Tag Archive | J.L.Clayton

Guest Review by J L Clayton: Infinity by Allaina Daniels

Professional animal trainer Carmen Rockwell thinks she only needs her friend Lissy and the foster family that raised her. She doesn’t think she needs anyone else. “Guys?” She doesn’t need a guy. Who could blame her after the previous relationship?! However, she goes away for a job and finds herself suddenly drawn into a new world! In walks Gabriel. A sexy, badass of a guy who I would love to get my hands on. Yummy! Sigh. He turns Carmen’s life upside down.  I wanted to slap Carmen and say, “Come on girl, sexy guy who is sweet and charming. Give it up already!” Yes she has been through a lot, but I was still screaming at her. Infinity is such a tease! Oh, you get your hot and steamy and trust me, it was worth it when it does come. I was like finally. Finally!

This is a must read.  I loved this book, it’s a fun,easy read and I cannot wait until the next book. Author Daniels is a wonderful writer, she is witty and charming. I would love it if the author would write about Lissy and Riley. I was really loving Riley’s character! Maybe the author will write about them soon? Five stars!
Twitter ID: @AllainaDaniels

About J.L.Clayton:

JL Clayton is the author of the Chosen Saga: A Spark of Magic, A Blaze of Magic and most recently, A Ghost of Magic. Check out the Segnalibro reviews of A Spark of Magic and A Blaze of Magic here. I’m reading and A Ghost of Magic now, so keep a look out for a review coming to Segnalibro soon.

Guest Review by J.L.Clayton: Down the Dark Path by J Edward Neill

When Andelusia Anderae leaves home in search of a better life, she accidentally plunges into the world-ending war between Graehelm and Furyon. The deeper she falls, the more she senses the dark powers rising within her, and the more she realizes she is not so different than the enemy. Love might not be enough to save her, for the Furyons are all-powerful, and the shadow within her desires her more than any living man ever will.
Down the Dark Path chronicles the struggles of six individuals during the Furyon invasion of Graehelm and sets the stage for the horrific powers lurking behind the war. For even as the Furyons threaten to end all life, thetrue enemy, the ancient civilization of the Ur, draws nearer to rebirth.

What can I say about Author Neill that I haven’t already said. Clearly a lot. Author Neill has a brilliant mind. I purchased this book knowing what I would be expecting: Excellence. The way he tells his stories from the beginning to the end is simply captivating. You can tell all of his characters apart from each other, so this book was a fast read for me. This is a great book that had me sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what would happen next. Author Neill is such a passionate writer that it comes across the pages of his books when you read them.  In Down the Dark Path, the battle scenes are amazing, I imagined myself there fighting for my life. One day, I believe you will see Author Neill’s name on a bestseller list. Bravo yet again, five stars!


J.L.Clayton is the author of A Spark of Magic and A Blaze of Magic, the first two books from The Chosen Saga. She is currently working on A Ghost of Magic.

You can find reviews of J.L. Clayton’s two fabulous books written by me by clicking on the following links:

A Spark of Magic Book Review

A Blaze of Magic Book Review

Girl Online: On Tour

Zoe (Zoella) Sugg Girl Online: On Tour 80 days in the top 100 Release Date: 20 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £12.99 £6.49

The Mentor

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli , Aaron Maines The Mentor (70) Download: £3.99

The Photographer's Wife

Nick Alexander 290 days in the top 100 The Photographer's Wife (1080) Download: £0.99

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike)

Robert Galbraith Release Date: 20 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £20.00 £9.00

Harry Potter Colouring Book

Warner Brothers Harry Potter Colouring Book 33 days in the top 100 Release Date: 5 Nov. 2015 Buy new: £9.99 £6.99

The Lake House

Kate Morton Release Date: 22 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £18.99 £5.99

The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From a Small Island

Bill Bryson 28 days in the top 100 The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From a Small Island (55) Buy new: £20.00 £9.00 33 used & new from £8.18

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire

Dan Howell , Phil Lester The Amazing Book is Not on Fire 73 days in the top 100 The Amazing Book is Not on Fire (70) Buy new: £16.99 £8.00 14 used & new from £8.00

The Tea Planter's Wife

Dinah Jefferies The Tea Planter's Wife 38 days in the top 100 The Tea Planter's Wife (183) Download: £3.66

Guest Review by JL Clayton: An Unexpected Sojourn by D.B. Graves

To say that author D. B. Graves first novel was interesting is putting it mildly. This book is a whirlwind of different characters. At one point I didn’t know who’s side I was on. However, Jack was always my favorite. The story starts off slow and it builds up from there. I can say I’ve never read a book like this. You have your time traveling secret society, with hot and bloody sex scenes. I was grossed out and turned on, I believe I may have some sex issues I didn’t even know existed until I read this book. Author Graves takes your imagination to a dark, deadly place full of sex that will have you desiring more. This book has loss, mystery, danger and some down and dirty multi partner sexual intercourse. I can say I’ve never read a book like this. If you’re looking for a unique, brilliantly written book that will have your mind racing, then this is your book!
Bravo, Author Graves on your first novel. I can’t wait until you write the next book in the series!
Twitter Link: @ImDBGraves


J.L.Clayton is the author of A Spark of Magic and A Blaze of Magic, the first two books from The Chosen Saga. She is currently working on A Ghost of Magic.

You can find reviews of J.L. Clayton’s two fabulous books written by me by clicking on the following links:

A Spark of Magic Book Review

A Blaze of Magic Book Review

Stampy's Lovely Book

Joseph Garrett Release Date: 22 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £7.99 £5.59

Grandpa's Great Escape

David Walliams Grandpa's Great Escape 58 days in the top 100 Grandpa's Great Escape (57) Buy new: £12.99 £5.00 26 used & new from £3.98

How it Works: The Husband (Ladybird Books for Grown-Ups)

Jason Hazeley , Joel Morris Release Date: 29 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £6.99 £5.24

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike)

Robert Galbraith Release Date: 20 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £20.00 £9.00

The Photographer's Wife

Nick Alexander The Photographer's Wife 287 days in the top 100 The Photographer's Wife (1074) Download: £0.99

The Mentor

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli , Aaron Maines The Mentor (34) Download: £3.99

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter Illustrated Editi)

J.K. Rowling , Jim Kay Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter Illustrated Editi) 37 days in the top 100 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter Illustrated Editi) (83) Buy new: £30.00 £15.00 36 used & new from £15.00

Girl Online: On Tour

Zoe (Zoella) Sugg Release Date: 20 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £12.99 £6.49

Guest Review by J L Clayton: The Before (The Undying Love Series) by Isabelle Connors

My take on Skylar: A soccer playing-good-looking-guy that you just can’t help but fall in love with. He lives his life the way he wants to. No attachments to girls, just hanging out and having fun. If people can’t handle that, well he really doesn’t need them in his life, yet he gives them a chance to get on his level. Skylar is uprooted from his home and friends, now he has to start over, that’s when he sees her…
This book was a fun, fast, beautifully written book that takes you out of reality and into the life of Skylar. This is the first book I have read from author Connors and I loved it so much, that I decided to buy the other two books in this series. If you like romance, chick lit and humor, then you’ll definitely love this book. Author Connors puts all of these elements together in this short brilliantly, written story, making it a fantastic read. I am a big fan of Connors and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series. I recommend this book to anyone, it was a five star read for me.

 

J.L.Clayton is the author of A Spark of Magic and A Blaze of Magic, the first two books from The Chosen Saga. She is currently working on A Ghost of Magic.

You can find reviews of J.L. Clayton’s two fabulous books written by me by clicking on the following links:

A Spark of Magic Book Review

A Blaze of Magic Book Review

Harry Potter Colouring Book

Warner Brothers Harry Potter Colouring Book 20 days in the top 100 Release Date: 5 Nov. 2015 Buy new: £9.99 £6.99

Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom – A Colouring Book Adventure

Millie Marotta 278 days in the top 100 Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom - A Colouring Book Adventure (1292) Buy new: £9.99 £3.99 47 used & new from £2.13

Everyday Super Food

Jamie Oliver 51 days in the top 100 Everyday Super Food (149) Buy new: £26.00 £11.99 46 used & new from £8.70

Get Even

Martina Cole Download: £9.99

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: A New Way of Getting Children to Sleep

Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin , Irina Maununen The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: A New Way of Getting Children to Sleep 30 days in the top 100 The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: A New Way of Getting Children to Sleep (498) Buy new: £7.99 £4.00 29 used & new from £2.74

Harry Potter Colouring Book

Warner Brothers Release Date: 5 Nov. 2015 Buy new: £9.99 £6.99

The Mentor

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli , Aaron Maines The Mentor (10) Download: £3.99

Guest Review by J L Clayton – The Panty Whisperer: Volume 1 by Sloane Howell

Joel – “THE MAJORITY OF MEN WANT sex just to get off. They blow their load, roll over, and fall asleep. That’s not my style though. I want you to remember my face. I want you to remember every inch of me. And you will.”
This is a sexy-oh-my-God, can I be her for the day kind of read.
Jessica Moore is at her job, she is in need of help with a project… In walks Joel Hannover, an all around cool guy, that knows how to handle the ladies. Jessica is in a hopeless marriage, she has two kids and she is feeling unattractive… Until Joel looks at her. He makes her feel alive, just like he does with every new woman who is feeling these same things. Their last day working together and Joel knows it’s now or never. Out in the garage parking lot of Jessica’s work place, Joel teases her body back to live… Something she has been missing for a while now. Okay, so sex in a parking lot might not sound too appealing to some people, but let me just say Sloane Howell has written it perfectly. There is so much want and longing, that you’ll find yourself pressed up against the car window begging for more. Or if you’re the guy… I’m pretty sure you’ll see yourself as Joel, pleasuring Jessica in ways she’s never felt before.
Bravo Sloane Howell, you did a fantastic job! Five stars.

J.L.Clayton is the author of A Spark of Magic and A Blaze of Magic, the first two books from The Chosen Saga. She is currently working on A Ghost of Magic.

You can find reviews of J.L. Clayton’s two fabulous books written by me by clicking on the following links:

A Spark of Magic Book Review

A Blaze of Magic Book Review

The Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins 261 days in the top 100 The Girl on the Train (7713) Download: £5.70

The Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train 255 days in the top 100 The Girl on the Train (7713) Buy new: £12.99 £6.00 73 used & new from £4.78

Harry Potter Colouring Book

Warner Brothers Publication Date: 5 Nov. 2015 Buy new: £9.99

The Back Road

Rachel Abbott The Back Road 270 days in the top 100 The Back Road (1760) Download: £0.99

After Anna

Alex Lake 35 days in the top 100 After Anna (98) Download: £0.99

Grandpa's Great Escape

David Walliams Grandpa's Great Escape 34 days in the top 100 Release Date: 24 Sept. 2015 Buy new: £12.99 £6.49

Username: Evie

Joe Sugg 37 days in the top 100 Username: Evie (47) Buy new: £14.99 £7.00 11 used & new from £6.69

Six Months of Reviewing Novels: An Education

It’s been a while since I did a train of thought post so I thought I’d put the reviews to one side for an evening and do one now.  My first few posts on Segnalibro were about my thoughts on things that interested me in the literary world. However, two conversations with the brilliant authors Rob Sinclair (Dance With the Enemy, Rise of the Enemy) and Matt Johnson (Wicked Game and Deadly Game) inspired me to review their début novels, as I found myself surprised that I was reading, and enjoying, books in a genre that would never have appealed to me before. It is pretty safe to say that I caught the bug and I have reviewed books in more or less every genre since then. Six months after that first semi-review of Rob and Matt’s books, I feel that I have learned a few things about this reviewing lark.

One thing I have found is that it is much easier to review books you have enjoyed immensely or hated with a passion. I’ve been very fortunate that I have read some lovely novels which have been engaging from start to finish and I have loved waxing lyrical about some of the books that I really felt stood out among the others I was reading at the time. There are three books that spring to mind as books that completely floored me with their amazing narratives and wonderful plots. The first one is The Last Days of Disco by David F. Ross. I loved this book for its nostalgic reminders of my childhood in the 1980’s and the hilarious antics of main protagonist, Bobby Cassidy. Just when I thought that this book couldn’t get any better, by the end of the book, the flood gates were open. If a book can make me laugh and cry, it’s a winner for me, and The Last Days of Disco did just that. This was also the first book I reviewed from Orenda Books and it won’t be the last, that’s for sure!

The next book that had me stunned was One Man Crusade by Steven Suttie. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book but after being contacted by Steven Suttie requesting that I tried his book, I thought I’d give it a try. Never have I had such an intense reaction to a novel. I broke my heart reading it. This gritty novel about a Manchester police department hunting down a paedophile killer left me reeling as Suttie, in true journalistic fashion, gives the reader an illustration of how a situation can escalate in a society that has 24 hour updates and constant social media feeds. Suttie merely gives the facts, leaving the reader to decide their own point of view, not to mention, his clever tactic of waiting until you are a several chapters into the novel before giving you the story of the man who is killing paedophiles and has become the hero of the nation for doing so. I implored everyone I know to read this book and if I’m ever asked to recommend a book, One Man Crusade is always one of the first I mention. A friend of mine read this recently on my recommendation and I was really happy that she liked it, so much so that she bought and read the sequel, Neighbours from Hell, which was released on Monday, which I haven’t even got round to reading yet!

The third book that has surprised me by its brilliance is a recent read, The Demon of Darkling Reach by PJ Fox. Again, I wasn’t sure that this was going to be a book that I’d enjoy, again allowing myself to be put off by the genre. (I will never learn!) However, this is one of the most beautiful narratives I’ve read in a very long time. When I was studying towards my English degree, I read many classics, a number of them gothic novels, and I was reminded of the intricacy of these novels when I read Fox’s tale of Isla, a feisty, young daughter of an imprudent earl who has squandered his money away to the point where he has to offer the hand of his daughter in marriage to the enigmatic duke, Tristan Mountbatten, aka The Demon of Darkling Reach. The plot itself is magnificent but what I loved was that the narrative had all the beauty of a classic novel but with the features of modern literature that are only hinted at in their predecessors, such as swearing and direct sexual references. This book was also an education in the traditions and practices of mediaeval life, which I found absolutely fascinating. This is another book that I am plugging endlessly to anyone who will listen!

Of course, these all fall into the “Books I’ve Loved” category. There has only been one book that has left me so irritated that I felt the need to write an almost fully negative review, which was Gray Justice by Alan McDermott. I was completely frustrated by this book because it had all the makings of a really enjoyable novel, if only the writer could be bothered putting the time into his main protagonist. As a reader, it was expected that you would sympathise and champion Tom Gray, yet we know barely anything about him. McDermott focuses his attention on the wrong characters, has unfeasible plot twists and the final showdown has so many characters in so many locations that it is impossible to fathom who is where, at what stage and what the implications are of where the characters are located for the rest of the novel. I was frustrated because it could be such a better novel than it is with a bit more investment from the author into the main character’s emotions, perceptions and by building an affinity between the reader and Tom Gray.

What these four books had in common is that they were easy to write about. The paragraphs almost wrote themselves as I typed away, because, good or bad, the narratives were rich in elements to comment about. What I have found during this reviewing learning curve, is that it isn’t always that easy. I will always give my honest opinion and I will always try to focus more on the positive than the negative, but sometimes, when the narrative is distinctly average or it is a book that doesn’t particularly interest me although it may be enjoyable to others, it is difficult to find the words, which for someone who can normally talk/write until the cows come home (this post being a classic example), is a very strange situation to find myself in. There have been a few books which, to be honest, have just not excited me. They were okay and readable, but there is just not much to say about them. I probably just need more practice, but that would mean reading many more “okay” books and less time reading the “amazing” books as I have noted above.

However, I have found that I have really enjoyed reading and reviewing books from all genres and I have loved the conversations that it has led to with the various authors who I have reviewed books for. Special mention must go to my lovely guest reviewer, J.L.Clayton, who has become an amazing Twitter/Facebook Buddy and is, without a doubt, my biggest supporter as she retweets/shares everything I post, which is invaluable to me. She has also wrote two fantastic books with a third in progress (A Spark of Magic and A Blaze of Magic) and I really value her encouragement and her experience in writing and publishing her own books.

The fact that I have generated a review feedback page attests to my joy at the great feedback I have received over the last six months. The feedback has been so gratefully received by me while I have been finding my feet at book reviewing and I want to thank every author who has taken the time to thank me for my efforts. Of course, my feedback tweet from Rob Lowe, though short and sweet, will be forever etched in my memory (and in my phone photos, and on my website, Twitter feed, Facebook page…) although a “Thanks for making Stories I Only Tell My Friends Segnalibro’s July Book of the Month” would have been nice! (Just kidding – I love my tweet for Love Life and I will treasure it forever!) In all seriousness, another thing I have learned in this process is that the authors I have encountered are lovely and I have been very fortunate that I have had nothing but encouragement from the authors whose books I have reviewed. Long may this continue!

Finally, I have learned that book reviewing is an addictive hobby. If I’m not reviewing, I’m reading (although I did a lot of this anyway) and it is a lovely way to enjoy my spare time. I have got myself into a little routine now: day job, time with the children, reading/reviewing, with a few meals and chores in between. I never thought when I started my website that I would be enjoying writing posts as much as I do. I wish I had more time to spend on it but nonetheless, setting up www.segnalibro.co.uk is one of the best things I have done and I am immensely proud of it. Here is to many, many more book reviews, train of thought posts, Golden Book Ratings, Segnalibro Book’s of the Month and to making contact with some amazing people. I hope this indulgent, not-so-little post hasn’t put you to sleep, and if it has, I hope that was the intention when you started reading, in which case, the post is a success! Thanks for reading and thanks for your support over the last six months. Lisa xx

 

Girl Online: On Tour

Zoe (Zoella) Sugg Release Date: 20 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £12.99 £6.49

The Signature of All Things

Elizabeth Gilbert The Signature of All Things 2 days in the top 100 The Signature of All Things (213) Download: £5.39

Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom – A Colouring Book Adventure

Millie Marotta 261 days in the top 100 Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom - A Colouring Book Adventure (1206) Buy new: £9.99 £3.99 46 used & new from £2.39

After Anna

Alex Lake 32 days in the top 100 After Anna (88) Download: £0.99

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire

Dan Howell , Phil Lester Release Date: 8 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £16.99 £8.49

Rogue Lawyer

John Grisham Release Date: 20 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £20.00 £10.00

Little Girl Gone

Alexandra Burt Little Girl Gone (18) Download: £0.99

Guest Review of Hollow Empire Episode One by J. Edward Neill & J McGuire – Written by Author J.L.Clayton

After a plague hits, only a few towns still stand. But they might cease to exist. In Hollow Empire Episode One, you get a peek into the lives of five people. Vadim, Nadya, Cassidy, Murgul and Ranier. I’ve read author Neill’s work before so I expected nothing but amazing writing and unique characters. Needless to say, he delivered yet again. This was the first time I’ve had a chance to read anything author McGuire has written, but the two authors came together and made a wonderful short. The book is only 53 pages, but you can get the first book for free on Amazon so it’s worth trying. If you enjoy it like I did, you can get the rest of the episodes. There are 6 in total.

 

About the author’s:
J.Edward Neill:
 J Edward Neill Bio
 The FULL SEASON (Episodes 1-6) are now available at:
http://www.amazon.com/Hollow-Empire-Season-Night-Knives-ebook/dp/B00OBQSHEA/

Twitter : @JEdwardNeill
 

John R McGuire

J McGuire Bio

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s//ref=mw_dp_a_s?ie=UTF8&i=digital-text&k=John+McGuire

Website: www.tesseraguild.com

Note by Segnalibro

About J.L.Clayton

J.L.Clayton is the author of A Spark of Magic and A Blaze of Magic, the first two books from The Chosen Saga. She is currently working on A Ghost of Magic. She has kindly agreed to write some guest reviews for me and this is the first of hopefully many.

You can find reviews of J.L. Clayton’s  two fabulous books written by me by clicking on the following links:

A Spark of Magic Book Review

A Blaze of Magic Book Review

Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Colouring Book

Johanna Basford 166 days in the top 100 Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Colouring Book (352) Buy new: £9.95 £6.97 38 used & new from £4.99

Marius' Mules VIII: Sons of Taranis

S.J.A. Turney Download: £1.99

Revenge

Martina Cole Revenge 227 days in the top 100 Revenge (1671) Download: £0.99

Make Me: (Jack Reacher 20)

Lee Child Release Date: 10 Sept. 2015 Buy new: £20.00 £10.00

Abducted (Lizzy Gardner Series, Book 1)

T.R. Ragan Abducted (Lizzy Gardner Series, Book 1) 101 days in the top 100 Abducted (Lizzy Gardner Series, Book 1) (563) Download: £1.00

My Sister's Secret

Tracy Buchanan My Sister's Secret 17 days in the top 100 My Sister's Secret (30) Download: £0.99

A Blaze of Magic by J.L. Clayton

Last week, I read A Spark of Magic by J.L. Clayton and loved it. (A Spark of Magic Book Review) I loved it so much that I put my next intended read on hold to read the sequel, A Blaze of Magic. There were so many unanswered questions and readers are left with a fantastically frustrating cliffhanger that I cannot imagine what those who read it before the sequel was released went through during that period! We were left wondering how Charlie was going to handle the fact that she was a supernatural with magic powers and that her Mum and Dad weren’t her real parents.

A Blaze of Magic is quite different in comparison to the first novel. It is quite fast paced and there are many more supernatural happenings than in the first one. I read it quicker than the first one, over two nights. Whereas with A Spark of Magic, there was a lot of necessary characterisation to inform the reader of the key characters, A Blaze of Magic is pure, unadulterated action from start to finish. We are introduced to a number of new characters, Asher the vampire being my favourite, and after being totally anti-vampire up to now, I think Asher may be the exception to the rule. I’m not going to say whether he falls into the “goodie” or “baddie” camp as I wouldn’t want to give too much away but either way, he’s very alluring.

Charlie gains her powers very early in the book and it seems that she is more than just your average supernatural being; she is a super-supernatural being called a Cypher. She has the ability to suck the powers from others to use herself and is expected to be the champion of the Supernaturals to destroy the Traveller, Crispin, the enigmatic, Christian Grey-like (in my opinion) character from the first book. However, she struggles to cope with the enormity of the task being put to her and she also struggles to control the powers that she has. Considering she is only 16 it is no surprise that she is finding it difficult to put her thoughts in order to deal with this situation, and like in the first book, it is easy to forget that Charlie is so young.

One of the powers that Charlie acquires is to read the thoughts of the other characters. This works as a great technique to allow the reader to know what the other characters are thinking as Charlie gains her super-powers. However,  when it is used to give clues about which of the characters from A Spark of Magic will betray Charlie and the other “sups”, I think it was all a bit too obvious. Perhaps this was the author’s intention but it could have been dragged out a bit more and been more of a surprise when Charlie is faced with her enemy. However, this is a small niggle, and does not by any means ruin the plot.

Like in A Spark of Magic, the narrative voice switches from Charlie to other major characters in the book and the writing style for each voice is barely recognisable from the previous one. This is a real testament to Clayton’s writing ability and you really feel like the personality traits of each character is emanating from the page as she switches from snarky, self deprecating Charlie, to the poetic, formal Crispin with incredible ease.

As the action moves location right at the beginning of A Blaze of Magic, to the supernatural town of Callamose, the sense that Charlie knows this place well even though she doesn’t remember ever being there is handled really well. Having been here before many times but had her memory wiped each time lets the reader know why she was so drawn to Jace when she first met him. They were great friends at Callamose, and Jace was in love with Charlie. Jace plays a much more prominent character in this novel and while I was possibly Team Tru in A Spark of Magic, I was definitely Team Jace by the end of A Blaze of Magic. We receive justifications for Jace’s often arrogant or unreasonable reactions in the first novel and honestly, I can’t imagine how Charlie and Tru’s relationship would work given the history that has been revealed at the end of the first novel and in A Blaze of Magic. Jace displays real, true love for Charlie and I’m not sure Tru will be able to compete with him, even though Charlie hasn’t really given up on her relationship with Tru by the end of this second novel.

Crispin looms in the background throughout A Blaze of Magic and I still love this character.  His end game is still a little unclear and it appears that he is very attracted to Charlie as he invades her dreams. We are given the idea that he intends to end Charlie and her friends in Callamose and that she is being set up to be his nemesis, yet he courts her like a potential lover and she is definitely attracted to him. I’d like to think that perhaps Charlie’s influence will imprint a little goodness in Crispin and they could become some superpower ridding the world of evil but perhaps that is just my imagination running away with me and I’m trying to find some justification for finding this totally evil character rather attractive! However, I get the impression that this is not the amazing Ms. Clayton’s intention and that Crispin is, and will always be, evil. I’d definitely like to see more of him in the next novel.

Charlie is still battling with her feelings for the men in her life and the arrival of Asher adds to the mix of confusion for her. I love the way that our opinion of Asher is continually challenged throughout this book. Not as bad as Crispin, but definitely not as inherently good as Jace and Tru, he adds an extra layer of indecision for Charlie. I like Asher a lot. Charlie continues to mentally berate herself, not just about her attraction to Tru, Jace, Crispin and Asher but about her abilities as a supernatural. However, she shows great promise as the saviour of the supernaturals against Crispin and she rises up to the challenge somewhat in her actions throughout this book, albeit against a lesser power.

As with the first novel, there are some issues with the proof-reading, but I implore anyone who would be put off from reading it because of this to get over it and appreciate this wonderful narrative for its substance because it is truly gripping and a wonderful reading experience. I do not usually like fantasy novels, but I’m becoming increasingly aware that I should not rule out any novel just because of the genre it fits into. My new-found liking for crime fiction, for example, should be testament to this. I cannot wait to read the next book in the Chosen Saga and I hope my new friend, Jennifer Lee Clayton, will be sure to give me the heads up on a release date so I can make sure I pre-order in good time! There are plenty of unanswered questions again at the end of A Blaze of Magic and again, one massive cliffhanger that promises a fantastic third book in this brilliant series. The action at the end of the novel occurs very quickly that you are left thinking “What just happened?” and initially, I wasn’t sure that this was a good thing, frustrated that I has been left wanting more but in reality this is a perfect ending. The reader is left reeling and desperate to know what happens next, sure to pick up the next book in the series, which is what, I would imagine, every author wishes for. Jennifer Lee Clayton’s Chosen Saga just keeps getting better and better and I can promise you this: once you have read the first book you will feel compelled to read the next one, and the next one, and the next one…

 

 

A Spark of Magic by J.L.Clayton (Chosen Saga – Book One)

One thing that I love about writing book reviews is the wonderful new connections that I have made as a result of the social media outlets that I have developed Segnalibro with. Twitter, in particular, has been brilliant for this and has led to me reading some wonderful books following tweets from authors. Over the last few weeks, I have developed a lovely Twitter friendship with Jennifer Clayton, and downloaded her two books to read and review. Now, I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that fantasy based novels are not usually my cup of tea, but I loved chatting to Jennifer so much, I couldn’t help but give her books a read. First up was A Spark of Magic, the first book in the Chosen Saga.

The opening is very enigmatic as we are given a very poetic hint at what is to come and what the themes of this novel will be. It reads like a prophecy and gives the reader a delicious sense of trepidation of what is to come. When we are introduced to Crispin in the prologue, the dark, magical traveller who takes great pleasure at ending the lives of his followers when they displease him, the beginning of the novel starts to make sense. Yet any potential thoughts about the plot are blown out of the water when, in Chapter One, Charlie, a clumsy 15-year-old girl is introduced as the main protagonist.  Written in first person narrative, Charlie is a bundle of contradictions and mixed up teenage angst. Clayton captures the stressed out teenager perfectly, as Charlie flits from one thought to the next, her emotions all over the place and laid bare for the reader to know.

A Spark of Magic tells Charlie’s story as she arrives in yet another new town after moving house for the umpteenth time. Charlie knows her Mum and Dad have not been completely honest with her and her anger at this ebbs and flows throughout. She describes her thoughts as they occur, playing out conversations in her head and is quite self-deprecating about herself. Initially, this is a bit irritating but as you rationalise that you are effectively in the head of a 15-year-old hormonal teenage girl, it works really well. I had been warned that it was a slow starter but to stick with it although I think the slow build up to a gripping climax works very well in this plot.

Charlie ultimately finds herself in a quandary as she finds herself attracted to two boys. Tru is the handsome Native American boy who befriends her outside his mother’s shop, after Charlie has been told a haunting story about Isha, the head of a Native American tribe, and his wolf companion, and about how a man only know as the Traveller wiped out Isha’s entire tribe and ripped the heart out of Isha’s wolf. The reason the Traveller lets Isha live is so that Isha can tell the rest of his people about the Traveller’s power and strength, so that they would always fear him. Charlie is spellbound by this story, as she is about the sweet, handsome Tru. He offers to give her a ride to school on her first day, but unbeknownst to Charlie, her mother has arranged for the son of a family friend to pick her up. Jace is also a handsome boy who infuriates and enchants Charlie with his confident flirtation, right from the moment he meets her. Charlie doesn’t want to be attracted to Jace, but finds that she is. Again, Charlie is confused and bewildered and we are privy to her every thought.

However, there is a third person who seems to invade Charlie’s dreams, or are they dreams? Charlie isn’t sure and neither are we as readers at first. However, it becomes clear that Crispin,who we are introduced to in the Prologue, is the traveller from Tru’s mother’s story and that he is, for some strange reason, manifesting himself in Charlie’s dreams. As we get Crispin’s point of view too, we are allowed to know more than our main protagonist, and the juxtaposition of the two viewpoints works really well to build up the tension. As readers, we know the danger, to a point, before Charlie does, but we are also aware that Charlie is having more of an effect on Crispin than he thought he would and it appears that Charlie unwittingly has a hold on him too.

Charlie is also experiencing some weird changes in her behaviour that she does not seem to be able to control. I’m not going to elaborate further on this because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who reads it, but something is definitely amiss as Charlie struggles to get a grip on her thoughts and doubts. It also becomes obvious that Jace knows more than he is letting on and that Tru may not be all he appears either, though whether this is in a malevolent way or not, you’ll have to read to find out, and I’m not sure you’ll know all the answers by the end of this novel either!

Sometimes, it is easy to forget that Charlie is only nearly sixteen. As she experiences the feelings of first love, she doesn’t know what to do and the uncertainties in her life continue to overwhelm her for a lot of the narrative, yet at other times, she appears quite grown up in her approach and the adult themes of some of the chapters add to this sense that she is older than her years at times. The dynamic between Charlie and the other characters is really well written so that the reader knows there is more than meets the eye, but only clues are given about how this will manifest.

Personally, I could understand how Charlie was torn between Tru and Jace and my opinion changed a few times in the novel. However, the enigmatic Crispin was the character who I found most intriguing and I felt that he had a Christian Grey feel about him, a detached curiosity about someone who he should be able to overpower easily but is strangely under her spell, much like Christian with Ana.

If I had one minor complaint about this book it would be that the proof-reading could be better, but I think that has more to do with my personal anally retentive approach to spelling and grammar than anything else. It certainly doesn’t detract from what a brilliant book this is. Clayton’s analysis of a teenage girl’s mind is absolutely spot on and as I have a fifteen year old daughter myself, I am only too aware of how changeable they can be! I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did, mainly because of the fantastical element of it, but I cannot wait to read the sequel, A Blaze of Magic. There are so many open ends left begging for answers that I am really keen to know what happens next, and it has been left with one humdinger of a cliffhanger. Even at the end of this book it is still hard to tell how everything links up at the moment but I hope that by reading A Blaze of Magic, I’ll be enlightened. Most of all, though, I am in awe at the writing skills of my new friend Jennifer Clayton, as she seamlessly flits between the deep, mysterious narrative of Crispin, to the self-doubting, yet tougher than she appears, Charlie.