author, book review, reading, writing

On the 18th day of advent K.J. recommends to me….

Every day on the run up to Christmas I am going to recommend a book that I truly enjoyed reading.

On the 18th day of Christmas K.J’s advent recommends;

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For King and Country  by Karen Gray (Twitter @KarenGr4y )

The plot is exciting and well-conceived, not to mention fun.

Buy it here.

Support my choice of today’s book by using my pre-scripted tweet:

On the 18th day of advent K.J recommends to me
For King and Country by @KarenGr4y

#KJsAdvent #MustRead #bookboost

Please note: this is something I am doing in recognition of the books I have enjoyed. The authors do not know they have been selected, and have in no way asked to participate. I receive no form of profit from these recommendations.


author, book review, reading, writing

An interview with author Karen Gray

Karen Gray is, without a doubt, my favourite author of 2015. Her books For King and Country and Chains of Blood and Steel have a very unique plot and are told with such skill and imagination you can’t help but become hooked. It is with great pleasure I present an interview with her.

About the author

Tell us a little bit about yourself. (Author Bio)

Karen Gray grew up in a town called Livingston, in central Scotland.11225376_427179710799670_5499340120153153877_o

She was horse mad from an early age and moved to Aberdeen at 17 to do a degree in Equine Science. After moving back home to Livingston 4 years later she worked as a care assistant for the elderly and infirm until she got a job in the equestrian industry. Since then she followed her line of work across Scotland to Greenock where she met her husband.

After leaving her job as a riding instructor to have her eldest child, Karen was never able to return to work. Her husband’s health deteriorated to the point he needed her available at any time of the day. She now cares for him and their 2 children full time. She began writing again shortly after the birth of her second child and has not stopped since. Writing is her first passion before all others and though she is working on other artistic projects, her writing comes first.

She is now about to embark on the fourth novel in the Warrior Queen Series, the first series from The Saga of Thistles and Roses.

What are your hobbies?

Writing (obviously) photography and graphic design. Crochet and anything to do with horses.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment, and why?

I want to say my kids because what mother wouldn’t? But I know that’s probably not what you mean. I could say writing my books, but I’m not finished yet so they in theory cannot be an achievement until the Saga is complete.

So I will say that my greatest achievement is no single thing but a series of much smaller gestures and achievements mostly to do with my career in the horse world. I Took on a 3 year old Clydesdale on deaths door who’d had cancer and was now lighter than a welsh pony and missing an eye. I turned him into a bombproof horse for a disabled rider. I knew taking him on that he could just drop dead (the cancer was on his retinal nerve and very close to his brain) We gave him 7 fantastic years before the cancer came back, and we lost him 4 weeks before he turned 10.

I’ve connected to severely disabled children and adults by taking a unique approach to teaching them, in some cases actually gaining the only spoken words ever uttered to someone other than family. I’m really proud of that.

I’ve helped countless people confront, combat and overcome their fears with regard to horses specifically. I kind of put it down to knowing exactly how badly fear can cripple you and understanding it at a fundamental and basic level and because I know that it helps me to teach people how to deal with it.

There are a thousand more little things like this that all combine to make me proud of being the best instructor I could be while I was still teaching and training.

Which writers inspire you? Continue reading “An interview with author Karen Gray”

author, book review, writing

My TOP 5 authors of 2015

Hi all and Happy Holidays.

This year I have read a lot of books, and reviewed a number of them here on my blog. But out of the 40 odd books I have read this year, which are my favourite?

This year, I have decided to announce my top 5 favourite authors, I know it’s not as amazing as a book award, but these five authors deserve a special shout out for their fantastic stories. I have attached a link to the title, to direct you to my original reviews.

I must say, it was quite difficult to put them in order, but here goes;

At number 5, Marsha A Moore for her Witch’s Moonstone Locket


At number 4 David Parkland with Demon Bound

At number 3 Sallyann Phillips with Hybrid Justice, book 2 in the Angel’s Blood series (you may remember how much I enjoyed book one Angel’s Blood)

At number 2 Louise White with The Calling and Chasing the Demon in the Gateway Books series


And at number 1, my favourite author of 2015, Karen Gray with For King and Country and Chains of Blood and Steel from The Saga of Thistles and Roses: Volume 1 (The Warrior Queen)

This series has got to be my favourite to date, there is the perfect combination of magic, intrigue, conflict, and character development, not to mention the compelling plot. I am eagerly awaiting the release of book three to see what this promising author brings us next.

All of these authors are certainly very talented in their craft, and I would, without hesitation, recommend any of them.

All the best to all of you for 2016, join me next time for my review of

The Roads of Luhonono: Legend of The East Road (The Roads of Luhonono Series) by Hamilton Hill

Happy Holidays


Book review – For King and Country: The Saga of Thistles and Roses by Karen Gray

Good morning all,

Last night I finished reading For King and Country by Karen Gray. I have to say that so far this year it is one of the best books I have read.

The book itself follows the protagonist Morag as she starts to discover who she is and secrets she has been protected from since the time of her birth. The plot is exciting and well-conceived, not to mention fun. I really enjoyed the character interactions and watching the bonds grow, change, and develop through them. For me, one of the most important thing in a book is character development and interaction, I like to feel drawn into the characters, I like to root for them, and hate for them too. I have to admit, with such a wide array of non-cookie cutter characters I felt truly spoilt. Not to mention the author did a fantastic job in writing a character that really got under my skin.

The book is set in 27th century futuristic Scotland, in a place that is home to many mythical creatures  (although not everyone can see them for what they truly are) and turmoil as kingdoms battle for power, and unknown to her, Morag has plenty of that, a potential she is forced to unlock and embrace in order to survive. I enjoyed how the author includes some typical Scottish dialect, without it being overbearing.  For anyone who hasn’t heard the dialect, (which I love listening to by the way) it can seem quite harsh, yet not only could I read the words with ease, it was written in such a manner I didn’t even have to pause to consider what was being said. The author found an ideal balance between adding a authenticity to the dialogue, and ensuring it remained reader friendly.

To be quite honest, I had a very difficult time putting this book down. I had finished within three days of first opening it, it would have been sooner but commitments meant I have not had as much time as I would have liked. Each night I would climb into bed and start reading, ‘just one more chapter’ I’d think to myself, only to glance at the clock and see it was already 2am, oops. Needless to say this book was the cause of few tired mornings, then again, that is nothing if not the sign of a good book.

I can’t wait until its next instalment, which I believe, according to the final page, is in December. I am marking it on my calendar, and you can bet that it will jump a few books before it on my reading list. I can’t express enough how fun this was to read. As always I have included links to the book below, why not check it out for yourself, you won’t regret it.

Amazon Links

U.K. For King and Country: The Saga of Thistles and Roses (The Warrior Queen Book 1)

U.S For King and Country: The Saga of Thistles and Roses (The Warrior Queen Book 1)