The Cauldron of Life virtual tour!

Welcome to the first day of The Cauldron of Life virtual tour! Book 2 in The Four Treasures series was published last week and I cannot wait to share my thoughts with you all.

The Stone of Destiny was Ailsa dragged from her lonely seaside life to help Iona and Angus on their quest to find the Stone. Angus joined them along the way and they all encountered some of Scotland’s most terrifying mythical creatures. Ending in a climactic final battle, Ailsa’s life is irrevocably changed by a revelation that shattered everything she thought she knew about herself and her life. One of the friends is then carried off by the faerie Queen’s minions leaving the book on a horrendous cliff hanger!

The Cauldron of Life picks up straight away, and throws all sorts of curve balls into the story. Click here to head to my Instagram to read my 4 star review.

To celebrate the launch of the book, and this virtual tour, Caroline Logan has kindly agreed to do a Q&A with me about her books. Read on to find out more.

Author Interview with Caroline Logan


To start with would you tell us a little bit about The Four Treasures series and what inspired you to write it?


The Four Treasures is a series of fantasy books based on Scottish mythology. Each of the books will centre around one of the Four Treasures, which are based on a legend called the four treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann – but remember, they’re only based on it, so they could be different. The series follows Ailsa MacAra as she tries to find the treasures, all whilst battling monsters and searching for her true place in the world.


Right at the end of The Stone of Destiny a huge secret was revealed to the reader which flipped the previous plot twists on their head! I love that we go into The Cauldron of Life knowing more than some of the characters. Could you tell us a little bit about your writing process and how you know when to reveal these big side-swipe revelations?


I’m a plotter, so I have all of the plot points for each book mapped out already. It makes it easier to sprinkle in little breadcrumbs before a twist is revealed. The series was originally going to be one book but as I plotted it all out I realised it would have to be a monster novel. I love finding easter eggs or foreshadowing in books, so I wanted to include that in my series. It’s my characters who often have the revelations but you can’t always trust they’ve got it right. I just hope I continue to surprise as we go through the books!

One thing I love is that each of your characters ooze with completely different personalities. Which character would you say is most like yourself?

I think each of my characters have a little bit of me in them, but I’d say Angus is the most like me. He’s optimistic, loyal and kind. I’m not grumpy like Ailsa (most of the time) but she’s the one who looks the most like me. Iona shares my love of fashion and I’m a bit rebellious like her. And I share Harris’s sense of humour, though some of the things he does I would never dream of doing.

In The Cauldron of Life you introduce lots of new characters. My particular favourites were Wulver and Muck. Which of the new characters was the most enjoyable to write and why?

I don’t think it will be a shock that I loved writing Maalik. And I will always love Harris, even if he’s totally unreliable and sneaky. There are a whole host of new characters in Book 3 that I’m enjoying writing right now too!

There is a lot of mythology in this series, particularly Scottish mythology. Which creature would you least like to bump into in the wilds of Scotland or whilst wandering through Eilanmòr?

The Nuckelavee definitely. It’s a cursed horse and rider, fused together. Its flesh has been stripped from its muscle and it smells so revolting that people faint when they meet it. While a lot of other creatures could be seen as neutral, Nuckelavees are evil to the core.

The elements seem to play an important part in the magic system in Eilanmòr. Why did you choose to focus on the elements, and have we seen the extent of what Ailsa can do with her air powers?

The four treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann are actually all linked to the four elements. The Stone of Destiny is earth, The Cauldron of Life is water. The other two are air and fire. I drew from this when I made up my magic system. Elemental magic seems very old and natural so I think it fits perfectly with the world. A lot of Scottish mythology is inspired by the landscape and natural world so I wanted magic that felt like it belonged.

My favourite part of this book was finally entering Ephraim and eventually meeting Nicnevan. Did any other fictional worlds inspire the Faerie Queen’s realm and which fictional world would you like to spend a day in?

Holly Black is my favourite author, so Ephraim was definitely inspired by her Folk of the Air series. I also drew inspiration from Lothlorien in Lord of the Rings and Pandora in Avatar. I wanted it to be beautiful and frightening. 
I’d love to visit the world in His Dark Materials so I could have a daemon or I would go to Narnia and make friends with all the talking animals.

Final question. For new readers could you sum up The Stone of Destiny and The Cauldron of Life in five words each?

The Stone of Destiny – Search for pals and rocks
The Cauldron of Life – Search for mothers and pots


Both The Stone of Destiny and The Cauldron of Life are available to buy now. Remember to support your local independent bookshops or order from one of the larger shops, such as Waterstones (other bookshops available), in order to get the word out about this wonderful little series. Here are some handy links!*

I would like to say a huge thank you to Caroline Logan for answering my questions, and to the team at Cranachan Publishing for sending me a review copy and organising this tour. Follow the other stops on the tour this week.

*I AM NOT AFFILIATED WITH ANY BOOKSHOPS

The Stone of Destiny Read-Along, Weeks 5 and 6

During the final run towards the end of this book I ended up reading the remaining chapters in one go. So here are the last 2 weeks of The Stone of Destiny Read-Along!

Week 5 is very monster/mythology heavy as our characters are coming to the end of their quest. This week’s behind the page snippets from Caroline looked at some of the creatures we encountered and gave us an idea of what the Stone of Destiny actually looks like.

Chapters 42- 51

Summary

In this section we finally reach the location where the stone of destiny is hidden, with the trio bumping into mythical trouble-makers along the way. Bog monsters, water dwelling evils, honestly there’s a lot to panic about. There were a couple of tense near-death encounters and lots of the friends saving each other. The action and the horror ramps up a couple of notches making it a tense and exciting few chapters.

Favourite section

I loved all the extra mythology in this section, which lead me into a research hole.

Most looking forward to in the final week of the read-along

Now that the trio are heading back to the castle and they’ve reached the end of their journey I have a feeling that some serious mess is going to hit the fan before the end of the book. There are too many chapters left for this book not to end with some sort of traumatic cliffhanger.

Chapters 52 – End

When I sensed a cliffhanger, I sensed a big one! These last few chapters were full of twists and revelations and have left me beyond excited for The Cauldron of Life next month! I also loved the last few beyond the page insights from Caroline, particularly this visual inspiration for Nicnevan which has me seeing her in a different light.

summary

These chapters are action packed! We have a coronation, a ceilidh, a slow-burn romance FINALLY had their ‘moment’, and then all sorts of twists and turns and things hitting the fan! As the action moved back to the Castle in Dunrigh, this meant Iona was back too. Iona is such a great character and it was good to have her back again. This was such an exciting end to the book and has left me desperately waiting for The Cauldron of Life.

stand-out moments

Throughout this whole novel there has been a potential couple simmering with lots of will-they won’t-theys, and they FINALLY DID. Those scenes were worth the wait and I loved it.

The final sequence of action where one character emerged with air powers was spectacular. So fast paced with lots of unexpected moments.

The final scene also dropped a HUGE piece of information that flipped the twists on their head! It was an excellent end to this novel and it’s left me desperate for book 2.

to conclude

I loved this book and would happily sit and read it in 1 sitting. This read-along was really fun letting me think in more depth about the book as I was essentially writing mini reviews along the way. Keep an eye out on my instagram where I will be posting my complete 4 star review ahead of the publication of The Cauldron of Life in early October.

The Stone of Destiny Read-Along, Week 4

If you’ve been following along you’ll know that the end of chapter 30 saw Ailsa follow a horse into the woods only to find a mysterious stranger and realise she is not alone…DUN DUN DUN *dramatic musical interlude*. I couldn’t wait to race into this week’s reading!

During week 4 we have, again, found out lots more about the writing and inspiration of this book from the author herself, Caroline Logan. This week we’re talking more mythical creatures and fears.

Week 4: Chapters 31-41

Summary

These chapters started off with Ailsa being attacked by something whilst she was separated from the guys. We then followed her recovery from this ordeal holed up in a cute (or at least in my brain) rural tavern. We also have a traditional ceilidh, which is lovely to see in fiction, followed by the trio walking headlong into more danger.

My favourite part of this section

In one chapter Ailsa has a dream about her past where we get to learn a little bit more of her family life as a child. I’m really enjoying getting to unravel this backstory and seeing the true depths of hatred, fear, and prejudice experienced by and directed towards those that the communities of citizens perceive to be changelings. This chapter also shows the strength of Ailsa’s mother who ensured her daughter was able to live despite the villagers trying to knock the door down to take and murder her. I’m really intrigued to find out more about Ailsa’s mother and brother as these flashbacks feel very significant, more so than for character background purposes.

I also loved the development I saw in Harris. His personality is beginning to unravel and we’re starting to see just how much he cares for Ailsa. As I said previously, I AM SO HERE FOR THIS.

what i’m looking forward to in the next section

More Harris and Ailsa. More cuteness with Angus; I love that the two of them have such different relationships with him.

Don’t forget to join us reading along!

The Stone of Destiny Read-Along, Week 3

After Caroline shared some visual inspiration for the characters in her book during week 2, week 3 has seen some very specific scene inspiration, and some writing methodology.

I’m loving all of these ‘beyond the page’ updates!

Week 3: Chapters 21-30

summary

Walking and angst! Questing and cuteness. Ailsa, Harris, and Duncan head out on their quest to retrieve the Stone and bicker like an old married thrupple and I loved it. We also learnt a bit more about Prince Duncan and the life of a ‘spare’ in this world. Ailsa began to open up to the guys too, and there’s a definite hint of romance in the air between her and Harris. Let me tell you, I am HERE FOR IT.

What did i enjoy most?

The mic-drop at the end of chapter 30! I’m trying to be very strict with myself and write my next post at the end of reading the block of chapters. The final page of chapter 30 made it very hard for me not to race straight ahead.

I’m also loving that there are so many great redhead characters in this book. Growing up a redhead, I’ve often found in films/tv/books that redheads are the villains or ‘evil’ characters which bothers me. However I feel like the way Caroline is writing Harris and the other redheads is healing those little wounds. I don’t mean to sound all sentimental.

Only a short update for this week as I’m keen to race ahead into week 4’s chapters!

Join us with the read-along on Twitter!

The Stone of Destiny Read-Along, Week 2

In week 2 of this read-along of Caroline Logan’s first book The Stone of Destiny, we read chapters 11 – 20. I’ve also learnt lots more about this book as Caroline has been sharing insights of character inspiration over on her twitter page. My favourite discovery this week is the process of naming places in this fictional world.

Week 2: Chapters 11-20

Summary

In these few chapters we get to learn a little bit about the workings of court. We see how the court functions, including a ball and the King’s council. We also meet the Royal Family who are charismatic additions to the character list.

Most Promising new character

My favourite new addition to the book is without a doubt Prince Duncan. If Harris’s cheeky personality wasn’t already enough, Prince Duncan adds to this in bucket loads. He’s clearly the life and soul of the party and so much fun. Harris and Duncan bounce off of each other and their budding bromance is possibly my favourite relationship of the novel so far.

Stand out world building moment

I love how we’re slowly learning more about this world and I loved a subtle hint of the world beyond Eilanmor’s borders. The Crown Princess, aka pregnant Queen in waiting, is from another island in this world. When watching the prejudice that Ailsa experiences due to her birthmark and perceived status as a mythical changeling, the Queen retorts that in her land people believe the mark shows the child has been touched by the Gods. I love that this clearly means we have more mythological interpretations from the different populations in this world. I’m really excited to find out more, and it looks like Caroline is going to explore these things as the novel and series moves forward.

what am i most looking forward to in the next section?

This is slightly spoilery so skip the next couple of paragraphs if you haven’t read this far.

With Ailsa, Harris, and Duncan heading on a roadtrip/quest, I am fully anticipating this being so much fun. I sense a love triangle. I’m going to love the bromantic banter between the guys. No doubt our trio will also run into some trouble which will mean more badass Ailsa to enjoy. I really think the action is going to ramp up in the next block of chapters and I can’t wait! Bring it on.

You can catch up with the first part of the read-along for The Stone of Destiny by clicking here. Follow Caroline Logan on Twitter for more background information on the book as we continue reading!