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It’s World Book Day! Here are a few of my favourite books and series of all time!

These aren’t in any particular order, but I will say that Howl’s Moving Castle is probably my favourite book. It’s utterly marvelous. (Plus my partner and I have a long standing joke that I’m actually Sophie Hatter.) I’ve treasured my copy for many years, and will treasure it for many more. The rest of the books in this list are ones that have sucked me in so completely that I had no idea what was going on in the real world at the time, and I often had dreams about them too.

Howl’s Moving Castle (there are actually two sequels, written many years after it came out: Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways):

HMC

“How about making a bargain with me?” said the demon. “I’ll break your spell if you agree to break this contract I’m under.”

In the land of Ingary, where seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, Sophie Hatter attracts the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste, who puts a curse on her. Determined to make the best of things, Sophie travels to the one place where she might get help – the moving castle which hovers on the nearby hills.

But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the hearts of young girls…

 

The Crisanta Knight series:

Crisanta

The next generation – the children of Snow White, Cinderella, and others – have lives and stories of their own. And not just long ago and far away but (sort of) here and now! Enjoy!

I was going to be a great protagonist. At least that’s what my mom, Cinderella, kept telling me. I, however, had my doubts. Unlike most main characters at Lady Agnue’s School for Princesses & Other Female Protagonists, I was opinionated, bold, and headstrong. Moreover, for a princess, I had a lot of issues. I’m talking vicious nightmares about people I’ve never met, a total stalker prince, and a Fairy Godmother for an enemy.

But I digress. Because here’s the thing about living in an enchanted realm of fairytale characters, crazy junk you never planned on happens all the time. One minute you could be practicing fainting exercises in Damsels in Distress class, sword fighting in a field, or flying on a Pegasus, and the next, BAM! Your book has begun and you’re saddled with a prophecy that changes everything.

I still don’t know if I will be a great protagonist one day. But I know one thing about my fate, for certain. Despite what The Author and the antagonists have in store for me, whatever it costs. . .I’ll be the one taking charge of my own story…

 

The Abhorsen/Old Kingdom series:

Sabriel

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death — and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own hidden destiny.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear — and sometimes disappears altogether.

 

Lockwood & Co. series:

Lockwood

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

 

The Legendeer trilogy:

ShadowMinotaur

“Real life” or the death-defying adventures of the Greek myths, with their heroes and monsters, daring deeds, and narrow escapes–which would you choose? For Phoenix it’s easy. He hates his new home and the new school where he is bullied. He’s embarrassed by his computer geek dad. But when he logs on to The Legendeer, the game his dad is working on, he can be a hero. He is Theseus fighting the terrifying Minotaur, or Perseus battling with snake-haired Medusa. It feels as though he’s really there. The Legendeer is more than just a game. Play it if you dare.

 

The Karmidee trilogy:

otto

Otto is our endearingly bewildered young hero whose world suddenly becomes very odd. Going with his father, Albert, to the FireBox Launderette, Albert is called to help with ‘failing machinery’ and is seen by Otto calming a purple dragon in the back room. When his baby sisters start to fly, his grandmother becomes a unicorn, and street waifs fly along the street at night on magic carpets pursued by the new Normal Police force, life becomes odder and scarier. Otto learns – often riotously – that his city and his family are very special indeed. Here the last remaining magical people – the Karmidee – are living as an underclass of pedlars and tinkers, known as the ‘magicos’. But legend tells of a King, birthmarked with a butterfly, who will save the Karmidee from extinction. Particularly from the new Minister for Modernisation, Councillor Eifina Crink. With her Impossible List and Normal Police, she is determined to stamp out the Karmidee spirit. As repression intensifies, the Karmidee and their powers go underground, but their magic bursts out in the most unexpected places as a bid for freedom, with surprising, hilarious and extraordinary results.

 

The Wind on Fire trilogy:

wind singer

In the city of Aramanth, the mantra is, “Better today than yesterday. Better tomorrow than today.” Harder work means the citizens of Aramanth can keep moving forward to improved life stations–from Gray tenements and Orange apartments, upwards to glorious mansions of White. Only some families, like the Haths, believe more in ideas and dreams than in endless toil and ratings. When Kestrel Hath decides she is through with the Aramanth work ethic, she is joined in her small rebellion by her twin brother Bowman and their friend Mumpo. Together, they set the orderly city on its ear by escaping Aramanth’s walls for an adventure that takes them from city sewers to desert sandstorms. Guided by an archaic map, they know that if they can find the voice of the Wind Singer, an ancient and mysterious instrument that stands in the center of Aramanth, they can save their people from their dreamless existence. But the voice is guarded by the dreaded Morah and its legion of perfect killing machines, the Zars. Are three ragtag kids any match for an army of darkness?

 

The Belgariad series:

belgariad
Long ago, so the Storyteller claimed, the evil God Torak sought dominion and drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.

But that was only a story, and Garion did not believe in magic dooms, even though the dark man without a shadow had haunted him for years. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved – but did not know? For a while his dreams of innocence were safe, untroubled by knowledge of his strange heritage. For a little while…

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Unofficial Detective merchandise!

My publisher surprised me today by announcing that they’ve designed merchandise for Unofficial Detective, the first book in my Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy. I’m rather chuffed with how they look, and just how many options there are (mugs, t-shirts, cushions, posters).

There are two different designs, one featuring the book cover, and one with just the main image:

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If you would like to order one, you can get a 10% discount by using the code NCHAPTER. You can find them here and here.

As always, thanks for your continued support!

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It’s publication day!

I am pleased to say that today is the official publication day of Unseasoned Adventurer, the final book in my Half-Wizard Thordric Trilogy: Unseasoned-Adventurer-Main-File

 

If you would like to buy a copy, the ebook is available now, and the paperback will be out in a few weeks. Books one and two are available in both formats if you’d like to catch up! (The link to my author page on Amazon is on the ‘Books’ tab.)

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Cover reveal! Unseasoned Adventurer: Half-Wizard Thordric Book Three

Hello everyone, if you’ve been following me on social media, then you may have already seen the cover for the third and final book in my Half-Wizard Thordric series, if not, then here it is! (complete with blurb/back cover copy):

Unseasoned-Adventurer-Main-File

After six years in the Wizard Council, Thordric’s confidence in his magic has grown tremendously. But when High Wizard Vey, Thordric’s superior and closest friend, goes missing, he faces his greatest challenge yet.

Between finding a way to save him and trying to keep things calm at the Council, Thordric finds himself venturing to the four countries surrounding Dinia to seek out other forms of magic.

But his quest is far from easy… and dangers he never even dreamed about soon spring onto his path.

 

The book is currently available for pre-order, and will be published in a few weeks.

Happy reading!

(And now I have three matching covers, I can finally put them all together!)

Unofficial-Detective-Main-FileAccidental-Archaeologist-Main-FileUnseasoned-Adventurer-Main-File

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It’s publication day! Accidental Archaeologist: Half-Wizard Thordric Book Two is finally out!

Accidental-Archaeologist-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

As the title of this post would suggest, book 2 in my Half-Wizard Thordric series is now available to buy. Currently, it’s only on Kindle, but in a week or so the paperback will also be available. It’s rather exciting! If you love fantasy, plenty of humour, quests and YA reads, then this may be for you.

However, here’s the blurb just in case you’re not convinced yet:

Three years have passed since Thordric joined the Wizard Council. Together, with High Wizard Vey, they have reformed the council completely.

But while half-wizards can now train their magic freely and join the ranks of the mages, Thordric realizes that there are many who are completely unaware of this. Traveling to the faraway town of Valley Edge, he meets the young archaeologist Hamlet, who is traveling to a dig site where a new discovery has been made.

But not all is as it first appears, and once again Thordric has to put his magic to the test…in order to stop one of the greatest catastrophes their world has ever seen.

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Unofficial Detective is free until the 14th!

Hi guys, just a quick post to let you know that book one in my Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy, Unofficial Detective, is free for four days starting today. So if you’re looking for a new ebook to read and love fantasy and cosy mysteries, you can check it out here.

characters

Character Profile: Lizzie

Full name: Elizabeth Jimmson (Despite being married and then widowed, she always kept her maiden name, with the view that loving someone dearly need not change your entire identity.)

Next of Kin: Eric, son (missing), and Inspector Jimmson Jimmson, brother.

Age: That’s not a very tactful question for anyone to ask, in her opinion.

Favourite Colour: Does one need a favourite colour? She believes it changes depending on her mood, yet the brighter, the better.

Likes: Gardening, baking, teaching, hands-on work. Helping Thordric reach his magical potential.

Dislikes: Being addressed formally and treated differently simply because her younger brother is the Inspector of the local stationhouse. People who like to complain for the sake of complaining.

Life goals: To be reunited with her son, though she knows after so many years it is unlikely. Also to discover what the cause of her husband’s death really was, even if the truth is dark.

Most embarrassing moment: She doesn’t have embarrassing moments, only mild hiccups in her daily routine.

Books featured in: Half-Wizard Thordric Trilogy

characters

Character Profile: Thordric

Full name: Thordric Manfred Smallchance

Next of Kin: Maggie Smallchance, mother

Age: 14 1/2

Favourite colour: Red

Likes: Learning new things and how to control his magic, feeling included, painting, his mentor’s (Lizzie’s) cooking, trying to grow a beard…

Dislikes: Being bullied or made fun off, not being taken seriously, watching his mother carry out postmortems in her morgue, the current state of the Wizard Council.

Life goals: To prove that his magic isn’t dangerous, to have the same opportunities as others his age, to create new spells and potions, and to see half-wizards treated with the same respect as full wizards.

Most embarrassing moment: Too many to count, but having Lizzie catch him naked and then offer him fluffy pink towels to cover up always sticks prominently in his mind.

Books featured in: Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy

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Jard Town, the home of Thordric Manfred Smallchance

Today I thought I’d do something a bit different, and talk a bit about the town Unofficial Detective, my debut book, is set in.

Jard Town is its name, and it was given by its founder, the wizard Kalljard, who since the town’s inception one thousand years before Thordric’s story starts, was High Wizard of the Wizard Council (yes, he really was that old)… until his untimely death at the beginning of the book.

Before that, it was just a small settlement surrounded by forest and thus full of forest folk, including the Watchem Watchems, who even at that time, loved to disguise themselves as shrubbery and put people on edge by following them around. But Kalljard put an end to all that, driving every creature away and building the foundations of the town in their place.

Now it bustles with normal town life, full of carriages, wizards, half-wizards (though for reasons of personal safety, they don’t openly admit it), bakers, builders, students, dry cleaners, police officers and many serious people. Nothing special, really. Except, of course, that no-one knows how hateful and ruthless a man its founder truly was.

At least, not until Thordric stumbles – somewhat by accident – onto the truth.

 

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If you’re interested, Unofficial Detective is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as The Book Depository.

Reviews

Book review: Around the Universe in 10 -43 Second by Manu Breysse

A few weeks ago I was sent a copy of this book by the author as a prize in a draw I’d entered by offering my opinion on which cover he should use for the English edition (which mine is), as the original was written in French. Now, sci-fi isn’t one of my go-to genres, but when I do read it, I quite like it. And I liked this book. A lot.

The basic premise is that Earth (or Terra, as it’s called in the book), mysteriously vanished a loooong time ago, with a few surviving humans still lurking about elsewhere in the Universe. However, on a very small planet, there is a country similar to Ancient Egypt, which is home to a humanoid species. In fact, their King, Sareth, is very much like a Pharaoh, and is not the nicest guy around, due to the fact that he’s very quick to put people to death.

Anyway, just as Sareth’s about to have someone killed, a portal appears and he’s transported to another planet, where the technology is much more advanced – in fact, they have an enormous library which has the history of just about everything, including how his species came to be. But Sareth, knowing nothing of science, simply can’t get his head around the fact that it was a stray food container and not God, that started life on his planet. Then he happens to see a button claiming to take him to the meaning of life. He presses it – and error 404 pops up. Their is a bug in the library database, and all knowledge of the meaning of life has disappeared. Depressed, Sareth stumbles into a bar where he meets Jah, a memory-less alcoholic, who later introduces him to his psychiatrist, Sigmufred. Sigmufred is appalled that the meaning of life has disappeared – after all, most of his clients come to him for help after they’ve learnt what it is. So, to stop himself going out of business, Sigmufred, his daughter Straecia, Jah and Sareth all get on board the Flamboyant, an old ship with an occasionally sassy on-board computer, to travel around the Universe in search of the meaning of life.

As my not-so-brief synopsis might allude, this is a rather crazy book that in no way attempts to take itself seriously. However, it does touch on some quite philosophical questions and there is a lot of subtle (and not so subtle) political and social commentary. What I really enjoyed is that the narrator is treated as a character, and as they directly address you to explain the details of how things work, there is a lot of fourth wall breaking going on. This made all the info dumping (there’s lots of space-time continuum, pandimensional and 5th dimension explanations) actually relevant and interesting, and didn’t interrupt the flow of the narrative (because a narrator can’t really interrupt themselves, I suppose…).

Now, there was one thing that made me stumble a few times while reading, and that was the dialogue tags – in this case, there is a distinct lack of them. And with a big group of characters as Around the Universe boasts, there were times when I had no idea who was saying what. Whether in the French version, it’s made clear who’s talking by the vocabulary and style they use when speaking and that that’s simply been lost in translation, I don’t know, but it was definitely a setback in my enjoyment of the story. There were perhaps one or two characters that could have had a bit more development, but it was such a whirlwind of a story that I’m not sure how that could have been achieved.

Overall, I am glad that I had the opportunity to read this, as I probably would have passed over it otherwise – as I said above, sci-fi is not normally a genre I think about reading. Now I can say that this book has certainly inspired me to widen my scope. The whole thing was fun from beginning to end, and as this is the first book in a trilogy, I am absolutely looking forward to the next book.

Great job, Manu!