Book Review: Come Marching Home by Hazel West

Hullo, friends! A few weeks ago, I brought you the cover reveal for Come Marching Home by Hazel West, and today I have the pleasure of reviewing that book! 

Photo description: Book cover of Come Marching Home – silhouette of a man and a dog in front of a snowy background

Synopsis

After being away for over a year, Alfonse Keller has returned from the trenches on Teuton’s western front, fighting in the war that’s broken out against the Steppes. He should feel relieved now that’s he’s back in his own village in the care of his brother Ernst, but he’s not. It seems like nothing has changed except for him, like he’s a traveler from a different world.

When Alfonse left to join the army, he was a natural magician making a name for himself, but after a tragic incident resulting in the death of his friend, and his own crippling injury, he no longer has the ability to use magic.

Suffering from constant nightmares and revisited trauma, Alfonse can’t get the trenches out of his head. Ernst tries to help, but he doesn’t really understand either. How can he, when Alfonse doesn’t really understand himself? He feels like a phantom, standing on the outskirts of a life he’ll never live again.

As Ernst tries to do everything he can for his brother, he can’t help but feel like Alfonse is slipping away, that maybe part of him never left the trenches at all. But how can he save his brother when Alf refuses to let anyone in?

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My Review

Man, this book was so good. Usually I’m not a huge fan of books based in war-time, but this book was absolutely beautiful. There were definitely a lot of tear-jerking moments, so when you read this… keep the tissues handy!

To start off with, Hazel does an amazing job developing these characters. I loved that the book focused on the relationship between Alfonse and Ernst. I love reading sibling relationships, and I feel like relationships between brothers aren’t highlighted as much as they could be. Hazel does a great job of developing Alf and Ernst individually while also portraying their relationship realistically. I was rooting for them the whole way!

Since the plot was focused more on the relationships between the characters, the pace was a little slow until the end. While I tend to prefer books with a faster pace, I think the steady pace of this book actually worked better with the message and the tone. 

And maaaan, the feels! My favorite part of this book is all of the awesome relationship-building, gonna-make-you-cry moments that hit you out of nowhere. There were definitely a few times I had to blink away tears. No spoilers, but that continues alllll the way to the end of the book. ❤

There is some minor cursing in this book, along with some references to multiple gods, although the details of their religion aren’t really touched on. This is also set during war-time, so there is a lot of violence and pain, so I would say this book is targeted more towards teenagers and older. 

Overall, I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes reading touching stories!

Have you read Come Marching Home? What did you think? If not, you should definitely go read it! 

Cover Reveal: Come Marching Home by Hazel West

Hullo, friends! I have posted absolutely nothing since school started back up, but I’m back today with a cover reveal post. What’s even more exciting: this is a cover that I designed! Working with Hazel on this cover was really fun, and I’m excited about this cover reveal and book release.

Also, make sure to check the end of this post for information about getting pre-order goodies!

Let’s get on with the cover reveal!

Here it is!

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Come Marching Home is releasing October 13th! (EEK!) And here’s the blurb:

 

Pre-Order Info:

If you pre-order Come Marching Home or just order a copy of it by the end of October
(extending because the paperback won’t be available for preorder) You can email the receipt of
your purchase to sirwilliamssquire@gmail.com with your address and Hazel will send you a
goodie pack!

 

I am so excited to get to read this story! Isn’t that sticker adorable?? Are you as excited about this book as I am? Comment down below with your thoughts!

Blog Tour: The New Emperor’s Concerto by Hazel West

Hey guys! So today (a day late… oops!) I’m participating in the blog tour for Hazel West’s new book, The New Emperor’s Concerto. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Hazel on some projects lately, and I’m excited to read more of her writing! You can check out the full official tour schedule hereAlso, her short story prequel for this book, The Butler’s Story, is free on Amazon this week during the tour, so go check it out! Also, make sure and go to the bottom of this post to read an excerpt from the book. Now, on to the post!

Synopsis

The year is 2228 and the world is on the cusp of World War Four. London is rife with anarchists and secret plots. It looks like dark days are coming for the British Empire. Darker than any that have been seen for decades.

But luckily England has some help.

Sir Lysander is the King’s Righteous Man-and all that entails. He’s the king’s right hand, and a red one at that, the man who stands in the shadows and does what needs to be done for the protection of his country.

Eidolon is a phantom, the anarchist group Apophis’s top retrieval expert. They need something, he gets it, no matter the consequence. Even though he’d secretly prefer to be in his flat with his cat and a good book.

They’ve been butting heads for a while, but in times like these loyalties are known to change and right now, any help is good help. They just didn’t count on being the only thing standing between England and the start of the next world war.

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Author Bio

Hailing from Purgatory (aka, Florida) Hazel is an indie author, book wyrm, and coffee connoisseur. She typically enjoys writing books with an unconventional flair, probably with a bit of folklore and mythology, most definitely with a lot of siblings or brothers-in-arms. When she’s not writing, she manages an Etsy shop, drinks a lot of coffee, listens to music, haunts conventions, or just holes up like an eldritch horror and binges her favorite shows—for inspiration. If you meet this rare creature on the street, she has been known to respond to the offer of coffee and old bookstores. But it’s probably best you try to contact her online first.

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*Anyone who donates or subscribes to Hazel’s ko-fi this month will be able to see an exclusive sneak peek of the next book in the Concerto universe, Requiem in Red.

 

Live Chat 

Hazel and Claire are doing a live Q&A on Thursday (tomorrow!) so be sure and check that out on Instagram!

 

Instagram Photo Challenge and Giveaway

Speaking of Instagram, there’s also an Instagram Photo Challenge going on!

The winner gets a signed copy of the book or the awesome swag pack below! Along with that, you can also enter this giveaway to win the same goodies.

Tour Schedule

Monday 4/20
Tuesday 4/21
Wednesday 4/22
Thursday 4/23
Friday 4/24

 

Excerpt

This was one of the labs, he saw instantly as he entered, long tables filled with glass and metal, beakers and vials, and things he couldn’t guess the use for. He could see some glass on the floor, but no sign of life.

He stalked into the shadowed room, his dark clothing keeping him hidden save for the metallic glint of the king’s crest he wore on the breast of his waistcoat, telling of his occupation. That, however, was enough for the second man in the room.

A ghostly shape appeared out of the shadows with a roundhouse kick, slamming the gun out of Lysander’s hand.

He leapt back, regaining his footing, and blocked the next punch thrown at him with his forearm, before kicking out and gaining a grunt as his heavy boot connected with his opponent’s hip.

“Intriguing,” Lysander said mockingly. “I was told you were a ghost and had begun to believe it myself with all the times you’ve evaded me in the past. But it seems you are only a man of flesh and blood like all of us. What a disappointment.”

A wicked smirk appeared on the face of the other man as he ducked backwards into a beam of ambient light from a skylight. A shock of unnaturally white hair fell over his pale eyes, giving him an otherworldly look despite his obvious corporeality. He gave a small bow.

“What a shame that I must disappoint one such as yourself,” he said. “I must say I am honored that King John would send his very own lapdog after me.”

Lysander lunged forward, and the other man skipped aside as if made of the shadows that crowded the majority of the room. Lysander stumbled into a metal table in his haste, hearing lab equipment crash to the floor. He cursed, wishing he’d had the foresight to bring his night vision gear. He heard a chuckle and spun around to see his opponent standing on another table, a gun in his hand. Lysander marveled at how he had gotten up there so fast and seemingly without any trouble. Perhaps he was a ghost after all.

“So sorry to cut this short, old chap, but I really must be going,” the pale man said and reached up.

Lysander dove for his gun on the floor, only to hear a shot ring out, and send his own weapon skittering across the floor. He leapt back and spun around, seeing the other man grabbing hold of a line with an automatic winch. He saluted Lysander as he was lifting off the floor and through the broken skylight.

So don’t forget to go check out the other posts in the tour, the giveaways, and of course the book itself! Have a wonderful day my friends, and if you’ve made it this far down the post, I offer you virtual cake as well!