Tag: Book Review

Blog Blitz Book Review: Black Matter – G. D. Parker

***Firstly, a huge thank you to the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this tour! For the purposes of providing a review, I received a free copy of this book. All opinions stated are my own***

 

Goodreads – Black Matter

Purchase Links

UK – Amazon.co.uk     US – Amazon.com

 

The future is now… it’s terrifying!!! Humanity locks jaws with the ever-increasing human desires towards highly advanced technological innovations making the world a dangerous place. Unanticipated horrific consequences unfold for Tommy McGregor when he partakes in a new high-tech innovation to enhance his health and wellbeing. He thought it would make him healthier, better looking and live forever…DI Valentina is out of her comfort zone when she’s tasked to track down a killer, unknown to her, hidden behind a digital mask. The future has already fallen upon humanity as she soon discovers, nothing is as it seems anymore as society embarks in technology that’s already here. A terrifying mystery, it feeds your imaginative mind’s eye – a fast-paced “whoisit” thrilling crime, novel that will leave you guessing until the end, (or will it?) As it leaves the hairs on your arms stand on end as you uncontrollably turn each page in this 3 part series.

 

My Thoughts…

Technology is all around us. You wake up first thing to an alarm, probably set on one electronic device or another (or several, if you’re a perpetual “snoozer”). Maybe you surf the internet, turn on the TV or listen to music. Those signals are all around us, communicating to our devices 24 hours a day. It has become so commonplace that we don’t even think about it. I just take it for granted.

What if the use of one of these devices started to manipulate you? When a man is arrested and pleads ignorance to a number of crimes he has committed, DI Valentina has her work cut out for her to prove he is guilty. But is he?

Black Matter is a fast paced novel that keeps you gripped from start to finish. The book comprises of relatively short, digestable chapters. They are written predominantly from two perspectives, Tommy McGregor and DI Valentina. We also get brief interludes to their narratives from our perpetrator(s). These craftily written chapters don’t give much insight into their identity either, making you want to keep reading to find out who they are.

I wouldn’t describe Tommy as a likeable character, but that is orchestrated with good reason. It’s hard to stick criminal charges to a character that is the archangel Gabriel personified… and make it work. You can’t help but feel a little sorry for him, however.

DI Valentina is a completely different kettle of fish. Strong-minded and passionate about doing her job right, she’s actually a morally upstanding woman. Despite all the evidence pointing to Tommy, Valentina recognises that something isn’t right and instead seeks to prove him innocent.

Against the clock, DI Valentina races to find the killer before more bodies are found. How are they controlling people? What is their agenda? More importantly, can she stop them?

 

Author Bio –

GD Parker is the author of his debut novel, Black Matter. Book one of a three-part series that explores the depths of the unfolding high-tech world we now live in, making it a dangerous place.

The novel will be available to purchase in e-book and paperback formats on the Amazon store.

Gareth was born in the UK in 1981. A family man spent much of his working life in South Wales working in a professional capacity. One day he made the decision write about an idea he dreamt about.

Still working full time for a large organisation, he enjoys reading all manner of books, and spending time with his world – his family.

Twitter: @GDParker_Author and Instagram: @gd.parker_author

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Book Review: Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

In Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag lives a totalitarian life. The government says books are dangerous… and dangerous they are. They provoke thought and opinion, encourage individuality and ideas. They must be burned. Montag is a fireman, charged with the destruction of the prohibited material. But curiosity gets the better of him, and he finds himself on the path to his own destruction…

Goodreads – Fahrenheit 451

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

 

My Thoughts…

Can you really imagine a world without books? As a source of entertainment and knowledge, they are one of the most precious things to me! In Fahrenheit 451 literature is publicly spurned for its contradictory nature; the uncertainty and the confusion it causes is blamed for the unhappiness in the world. (Of course, living a life in which you are stifled of all opinion and individuality has NOTHING to do with it…)

Then, one day, a young girl walks into Guy Montag’s life. She starts to question him, his life and the world they live in. She plants a seed. He was so sure of what he was doing… what role he had in society, now he isn’t. So, he seeks the truth and turns his attention to those materials he is entrusted to destroy for answers.

Being sat on the other side of the fence to this dystopian novel, it is easy to criticise Montag for just accepting what he is told and not thinking for himself. We are used to having an opinion and the freedom to express it. Ask my work colleagues, they’ll tell you I’m one of the most opinionated people on the planet. Consider never having that choice; imagine growing up to be told something just is and you never question it.

 

They walked still further and the girl said, “Is it true that long ago firemen put fires out instead of going to start them?”

“No. Houses have always been fireproof, take my word for it.”

 

As a book-lover, I can’t help but champion Montag’s awakening. His transition from a brainwashed man who knows what he is told to one who can think for himself is liberating. It’s a change we often see in dystopian novels, but somehow it’s still refreshing every single time. Knowledge is a powerful force against tyranny, and reading of Montag’s rebellion sparks a small fire in all of us.

Would we do the same in his shoes? I hope I never have to find out.

 

 

Blog Tour Book Review – The Road to Alexander – Jennifer Macaire

*** I kindly received a free copy of The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire for the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. All the opinions stated in my review are honest and my own***

The Road to Alexander has opened up a whole new historical period to love. The narrative is rich in detail and gives a lot of insight into the culture and lifestyle of the time. Not only that, if you don’t know very much about the Greek gods, you’re in for an enjoyable education too!

Goodreads – The Road to Alexander

Amazon Purchase Link – getbook.at/TheRoadToAlexander

What do you do when the past becomes your future?

The year is 2089, and time-travelling journalist Ashley Riveraine gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to interview her childhood hero, Alexander the Great. She expects to come out with an award-winning article, but doesn’t count on Fate intervening.

Alexander mistakes Ashley for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. Being stuck 3000 years in the past with the man of her dreams wouldn’t be so bad if the scientists of the Time Institute hadn’t threatened to erase Ashley from existence if she changes history.

Ashley must now walk a tightrope, caught up in the cataclysmic events of the time, knowing what the future holds for the people she comes to love but powerless to do anything to influence it.

Join Ashley on her hilarious, bumpy journey into the past as she discovers where her place in history truly is…

 

My Thoughts…

Avid followers of my blog will know that historical fiction books are a guilty pleasure of mine. Take me back to Tudor England, either of the Great World Wars or the Viking invasion of Britain and I am a happy lass. Occasionally though, I branch out of the usual time periods and find a real gem.

I really like the recurring element of science-fiction in The Road To Alexander. To date, I haven’t found a crossover like it. Historical fiction that even includes time travel gives it the curtest nod before moving on swiftly and forgetting it ever happened. Ashley is a modern woman and time travel isn’t unusual to her. She trained for the very opportunity of a lifetime, so she knows everything about it. Well after the time travel event itself Ashley experiences medical symptoms/complications that remind us of her situation. She is paranoid about altering history. If she does, she has been told she be erased and will never meet Alexander.

Depending on your work environment, colleagues etc, there are sections of the narrative that feel very NSFW. As a personal preference, I don’t really enjoy reading too much detail when it comes to sex and nudity. There is a lot of sex in the book. To give you an idea of what it’s like, I can only describe it like this:

The first time, Ashley and Alexander are like desperate hormonal teenagers. No detail is spared. It doesn’t take too long for it to get to the kind of sex you could expect five years into a marriage – a brief encounter and promptly forgotten.

When we first meet Ashley, she is a very cold person. Her excitement to meet her childhood hero is limited to the acclaim she expects when she gets back to 2089 to write about Alexander the Great. She has a hard upbringing and is driven by success, but I love that we get to see this ice queen thaw as she adapts to her new way of life. She blossoms from an unpleasant, career-driven young lady (well, I didn’t like her much anyway) into a woman that would do anything to save another person. It’s also quite funny watching someone who doesn’t have a clue how to adapt. After Ashley discovers that she is stuck in the past, there is a great deal of humour as she tries to wriggle out of difficult situations!

As an amateur to the history inspiring the book, I can’t attest to the historical accuracy of it. Only an expert could tell you that. What the expert couldn’t tell you though, is how well this book “sells” the historical period to the person that hasn’t really come across it before. A person like me. Sure, I’ve HEARD of Alexander the Great. Could I have told you before what he had done to earn the name? Not at all. Do I want to finish the series and find out? Hell yes!

 

Giveaway to Win a $10 Amazon gift certificate (Open INTERNATIONALLY)

*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494179/

 

Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in Paris. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories

Social Media Links –

Facebook     Instagram     @jennifermacaire

https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

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Book Review: The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides

In July I received news that I was one of the few and fortunate to receive an early ARC of this AMAZING debut novel, courtesy of Orion Publishing. When this book is officially published on the 7th February 2019 (make a note of that date friends), I urge any fans of crime or psychological thriller novels… or frankly ANYONE to get a copy of this book!!

Why? I started reading The Silent Patient late one night on a whim. I finished reading it in less than 24 hours and I was swept away. Yep…it really is that good, folks!

 

Goodreads – The Silent Patient

 

Synopsis…

Promising to be the debut novel of the season The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive…

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…

 

My Thoughts…

I have always taken a keen interest in human Psychology. I was taught about the human brain and different types of therapy at school. It was one of the topics I enjoyed the most in my years of study. The reason I find psychological thrillers so entertaining is because I know just how unreliable the human brain is!

Alicia is an intriguing character. Basing a book around a character that refuses to speak is a difficult, but certainly not impossible, task. Despite her lack of verbal communication she has a strong presence throughout the novel. They say actions speak louder and words and this couldn’t be any truer in Alicia’s case. Even her silence has plenty to say when it wants to:

“Her silence was like a mirror – reflecting yourself back at you.
And it was often an ugly sight.”

Theo, the psychotherapist determined to break her silence, is just as complex. In fact, I would say he has a lot in common with Alicia. Both have had painful upbringings, have addictive personalities (different vices) etc. It really is like looking in a mirror.

As with all books of this genre I was trying to guess the ending, then second guessing my thoughts. The Silent Patient has a dramatic conclusion – one I didn’t even consider! I adored this book so much; I think that shows in the way I read it so quickly. It has been a long time since I have inhaled a book so fast. The Silent Patient is an entertaining, must-read psychological thriller!

 

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Book Review: Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

The first time I read Frankenstein, I absolutely hated it.

Reading the book was part of the school curriculum for my class, and my fourteen-year-old-self did not appreciate it at all.

In hindsight, I attribute that to the particular teacher I had. Teachers, you do a fabulous, grueling and hard-working job. Most of you are very good at what you do and I wouldn’t be the same person if not for your influence. This one though… she has to be the most unpleasant teacher I have ever had.

Anyway, no need for more of that negativity here. It is a regular occurrence though; all the books I read for school, I didn’t like…. almost. I think the only exceptions are Stone Cold by Robert Swindells (there’s a story for THAT teacher too) and Of Mice and Men – eventually. I didn’t take to it straightaway, but came to love it by the time we had finished studying it.

Books should be read and appreciated without being analysed to death, okay? If ANYONE thinks that’s fun, they need their head read.

Source: Giphy

Their heads READ… get it?!

Alright – I won’t give up my day job just yet…

 

Frankenstein

Goodreads – Frankenstein

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

 

My Thoughts…

I was inspired to pick this book up again after watching an event held during the Manx Litfest. A re-telling of Frankenstein was performed by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones – and an excellent performance it was! So much so, I picked up the book as soon as I got home.

Regardless of how much you read into the story – it is an enjoyable one. That everyone knows of Frankenstein’s monster and the basic story speaks volumes about the success of this book. I enjoyed reading it this time around, unlike my first experience with this book. If you haven’t read the book before, then I really must insist you do! If there is a bucket list of books, this ought to be on it!

Some of the ideas brought to the table are philosophically sophisticated, which is astounding considering Mary Shelley was so young when she wrote this book! I can’t say I walked away from the book debating the nature of life and science, but hey, you can if you want to. I guess this is what makes the book a favourite for school curriculum’s… if not students!

I’ll admit attending the re-telling made the book more approachable. Ban Haggarty narrated the story in a way that everyone can understand. The book itself, due to its age and (the style of literature at the time), is grammatically more complex than modern text. I did struggle with this a little at times, particularly once I had been reading for a while. Frequent breaks helped me get over this though, so it isn’t a huge stumbling block.

I definitely appreciate the book now I am older and reading it for my own enjoyment. Studying books is just soul crushing… okay? Why do we force kids to do it?! Whether I enjoyed studying the **** out of this book or not, there is plenty of food for thought.

 

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Another Kind of Magic – Elizabeth Davies

Caitlyn is back once again for another historical adventure; embroiled in a narrative laced with political intrigue, love and devious plotting! A huge thanks to Elizabeth Davies and Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!

 

Pre-Order Link: Another Kind Of Magic

“I am a cat. But I am no ordinary cat. I am a witch’s familiar. I am also a woman, with a woman’s heart and a woman’s frailty.”

Nearly two hundred years have passed since Caitlyn was trapped by supernatural forces and black magic, and she has known many mistresses. This time, the witch she is enthralled to is Joan, wife of Llewelyn, Prince of Wales.

At first, this mistress appears no different to any of the others Caitlyn has served – until Llewelyn captures William de Braose, and Joan falls in love, risking everything, including Caitlyn, to fulfil her desire.

Caitlyn, meanwhile, has her own cross to bear in the form of the gallant and reckless Hugh of Pembroke…

 

My Thoughts…

Magic has kept Caitlyn alive for nearly 200 years. Enthralled to the whims of another witch, she finds herself in the middle of Welsh court – almost back where she started all those years ago! Caitlyn lacks some of her previous fire for life, which is only understandable. Living for so long at the beck and call of other women willing to risk your life to better their own position must be tiresome. In timed of need, however, she really pulls herself together. She has some brilliant moments; I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of her antics.

Caitlyn (being Caitlyn) lands herself in some precarious situations in this last installment of the series. Her skills of discretion and subterfuge escape her and she finds herself being watched far more carefully than she would like.

There are many “minor” characters that shine through in this book. Caitlyn has a strong personality, but I find it is her relationships and interactions with others which make her so. This naturally draws attention to the other characters of the book as well as Caitlyn. They are very distinct individuals as well, so even though they only provide a supporting role, they don’t fall flat on the page.

For a while after reading A Stain on the Soul, I wondered how Elizabeth Davies was going to conclude the series. The magic binding Caitlyn, so far as we know, is absolute and powerful. Will she be freed of her burden? Will she die whilst doing the bidding of her mistress? I had so many questions and a desperate need for answers.

I got them.

Obviously, I wouldn’t be doing the book any justice if I spoil it for you. You’ll just have to read it for yourself. What I will say is that Elizabeth has, in my opinion, ended the series well. Some books can leave you walking away unsatisfied or with unanswered questions. For me, Another Kind of Magic ended as it should have; loose ends are tidied up nicely. It is rare that I can finish a series and be completely satisfied with how everything turns out… but I have.

 

If there is any higher praise I can give, I cannot find the words to express it.

It;’s a fantastic series – and once again a huge thank you to Elizabeth Davies and Rachel’s Random Resources to have had the opportunity to read it!

If you would like the chance to read the series, then there is an opportunity to enter a giveaway in which you could receive signed copies! Please see the details below:-

 

 

Giveaway – Win Tote bag and a signed paperback copy of each of the three books in the Caitlyn series. (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize

Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494152/?

 

Author Bio –

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

Social Media Links –

Website – www.elizabethdaviesauthor.co.uk

Twitter  – @bethsbooks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethDaviesAuthor/

Instagram – @elizabethdavies.author

 

 

Blog Tour Review: Ragis by Donna Migliaccio

*** I was kindly provided with a copy of Ragis in exchange for a review. All the opinions stated below are my own***

RagisRagis by Donna Migliaccio

August 28, 2018

Fantasy

The Gemeta Stone Book 4

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

 

Purchase Links:- Fiery Seas Publishing  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Kobo

 

Kristan Gemeta is teetering on the brink of madness.

His sister Melissa has defied him. His friend Olaf has betrayed him. The Wichelord Daazna’s ghostly laughter mocks him when he’s awake and robs him of his sleep at night. Even the protective powers of his legendary Stone are turning against him. 

And now his companions, his ship and its precious cargo have been taken hostage. Kristan must give chase, in an unseaworthy vessel manned by an angry centaur crew. Ahead lie unfriendly waters, an ominous destination and a confrontation Kristan dreads.

In his despair, Kristan longs for the one person he has always trusted: his beloved Heather. But she’s far away, about to step into a trap that will endanger not just her command, but Kristan’s life.  

 

My Thoughts…

I have been looking forward to the next installment of the Gemeta Stone series for some time now… and it was definitely worth the wait!

It cannot be denied that Kristan is a complex character. I love that about him; he has come on leaps and bounds since the first book of the series! I really enjoyed seeing glimpses of the old Kristan in this book. He is far from the ideal, altruistic hero. His life has been far from easy, regardless of the struggles he has with magic. He is a young, sick man trying to rule the realm – everyone he trusts seems to be testing him. His struggles make him feel human and all the more relatable too.

I love Heather as well. Not one to bow to convention, she is headstrong and feisty, yet loyal. She is a strong character, and as a result, easy to love. That isn’t to say I agree with all of her decisions though – there are moments I want to shake some sense into her!

It is really easy to pick up the narrative from the previous book, StoneKing. The first couple of chapters are cleverly written to refresh the reader’s memory. As a result, just the right amount of detail is given to achieve this without weighing down the further progression of the narrative. I also really like Donna Migliaccio’s writing style; it strikes just the right balance of “formal”, yet conversational, to be easy to read. Also, dialogue between the characters flows naturally, dependent on the characters relationships. This has always been consistent throughout the series so far. Please do not misinterpret my saying that the text is formal; by that, I am referring more to the structure of the narrative. It is well written and cohesive, and the perspective is clear throughout.

 

 

Conclusion…

I think the introductions to places in previous books help most of all, but never have I found myself lost as to where each respective chapter is based or whom it centers around. The fantasy realm that Donna has created in these books is vast, but so far has been pulled off seemingly effortlessly. I am fairly sure it is not an effortless task, and so no doubt bringing this series (so far!) together has taken copious amounts of time and effort. It has paid off; I can assure you, dear friends. As I said in a previous post, this series is fast becoming one of my favourites… and I don’t say that lightly.

 

                               

About the Author…

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

 

Blog Tour: The Barefoot Road – Vivienne Vermes

The Barefoot Road reeled me in with its promise of mystery, tension and a difficult history for residents to stomach… and I can assure you I was not disappointed!

 

Goodreads – The Barefoot Road

Purchase Link – Amazon

Vivienne Vermes’ debut novel is a gripping read which will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, thrillers and evocative themes. The book begins with a young woman found, emaciated and unconscious, in the mountains surrounding a village in Transylvania. When it is discovered that she is of an ethnic group which was violently driven out of the regions many years before, old wounds are reopened as the villagers are reminded of their role in the bloodshed.

An uneasy peace is maintained until a young married man falls in love with the girl, and tension begin to rise within the community. The mysterious disappearance of a child causes this tension to mount into hysteria, driving the story to its chilling outcome.

 

My Thoughts…

I love books that tackle difficult themes. A number of my favourite books hold that accolade for precisely that reason; To Kill a Mockingbird and The Green Mile are but two examples.

The historical context of The Barefoot Road is clear straight away. In the first chapter, we re-live the persecution and slaughter of a community. When a young woman from that community is brought into the village, mistrust broods. As soon as anything untoward happens the blame falls at her feet; the villagers are quickly roused into seeing her account for her actions.

One constructive point I would like to make is that sometimes the narrative comes across a little stiff when referring to main characters by “first name” “last name”.  As a significant character, addressing Ioan Trifoi in this way (more often than not) distances him from the reader. It makes the narrative feel a little less personal and Ioan harder to identify with. He does grow on you as the tale progresses. Dropping the formal address could speed this up, in my opinion.

I’m glad that The Barefoot Road portrays society in its darkest moments, and how individuals can get swept up into a crowd for not agreeing with the majority. It is a common thing… but this kind of behaviour can have real, nasty consequences. Naturally, this is not a side to humanity we want to acknowledge or recognise. Yet, it happens…and we should recognise it in order to do something about it.

 

Conclusion

The tension that builds as the narrative progresses feels very real. As a reader, you cannot help but delve into the book further to watch events pan out. Themes of religion and witchcraft (and the weight characters lend to their importance) go a long way to setting the book. As a huge fan of historical fiction, I really enjoyed this aspect. The underlying motives, agendas and pre-existing relationships of various villagers within the town adds to the tension and conflict nicely.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vivienne Vermes is a writer and actress of Irish and Hungarian descent who divides her time between Paris and London. She has published four collections of poetry: Sand Woman, Metamorphoses, Passages and When the World Stops Spinning, and has performed her work in festivals throughout Europe. She is winner of the Piccadilly Poets’ award, the Mail on Sunday’s Best Opening of a Novel competition, as well as Flash 500s prize for short prose and the Paragram national competition for best poem and “petite prose”. She has taught creative writing in universities in Transylvania, and runs a writers’ workshop in Paris.

As an actress, she has played roles in a number of French films, including Les Trois Frères, Le Retour and in Les Profs 2 in which she portrayed Queen Elizabeth II.  Her voice also warns passengers on the Paris metro to “Mind the gap”.

The Barefoot Road is her first novel.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/VivienneVermes?lang=en

 

Audiobook Review: Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

I feel like this review is a little overdue, just because Nevernight took so long to listen to.

It’s no fault of the audiobook at all – I loved it (and I’ll go into more detail on that below). I haven’t been able to listen to it as quickly as I would like though. Typically I listen to audiobooks in the morning, whilst getting ready for work. Lately, I’ve been finding it difficult to wake up and get out of bed. As a result of being tired, I can’t concentrate, so I didn’t want to start listening to Nevernight and find myself lost.

Anyway, less self-pity and more of the review!

 Nevernight

Goodreads – Nevernight

Synopsis…

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

 

My Thoughts…

I really enjoyed listening to this as an audiobook because the narrative is easy to follow. Holter Graham does a fantastic job of bringing each character to life in his own style. The text is itself written as a narration, and the “narrator” is incredibly sassy. No one is safe against a witty remark or sharp retort. There is as much friendship in storytelling as there is training to become an assassin, apparently. I love it!

Naturally with fantasy books, there is the need to impart information about how the realm differs from others. I have to say, this is written exceptionally well; there is never too much information put upon you at any one time. There are gentle reminders to certain facts to refresh the reader’s memory, rather than outright telling us again and treating us like idiots.

The plot itself unfolds in an unexpected way. An environment full of assassins is hardly going to be safe and predictable. Jay Kristoff has developed each of his characters so well, however, that anything can happen. And I mean anything. That can also include some… steamy things. Things that I shouldn’t want to listen to at 7am in the morning. But I kinda did? It wasn’t too alienating; otherwise, I wouldn’t like it AT ALL! It was okay though. I don’t think it contributed a whole lot to the storyline, but you can’t help but want the two characters to reach out to each other.

The magic in the book is desirably dark. Mia thrives in the shadows, and the amount of distrust for her kind adds a new depth to the mystery of those known as Darken. Just when you think you have seen Mia at her most powerful, cunning and daring, she will surprise you yet again.

 

Conclusion…

All these things make a great combination within dark fantasy. It is deadly, gruesome, brutal and backstabbing, and as a result I loved every second of it. I cannot wait to listen to Godsgrave.

 

Blog Tour: Ravencry – Ed McDonald Review

Today I am incredibly lucky, as I get to share my review of Ravencry for the ongoing Blog Tour. Firstly, a huge thank you to Stevie, Gollancz and of course Ed McDonald himself for all the hard work!

 

Ravencry

Goodreads – Ravencry

Amazon     Book Depository

 

Synopsis

Four years have passed since Nall’s Engine drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but as they hurl fire from the sky, darker forces plots against the republic.

A new power is rising: a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady manifests in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power even as the city burns around them.

When Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached, an object of terrible power is stolen, and Galharrow and his Blackwings must once find out which of Valengrad’s enemies is responsible before they have a chance to use it.

To save Valengrad, Galharrow, Nenn and Tnota must venture to a darker, more twisted and more dangerous place than any they’ve walked before: the very heart of the Misery.

RAVENCRY is the second book in the Raven’s Mark series, continuing the story that began with the award winning epic fantasy BLACKWING.

 

About the Series

Blackwing, the first book of the series, is one of the best debut novels I have read to date.

The Raven’s Mark is an Epic Fantasy series set in a magical, semi-postapocalyptic world. Magic has destroyed the landscape now known as the Misery.  Vicious monsters roam that poisoned land, scoured by the Nameless identified only as Crowfoot. Anyone roaming the Misery can fall victim to any of the creatures that lurk there.

Ryhalt is Blackwing and bound to serve Crowfoot. In between he takes mercenary jobs, chasing deserters and preventing them from crossing the Misery to convert to the Deep Kings. It is a long war, but Ryhalt soon finds his involvement is about to get a lot deeper.

Events in Ravencry take place four years after Blackwing. Whereas Ryhalt isn’t a particularly changed man, Valengrad has moved on from the events of the first book. The devastation is still evident though. The Bright Lady, who first appeared at the pinnacle of disaster is making appearances again. A new religion is founded under her visage and the preachers proclaim her return to save them in their darkest hours…

 

My Thoughts…

One of the things I really enjoyed about Ravencry is that the narrative isn’t identical to Blackwing. Having read Blackwing only a couple of weeks prior, it was clear that events were progressing. The setting and characters are familiar, but what has transpired before has changed them. Ryhalt’s cynical perspective on life is as humorous as ever, although in this book we get to see a slightly less hard-faced side to his personality. Shaped by the experiences of his past, we get to see the man he could have been… if the Nameless and Deep Kings hadn’t intervened with their war, that is.

I have always been a fan of magic with roots in scientific realism. Brandon Sanderson is particularly good for this, basing his magic on alchemy (Mistborn series) or around light (Stormlight Archives). In this series, magic centres around the filtering of light. The ability to wield magic isn’t granted to everybody, thankfully. Light spinners manipulate the light from the moon into stored energy. There are larger and darker powers too, more vast than we can imagine – known only to the Nameless and Deep Kings. Personally, I enjoy magic systems this way as it brings that world just one step closer to reality.

There is plenty of world-building throughout these books; Ed McDonald reveals the backstory gradually as the narrative continues to grow and evolve. With such a rich history, it would be easy to reveal too much too quickly. A lot of Ryhalt’s character is conveyed here, but details are divulged at the right time to compel you to read on.

Ryhalt, (or Captain Galharrow) is the perfect character to lead the narrative; he is inseparably entwined with the magic manipulating the world. Servitude to Crowfoot leads him down dark paths and lends him a depth of experience to draw upon later. Even when Ryhalt reflects on his own life, the narrative is not even for one second dull. He recognizes his flaws, doubts himself, laments his mistakes and lets us into his thoughts uncensored, proving he is as human as we are. None of the characters fall flat on the page.

I would even go so far as to call them friends.

 


 

About the Author

Ed McDonald has spent many years dancing between different professions, cities and countries, but the only thing any of them share in common is that they have allowed him enough free time to write. He currently lives with his wife in London, a city that provides him with constant inspiration, where he works as a university lecturer. When he’s not grading essays or wrangling with misbehaving plot lines he can usually be found fencing with longswords, rapiers and pollaxes. You can find out more about Ed by visiting his website or following him on Twitter (@EdMcDonaldTFK) and Facebook.

***Profile originally published on Gollancz’s website