When Destiny Calls

Spear of Destiny Book Cover Spear of Destiny
Misadventures of Loren #1
Jasmine Walt and Ines Johnson
paranormal, romance, urban fantasy

Chivalrous? Nah.

Virtuous? Not since…well, none of your business.

The difference between me and the Knights of the Round Table? I make medieval look good.

Loren Van Alst is an independent, twenty-first-century woman, an accused forger, a suspected thief, and the last descendant of Sir Galahad of the Arthurian court. To claim her seat at the Round Table and protect her newly found family of modern-day witches, she’ll need to convince the current Arthur and his knights to let a woman take the knights’ trials. But things go sideways when a crazed wizard goes on the loose with a magical spear that can strip a witch of her powers. As if that weren’t enough, the clique of mean girls from middle school arrives in Camelot and turn out to be witch hunters.

To safeguard a future she never knew she wanted, Loren will have to evade the hunters, defeat the wizard, capture the spear, and pass her trials. No one ever said becoming a kick-ass heroine would be easy!

Urban fantasy goes medieval in this modern day, action-packed, calamitous series of misadventures.

Loren – Nia Rivers’ sidekick has stayed behind in Camelot after they found the Templar Scrolls.
She has her own adventure with her Spear of Destiny and the characters that turn up in the Scrolls book.
And learns what it is to be a Knight of the Round Table – which it turns out she is – hereditarily.
So far so good. I enjoyed this as Loren is a fun character – prone to trouble. But I am worried that her stories will become as formulaic as Nia’s. We shall see.

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Where you can be Hung

The Hanging Tree
Rivers of London #7
Ben Aaronovitch
fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, myths
January 31, 2017

This is the 7th book in the series and Ben is back on form in London. For me he writes more confidently about the London he knows so well. A complex and twisty story with lots of interesting components which I have highlighted below.

In this story his girlfriend has a vast garden of some 50m (that’s over 150 feet to those not in metric)  which leads to her brook – the Beverley Brook. See the route in the map below. We hear about what happens to this brook if she feels a little upset, and it has been know to flood the low lying areas quite dramatically in real life not just in a story..

By Adam37 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22843211

We learn something more in this book about Peter in that his mother comes from Sierra Leone where there are many tribes or clans, Temne  are 35% of the population and the  largest clan who speak their own language), and they all seem to be related in some way to his mother! Now relations amongst these clans must be very close indeed for this to happen  and this  is a result of the original mix of ethnicities and origins due to slavery and immigration etc in the past.  Fula is the main common language spoken but the Susu language is also spoken by most inhabitants.  The ability of his mother to call on her many relatives and speak a common language proves important in their lives.

Now Beverly, Peter’s girlfriend of course, is related to all the rivers in London, one of the most powerful of which is the Tyburn, which is a brook that is a tributary of the river Westbourne.  A village of this name was close to what is now Marble Arch and south  Edgware Road.

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the famous Triple Gallows was set up in Tyburn village. Tyburn Gallows has had many names during its history: The Elms, the Elms near Tyburne, Tyburn Tree, the Deadly Never Green Tyburn Tree, the Triple Tree.   http://www.tyburnconvent.org.uk/tyburn-tree

Tyburn’s first recorded execution took place in 1196, when William FitzOsbert, or William with the Beard, was hanged for sedition. Some say that over fifty thousand persons met their death at Tyburn during the six centuries it was a place of execution. This gallows proves important toteh story.

Another important component is Babbage and his ‘Mary’ Engine’. You can see the various Babbage engines constructed in the Science Museum and they are fascinating, and of course are the fore-runners of modern computers. And don’t forget that the ability to program them was the work of Lady Ada Lovelace. 

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Wuxia and fairytales

Dance: Cinderella Retold Book Cover Dance: Cinderella Retold
(Romance a Medieval Fairytale series Book 3)
Demelza Carlton
fantasy, myths, romance, humour,
Lost Plot Press
9 Feb. 2017

A dutiful daughter. A prince forced to find a bride. If the shoe fits...
Once upon a time...
When the Emperor's army comes recruiting, Mai signs up, seeing it as the perfect escape from her stepmother and a lifetime of drudgery. Armed with her mother's armour and a pair of magic shoes, Mai marches off to war...only to find herself sharing a tent with the General's arrogant nephew, Prince Yi.
The best swordsman in the Empire, Prince Yi wants to make war, not love, but the Emperor insists this will be Yi's last campaign before he must marry. Prince Yi has never met his match...until now.
Can one woman win the war and the prince's heart?

Lovely new version of Cinderella – a Chinese female warrior – in the vein of the myths and comic books. And a TV series I watched many years ago about the margins and the Wuxia warriors – equivalent to our Robin Hood who fight against tyranny.
The female warriors were as fierce and skilled as the men and here we see Yeoung Mai being even more skilled.

People have commented when watching us (that was when I did it) in a park how much like a dance it was – smooth and lyrical especially when done to music – and yet it is a martial art.  Wkipedia quotes T‘ai-chi training as involving five elements: taolu (solo hand and weapons outines/forms;  neigong and qigong (breathing, movement and awareness exercises and meditation); tuishou (response drills); and sanshou (self defence techniques).

So YM’s morning ‘dancing’ was her weapons and defence training – and her small stature would have been to her advantage as I was told when I practiced judo – easy to get under your opponent’s centre of balance to tip them up. Which was why I loved it – about the only sport where being small helped you win!

So this story had many elements that resonated with me and the concept of a girl going to war and no-one knowing about her gender has been often repeated in real life.

A well told story which captivates.



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Love et al

Love, Magic and Adrenaline set Book Cover Love, Magic and Adrenaline set
fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, myths

Love, Magic, Adrenaline features everything from werewolves battling for their place in the world to half-breed demons struggling against the darkness within to ancient elemental beings and conflicted fae. Add in a smattering of demigods, vampires and primeval magic forces, and you have the recipe for not just one or two, but ten compelling reads.

Reborn - Dean Murray
Jace, the new arrival at Selene's school, seems perfect, but there's more to him than meets the eye. Jace is part of an ancient war between immortal beings who return to fight again after being killed, and if Selene lets herself fall for him, she'll be sucked into a fight she can't win.

Wings of Shadow - Anna Kyss
When Meghan Kelly, eighteen-years-old and backpacking across England, descends into the century-old stone tunnels of the Underground, she plans on a hot date at a secret nightclub. Instead, she finds herself imprisoned and in a fight for her very survival.

Thrall - Jennifer Quintenz
Braedyn is a high school girl struggling to find her path and falling in love for the first time when she discovers she is a descendant of Lilith - an enticing demon who preys on the souls of mortal men. Now, Braedyn must choose between embracing her Lilitu powers or joining humanity in an ancient war between the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Lilith.

Lichgates - S.M. Boyce
The final page will leave you breathless. Welcome to Ourea: a world of magic, monsters, royalty, betrayal, and a long-lost book of magic. Only the cunning will survive.

Dreamscape - Christie Rich
Orphaned Amelia Blake wants nothing more than to escape into her dreams where a handsome stranger waits for her every night, until the night he comes to take her into his realm—a dark, dangerous place filled with creatures eager to steal human souls. Amelia must learn to trust this strange, enigmatic man before the world falls into never-ending darkness and she loses any chance she has to find love.

Dirty Blood - Heather Hildenbrand
Sometimes family can be the death of you...

17 year-old Tara Godfrey’s normal life is uprooted when she comes face to face with death threats, werewolves, and family secrets in a single night. Her only ally? The hottest, most mysterious werewolf she'll ever meet. And he doesn't like her already.

Memory's Wake - Selina Fenech
A troubled sixteen-year-old is lost and hunted in a land magically isolated from the rest of the world, filled with monsters, fairies, and dangerous secrets. She must find out who she is and why her memories were stolen before she is found by those who want her dead.

Shadow of Time: Dark Dreams - Jen Minkman
When do dreams erupt into reality?
After Hannah, vacationing in Arizona, meets handsome Josh from the Navajo reservation, she experiences disturbingly vivid nightmares about the Navajo nation’s past.

Silent Orchids - Morgan Wylie
Haunted by unfamiliar images and family secrets, 18 year old Kaeleigh has been seeking answers about who she is. She never expects those answers to come in the form of a warrior Faerie, or from a journey to another realm that will forever change her, her life, and the land she's been called to.

Bound by Prophecy - Melissa Wright
Aern's only job is to protect the chosen. Emily just wants her sister back. Together they'll take on destiny.

A set of short or longer stories from a variety of authors.

  1. Reborn by Dean Murray
    1. Read before
  2. Ways of Shadow by Anna Kyss
    1. 11-13 years audience in my view
    2. Also note some inconsistencies: scones are never blueberry; nor are they made from flaky pastry!
    3. And these people have clearly gone to a ‘human’ supermarket in order to buy their cashews and quinoa as they couldn’t have been grown in their world.
  3. Thrall
    1. Jennifer Quinez
    2. Too young for me again
  4. Lichgates by SM Boyce
    1. Read before
  5. Dreamscape
    1. By Christie Rich read before
  6. Dirty Blood by Heather Hildenbrand
    1. Wolves Vs hunters but then some want peace and some want to intermarry. YA romance. 4 for them
  7. Memory’s Wake
    1. Selina French – got very bored and didn’t finish

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Who’s Dead? Not me!

Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead Book Cover Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead
Toad Witch
Christina Miller
fantasy, paranormal, myths, romance, humour, ghosts
HekaRose Publishing; 2 edition
(15 Jun. 2016)

A little magic can go a long way -- to really screwing up a girl's life! Mara is having the worst month of her life. At least, that's what her cards tell her and they've never been wrong. She's evicted from her apartment, loses her job and is banned from Beverly Hills. So when the tarot cards predict her imminent demise, she uses a little magic to make her world right. Suddenly, an aunt she's never met dies, leaving Mara as her sole heir. But when Mara moves into her inherited home, she discovers Aunt Tillie never moved out. She's still one pissed-off old lady, even post-mortem, and she blames Mara's magical meddling for her death. When Mara accidentally releases a demon and awakens the spirit of the most powerful witch in history, Tillie's ready to kill her -- literally. It's the only way she can think of to save the girl from herself. The witch and the demon, however, have other plans for Mara's body! This is a full-length novel at 93,130 words (337 pages). NOTE: Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead is a quirky urban fantasy that mixes humor, suspense and witchcraft. It contains language and adult situations and is not suitable for children.

A witch story with a difference. Now as we already know witches can frequently speak to the dead and dead relatives are always interfering in their lives, but this book takes it a step further.

Our heroine’s ghost of her aunt is downright nasty. Of course, she could complain that our heroine may just, only may of course, have caused her to die – inadvertently. But really, your aunt trying to kill you to save you from a fate worse than death?

Except she doesn’t succeed and that fate comes to pass and it affects a number of people in your life.

Your gay friend doesn’t help matters along either.

A fun snarky narrator in the witch with a friend who doesn’t know as much about witch craft as he likes to believe and thus gets them into a lot of trouble – a lot of the time. And the consequences? Well….

I really enjoyed this due to the tone of the writing style and the ‘adventures’ that befall them.

Although this book was given to me free, I did buy the 2 follow on books and look forward to the remainder of the series.

Consider the rating for all 3:

Book 2: Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We’re in Trouble

Book 3: Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We’re Kidnapping Cupid (novella)

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