Iron Will by James Maxwell #GuestPost #BlogTour

War has come to Xanthos. Across the sea, the insane King Palemon’s lust for gold has driven him to build an army of dragons that will soon destroy everything in their path. Neighbouring royalty, Prince Dion and Princess Chloe, refuse to be helpless pawns in a clash of nations, and strive to bring their kingdoms together to fight this impending threat. When they find themselves hopelessly outmanned and outgunned, their only hope is to go in search of the secretive and powerful race of shapeshifters called the Eldren who have long since disappeared into the mysterious Wilds.

 All the while, an ancient, terrible power rises from the ashes to once again claim all-consuming power and domination over Xanthos. The world faces a war to end all wars, and enemies once fighting over gold must now become allies to face this rising evil, less everything they hold dear be destroyed and their whole world be plunged into darkness.

 As a world-spanning conflict begins, a king is betrayed, a prophecy is …

Book Review: Life Knocks by Craig Stone

 According to the blurb Life Knocks is about "when love goes wrong and forces a recluse to live with an old man who has boundary issues." Not a lot to go on then but it was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize and I like to support indie authors so I thought I'd give it a go.
There are some books that have me hooked from the first page, others take a while longer and I dip in and out for a bit until one day I realise the ten minute read before I start the dinner has turned into an hour and I've forgotten to feed the children. Life Knocks was that sort of book for me.
Craig Stone has a quirky style of writing with a particularly unique eye for an unusual metaphor; "Love is a bath of beans with a pig dressed as a clown and a naked farm girl; pretty much amazing when you get over the shock." This is a book that is far more than its metaphors though. With any character driven book it's vital that I engage with the main protagonist and I soon warmed to Colossus Sosloss (really!). There were times I wanted to shake him, to tell him to shut up or to speak up but throughout the book I cared about what happened to him. The other characters too were sympathetically written, even the racist, sexist, homophobic landlord, Mohammed has moments where I felt real warmth towards him.
The book swaps between the past and present (I seem to have read a few books like this recently) and sometimes with a switching narrative I find I'm more interested in one period than the other. Not so with Life Knocks, I was as captivated by Colossus' past as his present and following his journey to discover how one led to the other was a fascinating, hilarious, tear jerking yet uplifting rollercoaster of a read.
If you like contemporary fiction that doesn't pull any punches then I think you'll find Life Knocks a refreshing read. I know I did and am looking forward to reading the sequel, The Squirrel that Dreamt of Madness (actually published before Life Knocks) very soon.

Life Knocks is available on, and