#BookReview for The Haunting of Hattie Hastings by Audrey Davis

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My review for The Haunting of Hattie Hastings by Audrey Davis, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

I love these stories, full of dry British humour, awkward situations, and some poignant moments too. The ghostly part of it is done just right – not too much, and not so little you wish there was more. Each one ends on a cliffhanger, so it’s lovely to have all three books in one, so you can carry on reading right away!

You can instantly relate to the characters, and feel like you’ve known them for years. There are some you’ll love, like Hattie and Cat, and others you’ll dislike intensely! There’s a certain ex-husband I’d like to slap!

This is a story of overcoming grief, of finding one’s way in the world, of friendship, of love, of abuse, of the impossible becoming possible. Beautifully written, it keeps you turning the pages, eager to find out how it finishes for everyone. Highly recommend!

Amazon US
Amazon UK

#Freebook: Adventure in Malasorte Castle by Julia E. Clements

Today and tomorrow you can download Adventure in Malasorte Castle for free! With an abandoned castle, a disgusting demon, and a group of kids who have to break a centuries-old curse, this fun adventure story for children age 8-12 is perfect for Halloween.

You can get your free copy here: getbook.at/MalasorteCastle

Please leave a review if you enjoy it, so other readers can discover the book too!

Blurb:

An abandoned castle, a valley infested by evil spirits, and a cursed family … an exciting new adventure for the River Hawks!

Twelve-year-old Izzy is excited to be spending the summer holidays with her Italian grandmother. She eagerly listens to spine-tingling tales of the evil spirits that once infested Val De Monio, in awe of the Guardians who did battle with them. But when Gran tells her about a Mazzapeghoul, a wicked demon, still inhabiting Malasorte Castle, Izzy starts to doubt whether her stories are true.

When her new-found Italian friends suggest spending a night in Malasorte Castle to prove it isn’t haunted, she jumps at the chance to join them. But things start going bump in the night, and they begin to wonder if the Mazzapeghoul is more than just a local myth.

Why did the last members of the family flee the castle in 1932, leaving it empty and desolate? Can Izzy and her friends solve the puzzle and break the curse on the castle before it’s too late?

Readers’ Favorite 5-star review:

What did you do on your summer vacation? Izzy visited her grandmother in Italy and what an adventure she had. Adventure in Malasorte Castle by Julia E. Clements shares the escapades of Izzy and her new friends as they learn of Izzy’s grandmother’s stories of evil spirits and haunted castles.

Izzy and her friends decide to spend the night in the local supposedly haunted castle to prove it really isn’t haunted. Izzy takes her grandmother’s spell book just in case they need to cast out any evil demons. Deciphering her grandmother’s spell book and putting the spell into action help the group become friends forever.

Adventure in Malasorte Castle is a fun read and will keep the young reader turning the pages. The prologue set the mood of the book and provided a great hook. The theme of making friends is one that readers this age will connect with. I also loved the building of relationships between a grandmother and her grandchild. With a touch of demons and magic spells, Julia E. Clements stirs up a story that the young reader will enjoy.

Izzy’s parents are going through a hard time and she worries about whether they will divorce. This issue is one that many young readers face today and the hope provided for them in the story – that things will be okay in the end – is a great bond for them. I recommend Adventure in Malasorte Castle for middle grade readers and, as an adult, even I enjoyed it!

getbook.at/MalasorteCastle

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#BookReview for A Sorcery of Shadows by Sarah Northwood

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My review for A Sorcery of Shadows: The Westwood Witches 2 by Sarah Northwood, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

Aero Westwood is back! I’ve been (impatiently) waiting to read this sequel to The Westwood Witches, and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s more magic, more Shadow Creatures, and more witches, as Aero learns how to use her powers to help save the Earth.

A lot of the questions from the first book are answered, while many more are raised, as loyalties are won and lost, and good and evil battle each other.

I love how the author develops the characters of Aero and her best friend, Lilly. Secrets are revealed, and others hinted at. There are also many new characters, such as the Southwoods, and Shadow the cat, and wonderful Aunt Louise is back too.

The author has woven a magical story that is perfect for older children and adults alike, a wonderful fantasy in another realm with unicorns, witches, fairies, that is tragic in places and heartwarming in others, a story that you can read over and over again and find something new each time. I can’t wait for book 3!

Excerpt:

Joanna’s heart ached watching every step Louise and her granddaughter took. Each one moved them further away from her. As they both stepped through the bubble to return home to Earth, her legs burned with a longing to follow, compelling her with every fibre to aid them in their journey ahead. Her soul cried out in sorrow, inaudible to all but her. Wailing with secrets, regret and fear for their safety, the heaviness of the knowledge of the pain of what was to come was hers to bear alone.

It will be out on the 1 October, and is currently only .99, so preorder it now!

Amazon US
Amazon UK

#BookReview for The Wonkiest Witch by Jeannie Wycherley

My review for The Wonkiest Witch: Wonky Inn Book 1 by Jeannie Wycherley, 5/5 stars.

I loved this book right from the beginning. The writing style is fun and relaxed, and the story draws you in. After reading a lot of dark psychological thrillers lately, this was just what I needed!

The protagonist, Alfhild Daemonne, has denied her witch powers for years. But after inheriting a wonky inn and most of a village in the middle of the countryside, she decides to leave London and start a new, quieter life.

Like most plans, nothing goes as expected and she finds herself in the middle of a battle between good and evil, with her inn at the centre.

This is a wonderful cozy mystery, with great characters, a beautiful setting, and a couple of twists along the way. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series and seeing what Alf gets up to next! Highly recommend.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Two books in one month!

Last month, I decided to do something a bit reckless – I released two books about 10 days apart! I didn’t actually write them both in September, that would have been impossible, but seeing as they were both ready I thought it would be a good idea to publish them.

Why? I finished writing The Dragonfly Grove in July, but my editor couldn’t start work on it until the beginning of August. So, rather than sit back and rest, I dug out a children’s book I wrote about 10 years ago to see if it was any good.

To my surprise, Adventure in Malasorte Castle wasn’t too bad! It needed a bit of work, and a completely new ending, but the main story was there and it was good. I spent a pleasant couple of weeks going over the manuscript, rewriting certain parts, tweaking others, and by the end I had a book that was almost ready. I printed it out, got my red pen, and went over it again. One final read-through on my Kindle, and at long last it was finished.

In the meantime, the editor had gone over The Dragonfly Grove and sent me back the (fortunately) few corrections/alterations. So while my children’s book was with the ARC readers, I worked on sorting out this manuscript. This time I only sent it to two beta readers who I knew would point out anything that wasn’t right, in order to cut down times, and to not have too much conflicting advice that would drive me crazy!

By the beginning of September, Adventure in Malasorte Castle was ready and up for pre-order on all the retailers. The paperback followed soon after, and started selling immediately. Some of the ARC readers got back to me with their reviews – luckily they loved it! On the 29th September, my author friend Sarah Northwood and I held a Facebook event for the launch of our books, which were both released on the 30th. It was a great success, with lots of other authors joining in and chatting about their books, but it was a long, tiring day!

I spent the first two weeks of September preparing The Dragonfly Grove, and both the ebook and paperback were ready to publish on the 21st September. I didn’t hold a Facebook event (two in one month would have been too much!) but I may do something this month to celebrate its launch.

I also set up two newsletters, one for Helen Pryke and one for Julia E. Clements, where I’d love to get in touch with readers, chat about my books and books in general, and pass on any great offers on amazing books I’ve read. There’s also an exclusive short story you can download if you sign up for the Julia E. Clements one!
You can find details in the books, or you can sign up for my Helen Pryke one from this blog or my Facebook author page.

Do I regret it? No, not at all. It was hard work but very satisfying to finish both books together. Will I do it again? Probably not!

Now, I really am taking a couple of weeks off to recover from last month, but I already have a few ideas for new stories…

Adventure in Malasorte Castle by Julia E. Clements
#CoverReveal for The Dragonfly Grove

#BookReview for The Westwood Witches by Sarah Northwood

Pink quill books pick_jpegThis is my review for The Westwood Witches by Sarah Northwood, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information).

I’ve read all of Sarah Northwood’s books, so when I got the chance to work with Sarah on her latest novel, I was really excited! I’ve seen this book transform from its first draft to the final, polished version it is today, and it has been a privilege to be a part of the whole process. Sarah has worked hard at developing the story into something she should be extremely proud of.

Right from the start, I loved this book! Aero, the protagonist, lacks self-confidence, finds it hard to make friends, and is fed up with being bullied at school. But underneath her timid exterior is a feisty young girl just waiting to come out. And when she inherits something special from her grandmother, her life completely changes.

This story is different from your usual YA. There’s no eye-rolling, or flouncing out of rooms in a huff, or stroppy teenage fights with the parents. And there’s no soppy love story with blatant misunderstandings and teenage angst. Instead, Aero is portrayed as a ‘real’ teenager – one who is trying to find her place in life while dealing with school, studying, and all the usual problems 17-year-olds have to face, which are exacerbated when a tragic event occurs. And of course, Aero is no ordinary 17-year-old girl.

The book is a mix of fun, sadness, hope, terror, new beginnings and sad endings. The reader goes through every emotion with Aero as events unfold and mysteries are revealed. The author has also created a whole new world called the Shadow Realm, filled with mystical creatures, which I look forward to learning more about in the next book.

This is a wonderful, unique YA story that I highly recommend!

You can pre-order it now at the special price of 99c/99p. The book releases on 30 September 2018.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Adventure in Malasorte Castle by Julia E. Clements

The ebook version of Julia E. Clements’ latest book, Adventure in Malasorte Castle, is now available to pre-order! The paperback will also be available very soon.

Set in an abandoned castle in Italy that is haunted by a disgusting nose-picking demon, this is a fun adventure story for kids age 9-12.

When English girl Izzy arrives in Italy on holiday, she’s happy to make friends with a group of Italian children, even though the only other girl, Jessica, doesn’t seem to like her much. But when they decide to stay overnight in Malasorte Castle, the two girls soon realise they have to put their differences behind them if they are to solve the puzzle of the curse and rid the castle of its demon.

Blurb:

Twelve-year-old Izzy is excited to be spending the summer holidays with her Italian grandmother. She eagerly listens to spine-tingling tales of the evil spirits that once infested Val De Monio, in awe of the Guardians who did battle with them. But when Gran tells her about a Mazzapeghoul, a wicked demon, still inhabiting Malasorte Castle, Izzy starts to doubt whether her stories are true.

When her new-found Italian friends suggest spending a night in Malasorte Castle to prove it isn’t haunted, she jumps at the chance to join them. But things start going bump in the night, and they begin to wonder if the Mazzapeghoul is more than just a local myth.

Why did the last members of the family flee the castle in 1932, leaving it empty and desolate? Can Izzy and her friends solve the puzzle and break the curse on the castle before it’s too late?

You can pre-order Adventure in Malasorte Castle for the special price of 99p/99c at all online retailers.

books2read.com/MalasorteCastle

Here are a couple of short excerpts:

MC promo_1

MC promo_2

#BookReview for The Devil’s Lieutenant by Shervin Jamali

My review for The Devil’s Lieutenant by Shervin Jamali, 5/5 stars.

This is an intense read! It’s a short story you can read in one day, but it keeps you hooked from the first pages. I loved the dynamics between Lucifer and Michael, and how the story twists just when you least expect it.

Michael goes from being a man who has everything to losing it all and selling his soul to the devil. But he’s a nice guy, even when carrying out orders, and you can only feel pity for him as his life spirals out of control.

Even the bits that could have been cliched take you by surprise – I mean, who could imagine shooting a game of pool with God?! Violent in places, and with some swearing, it is nonetheless a great read.

Well written and fast paced, I highly recommend this book.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Author Sarah Northwood

I met author Sarah Northwood in some Facebook group last year – I can’t even remember which one, how bad is that?! – and we clicked right away. We kept seeing each other in various posts and waving hi, and she was the first author friend I made on social media. A year later, it feels as if we’ve been friends forever.

I picked up one of her books when it was on a free promotion, and loved it. Sarah has a fresh, unique writing style that draws you into her stories and keeps you turning the pages to the end. Her psychological thrillers have twists that will shock you, and scenes that you can’t imagine coming out of someone who’s so sweet! I’ve since read all her books, and loved every single one.

I had the honour to work with Sarah on She’s Not Gone, a psychological thriller with a paranormal twist, and I consider this her best one yet. I hope she writes more of this kind!

Sarah writes children’s books and poetry as well. Her poetry is down-to-earth, heart-warming and uplifting that will appeal to almost anyone, and her children’s books are perfect for younger kids. This talented woman also plays the piano extraordinarily well, creating her own pieces that she showcases on Sound Cloud.

Click here for Sarah’s Amazon author page to see all her amazing books!

Visit Sarah’s Facebook author page and leave her a unicorn gif to say hi!
And here’s her poetry Facebook page.

But most of all, Sarah is a wonderfully supportive person, always sending messages when you’re down and unicorn gifs to help celebrate others’ successes. So this is my way of saying thank you to a gorgeous friend – I’m so pleased we met on Facebook, and I hope we can meet some day in real life too.enchanted-unicorn-thank-you-notes-bx-93559

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