Review of Read The Leaves – 5 Stars

Another perfect little Halloween read with a difference…

Read the Leaves by Kate Valent
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Fiction – Magical – Fantasy – Historical

Read the Leaves – Cover

📖 This is the second book in the Serendipi-tea series by author Kate Valent and it’s a great addition. This novel primarily follows Mary, a young writer who writes under a pseudonym so that no one knows who she is (and that she is female). When her father’s publishing company, which publishes her works, runs into financial troubles, Mary with the help of her sister Margaret, and her friend Charlotte try to do all they can to save it.

✍️ Also woven throughout this novel is a blossoming romance. Mary meets the dashing Lord Holiday, an odd fellow, who only appears to spend time out in the evening. Even more strange, is how closely Lord Holiday resembles Lord Hallow, the vampire from the serial that Mary writes. Can Mary trust this handsome stranger, or is he more alike Lord Hallow than she would like to believe? In this magical world, it feels like anything is possible.

🗣 I often think it’s useful to see an extract of a book to get an idea of the writing style. Here is a brief extract so that you can see a sample of the writing yourself:

She was certain she had never seen him before. But to be at this party he must be someone, either a magician, lord, or businessman. She couldn’t fathom who or what he was or get the thoughts of the villainous vampire out of her head.

👓 This book is a fantasy book with much of the side story being around runes and their use (originally by the wealthy but with more and more making their way to the working class). The book is set in a somewhat historical Victorian setting, with many traditions, and mannerisms (and class systems) referenced from that time period.

👫 Great range of characters, both Mary and her sister Margaret are fun and intriguing characters. Mary trying to make her way in what has up until recently been a male-dominated world is handled delicately and a great nod to the time period that is being captured.

🗺 One of the things I really liked about this story is that although it is a continuation of a series, it was not a continuation of Charlotte’s story (although she does feature) but is a new story focusing on a completely different character.

💔 Any Negatives: I wish Mary and Margaret had perhaps been given slightly different names. As the names are quite similar, I sometimes got a little lost and misread them (thinking it was one or the other). If it had been something different from each other but still historical sounding, Mary and Emily, or something else it would have made it a little easier to read on the eyes. But that is quite picky and probably more of a personal preference.

💭 Overall View: An enjoyable romp through a magical Victorian world (with writers, books, tea and cakes!). An excellent addition to the series.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

View all my reviews


Review of Future Bright, Future Grimm by D.J. MacLennan

Future Bright, Future Grimm: Transhumanist Tales for Mother Nature’s Offspring by D.J. MacLennan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Future Bright, Future Grimm – Cover.

Genre: Fantasy – Fairytales – Mythical

📖 Disclaimer – I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

✍️ This book has such an interesting writing style, it is almost antiquated yet also modern, an intriguing blend. In a strange way, you feel smart reading but at the same time, the stories are recognisable as variations on traditional tales. Although these variations are far from the Disney versions you may be more familiar with.

🗣 I often think it’s useful to see an extract of a book to get an idea of the writing style. Here is a brief extract so that you can see a sample of the writing yourself:

‘I come to take your daughter,’ said the red-lit being. ‘With me, she actualises; with you, she dies.’

‘I don’t know who or what you are,’ cried the woman, ‘but please don’t take my daughter. She’s all I have!’

‘You are all you have; she is all she has,’ came the dry rustle of response to the woman’s desperate plea. Then, with a loud pop-zip, the being was gone.

The woman stumbled back to her shack, whimpering as she went. She unlocked the sheet-iron door and burst in. But she was too late – her beloved daughter had been taken.

👓 This book contains 24 short stories and at the end of each one, the author provides detail of the original story and an overview of areas he changed during the re-telling (e.g. trading male for female viewpoints, adjusting time periods etc). I really enjoyed these creative insights. The stories are dark, shocking and striking. If anyone has ever read the “original” Grimm stories (for example in the original Grimm version Cinderella’s sisters cut off their toes to try to make them fit the slipper), Maclennan very much pays homage to this writing style.

👫 The author also includes a detailed introduction about the different terms used in fairy tales (such as Transhumanism) including insight into its use and historical references. This is very interesting

🗺 As a little side note (not that it should particularly matter) but the cover is also rather beautiful, harking back to traditional storybook style covers.

💭 Overall View: Not for the faint-hearted but this is a really intriguing collection of dark stories.

The Coffee Break Fantasy!

His eyes had begun to droop and his arms were begging to ache, but hope and perseverance wouldn’t let him stop. He was almost, almost, at the end of his first draft. He leaned back in his chair, switch on the light, maybe a bit of brightness would keep him awake. He fiddled with the settings on the pc and some music came out low in the background. He closed his eyes, just a sec, to take the melody in.

Behind him came a noise he had not expected. Turning in his chair, a long dark-haired beauty sashayed down the corridor towards him, in her hands a tray of coffee. Coffee, he thought that is just what he needed. She lifted the cup from the tray and leaned in towards him, slowly placing the cup on his desk her eyes lingering on his. He shivered at the thought of her being so close.

The movement caused a clatter on the desk and suddenly his head shot up, he had knocked his pen pot over. The fantasy was ended, the girl and the coffee nowhere in site. She was right about one thing, he thought, I definitely need coffee. As he wandered to the kitchen, a sudden burst of inspiration took him. Maybe he should add nother character to the second draft, perhaps a long-dark-haired beauty would spice things up. Yes, I could picture that.

Written in response to today’sscience coffee break earl wilson #WQWWC – FANTASY and combined my own May Challenge #Maydays. Check them out for some inspiration for your writing. 🙂

Much Love

KL ❤Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge LOGO

The Secret Home of the Fairies

Isabella followed the music.

Haunting and enchanting, she couldn’t help but step towards it.

Luring her from the street until she reached the ancient stones.

She had scoffed when her mother had told her this was the home of the fairies, now before her eyes they danced with glee to the music.

When the music stopped Isabella turned to walk away, she couldn’t wait to tell her mother what she found but before she moved a small fairy appeared before her raised its finger to its pursed lips “shhh…..” Isabella nodded, she would keep the secret of the fairies.

stoned - Sue Vincent
Photo Courtesy of Sue Vincent @ Daily Echo



I hope you enjoyed my little “fairy” tale – originally written in response to Sue Vincent’s challenge – #writephoto over at DailyEcho. Writers are encouraged to write a story in 100 words to go with the photo. It is amazing the variety of original story-telling which features. Check it out, you may even be inspired to pen a quick plot of your own! KL ❤



Know Your History – 17th November – Christopher Paolini born

know your history - writingOn this day… 17th November 1983 – Christopher Paolini born

Christopher James Paolini (born November 17, 1983, Los Angeles, California) is an American author. He is best known as the author of the Inheritance Cycle, which consists of the books Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance. Books in the series have now sold over 25 million copies worldwide. He lives in Paradise Valley, Montana, where he wrote his first book.

On Writing

I was lucky enough to come across this great article with Christopher Paolini giving some excellent advice to nano participants – the article is great and I really recommend the users have a quick read but here is a few to get you started:-

  1. Writing your book is going to be difficult. Know this. Accept this. Embrace this. It may be fun as well, but make no mistake, what you’re attempting is a major undertaking.books are friends - christopher paolini
  2. Pace yourself. Conserve your creative strength. Avoid making big decisions not related to your writing. A person can only make so many good decisions over the course of the day, and you want them to go into your novel.
  3. Think about where your story is going next. If you’re going to be flying headlong through the pages, it’s good to have a road map.
  4. If you’re stuck, go for a 15-minute walk.
  5. Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, or formatting. Those are easy to fix. Instead, worry about pacing, characters, and setting. Get those right, and no one will care that you put a comma in the wrong place.

Did You Know?

He wrote the first draft of Eragon when he was 15, and self-published its first edition.

Know Your History – 20th September – George R.R. Martin born

know your history - writingOn this day… 20th September, 1948 – George RR Martin born

George Raymond Richard Martin (born George Raymond Martin; September 20, 1948), often referred to as GRRM, is an American novelist and short story writer in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres, a screenwriter, and television producer. He is best known for A Song of Ice and Fire, his international bestselling series of epic fantasy novels that HBO adapted for its dramatic series Game of Thrones.

Martin serves as the series’ co-executive producer, while also scripting four episodes of the series. In 2005, Lev Grossman of Time called Martin “the American Tolkien”.

Advice On Writing

George R.R. Martin divides storytellers into pre-planning Architects and Gardeners. “The Gardener just sort of digs a hole george rr martin - reader - booksand plants a seed, and then he waters it with his blood and sweat before waiting to see what will come up. It’s not totally random, because obviously the Gardener knows what he’s planted; he knows whether it’s an oak tree or a pumpkin. If he’s not taken totally by surprise by further inspiration he has a general idea of what he’s doing … I lean very much to the side of the Gardener.”

Early in his career Martin produced reams of unfinished story fragments. He learned to appreciate Robert Heinlein’s Four Rules for Writing. Martin says “The first one was ‘you must write, but the second one was ‘you must finish what you write. A lot of young writers somehow get stuck, or it goes awry and they don’t finish those stories. Heinlein was right: You have to overcome that.”

 Did You Know?..

Martin was a prolific writer to the letters pages of Marvel Comics, and would regularly pen missives to writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby directly. His first professionally published work is in an issue of Fantastic Four.

Fairy Women & The Fairy Godmother – Inspiration

Interesting notes from Judy Allen – Fantasy Encyclopaedia.

Fairy women can appear almost human but can also blend in and camouflage in the trees and forest.

The original fairy godmother from early Greek or Roman mythology where called “the Fates”. In Scandinavia they where called Nornir or Norns. There are 3 of them and they foretell a human’s destiny. This belief later changed to them bringing good fortune, talents and abilities to a newborn.

I thought this was interesting information and could be woven into a vampire/mythical novel similar to something a Charlaine Harris novel.