Wednesday, 4 September 2019

The Harp is live!

Have you bought your copy of The Harp of Kings?

If not - watch the 'film' then buy the book! Juliet Marillier sweeps us away again with a timeless tale of magic, mysticism and music!

The Harp Of Kings

Monday, 19 August 2019

Review:The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth

The Blue Rose  Author: Kate Forsyth

Kate Forsyth (The Wild Girl, Beauty in Thorns) brings another significant historical period to life in her newest novel, The Blue Rose.
17-year-old heiress Viviane is bound to wed within the aristocracy, however her heart belongs to the talented but impoverished David, hired by her father to create lavish new gardens for their Estate.
Torn apart from each other, Viviane is led to believe David is dead and enters a loveless marriage. David travels to China heartbroken, not realizing Viviane’s life will soon be in danger from the revolutionary fires are simmering throughout France. Hungry citizens, fueled by the stirring speeches of the infamous Robespierre, become a threat to the lives and safety of the French Royal Court and all who serve them – including Viviane.
Set against the background of the French Revolution and all its grisly horrors; the imprisoning of the King, Marie-Antoinette and their small children; the denouncing of ‘aristos’ and the murder of thousands by Guillotine, this novel moves at a fast pace taking the reader from the sumptuous gardens of Versailles to the bloody streets of Paris.
Once again Kate Forsyth weaves a story of truth and fiction, bringing to life characters of yester-year and those of her own invention. Romance, drama, historical action – The Blue Rose will keep you captivated until the final page.

The Blue Rose
Author: Kate Forsyth
Publisher: Penguin Random House

The Harp Of Kings is nearly here!

The Harp Of Kings is due to be on the shelves of bookstores around the country,  in 13 days!

Friends of Juliet 
Pan Macmillan

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Book Trailer for The Harp Of Kings by Juliet Marillier

The Harp Of Kings is the newest fantasy fiction novel from Juliet Marillier. The release date is September 3, 2019 and I couldn't be more excited. After reading the advance copy I was inspired to create a book trailer to celebrate its upcoming publication.

As well as having Juliet's blessing on the content and design, I was thrilled to have the expertise of UK Musicians Andy Findon (Flute) and Deian Rowlands (Harp) who created the beautifully  haunting music for this project, and allowed me to call it Liobhan's Theme.

I owe these two gentlemen a great debt for their generosity in composing this stunning melody specifically for The Harp of Kings unofficial trailer. Please take some time to visit Andy's website: here and perhaps leave a message if you love Liobhan's Theme as much as I do.

Sincere thanks also to my dear friend, musician Graeme Taylor of UK folk /rock band Gryphon, for asking Andy and  Deian to help me out on this project of love. You can visit Gryphon's website and facebook page here for some fabulous and innovative folk/rock.

I hope you enjoy my tribute to the extraordinary writings of Juliet. And I hope you enjoy delving into the story of The Harp of Kings as much as I did.

The Harp of Kings Pan-Macmillan Australia
US Publisher PenguinRandomHouse
Release Date: September 3, 2019

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Regency Romance meets the Paranormal: A perfect match when written by Alison Goodman.

Attending the IPed (Institution of Professional Editors) Conference last month in Melbourne, was a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow editors, writers, and publishers.

There were many amazing guest speakers attending, including the fabulous Alison Goodman - Author of the highly successful Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club Series.

Although I was familiar with the author and her books, I had not had a chance to read them. Luckily, I was able to purchase the series at the conference. For the next two weeks, I was caught up in a world of Regency romance  meets paranormal activity in an historical fiction fantasy adventure.

Having devoured Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland novels in my early teenage years, I have an appreciation for the world of Debutante Heroines, brooding dark-eyed heroes,  and malevolent Earls, Dukes and Duchesses.

In the first book of the series, Lady Helen and The Dark Days Club 18 year old debutante Lady Helen Wrexhall, prepares to be properly presented to the Royal Court in 1812.  As she practises her curtsies, undergoes endless gown fittings, and endures stern lectures on propriety from her dear Aunt, she has little notion that she will be unwillingly drawn into a shadowy world of missing housemaids and demonic conspiracies.

Impeccably  dressed and faultlessly polite, our heroine takes the discovery of a shocking truth about her mother and subsequent introduction to her own, inherited supernatural powers, with aplomb. The anti-hero of the story, Lord Carlston, is cynical, fabulously rich and handsome. He is appallingly rude to everyone, and is believed to have murdered his wife, although her body has never been found.

He is also a card carrying Member of The Dark Days Club.  The Club, mysterious and invite-only, is endorsed by the King and Queen of England. The Club is comprised of people such as His Lordship, who have Reclaimer powers. Supernatural powers allow Reclaimers to fight the evil Deceivers: demonic life forms inhabiting humans, feeding off their energies. Lady Helen has inherited Reclaimer Powers from her mother. Unbeknownst to Lady Helen, a tiny portrait of her mother instigates a train of events leading her to discovering her untrained  Reclaimer powers.
A loyal servant, a cruel Uncle, a weak-willed brother and a scandal involving a dear friend of Lady Helen's, are all woven into the fabric of this rollicking Regency adventure.

There are plenty of blood-curdling assassinations, and dangers lurk in alley-ways, unassuming servants and especially amongst the society creme de la creme in which Lady Helen mingles.

Alison Goodman has clearly enjoyed writing the Dark Days Club series. The first book sets up the main plot and introduces several subplots. The characters are strongly developed and we get a real sense of the time period and setting which is vitally important to the ongoing theme. Alison's research has been thorough and this shows in the consistency of the period in which the story takes place.  The diabolical elements of the story, coupled with the wonderful old institution of British polite society, and enhanced with excellent fight scenes and gruesome murders, turns what could be just an enjoyable Regency Romance into an action-packed story that wouldn't be out of place in a Doctor Who story-line.

I give it five snuff boxes.

Friday, 31 May 2019

The Harp of Kings. An exciting new novel by Juliet Marillier .


Recently, I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of The Harp Of Kings from Juliet, on her last visit to Melbourne. I wouldn’t dream of revealing any spoilers prior to the September release date, but Juliet has kindly given her approval for posting my thoughts.

Despite being forced to put the book down while I worked and slept - how inconvenient - I was enthralled the moment I began reading Harp.

The main character is 18-year-old Liobhan, a singer and musician, determined to be accepted into the Swan Island Warriors, alongside her beloved brother Brocc. Once feared outlaws, the Warriors are now a revered and sought-after fighting and investigative organisation.

The siblings, both talented musicians, are chosen for an undercover mission, their skills making them a perfect choice to visit the Kingdom of Breifne to attend the coronation of Prince Rodan – a spoiled, unpleasant bully. The goal of the mission is seemingly straightforward - recover the ancient Harp of Kings or else the upcoming ceremony, and the kingdom itself, will be in peril. The Harp is no ordinary instrument and without it the King cannot be crowned.

Brother and sister must play their roles convincingly, taking on entirely new personalities and enduring both physical and emotional challenges. And for Liobhan, torn between obeying the rules and following her instincts, she must make a decision, potentially jeopardizing the entire operation and her future.

 In the Kingdom itself, Druids, courtiers, and stable hands, are not always who they appear to be. There are secrets in this Royal Court and uncanny forces in the forest, both good and evil, that could sabotage the mission and cause lives to be lost.

 For readers who have followed the journey of healer Blackthorn and the gentle Grim in  Dreamer’s Pool to Den of Wolves, you will recognise much of Blackthorn in her daughter Liobhan; the strength of will, the passion for justice and the compassion for those who need help. We catch a glimpse of the younger Blackthorn, before the tragic events which altered her path forever. In Brocc, we can see the gentleness of Grim in his raising. It is clear this is a close and loving family.

Juliet’s unique story-telling had me guessing about many things, right until the last few chapters. There were many ‘aha!’ moments causing my fellow commuters on the train to look at me questioningly, as I chuckled or exclaimed at key moments.

One of the strengths in Juliet’s writing is her ability to create characters with complex layers and offer crucial insights into a character’s past. This is just one of the reasons her stories continue to resonate with us long after we finish reading them. The Harp of Kings is no exception.

The Harp of Kings by Juliet MarillierThe subtle references throughout the book to Blackthorn and the gentle Grim, will delight all who are familiar with their adventures.  However, this current novel stands alone, with strong new characters – such as the intriguing Mistress Juniper, the seemingly overconfident Dau and the ethereal Eirne.

If The Harp of Kings is your first foray in to Juliet’s magical worlds, you will be enthralled. For her current dedicated readers, this is another wonderful example of the depth of Juliet’s writing. An exciting journey of adventure, magic and mystery.

The Harp of Kings is available in Australia from September 3, 2019.
 Pre-order your copy now via Amazon.


Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Aurealis Awards 2019...and the Winner is...!

I love an awards ceremony and when its book awards - even better! Saturday the 4th of May was  the wonderful Aurealis Awards  at the Jasper Hotel in Melbourne.

Aurealis magazine is THE magazine for Science Fiction, Horror , and Speculative and Fantasy Fiction writers and illustrators.
Image result for aurealis awards

An eclectic collection of writers, illustrators, publishers, editors, judges and supporters gathered to enjoy pre-awards canapes and drinks before celebrating some of the most talented writers and illustrators in Australia Sci-Fi and Fantasy Fiction.

The highlights for me were:

  • Shaun Tan winning Best Illustrated Graphic Novel/Illustrated Work Tales from the Inner City.Image result for tales from the inner city (Then proceeding to accept nearly everyone else's award on their behalf!)
  • And  the Sara Douglass Award for Best Fantasy Books Series won by Juliet Marillier,for her   Blackthorn and Grim series!  

I may have shrieked with joy at the announcement, almost deafening Juliet who was sitting next to me. And yes I may have also shed a few tears at the beautiful speech she gave paying tribute to her dear friend Sara.
Click here to read more about Juliet's upcoming series - The Warrier Bards. The first book in the series, The Harp of Kings is due for release in September 2019.