Clariel by Garth Nix: one for the children

Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid to the sinister Guildmaster Kilip. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all.

My review:

This is the first (and I think only) book by Garth Nix that I’ve read, or will read. It came across very much as a children’s fantasy book and not really that engaging for adults. That’s absolutely fine of course, but I wish I’d known this before I started. The beginning is very slow so it was a relief to get to the middle where the plot started to kick in.

Then a lot of things (murder! journeys! danger!) happen all at once which is great, but then it got a bit out of hand and there was way too much happening by the end so I lost interest and started skipping. It was odd because I started off really liking Clariel, but when she began to actually do something, I couldn’t work out her reasoning so found her rather facile. Oh, and I hated the pesky cat. We really didn’t need it – a bit of a ‘MacGuffin”. So, all in all, an okay read for the young, but not for me.

Anne Brooke Books

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Free Book Friday: Apples and Gifts!

Welcome to Free Book Friday! This week, I once again have two free books, as below:

The Apple Picker’s Daughter

Born in the 1960s on a UK apple farm, Clare Rivers is a girl out of time, living in a family and a world that makes little sense to her. Determined to carve out her place somehow, and with her deep love of her father to see her through, Clare begins a unique journey to discover the reasons for her own existence. If she can. However, accompanied by the oddities of family, school and the strange lyrical life of the apples, can Clare really find a place within herself to call home?

This novel will appeal to lovers of rural life, recent history and a child’s quirky but clear-sighted view of the adult world.

Reviews from Amazon:

“A delightful and intriguing tale of a child who feels herself ‘different.'”

“The only way to absorb Anne Brooke’s gift of a child’s perception of the world is to read the book. It is a joy!”

“Because of the way that this book is written it can be enjoyed by both adults and children.”

Download this book for free here!

The Gifting

Simon Hartstongue is a mind-reader, and branded a coward and a murderer. When his overlord and lover Ralph Tregannon turns against him, he is forced to embark on a treacherous journey to the distant and magical land of Gathandria in order to save his country and his own soul. During a series of terrifying trials, Simon must encounter the trickery of the deadly Mind Executioner and the secret dealings of those he ought to trust.

The Gifting is an Awesome Indies novel, and is showcased at the Awesome Indies website.

Reviews:

“The Gifting is a unique fantasy where mental and physical worlds merge in a flight of unrestrained imagination. Unlike much fantasy I’ve read lately, this book soars with hope. It’s a story of redemption gained through a mystical journey through earth, air, fire and water that tests the deepest recesses of a man’s soul.” (Awesome Indies Reviews)

“The Gifting is merely the introduction to the Gathandrian Trilogy; it’s a big world, filled with intrigues and magic, loss and redemption. It’s a fantastical place where almost anything is possible, where a coward can become a hero, where the promise for more excitement and enchantment are guaranteed, and I look forward to seeing where Anne Brooke will take us next, as well as discovering what Simon’s future holds.” (Top2Bottom Reviews)

Download this book for free here!

Happy reading, and have a great Friday!

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Blog 106: FREE book – epic fantasy The Gifting!

Epic fantasy The Gifting (Gathandria #1) is FREE today and tomorrow only at Amazon!

Simon Hartstongue is a mind-reader, and branded a coward and a murderer. When his overlord and lover Ralph Tregannon turns against him, he is forced to embark on a treacherous journey to the distant and magical land of Gathandria in order to save his country and his own soul. During a series of terrifying trials, Simon must encounter the trickery of the deadly Mind Executioner and the secret dealings of those he ought to trust.

The Gifting is an Awesome Indies novel, and is showcased at the Awesome Indies website.

Reviews:

The Gifting is a unique fantasy where mental and physical worlds merge in a flight of unrestrained imagination. Unlike much fantasy I’ve read lately, this book soars with hope. It’s a story of redemption gained through a mystical journey through earth, air, fire and water that tests the deepest recesses of a man’s soul.” (Awesome Indies Reviews)

The Gifting is merely the introduction to the Gathandrian Trilogy; it’s a big world, filled with intrigues and magic, loss and redemption. It’s a fantastical place where almost anything is possible, where a coward can become a hero, where the promise for more excitement and enchantment are guaranteed, and I look forward to seeing where Anne Brooke will take us next, as well as discovering what Simon’s future holds.” (Top2Bottom Reviews)

Download your FREE copy today! Happy reading.

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Blog 98: New gay romance – Angels and Airheads!

Gay comic romance Angels and Airheads is published at Amazon today!

Ricky has been secretly in love with his best friend Jez forever, but he’s never dared confess his feelings because he thinks Jez is too high-class for him. One evening, while sharing a quiet evening with Jez, a mysterious angel, Madred, appears and tries to persuade Ricky to take a chance on love.

Too bad Ricky doesn’t believe in angels. Madred is forced to take desperate measures in an attempt to show the reluctant Ricky the truth. When the angel leaves, can Ricky find the courage to declare himself to Jez, and what will happen to their friendship if he does?





Reviews:

“I really liked how romantic this story was. We don’t get long with the men together on the page, but what is there is quite delightful. Their long friendship reflected the emotions and feelings but there was the fresh newness of the physical which added to that friendship and showed they were in for the long haul.” [From an A-rated review at Brief Encounter Reviews]

“There are none so blind as those who will not see. And sometimes it takes nothing less than a gigantic nudge from your guardian angel to get you to open your eyes and see the miracle that’s been right in front of you all along … Angels and Airheads is a story of perfect love in an imperfect world, and what could be more sweet than that?” [From a 4-star review at The Novel Approach]

“This is such a sweet short about taking chances; Ricky has been gently nudged quite a few times to put his heart out there to Jez. But he always thinks of something that always holds him back. This time Heaven means business and Madred is given the task of convincing him … I recommend this to those who love angel intervention, conflicted men, a sweet short story and a happy ending.” [From a 4-star review at MM Good Book Reviews]

“Angels and Airheads is a short, endearing story of faith, hope, and love. I love how Anne Brooke incorporates faith in her stories and yes, I can do a happy dance. This is my first time reading a strong HEA from this author.” [From a 4-star review at TWLIB Reviews]

“I’m not much for divine interventions when it comes to books, but in this particular one I very much enjoyed it. I’ve found that Anne Brooke’s style with her short stories suits me and romance is certainly her thing.” [From a review at The Romance Reviews]

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
Dryathlon 2015: Please give generously to Cancer Research UK!

Blog 95: HALF-PRICE Gay Fantasy: Martin and The Wolf

Gay shapeshifter story Martin and The Wolf is HALF-PRICE at Amber Quill Press until 9 January so don’t miss out!

When thirty-six-year-old lecturer Martin meets the mysterious Lucas at a neighbor’s midsummer party, the attraction is instant and hot. The two men soon start a relationship, but Martin is puzzled by Lucas’ behavior. He’s not like any man Martin has ever known—indeed, sometimes Lucas hardly seems human at all—and Martin wants to find out why.
But on one August night, when Martin tracks Lucas to the depths of the local park, he discovers eye-opening, fantastical realities about his new lover and the pack of strange wolves Lucas runs with than he had ever thought possible. Can Martin handle the truth?

Reviews:

Martin and The Wolf by Anne Brooke is a gracefully written paranormal novelette that takes a fresh perspective on the werewolf legend … The story’s appeal lies in those fascinating disconnects where Lucas’s aggressive wolf personality causes him to stand out from the camouflage of his courteous but reserved British countrymen. Even better is the first-person narrator Martin’s puzzled but unflappable acceptance of Lucas.” [From a Recommended Reads review at ARe Cafe Reviews]

“This is an amazing story about Martin, a university lecturer, and Lucas, a somewhat wild and definitely unusual designer … I loved the message of this story: what counts in a relationship between any two “beings” isn’t how they look, nor necessarily what DNA they carry, or what they behave like. The focus in examining whether we can have a relationship with someone, and accept who and what they are, should be on how they relate to us, what they mean to us, and how they treat us. A very powerful message indeed!” [From a review at Queer Magazine Online]

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Dryatholon 2015: Helping Cancer Research UK

Blog 89: FREE book – dark fantasy The Executioner’s Cane!

Happy New Year to you all! As a New Year gift, dark fantasy The Executioner’s Cane (Gathandria #3) is FREE at Amazon until tomorrow!

The Executioner’s Cane is the final book in the Gathandrian Trilogy fantasy series. The first two books are The Gifting and Hallsfoot’s Battle.

Simon Hartstongue, accompanied by the mind-cane and the snow-raven, must travel back to the land he came from to offer support to the people he once tried to kill. From Gathandria, Annyeke Hallsfoot endeavours to help him but her attentions are focused on rebuilding the city after the wars.

Alone and faced with the anger of his people and hindered by the fragility of Ralph Tregannon’s leadership, Simon has to find a way to bring healing to a dying country and to renew his relationship with Ralph. But the odds and time itself are stacked against him.

Reviews:

This series was nothing as I expected. I was drawn deeper with each chapter til I couldn’t wait to pick up the book at every spare moment. It was beautifully written and I hope there will be more. Thank you Ms Brooke. (A 5-star review at Amazon)

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Blog 74: FREE Awesome Indies fantasy – The Gifting

I’m happy to announce that Awesome Indies fantasy The Gifting is FREE at Amazon for today and tomorrow!

Simon Hartstongue is a mind-reader, and branded a coward and a murderer. When his overlord and lover Ralph Tregannon turns against him, he is forced to embark on a treacherous journey to the distant and magical land of Gathandria in order to save his country and his own soul. During a series of terrifying trials, Simon must encounter the trickery of the deadly Mind Executioner and the secret dealings of those he ought to trust.

The Gifting is an Awesome Indies novel, and is showcased at the Awesome Indies website.

Reviews:

The Gifting is a unique fantasy where mental and physical worlds merge in a flight of unrestrained imagination. Unlike much fantasy I’ve read lately, this book soars with hope. It’s a story of redemption gained through a mystical journey through earth, air, fire and water that tests the deepest recesses of a man’s soul.” (Awesome Indies Reviews)

The Gifting is merely the introduction to the Gathandrian Trilogy; it’s a big world, filled with intrigues and magic, loss and redemption. It’s a fantastical place where almost anything is possible, where a coward can become a hero, where the promise for more excitement and enchantment are guaranteed, and I look forward to seeing where Anne Brooke will take us next, as well as discovering what Simon’s future holds.” (Top2Bottom Reviews)

Happy reading!

Not only that but my latest gay fantasy The Taming of The Hawk yesterday received a 4-star review at Boy Meets Boy Reviews:

“Nice pace that is action-packed with an ongoing war, rebel forces, and a failing absolute power structure. When the lines are unclear there is plenty of room for questionable ethical and moral opportunities and it is no different in the city of Tetran … Overall, the uncertainty of no man’s land during war is well portrayed with a budding romance on the side.” (From a 4-star review at Boy Meets Boy Reviews)

Thank you, Vivian, for that review – much appreciated!

And as a reminder to you and to whet your appetite for more (I hope!), here’s the blurb for The Taming of The Hawk:

When escaped prisoner Redallek Castonar goes on the run in the war-torn city of Tetranal, he finds himself in the pleasure-house of Councillor Jarrod Tetran. Unaware that Redallek has made a blood-promise with the rebel factions to kill him, Jarrod is instantly attracted to the man. Although Redallek is determined to complete his mission as soon as possible in order to gain his freedom, he quickly finds his new master to be full of surprises and not the man he expected.
Meanwhile, Jarrod is secretly planning to take the ruling Council captive, and to begin a negotiated peace with the rebel army. Even though such an act goes against all his family stands for, he is willing to risk everything to save the country he loves from destruction.
Both Redallek and Jarrod are determined to fight for freedom and peace, but in two very different ways. Will their differences drive them apart, or can they find a way to work together for the good of all? And, even if they do, will the passion springing up between them lead to victory or defeat?

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK