pexel present christmas hot chocolate pine cones

Favourite Christmas Traditions

I adore the magic of Christmas. The twinkling lights, the scent of pine needles and mulled wine. The opportunity to embrace all that I’m grateful for. Let me shine a light on some of the things that bring this wonderful season to life.

Snow Snowmen Christmas

I love the idea of snow. To wrap up in thermal socks, gloves and a woollen scarf. Then head out with my children for a snow fight or to build a snowman. IF it snows, it rarely settles in my coastal town due to the salty air. Plus the reality is very different from the rosy nostalgia of my childhood. The wind bites my cheeks and my toes turn painfully cold. With soggy mittens I head back indoors, proving that my first favourite tradition is and always will be my home.

My second favourite tradition is family and friends. This year’s a stepping stone into a new era. It’s the twentieth Christmas without my mum. Since she passed away I’ve tried to provide an inviting, homely Christmas for my brother and sister. Along with the addition of my husband, two children and a lazy beagle. Recently I’ve severed relations with my toxic father, though he’s never had a roll in my festive cellebrations, the choice still lay heavy on my heart. Until I realised that I have always been the support system in my family. Nothing has changed. Except for the growth of self-respect and a new found empowerment that I had not expected to feel. I’m grateful for my family, the ones who love and respect each other. Whether blood related or not, they are the ones I bind my faith, and love in.

pexels-candy cane-hot chocolate

Finally my Christmas tree decorations. Not the process of dressing the bloody thing. That is a stressful event, fraught with nit picking and despair – that’s me – my kids insist on dressing the tree. Which is fine, I just rearrange the babbles when no one’s watching. My favourite tradition is the decorations themselves. It started after the birth of my daughter; I purchased a white rocking horse with babies first Christmas written across the flank. The collection has grown to include a Disney Stich wearing a Santa suit, a second rocking horse after the birth of my son, inherited glass Christmas trees from my nan, a selection of stars, reindeer and candy canes chosen by my children as they grew. I admit that I hide the garish green and red star at the back of the tree. Yet each one has a happy family memory, proving that negative family patterns can be changed. My safe, healthy family is proof of a better life.

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

I wish you all a very merry Christmas, full of magical memories, filled with laughter and love. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share your favourite traditions with me.

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman Review Fantasy Author

Review – The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Blurb.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman Review Fantasy AuthorIn a secret world of forbidden knowledge, power comes at a terrible price …

Quentin Coldwater’s life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turns up for his entrance interview to Princeton he finds his interviewer dead – but a strange envelope bearing Quentin’s name leads him down a very different path to any he’d ever imagined.

The envelope, and the mysterious manuscript it contains, leads to a secret world of obsession and privilege, a world of freedom and power and, for a while, it’s a world that seems to answer all Quentin’s desires. But the idyll cannot last – and when it’s finally shattered, Quentin is drawn into something darker and far more dangerous than anything he could ever have expected …

Author Lorraine Ambers Banner

I award this novel 5 stars.

Review

Quinten is a mathematical genius. Though he’s the top of his class, Quinten feels as if he doesn’t quite belong, that perhaps he was meant for something else. (A feeling I’m familiar with.) Brakebells reveals a life that he was born to be part of. Inserting him in with other students of equal or better talents.

Not only is the story set in an urban fantasy setting but the novel also makes way for the introduction to Fillory. A world thought to be only an author’s creation, that later turns out to actually exist.

The magicians have a magic system with clear consequences for misuse and a unique way of performing the spells by using finger signals. I loved the distinctive performance of casting magic.

The plot drives a suspenseful and engaging momentum. Lev Grossman writes a dark and addictive fantasy, with entertaining and inspirational descriptions. A smart and gripping view of complex relationships. Whilst delving into the experiences of new adulthood. With amusing pop culture references, that bring well-developed characters to life.

The young adults experiment with the excitements of magic and life, giving into impulses and crashing into the fallout of their consequences.

The Magicians is the first in a trilogy and has been made into a successful TV series. I highly recommend bingeing on both.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016
The Iron Queen Iron Fey series Julie Kagawa Lorraine Ambers review YA fantasy romance

#Review The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey Book 3) by Julie Kagawa

Book Blurb

The Iron Queen Iron Fey series Julie Kagawa Lorraine Ambers review YA fantasy romanceIn less than twenty-four hours I’ll be seventeen. Although, technically, I won’t actually be turning seventeen. I’ve been in the Nevernever too long.

When you’re in Faery, you don’t age. So while a year has passed in the real world, agewise I’m probably only a few days older than when I went in. In real life, I’ve changed so much I don’t even recognize myself. MY NAME IS MEGHAN CHASE. I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

THIS TIME, THERE WILL BE NO TURNING BACK.

Author Lorraine Ambers Banner

I award The Iron Queen 5 stars

This is book 3 of the Iron Fey and my favourite out of the series. Julie’s stories are similar to my own in regards to the retelling of faery tales. The good pace and immediate action, hold the reader captivated from start to end. Her books echo the epic, fantasy element of my own work, which is what interested me in the first place.

Megan Chase is a great character with a strong internal voice that carries us through the book. In this story she learns to fight, wanting to hold her own in battle and not rely on the strength of Ash or her best friend Puck. She also needs to master her powers that are a contradiction to each other, the power of the iron and summer.

What I loved: The banter between Ash and Puck, it kept the obvious rivalry for Megan interesting and not at all tedious. In this novel, Ash and Megan’s relationship is beautifully interwoven into the story. It was the perfect blend of romance in an epic tale. Ash is silent and lethal yet his affection for Megan is genuine. I swooned over this male. Oh my!!

The worlds have an Alice in Wonderland feel. In particular the Trods and Grimalkin, who reminded me of the Cheshire Cat. Grim has realistic animal mannerisms. He exudes the aloof, smugness of a cat. Coming and going as he pleases. (Just like my Jaspurr.)

I loved the unusual and unique realms; they were beautiful and richly described. The premise of the Iron fey is original and a great concept in relation to the whimsical more traditional faery. in myth the fey are afraid of iron, Julie created a world where the iron Fey were born from the growing use of machines. Gremlins and bugs clash with the winter and summer courts, all lurking behind our world, disguised by glamour.

What I disliked: This book is too similar to book 1, The Iron King. The plot and battle are virtually identical down to the settings. Although, I think The Iron Queen is intricate and alluring. The final battle scene was melodramatic and boring. I must admit, I skipped forward a paragraph or two until the event was over.

With that being said, I actually started with book 3 and bought the whole series. That’s how invested I was in the characters and their journey. I was dying to know how Megan and Ash met and what will happen to them. I haven’t read The Iron Knight yet… So many books, so little time.

A fantastic read for fans of faerie fantasy that is firmly rooted in the realm of believably. With great characters and spectacular realms full of magic and wonder. It’s not at all like the Disney Tinkerbell movies. Yes, I’ve watched them all (with my kids).

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.