Book Review ~ ‘Lord of Secrets’ by Breanna Teintze.


Lord of Secrets by Breanna Teintze
Series: The Empty Gods #1
Genre: Adult Fantasy,
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books





Magic is poison. Secrets are power. Death is . . . complicated.

Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse.

So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

In theory, it’s simple enough. But as secrets unfold and loyalties shift, Gray discovers something with the power to change the nature of life and death itself.

Now Gray must find a way to protect the people he loves, but it could cost him everything, even his soul . . .



Yes, yes, yes! ‘Lord of Secrets’ is just the kind of fantasy I love to read, and has stayed swimming at the front of my mind ever since I finished reading it.

To start, I just have to talk about the magic system. Everytime I think about it, I want to punch the air. It is spot on. Teintze has created this amazing world where Wizards can’t just use their magic without a second thought. Magic in this world has side-effects. Our main character Corcoran (or Gray as he prefers to be known) knows this all to well, and in his battle to save his Grandfather and friends, has to fight the various side-effects of using his magic. The smallest spell, first scribed on the skin and then cast, can cause nausea or headaches, the bigger ones causing unconsciousness and more. I LOVED how the magic in this book wasn’t just something that was used without thought, but something that had as many drawbacks as it did advantages.

Character wise, Teintze has it spot on. Gray is not only a likeable character, but a realistic one. He struggles with a physical disability, he can be a sarcastic bugger, and tries to use humour to get himself out of awkward situations, but you really root for him as he grows to accept his faults, and takes responsibility for them. He truly has a heart of gold, and I loved getting to know the man underneath his sarcastic bravado. In turn, each of the secondary characters are so well fleshed-out that you come to care for all of them, even the ones that you disagree with. In this tale of necromancy, noone is evil for the sake of evil, and there is a human side to every character.

What I loved the most about this story was the humour which is flecked thoughout in perfect taste. Necromancy is a huge part of the plot in this book, and as well as drawing on the heartfelt side of raising the dead, there are some brilliant light-hearted moments too, which make you laugh in despair as Gray and his friends have to put up with a cocky necromancer who doesn’t seem to understand why they may be offended with his raising-the-dead behaviour. There were a couple of moments where I was a little confused about some of the mechanics of the necromancy, with some terms being used when discussing it that I didn’t fully grasp, but I still managed to keep level with the story, without feeling too behind.

Overall, this was a strong start to the ‘Empty Gods’ series, with a intoxicating mix of magic, family, friendship and of course, necromancy.  I cannot wait to see where Teintze takes these characters next.

4 Stars. 

* Review copy kindly provided by Jo Fletcher Books in exchange for an honest review*



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Book Review ~ ‘Greatest Hits’ by Laura Barnett.


Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Music
Release Date: June 15th 2017.





The new novel from the author of the number one bestseller The Versions of Us.

One day. Sixteen songs. The soundtrack of a lifetime…

Alone in her studio, Cass Wheeler is taking a journey back into her past. After a silence of ten years, the singer-songwriter is picking the sixteen tracks that have defined her – sixteen key moments in her life – for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits album.

In the course of this one day, both ordinary and extraordinary, the story of Cass’s life emerges – a story of highs and lows, of music, friendship and ambition, of great love and great loss. But what prompted her to retreat all those years ago, and is there a way for her to make peace with her past?

Daughter. Mother. Singer. Lover. What are the memories that mean the most?




Book Review ~ ‘Greatest Hits’ by Laura Barnett ~ 5 Stars!

Laura Barnett’s The Versions of Us was one of my favourite books of 2015; so much so I have a copy in both Hardback and Paperback. So it was with much excitement and a little trepidation that I entered into Barnett’s second novel Greatest Hits. How will she create such a heartfelt story, one with as many twists and turns as she did before? But I needn’t have feared. Greatest Hits is a completely different story, but in it’s own way, just as fantastic as The Versions of Us.

Greatest Hits is an immersive reading experience, which takes us through the life of fictional singer Cassie Wheeler. A famed star, whose music and personal life had been at the forefront of the media for years before she disappeared from view, everyone is wanting to know when her next album will be released. As a middle-aged Cassie returns to her studio for the first time in years, she listens to and chooses the songs that best chronicle her life’s road as she takes herself and the reader down memory lane.

Laura Barnett writes with such an understanding of human emotion that in the space of 400+ pages, as a reader you feel as though you too have experienced all that Cassie has. She no longer becomes a character that you are reading about, but another part of you that you never knew you had. Throughout Cassie’s life, through her loves, losses, successes and failures, all are expressed through Barnett’s powerful prose, and the meaningful lyrics of the songs that Cassie chooses as those that have shaped the person she is.

Greatest Hits  is a reading experience that melds music and literature in a way that few people have achieved before. With lyrics by both Barnett and singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams, readers can also hear the sixteen of Cassie’s records in song on Williams’ album Songs from the Novel Greatest Hits.

5 Stars!



Greatest Hits

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Songs from the Novel Greatest Hits

~ Kathryn Williams ~



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Laura Barnett

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Kathryn Williams 

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Book Review ~ ‘Wintersong’ by S. Jae-Jones.



Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
(Wintersong #1)
Genres: Romance, Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: 7th February 2017.




Dark, romantic and unforgettable, a fantastical coming-of-age story for fans of Labyrinth and The Darkest Part of the Forest.

Deep in his terrifying realm underground, the cold and forbidding Goblin King casts a dark shadow over nineteen-year-old Liesl. Her grandmother has always warned her to follow the old laws, for every year on the longest night of winter, she claims, the Goblin King will emerge into the waking world in search of his eternal bride. Sensible and plain, Liesl knows it’s her duty to keep her beautiful sister Käthe safe from harm. But Liesl finds refuge only in her wild, captivating music, composed in secret in honor of the mysterious Goblin King.

When Käthe is stolen by the Goblin King, Liesl knows she must set aside her childish fantasies to journey to the Underground and save her. Drawn despite herself to the strange, beautiful world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she finds herself facing an impossible choice. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Set at the turn of the 19th century, when young upstart composers like Beethoven were forever altering the sound of music, S. Jae-Jones’ richly imagined debut spins a spellbinding tale of music, love, sisterhood, and a young woman’s search for self-actualization.



Book Review ~ ‘Wintersong’ by S. Jae-Jones ~ 5+ Stars!

My God, this book. Just wow! I mean, just…umm. *speechless*

I may ramble incoherently, as I often do about the books I love, but this stunning book is so rich, sexy, magical that I feel I need to just scream about it from the roof-tops.

Once there was a little girl who played her music for a little boy in the wood. She was small and dark, he was tall and fair, and the two of them made a fancy pair as they danced together, dancing to the music the little girl heard in her head.

First off – That beginning. Oh my god! Fairy tales are a big favourite of mine, and from that first paragraph, I was enraptured, I could picture it in my head and was excited for the story to come. Music and magic coming together are a match-made in heaven for me, and as the story unfolds the sensual effect of music, magic and love left me breathless.

Secondly, the characters will stay with you for a long time after you finish reading. Liesl,  Käthe, the Goblin King – all were so well-developed and so extraordinary that they leapt off the page and I could see everything about them that I needed to to really believe in them.  I understood the battle of light and dark in the Goblin King, I felt Liesl’s reluctance to find herself, after years of helping her siblings find themselves, and Käthe, the girl who realises after it is too late how much she loves her sister.

Written in mind for the elder YA audience, this book has everything in it I wish I’d had to read as a teenager. Deeply, but not overtly, sensual, I would not recommend it for under sixteen years old, but there is something about this book that will trap you in its spell and let you recognise your own desires through Liesl’s experimentations with her music.

A stunningly written, sensual and fantastical romance, Wintersong is a must-read for fans of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Angela Carter.

5+ Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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S. Jae-Jones

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Three Year Anniversary Tour for ‘The Boots My Mother Gave Me’ by Brooklyn James.

Boots Blog Tour Banner


The Boots My Mother Gave Me by Brooklyn James
(The Boots My Mother Gave Me #1)
Genres: Romance, Contemporary

Brooklyn James is an author/singer/songwriter inspired by life in the Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. This year marks the Three Year Anniversary of her first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me. In celebration, her camp has re-released the Anniversary Edition with a new cover (as chosen by a fan) and a new epilogue, setting up the anticipated sequel.

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‘Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk through life in someone else’s shoes?

Strong-willed tomboy Harley LeBeau puts you in the boots her mother gave her, as she takes you along her journey of escape from an abusive childhood and the desire to find herself as she comes of age. Made to feel a burden to her father simply by her gender, Harley is determined to prove her worth and independence, leaving the small town she grew up in and the one boy who gave her a soft place to fall, Jeremiah Johnson. Torn between saving herself and abandoning her mother and younger sister, Harley chooses her own life in hopes they will choose theirs, too.

A mature, candid read for everyone. A must for women. The Boots My Mother Gave Me explores the dynamics of abuse and dysfunction, the courage to overcome, the strength in sisterhood, and the ongoing conflict and unconditional love between mothers and daughters. Climb into Charlene the Chevelle for a fast-paced story about a girl who is tough enough to survive and tender enough to learn to trust in love.’



A stunning, emotional rollercoaster of a journey, ‘The Boots My Mother Gave Me’ is up there as one of my top reads for 2013.

There was something about Brooklyn James’ writing style which grabbed me from the word go. I was yanked into the beautifully written and heartbreakingly realistic storyline which managed to crush my heart into a million pieces in between laughing and smiling as I witnessed the most beautiful and loving of relationships being forged and the winning of battles that characters had been fighting for so long.

The picture that Brooklyn James created of a small community was spectacularly done. Everyone knows everyone elses business, and if you are lucky enough to escape the trap of the town you grew up in, you can never truly leave it behind as the ties that you made always pull you back. It was one of the reasons that I loved and admired Jeremiah as a character so much. He knew everything about our heroine Harley, he knew of the struggles of her past and understood and despite knowing he would lose her, he still encouraged her in her desire to escape and see the world.

It was such a refreshing change to see a hero of a story let the heroine make her own way, and make her own mistakes. I loved that he didn’t try to stop her from leaving him behind so many times, and that even though it broke his heart, he knew that she had to find and love herself before she would be able to accept his love.

Now, that is my kind of hero *swoons*.

Being able to witness every part of Harley’s journey of self-discovery really helped me connect to Harley, and see her not only as a charater who I hoped would have a happy ending, but as a real person, with real issues and insecurities. The mistakes she made and the relationships she forged weren’t skirted over, which I loved! As a hopeless romantic, it tore at my heart to see Harley in relationships with men who weren’t Jeremiah, but although this had me clutching at my chest in fits of sobs, it was seeing Harley’s journey in such detail that made me appreciate the ending all the more. It was truly a case of ‘good things come to those who wait.’

The continued emphasis on the importance of family in this book was a very heartwarming message. I adored Harley’s relationship with her younger sister Kat, and how no matter what she is doing, Harley would always drop everything to return to her mother and sister’s side in their time of need, even when it came at a cost to Harley. That is the pure strength and devotion of family, and especially in a lot of recent new-adult fiction, the focus on the main romance tends to overshadow the importance of familial ties, so I was delighted to see that this wasn’t the case with this book. This story was realistic and poignant reminding us that romantic love isn’t the only love that exists.

Brooklyn James’ writing was phenomenal and I loved how fleshed out the secondary characters such as Cassidy were, and how the issue of abuse isn’t always as black or white as it is in some cases. I really admired how Harley’s abusive father was portrayed as a flawed human who craves forgiveneness, rather than as a faceless manipulator. I really disliked Harley’s father, and never condone abuse in any form, but the way that this storyline flowed is a reminder that whilst to most abuse is simply wrong, to people like Harley the abuser is still their father, and nothing can change blood.

This was a stunning story which tore me to shreds, and I recommend having a box of tissues at hand when you read this.

Superb book and most definitely recommended!

5 fabulous stars!


As a special thank you to her fans, Brooklyn is offering e-copies of The Boots My Mother Gave Me for the special limited price of $1.99 at and £1.28 at



The Boots My Mother Gave Me was chosen as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, and has ranked in Kindle’s Top 100 Coming of Age and Women’s Fiction. Accolades for the book include a host of radio and television appearances, book signings, live music events, televised public readings and a music video release of the title track ‘Can’t Get It Right’ from the original music soundtrack to the novel, viewable on YouTube.

“Brooklyn James’ soundtrack to her novel The Boots My Mother Gave Me does more than give a clever feminist twist to the title. Her songs serve as chapters themselves, underlining James’ deft ability as a storyteller and songwriter.” – Margaret Moser, The Austin Chronicle.


Like what you hear?

Brooklyn’s new album Jolie Blonde is out now and is set to accompany her upcoming novel of the same name, due for release mid-October. Click here to listen to a sample and pre-order.

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Her music can be found on Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, Pandora and Jango online Radio. She enjoys airplay from American Independent radio stations as well as in Australia, South of France, Netherlands and the UK. Her song ‘Can’t Get It Right’ was chosen for MEOW’s (Musicians for Equal Opportunity for Women) 2012 Discoveries Jukebox, naming Brooklyn among the top 15 female singer/songwriters on the rise. Jango Radio named track two, ‘Moving On,’ off the same album to their Top 10 Songs of Summer. All songs from the soundtracks are written/co-written and performed by the author, and are produced and recorded at Wonderland Studios, Austin, Texas. Listen free on Brooklyn’s Website or Facebook.


Win 1 of 3 Anniversary eCopies!

Entry via Rafflecopter. Giveaway closes October 8 2013.

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  Win 1 of 2 The Boots My Mother Gave Me Soundtracks

Entry via Rafflecopter. Giveaway close October 8 2013.

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DFW Romance Book Sign

Brooklyn James

Brooklyn holds an M.A. in Communication, and a B.S. in both Nursing and Animal Science. Her nursing career has seen specialties in the areas of Intensive Care and Labor & Delivery/Postpartum, which she’s hoping will come in handy as she and her handsome hubby (the inspiration behind Jeremiah Johnson from The Boots My Mother Gave Me) are expecting their first child this Christmas. You can read about such experiences on Brooklyn’s Blog, if you fancy.

A self-professed Jack-of-all-trades, she has enjoyed careers in massage therapy, personal training, teaching, day labor at a cattle company (doing everything on horseback, the old-fashioned ‘cowboy’ way), radio DJ, TV news writer and reporter, waitress, bartender, even amateur actor. To date, her most fun experiences in front of the camera have been starring in a Weezer video, being a ‘stand-in’ for Mira Sorvino on the set of TNT’s Trooper, and as background in When Angels Sing with Harry Connick Jr. Brooklyn says he couldn’t have been more of a gentleman and oh so swoon-worthy!

She takes great pleasure in performing as part of an acoustic duo in the local live music scene in Austin. Got a little video here from a set at Austin Bergstrom International Airport. Her hobbies include, spending time with family and friends, dancing until her feet are sore, weight lifting, running, paddleboarding (anything outdoors really), reading, watching The Big Bang Theory and anything on The History Channel, partaking of a good cup of Joe and trying out new and local food fare. Brooklyn also serves as a guest speaker from time to time with a focus on awareness and prevention of domestic violence and suicide, a cause near and dear to her heart.

Thank you so much for being so kind to take the time to check out my blog hop! Light & Love – Brooklyn James.


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If you’re still hankering after the first book, with original story and cover, it’s still available at and

Boots My Mother Gave Me

So Many Books . . . So Little Time!

I appear to be in a rather pensive state of mind at the moment, so thought I’d put my rambles out into a blog post.

My Goodreads to-read list is getting longer and longer with every passing day. My bookshelves are creaking and groaning a little more every time a new paperback is lovingly placed on top (there’s no space actually on the shelves). My Kindle is getting a little closer to the 3,500 book limit every day, despite half of the books having not been read yet. But despite all that, I still always find myself reading this book again (I lost count of the number of times I’ve read it after it got to about 20+).

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

I think that is the magic of a good book, something that you can go back to so many times and still feel the thrill you felt the first read, even 20+ rereads later.

J.K. Rowling is my greatest inspiration as a writer. She gave me the best part of my childhood and gave me a world to escape to when the one we live in became too much. That she could round her characters so well, and make every one of their actions seem believable is awe inspiring. Maybe that is why I became a writer too. The desire to create my own world where I could escape to when reality lets you down, is a driving force of my writing, even if the story isn’t fantasy. We can give our characters the happy endings they deserve, and gives hope that there are people in the world like those characters we’ve created that give you hope for humanity.

So this is a rather rambly blog post that probably made very little sense, but was my way of expressing my thanks to J.K. Rowling, and all those other authors that gave me the best childhood, without which I wouldn’t be writing my own characters happy endings today.