New Sentinel novella Witchpin now available!

Witchpin COVERHey everybody! I hope you’re all having a fun 2018.

Earlier this year, I promised some exciting things in the Sentinel camp, and today I’m thrilled to reveal that Witchpin, a new Sentinel novella, is now available on Amazon!

Set before the events of the Sentinel Trilogy, Witchpin dives into the past to reveal the secrets of Jessica Bell and Isabel Hallow. Ever wondered how they met? All will be revealed!

You can head over to the Witchpin page here on the ST website to read more about the book (including a Q&A with yours truly), or if you can’t wait any longer to get your hands on the book, head over to Amazon UK or Amazon US to grab your copy.

And be sure to leave a star rating and/or short review on Amazon and Goodreads when you’re done.

Thank you and remember, the Sentinels are always watching.

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MiniMac reviews Sentinel!

The lovely Jessica (great name) at MiniMac Reviews has posted a great review of Sentinel. Thanks so much, Jessica! You can read her thoughts below…


I really, really enjoyed this book. A lot of times I find it hard to get into YA fantasy as it either comes across as childish or it there is simply too much backstory to get into. But, Sentinel really finds the goldilocks medium of just enough of everything to keep it approachable, moving along, and just enough enough detail for everything to make sense while leaving just enough details out to keep you guessing.

I ended up loving Nicholas as a character, as he was mature enough to handle all of the obstacles thrown at him in a reasonable (read no overly stroppy) manner, yet he will filled with just enough angst and self pity to remain relatable despite the more fantastical elements of this book. I would, however, have liked to know a little bit more about his parents, what sentinels really do, and what happened to Sam’s wife. But, seeing as there are two more books to comes and Winning’s slow release style of handing out details I have no doubt that the answers to these questions will surface in the books to come.

With that being said though, Sam was by far my favourite supporting character. Who doesn’t love a plucky old man who can surprise the heck out of you by holding his own… or whipping a rifle out at random moments? It was refreshing to see that his sentimentality never waned despite the gravity of the situations presented, and that he always remained loving and compassionate to those in his care. I truly appreciated that he never stopped believing that he could save his friends, and hope that this theme persists into books two and three.

As a librarian, one of the things that really drew me in is the fact that neither Sentinel or Ruins are particularly long, with both books sitting around 300 pages give or take a few. It’s long enough to tell a full story, but no so long that the girth of the book scares potential readers away. As someone who rarely circulates the bound collection of Tolkien’s work as a single volume, but rushes around circulating the individual instalments of LOTR in quick succession, I know just how important the intimidation factor on the shelf can be for YA readers.

But what I loved the most about this book was the inclusion of History and facts too often considered to be above a teen audience. My heart literally went pitter-patter at the mention of the Grimm brothers and their dictionary, as well as when Perrault’s fairy tales were brought into the fray. The only things missing from those conversations were the Grimm’s Laws for linguistics and the fact that Perrault’s recorded fairy tales were, in fact, edited amalgamations of tales that had been told orally for centuries and were only codified through his publications.

I was left with a good number of questions though, such as how does the Sentinel organization work, what purpose do the ravens have, and who are the Trinity? I also need to know more about Jessica and Isabella as their characters fascinate me, but I am happy with feeling like their mystery was part of the point. Despite a few lurking questions, there wasn’t enough to turn me off the books or even leave me feeling frustrated. Instead, they left me wanting more and eager to dive into the second book – Ruins.

Ultimately, I really liked this book! It’s well written, engaging, and vastly different from the majority of YA lit currently on offer. It has hints of Rowling, Clare, and even a Whedon but still clearly stands on it’s own. Sentinel is a promising start to what is sure to be an outstanding trilogy – it’s action packed, evenly paced, and allows just enough room for character development and battling the forces of evil.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! I can’t wait to dive into Ruins, or for the third instalment to come out this summer. Take a gamble on this one, lovers of YA, I promise you won’t be disappointed. 4/5

Review originally posted at MiniMac Reviews.

Book three has a title!

Hey everybody. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful festive season. I spent most of mine in edits on the third book in the Sentinel Trilogy, but don’t feel sorry for me – it was super fun and challenging in all the right ways. (And yes, I found time to chow down on plenty of turkey and mince pies.)

As we close out 2017 and look ahead to 2018, I thought it was time to share a bit more information about the third and final book in the trilogy. In fact, I’m just going to let the cat out of the bag completely and throw the book’s title at you. So… *deep breath, try not to panic* I’m excited to announce that the third book in The Sentinel Trilogy is called…

web-image2-purple

Yep, there it is, all official! We’ve had Sentinel, then Ruins, so now it’s time for Splinter. I’ll be honest, it took me a while to settle on this. It’s surprisingly difficult to come up with a single word that encapsulates everything about a story, from its themes and narrative twists to the journey of the characters (oops, spoiler!), but Splinter fits perfectly and I’m relieved I don’t have to worry about it anymore!

Alright, so while we’re all about revealing stuff, wanna take a peek at the synopsis as well? (I don’t know what’s come over me. Must be all the gift-giving over the past few weeks.) Anywho, before I wimp out, here’s the official synopsis for Splinter


The critically acclaimed Sentinel Trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion in this final instalment of the dark fantasy series.

The world is falling apart around Nicholas Hallow. Amid rumours that the Dark Prophets have returned, a deathly gloom pollutes England, unleashing a savage hoard of nightmare creatures. Fighting the tide of evil, Nicholas returns home to Cambridge, where an old ally helps him seek out the mysterious Skurkwife, who could help Nicholas stop Malika for good.

Meanwhile, Sam Wilkins unites the Sentinels against the forces of darkness, but with Jessica’s sanity slipping, and Isabel suspicious of her shadowy past, it’s a battle that could cost the Sentinels everything…


OK, I think I need to go and have a lie down. Thanks for your continued support with the world of Sentinel, it really means so much to me.

Expect more updates on Splinter in the coming months, including an official release date and (gulp) a cover.

May the Trinity bless you,

– Josh

The Sentinels are coming out of hiding…

Hey everybody! It’s been a little while since you last heard from me, but that’s the thing about Sentinels. They can go quiet for years, to the point where you start to question if they ever existed, but then they jump out of the shadows brandishing a stake and covered in monster blood.

It’s been a wild few years since Ruins, book two in The Sentinel Trilogy, was published. I’ve been working on a couple of exciting projects, including my non-Sentinel book Killing Rumer, which you can read all about here.

But fear not, there are two Sentinel books coming your way very soon. Yes, TWO. The first is WITCHPIN, a Sentinel novella. It’s partly set after Ruins, but it’s also a self-contained story that plunges into the history of Jessica Bell, the mysterious leader of the Sentinels. It’ll be available on ebook from March 2018.

Then there’s SENTINEL #3. The final part of The Sentinel Trilogy is due out in June 2018 and I’m currently hard at work on the second draft of the manuscript. I’ll be making a big announcement about the book soon (so keep checking back here), but I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ve rustled up a finale that’ll have you whooping and crying.

If you can’t wait that long for some creepy fiction, here’s a little something tasty – you can read my short story Dead Air for FREE when you sign up to my mailing list at http://joshuawinning.com. (I promise I won’t spam your inbox to oblivion. In fact, you’ll only hear from me when there’s big news.)

In the meantime, please do consider leaving reviews of Sentinel and Ruins on Amazon and Goodreads – it not only helps boost their star ratings, but could also help more readers find the world of the Sentinels!

Until next time,

Josh x

It’s time for NaNoWriMo!

shutterstock_204905575Halloween is over, and 1 November has arrived, which can mean only one thing – it’s time for National Novel Writing Month!

I’m going to be taking part with a brand new Sentinel project that should hopefully tide you all over until book three comes out. I’ll spend the next month writing the first draft of Splinters, a Sentinel spin-off that delves into the history of Jessica Bell and Isabel Hallow, two of my favourite characters.

And because I’m terrible at keeping secrets, I thought you might like to take a peek at what I’ve written on the first day of NaNoWriMo. I’m really, really excited about this story, and I can’t wait to share it with you all, so here’s a little snippet to whet the appetite…

Short Synopsis

Discover the secrets of the Sentinels…

1579. A sickness steals through the village of Orville. Young women are dying. After losing her mother to the blight, Jessica Bell is recruited by the cantankerous Isabel Hallow, who believes a cure can be found. When witch hunter Matthew Bone arrives in the village, though, Jessica’s investigation is disrupted with chilling consequences…

Excerpt

“What do the villagers say about me, Ms Bell?”

Jessica felt a blush creep up her neck.

“Imagine what they would say about somebody who worked for me. That person would become an outcast, subject to more gossip than a single individual could ever bear. Her reputation would be destroyed.”

Her mother had kept her work here a secret for five years? Jessica couldn’t believe it. Her mother was a housekeeper in the village and all that time she had secretly been coming up here to tend to Miss Hallow’s home?

Even if it were true, Jessica didn’t understand what Miss Hallow had to gain from revealing the secret. Why now? Why five years after her mother’s death?

She peered around the lounge. “You wish to hire a new housekeeper?”

Miss Hallow’s eyes flashed at her. “How shrewd you are.”

“I have no experience–”

“That is not the task I have in mind for you.”

“Then what–”

Miss Hallow rested the knitting in her lap. “You know of the sickness, perhaps better than any.”

“Yes.”

“You will aid me in discovering a cure.”

“A cure?”

“If it can be done, and I believe it can be, but I am little use here. I require somebody in the village. Somebody who sees and hears what I cannot. Somebody I can trust.”

Jessica couldn’t breathe. Miss Hallow trusted her? The old woman’s gaze was penetrating, the fire’s heat smothering.

“Your mother helped me when she was alive. She investigated the sickness even as she succumbed to it. She was the last to die, five years ago, but the sickness has returned. We must extinguish it before it claims us all.”

Jessica’s stomach turned inside out. “But… the sickness. It is God’s Judgement. There is no cure–”

“I will not have such idiocy tarring the air in this house!”

Jessica flinched.

Calming, Miss Hallow rose from the chair. At the mantlepiece, she opened a long, thin box and drew something out. Holding the object delicately before her, she turned so Jessica could see. It looked like a large, rusted nail, but it was as long as Miss Hallow’s forearm.

“A witch pin,” Jessica murmured, squeezing her hands together in her lap to stop them shaking.

Miss Hallow sniffed. “A barbaric device, but there are times when barbarism is the only option.”

Jessica recalled the girls at school singing about witch pins. They were used to determine if a woman was in league with the Devil. Drive the pin into the flesh and if it causes no pain or bleeding, the woman is a witch.

“Black magic is to blame for the sickness,” Miss Hallow said. “And black magic shall undo it. When the time comes, we shall sink this pin into the heart of the culprit and end this senseless suffering for good.”

Guardian Children’s Books review Ruins

After posting their review of Sentinel, Guardian Children’s Books have also reviewed Ruins! Check out what they had to say below…

Ruins Sentinel Trilogy Joshua WinningI was asked to give an honest review on Ruins, the new novel to the Sentinel Trilogy by Joshua Winning. I was surprised by how quickly I managed to finish this book. It was fast-paced and engaging as well as interesting. It made me fall in love with the characters even more as the reader gest to really feel much closer to them.

I loved this young adult novel and appreciated how all the plot twists and complicated story line turned out. It takes real talent to come up with this type of book.

Ruins elaborates on the demon hunters from the previous book and gives Nicholas some hope to prevent the world from spiralling out of control due to the Sentinels. Again, it is hard to describe without giving away spoilers but I would like to say that you must read the first book to understand Ruins just because of the elaborate story line. It was hard to keep up with everything going on as it is so action-packed. If you’ve read Sentinel then you must read this gripping sequel.

This review originally posted at Guardian Children’s Books.

Guardian Children’s Books review Sentinel

Sentinel Joshua Winning book cover ravenA new review of Sentinel has gone up over at Guardian Children’s Books. Check it out below…

I was told to write an honest review about Sentinel, the first book in a trilogy by Joshua Winning. I have to say, although it was a bit slow-paced in the beginning, it quickly sped up later on and I’m very glad to have read it.

Sentinel follows the story of Nicholas, a 15 year old boy who suddenly loses his parents on one fateful day. And thus, their deaths begin Nicholas’s journey about discovering the secret that his parents had always kept from him. The backstory of Nicholas’s parents remains unknown to the reader which is all the better because it keeps them engaged. It’s difficult to explain the plot without giving too many spoilers away. But here’s my word of advice: Just Read It.

It lives up to the fantasy genre as you never know what will happen next. This is the type of book that keeps the reader on the edge all the time. I would highly recommend reading this as the idea of it is very unique and original. The ending was unexpected and it made me eager to read Ruins, the next book. If you love action and mystery then this book is for you!

Overall, I would recommend this book to fans of YA fantasy and I would give it 4.5 stars out of 5, just because the beginning could have been a bit more interesting.

This review originally posted at Guardian Children’s Books.

SciFi Now review Ruins

The fab folks over at SciFi Now magazine have reviewed Ruins, and they’ve given it a pretty gob-smacking 4 out of 5 stars (not to mention flagging it up as a ‘must read’)! Check out their review below…

SciFi Now review Ruins Joshua WinningThere’s no time to waste as the second instalment of The Sentinel Trilogy blasts us back into the world of young Nicholas Hallow, newly discovered guardian and chosen one of the trinity. Aided by his trusty companions, Isabel, reincarnated in the form of a black (talking) cat and Sam, the aging, but ninja warrior-worthy ass kicker.

Their mission is to find the other ‘chosen one’ before she is found by Laurent, the latest bad guy in town with a seriously twisted plan to ruin the world.

The plot’s darkness intensifies rapidly as Nicholas is drawn to the unassuming town of Bury St Edmunds, nothing more than a school with seven murdered teachers to see here.

Oh, and it may well be the home of Snelling, the vicious ‘harvester’ that attempted to put an end to the Sentinels in the first book, aptly named Sentinel. We should also mention the creepy blonde fellow that keeps appearing, leaving devastation in his wake.

Author Joshua Winning has cranked up the villainy another notch as he introduces the loathsome Laurent, a man so wicked he makes Harry Potter’s Lord Voldemort look like a fairy godmother. There are some devilish similarities between the two characters.

However, Laurent’s bloodline-protection methods have a far sicker edge to them, and his sidekicks are much scarier than a rat and a snake.

Nicholas, as hoped, continues to mature nicely, the addition of several new teenage characters helping to keep him grounded and allow him the space to be defined by more than the fate of his birth, of which he gradually learns the truth.

With more pace than Usain Bolt, Ruins leaves no room for a breather as it charges from one intense situation to another. This is a cracking filling for what has the potential to be a very tasty trilogy.

Read the review over at SciFi Now here.

The Eloquent Page reviews Ruins

That was quick! After reviewing Sentinel earlier this week, Paul at The Eloquent Page has posted his review of Ruins – and it’s great! Check it out over at TEP or read it below…

Ruins Sentinel Trilogy Joshua WinningRuins picks up events not long after the end of book one. Nicholas Hallow is starting to settle into his life as part of the Sentinels. He is beginning to accept his place as part of a secret society tasked with protecting all humanity. Nicholas still has lots to learn however and so some on the job training is required. Working as Sam Wilkins assistant is the best way to learn, the old man has a knack for locating evil in all its many forms.

I was glad to see Sam appear again, he was probably my favourite character from Sentinel. I love his world weary, slightly jaded character. Liberty makes a welcome return, but there are also some cool new characters in Ruins. I particularly liked the trio of Benjamin Nale, Zeus and Merlyn. I hope they will all pop up again in the future. Though the focus of the novel remains fixed on Nicholas, it’s nice to learn a little more about some of the other Sentinels and their origins.

Winning has also introduced some characters roughly Nick’s age, and it acts as a good reminder that Nicholas is still young and has much still to learn. Getting different perspectives on events is a welcome inclusion. Dawn and Rae have both seen far more than your average teen and it is interesting to see how they have learned to cope. Rae has developed a defensive, spiky attitude, while Dawn is more withdrawn and shy.

Once again the demonic forces are directing all their energies towards raising the Dark Prophets and bringing about the end of all things. Nicholas learns that he may well be directly targeted, and that there is also another teen who is as equally important to the demon’s plans. What follows is a race against time. The Sentinels need to stop the forces of evil and their human thralls from unleashing an unspeakable evil.

When it comes to the second book in a trilogy, I am always on the look-out for a couple of things. The continuation of the plot has to make sense and fit well with the events that have transpired before. The narrative also has to point towards the overall conclusion of the series. The writing in Ruins accomplishes both of these tasks with ease. The feeling of urgency present in book one feels like it has increased exponentially.  Events in the world of the Sentinels have consequences and repercussions. It is nice to see that things never happen in isolation. There is an over-arching story developing that is pulling everything together.

The good news is that my minor concerns in book one regarding all of the secrets and mysterious characters have been suitably addressed in book two. We learn more about the origins of both Nicholas and the always enigmatic Esus. Actually, the origins of Esus and the Trinity he serves are particularly cool. I would happily read an entire book based just around that.

Ruins feels like a more confident and self-assured book than its predecessor. This trilogy is shaping up nicely, and I have high hopes regarding book three. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing where the final book is going to take us. My nephews are avid readers and I reckon they would enjoy both Sentinel and Ruins. They just can’t get enough horror, especially demons for some reason*, and this series is turning out to be a damn good introduction to the genre.

Ruins is published by Peridot Press and is available now.

* I suspect this may be because they are demons themselves. Unfortunately, I have no conclusive proof.

(This review originally posted at The Eloquent Page.)

The Eloquent Page reviews Sentinel

Paul over at The Eloquent Page has written a fantastic review of Sentinel. Check it out below and be sure to visit his site, which contains loads of great stuff on fantasy books.

Sentinel Joshua Winning book cover ravenI’m sure that everyone has had daydreams of living a different life; of waking up one morning and discovering your regular life is changed so dramatically that everything is new and exciting. It’s great to dream but for Nicholas Hallow the dream becomes a nightmare when a family tragedy unlocks a new life that he could never have expected.

The Sentinels are the de-facto guardians of humanity. This secret society are the chosen few, just slightly out of step with normal existence. They suffer and fight for us so that we can live on in blissful ignorance. I’ve always liked that idea, the premise that groups like this could exist side by side with the rest of us, hidden in plain sight.

Nicholas is an engaging lead, and it was easy to empathise with him as he is dragged through the emotional wringer. I have to admit though, I was more interested in another couple of characters. First there is Sam Wilkins. Sam is an old family friend who becomes Nicholas’ guardian and, perhaps more importantly, his mentor. He remains suitably mysterious throughout, but you get the sense that Sam has seen some things in his time and still remains a force to be reckoned with. Sam’s character reads almost like an old school private detective, he even favours a fedora, and I just bet he has some stories that would make your hair stand on end. The other character is Isabel. Nicholas and Isabel have an interesting relationship. Let’s put it this way, they don’t always see eye to eye. Isabel is wonderfully snarky and looks down on everything that Nicholas does. Needless to say I loved her immediately.

The forces that the Sentinels face are an entirely evil bunch. Demons and their followers don’t take prisoners, they exist only to destroy or to corrupt. It quickly becomes obvious that the Sentinels aren’t just in a fight for their lives, but for everyones. I rather like the dark nature of these villains. Nicholas is forced to grow up quickly when he realises exactly what is at stake in his new life. This is end-of-the-world type stuff we are talking about here, people. There are no second chances when facing off against demons; it is kill or be killed. The tools of the Dark Prophets are violent, utterly driven, and have no problem doing whatever it takes to get the job done.

My only criticism, and it is a relatively minor one, is that there could have been a little bit more exposition in some areas. The author successfully piqued my interested about the Sentinels and how their organisation works. but just a little bit more detail would have made all the difference. For example, there is a character called Esus who appears to hold a very special place in society. He pops up from time to time, but could be the posterboy for the word enigmatic. I don’t mind a bit of mystery, Sam being the perfect example, but Esus was just a little to inscrutable for my liking. Hopefully there will be a bit more detail in future novels.

That quibble aside, this first book in the Sentinel trilogy does do a pretty solid job of setting up this new series. Nicholas is initially oblivious of his origins, and this gives Winning the opportunity to reveal the rules as Nicholas learns them himself. I don’t think you could hope for a more entertaining introduction into the world of the Sentinels. If other teens with a destiny have taught us anything, it’s that you can’t really can’t go far wrong with fiction like this. Sometimes darkly horrific, but always exciting. This is great deal of fun. Put it this way, if you enjoy danger, demons and more secrets than you can shake a big stick at, then Sentinel is the book for you. I wish there had been more books like this around when I was a teen. I would have devoured them all, one after another.

Sentinel is published by Peridot Press and available now. The sequel to Sentinel, Ruins, has just been released which is handy as I’ll be reading that next.

(This review originally posted at The Eloquent Page.)