Tag: bookblog

Blog Tour Review: Game of Crones – Jay Raven

Today’s blog tour post is for a series of deliciously dark short stories, revolving around powerful, mystical powers and the women that wield them.

Game of Crones: Tales of Witchcraft and Wickedness

 

Welcome to a world of cruelty, hexes and treachery, where malicious magic rules and you are but a single necromancer’s spell away from eternal terror.

From malevolent medieval magicians to Wild West witches, this spellbinding volume by a master of the macabre is packed with frightening fables guaranteed to send a supernatural chill down your spine.

Amongst the haunting historical horror stories, you’ll meet:

  • A half-crazed girl locked up in a high security mental hospital by those accusing her of causing a devastating earthquake.
  • An impoverished French noblewoman who’ll stop at nothing to marry her daughter to a wealthy prince – even if it means dabbling with a dangerous love potion.
  • The hated public executioner Pandora whose fabled box has already killed 55 men – without leaving a trace of violence on their bodies.
  • Wily witch Merta who uses all her wits and trickery to turn the tables on the corrupt Mayor who wants her burnt alive at the stake.
  • A faery mage without conscience or pity with the perfect plan to make Mankind turn on itself – and all it takes is one innocent baby.
  • A drought-stricken frontier town that seeks magical help from the local Indian tribe to make it rain, but learns it comes at a terrible cost.
  • The doubt-ridden King, plagued by nightmares of his death, who consults an enchantress to learn the most of hidden of secrets: just when the Grim Reaper will claim him.
  • A Mid Western widow who is convinced her homesteading husband is still alive, held hostage by a sorceress.

If you’re thrilled by exciting dark fantasy tales, with cunning twists, edge-of -the seat tension and unexpected shivers, you’ll love Game of Crones. Pick it up today. If you dare…

Purchase Links:      Amazon US      Amazon UK

 

My Thoughts…

After briefly starting this before bed one night, I read 90% of this book in one sitting the following day. That’s how quick and enjoyable it is! I’m not really in the habit of reading short stories. Saying that, I am giving several a try this month. I dabble in a little bit of writing, so reading a variety of short stories will only be of a benefit to me.

Each story is nice and short, easy to read and distinctly different from each other. We meet a variety of characters, but the one thing they all have in common is a woman able to wield supernatural powers over us mere mortals with terrifying consequences. As I started each new tale, I couldn’t wait to see how events unfolded! I couldn’t anticipate how each story was going to end. A few of the stories are almost fable-like, with a lesson in the morality of seeking out such power…or meddling with the wrong person!

The setting of each story was completely different to the next, which makes each individual story memorable from the other. The women themselves also come from different backgrounds; some are revered, others reviled and some are living right under your nose.

This is a really enjoyable quick read! I recommend this to anyone who loves witchcraft, sorcery or sinister tales with unexpected endings… Based on these, I’ll certainly be making more of an effort to pick up short stories for a refreshing read!

 

Author Bio

 

Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it.

If you would like to be informed of new releases, enjoy free short stories and access exclusive giveways and competitions, please subscribe to Jay’s monthly newsletter on his website at www.jayraven.co.uk

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fantasywriterjayraven/

Twitter: @JayRavenAuthor

Website: www.jayraven.com

 

 

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Book Review: The Drawing of the Three – Stephen King

One of the first books I picked up last month was The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. I read The Gunslinger back in June 2017 – TWO YEARS AGO?! – I really wanted to get back to the series after such a long break!

 

Goodreads – The Drawing of the Three

 

While pursuing his quest for the Dark Tower through a world that is a nightmarishly distorted mirror image of our own, Roland, the last gunslinger, encounters three mysterious doorways on the beach. Each one enters into the life of a different person living in contemporary New York.

Here he links forces with the defiant young Eddie Dean and the beautiful, brilliant, and brave Odetta Holmes, in a savage struggle against underworld evil and otherworldly enemies.

Once again, Stephen King has masterfully interwoven dark, evocative fantasy and icy realism.

 

My Thoughts…

The Drawing of the Three has a completely different feel to The Gunslinger. That kinda worked for me though. In the first book, we come to learn a lot about Roland and his history, the Dark Tower and his quest to reach it. Consequently, we spent a lot of time venturing through his world. The Drawing of the Three differs from that completely! Instead, we flit between Roland’s homeworld and a modern-day version of New York.

Roland seeks supporters in his quest to the Tower and fight against the dark. Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes’ lives change completely when Roland barges into their reality. Each with their own demons, Roland has his work cut out for him if he wants them fighting fit on his side, especially since he could be dying himself.

The Drawing of the Three has a greater emphasis on characters, in my opinion. That may be the nature of the book, as Roland doesn’t actually seem to get that far in terms of his quest. I enjoyed the inclusion of the additional characters. Overall, they give the narrative more depth. No man can achieve everything by himself after all.

Eddie and Odetta haven’t had the easiest lives so far – Eddie has grown up with drugs as his crutch. Both he and his brother are in deep when Roland drags him out of that dark cycle. Odetta’s struggles are borne from an ‘accident’ that took her legs years before. Her challenges aren’t just physical though – the psychological trauma that accompanies it has scarred her more in the long run.

Watching each character fight their own battles (with a little help from one another) is entertaining, but more importantly, incredibly and hauntingly realistic. Only once they have put their own demons to rest can they face even greater darkness – The Dark Tower. I cannot wait to read the next book. Stephen King is one of my favourite authors and I am glad he has dipped into the fantasy genre. I won’t be waiting two years to read the next one, that’s for sure!

 

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Blog Tour: Extract of Time of Lies by Douglas Board

Hi guys! I hope you are having a lovely week! In light of Donald Trump’s ongoing visit to the UK, I’m really excited to be taking part in a topical Blog Tour for a political satire novel, Time of Lies. For this post, I have been kindly provided with an extract of the book for you to read. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Time of Lies

In 2020 the United Kingdom elects its own Donald Trump.

Bob Grant, former football hooligan, now the charismatic leader of the Britain’s Great party, has swept to power on a populist tide. With his itchy finger hovering over the nuclear trigger, Bob presides over a brave new Britain where armed drones fill the skies, ex-bankers and foreigners are vilified, and the Millwall football chant ‘No one likes us, we don’t care’ has become an unofficial national anthem.

Meanwhile, Bob’s under-achieving, Guardian-reading brother Zack gets a tap on the shoulder from a shady Whitehall mandarin. A daring plot is afoot to defy the will of the people and unseat the increasingly unstable PM. Can Zack stop his brother before he launches a nuclear strike on Belgium? And just what is ACERBIC, Britain’s most closely-guarded military secret?

A darkly comic political thriller, Time of Lies is also a terrifyingly believable portrait of an alternative Britain. It couldn’t happen here… could it?

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK     Amazon US

30% off with discount code BLOGTOURLIES eye-books.com

 

Promotional Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvExzv39qs8&t=37s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqBwnl4rtk8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_clB5pM7Gbw&t=48s

 

EXTRACT

“TIME OF LIES” by Douglas Board

 

In 2020 the UK elects its own Donald Trump as Prime Minister – Bob Grant, uneducated Bermondsey geezer and self-made millionaire. The election slogan of Bob’s BG party is ‘Britain’s Great! End of!’.

Zack, a Guardian-reading out-of-work actor, can’t believe that his brother Bob has his finger on Britain’s nuclear trigger. Meanwhile Patrick Smath, the Eton-educated permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, is wetting himself and having to tell Bob Britain’s most closely-guarded secret for the last 25 years.

Zack is married to Kathy, a rising Royal Naval officer and Patrick’s right hand person; they have just had a difficult visit with Kathy’s mum who lives in Helensburgh, Scotland. Here they meet the business end of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Zack is telling the story. (When the author went to Helensburgh for research, he booked a trip in a sailing boat so he could get a view from low down in the water. He never imagined that he’d experience in real life the scene below. But he did.)

We walk out to the Rhu Narrows light, two hundred yards into Gare Loch on the end of a shingle spit. It’s like standing beside a Belisha beacon on a traffic island, one-third of the way across one of London’s clogged arterial roads ‒ maybe the Cromwell Road near Earl’s Court – but the Narrows is narrower. Three miles to the north, guarded by a stationary police boat and some undercover seagulls, is Faslane. In the event of a nuclear bust-up, this will be the first place in the British Isles to be vaporised, taking with it Glasgow and over a million people. The forests and heather of Loch Long and Loch Lomond would be ablaze.

Some of the seagulls eye us quizzically and call up reinforcements. A black police inflatable comes round Rosneath Point, darting about like a fly.

‘Barry and Joan do a great job looking in on her,’ I point out.

Kathy’s worry lines report for duty. ‘But their son has just bought that place near Granada. They’ll be around less in the winters.’

I can tell she’s thinking about the possible move to Washington. Kathy’s boss is Patrick Smath. He pronounces it ‘Smayth’. From what Kathy says, he’s nice enough in a sorry-you-weren’t-as-well-educated-as-I-was way. He’s no Navy man but right up there, the most senior civil servant in the Ministry of Defence. For the last year Kathy has been working for him. If there is anything to Cairstine’s mutterings about a man with designs on Kathy’s career, that man is Patrick.

‘He wants me to go to Washington, but spend some time with the war-gamers at Rhode Island first.’

‘Don’t you think war games says it all?’

‘Zack, sometimes! I’ve told you … they’re not games. They’re about getting ready for the future. For goodness sake, think about the Russians, the terrorists, the hackers. No-one’s playing by the old rules. If we don’t practise, we lose. All our best people do this kind of stuff. Why Patrick thinks I’m one of them I don’t get, but don’t wind me up.’

I hold her close and bury my face in her shawl, in the smoothness of alpaca and bamboo. When my eyes open I’m facing Rosneath Point. Beyond the Firth of Clyde lies the Atlantic.

I catch my breath at a sight I’ve never seen before. A dark sword is being unsheathed at the water’s edge. The sword slides into view between low, grey-green hills, yachts at play and a ferry boat. Its front is rounded but as alien and black as Kubrick’s monoliths in 2001. While the submarine turns towards us its length vanishes, but not for long: the god of destruction accompanied by eight armed boats and tugs heads our way. This is Shiva, with two periscopes and a sonar third eye. His trident can spit dozens of nuclear warheads more than 7,000 miles. He is coming in procession before us.

He passes us almost within arm’s reach. The submarine is one-third again as wide as an athletics track, as long as an athletics oval. Fifteen-thousand tonnes drive through the water in silence. Wavelets touch Darth Vader’s cloak before streaming in lines to lap obediently at our feet. The dorsal fin, the conning tower, rises five storeys above us. Diving planes protrude to port and starboard. The tail fin makes a defiant finger gesture out of the wake. We don’t care to find out whether Shiva’s bridesmaids will fire their heavy calibre machine-guns, so we don’t wave.

And then he is past, handing back to us permission to speak while he punts his way up Gare Loch. Yes, one of the biggest insanities in human history has just passed close enough to touch. But see the other side of me, he now says. Watch me transporting underwater what you do not care to think about. I’ve been taking your fears to a safe place for decades. Thousands of sailors and engineers and physicists have worked hard at it. The least you might do is say thanks?

 

Author Bio –

Douglas Board is the author of the campus satire MBA (Lightning Books, 2015), which asked why so much of the business world is Managed By Arseholes. Time of Lies, his second novel, is a timely exploration of the collapse of democracy.

Born in Hong Kong, he has degrees from Cambridge and Harvard and worked for the UK Treasury and then as a headhunter. He has also had a distinguished career in public life, serving as treasurer of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and chairing the British Refugee Council.

As well as writing fiction, he is the author of two applied research books on leadership, which was the subject of his doctorate. He is currently a senior visiting fellow at the Cass Business School in London. He and his wife Tricia Sibbons live in London and Johannesburg.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @BoardWryter

https://douglasboard.com/home/

Reading List – June 2019

It’s time for me to post June’s reading list… since June has come around the corner already!! Where is this year going?

I fared a lot better with May’s reading list than I anticipated. It’s rare that I get through anything near six books in a month. I would have been happy if I’d read my average of five and to have started the sixth, A Feat for Crows. Turns out, I’ve managed to read nearly 70% of that as well! I’ve far exceeded my expectations! So, I think I am going to push myself a little more this month too. Why not? I relish a challenge.

I have a few books I have been sent for review, as well as blog tours this month and one very early next month. As a result, I’m going to be picking up quite a few ARCS. I also have a copy of a book I’ve requested from Netgalley – try not to faint. I’ve decided to give it another go, but be more selective about what I download and pull my finger out when it comes to reading them.

So, let’s take a look at the books I am planning on reading in June.

 

A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin

 

Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, and kill each other for his eyes.

Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life.

The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.

 

This one is pretty self-explanatory – I am looking to get this one finished since I am most of the way through the book. With tours coming up in the next week or so for other books, A Feast for Crows is being relegated to the sidelines a little bit. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing as I have been reading this for days. A change is as good as a rest – that’s an expression, right?

 

Game of Crones – Jay Raven

 

Forget Happily Ever After – the most delicious fairy tales end in darkness and despair…
Welcome to a mystical age of cruelty, hexes and treachery, where malicious magic rules and you are but a single necromancer’s spell away from eternal terror.

From malevolent medieval magicians to Wild West witches, this spellbinding volume by a master of the macabre is packed with frightening fables guaranteed to send a supernatural chill down your spine.

If you’re thrilled by exciting dark fantasy tales, with cunning twists, edge-of -the seat tension and unexpected shivers, you’ll love Game of Crones. Pick it up today. If you dare…

 

I’m not generally in the habit of reading many short stories, which is a bit daft really! I should! They’re a great opportunity to have a short break away from a lengthier narrative. I also dabble a little in entering short story competitions, so it makes sense to read them and see what works! It will only improve my own writing (with any luck…)

I’m taking part in the upcoming blog tour for this collection. As this is the most imminent tour, I’ll be prioritising this read first. I expect I’ll have these read in a day or two in anticipation for my post at the end of the week!

 

The Lynmouth Stories – L. V. Hay

 

Beautiful places hide dark secrets …

Devon’s very own crime writer L.V Hay (The Other Twin, Do No Harm) brings forth three new short stories from her dark mind and poison pen:

– For kidnapped Meg and her young son Danny, In Plain Sight, the remote headland above Lynmouth is not a haven, but hell.

– A summer of fun for Catherine in Killing Me Softly becomes a winter of discontent … and death.

– In Hell And High Water, a last minute holiday for Naomi and baby Tommy  becomes a survival situation … But that’s before the village floods.

All taking place out of season when the majority of tourists have gone home, L.V Hay uses her local knowledge to bring forth dark and claustrophic noir she has come to be known for.

 

Here is another short story collection I am reading this month for a blog tour! This is fast approaching next week, so I’ll be getting my skates on to get these read as well! Each of my short story collections is of different genres, with this one being a crime. It’s a genre I read quite a lot of, so I am fairly sure I won’t be long in devouring these at all!

 

Biohacked and Begging – Stephen Oram

 

The future is ours and it’s up for grabs…

Immerse yourself in the future of biohacking and implants, genetic modification, blockchain micro-transactions and futuristic dating-apps with author of ‘Eating Robots’, Stephen Oram.

Prodding and poking the possible in volume 2 of Nudge the Future, Oram starts with another flash fiction foray into the world of Unified Sentience and ends with virtual reality for babies and biohacked fish.

With sharpness and wit, these sci-fi shorts will grab your imagination and refuse to let go.

 

And another collection of short stories I am looking to read this month. This is my Netgalley request! I’ve decided I really ought to give Netgalley another chance. I certainly won’t be the kind of person that reads anything and everything on there because it’s not my favourite site, but if I’m selective then I don’t see why we can’t come to a mutual understanding with each other.

 

The appeal for this book is the genre. I am endeavouring to read more science fiction, and I figured this book ticks two boxes in that respect. I get to explore the genre as well as read more short stories. This way, I’m not diving in too deep if I don’t like this particular branch as well. Win-win!

 

The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

 

Stephen R. Donaldson, the New York Times bestselling author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, returns to the world of his Great God’s War fantasy epic as two kingdoms– united by force–prepare to be challenged by a merciless enemy…

It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace–and their marriage–has been uneasy.

Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way.

With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs’ strength and will to inspire their kingdoms to become one to defend their land, or all is lost…

 

I have very kindly been sent a copy of The War Within for review by Gollancz. In preparation, I read the first book of the series, Seventh Decimate, last month. Since I am reading a few different things and branching out, it seems only fair that I stick to my roots for at least one book! This is one of my lengthier reads of the month… well, as far as I can gauge from the thickness of the book anyway! It’s a hardback too, so it’s going to be a hefty weight to be carrying around with me whilst I read it.

And for the record, no! Leaving it at home is just NOT an option haha!

 

Three – K. J. McGillick

 

Betrayal. Deceit. Danger. Murder.

How would you feel if you discovered your death was planned by someone you loved? You didn’t know how or when or even why.  Would you feel anger or fear or hopelessness knowing your fate.  All you could do was wait. Tick Tock.

One early spring morning, Emma Collier, an art history professor awakens to find her lover gone. Vanished. In a desperate attempt to locate him, she is stunned to discover that he is not an art dealer at all. But he is part of a powerful organization dealing in international money laundering, forged art, and human trafficking.

Implicated as a willing participant in his malevolent world, she struggles to clear her name. But when her body double is found brutally murdered she knows she is marked for death. As her life is ripped apart she must formulate a plan to stay alive. Now with the help of Agent Cillian O’Reilly, of the FBI Arts Crime Team, they pursue a trail that snakes across three continents and leads her to a  plan for mass murder. Will she survive?

 

I’ve taken a real liking to K. J. McGillick’s books. I was introduced to her as an author via a couple of other blog tours organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I have loved every book of hers so far, so when the opportunity came up to read this thriller, it was an immediate yes from me! The tour for this book is towards the end of the month, so I plenty of time to kick back and relax with this beaut to hand.

 

 

Storms over Babylon – Jennifer Macaire

 

After winning a prestigious award, Ashley is chosen to travel through time and interview a historical figure. Choosing her childhood hero Alexander the Great, she is sent back in time for less than a day. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. What follows, after she awakes under a pomegranate tree, is a hilarious, mind-bending tale of a modern woman immersed in the ancient throes of sex, love, quite a bit of vino, war, death, and ever so so much more.

 

Avid readers of my blog will know that I have read a number of books in Jennifer Macaire’s The Road to Alexander series now. This month is no exception, as I am reviewing Storms over Babylon at the very beginning of next month. I’ve really enjoyed this historical fiction series thus far. Alexander the Great is a historical figure I’m not all that familiar with (until now at least). I can’t wait to see what happens as Ashley and Alexander hurtle toward Alexander’s apparently unavoidable fate!

So, there you have it! These are my planned reads of the month! The question is, what are you reading? Have you read any of the books above? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 2nd June 2019

Today has been a lovely conclusion to the week. Locally, we have been having some pretty miserable weather, but not today! It’s been wreaking havoc because it’s been affecting some local events we have on lately.

Any fans of motorsport may have heard of the TT? For those that haven’t, it’s an annual motorsport event hosted here on the Island. Riders on a variety of bikes test their mettle on the famous mountain course. For 48 weeks of the year, the course is just public roads. With bad weather and poor visibility, there has been a lot of uncertainty about practices and qualifying. Trying to get home before the roads shut has also been… fun. I’ll stick with fun.

Anyway, enough about that! What else have I been up to aside from dodging motorbikes left, right and centre? I finally got my Top Ten Tuesday post, originally scheduled for last week, live! I’ve been on a bit of a Game of Thrones bender lately. If you want to find out who my favourite characters are (based on the books and TV series) you could take a look at that post. Pretty please? On Friday I divulged my love for another fantasy series I have read recently in my review of The Watcher of Dead Time by Edward Cox. It was also lovely to get a thank you and a share from the author for my review.

 

Books Read

 

I have been on a mission with reading A Feast for Crows. Last week I set myself the challenge of getting to 60% through the book by the end of the month. I did it! If you look at the Goodreads count it only comes up to about 54%. That includes all the appendices though, and who reads them cover to cover? Not me anyway. Excluding those, my total percentage read came to 65% by Friday. I’m now at around 71%, and I haven’t contributed to that today at all.

I had wanted to finish my audiobook of The Painted Man this week, but with the TT being on, it’s more important that I listen to the radio for road closures, accidents etc. The roads are only supposed to be a track when they’re shut, but visitors and locals have a habit of going mad this fortnight!

 

Books Discovered

 

Whilst I was writing my review for The Watcher of Dead Time, I decided to look into further works of Edward Cox, past and future. I found The Song of the Sycamore, which is due to be published in a couple of months. I really love the sound of it! I’ve also decided that based on The Relic Guild trilogy, Edward Cox is on my auto-buy list of authors. I cannot wait for this to come out!

Middlegame is a book I discovered via an email from Tor. I love the element of Fantasy elements in it, but I think the strongest appeal is that Roger and Dodger kinda remind me of myself and my sister. I’m more like Roger with my wordy and literate nature, whilst my sister is very Mathsy. She’s a Maths graduate and trainee actuary if that tells you anything.

On Friday I received a lovely message from David Noe, co-author of Seeker. I reviewed Seeker, a book he co-authored in December 2017 (those early days! As a result, he invited me to read and review a new book of his being published imminently. It’s a book set in the same universe, called Kau D’Varza. I really enjoyed Seeker and I cannot wait to explore the new novel.

Lastly, I received an email for an invite to read Thran Book 1: The Birth by Brian McLaughlin. Again a fantasy novel, I really like the sense of adventure alluded to and the depth of characters! It was also recommended to fans of Lord of the Rings and A Game of Thrones… so, yeah. I think I’ll enjoy it!

 

Coming Up…

I’m going to be kicking off the week with this month’s new reading list! OMG, it’s June already. Hasn’t that come around so fast?

Midweek, I’m taking part in a bit of a topical blog tour! I’m sure for the next few days we’ll be hearing all about President Trump’s visit to the UK. Along those lines, I’m sharing an extract of Douglas Board’s Time of Lies, a political satire novel based on the idea that the UK elects its own version of Trump!

I’m hoping to keep working through some reviews I have outstanding, so this week I’ll be reviewing a recent read, Stephen King’s The Drawing of the Three. I hope you can take a few minutes out of your day to check that out!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Jack’s Bedtime Reading – Book Review: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Not Another Book Blogger – My Week In Books (27th May)

Abigail’s Books – WWW Wednesday

Ramblings of a Neurotic Writer – How To Find Inspiration For Blog Posts

 

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Book Review: The Watcher of Dead Time – Edward Cox

Today, I am really looking forward to sharing my honest thoughts with you all about the final book of an amazing trilogy. Before I was offered a copy of the series by Gollancz in exchange for a review, I’ll freely admit that I hadn’t heard of Edward Cox before. The Relic Guild series has made a huge impression on me… so much so that Edward Cox has been added to the small list of authors I’ll auto-buy books for.

Quite an impression, wouldn’t you agree?

If you haven’t read my reviews of The Relic Guild or The Cathedral of Known Things, please take a minute to check these out!

 

The Watcher of Dead Time

Goodreads – The Watcher of Dead Time

 

Labrys Town, home to a million humans cut off from the rest of the universe, has been invaded. Those who protected it have been deposed.

The Relic Guild are scattered across the worlds of the Aelfir. Many of them are dead or dying. The Genii control everything. The war is almost over.

Clara, a young woman barely able to control her werewolf side, has seen her friends and mentors killed in front of her. She is the last hope for Labrys Town.

But someone else is watching…

The dramatic conclusion to the award-nominated fantasy trilogy which began with THE RELIC GUILD.

 

My Thoughts…

There are so many amazing things that I really enjoyed about this series that I don’t really know where to begin! The world-building, magic system, characters – each is unique, refined and complements the other. They work together to build a detailed, cohesive narrative that flows and lulls us on to read the ever-famous “just one more chapter”.

First, let’s talk about the world-building! The concept of the Labyrinth and its history is unlike anything I have ever heard of before. Built to serve as a neutral place for warring houses, Labrys Town becomes a sought-after weapon. Each House is separated by what is called the Nothing of the Far and Deep, (which in my head I equate to something similar to Space) but portals can link these Houses and Labrys Town together. After narrowly neutralising the threat 40 years ago, most of Labrys Town’s portals have been deactivated. They are cut off from all houses but one. However, that puts them in more danger further down the line… Genii, powerful magickers strive to take over the Labyrinth.

The rich history of the world really shines through throughout the trilogy.

The entire narrative is split between two timelines, the first during the first Genii War and the second forty years later. Each timeline concludes in this final instalment. Whilst in the latter timeline we have a vague idea of how the war ended previously, there are enough secrets kept to make that ending just as exciting as the present day conclusion! Each timeline is also written cleverly so as to be well-distinguishable from the other. There are many overlapping characters in both timelines, but there are also enough subtle differences to serve as a reminder.

There is such a diverse range of characters that there is someone for every reader to relate to. Clara is new to the Relic Guild, having endeavoured to hide her power of transforming into a werewolf. She is the first Magicker in forty years. Through her we get to learn the history of the Relic Guild and their sacrifices for the residents in the Labrys Town. The veteran Magickers are easy to warm to as well. Despite their struggles to win an impossible war, we cannot forget how human and vulnerable they are. Old Man Sam, a mistrustful sharpshooter and Marney, whose power is empathic, are my favourite characters. I’m not one for gushy romance, but even I lamented the loss of Marney’s potential relationship with Van Bam.

The Watcher of Dead Time has a brilliantly immersive narrative. I was eager to see how events in both timelines reached their conclusions. Alternately switching between then and now keeps a steady momentum, but the chapter lengths aren’t so short that this becomes chaotic.

What’s next…

Once again, a huge thank you to both Gollancz and Edward Cox for the opportunity to read and review this amazing series! It’s the first series I have been sent in entirety to review and I am really glad I have!

I expect great things from Edward Cox, if The Relic Guild is anything to go by! I’ve already been looking ahead to see if he has any other works in the pipeline, and I wasn’t disappointed! The Song of the Sycamore is expected to be published in August this year! I can guarantee I’ll be picking this one up for sure!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – A Game of Thrones Characters

Now that the finale of A Game of Thrones has come and gone, I thought it the perfect opportunity to talk about my favourite characters of the series! There are a lot of mixed reviews about that last episode and I’m not surprised. I have no problem with the ending, but I feel there could have been a little more drama or tension in between. Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic series and for us book-lovers, it isn’t truly over yet!

I’ll be taking the books and the TV show into account for this list, (spoiler-free) since up until A Dance of Dragons, they are close to one another. I’ll also be ranking my characters from number ten to one… so here we go!

 

10.   Tormund Giantsbane

Source: HBO

Tormund Giantsbane… he’s not so much a friendly giant if you cross him. He is formidable to his enemies and fierce friends with those that see past the furs and wildling exterior. He’s a bit of a drunkard and apt to boasting, but if you can beat anyone who says otherwise into the dirt then why not?

We get to see an intimate friendship between Tormund and Jon. It’s the kind of friendship I think we all look for.

 

 

9.   Brienne of Tarth

Source: HBO

I really love Brienne for her loyalty and her confidence to follow an unconventional path in life. Brienne is one of the few female warriors of the series, and she is frequently bullied for her choice. That, and her appearance. I guess I relate to her in a way because I have been in her shoes – not a sword-wielding knight, obviously, but I’ve been bullied for my appearance too. In my teenage years, I opted for similarly short hair (as Brienne in the TV series). I couldn’t tell you how many unpleasant comments and assumptions were made about me. I didn’t care all that much – I kept it for five years before I decided to grow it back.

If there is one thing I would like to have in common with Brienne more than anything, it’s the drive to do whatever you want regardless of other people’s approval. It’s too easy to fall victim to peer pressure. I think if we were all a little more like Brienne, the world would be a better place.

 

8.   Littlefinger

Source: HBO

Littlefinger’s cunning and intelligence win him a place on my top ten list. An advanced player in the political scene, Littlefinger came from pretty much nothing. He’s a self-made man… but not necessarily the type you want to be if you plan on making any friends in life.

Not all his personality traits are admirable by any means, but becoming the Master of Coin proves he has some skill. Deception and manipulation are never far around the corner where Littlefinger is concerned, but these don’t fail to stir up relations and events throughout the series!

 

7.   Samwell Tarly

Source: HBO

Sam is just so cute! He’s scorned by his father and forced into a life that without the help of his friends, he’d have no hope of surviving. Thankfully he is the type of person you cannot help but like. Before joining the Night’s Watch, he enjoyed singing, dancing and burying his nose in books… much to his father’s distaste. I don’t profess to be any good when it comes to the singing and the dancing (alcohol is required for the latter), but a serious love of books and studying is something we share in common.

Sam is a bit of a softy and socially awkward, but he is also very intelligent. He’s the type of man I’d like to meet really.

 

6.   Olenna Tyrell

Source: HBO

Perhaps there aren’t as many sword fighting women in A Game of Thrones, but plenty have other weapons of choice. Olenna is a wiser and more experienced player of the great game. She won’t have any trouble land on her doorstep, that’s for sure. With a look that could wither anyone less adept at dreading the murky waters of politics, she is a force to be reckoned with!

I love her ferocity in defending her own too! Nothing means more to Olenna Tyrell than looking out for her family, her granddaughter Margaery especially. In what is probably one of my favourite scenes ever, we find out what happens to those that threaten Highgarden’s little flower!

 

5.   Cersei Lannister

Source: HBO

Cersei Lannister is a character that we love to hate, wouldn’t you agree?! It’s easy to point out all her murderous, incestuous flaws, but the one thing we cannot discredit her for is her fierce love for her children. She is, above all, a mother.

Cersei’ s roots in one of the most powerful families make her a formidable foe. Being the Queen definitely has its perks. Being in the spotlight also has its dangers too; it can win you many enemies. Cersei is no stranger to this and uses everything she has about her in order to stay on top. Treading on a few toes to do so is child’s play, let’s put it that way!

 

4.   Jon Snow

Source: HBO

Jon is a Bastard by name, if not so much by his nature.

He has spent his life on the back-foot, all-too-aware that he doesn’t fit in. He has grown up believing that he embodies all that is wrong in a family, which I think is one of the reasons he is driven to always do the right thing. Jon will even sacrifice himself for the greater good – somewhat noble, but I wish he would have some self-worth. That said, however, I think we all love Jon’s almost constant state of brooding. Jon is inarguably one of the kinder, more honourable men in Westeros, but as Ned Stark learned very early on, that doesn’t always serve you well.

 

3.   Daenerys Targaryen

Source: HBO

Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, The rightful Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, Queen of Dragonstone, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons. So many titles… all of them are applicable.

Dany is probably one of the better character arcs we follow throughout the series. We get to watch her blossom from a meek child into a strong, commanding, dragon-taming woman.

I wouldn’t want to cross her, just saying…

 

2.   Arya Stark

Source: HBO

Here is another lady I wouldn’t cross. Arya transforms from a young, wilful girl struggling to master the etiquette required to become a lady into a woman that re-writes the rules, her way. Arya isn’t one to be told what she can or cannot do – if she sets her mind to it, it’s as good as done.

In the beginning, Arya’s survival was a bit of potluck. She is lucky to fall into the hands of friends in the immediate aftermath of her world being turned upside down. Her fortune doesn’t last, however. She quickly learns how to defend herself after being thrust out into the wide world alone. It’s a learning curve that really defines her character. She is my second favourite character of the series. At one point reading the books I thought she had been killed. I had a tantrum for days and refused to read on, sulking. It was unfounded, but still.

 

1.   Tyrion Lannister

Source: HBO

Finally, we get to my favourite character in the series! A Lannister, I hear you gasp! Yes, you’re reading this right.

I’ve always enjoyed Tyrion’s wit and dry humour. There are so many great quotes in the books that are from this character’s lips. Aside from Arya, he is the only character I wanted to make it through the coming turmoil. As long as he lives, I’m happy.

Tyrion is very intelligent but massively underappreciated. The vitriol and scorn he experiences as a result of his deformity have instilled in him a strength that few characters can match. He is also a great lover of books, which always gets you brownie points with me.

 

So there you have it – my top ten characters of the series! What do you think? Do you agree with me? Who is your favourite character, and why?

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 26th May 2019

Nothing beats writing a Sunday Summary post at the end of the week, but not the end of the weekend! Who else has the day off tomorrow?

My parents are working tomorrow, so I have a few plans of my own. Aside from doing the usual domestic things, I don’t plan to be without a book in hand for too long!

 

I’d like to apologise for not posting on Tuesday as promised. I found choosing my Top Ten characters of the A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) series a lot harder than I expected. Once I had picked my top ten I started writing brief commentaries on each. By 10:30pm on the Tuesday local time, I’d only written up satisfactory commentaries for half of the characters. At that point, I decided I wasn’t going to get the post ready for publishing to the standard I would like that night. Therefore, I decided to postpone it. When it does go live, I hope it doesn’t disappoint. I think I made the right decision in the end, and I hope you can understand.

I did manage to publish my review of Mythos by Stephen Fry on schedule. My interest in Greek Mythology stemmed from reading The Road to Alexander back in January, which features the story of Persephone and Hades. Mythos is my first non-fiction read of the year and I aim to read another four by the end of December. It’s not a huge number, I know, but we all have to start somewhere right?

 

Books Read

After last week’s Sunday Summary post, I promptly finished Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I really love this historical fiction series! The characters (Uhtred in particular) are fantastic and the narrative is easy to get lost in. I had less than 20% left so finishing this last weekend was quite easy.

I’ve spent most of the week reading Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean. I was kindly sent a copy of this to review by Gollancz. YA isn’t a typical genre for me, although I do like to sample it from time to time. I’m glad I requested this book. It gave me insight into a completely different culture and the fantasy element of the tale was really enjoyable to read! I look forward to writing my full review!

With Empress of all Seasons concluded, the rest of this month is dedicated to A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin. When I set my reading list for the month I said I’d be happy if I got around to starting the book. To be nearly 20% through the book with five days of May left is an incredible achievement! Reckon I can get to 60% by the end of the month? That sounds like a challenge to me!

I have also been listening to The Painted Man in the car on the way home from work. I’ll be popping out and about in the car tomorrow, so you can be sure I’ll be chipping into it some more. I have three and a half hours of the story left, so my second challenge is to finish this by the time I publish next week’s Sunday Summary post.

 

Books Discovered

 

Payday has rolled around once again (thank goodness)! This month I was determined to complete my paperback collection of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I was fortunate that my store was stocking each of the books I needed to complete my collection. I have some plans to jazz up my shelves with some GoT related decor, but for now, here they are in all their glory!

 

Coming Up…

 

With half the post already completed, I have absolutely no excuses to disappoint you this week. This week I will be posting my Top Ten A Game of Thrones characters – honest!

As with this week, I plan to share a book review for you later in the week. This time, I’ll be reviewing the final book in The Relic Guild trilogy, The Watcher of Dead Time by Edward Cox. This is another series kindly provided to me by Gollancz that I’ve really enjoyed. I hope you can check in for that post later in the week. If you want to check out my reviews of the earlier books in the trilogy, I’ll be providing links to those too!

 

Top Blog Posts of The Week

A Frolic Through Fiction – Thank you!!

 

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Sunday Summary

Book Review: Mythos – Stephen Fry

Hello everyone! I hope you have had a lovely week and are looking forward to the bank holiday weekend! I sure am!

Firstly, I’d like to express a quick apology for not posting my promised Top Ten Tuesday post this week. It turns out trying to choose your top ten characters in A Game of Thrones is quite hard! By Tuesday evening I had picked my candidates but only written up about half of them. I didn’t feel rushing the post was in my best interests. Anyway, I’ll talk more about it in my wrap up on Sunday.

For today, I’ll be reviewing a book I borrowed from my library in February… a book that also happens to be the first in my challenge to read more non-fiction. I was compelled to pick this up for two reasons. Firstly, reading The Road to Alexander in January piqued my interest in the subject since Greek mythology comes up in that quite a lot – particularly the tale of Persephone comes up a lot. I chose Stephen Fry’s re-telling because I have enjoyed another book of his previously. Back in September 2017 I read his book, Making History. It’s a fictional tale exploring the history of World War II and the consequences of Adolf Hitler not being born. Knowing that I enjoy his writing style, Mythos felt like a natural choice to take my first real steps into Greek Mythology with.

 

Mythos – Stephen Fry

Goodreads – Mythos

The Greek myths are the greatest stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney.

They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. In Stephen Fry’s hands the stories of the titans and gods become a brilliantly entertaining account of ribaldry and revelry, warfare and worship, debauchery, love affairs and life lessons, slayings and suicides, triumphs and tragedies.

You’ll fall in love with Zeus, marvel at the birth of Athena, wince at Cronus and Gaia’s revenge on Ouranos, weep with King Midas and hunt with the beautiful and ferocious Artemis.

Thoroughly spellbinding, informative and moving, Stephen Fry’s Mythos perfectly captures these stories for the modern age – in all their rich and deeply human relevance.

 

My Thoughts…

If you were to studiously explore Greek Mythology… you would be busy for quite a while purely because there are so many Gods/Goddesses. Some are names we know already – Apollo, Hermes, Aphrodite. There are many, many… many others. Although the book covers vast a number of stories about the different Gods and their interactions with each other, the book isn’t overwhelming.

Mythos’s narrative is written in an almost chronological manner, beginning with the Gods and Goddesses referred to as Olympians before moving on to their children… so on and so forth. Each tale is broken up into its own section, making it as digestible as possible. The subject matter, should you want to study it closely, can get complicated quite quickly. More than once I referred to infographics to follow the heredity.

The tales within Mythos could easily be read for entertainment or for educational purposes. Obviously, I have read it for entertainment and did so within a matter of days. I quite enjoyed the footnotes that accompanied the tales. They drop in context where appropriate and additional facts such as the names of the Roman God/Goddess equivalents. There are even some of Stephen Fry’s wittier comments for an element of humour.

The book is a great introduction to the topic. I knew relatively little about it and I’d recommend it to anyone else wanting to read up on the subject. You can read and take away as much or as little as you want. Stephen Fry’s humour and natural narrative voice make it easy to lose yourself in the heroics and follies of the Gods. So much so that you realise you are still awake and reading past your bedtime.

Not that I would do such a thing as that…

Obviously…

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 19th May 2019

It’s time for another Sunday Summary post again… already! It barely feels like I finish one weekly wrap-up post before I am starting the next one, seriously. It’s great though! Writing and sharing my progress/thoughts on something I love is a total pleasure. It’s not something that everyone understands, but that’s okay! That’s precisely why I reach out to an awesome community like you! Knowing that even a handful of people take the time to read what I have to say is really humbling.

Whilst a lot of this weekend (okay, yesterday) has been dedicated to playing Minecraft, I have managed a good amount of reading throughout the week! The end of last week/beginning of the week was a busy one! After I concluded last week’s Sunday Summary post, I jumped immediately into finishing drafting my Blog Tour post for Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire. After a few days breather on the blog post front, I committed myself to another Throwback Thursday review of The Rag Nymph by Catherine Cookson. I particularly enjoy those posts as it gives me the chance to review the books that I read even before starting my blog over two years ago now.

 

Books Read

I’m pleased with the amount of reading I have done this week. Even taking out a good few hours yesterday to scratch my Minecraft itch, I managed to get plenty done!

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was halfway through my current read, Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson. I have kindly been sent the second book of The Great God’s War series, so I wanted to pick up the first book before I get stuck into that. I can guarantee reading the second book will not be as speedy as the first, on account of it being almost twice as long! Seventh Decimate only took three days in all though, so it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge!

Immediately after concluding Seventh Decimate, I picked up one of my current reads, Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I’m 83% through the book as of now, with about an hour left of reading time required to finish it. Sounds like a challenge to me! I totally love this series so far. I first watched the BBC series when it aired in 2015, although I hadn’t realised it was based on a book series until later. After I started a new job, a Danish colleague of mine, also a fan, loaned the first book to me. I read and returned it within a week. That’s how much I loved it! I’ve been hooked since. I’m a little miffed that the series has been relegated to Netflix.

I confess that I have also dipped into a book I was intending to save until last. I’m confident in my current reading progress though, so I don’t think it’s an issue. I am too excited for the last episode of A Game of Thrones. Of course, once this is published I am going to have to go on an internet ban until I can watch it tomorrow night. I can’t wait to see how it ends; equally, I don’t want it to end and I’m nervous about how satisfied I’ll be about the ending. It’s not really the end though, as we still have the books to look forward to! I’ll have to content myself with reading A Feast for Crows, won’t I?

On the audiobook front, I have also been trundling through The Painted Man by Peter Brett. It’s definitely picked up since the beginning and I am really intrigued to see where the tale is going. I usually listen to it in the car commuting to and from work. This is going to be cut back as I have just started giving a colleague a lift to work in the morning, but I don’t think I’ll suffer too much as a result. I’ll have to start listening to it as I am getting ready in the morning instead.

 

Books Discovered

 

I have behaved this week – no additions or purchases!

Friday this week is payday though… and I feel a purchase or two coming on!

 

Coming Up…

 

Tomorrow night… I have plans. Plain and simple! Nothing is coming between me and the last episode of A Game of Thrones, that’s for sure! I’m also due to be out on Thursday evening for a catch up with friends. Therefore, I think I’ll be going back to posting on Tuesday and Friday for this week.

Since it’s been about a month since my last post of this kind, I’d quite like to post a Top Ten Tuesday list. I don’t always pick the subject matter at the time. However, given that it’s the final of A Game of Thrones, I feel like writing a topical post. I’ve already written a Quintessential Quotes post in this vein, so I am going to talk about my Top Ten characters of the series!

On Friday I am going to write my review of a book I borrowed from the library and read back in February this year. Mythos by Stephen Fry, as you may well guess from the title, is a history and re-telling of various tales within Greek Mythology. It was my first venture into non-fiction for the year and to be honest, I am overdue to read another one. I set myself the challenge of reading five this year, so I’m behind on that front. I picked up the book after reading The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire, as that book touches on Greek Mythology. It piqued my interest and I’m glad I went the extra step.

 

Top Ten Blog Posts of the Week

 

The Library Looter – Six for Sunday 19.05.2019

A Book. A Thought. – Down the TBR Hole

The Cat with A Book – Book Review: The Book Thief

 

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