of flawed souls. I think characters with flaws, inner conflicts, and ambivalence are easier to write because they’re inherently more interesting and often more active as they go around messing things up.

So, what did I do for my characters who aren’t emotionally compromised or moral wrecks?

Barus, my necromancer who starts off the book, is one of the sweetest people around. He’s led by his heart, and though that gets him into some dicey situations, his main challenge is simply to stay alive.

Fortunately for this writer, he fades into the background early on when Aster, the necromancer’s daughter, takes the forefront. She’s more of a challenge since she has to carry the story to the end.

She’s also “good,” and in her case, it’s that quality that creates danger for her and ambivalence for other characters. Her sweet nature gets her into trouble more than it saves her.

One way to make life miserable for our nice characters like Aster is to give them lose-lose choices. (Writers are ruthless, aren’t we?) And that’s exactly what I do to my poor heroine. She is constantly having to choose between two bad options, and that creates a lot of inner turmoil while also testing her convictions. By the end, she just might discover that there are worse choices than death.

Something about the story

A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant, and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, he breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she learns to heal death.

Then the day arrives when the widowed king, his own life nearing its end, defies the Red Order’s warning. He summons the necromancer’s daughter, his only heir, and for his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade.

While Barus hides from the Order’s soldiers, Aster leads their masters beyond the wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a land of dragons and barbarian tribes. She seeks her mother’s people, the powerful rulers of Blackrock, uncertain whether she will find sanctuary or face a gallows’ noose.

Unprepared for a world rife with danger, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

A healer with the talent to unravel death, a child reborn, a father lusting for vengeance, and a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.

My Review of The Necromancer’s Daughter.

OVERVIEW:

This book is a definite page turner. I loved it all the way through and although I couldn’t put it down, I definitely didn’t want to get to the end.

The cover is beautiful.

CHARACTERS

Fantastic characters. D. Wallace Peach has brought us amazing people. They seem real as they have failings as well as good points. They struggle with knowing what is right and wrong amid conflicting views.

Aster has the ability to resurrect the dead. Is it evil to do so? She does not think so. Some think the Blessed One alone should have this right of who lives and who dies, and to go against her wishes is evil. But can Aster stand by and allow a death she could prevent? If the Blessed One did not want the dead person to be revived, surely she would not allow it?

Facing danger in the Forest of Silver Cats, Jorah questions his whole life. He has promised to help Aster get to Blackrock, against everything he has been taught to believe—that necromancy is evil and necromancers should be put to death. He is conflicted as to why he agreed to do so. His concerns trouble him throughout the book.

<p>Teko is a simple man. One whom the ‘civilised’ people consider to be a barbarian, but he is a loyal protector of Aster.

Finally, there is Barus. He is a man with a crooked spine. A truly good person. He resurrected Aster after she was stillborn and brought her up as his own daughter. He is a wonderful man whom I find difficult to forget. </p>

WRITING

The writing is amazing. This is one of the few books I’ve read recently that I have not had to get my metaphorical red pen out to correct errors.

D. Wallace Peach has a wonderful way with words. Her descriptions are beautiful, and I love her metaphores and similes. She takes you into the world of magic, dragons and kingdoms at odds with each other and makes you believe in it.

If you are a fantasy fan, I would recommend you go and buy it now.

Here’s a bit about Diana.

A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life when years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books. She was instantly hooked.

In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.

Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

You can buy The Necromancer’s Daughter by clicking here or on the cover of the book.

Review of Kingdom of Lies by R S Williams

I would like to thank R S Williams for letting me have a free copy for an honest review.

OVERVIEW

A good story, even if it is a fantasy trope. A prince, hidden to save his life from an unknown enemy who has killed the rest of his family. A birthmark that proves he is the missing prince. He has no idea of his true identity.

Having said that, the fact that this idea is not an uncommon one does not mean it cannot be dealt with in a different way, and be an entirely different story which Kingdom of Lies does.

I love the cover. It’s magnificent.

BLURB

Magic is back in Adelith, and with it the return of Cyran.

Elijah spends his days preparing for the annual Hollom horse race and working at his guardian Merrick’s forge. That is, until Merrick is summoned back to Castle Aebarrow in Adelith by the king.

Unable to stay in Rheanydd without a legal guardian, Eli is forced to go with Merrick who takes up the position of captain and trains the new guards. But the more time Eli spends in Adelith, the more his lost memories resurface-and they throw up worrying questions about his past.

As a member of Princess Sienna’s Elite Guard, Eli saves her life when it’s threatened by the presence of a mysterious Missing Prince. Eli’s heroics incur the wrath of a mad sorcerer known only as The Master, hell-bent on ending the courting prince’s life.

Elijah enters a dangerous path of self-discovery where magic and secrets intertwine. The truth about his past is within reach, but can he unlock his memories and solve the riddles in time to save the true heir to the throne? Or will the castle be brought crumbling down once more?

CHARACTERS

Elijah, the prince, is a likeable character, although he does not have much depth. 

There was little to distinguish most of the characters from each other, except for Leon. 

When we first meet him, he is antagonistic to Elijah. He is mouthy to his superiors, but never gets punished for it. Then, suddenly, at the end, he’s suddenly friendly and joking, and talking as if he’d been best friends with Elijah all along. But Leon is a minor character.

There was little change in most of the other characters throughout the book.

WRITING

The writing was poor. As I read, I thought it was the first book by a novice writer who had got to the end and pressed ‘publish’. There are many mistakes, both typos and grammatical errors. Sometimes this caused confusion. 

The author confused me at times by using a pronoun that did not refer to the last person mentioned.

There were several places where the syntax was confusing, and she also had disembodied eyes floating around on more than one occasion. (Elijah’s eyes fell to the floor.)

There were other places where I was confused, and could not understand what was going on, and a few places where she contradicted something she had said previously.

I was surprised to read in her acknowledgements that she thanked her critique partners and her beta readers, as I saw nothing to indicate any input from them.

If I hadn’t promised a review, I don’t think I could have finished this book in spite of the good story, as I kept being annoyed by the poor writing.

I give the book **

Do you think the writing is important if the story is good?

Please tell us in the comments box?

If you would like to receive an exclusive, free short story by me, called The Haunted Table, simply click the link. This will take you to the page where you can download it.

Maria and Tom have bought an antique table for the old cottage they have bought. When they hear strange noises in the night that sound like crying, they worry their house is haunted, but the sounds seem to come from the table.

They set about trying to find what is causing the disturbances. The answer is stranger than either of them had thought.

(Clicking the link will add your email address to my email list, but don’t worry, you can unsubscribe immediately if you wish. Nor will you get any spam. I only send out an email each quarter, or if I have any exciting news–like a new release.)

Review of The Prodigy of Rainbow Tower by Charles E. Yallowitz

Review of Prodigy of Rainbow Tower by Charles Yallowitz 

OVERVIEW:

This is a continuation of the story told in The Beginning of a Hero. In this book, Luke and his companions, Fritz, the gnome, Nimby, the halfling, Aeden, the priest,and Fizzle, the little dragon-like creature known as a drite, set off to escort the heir to Duke Solomon home to Gods’ Voice.

First, though, they need to collect a caster apprentice from Rainbow Tower. She is a very prickly individual. Her first meeting with Luke does not go well.

The book is full of action. On the journey along the L’landrin River, they meet with traps and agents of the litch from book 1 that are trying to kill them.

We also learn that the litch is serving a much more powerful master that even the gods themselves fear.

This book has some shocking twists, but \I won’t spoil it by letting the cat out of the bag.

You will laugh and cry reading this book.

BLURB

Luke Callindor and his friends are about to learn that the life of an adventurer can be brutally unforgiving.

Hungering for another adventure, Luke agrees to escort the heir of Serab along the L’dandrin River and into the safety of Gods’ Voice. A deadly gauntlet of cunning traps and savage creatures lay before the young warrior and his companions. Lacking the powerful magic needed to combat his enemies, Luke’s survival and victory may be in the hands of his newest ally. That’s if the temperamental Nyx doesn’t set him on fire first.

Luke will bravely face everything that is thrown at him, but how can he defend himself when he’s ignorant of the truth behind his mission?

CHARACTERS

Mr Yallowitz has continued to enthral his readers with his story. We meet a new character in this book. She is the Prodigy of the title. Her name is Nyx and she is an extremely powerful caster. Sadly, she has a character flaw. She loses her temper extremely quickly, and with her being such a powerful caster, with a tendency to use fire magic, she is a dangerous individual.

Mr Yallowitz writes strong women. I love them.

We meet a new enemy, Trinity, the Queen of the Chaos Elves, who wishes to exact revenge on Nyx after they fight over the rooftops. Of course there is the Hellfire Elf who seems almost human in his desire to get his revenge on Luke.

There is the usual squabbling between friends, but nothing serious. This is how friends behave in real life. And we see lasting friendships beginning to form.

Nyx’s growing friendship with Luke makes her become less prickly.

As before, Luke and his friends are well-drawn. I fell in love with them all, but especially Fizzle.

WRITING

The world is believable, and fully realised and described.

We are introduced to a number of fight scenes that Mr Yallowitz describes excellently. As I have already said, the characters are well drawn and believable, and change as we progress through the book.

Sadly, though, this book has many typos, as well as grammatical errors and the wrong word used in some cases. (as Nyx’s weapon, a morning star, which Mr Yallowitz calls a mourning star all through the book.)

This gave me a problem as to how to rate it. The story deserves 5*, but the typos and grammar should have put it at 3*. I compromised by going with the average.

I gave the book 4*

My ranking of books. In order to get a particular number of stars, it is not necessary to meet all the criteria. This is a guide only.

5* Exceptional. Wonderful story. Setting well drawn, and characters believable. Not perfect, but with flaws. Will keep you up all night. No typos or grammatical errors.

4* A thoroughly enjoyable read. Great and original story. Believable setting and characters. Very few grammatical errors or typos.

3* I enjoyed it. Good story. Characters need some development. Some typos or grammatical errors.

2* Not for me. Story not very strong. Unbelievable and flat characters. Setting not clearly defined. Many typos or grammatical errors.

1* I hated it. Story almost non-existent. Setting poor. Possibly couldn’t finish it.

Book review, review of Legends of Windemere, Charles Yallowitz, The Prodigy of Rainbow Tower, fantasy, fantasy review,

Review of Beginning of a Hero by Charles Yallowitz 

OVERVIEW:

I got this as a bundle of 3 books, but I am going to review them separately as I read them.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Luke Callindor, even though he has a very Earth-like name for a half-elf!

It is filled with action and great characters. We have a mystery at the beginning. Luke is contracted to safeguard the heir to Serabia. There is only one problem. He doesn’t know who the heir is, for even whether he’s protecting a male or female. When Luke discovers who it is, he is plunged into further problems as he is pursued by a powerful lich and a demonic elf.

BLURB:

Every hero must take the first courageous step into adventure. For Luke Callindor, it’s more of a blind stumble.Depending more on bravery than common sense, Luke sets out to protect a royal heir who is attending the prestigious Hamilton Military Academy. With a demonic assassin in the shadows, the determined warrior will have to think on his feet to defend his charge. If only he waited long enough to find out which student is the hidden noble.With Luke’s dream on the horizon and a deadly enemy on his path, how will he transform from a reckless adventurer to a true hero of Windemere?

CHARACTERS:

Luke Callindor is the main character in this story. He is a forest ranger, tasked with keeping the forest in good health, but he is not the only one of interest.

There is a halfling called Nimby who is great fun. He’s a retired thief and helps Luke in his quest to find out whom he is supposed to be protecting.

Fritz, a gnome, is an illusionist and his illusions are a help in the story. His steed, bizarrely, is a sheep!

Luke, Nimby and Fritz are joined by a half-elf priest, Aedin who is invaluable when people get injured. As they do during the practice fights in the Acadamy.

My favourite character, though, is not humanoid, but a small dragon, a drite called Fizzle. Fizzle is a simple creature, but not without intelligence. He loves apples, especially when baked in a pie.

And there is Luke’s loyal companion, a dog called Stilletto.

As the main character, Luke develops from an inexperienced young fighter to one who learns that strength isn’t the only way to win fights.

All the characters are well-drawn, and have their own clear characteristics, as well as character flaws.

WRITING:

There are a few typos, and, in a couple of places a wrong word is used, but on the whole the writing is good.

Mr Yallowitz paints a clear picture of the world he has created. He shows us how the characters react to each other so we can easily picture the scene.

I enjoyed reading this book and will soon be starting on the second one.

I gave the book 4*

How I rank books.

In order to get a particular number of stars, it is not necessary to meet all the criteria. This is a guide only.

5* Exceptional. Wonderful story. Setting well drawn, and characters believable. Not perfect, but with flaws. Will keep you up all night. No typos or grammatical errors.

4* A thoroughly enjoyable read. Great and original story. Believable setting and characters. Very few grammatical errors or typos.

3* I enjoyed it. Good story. Characters need some development. Some typos or grammatical errors.

2* Not for me. Story not very strong. Unbelievable and flat characters. Setting not clearly defined. Many typos or grammatical errors.

1* I hated it. Story almost non-existent. Setting poor. Possibly couldn’t finish it.

Review of The Look of Love by Bella Andre

OVERVIEW:

I’m not a reader of romance as a general rule, and I don’t read erotic romance. Reading this book has made me realise why.

BLURB

After Chloe Peterson’s car skids off the road in the Napa Valley wine country, she’s ready to throw in the towel on a horrendous day. But when a gorgeous guy rescues her, though she’s immediately drawn to him, she knows better than to let her walls down with any man ever again.

Chase Sullivan is a successful photographer whose charm and charisma—along with his large and close-knit family—make him San Francisco’s most eligible bachelor. Intent on helping Chloe through this rough patch in her life, Chase soon realizes that she is not only lovely, inside and out, she’s also intelligent, talented, and extremely brave. He has never felt like this about anyone before, never knew love could be so powerful, or so true…until she came into his life.

Though Chloe tries to resist Chase, with every loving look he gives her—and every sinfully sweet caress—the attraction between them sparks and sizzles. But after everything she’s been through, can Chase convince Chloe that he will always be there for her…and that their love will last forever?

STORY

The story is weak and just an excuse for erotic scenes. I had trouble finishing it.

A troubled young woman meets a handsome man and tries to deny the obvious attraction between them. She is not ready for a new romance after her disastrous marriage. I don’t think that Ms Andre made enough of this. Chloe gave in far too quickly. Only a few days after her last traumatic encounter with her ex-husband she is in bed with a new man. Not very believable.

The story is told from the point of view of each of the main characters in in turn.

CHARACTERS

Chloe has problems. This makes her vulnerable. I did think that she got over them in rather quick time, though. Only a few days after meeting Chase she is admitting her attraction to him, sleeping with him, and falling in love. It all seemed a little too quick for someone so deeply wounded as Chloe is from her previous love encounter. (Or rather, not love from her spouse.)

Chase, is rather a cardboard cut out. He’s perfect. Good looking, clever, rich, talented. He is infinitely patient with Chloe, always putting her first, especially in sex, because he knows she’s been deeply hurt. In spite of wanting to have sex with her desperately, he manages to hold back.

Like I said. Too perfect.

WRITING

Sadly, I found the writing annoying. Ms Andre overuses the word ‘just’, as one example. She peppers it throughout the book, even more than once in one sentence on occasion. She also uses many other words that are not needed, and slow the action. (What action?)

Also, vague words, like ‘seemed’. Well is it or isn’t it?

She kept on telling us that Chloe was lovely, and that Chase had a beautiful body. We aren’t stupid, Ms Andre. We can remember that. We don’t need to keep being reminded.

I give this book 2*

Have you read this, or any other Bella Andre books? She’s apparently a Best Seller.

If you have, let us know what you thought of her books in the comments box.

A Review of Dyrwolf by Kat Kinney

OVERVIEW:

I don’t usually read books that mention werewolves (nor vampires, and definitely not zombies) I feel that they have had their time and are overdone. Having said that, I decided to take a risk and read Dyrwolf. Am I glad I did?

I would not so much call the wolf/humans in this story werewolves, more shapeshifters. Many of them can shift to their wolf personas and shapes regardless of the moon, but they do respond to it.

BLURB

Lea Wylder has spent so long hunting werewolves that now one is stalking her in her sleep. In the unforgiving forests of the north, shape-shifting wolves have enslaved the sole human city for hundreds of miles, driving survivors up into the mountains. When Lea tracks a shifter and finds him caught in a trap, she’s convinced he’s the white wolf from her dreams. Not that it matters. He’s one of them. And they’re at war.

But as Lea pulls back the bowstring, Henrik shifts to human and begs her not to shoot. By name. But how could he possibly know her?

In twenty years, the wolves have never crossed the river over to their side. Injured and unable to walk, Henrik needs Lea’s help to get back home. If he could be turned against the pack, it could change the course of the war. But first there’s the small problem of returning him to the wolves—without getting caught.

STORY

This is an excellent story that kept me gripped and wanting to know what happens next. The heroine, a sixteen year old human girl called Lea, needs to find a way to return a seriously injured shape-shifting wolf back to his home.

Of course, Henrick, as the dyrwolf is called, is an enemy, and Lea should have killed him, but he resembles the wolf she has seen in her dreams, and she cannot bring herself to do so.

It is a dangerous trip, where they meet near death on several occasions, not to mention their fraught relationship as enemies.

There are twists in the story as Lea discovers more about herself and the history of the people and their enemies, the dyrwolves.

There are humerous moments, too, as well as danger and anxiety.

CHARACTERS

Ms Kinney has drawn some very likeable characters in this book—and also some very unlikeable ones.

Lea is a girl with many problems—a mother who committed suicide, debilitating migraines, and she is considered strange by the villagers and has only one real friend.

Her friend is a young man called Salem. He feels protective towards Lea and turns up to help her when she goes out to perform a rite in which she has to burn the fields of grain of the enemy.

Henrick is most likeable. He is in many ways very innocent. The relationship between him and Lea is believable and their confusion about it is very real.

WRITING

This is a well-written book. Ms Kinney’s descriptions are wonderful and I loved reading them. They set the scene beautifully.

Lea’s referring to Henrick as a dandelion puff (referencing his white fur when in wolf form) is wonderful.

The descriptions of Lea’s problems with her migraines (that she doesn’t know what they are) are most believable and I could almost feel her pain.

The surprises in the story are also introduced at just the right places.

If I have to make an adverse criticism, I would say that there are a few unnecessary words. Mainly prepositions, like someone looking up at the stars. We know the stars are up! But that would be nit-picking. I found no typos or other grammatical errors, which is a refreshing change.

This is well worth a read. I gave it 5*

I have pre-ordered the second book, and am looking forward to receiving it.

Review of Misericorde by Cynthia A Morgan

Overview

This is an excellent book for those who like a s dystopian world.

The story kept me turning the pages (or rather, swiping on my tablet).

The world building is excellent. The reader can feel that this is a world that could actually exist in the future. I hope not!

This is the first book in Cynthia Morgan’s Mercy Series. I am looking forward to the next one, Clandestine.

There are some scenes of violence, including torture, and of rape, but none of them are explicit. There is a warning on Amazon about this.

Blurb

In the year 2446, the world exists as a mere shell of what it used to be. The Great Cataclysm tore the human race apart as the Horsemen of the Apocalypse rode. War, Pestilence, Famine… Only Death has yet to ride.

Archangel Tzadkiel, Angel of Mercy, takes the task upon himself to find one human on the planet who still understands mercy. Humans are a treacherous species and as his journey nears its end, he fears he may never find that person. When he is captured by soldiers of the ruling tyrannical faction, The Eminent Protectorate, hope wanes even further.

A mere scullery maid, Lourdes, hears screams from her room every night. They break her heart and haunt her nightmares, and though she doesn’t know who they come from, she longs to find him and help him.

When she does, Lourdes discovers she’s opened a door she might regret and entered a world darker than she ever imagined.

Story

The world has seen the riding of three of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Pestilence, Famine and War have all ridden. Only Death remains to ride.

But one archangel, Tzadkiel, Angel of Mercy, has persuaded the Almighty to allow him one hundred years to find one person with the quality of Mercy. If he can find no one, then Death will ride.

The main protagonist is a young woman called Lourdes. She hears the cries of a man in great distress, but as an indentured servant, little more than a slave, she is incapable of helping him, but his cries are eating away at her.

It is set in France in the distant future. I assume in the south as Marcais is a nearby city. (Marcais being a corruption of Marseilles.)

Characters

The main character, Lourdes, is beautifully drawn. We feel with her as she listens to the cries of the unknown man. She longs to help him, and when her chance arrives, we feel with her as she sees his suffering.

Tzadkiel, although an Archangel, has many human frailties. We can immediately like and sympathise with him.

The Commander is a complex character. While seemingly in complete acquiescence to the torture of Tzadkiel, there are hints that there might be a kinder person lurking inside.

The torturer, Ghislain, is a thoroughly nasty piece of work. He seems to have no redeeming features. However, this fact is explained near the end of the book, as to why this is. I won’t say more as I don’t like spoilers.

Writing

On the whole the writing is good. There were not many places where I cringed. If I were to make a comment, I would say that there are too many examples of so-called filer words. Words like ‘just’, that appears too often, and a few other words that could easily be left out to make the writing tighter.

Apart from that, it is well written, without any major problems with understanding, or plot holes.

I gave the book 5* on Amazon and Goodreads.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it if you have. I love the cover. Do you like it?

Replies in the comments box please.

How about a free, exclusive story? You can get one, by me, by clicking on the link below.

Maria and her husband, Jack, have moved into an old cottage. They want to furnish it with period furniture and buy a medieval table.

That’s when the mystery begins. Strange sounds in the night. Have they bought a haunted house? But a medium tells them it is not a ‘lost spirit’, but something else she does not recognise.

What is it that is causing them to lose sleep? The answer is more unexpected than anyone thought.

By clicking on the link, you will join my quarterly newsletter. But don’t worry, you can unsubscribe at any time, including as soon as you have downloaded the story, if you wish.

I won’t spam you, either. You will only get a newsletter every 3 months, but I might occasionally send you a present, or some exciting news, like a new release.

Review of The Greenland Diaries, Day 1-100 by Patrick W. Marsh

Overview

I think that the title of this book is misleading. I thought it would be set in the country of Greenland, but it is set in Minnesota. I think that the Greenland refers to the growth of plants turning everything green. Perhaps if Mr Marsh had called it The Green Land Diaries, it would have been better.

Blurb

“It began with a drum. Then the monsters came. I’ve been hiding ever since.”

The following collections of journals were recovered from a caravan outside of Duluth, Minnesota. The exact date of recovery is not known nor is the origin of the speaker. The Bureau for the Restoration of History (BFRH) would like help in identifying the man who kept these records. This unedited record of events is still considered the most accurate history of the apocalypse that occurred on April 15th, 2011.

Story

Something came. The writer of the diaries calls them the Unnamed. Every night a drum sounds all night long, and then come the Unnamed. They seem to be intent on wiping out humankind. They search for them and tear them to pieces but they themselves are wispy and no-one can see their faces.

Accompanying them is a growth of vines that cover and wreck everything.

This is the story of how one man escaped from them. Sadly, though, it is all rather samey. There is an increase in the pace towards the end, though, and a few questions were asked, but none were answered. I feel that even in a series, there should be some sort of closure at the end.

There are 4 books in the series, and I don’t think I can manage to go through 4 books in order to discover what the Unnamed are and where they came from. (Besides, the ebook is rather expensive at £4.33)

Characters

This mainly revolves around one man—the writer of the diaries. His character is rather flat, and he doesn’t change much throughout the book. There are a few other characters. An old man called Gerald, whom the protagonist becomes friends with, a young boy called Timothy who is not what he seems, and an older man called Francis, who is also an enigma.

The best character is the protagonist’s little dachshund, called Snowy. (Yes, it’s an odd name for a brown dog, but it is explained in the story.)

Writing

The writing is not good. There is an overuse of the word ‘just’, which to me screams Amateur. Far too many superfluous prepositions, and many spelling mistakes. (scrapping instead of scraping, for example.) Mr Marsh also uses wrong words in some places and does not know when to use ‘lay’, and when to use ‘lie’. Some people might be able to ignore these things, but I find it grates and spoils my reading experience.

Conclusion

This book could have been shorter. If the others are the same, then, with the elimination of the superfluous words and speeding up the action, it could probably have been fitted into three books and be a better read. The premise is good, and this book could be excellent and very scary, but the writing lets it down.

I give it only 2*

Have you read this book? If you have , I would be interested in your thoughts about it. There are quite a number of positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. How much does the writing matter?

Leave your comments in the comments box, please.

How about a free, exclusive story? You can get one, by me, by clicking on the link below.

Maria and her husband, Jack, have moved into an old cottage. They want to furnish it with period furniture and buy a medieval table.

That’s when the mystery begins. Strange sounds in the night. Have they bought a haunted house? But a medium tells them it is not a ‘lost spirit’, but something else she does not recognise.

What is it that is causing them to lose sleep? The answer is more unexpected than anyone thought.

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A REVIEW OF GLASTONBURY BY BRIAN L. PORTER.

Overview.

This is a book that is well worth a read. It is exciting and keeps the reader turning the page.

Blurb

After millionaire Malcolm Capshaw hires Joe Cutler and his team to search for a fabled artifact, they enter a maze of lies, murder and betrayal.

The real purpose of their search is soon exposed, as an old London crime family displays an unusual interest in an ancient town where Christianity laid its roots in England.

Aided by the enigmatic professor Lucius Doberman, Joe and his team must solve the ancient mystery that lies in the shadows of Glastonbury, or die trying.

Story

This begins as the story of a search for King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur. A business man, Malcolm Capshaw, has come into possession of a map perporting to show where some of the remaining knights had buried the sword to save it from coming into the possession of enemies.
Sadly, though, the names of places, and even the terrain, have changed since then.
So he employs a company of surveyors to help locate it using the latest technology.
Of course, it’s not as straightforward as that. There are twists and turns of the plot, and the final twist at the end came as a surprise to me.

Characters

Mr Porter has drawn his characters well. I particularly liked Winston Fortune, one of the team searching. He has a great sense of humour. And I disliked Walter Graves, which I suppose I was supposed to as he’s set up as a villain. In fact, I liked all of Joe Cutler’s team. They seemed like real people with all their faults as well as good points.

Writing

The writing is, on the whole, good. A few unnecessary uses of the word ‘just’, but apart from that, no major problems.

Conclusion

I enjoyed this story immensely and give it 5*

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? What other books have you read about Excalibur?

Please let us know in the comments box.

REVIEW OF HISTORY IN ENGLISH WORDS BY OWEN BARFIELD

Blurb

For more than three-quarters of a century, Owen Barfield produced original and thought-provoking works that made him a legendary cult figure. History in English Words is his classic excursion into history through the English language. This popular book provides a brief, brilliant history of the various peoples who have spoken the Indo-European tongues. It is illustrated throughout by current English words whose derivation from other languages, and whose history in use and changes of meaning, record and unlock the larger history. “In our language alone, not to speak of its many companions, the past history of humanity is spread out in an imperishable map, just as the history of the mineral earth lies embedded in the layers of its outer crust…. Language has preserved for us the inner, living history of our soul. It reveals the evolution of consciousness” —Owen Barfield.

My Review

Owen Barfield wrote this book in the 1950s, but as it deals with the way words have come down to us through the ages, it remains relevant to this day.

This fascinating book takes us through the history of words. Barfield begins with the Greek and Latin words that have been incorporated into our language, and the changes that have come about in them. He then goes on to discuss how we can trace the travels of many peoples across Europe by looking at the way words have changed, and the words that were in common use.

I find it impossible to distill what Barfield is saying in a few words. It took him a whole book! But it shows how people’s thoughts and perceptions developed through the ages.

This book is a valuable handbook for those of us who write historical fiction. It tells when various words came into use, thus helping us not to write about clocks striking before they were invented, or as is said in the forward, writing about Dr Johnson (of dictionary fame) speaking on the telephone.

Those are obvious things, but there are words that we use today that are fairly modern.

An example is found in the words, pity, gentle and mercy.
Pity comes from ‘pietas’, meaning piety, gentle, from ‘gentilis’, meaning of the same family, or later, of noble birth, while mercy comes from ‘merces’, a reward, probably later, a reward in heaven for good works on Earth.

None of these words were known before the 13th century, so in a Viking Saga, a writer should not use them. This applies to many other words, as well as the obvious ones coming from scientific research, and show how human thinking has developed throughout the ages.

This is not an easy read, but a fascinating one, nonetheless. I give it 5*

Have you come across words that are used in historical fiction that are out of place? It’s easily done, believe me. I’ve probably done it myself, although I hope not! Let me know in the comments.

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