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, Interview, reading, writing

Author interview: Stephen Drake

It is with great pleasure I welcome the author of the Displaced series, Stephen Drake. I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading the pre-release version of Civilization, it was so brilliant I’ve since purchased book one. If you love vivid characters, brilliant dialect and an engrossing plot you’ll love this author.

About the author

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

steveauthor1High School, Tech School, Military.

I’ve worked all kinds of jobs before.

I’m a retired computer programmer of 20+ years.

What are your hobbies?

Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Bow hunting, Karate and Knitting

Which writers inspire you?

Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert (Frank & Brian), John Scalzi, Karen Gray, K.J. Simmill, Kelly Michele Baker, Alex Grove Continue reading “Author interview: Stephen Drake”

author, book review, reading, Recommended Books

Book review: Battle of the Bannockburn: The Saga of Thistles and Roses (The Warrior Queen Book 3) by Karen Gray

Karen Gray remains to date my favourite author, and that is not a position I offer to just anyone. I find Karen’s work to be the very essence of fantasy at its best. She brings to life 51fpuMb7leL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_an enormous cast of characters, each with depth, backstory, and involved history. The stories themselves are emotionally gripping, full of twists, unexpected revelations and not to mention magic and creatures thought to be only legend. Karen easily creates a full and complete world, inclusive of strife, and it is a world that just becomes more engrossing with every turn of the page.

It took a few days for me to read cover to cover and I was once more left in awe of this author’s skill.

Book three, whilst progressing with the main story arc also Continue reading “Book review: Battle of the Bannockburn: The Saga of Thistles and Roses (The Warrior Queen Book 3) by Karen Gray”

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, charity, writing

Camels and Cake: Tea for Three

Camels and Cake is a collection of flash fiction from authors across the globe, uniting together to raise money for a global aid charity. 100% of al51eL-qhNCDL__SX327_BO1,204,203,200_l money from this project is donated directly to the charity.

You will recognise some of the author’s names from books I have reviewed in the past, and I must say, it has been a great honour to work with every one of these people.

The authors involved in Camels and Cake are as follows:

Nicole Wilson 
Jason Byrne
Jennifer Stone 
Bernard Stacey 
K.G. Christopher    
Chase Gamwell
K.J. Simmill 
David Parkland
Karen Gray

Again it has been an honour, thank you for including me in this wonderful project.

book review, reading

Book review: Chains of Blood and Steel by Karen Gray

Chains of Blood and Steel is the second book in the Saga of Thistles and Roses by author Karen Gray. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that since reading the first book I have been looking forward to this one for some time. I can honestly say it did not disappoint.

Without spoiling too much of the first book for those who have yet to read it, this book follows on from the first plot. Mòrag continues to explore and develop her powers, yet the book’s real focus this time is on Ava. We learn a lot about her character and the circumstances surrounding her, including what it means for her to be the Spymaster’s daughter. Characters who played smaller roles in book one step forward into the light and further enhance the story, whilst all the time, their own experiences relate in some way to the events that are occurring.

Once again the author ensures you are invested in the characters, and surprisingly, when we meet a character I expected to like, I discovered he was actually a real arse. A nice surprise and a step away from the norm that most books seem to automatically default to.

Again the book was a fun and enticing read and we see so much growth in the characters. The more I read of this author, the more I want to. I can’t believe I have to wait until June now to find out what happens. The plot is interesting, and well woven with threads from sub-plots and backstories.

You can certainly bet that as soon as book three is available for pre-order I will be pressing that button.

Just on a slight tangent, I feel it is worth mentioning here that the first book, For King and Country (My review can be found here Review, For King and Country) made number one on the Amazon best sellers rank. So if you haven’t already picked up your copy, you should.



US – Chains of Blood and Steel: The Saga of Thistles and Roses (The Warrior Queen Book 2)

UK – Chains of Blood and Steel: The Saga of Thistles and Roses (The Warrior Queen Book 2)