#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘C’ is for C. J. Archer @CJ_Archer @Audible #TuesdayBookBlog #Fantasy

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with another of my favourite writers, C. J. Archer is an Australian author of historical fantasy and mystery novels.

C.J. Archer

I don’t normally read fantasy novels, especially not a ten book series, which I never expected to finish! So far I’ve read the first five, and I’m looking forward to gradually working my way through them in between contemporary psychological thrillers!

The Last Necromancer (The Ministry Of Curiosities Book 1) by [Archer, C.J.]

l’ll be totally honest with you, I didn’t expect to like this book, so why did I start the series? Well, I love Victorian fiction, I don’t mind fantasy that’s rooted, at least partly, in some form of reality, I love the covers, (aren’t they stunning?) The title of book one was intriguing (what’s a necromancer?), the blurb drew me in, and book one was free, so nothing would be lost, except my time, and if I hadn’t liked it, I wouldn’t have given it more than thirty minutes to convince me to continue reading (that’s my maximum, sorry, life’s short and there are so many books to read).

This is the AUTHOR’S NOTE, which was a great incentive for me:

If you like some or all of the following then you’ll enjoy THE LAST NECROMANCER: plot twists, waifs, assassins, secret societies, supernatural or paranormal fantasies with romantic elements, feisty heroines, cold-hearted heroes who melt, a slow-burn romance, ghost stories, a dash of humor, mysteries, history, quirky secondary characters, strong female characters, dissident noblemen, Victorian London.

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Well, I didn’t need half an hour, the first paragraph of the first novel drew me right into the story. I checked on Audible and saw that there was a boxed set available with the first three novels, over 26 hours of listening. I listened to a sample and loved the narrator, Shiromi Arserio’s voice, so I bought it with my monthly credit and enjoyed every minute of the story!

Here’s my review of Book 1

It’s such a fun series, with likeable characters, nasty villains who get what they deserve, intricate plots, fantasy mixed with steam punk, mystery, the supernatural, and a sweet, ongoing romance.

Here’s the blurb:

A waif, her abductor and a twist you won’t see coming.

For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn’t raised a spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.

People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her.

Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly “made” creatures. There was only one known necromancer in the world – Charlotte – but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he’s been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn’t trust?

Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they’re hunting.

****

The Ministry of Curiosities Series is an escapist read, especially for lovers of historical fantasy with supernatural elements, set in Victorian England.

C J Archer’s Audible Author Page

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Last Necromancer’ by C. J. Archer #Audible #Amreading #Bookreviews

Today I’m reviewing The Last Necromancer by C. J. Archer, which is Book 1 of the The Ministry Of Curiosities.

It’s a historical novel set in Victorian London, but it’s more than that, as you’ll find out in my review.

Don’t you love the covers?

I love writing and reading historical fiction.

I’m always on the lookout for novels set in Victorian times. Recently I discovered a ten book series with the following blurb:

 A waif, her abductors and a twist you won’t see coming.

For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn’t raised a spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.

People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her. 

Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly “made” creatures. There was only one known necromancer in the world – Charlotte – but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he’s been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn’t trust? 

Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they’re hunting.

****

I have recently read many intense family dramas and contemporary thrillers, most psychological, such as The Woman at the Window, Us, The Husband, Our House, The Good Girl, My Husband the Stranger, The Cellar, I Am Watching You, Silent Child, and A Stranger in the House, among others, so I felt I needed a break from the intensity. I was looking for a lighter read, and I found one, quite by chance!

The blurb of The Last Necromancer sounded interesting, but I must admit that the ten-book series put me off.

Do I have time to read a series of ten books?

Do I have the patience to read ten books by the same author?

I really didn’t think so, but I took a chance and downloaded book one to my kindle because it was free. I think this is a great idea to entice readers to try a new author, especially in such a long series. I then bought the audiobook for the reduced price of about $4 and listened to it in the space of two evenings (it was about eight hours long), and loved it! I’ll probably even read the following books in the series!

Read on for my review.

My Review

The Last Necromancer is a wonderful escapist read.

There’s a bit of everything I enjoy. It’s historical, set in the  Victorian era, there’s action, mystery, suspense and a hint of romance.

The lead character is Charlie, an 18-year-old girl who has been living on the streets of London disguised as a boy for the last 5 years. She also has special powers (she can summon and speak to the dead) so she is being sought by unscrupulous villains. Charlie is a wonderful character. She’s clever, tough, resourceful, street-wise, caring, and sensitive.

The male lead, Lincoln Fitzroy is enigmatic and apparently heartless, and the rest of the ‘real’ villains, his enemies, are cruel and ruthless.

There are many references to other Victorian authors such as Mary Shelly and Conan Doyle. The novel includes secret societies, plots against the Queen, some supernatural, gothic elements, such as Charlie’s paranormal abilities, and some fantasy elements, such as Frankenstein-like monsters and other characters with special powers and knowledge.   

The Last Necromancer is a well written and entertaining read, with plot twists, action, mystery, suspense and a slow burn, romance, which promises to bloom in future installments. 

It is especially for lovers of the Victorian era, fantasy, paranormal, and entertaining fiction.

There are plenty of reasons why I’m looking forward to reading the following books in the series, as an antidote to the draining intensity of contemporary psychological and literary fiction, and the occasionally tedious reality of daily life.

In fact I’ve just downloaded the box set which includes the first three books in the series on Audible.

US Buy Link to the series

UK Buy link to the series 

****

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Blog Tour ‘Visions of Zarua’ and #Author Spotlight on Suzanne Rogerson

Visions of Zarua Blog Tour Banner

I’m delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour of Suzanne Rogerson’s debut novel, Visions of Zarua.

This is the last stop on her tour.  You’ll find out more about the novel and the author below. You’ll also be able to take part in a Goodreads Giveaway. Tour schedule:

Blogg Banner Zarua

Blurb: Visions of Zarua

Two wizards, 350 years apart.

Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.

Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.

Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.

The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?

Visions of Zarua Book Cover

To buy links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Kobo

Author Interview

1- Visions of Zarua, is your first published novel. Can you tell us something about your journey into publishing.

Getting Visions of Zarua published has been a long process – 10 years +, though my journey started way before that. I wrote a teen novel when I was 12 and had written two fantasy novels by my early twenties. Since then I’ve completed several fiction home study courses and attended creative writing classes. These helped me become a better writer, but it was the professional critiques and editorial services I paid for that really shaped this book and gave me the confidence to self-publish it.

Over the years I’ve contacted agents and entered many competitions, but looking back the books and short stories I submitted weren’t ready.

When Visions of Zarua was finally finished, I decided not to wait on an agent or publisher’s decision, but to take charge myself and let the reading public decide. Seeing the wonderful comments from readers and reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads, I’m so happy I took that chance. If I hadn’t, I could still be waiting now.

2- Which authors have influenced you most as a writer? 

The author that most influenced me is David Gemmell. Apart from being a master storyteller, he had a way to make you care about every single character no matter how small a part they played. That’s something I love about his books and still keep in mind as I write.

More recently I’ve been influenced by the success of a self-published author Anthony Ryan. He started out like me, before being snapped up by publishers and is now a bestselling author. When I read his first book, Blood Song, I knew I’d found someone worthy of stepping into David Gemmell’s shoes.

3- Someone says, ‘I don’t usually read fantasy novels.’ What would you say to convince them to read you novel?

Fantasy is about so much more than just magic and wizards, that’s what attracts me to the genre. Visions of Zarua has elements of other genres that I love to read; mystery, adventure and a sprinkling of romance.

A recent reviewer called Visions a fantasy detective story, and many others have commented on the mystery side of the story. It’s still a fantasy, but it’s accessible to everyone, not just fans of the genre.

I’ve created characters readers seem to love or hate, and another big plus for this book is that it’s a standalone – no need to wait a year or more to find how things turn out.

Many of the reviews for Visions of Zarua have said it’s a book anyone can enjoy even if you don’t normally read fantasy, and that it’s the perfect introduction to the genre.

 4- Can you tell us something about your main character?

There are several main characters in this book. Paddren is the reluctant hero, forced at every turn by events out of his control, but he’s also guided by a sense of duty and determination to see his master’s killers brought to justice.

Varnia is strong-willed and stubborn, but she’s caring and determined to do what she thinks is right for everyone.

Leyoch’s need to be accepted by society drives him into difficult situations, though he always puts the welfare of others above his own needs.

5- What are you working on now?

A fantasy trilogy ‘Bloodlines’ which has a similar mix of fantasy, mystery and romance. The first book, The Lost Sentinel, will hopefully be published later this year or early 2017.

I also hope to develop a short story into a novella. It’s about a woman whose husband doesn’t return from war, though his body is never found. She has nightmares about him reaching out to her from the battlefield and becomes convinced he’s trying to contact her. Certain he isn’t dead, she enlists the help of a local mystic to find him.

I have several other novels in various stages of planning and first draft, and I’m hoping to reach a point where I can publish a book a year. That means I really should get back to writing now.

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2015 author photo 2015 Zarua

Suzanne Rogerson. Author Profile

 Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

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Suzanne Rogerson’s Social Media links:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

 

If you’d like to win a copy of Visons of Zarua, you can take part in the following Goodreads Giveaway (Click on the banner below):

Giveaway Poster Zarua