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

#Review: Then. Now. Always. by Isabelle Broom @Isabelle_Broom @MichaelJBooks

Description

Twenty-eight year old Hannah is ready for an adventure. She and her colleagues are in Spain for a month to film a documentary, and it’s a dream come true. Not least because Hannah will get to spend long summer days with Theo, her boss (and gorgeous crush). It couldn’t be a more perfect setting to fall in love…

If only Tom (Hannah’s best friend and cameramen) and Claudette (the presenter) would stop getting in the way…

Then things become even more complicated when Nancy, Hannah’s half-sister arrives. What on earth is she doing here?

For just once in her life, can’t Hannah have one perfect summer, free of any drama?

Calling all escapists! Prepare to be whisked away to the Spanish sun in this completely absorbing page-turner.

‘So evocative you can practically smell the paella and sangria’ Closer

Review

Like so many others I’m a huge fan of Isabelle Broom’s, her ability to bring a location to life on the page is unlike anybody else and this, her third novel didn’t disappoint in this regard. This time taking us to Spain and the village of Mojacar. Her descriptions of the village had me there with our characters, breathing the air and walking the streets. So much so that I ended up looking it up and flicking through pictures for over an hour!

Our protagonist Hannah is researcher for a media production company and filming in Mojacar was her idea having been somewhere she visited as a teenager and always been special to her. Because of her connection her boss (and long time crush) Theo says she can go on the production trip and so the story begins.

What I found interesting about this book over Isabelle Broom’s previous books was that I didn’t feel a connection to the characters in this one. I absolutely hated Hannah, if she was somebody I knew in real life I wouldn’t have the time of day for her, if I worked with her, I’d interact with her as little as possible. I really found very little about her that was likeable. Yet despite this I couldn’t stop reading.

Hannah is one of those people who acts like the whole world is against her. She doesn’t use her brain and when people try to talk to her like an adult she behaves like a child. For a 28 year old she’s incredibly immature.

Her half-sister Nancy turns up and she doesn’t give her the time of day. It becomes clear as the reader quite quickly why Nancy is there but Hannah behaves like a ten year old throwing a tantrum. If I was her Sister I think I would have just gone home!

Tom her best friend and the cameraman within the crew is the only person who tries to tell Hannah where she’s going wrong but she doesn’t listen and he doesn’t quite have the strength of character to stand up against her. I found him quite a weak character.

Hannah meets a local called Elaine during her trip who she interviews for the film and builds a friendship with her. I had an idea how this was going to work out by the end of the book and although I was half right I was also half wrong! I had a lot of suspicions around Elaine aswell, I never fully trusted her, I’m not sure what it was about her, or if I’m just a suspicious person but I couldn’t get fully on board with the friendship.

The only character I really liked, and I’ll probably get shot down for this was Theo, he reminded me of one of my Greek friends with his no fuss attitude, the way he knows what he wants and he goes for it no questions asked. He also has a sensitive side but he’s not big on showing it and he’s very ambitious. I would actually love to read a whole book about Theo!

Overall, despite not liking most of the cast in this novel I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I kind of saw my reaction to the characters as personality clashes and I think it still takes a lot of talent to keep you riveted to the page when you’re not getting on with the characters on that page! I’m also desperate to visit Mojacar after reading about it and all those pictures I went through!

A huge thanks to Isabelle Broom and Penguin Michael Joseph for the eARC so that I could read and honestly review this novel.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleThen. Now. Always.
Series: N/A
Author: Isabelle Broom
Genre: Women’s Fiction | Chick Lit | Travel
Publisher: Penguin Michael Joseph
Publication Date: 20 April 2017
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Paperback
Pages: 434
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | SpeedyHen

#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

#Review: My Map of You by Isabelle Broom @Isabelle_Broom @MichaelJBooks

Description:
Holly Wright has had a difficult few years. After her mother’s death, she’s become expert at keeping people at a distance – including her boyfriend, Rupert.

But when Holly receives an unexpected letter explaining that an aunt she never met has left her a house on the Greek island of Zakynthos, the walls she has built begin to crumble. Arriving on the island, Holly meets the handsome Aidan and slowly begins to uncover the truth about the secret which tore her family apart.

Continue reading #Review: My Map of You by Isabelle Broom @Isabelle_Broom @MichaelJBooks

Book Review: Dear Stranger: Letters on the Subject of Happiness by Various for Mind

Dear Stranger Letters on the subject of happinessTitle: Dear Stranger: Letters on the Subject of Happiness
Author: Various
Genre: Mental Health / Non-Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 2 July 2015
Format: eBook / Hardcover
Pages: 202
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US

Book Blurb:
‘Dear Stranger is an inspiration’ Stylist

Continue reading Book Review: Dear Stranger: Letters on the Subject of Happiness by Various for Mind

Review: The Monk; a romance by Matthew Gregory Lewis

The Monk - A RomanceTitle: The Monk: A Romance
Author: Matthew Gregory Lewis
Genre: Gothic Horror / Religion
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 29 October 1998
Format: eBook / Paperback
Pages: 416
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US

Continue reading Review: The Monk; a romance by Matthew Gregory Lewis