Year: 2017

Urban fantasy review: ‘Nothing But The Truth’ by Angela Holder

Urban fantasy review: ‘Nothing But The Truth’ by Angela Holder

I’ve had some mixed experiences with Angela Holder’s writing in the past. White Blood was a wonderful 5* read for me, a quirky and original story based around an unusual heroine, a wet-nurse. But the first part of her Tevenar series, The Fuller’s Apprentice, was a less resonant read. I enjoyed the intriguing magic system, the detailed world-building and the philosophical points raised. I was less enamoured of the glacially slow pace, the info-dumping and the lack of plot development, so much so that I never managed to get round to reading the rest of the series. The writing was uniformly excellent, however, so when I saw this new book out with its intriguing premise, I had to give it a go. Nothing But The Truth depends upon the conceit that Allison, the main character, has a physical reaction to lies. If someone lies in her vicinity, she’ll either throw […]

Posted April 20, 2017 by PaulineMRoss in Review / 0 Comments

Review: ‘Water For Elephants’ by Sara Gruen

Review: ‘Water For Elephants’ by Sara Gruen

The framing story here is that of an old man looking back on his life with a third-rate circus in the thirties. Is it a romance? An action story? Making a point about circuses? Not a clue. It was an easy read, and I was never tempted to abandon it, but frankly I have no idea what to make of it. Parts of it were wonderful, parts were ho-hum and a few parts were downright stupid, a real curate’s egg of a book. Let’s start with the good bits, which was basically everything involving elderly Jacob (who’s 90 or possibly 93) in the care home. The descriptions of the other residents brought them to vivid life, Jacob himself was utterly believable as a curmudgeonly old man falling out with another the same, and the daily frustrations of age and an institutionalised existence were filled with pathos. The ho-hum bits were […]

Posted April 5, 2017 by PaulineMRoss in Review / 0 Comments

One to watch out for: ‘Rivers of Hell’ by Marina Finlayson

One to watch out for: ‘Rivers of Hell’ by Marina Finlayson

Anyone who’s been following this blog for any length of time knows how much I love Marina Finlayson’s writing. I don’t normally get along with urban fantasy, but something about Finlayson’s style is a perfect fit for my reading needs. Maybe it’s that the characters feel so real I’d love to have a drink with them, maybe it’s that the stories are convoluted yet easy to follow, or maybe it’s the quirky Aussie humour, but I’ve loved everything she’s written to date. It’s no great surprise, then, that I’m excited to see that the third part of Shadows of the Immortals is out. I can’t wait to find out what Lexi and Syl and friends get up to this time round. And look at that cover – awesome or what? You can find it on Amazon.com.

Posted April 1, 2017 by PaulineMRoss in Books that caught my eye / 0 Comments

FREE today! Great urban fantasy from Jen Rasmussen

FREE today! Great urban fantasy from Jen Rasmussen

I just spotted that there’s some great urban fantasy free today. Grim Haven was a 4* read for me (high praise when I’m not even an urban fantasy fan!) – I found it great fun, with some truly atmospheric moments (the word ‘Hitchcockian’ was used). Highly recommended, so hie thee to Amazon and pick up a copy free, gratis and for nothing. I’ve no idea how long it will be free, so don’t hang about. Here’s the blurb: Years ago, Verity Thane turned her back on a hometown teeming with dangers and consumed by dark magic, swearing to herself she would never return. Now, she has no place else to go. When she’s cornered into using her magic to save mysterious Cooper Blackwood from a chilling supernatural attack, Verity is unwittingly drawn into a war with a clan of lethal monsters. Hunted and burned out of her home, she’s forced […]

Posted March 28, 2017 by PaulineMRoss in Archive, General, News / 0 Comments

More new covers, and a competition for 50+ books

More new covers, and a competition for 50+ books

More Brightmoon covers Here are some more stunning new covers from Deranged Doctor Design. The changeover has begun with the first three books, so just for a while you’ll see both the old and new covers around – it’s not easy updating paperback and ebook covers all at the same time, when there are seven books in the series so far! And a great competition I’ve joined up with 50 other fantasy authors to offer you the chance to win an amazing collection of books AND a Kindle Fire! The Fire Mages is in there, plus books from some fantastic authors, like Michael J Sullivan, Intisar Khanani, D K Holmberg, Michael Ploof and lots more. One lucky person will win a Kindle Fire and a copy of every book shown, and a second winner will get all the books. Click the image to enter the competition. Not read The Magic […]

Posted March 25, 2017 by PaulineMRoss in General, Publishing/marketing / 2 Comments

Review: ‘The Cleaner of Chartres’ by Salley Vickers

Review: ‘The Cleaner of Chartres’ by Salley Vickers

I never know what my book group is going to inflict on me next. This one I at least managed to read, although it fell short of being enjoyable. I prefer a simple story, well told, with believable characters, something that I find absorbing, even if it may not be compelling. This was deficient in all areas. The story revolves around Agnes, who appeared one day at the cathedral at Chartres and stayed for twenty years, finding a place in the town and gaining friends along the way. How she came to be there, and how her life begins to unravel, are slowly unfolded. Agnes herself is something of an enigma. She takes on odd cleaning jobs to make ends meet, both at the cathedral and for various other people, and at first she seems to have no personality, being very compliant and passive. She appears to be mentally deficient […]

Posted March 15, 2017 by PaulineMRoss in Review / 2 Comments

New Brightmoon covers! And a box set too…

New Brightmoon covers! And a box set too…

Big changes are afoot in the Brightmoon world – my lovely covers by Glendon Haddix of Streetlight Graphics will soon be replaced. Why change? Because Glendon gave me exactly what I asked him for – a series of striking fantasy romance covers. And it’s taken me a long time to realise that I don’t write fantasy romance! Most of my books do have some kind of romance in them, but that doesn’t make them romance books. So, I’ve decided to start again with a clean slate and a new designer, Deranged Doctor Designs, and this time I’ve told them to make the covers epic fantasy through and through. I’m thrilled to show you what they’ve come up with. I’ll be introducing these one by one from 15th March, so if you’re a fan of the old covers and you want to complete your collection, now’s the time to do it. […]

Posted March 6, 2017 by PaulineMRoss in Brightmoon world, News / 2 Comments

Urban fantasy review: ‘Murdered Gods’ by Marina Finlayson

Urban fantasy review: ‘Murdered Gods’ by Marina Finlayson

Marina Finlayson is one of my all-time favourite authors. Her stories just seem to resonate with me, and I’ve enjoyed every single thing she’s written. Which makes it more than a little nerve-wracking whenever I pick up a new book – will this be the one that falls flat on its face? Well, no is the answer, not by a long shot. In the previous book, Lexi got into a whole heap of trouble over a stolen ring with magical powers, although with a hot fireshaper around, there were some compensations, too. But the ring’s doing some odd things, and Lexi’s own ability is unusual too. Controlling animals seems pretty tame when you’re surrounded by shifters in a world ruled by powerful shapers, but where did that ability come from? Lexi decides to go back home to the human territories to ask the one person who knows – her mum. […]

Posted March 4, 2017 by PaulineMRoss in Review / 0 Comments

Authors answer #20: What element of writing (setting, characterization, plot development, etc.) do you find most challenging?

For me, it’s definitely the plot. I’m a pantser, which means I just start writing without much thought in my head of where the story might take me. I usually start with a character, or a group of characters, in a particular situation, and I just turn them loose, so to speak, and they make their own decisions and steer the story. The setting grows around them. But, while this kind of ‘discovery’ writing, where the author discovers the story at the time without any forethought or planning, can lead to problems. You can find your characters have got themselves into a deep hole and really can’t get out again without miraculous help, and that’s a big no-no. There’s even an expression for it: deus ex machina, (the god from the machine). This doesn’t happen to me very often, since my characters tend to be sensible chaps and chapesses, who […]

Posted February 12, 2017 by PaulineMRoss in AuthorsAnswer, Writing musings / 0 Comments

2016 review: Part 3: Writing

I got a lot of writing done in 2016. A lot. I finally found my stride, and increased my speed, as well as making daily writing a more consistent habit, and the result was (tada! roll of drums!): 548,000 words written Which is a lot! Of that, 167,000 words, or 30%, was fantasy and the rest Regency romance. For the fantasy, I wrote the whole of The Second God and began Findo Gask’s Apprentice. For the Regencies, I finished Amy, and wrote Belle, Connie, Dulcie, Grace and Hope, plus a novella, Mary. I discovered along the way that I can’t write two books at the same time. I can, however, write one and edit another, so that’s how I work it. At any one time, I’ll have one book being written, another ‘brewing’, or resting before editing, and another being edited or otherwise prepared for publication. At this precise moment, […]