blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Heart of Neverland – Natalie J. Reddy

TheHeartofNeverland copy

I am thrilled to be part of the book tour for The Heart of Neverland by Natalie J. Reddy! Read on for more details!

eBook - The Heart of Neverland

The Heart of Neverland (The Neverwitch Chronicles #1)

Expected Publication Date: November 30th, 2022

Genre: Fantasy/ Romance/ Adventure/ Pirates/ Pan Retelling

One night.

That’s all it takes to turn my life upside down. It’s not like I had the most stable childhood to begin. Most of it was spent on the run from the villains in my mom’s head. It isn’t until after she’s murdered right in front of me that I realize maybe they weren’t in her head after all.

After her death I go to stay with an uncle I didn’t know existed to try to make sense of my life and find some answers about who I really am. As I search for the truth a guy named Peter shows up and makes it his mission to constantly get in my personal space. He’s gorgeous, flirty and completely infuriating. And possibly not actually human or from this world.

The things he tells me sound insane and I don’t think I can trust him. It doesn’t matter that each heated touch draws me deeper into his web. Things like magic, pirates and Peter Pan just aren’t real.

PRE-ORDER HERE!

About the Author

Author

Natalie J. Reddy is a Canadian Author who spends her days trying to escape reality by making up stories about the characters in her head.

Natalie realized at an early age that she had a passion for storytelling and that passion followed her into adulthood. There is nothing she loves more than to be pulled into a fictional world whether it’s in her own writing or the writing of others. Natalie is the author of the Scar of Days Forgotten series, a New Adult Urban Fantasy series with characters who have supernatural abilities and dark and sometimes unknown pasts to overcome.

When she’s not writing, Natalie can be found having all sorts of real-life adventures with her husband and daughter or curled up with a good book and a cup of tea.

To keep up to date on upcoming books, subscribe to Natalie’s newsletter at nataliejreddy.com

Natalie J. Reddy | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

My thoughts: this was a very interesting take on the Peter Pan story. There’s a lot of darkness in the original and Natalie J. Reddy has certainly explored that element here, Pan is not a sweet innocent, but a grown man who will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. With strong adult themes (consent, sex, murder) this is not the Disneyfied story you might be expecting.

Book Tour Schedule

November 28th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@atrailofpages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/atrailofpages/

@over.on.my.bookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/over.on.my.bookshelf/?hl=en

Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

@accio_mischief (Review) https://www.instagram.com/accio_mischief/

November 29th

@amber.bunch_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

@the.brooke.library (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the.brooke.library/

@ecce.libri (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ecce.libri/

@mels_booksandhooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/mels_booksandhooks/

@_toris.thoughts_ (Review) https://www.instagram.com/_toris.thoughts_/

November 30th

@its_b.e.l.l.e (Review) https://www.instagram.com/its_b.e.l.l.e/

I Smell Sheep (Review) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

@the_pageling (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the_pageling/

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

I Love Books & Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

@ better_0ff_read (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/better_0ff_read/

December 1st

@alexis.reads__ (Review) https://instagram.com/alexis.reads__?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

@thelibrocubicularista (Review) https://www.instagram.com/thelibrocubicularista/

@mandioyster (Review) https://www.instagram.com/mandioyster/

@wendyreadsforfun (Review) https://www.instagram.com/wendyreadsforfun/

Freelance Writer, Janny C (Spotlight) https://freelancewriterjannyc.com/

December 2nd

Cheryl’s Book Nook (Review) https://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf/

@wolfesbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/wolfesbooks

Book Reviews by Taylor (Review) https://www.bookreviewsbytaylor.com

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Into the Forest – edited by Lindy Ryan, introduced by Christina Henry

A women-in-horror anthology edited by Lindy Ryan. Foreword by Christina Henry.

Into the Forest features twenty-three new and exclusive stories inspired by the Baba Yaga—the witch of Slavic folklore—written by some of today’s leading women-in-horror. Featured contributors include Bram Stoker Award® winners and nominees Gwendolyn Kiste, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Mercedes M. Yardley, Monique Snyman, Donna Lynch, Lisa Quigley, and R. J. Joseph, among others, as well as New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline West, and an introduction by novelist Christina Henry. The collection also features a poem from Bram Stoker Award® winning poet, Stephanie M. Wytovich, and pieces penned by “freshly hatched” voices of women-in-horror from around the globe

Deep in the dark forest, in a cottage that spins on birds’ legs behind a fence topped with human skulls, lives the Baba Yaga. A guardian of the water of life, she lives with her sisters and takes to the skies in a giant mortar and pestle, creating tempests as she goes. Those who come across the Baba Yaga may find help, or hinderance, or horror.

She is wild, she is woman, she is witch—and these are her tales.

Edited by Lindy Ryan (Under Her Skin), this collection brings together some of today’s leading voices of women-in-horror as they pay tribute to the baba yaga, and go Into the Forest. Each story reflects the wild and temperamental nature of the Baba Yaga, ranging from dark fantasy and folklore to horror as each go deep in the dark forest, and the diverse and inclusive experiences of women as they look to Baba Yaga as their muse.

Lindy Ryan is a bestselling and multi-award-winning author-editor-director with numerous titles in development for film/television adaptation. An award-winning professor, Lindy has published two textbooks on visual data analytics as well as numerous papers and chapters. She also writes seasonal romance as Lindy Miller and is the author of the forthcoming books-to-film Renovate My Heart and The Magic Ingredient. Lindy currently serves as a board member for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and was named a 2020 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. She is an active member and staff volunteer for the Horror Writers Association.

Christina Henry is the best-selling author of the BLACK WINGS series featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle Beezle. She enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with samurai, zombies and/or subtitles in her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

My thoughts: as a child the only witch I was afraid of was Baba Yaga, all of the fairy tales, myths and legends I read, all of the scary things dwelling in the pages but only an old woman in a house on chicken legs, with a fence made of bones, who travels in a giant pestle and mortar, terrified me.

This excellent collection of poems, short stories and reimaginings reignited the finger of fear that Baba Yaga left in my spine as a child. I can’t pick a favourite piece, they’re all so good. And while all of the authors are women, they’re a diverse crowd and bring their unique styles and backgrounds to these tales. While the Baba Yaga originated in Slavic countries and the most famous version is Russian, she resonates in many cultures and traditions, the old woman whose sometimes young, sometimes one or three, and sometimes she’s you, or me…

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: Kaikeyi – Vaishnavi Patel

“I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions-much good it did me.”

So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on tales of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.

Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her.

But as the evil from her childhood stories threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. And Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak-and what legacy she intends to leave behind.

A stunning debut from a powerful new voice, Kaikeyi reimagines the life of the infamous queen from the Indian epic the Ramayana, weaving a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak-of an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come.

My thoughts: featuring characters from the epic Hindu tale the Ramayana, which tells the story of Rama, an incarnation of the god Vishnu, and his quest to rescue his kidnapped wife Sita from the demon king Ravana. This is actually set before the events of the Ramayana, inspired by a tiny plot point where Rama is exiled by his stepmother Kaikeyi.

By giving Kaikeyi a voice and a story of her own, growing up a princess and marrying a king as his third wife, this creates a rich and fascinating world in which to explore gender and caste dynamics as well as the complex family life that Rama and his brothers were raised in.

Kaikeyi is clever and kind, but sometimes misguided. Convinced the gods do not care for her, she attempts to learn some magic and manipulate matters and people around her.

As she ages and becomes a wife and mother, her desires change. She wants to make the kingdom better, happier, and help women to find their voices. But as she makes these changes and improves some things, there are those who oppose her and their power over her beloved sons is dangerous.

I was utterly fascinated, I vaguely know the story in the Ramayana from school, but it isn’t a myth cycle I know as well as some others. Possibly because it is part of the founding stories of Hinduism and is taught in RE and not as literature, like Norse or Greek myths are.

Which is a shame as the epic stories of gods, monsters, heroes and battles that make up not just the Ramayana are incredible and deserve a wider audience. Hopefully more retellings of these stories like Kaikeyi will introduce new readers to them. Kaikeyi is a wonderful character, a real force of nature and all too human, even as she meets gods and sees demons slayed, making this not just a myth but a human story of one woman trying to do what she believes is right.

Thank you to Orbit Books and Nazia for my gifted copy of this book.

books, reviews

Book Review: Ithaca – Claire North

This is the story of Penelope of Ithaca, famed wife of Odysseus, as it has never been told before. Beyond Ithaca’s shores, the whims of gods dictate the wars of men. But on the isle, it is the choices of the abandoned women—and their goddesses—that will change the course of the world.

“North brings a powerful, fresh, and unflinching voice to ancient myth. Breathtaking.” Jennifer Saint, author of AriadneSeventeen years ago, King Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them has returned, and the women of Ithaca have been left behind to run the kingdom.

Penelope was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. While he lived, her position was secure. But now, years on, speculation is mounting that her husband is dead, and suitors are beginning to knock at her door. 

No one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus’ empty throne—not yet. But everyone waits for the balance of power to tip, and Penelope knows that any choice she makes could plunge Ithaca into bloody civil war. Only through cunning, wit, and her trusted circle of maids, can she maintain the tenuous peace needed for the kingdom to survive.

From the multi-award-winning author Claire North comes a daring reimagining that breathes life into ancient myth and gives voice to the women who stand defiant in a world ruled by ruthless men. It’s time for the women of Ithaca to tell their tale . . .

My thoughts: having spent large chunks of my life reading and studying The Iliad and The Odyssey (sometimes in the original Greek, headache inducing as that was) I feel very familiar with the characters. I’ve read Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, which also tells some of Penelope’s story, but in a different way to this book.

Penelope has long been seen as the ultimate faithful wife, staving off an army of suitors, carefully unraveling her weaving by night to prolong her ability to avoid remarriage – convinced that nothing will stop clever Odysseus from coming home.

This book gives her new agency, gives her back her intelligence and character, fills her out so she’s no longer simply “the good wife” of myth. She’s a queen, a daughter of Sparta, her mother was a naiad (a water sprite) and she is smart and cunning. She keeps her kingdom afloat, trades wisely and employs her own spy mistress and retinue of loyal and trusted women around her. Men expect to be mute, as she is in The Odyssey, but here, with her women, she speaks.

She tries to aid her cousin Clytemnestra (sister of Helen, married to Agamemnon’s brother Menelaus, the reason for the whole Trojan war), scorned and furious wife of Agamemnon, hunted by her own children Elektra and Orestes (for their fates, try the Greek plays the Orestaia and Elektra – it doesn’t end well) for murdering their father in revenge over the death of their daughter Iphigenia (sacrificed at the beginning of The Iliad). Much of Greek myth is tragedy and very messy, the whole of Agamemnon’s family illustrates that very clearly.

She must also defend against raiders, dressed as Illyrians (I think from what is now Italy, if I remember my ancient geography correctly), but behaving more like Greeks. Secretly she gathers a fighting force of women, taught by a Scythian female warrior.

Narrated by Hera, Queen of the gods, goddess of women and childbirth, constantly at odds with her sprawling and complicated family, fascinated by Penelope, determined to whisper in a few ears and aid this human woman, wife to Athena’s favoured hero, to give her wisdom and support as she steers her court through the long years of Odysseus’ absence and the constant, irritating presence of the infamous suitors, who by Greek rules of hospitality must be catered for every day and night.

A clever, beguiling and intelligent retelling of one of the oldest pieces of Western literature, breathing new life into a far more complex woman than that old myth would have you believe.

Thank you to Orbit and Nazia for my finished copy of this beautiful book.

books, reviews

Book Review: Bookish and the Beast – Ashley Poston

I was kindly sent this by a very nice PR person but as always all opinions are my own.

A tale as old as time is made new in Ashley Poston’s fresh, geeky retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

My thoughts:

I haven’t read the other two books in the Once Upon a Con series yet, but I will, because I am a fairy tale and folklore nerd.

When I wrote my MA dissertation it was about Neil Gaiman’s use of mythic tropes, fairy tales and folkloric elements – his Norse Mythology book didn’t exist yet, so I focused on American Gods, Anansi Boys and of course the epic Sandman series.

I own dozens of books of fairy tales, about fairy tales (like heavy academic ones) and collect retellings. My favourite is Kissing the Witch by Emma Donaghue, which is very excellent.

On to this book – there are a fair few YA retellings of Beauty & the Beast knocking about, I liked Of Curses & Kisses by Sandhya Menon last year, and I had my fingers crossed this one would be fun too.

And it is. So much fun, and silly, and thoughtful and sweet. Rosie and her friends (and Space Dad) are delightful, Vance and Elias are the Odd Couple of our times and the dog, look, I love animals, even fictional ones, and Sansa the dog is a cutie (although I kept picturing Nicole Cliffe’s Sansa who is a husky not an Alsatian).

I really loved how nerdy and genuine the characters are, and yay for Quinn living their life and running for Homecoming Overlord. Brilliant subplot.

Basically this was a joyful, fun, whimsical read and you should all go buy a copy.

Me, I’m off to read Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl.

books, reviews

Book Review: Cursed – Edited by Marie O’Regan & Paul Kane

ALL THE BETTER TO READ YOU WITH
It’s a prick of blood, the bite of an apple, the evil eye, a wedding ring or a pair of red shoes. Curses come in all shapes and sizes, and they can happen to anyone, not just those of us with unpopular stepparents…
Here you’ll find unique twists on curses, from fairy tale classics to brand-new hexes of the modern world – expect new monsters and mythologies as well as twists on well-loved fables. Stories to shock and stories of warning, stories of monsters and stories of magic.
TWENTY TIMELESS FOLKTALES, NEW AND OLD
NEIL GAIMAN
JANE YOLEN
KAREN JOY FOWLER
M.R. CAREY
CHRISTINA HENRY
CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN
TIM LEBBON
MICHAEL MARSHALL SMITH
CHARLIE JANE ANDERS
JEN WILLIAMS
CATRIONA WARD
JAMES BROGDEN
MAURA McHUGH
ANGELA SLATTER
LILLITH SAINTCROW
CHRISTOPHER FOWLER
ALISON LITTLEWOOD
MARGO LANAGAN

My thoughts:

I am always available for new takes on fairy tales and folklore, so this collection was a treat. A mix of poems, short stories and vignettes focusing on the role of curses in classic fairy tales, twisting them into new creatures.

A host of established and critically acclaimed authors offer up their takes on being cursed.

I was kindly sent a copy of this book with no obligation to review.