Return from Hiatus!

Hello lovely readers, I’m back!

Flying in the face of all of my doubts, both the car and the relationship survived the road trip. Word to the wise: If someone says lets drive a classic car 5000 KM, it’ll be fun! And then proceeds to pack a suitcase full of spare parts and tools THIS IS A TRAP.

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Okay, okay.

A fun trap full of adventure and panicked moments spent petting the dashboard of the car whispering ‘it’ll be fine, it’ll be fine” with rising levels of desperation, but a trap none the less. You see, at the outset of said trip I was promised the opportunity to antique my way across Canada and finally get a chance to see all of the things you don’t get a chance to see when making the trip solely as a means of transportation and not some grand adventure. What did I actually get to see? Every Napa and hardware store between Sussex, New Brunswick and Okotoks, Alberta. On the bright side, I now have the formulaic layouts of Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart and Bumper – to – Bumper memorized for future maximum efficiency.

Let me list to you the ‘hiccups’ we experienced along the way:

  • Supplier included the wrong caps for the fuel injection system, had to wait until after the bank holiday to purchase new ones – 3 day delay
  • Discovery of an improper join on the fuel line – 1 day delay (but well worth avoiding assured disaster on this particular safety nightmare)
  • Header gasket leak – 1 day delay
  • Blown breaks… at 2 am, in the dark, on a VERY steep hill (thank goodness for being able to gear down)! – 3 hour delay with some lovely reading by a lake
  • The sad death of a power steering pump – 1 day delay
  • The absolute annihilation of a muffler whilst passing a semi, followed by a 5 hour drive at maximum decibels because this is northern Ontario at 5:30 PM and everyone has rolled up the sidewalks. No delay, but for the next two days all we could say was WHAT? because, you know, the ears were still ringing
  • Only to be followed by the discovery that said muffler was WELDED into position by the previous owner (who wants to use those nice little gaskets for easy replacement anyways?) – 6 hour delay
  • And finally, one over-heated engine thanks to a radiator packed full of those fat, juicy Manitoba bugs at 8:00 PM on the Sunday before I was meant to return to work
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Yes, that is The Ember in the Ashes sitting on the dash…

By day two of this adventure it was pretty clear that things were going all kinds of sideways, so we tossed the original plan of secondary highways, quaint antique shops, and taking nerdy pictures next to the World’s Biggest Nickel and the Birth Place of Winnie the Pooh were tossed out the window (or maybe they were sucked out, the didn’t seal properly which lead to more than a few humours moments of scrambling to get the beach towels in position whilst staying in motion down the highway because more water would leak in if we were stationary).

It wasn’t all disaster though, I managed to convince the fell that we HAD to make a few stops along the way. Granted, I think he was caught really off guard by the fact that I hadn’t yet had a meltdown despite being a week behind schedule without any sightseeing, so he was happy to oblige. We hit up Fundy National Park, the Tobermory ferry crossing on the Chi-Cheeman, Kekabaka Falls, the Worlds Longest Covered Bridge, and few random waterfalls that I saw last minute as roadside attractions along the way.

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Needless to say, there was hardly enough coffee to keep me peppy and functional through this adventure. By the time we got home I needed some time to get over our vacation, hence the extended hiatus, and now I’m finally ready to get back it. Because through all of this I was able to read a lot! Since my useless shaky hands are no use at vehicular repair I got to kick back and dive into my #RedHotYASummer. It was fantastic. I took 11 books with me, and ended up reading 19 thanks to a back country gas station with a book swap outside the ladies room (I don’t think I was every so happy to be broken down).

Not knowing how things were going to shape out with the trip, followed closely by the start of a new academic year at my uni, I have only signed up for a moderate number of blog tours. Thankfully, this will leave lots of room to share the joy from my road trip reading.

And the best part? We’re already talking about taking the Mustang down the California coast next summer.

Carry on my friends, carry on.

 

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Summer Half-Hiatus

Alright book nerds,

It’s that time of year where the mister and I run off on some sort of summer adventure, and this year we’re taking on the mammoth task of driving a 1969 Ford Mustang from New Brunswick to Alberta. We’ve spent the last few days in the shop (okay, reality check, He has spent the last few days in the shop whilst I’ve sat in the sun reading) and after a few test drives and some minor tweaks we’re finally ready to hit the road.IMG_2897.JPG

I promise to have oodles of reviews once we’re safely home, including a huge number from those fabulous YA Fantasy recommendations that ya’ll handed out last month. So far I’ve powered my way through The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo, Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth, Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen, and am currently reading An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. There’s probably a few more in there… but I’m seriously typing this up sat beside the hoist in a neighbour’s garage as the original brake lines are replaced.

I promise to do my best to do my best to like, share, and comment as per normal but I can’t make any promises as to service as we make the drive. But, and this is a big but, I’m not going completely dead on the social media end of things. While I’m not a big bookstagrammer, travel pics are another story. So if you’re up for a few shameless shots of what could be an adventure that sees up hooking up to a tow truck in the middle of nowhere (and our previous adventures) feel free to give us a follow over at @mapleleafroadtrip

Adios Amigos! This will be my view until we meet again.

-J

#BlogTour #Review: Birth of The Mortokai by D. G. Palmer @DGPalmer3 #YAFantasy

Birth Of The Mortokai

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour Birth of the Mortokai by D. G. Palmer. The first instalment in the Daniel Welsh Chronicles, this imaginative adventure will take you down the rabbit hole into the lands of the Fae, alternative realms, and the tumultuous journey that accompanies the coming of age. If you crave a tale that is not only fantastical but also leaves you wanting more, then this might just be one for you!


Birth_of_The_MortokaiTitle: Birth of The Mortokai

Author: Desmond Palmer

Publisher: DGP Creative Solutions

Publication Date: August 1, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, YA Fantasy

Themes: Magic, Coming of Age, Adventure

Features: N/A


Synopsis

Daniel Welsh was born different—and to Daniel, to be different means to be alone. But what if he’s wrong?

Born an albino with a photographic memory, Daniel Welsh never expected to fit in. Yet, when he is approached by Trinity—a young girl who definitely isn’t human—she reveals a whole new world where he might just belong. Ariest is a place where his features aren’t a disability or the mark of a freak, but rather a trait of powerful mages born of human-faerie unions. His father is a renowned war hero and swordsman, his mother is a human doctor, and that makes him a powerful mage that’ll tip the scales. Magic is real—and so is the threat it brings.

Trinity and her father, a battle mage, aren’t the only onesto have discovered Daniel and his gifts hidden in the human realm.

The Shade have awakened.

Enemies to the fae realm long thought dead have been lying in wait for their moment to strike. Young mages like Daniel are the perfect morsel for their starving appetites and they start their killing spree without delay with the nearest unsuspecting mage boy. Daniel cannot sit idly by while monsters take innocent lives, so he will embrace a destiny he is only just beginning to understand… even if it means losing a life that’s finally worth living.

Birth of the Mortokai is a young adult coming of age fantasy adventure novel. Trigger warning: this novel contains descriptions of albinism, a real genetic disorder that affects 1/17,000 persons worldwide per year.


My Review

Imagine this, a young boy struggling to go unnoticed  by the bullies at school finally meets a beautiful young, discovers he’s the son of legendary faerie warrior, and is mistakenly transported to the faerie realm all within a matter of days. Talk about having your world turned upside down. And if that’s not confusing enough, Daniel also discovers that some immense magical powers and is in dire need of training lest he turn into an uncontrollable force. Bring on the the drama my friends. Bring. It. On.

Of course, Daniel isn’t in this journey alone. He has the guidance of the archmage Gideon, his mysterious daughter Trinity, Nyriel the princess of the Undines, and badass scrappers Tristan and Finn. They all take their turns in supporting Daniel as he battles the unknown, the return of an old enemy, and explore the depths of Daniel’s untapped (and potentially dangerous) powers.

A creative blend of speculative fantasy fiction and traditional folklore, there’s a little something for all fantasy lovers. From undiscovered heroes and lurking villains to beautiful damsels and handsome rogues, Palmer pulls all of the stops when it comes to incorporating a wide variety of the Fae. There are elves, mages, habthrusts, changelings, undines, shades, bogarts and so many more! It was like reading a veritable cornucopia of who’s who in the magic world and I absolutely loved it.

Daniel makes a compelling hero and the epitome of an underdog. Torn from a life of relative misery at the hans of his peers and thrown into a different world where his visible differences are suddenly irrelevant, he is given the freedom to finally explore his person truth beyond the constraints of societal perceptions. He smart, funny, and talented without the baggage of arrogance or experience. And what I wouldn’t give for his photographic memory, to read something once and know it perfectly – what a gift to have! Although I can see how it can quickly become a burden to have so much knowledge kicking around, especially when it’s something you would rather not know or when that knowledge becomes weaponized against you. Ultimately though, it was heartening to see Daniel grow in confidence and come into his own, explore his emotions and powers, and develop strong bonds of friendship.

I really enjoyed Trinity’s character too, and I have the feeling that there is so much more to her story than Plamer let on in this first instalment. I can only hope for some big things in er story arc given her mysterious birth, Gideon’s past, and the role that she has taken in training Daniel. I appreciate that not only is she incredibly intelligent, but that she is also an undeniable bad-ass. And to top it all off, she’s a sensitive soul who’s in touch with emotions and is perceptive of those around her. Basically I think she’s almost too perfect, and that makes the options for her character develop rather interesting as this series moves forward and more of her backstory is revealed.

But on that note, I did feel like there were a few too many events and pieces of important information that were left unexplained. The book is called Birth of the Mortokai, the Mortokai is regularly mentioned with regards to Daniels powers, and yet just what exactly to Mortokai is still a mystery come the end of the book. So too is the connection between Trinity and Gideon’s wife – the number of overt references to this connection makes the fact that the illuminating information has been withheld for a later volume particularly frustrating! And lets not (okay, maybe we will) mention the fact that Gideon and the hobthrust Fungal both have some real big plan in play, but in both instances the depth and direction of their intentions have yet to be revealed. The Chronicles of Daniel Welsh is clearly a series that’s going to play the long game, and it doesn’t appear that any of the instalments will be readable as a standalone. So when you pick this one, be ready to commit to the long haul.

Regardless, Birth of the Mortokai is an exciting foray into the world of the Fae and the possibilities that ca be found in limitless magical realms. It’s a story full of mystery, adventure, and has some promising future arcs. I can’t wait to see where Daniel and Trinity will go next, and this is a cracking start to a new series that promises big things in the books to come.


About The Author

508b889b-2c4e-4851-9dd2-6ae30200233fAuthor Bio – Currently residing in London, England, D.G. Palmer writes in the Spec Fiction genre, using his imagination to create vivid worlds and captivating characters.

An avid reader and player of video games, in the past, he was part of table top roleplaying groups where he nurtured his storytelling by penning several story arcs.

Feel free to follow him on Facebook, Goodreadsand Instagram. If you wish to receive updates about his latest books, event dates and other exclusive news, sign up to The World of D.G. Palmerand enter his mind. He warns it can be a mess sometimes, so make sure you wipe your feet on the way out – you never know what you might take with you. 

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/des.palmer.12

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18957667.D_G_Palmer

https://www.instagram.com/dgpcreativesolutions/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/d-g-palmer-8b32c698-c2f3-48c7-ab16-2620367df32e?list=about

https://twitter.com/DGPalmer3

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/desdoobie/


Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in this tour.