Most Popular Reviews 2017: The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins @MLTompkins @PenguinUKBooks @penguinusa

This week, I am sharing the five most popular reviews this year by visits to the blog. Thank you to all of you for visiting and supporting me, and the blog, but most importantly your support for all of the authors I’ve featured.

The most popular review on the blog this year is a book which swept me away into a world of history, myth and magic was The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins. I posted my review for this on 5 April and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Description

What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.

Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.

As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.

The Last Days of Magic
introduces us to unforgettable characters who grapple with quests for power, human frailty, and the longing for knowledge that has been made taboo. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale—a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.

Review

The first time I read the description of this novel I knew I had to read it. My feeling that this book was for me wasn’t to be disappointed as I started reading the first few pages set in our time, an air of mystery swept over the story before Mark Tompkins took us back several thousand years to where the real story happened.

Set mainly in Ireland with some trips around Europe this story weaves magical myth, historical fact, papal legend, and pure fiction to bring together a beautiful yet heartbreaking magical fantasy about how magic left not only Ireland, the centre of all magic, but the world.

Using Goddesses, witches, fairies, vikings, kings, queens, angels, knights, mermaids/men and just about every other creature from legend you could think of without them being out of place or it feeling overcrowded Mark Tompkins has made this feel like a world full of infinite possibility under attack from people who don’t understand.

I couldn’t help but see connection between the way the church were portrayed in this book as pursuing the end of magic and the way over the years they pursued and tortured different groups for things they saw as a threat such as women they called witches, and those from other religions. I think this contrast was on purpose, it certainly wasn’t lost on me and I found many of the papal characters unnerving and in some cases quite sickening!

Our Goddesses on earth Aisling and Anya are twins and between them hold the power of the goddess all the magical creatures worship and follow. They are strong girls and will only become stronger. They each had strengths, Aisling, the fighter, Anya the bookworm and I loved the both for each of the their strengths as I could relate to both.

You know from the title of the book, it’s not going to be a happy go lucky novel. Things aren’t going to go the way you want them to and I’m almost tempted to pigeon-hole this a dark fantasy as it gets pretty grim in places. Despite this I couldn’t help feeling like there was hope, all the way through I just felt like something was going to turn around make things better.

I’m hoping beyond hope that there will be a second book as this was an astounding read. I haven’t read anything like this in, well, ever!

A huge thanks to Mark Tompkins for so kindly sending me a signed copy, I will treasure it. I also thank Penguin for the eARC to read in return for my honest review.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleThe Last Days of Magic
Series: N/A
Author: Mark Tompkins
Genre: Fantasy | Dark Fantasy | Magic
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 1 March 2016
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Audio
Pages: 400
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | SpeedyHen

Week in Review – 4 June 2017

I’ve had a bad week this week, the dark cloud of depression has knocked me for six and a few things have made me doubt blogging. I had an author ask me to change my rating on their review which hurt more than I thought it would when I’d heard other people talking about similar encounters. I obviously said no, I think it’s safe to say as bloggers we all value our integrity and to do something like this undervalues all of our reviews not just that one.

My infection didn’t shift with the antibiotics so I’ve been given another, longer course of antibiotics which will run into my operation next week, it always makes me really angry and moody which is not helping my depressive mood or my reaction to negative situations any! I also ended up in hospital again on Friday with suspected Lithium Toxicity (which is a kind of blood poisoning) so I’m starting to feel like a real frequent flier in that place at the moment! All being well, my operation is next week, I have posts scheduled to go live while I’m away but I will likely be AWOL for a few days at least. So please don’t take it personally if I don’t visit you or don’t reply to any messages. I will be back!

Then there is my ongoing drama of trying to get a ticket to BristolCon a fantasy/sci-fi convention in October. On their website they say they offer an unwaged “membership” (their form of a ticket). I’ve been trying to get one for about 3 weeks now and it’s impossible. Last year I couldn’t go because I couldn’t afford it, this life on benefits is hard but I’ve tightened my belt a lot and have a bit to spare so could afford the early bird unwaged membership and with Jen Williams one of their guests I was well chuffed to go.

You can’t change the ticket option on the website so I tweeted them and sent an email to the address on the ticket page, after a few days I put a message up on my facebook page as I know a few people who go every year and know the people who run it and asked them if they could help me out with a contact. A few days later I got a reply on Twitter with a different email address and a promise someone would reply. I sent the email and nothing, nada, nil. And on June 1 the prices went up so I guess I won’t be going after all, which sucks! I have to say though they shouldn’t offer alternative prices if they aren’t going to honour them…that is really, truly, crap! I also won’t be trying to go again, even once I’m back in work and can afford full ticket price, I’ll go elsewhere.

Finally, in more positive news I’m taking part in Walking out of Darkness at the end of the month, it’s a mental health awareness event, walking ten miles in Weston super Mare. I’m taking part with my Brother and a mutual friend of ours and we are raising money for Bipolar UK. We have a fundraising page where you can donate if you feel so inclined or details of our text to donate are in the sidebar. We are grateful for anything you can spare for this amazing charity. Although as it’s just a couple of weeks after my operation I may be biting off more than I can chew! HAHA!

So, onto my bookish update this week…

Book of the Month

I swear I only did this last week! How has it come around so quickly?!

Red Sister - Mark LawrenceI had a few books that were in the running this month with 5* reviews but only one stood out hands and feet ahead of them all and that was this one.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence 

Red Sister was the kind of read that glues you to the page from the first word to the last. It was enthralling and fantasy writing at it’s very best. If this doesn’t become a classic in the genre then I will eat my fluffy hat.

“I ended up spending the last hundred pages or so with my breath held, toes clenched,  and grinding my teeth, there was just so much tension.”

For the full review click here.

To Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | BookDepositorySpeedyHen

Most Viewed In May

the-last-days-of-magicIn contrast my most viewed page in May was Mark Tompkins The Last Days of Magic, this was actually one of my Books of the Month for May. But I found out on Friday by chance that Mark is actually running a sponsored post on Facebook using my review which I’m both very flattered about and grateful for aswell.

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

Giveaway Wins

eARCs

Reviews

This week I’ve reviewed My Beautiful Disaster Part 2 and The Modern Girls Guide to Growing Old Disgracefully.

Other Posts

This week I had book blitz for Smoke and Mirrors, When Smoke Rains Down, Lone Wolf and Damned Either Way. a blog tour for The Velvet Chair, my new feature TBR Topple, and on The Bookshelf was the very lovely Louise Rose-Innes.

Giveaways

  • Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box (Intl winner would get eBook prizes) (Blitz-Wide Giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • $30 Amazon gift card & ebook copy of The Velvet Chair / 4x ebook copies of The Velvet Chair (International tour-wide giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • $100 Amazon gift card / A set of signed copies of the A Breed MC series (International Blitz-Wide Giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card (Blitz-Wide International Giveaway) Rafflecopter

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

Week in Review – 7 May 2017

This week has been a bit of a shock to the system, after several very busy weeks I got hit quite hard with a dose of mania and psychosis coming back this week. A warning shot from the bipolar that I was doing too much, and when I saw my support worker on Friday she told me as much as well, reminding me that I knew better and had to look after myself. So I’m re-evaluating what I am doing with my time, how much time I’m spending running around, volunteering, helping family etc so that I don’t end up really sick again and totally incapacitated because that’s just not good for anyone.

Friday evening saw me tootling over to Bath for the Robin Hobb event I’ve been rather excited about. It was held in Christ Church which despite my lack of religion and dislike of the uncomfortable seating was a really nice venue for this type of event. There was an hour of “in conversation” with Jane Johnson who is the Publishing Director over at Harper Voyager, she’s pretty much a legend herself given she launched the imprint and Robin Hobb, thanks Jane! It was a wonderful conversation covering Robin Hobb’s books, characters, writing processes, life, and family. There were many funny moments and many relatable moments and as someone who started reading her books right at the beginning when the first one was launched twenty years ago it made me feel nostalgic to go back to the beginning and start again, maybe I should!

At the end of the evening there was a signing and the chance to meet the lady herself, along with the fantastic jacket illustrator Jackie Morris.

Now I may have mentioned before that I have a problem with going mute when I really admire someone’s work. I used to do this a lot with bands I had to interview, and yes, it happened with Robin Hobb. In all honesty it’s a great privilege to whoever I meet if I go mute, it means I think very highly of them! I managed to squeak out a “It’s a great honour to meet you” asked to get a photo then scuttled away! Some people stood there talking for ages, I envy those people greatly! All those things I wished I could say but my voice was broken…thanks anxiety!

So, onto my bookish update this week… (as always click on the covers for more info/to see the posts)

Book of the Month

It’s time for me to announce my Book of the Month for April, I had a few in the running and I couldn’t decide between two so I’ve doubled up this month because of that.

dragon-of-ash-stars the-last-days-of-magic

The Last Days of Magic was also my most visited post during April so you guys obviously enjoyed it aswell so thanks for that!

Currently Reading

The many colours of us

What I’ve Read

Cry Wolf - Greta Stone  

New Books

My no adding to the TBR fell apart this week… but I have got some brilliant new books on there!

Bought / Freebies

 

Book Post

Holiday In the Hamptons - Sarah Morgan 

eARCs

Shifter_Clans_Series_Box_Set   The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square - Lilly Bartlett 

Reviews

There Is Always More To Say - Lynda Spiro Memortality - Stephen H. Provost HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Other Posts

This week Kate Coe was featured on The Bookshelf and was the first blogger to take part. I hope you enjoyed her answers, I came out the other end with a huge list of books to go on my wish list!

Into The Heat - Tamara Lush The Bloggers Bookshelf Logo

Giveaways

  • 1 Signed Copy of Memortality (International Tour-Wide Giveaway) Rafflecopter

Week in Review – 9 April 2017

I had such high plans for my reading this week but it all went a little pear shaped!

On Tuesday I went to see the rather wonderful Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes with my Mum. I’m a huge fan of Matthew Bourne’s contemporary ballet work, if you get the opportunity to see one of his ballet’s I highly recommend it. They are very modern, the dancers highly skilled and always exquisitely executed.

On the way home though we received a call that my Nan was very unwell so diverted to her house where after packing my mum home in a taxi, I waited with her for an ambulance then on to the hospital where I stayed until 3am, when they decided she was staying the night (of course it was one of those times I was wishing I had taken my book to the theatre!).

My Nan is OK and I spent all day yesterday at her house with her but I’m completely out of sorts and playing catch up with sleep, life, and reading! It was lucky all my posts for this week were pre-scheduled or the blog would have been a ghost town!

In good and interesting news, last night I took part in the Grimbold Books podcast The Grimcast. The focus was on book bloggers and the book blogging community so I will definitely let you all have a link to tune in when it goes live!

So, onto my update this week…

Currently Reading

Right Here Waiting For you - Rebecca Pugh

 

What I’ve Read

 Strange the Dreamer - UK Cover Reveal Rough - Sybil Bartel 

New Books

So I hit my personal TBR threshold on the number of books I can have before I stop buying and requesting books on NetGalley (unless they are by a favourite author of course) until I’ve brought the numbers down a bit…so in theory this section should be empty…of course, it’s not!

Bought

Bombshell - CD Reiss 

Competition Wins

 A Bed of Brambles - Sam Russell

Book Post

 The Dragon's Legacy - Deborah A. Wolf

eARCs

Into the Hall of Vice - Anabelle Bryant

Reviews

I’ve been a little bit more proactive with the reviews this week, my new schedule seems to be working and I’m catching up on my backlog (insert happy dance here)!

Hot Shade - Tamara Lush  the-last-days-of-magic Modern Girls Guide to Turning Into YOur Mother - Ada Adverse dragon-of-ash-stars

Other Posts

Fantasy author, J.C. Kang stopped by for The Bookshelf this week.

Saving Mercy - Abbie Roads The White Raven - Carrie D. Miller Standing Ground - Alice Rachel the-authors-bookshelf-logo

Giveaways

  • 5x Myths & Legends Boxsets and More from Myths & Legends (International) Rafflecopter
  • Dragon Bling and Angelbound Audiobook from Angelbound (International) Rafflecopter
  • Paperback Copies of the Under Ground Series & $20 Gift Card (International) Rafflecopter

#Review: The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins @MLTompkins @PenguinUKBooks @penguinusa

Description

What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.

Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.

As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.

The Last Days of Magic
introduces us to unforgettable characters who grapple with quests for power, human frailty, and the longing for knowledge that has been made taboo. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale—a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.

Review

The first time I read the description of this novel I knew I had to read it. My feeling that this book was for me wasn’t to be disappointed as I started reading the first few pages set in our time, an air of mystery swept over the story before Mark Tompkins took us back several thousand years to where the real story happened.

Set mainly in Ireland with some trips around Europe this story weaves magical myth, historical fact, papal legend, and pure fiction to bring together a beautiful yet heartbreaking magical fantasy about how magic left not only Ireland, the centre of all magic, but the world.

Using Goddesses, witches, fairies, vikings, kings, queens, angels, knights, mermaids/men and just about every other creature from legend you could think of without them being out of place or it feeling overcrowded Mark Tompkins has made this feel like a world full of infinite possibility under attack from people who don’t understand.

I couldn’t help but see connection between the way the church were portrayed in this book as pursuing the end of magic and the way over the years they pursued and tortured different groups for things they saw as a threat such as women they called witches, and those from other religions. I think this contrast was on purpose, it certainly wasn’t lost on me and I found many of the papal characters unnerving and in some cases quite sickening!

Our Goddesses on earth Aisling and Anya are twins and between them hold the power of the goddess all the magical creatures worship and follow. They are strong girls and will only become stronger. They each had strengths, Aisling, the fighter, Anya the bookworm and I loved the both for each of the their strengths as I could relate to both.

You know from the title of the book, it’s not going to be a happy go lucky novel. Things aren’t going to go the way you want them to and I’m almost tempted to pigeon-hole this a dark fantasy as it gets pretty grim in places. Despite this I couldn’t help feeling like there was hope, all the way through I just felt like something was going to turn around make things better.

I’m hoping beyond hope that there will be a second book as this was an astounding read. I haven’t read anything like this in, well, ever!

A huge thanks to Mark Tompkins for so kindly sending me a signed copy, I will treasure it. I also thank Penguin for the eARC to read in return for my honest review.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleThe Last Days of Magic
Series: N/A
Author: Mark Tompkins
Genre: Fantasy | Dark Fantasy | Magic
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 1 March 2016
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Audio
Pages: 400
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | SpeedyHen

Week in Review – 2 April 2017

So, this week I decided to finally join the ranks of bloggers take a break from social media and blog reading once a week to focus on my own reading and general life needs! I’ve chosen a Wednesday as this is my busiest day of the week anyway and having tried it out this week I had a far less stressful day.

Not much to say this week, so onto the bookish update…

Book of the Month

norse-mythologyIt’s that time again to name my book of the month, it will hardly be a surprise that for March I’m naming Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman my book of the month. This book met all of my expectations and beyond. It is also a beautiful book just to look at and will not be leaving my bookshelf any time soon!

If you want to read my full review, you can find it here.

Currently Reading

Strange the Dreamer - UK Cover Reveal

What I’ve Read

the-last-days-of-magic  Hot Shade - Tamara Lush   My Beautiful Disaster - J.D. Hughes

New Books

Ah sigh! A bunch of books on my wish list went on sale this week so yeah, I did really well with resisting…not! I also had a bunch of quite old NetGalley requests that I’d totally forgotten about approved (eeek!) If I go missing you can find me under book mountain.

Bought

     

Competition Wins

eARCs

      the-unlikeable-demon-hunter-deborah-wilde

Reviews

I’ve been a little bit more proactive with the reviews this week, my new schedule seems to be working and I’m catching up on my backlog (insert happy dance here)!

 Reborn - Jane Ederlyn meet-me-at-willoughby-close-kate-hewitt

Other Posts

Lots going on this week other than the reviews, had a few great guest posts, and a couple of blitz posts for some interesting looking books. The lovely Lynda Spiro stopped by for The Bookshelf this week.

  angelbound-christina-bauer the-authors-bookshelf-logo

Giveaways

  • 5x Myths & Legends Boxsets and More from Myths & Legends (International) Rafflecopter
  • Dragon Bling and Angelbound Audiobook from Angelbound (International) Rafflecopter

The Sims Tag

Thanks so much for Shananigans over at Reads and Reels for bringing this tag to my attention, this one looked like so much fun I just had to give it a whirl! I don’t play The Sims much anymore but I still remember when it first came out, the friends I was with at the time and how our lives got sucked into the computer quite completely! A big shout out to the YouTuber Hailey over at Hailey in Bookland who started this tag. Such a great idea!

There are no tags on this one so if you want to take part have at it!

The Original Sims: The Best Author Debut

I know, I know, I am probably being rather cliched here but this is one of the most outstanding pieces of literature I’ve ever read. It’s a deep exploration of what it’s like to deal with issues like loneliness, mental illness, and growing up. I was deeply moved by it as a teenager and always have a copy of it near to hand. Why this was J.D. Salinger’s only novel I have no idea, he had great things in him.

The Grim Reaper – The Saddest Character Death

I found this completely heartbreaking to read, even now years after reading it I can remember the choking feeling of trying to get through those final pages. And yes, the film was completely pants!

Sims Getting Stuck – A Character That Got In The Way

Talon - Julie Kagawa

Ember’s twin brother Dante is the definition of a third wheel, getting in the way, dropping her in it so she gets in trouble. So much for twins sticking together!

Simlish – A Book With Amazing Writing

the-last-days-of-magic

I’m just finishing this up at the moment so you can expect a review shortly but I’ve bee blown away with the way this is written and the way the different source materials have been woven together to create not just a fictional story but a fantasy. Superb.

Expansion Packs – A Series Where the Books Just Keep Getting Better

I have so much love for these books, I devoured them over a seriously short space of time and I was consistently surprised not just by Jen Williams writing but by the constant character and world development right up until the final page of the final book. I was completely devastated having to say goodbye to this world and the wonderful characters and even now over a year after I finished the last one I still miss some of the characters.

Cheats – A Book That’s Completely Unrealistic

I’m not sure what I disliked most about this, Bella was just so whiney, our ‘heroes’ were pretty damn pathetic, and the Stephenie Meyer went and made vampires glittery. I mean damn! I was definitely too old and not the target market for this book, I was even less impressed with the films! I know this is supposed to be unrealistic but Meyer took it to a whole new level where I just couldn’t wait to get out of there!

Needs Fulfillment – A Character Who Makes all the Wrong Decisions

Daredevils - Shawn Vestal

I have a soft spot for characters who make bad choices, it makes them more human. In this novel Loretta is running from people who have made awful choices for her, and she’s not making the best choices herself. But you understand her reasoning and are rooting for her to get where she wants to go although there’s a part of you that wishes she could see not everyone is against her.

Error Code 12 – A Series That Gets Off To A Great Start but Goes Downhill from There

I was completely hooked on this series, I couldn’t read them quick enough when they were released, but as I got further through I just wasn’t feeling the excitement from the author anymore, and I know you know what I mean! It’s reached the point I have the last two left to go and I just have no motivation to pick them up.

Sims Vortex – A Book Or Series That Completely Engrossed You

I started the Shannara novels about 25 years ago in my teens, there are so many branches of the novels now that I still haven’t read them all so I ocassionaly pick a new one up and dive back into this wonderful world that Terry Brooks has created. It’s like a safe place for me.

If you decide to take part I hope you have fun, it’s been great digging through my brain thinking of books to fill in the answers with!