Darkest Hour – Coming TOMORROW!

Darkest Hour is coming tomorrow! Download your copy of Book 3 for 99p on launch day (normally £2.99), or read the full story with the Battle Ground series box set: Books 1-3 for £1.99 (normally £3.99).

Bex Ellman and Ketty Smith are fighting on opposite sides in a British civil war. Bex and her friends are in hiding, but when Ketty threatens her family, Bex learns that her safety is more fragile than she thought.

Darkest Hour Countdown: Two Days!

TWO DAYS until the launch of Darkest Hour – the book that finally reveals what happens next in the Battle Ground series!

From October 17th, Kindle and paperback editions will be available to buy direct from Amazon – and from October 17th-20th, the Kindle edition will be 99p to download (normal price £2.99).

Darkest Hour Countdown: One Week!

Darkest Hour, Book 3 of the Battle Ground series, will be launching on Amazon in ONE WEEK!

Darkest Hour cover and blurb

From October 17th, Kindle and paperback editions will be available to buy direct from Amazon – and from October 17th-20th, the Kindle edition will be 99p to download (normal price £2.99).

Don’t miss the Darkest Hour blog tour, starting October 17th. We’ll post links to all the blogs here so you can see what the reviewers think of Book 3!

Don’t forget to leave your reviews of the Battle Ground series on Amazon, and on your favourite review sites. Every review makes a huge difference, and helps us to reach our audience. Thank you!

YA Review: Children of Blood and Bone

Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 4/5

I’ve been looking forward to reading this. ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ is a West-African-inspired fantasy story about Orisha, a kingdom where magic has disappeared, and the Maji who used to practice magic have been wiped out to prevent its return. The story is told through three POV characters – a teenage girl who would have magical powers if the gods hadn’t taken them from the world; a teenage princess; and her brother, the heir to the throne.

The book follows the characters as their lives collide, and they discover a ritual that might bring magic back. It’s an adventure story and a fantasy road trip, with plenty of obstacles in the paths of the protagonists. At 525 pages, it’s a reasonably long YA novel, and it covers a lot of ground – literally and in terms of character development and plot.

The central character is Zélie, the potential Maji. She witnessed the execution of her Maji mother when the magic practitioners were killed, and she works hard to look after her father, and keep her family safe in their fishing village on edge of Orisha. When she meets Amari, the princess, on a visit to the capital, they set off a chain of events that leads them to the ritual, and to the journey across Orisha, pursued by the prince.

There is plenty of action and danger, and plenty of excitement. There are unexpected twists, and unplanned adventures as the characters travel to their goal. Even over 500+ pages, the plot rarely stands still, and there is always another obstacle, and another plot twist, just over the page. Zélie is a strong, determined protagonist, and Amari has to learn quickly how to defend herself and survive outside the palace.

The system of magic is unusual, with different clans of Maji specialising in different forms of magic, and the connection with the gods is explicit and central to the book. The setting is engaging – a Nigerian-inspired land with jungles, deserts, and mountains; villages, cities, and traveling caravans. Political intrigues at court provide the backdrop to Amari’s life, with her strict mother, and her father, the King who fears the return of magic.

All the ingredients for an exciting journey, and a quest with the potential to heal the kingdom – or to destroy it.

Have you read Children of Blood and Bone? What did you think of the story? And what about the relationships between the characters? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


Please keep your comments YA appropriate. Be patient! We want to hear from you, but comments are moderated, and may take some time to appear.

BookFunnel Promotion!

Battle Ground and False Flag are featured in the Autumn SF and Fantasy promotion on BookFunnel. Head to the BookFunnel page to find 60 new SF and Fantasy books for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited, and grab yourself something new to read.

Every visit supports the Battle Ground series – thank you for clicking!

YA Review: Tradition

Title: Tradition
Author: Brendan Kiely
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 4/5

This is a story about sexual assault at a prestigious US boarding school, and the barriers to reporting and consequences when the abusers are protected by money and reputation. The author could have chosen to sensationalise the subject, or give us a dramatic, terrifying event to examine, but instead the abuse, and the unofficial traditions that enable the abuse, are shown quietly and in glimpses, with respect for the characters involved.

The story is told from two points of view. Jules has had enough of the sexist attitudes of the Fullbrook Academy (in her words “a boys’ school, and they accept girls here too”). She has one year left before she can escape to college, and her focus is on getting good grades and leaving Fullbrook behind. Bax is an athlete, brought into Fullbrook on a full scholarship to change the fortunes of their ice hockey team. He feels out of place among the rich boys who dominate the school and the sports teams, and he finds a friend in Jules. When Jules is assaulted at the traditional start-of-year school party, Bax has to decide where his loyalties lie.

This is a sensitive and effective exploration of the effects of entitlement, power, and sexual assault – not only on the victim, but on the entire community. It is not immediately clear what has happened to Jules – even though the assault is described from her point of view, she doesn’t fully process the event until later in the book, and initially the reader doesn’t know exactly what happened. The only clues are her behaviour over the next few days – retreating from her friends, skipping meals and classes – and the confusion among her friends about what might be causing her unusual behaviour. In an echo of the 2015 Stanford rape trial, the reaction of the school authorities is heartbreaking, and when Jules turns to her friends for support, she discovers that she is not the only victim, and that the start-of-year party is not the only tradition that puts the female students at risk.

Jules, Bax, and their circle of friends are all engaging characters who bring their own expectations and ambitions to the Fullbrook Academy community. They encounter bullying and abuse of power in every part of their lives – in the sports teams, in their interactions with the school authorities, and in their relationships with other students – but as they spend more time together, they start to see a way to challenge the accepted traditions, and to make a stand against the entitlement of a rich and powerful elite.

Tradition tackles an important and relevant Young Adult issue with a sensitive and effective story. The setting, the events, and the reactions of the characters feel uncomfortably real, and the book is definitely a conversation-starter. Do you agree with the actions and reactions of the characters? Would you do what they do? What would you risk to protect your community? This would be a perfect book club text, with plenty to discuss and explore. And who knows? Maybe it will help to change attitudes to sexual assault and justice.

Have you read Tradition? Did you think Jules was treated fairly? And what about Bax? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


Please keep your comments YA appropriate. Be patient! We want to hear from you, but comments are moderated, and may take some time to appear.

YA Review: The Gilded King

Title: The Gilded King
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 4/5

Post-apocalyptic vampires! Zombies! Myths and legends of the fall of civilisation, and the origins of the vampire-based society. Book one of Josie Jaffrey’s Sovereign series is an inventive, original, and exciting read.

The world (post-apocalyptic Europe) and the scenario (a virus turning people into zombies, and a class of vampires immune to the disease) are well developed, and the settings are vividly described. The story follows two points of view – Julia, a human servant, and Cameron, a vampire on a mission to find an old friend. I enjoyed following Julia’s story through plenty of twists and heart-pounding moments, and I liked the development of her relationship with her best friend. Cameron’s story was exciting, with just as many twists and surprises. When the politics and intrigues of the society start to affect both characters, the book becomes even more gripping.

If you’re after a new take on the vampire romance genre, with plenty of backstabbing, plotting, and adventure, this book should be next on your reading list.

Have you read The Gilded King? What did you think of the setting? And what about Julia’s story? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


Please keep your comments YA appropriate. Be patient! We want to hear from you, but comments are moderated, and may take some time to appear.