#bookreview Emma and the Minotaur (World of Light Book 1) by Jon Herrera

Hi, lovelies! I’m back for a Christmas Eve book review, and I have the perfect one for all of you fantasy lovers. If you’ve not already heard of it, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Jon Herrara’s Emma and the Minotaur, the first book in his World of Light fantasy trilogy. You’ve already heard me rave about it on Twitter, but here is my review in full. Trust me when I say you’ll want these books.

Review:

I’m a sucker for fantasy novels, so I was really intrigued when I first learned of Mr. Herrera’s novels. Trust me when I say I wasn’t disappointed. I’m not going rehash the synopsis for you, but I was really hooked into Emma’s story from early on as she and her friend ,Jake, and brother ,Will, search for people who mysteriously go missing after being lured into a nearby forest with beautiful music. I was so hooked by the plot that I stayed up several hours and finished it in one go. Yep, it’s that good.

Those of you who love classic fantasy will find nods to Lord of the Rings with orcs, goblins, etc, and a mysterious Lord of Light whose story somewhat reminded me of Sauron. Emma is on the quest to save her world, chosen at birth by the trees that remind me of the Ents from Tolkien’s work from the Lord of Light’s destruction when he seeks to return and reign dominion over the earth as he did in the first age.

There are also nods to Lewis Carroll’s works as Emma must face the Minotaur, the beacon that will bring the Lord of Light’s return. Her struggle to fight him, especially her apprehension in being ready, reminded me of Alice fighting the Jabberwocky in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Emma must find the courage to save her friends that have become ensnared in an alternate world, the Lord of Light’s current dominion.

Her friend and brother’s quest to save those that they have lost reminds me also of Narnia, especially Will and Emma as they continue the quest to save their friends.

Rounding out the Lord of the Rings comparisons are a mysterious principal who reminded me of Gandalf, and several creatures such as unicorns, fauns, and other woodland creatures who fight to save their world.

This is a fast-paced, easy read that all ages can enjoy.

Five out of five stars.

Book Review: Really? At Your Age?  (Sisters, Lovers & Second Chances Book 1) by Jacqueline Diamond

Hello, lovelies. It’s just a few days before Christmas and I’ve got another book recommendation that I know you’ll love to share with your book clubs. It’s time for another quirky, wholesome romance brought to you by USA Today Bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond in the first of her contribution to the Better Late Romance series. If you’re in the 40 and up crowd, which includes me, you’re going to love this book.

The first thing that drew me to this series was that the characters are actually close towards my age. I’m in my mid-forties, so having people that are in my stage of live was so relatable. Also, I could easily identify with a lot of the challenges that main character Cody had: a divorced woman over the age of 40 (well, 50’s in her case) with a career, family, friends, hobbies, etc. Yet there is just something missing her life.

I commend the way that Ms. Diamond tackles a really sensitive subject of fertility, especially for women over the age of 40. She’s realistic without being too smarmy about it. It is a romance novel, so we know things are going to usually be somewhat happily ever after, but she is truthful in a lot of the questions surrounding a topic that most people don’t want to talk about.

I loved the way that Cody and Ben’s relationship developed over the course of the book. Sometimes we wish we could get a second chance with that one that you thought you should end up with, and Ms. Diamond’s delicate and honest touch set really well with me.

Rounding out this lovely book are a quirky cast of characters in Cody and Ben’s family and friends. I fell in love Cody’s aunt and sister, as well as Ben’s lovely, supportive daughter that I would like to have as a friend in real life.

If you’re looking for a cheerful, pick-me-up that will have you laughing along the way, grab your copy of Really? At Your Age? It’s never too late to live the life that you were meant to live.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

#BookReview: Almanac: The Four Seasons by J.L. Huffman

Hello, lovelies! I’m back with another book review! This post marks the first time a poetry collection is featured on my blog. I hope you will enjoy.


The Review:

When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to take me on walks in the countryside near her house. It didn’t matter what time of year it was, a stroll with my Mammaw was a special time as she pointed out the changing seasons through flora and fauna in her neck of the Magnolia state.

Reading Ms. Huffman’s poetry was a vivid reminder of my grandmother (who was a poet herself). Although this volume is short, each poem is a delight to the senses and a wonder for nature lovers. Each missive invites the reader to pause and truly bask in the world around us, savoring and finding the beauty in each passing season.

My favorites have to be the haikus, especially the fiery leaf that graces us during autumn. It reminded me so much of a crisp, autumn day in the pacific northwest, heading towards Oregon’s famed Mt. Hood. I remember snow had already fallen upon the ground and yet there was a solitary tree, full of crimson leaves. Some had already fallen onto the ground. The contrast of the bright red petal-like leaves against pure, white snow took my breath away. Ms. Huffman brought me back to that moment in an instant with just a few lines.

I loved this volume so much that upon finishing, I wanted to have a print copy to grace my shelves. I love my Kindle, don’t get me wrong, but this deserves a printed copy. Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.


#BookReview: The Ghosts of Manor Ren by Helen G. Huntley

Greetings, lovelies! I’m back this week with another book review after gorging myself with a Thanksgiving feast. I hope my American readers had a lovely Thanksgiving and were able to take a little time off, eat a bit, and spend time with family and friends.

I did all that, and, of course, after having a lovely nap, I settled in for the evening with a lovely ghost story by the fabulous Helen G. Huntley. Grab your favorite beverage while I spill the tea.



Review:

This is my first time to read Ms. Huntley, and I was delighted with the story of two handsome, Regency heirs, forced to live the rest of their days invisible and unable to eat, sleep, or do anything normal humans do until they learn their lesson from a very upset witch at their family estate of Manor Ren, located somewhere in England at the end of the Second World War.

The two brothers meet beloved Loren when she moves into the property after marriage and she’s taken with the house and everything about it. After getting settled, her husband’s family threatens to change the plans on her, almost evicting her out of house and home. How dare they?

Truthfully, when I read this, I immediately thought of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison, a story of a young widow who moves into a cottage once owned by a sea captain. Her late husband’s relations want to force her to move away from the cottage, as they don’t think it befitting a widow to live there (and probably want to control her), but the captain gives her a story that she takes to be published. While living there, she falls in love with the captain. It’s a favorite film of mine and it made me smile so much that The Ghosts of Manor Ren reminded me of it.

While there are a few historical liberties taken, they didn’t keep me from being swept me away, feverishly turning those pages, wanting to know if beloved Loren was going to keep her home and maybe have a happy ever after with one of the brothers. You’ll have to read to find out. The story kept me reading and the heat level was absolutely wonderful.

If you’re looking for a lovely escape, pick up the Ghosts of Manor Ren. You won’t be disappointed.

Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Till next time,

Kellie

#BookReview @HQStories #BlogTour of #DeadlyLittleLies by #StephanieDeCarolis

I’m thrilled to be on today’s stop for Stephanie DeCarolis’ fabulous new thriller, Deadly Little Lies, releasing on November 26th, 2021 from HQ Stories. Grab yourself a glass of your favorite beverage as I share my thoughts.


Review:

College. It’s supposed to be a fun time. Time to learn, grow, experiment with things, and meet your best friends for life. It seems like such an idyllic time, until it isn’t. Things happen, secrets once shared are buried, and you’re left with a legacy that tarnishes the fun memories that you tried so hard to build. Such is life as we know it for Juliana (Jules) and her friends in Deadly Little Lies.

From the first page, I was hooked. Ms. DeCarolis’s beautiful prose captivates you, luring you in; yet it’s her pacing that keeps you on the edge of your seat as throughout the novel, she unravels a tragic game played by mean girls that could have been scripted by the girls from Heathers. Setting this game played out in fictional Westbridge University against bucolic (and downright gorges) Tompkins County is a masterful stroke in contrast, as the forest becomes a backdrop for murder.

Finding out who was behind the sinister game of cat-and-mouse had me up all night. I needed to know who was wreaking havoc against Juliana (Jules), Tori, and Nessa, threatening to shatter the life that they desperately tried to build after one fateful night.

This was my first read by Ms. DeCarolis and I can’t wait to see what she has in store next.

Five out of five stars. Highly recommended.


#BookReview #BlogTour for The Perfect Christmas Gift by @KatieGAuthor by @HQDigitalUK


I’m thrilled to be on today’s stop for Katie Ginger’s brilliant and heartwarming Christmas romance, The Perfect Christmas Gift, published by HQ Stories.

Review:

I was looking for a great way to ease into the holiday spirit and I think there’s nothing better than the idea behind the book, the village Giving Tree, championed by our heroine, Bella. Comingstraight off a heartache, this loveable primary schoolteacher throws her heart and soul into comforting others when it’s been wrenched out by her ex. And haven’t a lot of us been there before?

The slow build of neighbors Bella and Nick, who also is reeling from his own heartache, and Nick’s adorable son Freddie, makes this a page-turner that you want to cheer for.

Growing up in a small town, I was hooked in completely by the zany cast of characters who gave me such a chuckle and some who just made me want to give them stockings full of coal. I’m looking at you, Mr. and Mrs. Cole. If that isn’t a brillint pun for a choice of character name, I don’t know what is.

For a wonderful pick me up, grab your copy of The Perfect Christmas Gift and place it into the stockings of a few of your friends. Highly recommended. 4.5 out of 5 stars or cups of coffee/cocoa.


Find the Other Tour Stops Here:

Audio #BlogTour for #TheTherapist by @baparis

Today is my stop on #TheTherapist Audio Blog Tour. To listen to this audiobook sneak preview from the beginning, head over to @baparisauthor and follow the blog tour chain. Have you got your copy of #TheTherapist? smarturl.it/TheTherapistEB @HQStories

To listen to my clip from today, head over to my twitter account, @kellierbutler.

As bonus content on today’s stop, we have a lovely Q&A snippet from B.A. Paris herself. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy the tour as much I as enjoy being on it. Look for great new books from HQ to come this autumn.

Kellie x

New blog title/site changes

Dear readers,

You may have noticed a bit of a change to this site. For some time now, it’s functioned as my author page and book blogging site; however, I’ve decided it would serve readers better of these two were separated. So, going forward, this site is going to be for book blogging, author spotlights, excerpts and etc, only. A new author site is currently under construction, and I’ll post a link to it once it goes live.

As always, my commitment to reading and sharing books remains the same. One of the best things about becoming an author is that I’ve been privileged to meet so many gifted, brilliant people in this world, and I’m honored to call many of them friends. We’re all in this thing together, this writing business, and although we’re different in so many ways, we all have one love: to share the art and passion of storytelling with the world.

I hope to bring you more book reviews, excerpts, and spotlights for years to come.

Love,

Kellie x

#blogtour #review #TheArtofLovingYou by Amelia Henley

I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for Amelia Henley’s The Art of Loving You, publishling on July 22nd, 2021 by HQ.

Review:

Life isn’t always beer and skittles.

To be honest, when I first started reading this book, I didn’t know if I could finish it because of the subject matter. Having been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and tumor in the last year, some of this hit way too close to home for me, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read a book that delves into the way that we experience grief and loss. Emotionally, it didn’t seem to be the right time, or that’s what I told myself.

But I soldiered on with it, and I’m glad I did. So many of us have had to deal with unexpected grief in the last year, whether it be via illness or a sudden catastrophe that this book could not be more timely, nor more beautifully written. Ms. Henley’s honest, realistic portrayal of the many stages is grief is sometimes a sucker punch to the gut, because it’s so beautifully raw, it eeks out every bit of emotion out of you.

I found great comfort and relief in the characters of Sid and Norma, especially in their relationship. Although the primary relationship is of Libby and Jack, Sid and Norma taught me so much, and Norma’s Book of Kindness reminded me that indeed, life isn’t always beer and skittles but we can do things, small things, to help brighten the day of someone else.

In times past I’ve always heard that helping someone else out can sometimes make your own troubles seem easier, and truthfully, this is hard to put into practice, as is illustrated by Libby as she deals with what so many of us are dealing with right now: the unexpected and sometimes cruel changes of life.

Yet thank goodness there are the Jacks and Sids and Norma’s of this world who try to make life more beautiful one painting, one square, one page at a time. Simply breathtaking.

A must-read for everyone. I cannot rate this book highly enough.

#bookreview Love and Pollination by Mari Jane Law

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my candid review.

Love and Pollination by Mari Jane Law, published April 16, 2020 by Dubois Publishing

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A laugh out loud, quirky, adorable book

If you are in need of a pick-me-up sort of book, with quirky, adorable characters, grab yourself a copy of this book because it had me reading into the wee hours of the morning it was so good. I honestly couldn’t put it down.  It’s laugh out loud funny, endearing book filled with larger-than-life characters full of flaws, but you will root for them anyway.

I really loved Perdita and Saul’s story, along with Violet’s good-hearted meddling/matchmaking. As much as I loved Perdita and Saul, I honestly stayed for Violet, because she was the star of the book.

One of the most hilarious books I’ve read this year. Highly recommended.