Tag: bookreview

Book Review: City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett

I read City of Stairs at the beginning of the year and I am only just getting around to my review now in November. That’s pretty bad, isn’t it? I think it is because I have taken part in a lot of blog tours and such this year, as these books get priority reviews. Oh well! It is what it is! I haven’t done myself any favours and made notes, so today’s review is completely from memory.

 

City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett

Goodreads – City of Stairs

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now, Bulikov’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.

But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem, and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.

 

My Thoughts…

I hadn’t picked up any books by Robert Bennett Jackson before reading City of Stairs, so he was a completely new author to me. Whilst I enjoy re-visiting favourite authors, I enjoy the variety of new ones too. My read of City of Stairs at the beginning of the year was long overdue. I added the book to my TBR way back in 2015… it was about time I got to it really!

Fantasy is my all-time favourite genre. I read a lot of it, and so I’ve got pretty firm ideas about what themes within fantasy novels I really enjoy. The first thing I always look to is the world-building and development of the setting of the story. City of Stairs certainly didn’t disappoint in this sense. Before the story even really begins, the author sets up the political divides and complex relations that are pivotal to the narrative. I personally love this sort of thing in fantasy books, but even if you don’t, it isn’t so overwhelming as to be difficult to read.

I’m also a huge fan of magical elements in fantasy novels, and there is plenty of it in City of Stairs. I think it is really cleverly woven into what is a spy thriller/mystery novel. They aren’t genres I would have thought to put together, but I really think the risk of doing it paid off because, in my opinion, it worked really well.

The main characters in this book have been written very well. I got on very well with Shara and felt for her being in the awful position of navigating treacherous ground in search of the truth. She’s complemented by a host of minor characters that come together to create a world fizzing with tension and intrigue.

At 450 pages, City of Stairs is a solid fantasy novel, although not an epic compared to plenty of other fantasy novels I know and have read. There is plenty of content and the story unfolds at a good pace. It keeps you interested in finding out what happens next but doesn’t drag on either. It suited me well at least. If you like fantasy but the idea of committing to 700-800 page novels, this book gives you all the great elements of those books… but with fewer pages.

 

 

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Book Review: Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite all-time authors, and today’s post is all about the 5th book in his Mistborn series, Shadows of Self. The Mistborn series is enough of a reason to fall in love with his writing, but I have also dabbled in a few other books of his now and they have all lived up to the excellent standard! I’ve read a total of nine of his books now (granted, six are Mistborn) and he hasn’t put a foot wrong with me yet. I also have a few more books on the TBR to try in the near future.

 

Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Shadows of Self

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

 

My Thoughts…

Where The Alloy of Law is reasonably separate from the previous Mistborn books (events in those books are now history/legend), in Shadows of Self we see little elements tie back into the original series. I really loved this! Whilst I would have been happy for each book mini-series to go their own way, I like that the narrative is going back to its roots. It has been a long time since I read the first three books, but even so, I could keep track of what was going on and recognise some friendly old faces.

I really enjoy how Brandon Sanderson has modernised the series from the original books. The concept was a stroke of literary genius anyway, but being willing to adapt the intricately built world to allow for technological advancements and such to up the ante on the magic is just something else. Most authors would be frightened to mess with such a core element to the novel, but not Sanderson. And boy, am I glad he did! It makes an already intricately detailed world all the more plausible – and you know how much I love my world-building!

I wasn’t sure where the Steris/Wax engagement was going to go, or what I thought of it, but the pair has really grown on me in this book. The pair couldn’t be more opposite in their ways, yet strangely they complement each other in ways I didn’t expect them to. I do feel a bit sorry for Marasi though – I feel she has been cast aside a little in this book. It’s a shame because she’s brilliant, but she still manages to shine where she can regardless.

Wayne is, at this point, my favourite character in the series. He is very funny, has a skewed view of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not all and gets away with it too! He doesn’t have the best moral compass in the world (completely opposite to Wax) but regardless of what he does, his heart is in the right place. As a character, he is very easy to warm to.

If you love Brandon Sanderson’s other books or have read and enjoyed earlier books in the Mistborn series then I highly recommend reading Shadows of Self (and any other book in the series really)! I have also read and loved The Bands of Mourning, the sixth book in the series. Sharing my thoughts on that instalment is being saved for another day though.

 

 

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Publication Day Push: Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel -M K Wiseman

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog post! Today I am reviewing Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel by M K Wiseman as part of the current publication day push tour. I have a bit of a morbid fascination with Jack the Ripper and so I practically snatched Rachel’s hand off when she sent me the invite for this tour! I doubly wanted to take part as I really enjoyed another book by M K Wiseman earlier this year. If you like fantasy novels as well, check out my review of Magical Intelligence published in April this year.

Before I jump into sharing my thoughts on Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel, please allow me to say a huge thank you to the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!

 

Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel – M K Wiseman

Goodreads – Sherlock Holmes & The Ripper of Whitechapel

I am afraid that I, Sherlock Holmes, must act as my own chronicler in this singular case, that of the Whitechapel murders of 1888. For the way in which the affair was dropped upon my doorstep left me with little choice as to the contrary. Not twelve months prior, the siren’s call of quiet domesticity and married life had robbed me of Watson’s assistance as both partner and recorder of my cases. Thus, when detective inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard required a lead—any lead—I found myself forced to pursue Jack the Ripper alone and without the aid of my faithful friend. And all for the most damnedable of reasons:

Early on in my investigations, Dr. John H. Watson, formerly of 221b Baker Street, emerged as my prime suspect.

 

Purchase Link – Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Regardless of how much you know about the Jack the Ripper murders, Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper of Whitechapel is a really approachable fictional read on the subject. I have a little prior knowledge of the murders that plagued London in that fateful year, but I’m also by no means an expert. The narrative has been written very well so that it is easy to read and caters to all readers. I don’t think anyone exceptionally knowledgeable on the subject would find the details repetitive. Equally, the narrative doesn’t rely on prior knowledge. I personally found the balance comfortable to read.

The tone of the narrative is very Sherlock Holmes in its portrayal, in my opinion. I confess that I haven’t read any Sherlock Holmes novels to date, however as a famous character I have already formulated an idea of how I expect him to be based on his portrayal elsewhere. The tone/language choice etc definitely lives up to Sherlock’s’ popularised characterisation… which I say is a huge achievement!

As you can probably expect from the synopsis, there is a great deal of tension in the plotline itself. Sherlock’s intense, almost brooding personality couples with his dark suspicions of a valued friend and partner. The damning evidence stacks up against Watson and I found myself caught up in the novel very quickly and easily. I didn’t want to put it down!

Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel is very easy to read. It is a fairly short book, so easily approachable for anyone to pick up and read without a massive commitment. The narrative style flows well so it’s easy to get lost in the book and before you know it… you’ve read a quarter of it in one short sitting! The concise chapters are also good if you want to be able to pick it up and put it down with ease – although I promise you won’t want to!

I’ve really enjoyed reading this historically based mystery novel. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes or, like me, are lured into the mystery of the identity of Jack the Ripper, I cannot recommend this novel highly enough!

 

Author Bio

M. K. Wiseman has degrees in Interarts & Technology and Library & Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her office, therefore, is a curious mix of storyboards and reference materials. Both help immensely in the writing of historical novels. She currently resides in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

Social Media Links –

http://mkwisemanauthor.com

https://twitter.com/FaublesFables

https://www.facebook.com/FaublesFables/

https://www.instagram.com/faublesfables/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7073540.M_K_Wiseman

Publication Day Push: Unbroken Truth – Lukas Lundh

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s review of Unbroken Truth as part of the publication day push blog tour! If you enjoy science-fiction and or mystery/thriller novels (or a combination of) please read on because this book may just be for you!

As always, I want to say a massive thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to the author, Lukas Lundh, for organising the tour.

So, would you like to read more about the book and my thoughts?

 

Unbroken Truth – Lukas Lundh

Goodreads – Unbroken Truth

Beneath the arcane Rustpeaks lies the city of Lansfyrd, where visibility is at an all-time low and airships rumble through the skies. Detective Lentsay “Len” Yoriya is a former homicide detective stuck at a burglary assignment as punishment for loving the wrong person. But when a xenophobic radio-shaman is murdered and the killers try to frame the city’s oppressed insectoids, Len sees a chance to prove her worth. Though high-profile murders are rarely uncomplicated.

In the city’s affluent quarters, Len’s partner Vli-Rana Talie works as a lector at the university, studying the history of a species that once ruled the world. As the temperature rises for her partner, Vli will soon realize that delving into history, that some would prefer was forgotten, will carry risks of its own. Especially when the ambitions of empires are affected.

Meanwhile, there is an election coming up, and the tension simmering in the city is reaching a boiling point. Vli and Len must find what allies they can and face the powers that threaten their home.

History never ends, and unless its lessons are heeded what was once the past might become the present.

 

Purchase Link –  https://books2read.com/UnbrokenTruth

 

My Thoughts…

I really enjoyed the combination of science-fiction, steampunk and mystery in Unbroken Truth. I find myself saying it every time I review a sci-fi novel – but I really do need to read them more!

Unbroken Truth has a complex, in-depth universe in which the main storyline is set. Lansfyrd is home to a number of different peoples and species, and simmering tension between them is coming to a head at the start of the narrative. Each societal group is well-thought-out and defined, so it’s easy to follow. The novel does have some of its own unique terminologies, but I feel this is introduced slowly and explained where necessary so it isn’t overwhelming or confusing to read.

Many of the main characters within the novel come from each of these different backgrounds. I love how well they as individuals interact with each other despite the overall tension between groups. They prove that being different doesn’t mean you can’t get along. Len, a police officer, is in a relationship with Vli, a lector at the university. Their cross-racial relationship doesn’t meet with everyone’s approval, however, and Len is prevented from promotion for it.

I enjoyed Vli’s interest in the history of the world and her position as a lector gives us access to learning about it as and when she discovers new things. I enjoyed what was explored already in the narrative as it shows that the setting of the novel has been thoroughly developed.

There are a lot of political conflicts in the narrative, which are the basis for the story. It’s funny, because I’m not one for politics at all, with the exception of reading it in books. Most of my top reads have political undercurrents and I enjoy the tension and action that causes. The same was the case for Unbroken Truth. The murder of Yolban Tördek stinks of eninga involvement, but the blatancy of the clues leaves Len and the team to think the murder had been committed to framing them. So then, who is responsible? As the plot unravels to a gripping ending, I couldn’t put the book down!

Unbroken Truth is, I hope, an introduction to a series. Whilst it reads perfectly well standalone, there is a lot of potential in the characters and world for a series. I hope this is explored further, and if it is, I’m interested to see where the narrative takes us next. I’m also interested in learning more about the history of the universe created – what more could there be to discover?

 

Author Bio

Lukas Lundh grew up around books and started writing in early childhood. He speaks English, Swedish and Japanese from living in New Zealand as a teen and studying for a year in Japan in early 20s.

He is educated in philosophy, game design, creative writing and is currently working on a history degree.

Between reading course books which inspire history flash-fictions, Lukas writes everything in between space opera, fantasy steelpunk, and post-ap war dystopias.

His debut novel, a steelpunk spy thriller, Unbroken Truth, is available for pre-order. He doesn’t blog, but he is active on twitter.

 

Social Media Links – @LundhLukas

Audiobook Review: Darkdawn – Jay Kristoff

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s review of Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff. Apologies I haven’t posted for a few days. You may remember in my Sunday Summary post last weekend I mentioned that I was sitting an exam yesterday and that I wouldn’t be posting for a few days whilst I focussed on my exam revision for a couple of days. Well, the good news is I passed and so the hard work paid off. So sorry, not sorry for the brief wait for today’s post.

Given that circumstantially my posting schedule is light this week I wanted to fit in another review I have on my list to write. The next on my list is Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff. Also, coincidentally, it has been nearly three months to the day since I shared a review of an audiobook! I’m being really careful in this review to be very general and therefore not spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet.

If you haven’t checked out my previous reviews, now might be the time to go and check those out before today’s review.

Anyway, enough preamble… shall I get into it?

 

Darkdawn – Jay Kristoff

Goodreads – Darkdawn

The epic conclusion to the internationally bestselling Nevernight Chronicle from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

The greatest games in Godsgrave’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic.

Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor Mercurio is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance over the Republic.

But beneath the city, a dark secret awaits. Together with her lover Ashlinn, brother Jonnen and a mysterious benefactor returned from beyond the veil of death, she must undertake a perilous journey across the Republic, seeking the final answer to the riddle of her life. Truedark approaches. Night is falling on the Republic for perhaps the final time.

Can Mia survive in a world where even daylight must die?

New York Times and internationally bestselling author Jay Kristoff’s writing has been praised by critics and readers alike and has won many awards, including four Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, and David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards.

 

My Thoughts…

I had no idea how Jay Kristoff was going to round off what had already become an epic series, but Darkdawn didn’t disappoint! I’m not generally in the habit of pre-ordering titles before they are released, but I happened to see the book available to pre-order on Audible with only a couple of months to wait until its release. So, needless to say, I spent that credit without a second thought!

I am a huge fan of the series – the narrative, the characters… the whole package! It is unlike anything else I have read or listened to and I absolutely want to read it again. Since I listened to the audiobooks and love the series so much, I would like to get a paperback copy of the series to read for myself next time. Maybe that’s a Christmas present idea!

It’s a small thing to enjoy, but I like how the narrative has footnotes to clarify some points. As I listened to the audiobook, reading these little notes is mandatory, but I suppose if reading the book for yourself you could not read them if you weren’t interested. I don’t see why you wouldn’t be though – a lot of the author’s humour and own narrative voice shines through in these sections, as well as provides the necessary background information to events in and around the narrative. Regular readers will know that I love fictional worlds with a lot of history and detail, so this is a big plus for me as a reader!

As can be expected in this epic conclusion, all our favourite characters are back and more determined than ever to upend the Republic as we know it. Mia is her usual dark, hell-bent, sarcastic self and I loved every second of it. She is a unique character, if nothing else because she defies the trope of being the “Chosen One”. She isn’t looking out for anyone’s interest but her own. She is everything a hero isn’t and it’s refreshing to read something so unlike a lot of modern fantasy.

This audiobook was everything I was hoping and expecting it to be. As the conclusion drew closer I found myself listening to it every second I could, whilst simultaneously hoping it would never end. Of course, all good things come to an end and once I finished this, I had no idea what I could read next. The book hangover was real. Nothing could live up to what I had just listened to then, and even now I think I will struggle to find anything just as good!

If you haven’t read this series yet, please, please do! I don’t think you will regret it for one second.

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: The Secret Diary of a Landlord

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s publication day push blog tour for Parasite: The Secret Diary of a Landlord! I’m thrilled to be able to share my thoughts on this all-access personal diary of life as a landlord.

When Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources put feelers out for interest for this tour, the book caught my eye immediately. I only have very limited experience with landlords and I wanted to take the opportunity to read the book and see things from the other side, so to speak. It seems a lot of other bloggers were keen too!

My contribution to the tour is a review of the book, so let’s say a huge thank you to the author and to Rachel for organising the tour and then get stuck in!

 

Parasite? The Secret Diary of a Landlord – Secret Landlord (SL)

Goodreads – The Secret Diary of a Landlord

Get ready to learn what really happens behind closed doors.

Landlords have become one of the most hated groups in society. Parasites, they’re often called. And there’s a lot of them. The Treasury estimates there are almost 2.6 million landlords in the UK with around 5.45 million rental properties.

But the real life of a professional landlord is very different to what most people think. From burglaries and break-ins to drug raids, police warrants, crazy tenant antics, bailiffs, squatters, lawsuits, wrecked properties, interfering council officers, game-playing freeholders to moments of heartfelt joy and happiness, the life of a landlord is never dull. Especially when the government keeps moving the goalposts.

This explosive front line exposé blows the lid off what it’s really like to be a landlord and the shocking reality of renting out a property. Hovering close to a nervous breakdown and likely suffering PTSD, The Secret Landlord exposes truths rarely shared. Stories that will grip you, move you and smack you in the face.

This is the truth, the other side of the door.

 

Purchase Links –  Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

I really ought to read more non-fiction. It isn’t a genre I pick up very often but every time I do, I seem to strike gold. Parasite: The Secret Diary of a Landlord is no exception! It’s a truly personal account of the life of a landlord. It takes the expectations and misconceptions of landlord and tosses them out the window, revealing the true person behind it all. I feel sorry for SL and other good landlords out there for the bad reputation they have gotten because of others, but also unreasonable expectations of tenants. From the sounds of her stories, some of the tenants alluded to in the book had very unrealistic expectations of the role of a landlord, a false strong sense of entitlement and expected a big handout. My hat really goes off to you, because I couldn’t do your job!

What is very clear throughout the narrative is that SL does make every effort to help tenants where they can, even against business sense at times, which is refreshing. I can’t say I know of any landlords that have done this personally. There are unsung heroes out there – I think it is the unfortunate scenario where you always hear the bad stories, and never about the landlord who was lenient with you in times of hardship. It’s a real shame.

I really enjoyed the narrative style of the book. Having diary entries of varying lengths depending on what was going on in SL’s at the time makes it really approachable to read. The variety is refreshing and breaking down each month-long chapter into subheadings for each day makes the narrative really easy to follow, but also to pick up and put down.

Parasite: The Secret Diary of a Landlord is far more emotive than expected but it is conveyed very well. SL’s frustration at certain incidents/events is very evident – and for good reason! I had no idea that a landlord had to jump through so many hoops to get their property back if a tenant stopped paying and refused to leave – it’s ridiculous! It’s legally their property. Even then, the justice system seems to be very unhelpful in some cases. You would expect a lot better.

Whilst I’m not a landlord, I have had to deal with some of the things SL mentions in the book. Up until a few months ago, I lived in a flat and I had to deal with the dreaded management company. If I had a pound for every time I contacted them to be told “it is not the responsibility of the management company to deal with [insert enquiry/complaint here]”, I would be a rich woman. So, SL, I felt your pain with this!

It has become easy for society to demonise landlords, but based on the stories told within the narrative it’s obvious that we need to have a very long, hard look at tenants. I wouldn’t like to have dealt with half of the troubles and messes detailed over a relatively short time period in the author’s career. People can be animals, and landlords deserve more credit for having to pick up the pieces after the abuse their properties receive. This book is definitely an eye-opener and I would recommend this read to everyone – renter or not!

 

Author Bio

The Secret Landlord has been renting, refurbishing and selling properties across the UK for almost two decades. An award-winning landlord, as judged by the National Landlords Association, The Secret Landlord has provided accommodation for hundreds of tenants from all walks of life.

Social Media Links –

www.thesecretlandlord.com

@landlord_secret

Blog Tour Review: Limelight – Graham Hurley

I’m really looking forward to sharing my thoughts on Limelight by Graham Hurley with you today! I have read this book over the weekend just gone in preparation for the tour and it is one of the best books I have read recently. Before I jump in with the details, I would first like to say a massive thank you to both Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour, and to the author Graham Hurley for the opportunity to take part and read this fabulous mystery novel! It’s a pleasure to be one of the bloggers kicking off the tour.

 

Limelight – Graham Hurley

Goodreads – Limelight

Life is dangerous. No one survives it. Enora Andressen makes a series of mind-blowing discoveries when her friend disappears.

Actress Enora Andressen is catching up with her ex-neighbour, Evelyn Warlock, who’s recently retired to the comely East Devon seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. The peace, the friendship of strangers and the town’s prestigious literary festival . . . Evelyn loves them all.

Until the September evening when her French neighbour, Christianne Beaucarne, disappears. Enora has met this woman. The two of them have bonded. But what Enora discovers over the anguished months to come will put sleepy Budleigh Salterton on the front page of every newspaper in the land.

 

Purchase Links – Severn House     Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Reading Limelight has been a breath of fresh air. A busy schedule has meant that I haven’t been reading as much lately – I’d even go so far as to say I had lost motivation. However, picking up Limelight has reminded me just why I love curling up with a good book. It’s a gem of a mystery novel that has been so easy to read because it has a lot of elements I love – a unique plotline, investment into character and world-building, and above all, an easy to read writing style that I couldn’t put down. In addition to all these, the book, particularly the setting, has a sense of familiarity to me.

I grew up in a seaside town much like Budleigh Salterton. Even now I live only a few minutes drive away, but the thing I really relate to in this novel is the sense of community that comes with small places such as this one. The concept of knowing everyone in town, even if just by sight, might seem strange to anyone living in large cities. Living in a place such as this myself though, I can say that the author has portrayed the town and the relationships of the characters within, perfectly.

Up until Christianne’s disappearance, Budleigh Salterton has the quiet, relaxed feel that I know and love. On the island here we have a phrase for it, ‘Traa dy Liooar’, meaning ‘time enough’. Equally, in places like this, any bit of news is a scandal. Christianne’s disappearance and the events that follow will inevitably dominate the headlines…

What also fits with this is the pace of the novel and the amount of characterisation shared with the reader. I enjoy novels with a lot of depth and time taken in bringing the main characters and the setting to life. Limelight in this regard is also right up my street! This also works well to draw the reader into the community. We really get to know each of the characters in their own right, as well as how they interact with each other.

Limelight is a mystery novel with a unique premise. Never before have I come across a mystery with a theme of euthanasia in it. It makes Limelight a unique novel within its genre and I’ve enjoyed reading the arguments and ethics around the debate that come up in the book. Despite the content matter, Limelight isn’t a heavy read at all. I have read this book over the course of a weekend and enjoyed every moment of it! I hadn’t realised it was part of a series when I signed up for the blog tour. Based on how much I enjoyed reading this book, I’m absolutely inclined to go back to the beginning and read the rest of the books!

 

Author Bio

Graham Hurley is an award-winning TV documentary maker who now writes full time. His Faraday and Winter series won two Theakstons shortlist nominations and was successfully adapted for French TV. He has since written a quartet of novels featuring D/S Jimmy Suttle, and three WW2 novels, the first of which – Finisterre – was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. The first three titles in the Enora Andressen series, Curtain Call, Sight Unseen and Off Script, are also available from Severn House. After thirty years in Portsmouth, Graham now lives in East Devon with his wife, Lin.

Social Media Links –

https://www.grahamhurley.co.uk/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/135794.Graham_Hurley

https://twitter.com/Seasidepicture

https://www.facebook.com/grahamhurleyauthor/

 

Book Review: The Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson

I’m really excited to be sharing my review of The Alloy of Law with you today! If you are a regular reader you will know that Brandon Sanderson has become one of my favourite authors of all time. The first books/series of his I read is the Mistborn trilogy which precedes The Alloy of Law. I read those books as a teenager so it has taken me a while to get back into the series. Honestly, too long! It was worth the wait though!

 

The Allow of Law – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – The Alloy of Law

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.

After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

 

My Thoughts…

It’s natural to be dubious about how an author attempts to replicate the brilliance of a previous book or series. It’s all-to-easy to end up being disappointed because a reader’s expectations are far too high. I did have very high expectations for this additional series, but Brandon Sanderson pulled off recreating the magic of the first series and updating it to fit a whole new character base and setting. More often than not, this doesn’t work as it doesn’t have the same feel as the original, but that’s not the case with The Alloy of Law in my opinion at all.

I love the steampunk/western vibe of The Alloy of Law. It has a significantly more modern feel than the previous books; an element I really enjoyed. I loved the Mistborn trilogy and I wasn’t sure how well I would take to the jump in time period between the novels. I can hand on heart say that I think I preferred it to the original series.

There is more to this second series than the first, namely, the inclusion of Twinborn ability. I don’t remember much if any of this in the Mistborn trilogy, but it’s a huge part of this modern reboot. I think it adds a lot of depth to the magic system already established and fits with a modernisation/advancement theme. It’s a natural fit with the new storyline set in the future – more is going to be known about the ability and it will have been cultured into society as an ‘advancement’.

The dynamic between the two main characters, Wax and Wayne is hilarious. It’s one of my favourite things about the storyline as a whole. The two work together so well even though they are polar opposites as individuals. Wax, the lawman, cannot leave an injustice and always takes it upon himself to right a wrong. He can’t leave alone and walk away even if he wants to. I admire that about him – it’s one of his more altruistic points. Equally, however, he isn’t perfect at all. He despises his social stature and the expectations of society about him; he actively pushes the boundaries of propriety as well which is very funny to read.

Wayne, on the other hand, is Wayne. He is wicked with a firearm and excellent at going undercover but as a person, he is 100% more laid back than Wax. His ‘trading’ (stealing) habit is trademark to his character and it’s funny because he has a strange sense of what has value. He doesn’t steal the conventional items for the most part, but what he picks up does miraculously prove invaluable to the duo.

The biggest advocate of how much I love this book is how quickly I have gone on to read the rest of the series (published so far). I read the next two books within just over two months after finishing this one. With my reading schedule, that’s impressive! I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and read it again either – I enjoyed it that much!

I might yet do that, one day anyway…

 

 

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Book Birthday Blitz Review: The Rue Stone – Janet Stock

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s review of The Rue Stone as part of the organised book birthday blitz blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. The Rue Stone is an entertaining fantasy novella, so if that sounds like something you are interested in, please stick around to read on. Before diving into the detail, I’ like to say a huge thank you to Rachel and the author of the novella, Janet Stock, for the opportunity to take part in the tour!

In addition to my review, today’s post also provides the opportunity for UK readers to enter a giveaway and win a paperback copy of the novella! Those details can be found later in the post! For now, though, let’s talk about what I loved about the book!

 

The Rue Stone – Janet Stock

Goodreads – The Rue Stone

The rue is a mysterious and rare being who is rarely seen, and Janna is amazed when one arrives at the inn where she works, looking for a room. The next morning, her life has changed, and she is left wondering whether she will ever see him again, but only time and the rue stone know the answer to that question.

 

Purchase Links –  Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Whether you are a regular reader of fantasy novels or are looking to explore the genre, The Rue Stone is a perfect read regardless of audience. As a fairytale-like novella, it is really easy to pick up; there isn’t a huge commitment to a long, complex storyline to invest into. I personally read The Rue Stone in one sitting, so it’s also ideal for anyone who doesn’t have much time to set aside and read.

Even though the novella is only 80 pages, there is plenty of beautiful descriptions and folklore incorporated into the narrative. The rue are mysterious, magical beings of legend. Janna has heard the stories, but she learns the truth of them when a rue walks into the inn she works in and changes her life. There is a great deal of mystery about the rue and they have plenty of potential to be explored further.

There is an element of romance in the novella, but I liked that it didn’t overshadow the plot. Regular readers of mine will know that I’m not a big romance fan, but the budding relationship in The Rue Stone isn’t too heavy.

The amount of detail in the background of the story is well proportioned with current events. I would, however, like to see more from this world and the backstory to the rue explored further. Having read this particular story from the perspective of Janna I’m intrigued to know how different the story would be from Arval’s viewpoint. There is definitely potential in this story for further stories and I would definitely be interested in seeing Janet’s fantasy world explored in more depth.

 

Author Bio

Having written all of my life, I decided to self-publish my writing when I turned 50. I have published four books since then. Two are collections of short stories; Dark & Fluffy; Dark & Fluffy II and 500 Words, which is flash fiction. My latest book The Rue Stone is a fantasy novella.

My passion is medieval fiction, and I am working on my first novel The Little Servant – The Wait’s Son, set in the 12th century, in Lincoln, where I live.

All four books are available on Amazon.

Social Media Links –

www.janetstockwriter.wordpress.com

fb Janetstockwriter

@janetstock12

 

Giveaway to Win 5 paperback copies of The Rue Stone (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494390/

Blog Tour Review: Freedom of the Creed – Nicholas Coleridge

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Freedom of the Creed by Nicholas Coleridge. In today’s blog tour post, I am featuring my review of the book. Thank you for checking out my post and also a huge thank you to the author and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour.

If you enjoy western-themed novels then saddle up and read on, as this book (and review) should be right up your street! Don’t forget to check out the other blogs that have featured in the tour as well. The details can be found at the bottom of my post.

 

Freedom of the Creed – Nicholas Coleridge

Goodreads – Freedom of the Creed

The Woe-Be-Gone boys, a vicious gang of outlaws rushes south through the American frontier, leaving desolation in their wake.

On their trail is Saoirse Creed, a bounty hunter with a debt to pay. Her only chance to pay that debt rides with the gang, but what depths will she sink to achieve her goal.

Now, as she tracks them down to a town on the precipice of despair, Saoirse must overcome the final hurdle in order to capture her man and return to a life that she thought was all but lost.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

It was Freedom of the Creed’s western theme that appealed to me. It’s not a genre I pick up very often, but when I do, I really enjoy them! I suppose the most recent read that it reminds me of is Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.

Saoirse (pronounced Sur-sha) is by far the character I loved best. She is a wickedly smart and fierce young woman. Her motivations are largely unclear for the majority of the book, making her passion and drive in the chase an intriguing mystery. I’m glad the pronunciation of her name is clarified early on in the book – I couldn’t even have made a guess! It is unusual and makes her doubly stand out as a unique character.

The plot is full of deceit, subterfuge and layers of depth that make it easy to immerse you in the detailed storyline. Exciting clues and revelations to further developments of the story are timed perfectly for maximum impact. The pace of the novel is well balanced and allows for full, detailed setting of the scene whilst still including plenty of action to drive events forward. It’s a steadily fast-paced novel but equally doesn’t come across as rushed in any way.

The author really captured the essence of old-fashioned attitudes in small communities very well. Each individual character has their own distinct personality, but they also gel together as a community. There is enough commonality between them that implies years of co-existence together in a desolate, now derelict town. I could picture the characters and their interactions in the town of Kites Run so clearly! The Woe-Be –Gone boys are a sort of community in themselves and I enjoyed the dynamic and power struggle within the group. They’re also the seedy types of human beings that you love to hate; routing for Saoirse in her hunt for them couldn’t be easier.

I really enjoyed the conclusion of the book and there is a lot of potential for the remainder of the series. I can’t wait to see where Saoirse and Wolfe find themselves in the next chapter of their story. Given how well the book has been written, I am amazed this is the author’s first novel!

 

Author Bio

N.J Coleridge finds time to write when he is not performing his official duties as his daughter’s “royal servant.”

He has always had a passion for the frontier and the old-west. Freedom of the Creed is his first novel.

For more adventures featuring Saoirse be sure to read the novella “A Prayer for the Dying”.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNickColeridge/