This past week we gave the spotlight to Small Places, Matthew Samuels’ Urban Fantasy novel. Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with their reviews, interviews and more. Now it’s time to bring the show to an end and it’s my pleasure to present you with the encore, including some extra content. Come and learn a bit more about the world of Small Places through our Q&A with Matthew! And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
Matthew Samuels is a science fiction and fantasy writer based in London, UK. His first novel was the Sci-Fi Solarpunk / Hopepunk adventure story Parasites, the first book in the Navigator Series. He enjoys reading, gaming, running, walking, EDM and perversely, quiet.
Small Places is a no-nonsense urban fantasy fairy story. Jamie, a shy, lonely boy, runs an errand for a witch as a child, helping them ease a family friend’s experience of cancer. Thirteen years later, Jamie’s own mother is suffering from terminal cancer as well, and he’s come back to his childhood village to spend more time with her before the end. He receives a card from the witch, Melusine, asking for his help – and casting his mind back to his childhood experience – goes to see her, hoping she can help his mother. Amidst freak earthquakes and storms, he’s drawn into working with the bad-tempered Mel in an effort to find out what’s wrong with Gaia, the earth spirit, as they visit the Seelie and Unseelie courts, finding the former racist and the latter paranoid, meeting stoned fauns and beer-brewing trolls along the way. It’ll appeal to fans of Ben Aaronovich’s Rivers of London series, Charles de Lint’s work or Clive Barker’s Abarat series.
Click on the blog name to read their full review or other content!
AUGUST 1ST – THE KICKOFF
@kattwritesworlds – review
“Apart from playing with a lot of well-trodden urban fantasy tropes, Small Places has a real cozy mystery feel – although it’s a bit darker than most cozies I’ve read.
I loved Jamie’s character, the setting, the humour, and especially Melusine the not-so-wicked, internet savvy witch.”
@agenuineopinion – review
“I’m really hoping and looking forward to a second book. Everyone who loves fantasy, comedy but with real situations will love this! I can’t recommend it enough.”
@alazyeggreviews – review + IG spotlight
“Immediately I was charmed by the descriptions. With a wonderful village setting and fun, comedic writing, the friendships are great and I easily sped through reading. V has my whole heart.”
@books_with_ella – review + IG spotlight
“All in all, this was a book that I didn’t know I needed in my life :)”
dinipandareads – review
“I thought this was a well-written story and despite a somewhat slow start and a slightly rushed ending, it was overall quite well-paced. Samuels managed to create an interesting combination of the real and magical worlds that juxtaposed nicely. I feel like this is one of those fantasy stories that you just have to let wash over you without questioning too many of the smaller details, and if you can manage to do that you’ll have a really enjoyable ride! The settings were also well described, which made it easy to picture both the English countryside and the faery courts as I was reading.”
@fantasybookcraz_mum – review + IG spotlight
“What an absolute page turner! Fast paced and fresh to read. World building is not complex but absolutely magical. The characters were charming, quirky and lovable. The story has a solid plot and I thought Samuel has done an amazing job creating this magical world. Well written and easy to follow the storyline.”
@readerofthenight_ – review + IG spotlight
“Small Places is a page turner with lovable characters. Jamie is someone you could relate to especially when you struggle with life or you are transitioning through it. Mel’s character, on the other hand, mystifies me but she’s the character I will surely be furious if something terrible happens to her (next to V, ofcourse).”
A Part of Your Book World – review
“Overall, it’s a fairly fun, quick and easy read and a must read for fans of portal fantasy!”
FanFiAddict – review + excerpt
“There is a lot to like about this book. Small Places is fun and well-imagined, with interesting characters and themes that hold up well in today’s world (climate crisis, acceptance, gender dynamics). I recommend it for fans of fantasy, especially those of urban fantasy – a category which fits this book quite well.”
@justreaditem – review + IG spotlight
“As you discover this world of magic and war, you kind of can’t help but love the relationship between Jamie and Mel.”
I Smell Sheep – spotlight
Kayla C. Reviews – review
“All in all, Small Places was a delightful, imaginative urban fantasy read that I recommend to lovers of the genre.”
“The story of saving Gaia, the earth spirit, can almost be a metaphor for us and how we are treating this planet. A small group of magical beings and one human save the earth. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. Small Places is an excellent addition to the urban fantasy genre and I highly recommend it.”
@apocketfuloftomes – review + IG spotlight
“????? ?????? is an imaginative, well-written, and quirky story filled with lovable characters and adventure.”
Welcome to the Asylum, Matthew! Take a seat by the fire, have a glass of beverage of your choice and tell me something about yourself!
Thanks Timy, good to be here. I’m a writer based in London, UK, and I mostly write sci-fi and fantasy. I guess that at the heart of everything is that I’m trying to create a sense of wonder, escape and sanctuary through my writing. The real world is pretty tough, and we need all the help and inspiration we can get, even if it’s only transitory.
What inspires your writing? Do you listen to music, stare into the fire, listen to the whispering of the wind, make deals with the Devil?
I’m greatly inspired by nature; I love walking in green spaces. But music, other books, films, experiences, fragments of conversation, even dreams have inspired me from time to time. The set piece that kicked off the writing of my first novel, Parasites, was a section that ended up being three quarters of the way through the book, and was inspired by a very short dream. I’m still waiting for the wind to whisper something useful – could you have a word?
Describe an asylum set in the world of your book, Small Places!
It’s an urban fantasy, so partially set in the real world – so there are regular facilities for people who need them. The Unseelie Court is mostly formed of the historic outcasts from the original faery court, so although they can be prone to violence and paranoia, they’re actually pretty sympathetic to people with mental and physical health challenges.
Your MC is locked in an asylum. What did he/she do to end up there?
It’s almost certainly a wrongful imprisonment for recounting his experiences in the faery world to regular people. Jamie’s got some challenges personally, and although he’s had some issues, he’s pretty happy traversing the faery world and the regular world.
Which fictional character (it can be one of yours) and/or author would you like to live with in an asylum and why?
Much as I think Merovech would drive me up the wall – he’s fairly irrepressible – if we were stuck in a dark gothic fantasy asylum setting, he’d keep me cheerful and would no doubt be able to rig a fearful contraption so that we could make our escape into the dark, dark night, leaving behind a slew of booby-traps to snare the unwary.
While you are locked in here for eternity, we will allow you one book – what would you choose?
Against a Dark Background, by Iain M Banks. It’s been my favourite book for the last twenty years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Well then, we hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! Any last words? *locks door*
Is that chocolate? Oh, no, it wasn’t chocolate.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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