Author: fantasyst95

The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

Finally, I get to bring you a review of The Black Prism by Brent Weeks!
Life has been conspiring against me lately, it seems. Firstly I didn’t get around to reading this in October as originally planned. I then made this the last book on my list for November, so it just feels like it has taken FOREVER and a day to get around to.
 
The Black Prism
The Black Prism – Goodreads

Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.
When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

As I am sure I have already mentioned when reviewing other fantasy books (particularly works by Brandon Sanderson), I love it when “magic” is integrated into a story in such a way that it has some kind of physical element. For example, in the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, the superhuman abilities such as being able to “fly” or have enhanced vision are obtained by ingesting and burning metals; they “fly” by pulling or pushing on other objects in their environment. Brent Weeks has used a similar idea of grounding his magic into reality by dependency on light. Personally, I think I like this aspect as it creates moments of weakness and if planned well, this conflict can really add to the plot.
Kip is devastated when his hometown ends up embroiled in war. To make an example to other rebel towns, the town is destroyed by the newly anointed King Garadul of Tyrea. Kip barely escapes with his life, but it is not just the burning of his home that turns his world upside down. Kip is a drafter, and when he makes a last stand against the King’s men he is saved by his father, the most powerful man in the world. Kip is dragged into his new life as the Prism’s… ahem… “nephew” and he begins to learn how to channel his abilities in a world rapidly descending into war once again.
I think the book had the right amount of action to keep things moving forward at an appropriate pace. If anything, the narrative around points in which battles are fought is drawn out longer than the rest of the book, but given that the conflict is a major part of the story, this is understandable. It is here that a lot of the magic is used so ample description of how it works is required. Given that each colour has it’s own properties/abilities, this does need explaining.
Kip is a young man… a teenager really. He is the son of a single mother with a drug addiction, physically unfit and has spent the majority of his life being taken advantage of. In theory, this should have made him a likeable character for me; he is far from perfect and frankly has low self-esteem… I’ve been there. There was just something missing with Kip for me. It isn’t that disliked him… I just didn’t like him either. I can’t say I felt attached to any of the characters in this book, if I’m honest, and I think this is where I feel somewhat let down.
The plot and concept of magic are interesting and whilst I can talk about what I like about these, as a whole, I can’t say I really enjoyed the book. It was readable but lacked the necessary spark. I may pick up the next book at some stage if I’m bored… but I won’t be gutted if I don’t finish the series either. It’s rare that I finish a book and find myself sat on the fence… which is where I find myself now.
I by far prefer the NightAngel series, which I read years ago now.
Apologies this is so short and sweet, but I am having a hard time writing about something in which I have very little feeling towards. I’m frustrated if anything that I didn’t love it having waited so long to read it… but never mind. We can’t like everything.
Have you read any books by Brent Weeks? Do you agree with any of the points I’ve made? Do you disagree?
Rebecca mono
 

Blog Tour: Roll the Dice – Wayne Avrashow

Hi everybody!!
Today I am delighted to be taking part in another blog tour, courtesy of Fiery Seas Publishing. Take a peek at the Book Trailer here!
Roll the Dice.jpg
 
Roll the Dice bWayne Avrashow
Fiery Seas Publishing
November 28, 2017   
Political Thriller
 
Amazon    Kobo    iTunes    Barnes & Noble
 
 
Roll the Dice was published on November 28th, so I think I can speak for all book bloggers in congratulating Wayne for all his hard work. You can breathe a sigh of relief because it has all paid off!
Just how hard is it to get that first draft manuscript into a published novel? I was given the opportunity to ask the author about his experience…
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“Both processes: writing a novel and retaining a publisher were time-consuming, circuitous, thrilling roller-coaster rides with uncertain twists and turns.  I landed on terra firma and delighted to share the emotions of those rides.  I overcame the obstacles and now revel in the ultimate victory for an aspiring author—my novel Roll the Dice will be published November 28 by Fiery Seas Publishing.
My novel’s main protagonist is Tyler Sloan, a rock star who exits the stage to campaign for the United States Senate.  Sloan has a complicated and difficult relationship with his father Mike, who was a nationally famous politician. The novel has plot lines with intrigue, corruption and sexual tension between Sloan and his young, attractive media advisor Bree Baker.  A quick plug—the novel is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and in selected bookstores.
The first novels I remember reading were Ian Fleming’s James Bond series.  I love that genre, but the “write what you know” cliché is accurate.  I have no knowledge of that world; or the nuances of crimes and police work that Michael Connelly skillfully explores in many of his novels.  I do not hold the passion to create a fictional world such as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. 
I have been an attorney for more than two decades and volunteered in my first political campaign when I was 17.  Before I graduated college, I was the campaign manager for a successful Los Angeles City Council campaign.  I managed another victorious campaign and served on the staffs of those two Council members, including as Chief of Staff. I later served on two government commissions and in other roles in politics and government.
As an attorney, I draft legal documents, but needed guidance to write fiction.  It is not a skill set taught in law school.  I attended UCLA Extension courses on fiction writing.  I would encourage any aspiring author to attend classes, review online material, read books or view YouTube videos of a host of tutors, my choice is best-selling author Michael Levin, who skillfully explains the writing process.
The most important recommendation is to simply keep writing.  The goal is to write daily.  Just keep going.  I jotted down notes of interesting phrases, observations, and people I met. Exaggerate, combine, twist, mold and mangle these qualities for your novel.
Writing the book consumed years of my life.  I never suffered from “writer’s block,” but my legal practice is a time-consumptive occupation.   I rewrote Roll the Dice many times; it was an illusion when I thought the work was completed.
When I thought the novel was completed, I entered the manuscript in online book contests.  I survived the initial cuts in Amazon’s CreateSpace contest, but did not proceed as far as I hoped.  With my confidence muted, I did some research.
I went online and to the bookstore to acquire ideas on fine-tuning a novel.  I rewrote it, tightened it, reduced a character or two, combined or eliminated scenes and once again, thought I was ready.  The novel was completed.  It was done.
My first real success was when the manuscript was named one of the year’s best unpublished manuscripts in a Kirkus Reviews contest.  The novel was completed. Now it was done.
I had a fortuitous meeting with a friend, a former executive at two major studios.  I described the plot and main characters and asked for his input.  He suggested one substantial change; that the deceased father of my protagonist Tyler Sloan be alive and become a major character.  This one change added significant conflicts throughout the book.  I rewrote it again.  Once again, I was now certain the novel was done.
I sought out a literary agent.   Cue the drumroll— the Rejection Process began.  I reminded myself that the best-selling authors of our time were rejected.  John Grisham was rejected by 16 publishers and J.K. Rowling nearly matched it with 15 rejections.  The Beatles were rejected numerous times.  One Decca Records executive passed, and informed their manager Brian Epstein, that “guitar groups are on their way out.” Good call.
I only needed one agent and braced myself for the expected deluge of rejections. I was not disappointed.  One rejection was humorous.  An agent took some time to write on my query letter which was on my legal stationary, that he would, “never represent an attorney as an author.”  No profanity, but his comments were laced with insults as to the honesty of my profession.   That agent was likely to be pleased to reject: Grisham, David Baldacci, Scott Turow, Meg Gardiner, Linda Fairstein and countless other attorney-authors.   You have to smile.
More than one agent expressed an interest and I retained New York-based, Linda Langton of the Langton Literary Agency. Linda is perfect; supportive, smart and patient.  I was once again certain the novel was complete.
Linda was pleased, but believed the manuscript needed an editor to be commercially viable.  After the editor’s comments, I once again rewrote Roll the Dice.  One bit of advice to all aspiring authors; accept the input of a skilled professional.  I gladly accepted Linda’s advice and the editor greatly enhanced the manuscript.  With her guidance, the manuscript was transformed into a finished work.  The novel was now ready to be published.
I was very fortunate to have a skilled literary agent who located Fiery Seas Publishing to publish my first novel.  I have enjoyed a varied career in politics and law; however, the satisfaction of a publisher believing in my work ranks among my most satisfying career achievements.
I admit that even holding the book in my hand, there are times when I would revise certain sentences or phrases.   However, the novel is now complete.”
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Wayne Avrashow
About the Author:
Wayne Avrashow was the campaign manager for two successful Los Angeles City Council campaigns and a Deputy/Chief of Staff to those two elected City Council members. He served as a senior advisor for a successful city-wide referendum in the City of Los Angeles, co-authored ballot arguments on Los Angeles County-wide measures, served as Chairman for a Los Angeles County ballot measure, and was a Los Angeles government Commissioner for nearly twenty years. He currently serves as a Board Member of the Yaroslavsky Institute, a public policy institute founded by long time Southern California elected official, and now UCLA professor, Zev Yaroslavsky.
His background in politics, government, business, and law provides unique insight into the machinations and characters that populate political campaigns.
Wayne is a practicing attorney who specializes in government advocacy, real estate, and business law. Formerly, he was an officer in two real estate development firms.  As a lawyer-lobbyist, he has represented clients before numerous California municipalities and in Nevada and Idaho. He has lectured at his law school and taught at Woodbury University in Los Angeles. He has also authored numerous op-ed articles that appeared in daily newspapers, legal, business, and real estate publications.  In addition, he is the author of a self-published book for the legal community, Success at Mediation—10 Strategic Tools for Attorneys.

Sunday Summary – 3rd December 2017

Hi everyone!!
This week has been a little bit slow on the reading front, as I have had a few other things to catch up with. To that effect, I didn’t get my November Reading List finished. I shouldn’t forget that reading six books constitutes my upper limit in any one month… plus I went away Christmas shopping for a few days. I think I am too hard on myself sometimes.
Over the past couple of days, I have had the creative bug so I’ve been using the time to work on setting up a bullet journal for next year. There are so many different examples out there that it is hard not to get inspired. I’ve set up the key, index page, plus I’ll have a couple of spreads to record the books I am reading (2018-2019), as well as a spread for blog milestones and for any writing competitions I enter. Next, I have completed a cover page for 2018 with a place to write my goals for the year, and my current WIP is a cover sheet for January.
If anyone has any recommendations for me for things to include in my journal, please leave a comment for me! I’d love to know how your journal works for you.
Also, further to publishing my Reading List on Friday, I have now added an additional book. I applied to review a book as part of a Blog Tour, courtesy of Fiery Seas Publishing. As a result, I have added Triple Cross Killer to the list of books to read this month!
Triple Cross Killer
Triple Cross Killer – Goodreads

Books Read


I finally managed to finish The Black Prism by Brent Weeks last night! *victory cheer*
It feels like it has taken forever but I finally got there! I’ll be taking the time to review this next week so I hope you can check that out!
I have also made a very small start on Remember For Me by Diana Tarant Schmidt; by that, I literally mean a few pages… but a start is a start!
 

Books Discovered


When I saw Too Like the Lightning come up on one of my daily emails from Bookbub, I knew the name was familiar. When I looked into it, I realised that it was a book I had requested to read via Netgalley and was declined for! I’ve not let that put me off though – the book does sound good! All the better for being able to get a copy of it at a discounted price!
Living on A Rainbow is a book that explores the impact of mental health and that is something I think we could all benefit from educating ourselves a little more about. The author approached me about it and having read the sample on Amazon, I knew this was something I was going to enjoy.
Kings of the Wyld is a book that I came across in discussion with H.P in relation to my Reading List: December 2017 blog post. He advised that this was a book he was going to try and read by the end of the year. Whilst there is no chance I am also going to achieve that, it is something I am adding to the list for future reading!
 

Coming Up…

So next week I am taking part in another blog tour, so look out for that post on Tuesday!
On Friday, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on The Black Prism by Brent Weeks, including what I think of this different style of magic system.
On Sunday I’ll wrap up the week as usual!
Rebecca mono

Reading List: December 2017

Guys… I hate to break it to you, but IT’S DECEMBER!!! How did that happen so fast?!
This year seems to have gone quickly for me – well, the second half at least. This year didn’t get off to the best of starts. On the plus side, it was the foundation of finding a hobby in blogging so I cannot complain too much! You have to take every positive you can get!
Never have I managed to read so many books in one year, and I’m proud I’ve stuck to my challenge. I have five books left to finish my 60 book challenge (after finishing The Black Prism, it’ll be four), and I’m confident I can do it!
I was hoping to be a little closer to my target. I have ended November still reading The Black Prism by Brent Weeks and I am yet to touch F.ormerly by Dane Cobain, which is the last book on November’s list. I’ve had a bit of a slow month I guess, which isn’t a problem… but I’ll be carrying this book forward as a result.
 

Remember For Me – Diana Tarant Schmidt

Remember For Me
Remember For Me – Goodreads

Clara Eros thought her life was ending with Alzheimer’s. She was mistaken. A war between good and evil has raged for as long as humanity has existed, and the balance of power between its forces has always remained equal. But that longstanding balance has begun to shift, and the survival of mankind may be at risk. What is the source of this duality, and how do the proponents of light and darkness use humans to further their cause? When Clara Eros awakens with no memory, her questions are fundamental: who is she; and why is she here? The answer she receives is predetermined and singular: she has been recruited to fight a battle against the reign of darkness. But is Clara just a pawn in a much larger game? Once her transformation is complete, Clara finds herself, in body and mind, as a younger, stronger version of the person she can no longer remember, and now she must search for the common thread hidden within malevolence and turn the tide in a war where humanity is succumbing to chaos and brutality. Will she be strong enough to bring humanity back into the light?

I was grateful to be approached by Diana with a request to read this book. Whilst having an element of fiction, it touches on a sensitive topic of Alzheimer’s, but I’m glad it is being brought to the forefront of discussion. I am looking forward to seeing how the theme is portrayed, and who knows, maybe I’ll get an idea of what my gran experienced in the last few years of her life.
 

Seeker – David Noë and Laura Loolaid

Seeker
Seeker – Goodreads

Jewel Harper, a junior specialist in a successful bounty-hunter group, returns from a routine mission only to find a new contract already prepared – a private contract to rescue a brother she didn’t know she had. The mission takes Jewel to a few different homeworlds — and into some trouble. She will learn that pretty much everybody knows more about her family than she does.

This is a stand-alone story set in the ChaosNova universe. Humans have spread to new homeworlds in a “goldilocks cluster” somewhere in the Galaxy, where the many homeworlds harbour several dominant civilizations as well as various local cultures, ancient and new. This story-verse, borne of forum-based roleplay and collaboration between several authors, holds many more characters and adventures, with varying degrees of connection to the central arc. Some of those stories are being written now, many are yet to be told.

I was excited to be approached with a request to read this book, too. I love the concept of how the ChaosNova universe was created and how it is written collaboratively – it is what makes it unique. It has also been some time since I have picked up any books in the science fiction genre, so I am really looking forward to picking this up!
 

F.ormerly – Dane Cobain

Former.ly
Former.ly – Goodreads

When Dan Roberts starts his new job at Former.ly, he has no idea what he’s getting into. The site deals in death – its users share their innermost thoughts, which are stored privately until they die. Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences.
But something strange is going on, and the site’s two erratic founders share a dark secret. A secret that people are willing to kill for.

So I was supposed to read this last month and unfortunately didn’t get around to it. This is a book I have downloaded via Netgalley, and it drew my attention as it features a kind of modern technology that is potentially relevant to today’s society.
I have mixed feelings about social media. Obviously, when used correctly and safely it is a useful tool to keep in touch with friends and relatives. By very nature, bloggers use the Internet and social media in order to get books and their opinions out there. There are people that abuse this technology, sadly. I’ll outright admit that I am against the idea of social media use featured in the book. I’m curious to see if my feelings are justified or not.
 

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity
Code Name Verity – Goodreads

Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.
When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

This just sounds like it is going to be fantastic – and whilst I don’t like to focus on this when I opt to read a book, I couldn’t help but notice that it has a high rating on Goodreads! Anyone who follows my blog will know I have a lot of interest in history and historical fiction, so this should be right up my street.
 

Rewired – S R Johannes

ReWired
ReWired – Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Ada Lovelace is never more alive and sure of herself than when she’s hacking into a “secure” network as her alter ego, the Dark Angel. In the real world, Ada is broken, reeling from her best friend Simone’s recent suicide. But online, the reclusive daughter of Senator Lovelace (champion of the new Online Privacy Bill) is a daring white hat hacker and the only female member of the Orwellians, an elite group responsible for a string of high-profile hacks against major corporations, with a mission to protect the little guy. Ada is swiftly proving she’s a force to be reckoned with, when a fellow Orwellian betrays her to the FBI. To protect her father’s career, Ada is sent to ReBoot, a technology rehab facility for teens…the same rehab Simone attended right before killing herself.
It’s bad enough that the ReBoot facility is creepy in an Overlook-Hotel-meets-Winchester-Mansion way, but when Ada realizes Simone’s suicide is just one in an increasingly suspicious string of “accidental” deaths and “suicides” occurring just after kids leave ReBoot, Ada knows she can’t leave without figuring out what really happened to her best friend. The massive cyber conspiracy she uncovers will threaten everything she cares about–her dad’s career, her new relationship with a wry, handsome, reformed hacker who gets under her skin, and most of all–the version of herself Ada likes best–the Dark Angel.
With a deliciously twisty plot, the topical bite of Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER, ReWired delves into technology addiction, internet privacy, and corporate/government collection of data, as it vividly illuminates the universally human questions about ethics, privacy, and self-definition that both underpin these socio-political issues and dovetail with classic coming-of-age themes. Ultimately, ReWired is about the daily choices we all make about who we want to be, how much of ourselves we choose to share with others, and the terrifying risks and exhilarating rewards of being ourselves, online and off.

Between reading this Seeker and F.ormerly this month, there is definitely a “technology” theme going on, but I think I’ll enjoy it! I tend to read more Fantasy than anything so it will make a refreshing change. As I have already voiced, I have a bit of mistrust on the use of social media (for privacy reasons) so I’m sure I’ll take something away from this read!
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If I manage to read all these by the end of the month, it means I’ll have completed my reading challenge and I’ll have read one extra book too! I didn’t want to be too optimistic and try to read six because:-

  1. That hasn’t worked the last two months
  2. IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!!

So, now my reading list is sorted… it’s time to panic about Christmas presents…
Chao!!
Jack Sparrow Run.gif
Rebecca mono

Review – Zero Debt: Break the Debt Cycle and Reclaim Your Life – Neeraj Deginal

Hi everyone!
Today I wanted to share my review of the above book, as I think there are a lot of things that can be learned from it. Being of the age and category of both young and financially independent, I think this was the perfect time to read the book and take on the important messages throughout. That being said, I think everyone can benefit from reading this at any age.

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author, via The Book Club, in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***

Zero Debt
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The most important thing to highlight is that the author is recounting his experience and therefore it is not a guide to follow religiously. It will not necessarily solve your problems. What it will tell you, however, is that very often following a serious kick up the backside, an attitude change is required. With a lot of hard work, you CAN dig yourself out of the bottom of the trench.
Naturally, the book begins with our author in his childhood. I think it true that as children, we are taught very little about money. He argues a distinct lack of support in the education system in teaching finances or planning for the future, and I totally agree! There is no education about completing your tax form, for example, and one) it isn’t always straightforward; two) there can be serious consequences for doing this incorrectly. I genuinely think this is one of the fundamental areas in which “life skills” are not taught in school. I’m glad the author highlighted this.
Moving away from childhood, the author gets his first salary and spends it all. Having money is exciting, no? I’ll hold my hands up and admit I did this too. It was fun. Mum and Dad still got paid rent, but this is not something that can be done viably every month, as the author does. Instead, he continues to live beyond his means, perhaps succumbing to social pressures including marriage and ends up with several loans and stacks of debt.
I am fortunate that I was taught how to manage money, as my parents, in their own circumstances, scrimped through much as the author did. I think they could have had help, but they didn’t want it. They wanted to go their way whatever the cost. As they have travelled the long road, they would not hesitate to tell me if they thought I was being irresponsible. They wouldn’t let me fall into that trap.
Sometimes though, things happen beyond our control. I moved away from home and left my first job (after a few years experience) about six months into living alone, to earn more than a junior’s limited wage packet. Things were tight. Less than a year later, the Company my Company were subcontracted to provide admin for decided to sell our part of the business, so the admin was no longer required. Suddenly, the threat of redundancy was on my head and being responsible financially for my home, I was worried sick. My parents had the facility to help me if I needed it (though thankfully I didn’t), but not everyone has this available to them.
Neeraj correctly points out that it is for these unexpected circumstances we should prepare ourselves. It would take me a long time to get to the stage of being debt free and having two years wages in cash savings, but I put by at least a little bit every month. That’s both a start and one of the most important things, I feel. Other than having set up a pension, I have thus far made very few plans for the future. I am only in my twenties after all, and I don’t have the means to do this yet. Neeraj discusses investment choices he made when it came to forward planning, which is fine, but I am nowhere near a position to even consider yet.
A lot of the points made in the book are identifiable with, such as the reliance on credit, even if you are yet to experience them. It is written in a very conversational tone and as I said above, it is “advice” that should be taken with a pinch of salt. We all have our own differing circumstances, but there is plenty here to consider.
It must be difficult to recount some of the most stressful times in your life. Thank you to the author for doing so, in order that we may learn from his mistakes and not have to learn the hard way too. His aim of the book is not to profit from it, but to educate people. That is reflected in his book being copyright free.
Rebecca mono
 

Sunday Summary – 26th November 2017

This week has been a pleasant one, for the reason that I got to take a step back from the reading challenge and the blog for a few days. I absolutely love running it – but it was great not to have to think about writing the next post for a little while. I went on a mini holiday to visit some Christmas markets with some friends – the first time I have ever been to any! We all enjoyed it so much I hope it is a tradition we keep up!

Books Read

The Black Prism
So as I mentioned above, this has been a reasonably light week on reading. There were some days I didn’t even pick up a book or my kindle, which is most unlike me! I was busy though… we hardly stopped! I did manage to make a little progress on The Black Prism by Brent Weeks, but I am far from finishing it yet.

Books Discovered

The Templars
Goodreads
Although I was away for some of this week, I did manage to buy a book for my kindle. Of course I did. This one happens to come with a funny story.
So whilst we were away some of my friends really had to stop somewhere to visit the ladies room and we were close to a large Waterstones. As they have cafe’s we decided they usually have those facilities. So whilst I was waiting for my friends I was having a look around, as you do, and found a book I was interested in – The Templars by Dan Jones. Since we had flown to the area we were visiting and had limited space for shopping, I opted not to buy the book there and instead get it once I was home.
Fast forward to several hours later, approximately midnight. I was lying in bed awake and was catching up with emails, notifications etc from having intermittent connection all day. I get daily emails from Bookbub with discount deals – guess which book was featured as a deal.
Yes – the one I was looking at in Waterstones earlier that day!! I was amazed at such a coincidence, so I purchased it straight away! So not only did I manage to get it whilst I was away, I saved £9.00 on it too!  The Crusades is a period I first discovered through Assassins Creed, of all things, so I want to learn more about the history of the period.
I also noticed now that the author has also written books about the period of the Wars of the Roses, so if his writing is any good, I might just have to check those out too…
 

Coming Up…

For the first time in a little while, I will have a review for you on Tuesday, for Zero Debt by Neeraj Deginal. This is the last book I read last week and I was kindly provided with a free copy by the author via The Book Club.
Dare I say it… on Friday it’s the 1st December!!! Panic stations!! Christmas will officially begin in my house and I still have loads of presents to buy. I am far less organised this year than usual. More importantly for you guys, I will be sharing with you the last few books on the TBR for this year! I’m pleased to say I am on target to complete my reading challenge so I am super excited for that!
I’ll wrap up the week on Sunday as usual and hopefully I will have managed to finally read the Black Prism by then – it’s only a month overdue…
Rebecca mono

Review: The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

Happy Friday!!
I am excited to be bringing a review of this book to you today, purely because I get to have a  rant about how AMAZEBALLS it is!
happy jerry
I was gutted that I didn’t get to finish this book within my deadline of the end of October, but then, I should have been smarter and checked the page count before I committed to reading it straight after IT by Stephen King.
I’m an idiot. That won’t be news to some people… I just hope I’m a loveable idiot…? No? Okay then, I’ll just get on with it.
The Way of Kings 2
Goodreads

According to mythology mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms. And the Voidbringers followed . . . They came against man ten thousand times. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won. Or so the legends say. Today, the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself – and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne. On a world scoured down to the rock by terrifying hurricanes that blow through every few day a young spearman forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn’t understand and doesn’t really want to fight. What happened deep in mankind’s past? Why did the Radiants turn against mankind, and what happened to the magic they used to wield?

What an amazing start to a series. Just wow. I love the covers of these books too!
I think the best part of the book is the characters, in particular, Kaladin, Dalinar and Shallan. Whereas Shallan’s background and motives are outlined almost at the beginning of the book, we learn very little of Kaladin at the start and gradually his backstory is filled in as you progress through the book. I think any avid reader can both relate to and be envious of Shallan as she spends the majority of the book tutoring under one of the most prestigious and intellectual women of Roshar. In that position, she has access to what sounds to be the BIGGEST library ever. I am the green-eyed monster. That being said, I also relate to Kaladin as he is so grounded and humble as a person; he is a doer. Get up and get on with it type, and wants to do the best he can for everyone. I like that in him.
Dalinar, brother of the assassinated King Gavilar is a Lord of one of the main Alethi houses, fighting on the front line in the war against the Parshendi. He has become plagued with visions when each of the Highstorms hit and gradually those around him begin to suspect he is mad. Unite them. Those are the haunting words of his visions, but what do they mean?
Whilst most chapters are written from the perspectives of Dalinar, Kaladin or Shallan, we are given periodic interludes that give us a wider perspective on what is going on in Roshar as a whole. It is through these sections that we can see how a wider plot is developing and I am sure will continue on into future books.
The storyline will definitely make this series, upon completion, epic. The ideas are introduced gradually so as not to overwhelm you, which to my mind is essential when introducing books of a different “world”, with different rules and ideas to our own. The opening chapter shows us catastrophic events, throwing us six years into the past and into the action which defines events happening in the “present” – the assassination of King Gavilar himself.
I also love the system of magic developed in the book. Much like the Mistborn series, magic is drawn from a “real” and finite element; in the Mistborn series it is metal and in this one, it is gemstones infused with Stormlight. I find the idea of magic not being limitless gives the concept more realism, somehow.
There is much plotting and scheming going on as many vie for power – but who will succeed? I have a long wait to find out. Historically Sanderson has been releasing one of these books every three years, and since book three has just been released now… yeah. A LOOOOOOOOONG wait.
I am excited, nonetheless! It’s taking everything I have not to just jump into Words of Radiance, being book two.
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Have you read any books of The Stormlight Archive, or tried any other books by Brandon Sanderson? I would love to know what you make of them so far!
Rebecca mono

Blog Tour: Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio

Hi everybody!!
Today I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in a blog tour, arranged by Fiery Seas Publishing. As a part of the tour, I am glad to provide you with an excerpt from Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio, which has just been published this month!
Fiskur
 
Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio
November 7th, 2017
Fantasy
The Gemeta Stone Book 2
Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC
 
 
 
 
 

With his family’s talisman in his possession, Kristan Gemeta is ready to face the Wichelord Daazna – but he has no inkling of the scope of Daazna’s power, nor the depths of his hatred.
With the recovery of his family’s protective talisman, Kristan Gemeta has found hope, courage – and perhaps even the first stirrings of love.  With the aid of Heather Demitt, her band of rebels, a shipload of Northern brigands and the legendary Kentavron, he readies himself to face the Wichelord Daazna.  But neither he nor his comrades realize the strength of Daazna’s power and hatred.  The Wichelord’s first blow comes from a direction Kristan least expects, with horrific, lasting consequences.

 


FISKUR EXCERPT #4

 From Chapter 17

 
Kristan swung. It was an efficient sideways blow that severed the boy’s head and sent it flying. For a breath or two the boy’s body stayed upright, twitching and spurting blood, then fell back. Kristan stood over him. His knees buckled for an instant, but then he recovered. He stooped and carefully wiped his sword on the boy’s blanket, then straightened up and looked at his friends. “That’s all,” he said, and sheathed his sword.
Melissa’s hands went to her mouth. Nigel made a sound of revulsion and averted his eyes.  “Astéria mou –” Torrin started to say.
Kristan’s face twisted into a snarl. “Do you object? Should I have let him go, so he could tell Daazna where to find us?”
“He was just a boy –” Melissa whimpered.
“You chose to come with me. All of you. No one forced you. No one ordered you.”
Olaf put out one hand, as if to pat him on the shoulder. “Now, Fiskur –”
Kristan threw up his own hand to ward of Olaf’s touch. “Don’t touch me. I’m sick of being mollycoddled; sick of being challenged. I will do what I must. If any of you don’t like it, then you can go your own way, do you hear me?”
He wheeled and strode off. Silenced by his outburst, they followed him back to their horses, tethered some distance away. They mounted up and continued north through the night, wordless and miserable.
As the sun rose, the woods around them grew unpleasantly still. Heather was sticky with sweat but left her hood on and her sleeves rolled down against the biting flies that swarmed around them. Near noon they paused to eat and rest, but no one had much appetite, and the flies and heat made sleeping impossible.
“How much further?” Torrin asked as they broke camp again.
“A day and a half…maybe two,” Kristan murmured thickly. He dragged himself into Malvo’s saddle. “We lost time when we doubled back.”
Sun and shadow…shadow and sun…
As they journeyed on, Heather closed her eyes against the flickering light. The muffled clop of hooves, the creak of saddles and the jingling of tack blended into a monotonous drone; half asleep, she thought of O Tópos, its vineyards and sun-warmed clusters of grapes, orchards full of meaty, succulent cherries and crisp sweet melons on the vine. She thought of walking barefoot on the cool green grass of the promenade; she remembered Kristan’s hand stroking her hair.  How long ago it seems, she thought, a lifetime ago. We were children, we were pure. Daazna took that from all of us. We’ll never be that innocent again. 
Tears stung behind her closed lids. One squeezed free and rolled down her left cheek, and as it did, she felt a breath of cool air along its track. She opened her eyes. Daylight was fading. A gust of wind rattled the leaves overhead. Beyond them the sky was thick with scudding greenish clouds.
“Storm,” Olaf said. “You can smell it coming in from the west.”
“How soon?” Torrin asked over his shoulder.
A spat of rain landed on Heather’s hand, another on her face.
“Right now,” Olaf said.


 
I hope you all enjoyed that little snippet of the book! If you would like further details of the book, the links are provided below!
Buy Links:   Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  Kobo  ~  iBooks
About the Author:Donna Migliaccio
Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.
Social Media:   Website      Facebook       Twitter      Pinterest
 
 
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Top Ten Tuesday -Books on the TBR

Hi guys!!
I thought with today’s post I would take the opportunity to share my Top Ten eagerly anticipated books that I will be reading next year!
 

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

Words of Radience
Goodreads
You know when you start a series, and you finish the first book and immediately just want to binge read the rest? Yup. This is one of those for me. Given that Sanderson is only so far as having released the third book (out of ten) of this series, I am going to have to pace myself.
 

The Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law
Goodreads
Here is another Sanderson book, and it is the start of the second “trilogy” of the Mistborn series. I’ve been meaning to start these for some time, but you know, there are so many books out there and so little time… *sigh*
 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Goodreads
I was drawn to this book as it is both a classic and famously written from the perspective of an autistic child. Since it is so different from usual, I have to give it a read.
 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Goodreads
I am absolutely sure reading this will make me cry, but it’s another classic that I have really wanted to read for some time. I’ll get some tissues to hand.
 

Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell

Sword Song
Goodreads
Sword Song is the fourth book in a series I started this year. As I haven’t read any of the books in this series since June, I think we are overdue the next instalment.
 

The Shining – Stephen King

The Shining
Goodreads
I never thought I would enjoy Stephen King’s writing… and how wrong I was! I’m so ashamed I haven’t picked up any of his books until this year, I feel the need to make up for lost time.
 

The Seventh Scroll – Wilbur Smith

The Seventh Scroll
Goodreads
As much as I really dislike the MC at times, River God was such an enjoyable first instalment that I have to read this soon.
 

Soul Music – Terry Pratchett

Soul Music
Goodreads
I only finished Men At Arms, the book prior to this one in the Discworld series in September but somehow it always feels like an age has passed between me reading Pratchett’s books. They’re almost a guilty pleasure.
 

11.22.63 – Stephen King

11.22.63
Goodreads
I love books that have an element of history in them, so combine this with Stephen King’s amazing writing and you get a very excited me. I also managed to pick up a copy of this in a charity shop in good nick for 50p, so win-win!!
 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Good Omens
Goodreads
I think this has the potential to be absolutely hilarious, so this was a definite addition to the list!!
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So that’s the list!!
I’ve tried to keep it brief because if given the opportunity, I really could go on for hours and hours!
What are you looking forward to reading next?
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 19th November 2017

Good morning everybody!!
The Sunday Summary is a post I like to put together every week to let you guys know what I have been doing behind the scenes. It’s also surprisingly effective at keeping myself organised when it comes to books I have added to the TBR in making sure they have been added to all the right lists etc.
So without further adieu, here is how my week has gone:-

Books Read


This week really feels like it has been a productive one when it comes to the books read. I finished reading “The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson finally and OH MY GOD!! It’s a series I could very easily binge read but I am going to restrain myself… otherwise, this will be yet another series I am caught up with and waiting for the next release. Patience is a virtue, so they say?
The next book I picked up this week was The Weight of Shadows by Karl Holton. I managed to struggle on to about a third of the way through the book before I put it down again. It wasn’t for me. The book is about 300 pages long so why the author thinks it needs 50 chapters, I’ll never know. It quite literally does change perspective every five minutes and rather than integrating important information, it is just periodically dumped on you.
To my mind, there are some epic crime stories in books and TV at the moment so if it isn’t done exceptionally, I don’t think it compares to everything else out there. This wasn’t cutting it for me, so I decided I wasn’t going to force myself through it.
Lastly, I read Zero Debt by Neeraj Deginal. This is a short account of how one man fought his way back from the brink of financial collapse and how he now plans for the future. I figured this would be an interesting read as I am of the age where I am just setting myself up in life. Everyone makes mistakes, but if we can learn from others, that’s better.
 

Books Discovered

Words of Radience
This is the only book I have added this week as it follows on from The Way of Kings and so far it is AMAZING!!! Ahem. I really need to calm down, haha!
 

Coming Up…

I have some fun posts lined up for you this week!! I have another Top Ten Tuesday (no prizes for guessing when that will be posted) and I am also taking part in my first Blog Tour!! Look out for that on Wednesday!
On Friday, I’m going to rant at you just how much I loved the first book of the Stormlight Archives series and why I am glad I persevered even though I didn’t finish it when I intended to!
On Sunday, well, I think you know the drill by now…
Rebecca mono