[Book Review] ‘Twenty-Four Potential Children of Prophecy’ by Emily Martha Sorensen

TITLE: TWENTY-FOUR POTENTIAL CHILDREN OF PROPHECY

AUTHOR: EMILY MARTHA SORENSEN


Henina tends to irritate people. She can’t help it — she’s bad at shutting her mouth. So when a prophecy is made that someone will stop the war, she figures she’s the worst possible choice.

Too bad.

The Fates have their sights set on her, and it will take all her cleverness and quite a lot of offending the king to foist the prophecy off on somebody else instead.

But she can do it. After all, there are a lot of potentials to choose from.


The Author

Emily Martha Sorensen writes young adult, middle grade, and clean new adult fantasy. I must admit, it is a bit of a breath of fresh air to start reading a book and when my young teen niece asks what it’s about; and is subsequently intrigued; I have no qualms at saying she can read it when I’m done! If you’ve hung around here for any length of time, you’ll know I have a soft spot for the gory, the gruesome and the downright grotesque; but sometimes a light, witty and easy to read tale of skullduggery is what’s​ needed!

I was delighted when I recently received an email offering the chance to review an ARC of this, her latest* book, and quickly got stuck in.

[ * Boy! She works fast! In between arranging to review this and reading it (in the space of less than a week!) , Emily has also released her next book Trials of a Teenage Werevulture  ]


The Book

We join the story on Prophecy Day, a monthly event where the King’s personal soothsayer and fortune teller impart what The Fates purportedly have in store for the kingdom in the coming weeks. The marketplace is heaving as whilst the general population usually aren’t too interested, the prophecy last month led to the King throwing silver coins into the crowd and so all are eager to attend just in case there is a repeat performance.

We meet Henina, a mouthy young woman who apprenticed to her father, wants to live her life her way, without the constraints of ‘normal’ married life and children. She is bolshy, and argumentative, and I adore her. 

Then a prophecy is made that changes everything…

“The days of the war are numbered.  The one who will end it now stands within this square.  You will know her by the mark of the star she bears on her hand.  She will rule the kingdom with wisdom and grace.”


No-one seems to care when she argues that it is a scar from a recent burn that she bears rather than a mystical mark, or indeed question the scratches or even drawn on stars that the other potentials show.

All Twenty-Four are escorted to the castle to begin their training whilst the court awaits the revelation of The Fates’ chosen one.

The following days are spent with Henina trying, through a series of ever more outlandish schemes, to thwart any possible plans which The Fates may have for her.

The main characters in Twenty-Four Potential Children of Prophecy are marvelous. Henina especially is wonderfully annoying. She clearly has no ability for internal dialogue and just blurts out whatever she is thinking; making for truly amusing exchanges with those, whom she meets along the way, who then have to suffer her infernal chattering; constant questioning & complaining. The other twenty-three are a varied lot, everyone from the four-year old daughter of peasants; to Anna Khordoa, the haughty niece of the King; and Henina’s uproarious interactions with them all as they vie for position as THE Child of the Prophecy are hilarious.

Each person she meets is quickly dubbed with a (not always flattering!) nickname, thus the King’s haughty neice Anna is known as The Spoilt Brat and his Fortune-Teller becomes The Self-Important Charlatan; whilst Helga , fortune-teller and one of the Potentials, is referred to as The Fortune Teller (or indeed, The Fortune Teller who is not called Helga – it makes sense, I promise!!)

Henina’s attempts to thwart The Fates become more and more outlandish as the story progresses, and each idea seems to backfire as both coincidences and consequences start to pile up.

  • Who is the real Child of the Prophecy?
  • Will Henina escape The Fates?
  • Will she find her Grace?
  • Will they stop the 50 year war?

You’ll need to read the book to find out!!


Another amusing touch is the way the chapter titles (& contents!) relate to the chapter number:

Chapter 3: Three Silver Coins That Smell Like Feet      

Chapter 7: Seven Influential People I’ve Offended Today   

Chapter 10: Ten Impossible Things for Breakfast 

Chapter 13: Thirteen Griddle Cakes and a Greedy Sister  

Chapter 16: Sixteen Possible Traitors, and One Maybe

…. and so on.


Rating and Recommendations

I wholeheartedly rate this witty read with 5 out of 5 stars and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone, aged 10-100, who enjoys a fantasy novel with a historical slant and a large dose of giggles.This book is a perfect melding somewhere between classic Greco-Roman tragi-comedy and laugh-outloud modern sitcom. It really is an extremely wittily & cleverly woven tale. I can’t recommend it highly enough; and I cannot wait for the release of the sequel, Fifty-Three Assassins with a Head-Cold .


For more information on Emily and her work, visit EmilyMarthaSorensen.com , where you’ll find links to her books, giveaways and the opportunity to join her mailing list (and receive a copy of Six Shiny Silver Coins and the Ridiculous Ruckus They Caused a free short story which is the prequel to Twenty-Four Potential Children of Prophecy.)


Disclosure

I received an e-book copy of this book, direct from the author and free of charge, in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hugs, 

Crafty xx

[Monday MailCall] 12 June 2017

BookMail

Monday brought Bookmail from two different sources.

I finally won a goodreads giveaway! I know that the actual number of individual giveaways you enter make no difference to your chances of winning, but still… you’d think I’d win something after hundreds of entries!! Well, finally, I did!

Published by Bloomsbury Kids, Countless is Karen Gregory‘s debut book. It tells the story of Hedda, a young woman who; whilst suffering from an eating disorders; discovers she is pregnant. Countless then proceeds to weave a tale about the strength of love, heartache, and human resilience.

I was very taken with the beautiful cover, the pictures really do not do those lovely glossy embossed colour drops justice.

As usual, I’ll be sharing a review after I’ve read it, so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks!

The next bit of book mail was another ARC via ReadersFirst. I actually won this one a while back but as it has only just arrived, I guess it got waylaid somewhere in the mail!

Exile is the sequel to James Swallow ‘s spy thriller Nomad. Recommended for fans of  Robert Ludlum’s Bourne saga, and also TV series such as Homeland, it’s sure to have plenty of action and intrigue.

(And, you know the drill by now … Review coming soon ….)

That’s so LAME!!!

This bright pink parcel of prettiness is from That Lame Company. I might have spoilt myself a little as a pre-birthday treat.

IMG_20170606_171412415

I ordered the May #Box of Lame. It is most definitely NOT lame!!

You can see my full review here, but in the meantime, I can share a little extra that I couldn’t​ resist adding to my order…

How cute are these snailmail cards?

Cards

As last week was birthday week, there were also a few birthday cards dropping through the letterbox.

So, what about your mailbox? Did you receive anything exciting last week?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hugs, 

Crafty xx

[Book Review] ‘Love in Row 27’ by Eithne Shortall

TITLE: LOVE IN ROW 27

AUTHOR: Eithne Shortall

GENRE: Romance

EDITION: Paperback

PAGES: 352

PUBLISHED BY: Corvus

PUBLICATION DATE: 1 June 2017

ISBN: 9781786492036

PRICE: £7.99


The Story

Heartbroken and home from Berlin after the breakdown of a 2 year romance, Cora finds herself working the check-in desk at Heathrow where a serendipitous policy change regarding a pause on self-service means she finds herself in the position to play Cupid (indeed, this becomes the name her flight attendant friend Nancy affectionately calls her). 

Cora and Nancy have a system where suitable single candidates for love are sat together in row 27. Cora gets proceedings started by a bit of surreptitious Facebook research to choose the best matches, then Nancy oils the wheels with coffee and an encouragement to chat. 

As the book progresses, we learn more about Cora’s failed romance and her mother’s ailing health. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Sheila is now living in a research clinic and as she was (as an ex-employee) instrumental in her daughter getting the Airline job, Cora finds herself torn with the idea of moving on elsewhere because leaving the airport also means leaving behind all the stories and memories to be shared about her mum; that soon Sheila will be unable to remember. 

Cora becomes obsessed with her matchmaking, to the detriment of her friendships, and her own possible chance at romance; when Nancy attempts a little matchmaking of her own, between Cora and the tall, dark and handsome Charlie from airline security.

A particularly entertaining thread that runs through the book is Cupid’s attempts to find love for frequent high-flyer Ingrid, a Swedish businesswoman; and the only passenger to cotton-on to the matchmaking scheme.

Throughout the story we remeet a few more frequent targets, such as Aiden; a handsome doctor who intrigues & infuriates Cora in equal measure on his weekly return flights to Ireland.

Thoughts

The book cover design is whimsical and fun and whilst i don’t tend to go for chick-lit or romances; i really enjoyed the humourous writing, the witty repartee between Cora & Nancy, and the touching way that the issue of Alzheimer’s is addressed as we learn more about Cora’s mum Sheila’s ailing health. 


Rating & Recommendations

Both witty & touching, I rate this entertaining read 4 out of 5 stars.


I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book and found myself glad I tried a genre I would normally overlook.

I would recommend this book to fans of Marian Keyes, and those who enjoy a romance with plenty of humour.

The Author

Based in Dublin after having previously lived in London, France and America; Eithne Shortall is a former student of journalism at Dublin City University.

She is an arts correspondent for The Sunday Times, and Love In Row 27 is her debut novel.

A self-confessed committed matchmaker from an early age; she enjoys sea swimming, cycling and eating scones; when not concerning herself with other people’s love lives.

You can connect with the lovely Eithne Shortall on Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure

I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher Corvus, via Readers First, in exchange for an honest review.

 

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hugs,

Crafty xx

[Book Review] ‘DON’T WAKE UP’ by Liz Lawler

TITLE: Don’t Wake Up

AUTHOR: Liz Lawler

GENRE: Thriller

EDITION: E-Book

PAGES: 320

PUBLISHED BY: Twenty7 / Bonnier Zaffre

PUBLICATUON DATE: 18 May 2017

ISBN: 978175770586

PRICE: £3.99

What’s the story?

Dr Alex Taylor has it all. A promising career, good looks, the respect of her colleagues, stylish apartment, close friends, brains, new car, gorgeous veterinarian boyfriend Patrick, she can even fly a helicopter.

But all that starts to crumble the night it happens.

After coming off shift, she changes for a date with Patrick (she even thinks this might be the night he proposes) and heads out to the hospital carpark to meet him. The next thing she is aware of is coming around, naked, in theatre. At first she is unsure why she is there; were they in a car accident? Is Patrick ok? Was she runover in the carpark?

Then a doctor appears; or rather, someone claiming to be a doctor. Alex is terrified and thinks she is going to be killed, raped or both.

When she regains consciousness again, she finds herself in a cubicle in her own A&E department. One of the hospital security guards had found her lying beneath a tree in the carpark and her friends and colleagues are understandably concerned. Then she starts to tell them what happened, however she appears unharmed. Other than a bump to the head, there is no sign of any trauma and she was found fully clothed.

Doubts are cast on her mental state, by both the police and those around her, and she finds herself unbelieved.

Drinking too much, and selfmedicating, her behaviour seems to become more and more erractic both at work and in her personal life. She feels let down by the police, who find no reason to investigate further; betrayed by her boyfriend’s ready acceptance that she is deluded; and her career is under threat because of errors she is seen to have made.

When another possible victim shows up in the hospital, Alex alerts the police; but by this time the evidence is starting to point to the good doctor being to blame. 

She finds a friend in a previously not close colleague, but is this a case of that old adage “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”?

My thoughts

Don’t Wake Up is a well written thriller, full of suspense and the many twists wellplaced throughout the fastpaced narrative keep you guessing.

A very exciting debut novel, I can’t wait to read more from Liz Lawler.

My rating

I give Don’t Wake Up 5 out of 5 stars, because it was a suspense-filled thriller which I couldn’t put down! 

I would recommend Don’t Wake Up to those who enjoy thrillers, phsycological thrillers and/or medical dramas. A great read.

The Author

Born in Chatham and raised in Dublin, Liz Lawler now lives in Bath with her husband. Over 20 years past experience as an A&E nurse helped add a huge amount of realism to the practices & procedures of the fictional department. 

You can connect with  @AuthorLizLawler via Twitter.


Disclosure
: I received and read a free ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

[MailCall Monday] 01/05/2017

It’s Monday, that means it’s time for a quick roundup of what i found in my mailbox over the last week…

Book Mail

Two days this week found a total of 3 shiny new ARCs in the incoming mail.

  • Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach is a mystery/crime thriller centred around twin sisters, Ava and Zelda, and Ava’s return to their disfunctional family home on a dilapidated vineyard following the supposed death of Zelda in a fire. A series of notes, letters and emails leads Ava on a journey looking for the truth about her twin’s disappearance whilst uncovering a few truths about herself. (Published by Corvus and due for release on 4 May 2017)
  • Nomad by James Swallow is a Spy Thriller full of suspense and likened to books and TV dramas such as I Am Pilgrim, The Bourne series, Homeland, and 24. (Published by Zaffre on 29 December 2016)
  • The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck is a historical novel, set in the aftermath of WWII, exploring how three women deal with life after war and how they come to terms with both the choices they made and their outcomes.  (Published by Zaffre and due for release on 18 May 2017)

    Keep an eye out for my reviews of them if you are interested to know what i thought of them!

    Subscription Surprises

    I do enjoy coming home from work to discover a box or envelope of goodies to explore. 

    I try to avoid seeing spoilers so the contents are a complete surprise!
    So, without further ado, on with the unboxing!

    Nature-themed goodies from Boxcitement

    Each month’s Boxcitement contains a collection of stationery, jewellery, honeware, gifts and little crafts; all curated around a central theme, April’s being ‘Lost in the Woods‘.

    I love the attention to detail in these boxes – the sprinkle of confetti always matches the theme!

    When you open the box, everything is hidden beneath sticker sealed tissue, and the double sided contents card is sealed inside the lid so there can be no inadvertent spoilers as to the actual contents.

    Let’s have a peek inside.

    Although the boxes are themed, the contents are varied, both in type and style. There’s usually a good mix and this box is no exception.

    There are always a few items that are individually wrapped, either for a little extra protection or just to add to the mystery!

    So in this month’s box, inspired by The Great Outdoors, I found:

    • A chunky twig pen 
    • An A6 notepad with a flower print cover. (Actually, the paper feels more sketchbooky and on closer inspection of the contents card, this is indeed what it is) 

    • A card kit to make a mini cute birdhouse
    • A set of gift wrap, featuring a lovely quality sheet of double sided paper and two coordinating tags

    • A stylish ribbon wrap bracelet with attached tassle and cute flower catch
    • A sweet little test tube vase, complete with rope hanging string and a cute little doodah (that’s the incredibly technical term for the leaf embellishment attached to it 😉 )
    • A funky wall-mountable honeycomb keyholder

    My favourite item in the box has to be the keyholder. I love the ingenious fit & click idea, i mean who needs hooks when you have honeycomb holes??

    According to the contents blurb, there should have been a card & envelope in there too but that seems to be missing. I wonder what it looked like?

    So what do you think of Boxcitement?

    I really like the variety included in each box.

          You can find out more about Boxcitement subscriptions here, they start at £18/month buy paying for 3,6 or 12 months discounts the cost to as low as £15. They also offer mini boxes and one-off gifts around Valentine’s, Mother’s Day etc. 

          Obviously I have a code for you if you want to try out a box for yourself (I know, I’m lovely!!) so use code ” FIRST BOX ” to get 10% off a monthly subscription.

          Citrus-themed Stationery from Paperhaul

          Saturday morning brought my monthly Paperhaul subscription package. They have recently changed their ‘look’ and have swapped their brown cardboard boxelopes for these white card envelopes. 

          The sticker on the outside matches the design theme of the contents, as does the inserted business card.
          This month’s theme is citrus, and the collection is entitled ‘Lemon Love‘.         The citrus-y colourscheme is bright & juicy and the fun graphic print is delightful.

          Stationery items included in April’s set are:

          • Large square card with an allover print, with matching envelope.

          • 3 postcards, all in variations of the theme.

          The matching borders on the reverse of the postcards are a nice touch, dont you think?

          • 3 Mini flatcards with matching envelopes, in matching lemon slice repeating print with 3 different coloured backgrounds.

          • A6 dot grid paper notepad, with a cover featuring a lemon slice print. The front bears the slogan “When life gives you lemons …” which is completed “… make lemonade!” inside.

          I think the cute notebook is my favourite item this time.

          I like the revamped look to the Paperhaul boxes, I had been considering cancelling this subscription but I’m keen to see the next few now!

          If you are interested in a Paperhaul Subscription, you can find out more here

          Subscriptions are £10/month, with p&p extra (£2 UK, £5 Europe, £6 Rest of World). Although I will also tell you that using code ” 25OFF ” will snag you a 25% discount on your first #Paperhaul (because I’m nice that way).



                Did you find anything fun in your mailbox last week?

                Until next time,

                Hugs,

                Crafty xx

                [Book Review] “FIND YOUR AWESOME” by Judy Clement Wall

                • Title: FIND YOUR AWESOME 
                • Author: Judy Clement Wall
                • Published by: HCI Books
                • Publication date: 4th April 2017
                • Edition: Paperback
                • ISBN: 9780757319754
                • Price: $14:95 (USD)
                • Self-Help , Crafts & Hobbies


                Find Your Awesome

                A 30-Day Challenge to Fall in Love with Your Playful, Imaginative & Colorful Self

                by Judy Clement Wall

                Part self-help book, part adult colouring & activity book; this lovely offering will appeal to those who love to doodle & scribble, and anyone who enjoys ‘Wreck this Journal’-style books.
                Essentially a self-love & self-worth workbook, “Find Your Awesome” takes the idea of a 30 day challenge and turns it into a book. Taking the realisation that whilst we have no problem telling those around us how awesome they are; we find it difficult to extend the same courtesy to ourselves; self-confessed artist, writer, doodler, and love warrior Judy Clement Wall challenges us to 

                “Fall in Love with Your Playful, Imaginative & Colourful Self”

                through a set of daily challenges designed to encourage you to do just that.

                Judy’s writing style is Awesome, she has you nodding along and giggling at the many witticisms she shares. Nevermind being a self-love guru; it seems like she’s the kinda person that would do your soul good just by knowing her! Someone you’d love to hug, hang out with, drink tea and eat copious amounts of cheecake with; regularly.

                The book is a fun read, at times touching, and actually quite eyeopening – through sharing her own story of opening herself up to embracing her own Awesome badassery she gives us the impetus to proclaim our own. 

                In case you haven’t worked it out yet; I LOVE THIS BOOK!! I must admit, I never really ‘got‘ the whole Adult Colouring thing, I understand why people enjoy it; it just never clicked with ME. But, this? This I can embrace. I’m obsessed with daily/monthly challenges but sometimes get bored if they are the same thing repeated (a month worth of photoprompts is fine, once you’re into your 3rd month, it gets a bit ‘mehhh’) The clever thing here is that the style of challenge differs from day to day; some days you doodle, some days you write, others you send a text; it keeps it varied and interesting.

                Fancy a sneak peek at some of the challenges? I’m happy to oblige:

                • Doodle your perfect t-shirt
                • Text love
                • Writing yourself a love letter
                • Appreciate your body in all its awesomeness
                • Make time for you by writing a Not-To-Do List
                • What’s your Personal Manifesto?

                Another idea suggested throughout the book is choosing your favourite challenge(s) and turning them into month, or even year, -long challenges in their own right; similar to the author’s own Year of Loving Fearlessly challenge.   

                Now, obviously, you can work through the book on your own, but I was excited to discover that Judy is running a free online group, starting May 15th, where you can sign up now and then complete the challenge alongside [as she puts it herself] “a posse of like-minded love-warriors”. I have, of course, signed up; and now I’m off to buy a physical copy to play with.


                Rating

                I award this book 5 out of 5 stars. I found it Awesome! 


                Connect with the Author

                   



                  Disclosure: A free ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.