Tag: Gollancz

Sunday Summary – 29th March 2020

Today’s Sunday Summary comes at the end of a very weird week. In less than seven days I have gone from going to work as normal to working from home; as an island, we have gone from quarantining all arrivals as a precaution to closing our borders and all residents under lockdown. It’s the right thing to do, but it is unsettling, to say the least!

I had scaled back my blogging this week in anticipation of moving house, but that has now been put off until everything settles down. I have no idea when that is, but I’m hoping it isn’t too long. So, aside from today’s Sunday Summary post, I have only shared one other post this week. On Wednesday I shared my review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I had no idea what I was going to make of this book since it’s out of my comfort zone completely! I really enjoyed it though, even if it did make me cry!

 

Books Read

Picking up from last week, I am still reading The God Game by Danny Tobey. I’ve progressed nicely from the 70 odd pages I had already read and I am now just shy of 360 pages in. My aim is to finish this book tonight after this post goes live.

I’ve also been thinking about Good Omens, which I haven’t really revisited. After putting this down to prioritise blog tours, I really struggled to pick this up again. I’ve been mulling it over and I have decided to DNF it. I wasn’t enjoying it so much that I looked forward to reading it, and I can’t get back into it. My Beat the Backlist Challenge isn’t going so well at the moment – I’ve DNF’d 2/5 books I’ve picked up!

I’m a little disappointed I haven’t read more this week, but I understand why I haven’t as well. My routine has all been up in the air and it’s thrown me off. As moving date was initially pulled right forward to this Friday I spent Monday furiously packing the essentials I had been leaving until last. However, on Tuesday it was postponed and I spent Tuesday night unpacking again.

There is better news about listening to my Crooked Kingdom audiobook though – I finished this today! I normally listen to audiobooks in the car when I’m driving, but since I haven’t been commuting I was worried that progress on Crooked Kingdom would stall. I have found a way to make this work though! Something else I have taken up (again) this week to keep myself occupied is crochet. I’m making a baby blanket for my friend’s little one, who is due to make her appearance anytime soon! I’ve found listening to audiobooks whilst doing this really easy! If you want a sneak peek of the blanket, check out my Instagram page!

 

Books Discovered

I stumbled across an advert on Facebook for a locally based author on Saturday night, and so I started looking at a few of his books. I wasn’t sure if the advertised book was quite for me, however, I found The Seaside Detective Agency. The sound of this light-hearted mystery is perfect right now, especially with everything so sombre going on. Characters who are ‘bumbling idiots with the best intentions’ are what I need right now. I believe it’s set in my home town too, so I am interested to see how it’s portrayed!

If the novel were less satirical and more realistic, the PI’s in this would be brilliant. They’d know what was going on with you before you did yourself. Everyone knows the skeet* in Peel.

*Skeet is a Manx term, meaning gossip.

 

Coming Up…

My blogging schedule will be back to its usual self next week.

My first planned post of the week is a review of These Are Not the Trinity Papers by Vale Zalecki. I was kindly given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review at the end of last year. I finished reading this at the beginning of February, so it’s time to put my thoughts together and share them with you.

Next up will be my reading list for April. With only my last couple of blog tours left to do, I have a lot of flexibility with what I can read. I have more time too, so I am hoping to squeeze a good few books in.

On Friday I’ll be sharing the next book in my Shelf Control series. This week’s book features a historical fiction novel set in a new time period for me to explore. It also has an unusual main character! I’m not telling you any more than that – such a tease I know…

On Sunday I am taking part in a blog tour so you can expect a review from me on that day. You can check out the details of the book in my reading list post. Don’t fret though, my Sunday Summary post will be published first thing on Monday morning, so you’ll be able to catch my weekly update post then.

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! How has your week been? What have you been reading?

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Sunday Summary – 22nd March 2020

Hey guys and welcome back to another Sunday Summary post! I hope you are all well in this crazy world we are living in right now. Since you hear about it absolutely everywhere else though, let’s not talk about it and instead distract ourselves with talk about all the fabulous books we can!

So, what have I been up to this week? My first post of the week was published on Tuesday. It had been about three months since I last shared a Top Ten Tuesday post, so I was long overdue one. In this week’s post, I shared my top ten reasons I love being a book blogger.

On Wednesday caught up with a book review for one of my favourite books in 2019. Regular readers will know just how much of a fan I am for Margaret Atwood and The Handmaid’s Tale. I really enjoyed revisiting and reviewing the sequel, The Testaments.

This week’s First Lines Friday post featured another of my favourite books. Sticking with my previous theme of sharing books I read pre-blog, I shared the introduction to a book I read for the first time as a teenager.

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary update I was reading Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson and about a quarter of the way through the book. I really enjoy reading Brandon Sanderson’s books, so it’s hardly surprising that I managed to finish this one on Friday this week. It picks up from The Alloy of Law nicely, and since that was also a recent read I got into it straight away!

After Shadows of Self, I picked up my ARC copy of The God Game by Danny Tobey. I’m just about 70 pages into the book at the moment and the story is coming into its own. I’m intrigued to see what this ‘game’ is and how the book progresses. So far it has been a nice and easy read.

And now onto the audiobook section. So, I still haven’t finished Crooked Kingdom yet, but I will VERY SOON! I have three hours and thirty minutes left, so I only have an hour more to listen to than I would get through normally in the week! I will finish it next week – I promise!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been really good this week and there are no additions to share. The sad news is, my local regular bookstore haunt is closing tomorrow until further notice. I’ll just have to make do with the hundred or so physical books I own already…
I wish I was joking. I counted them recently – it’s a ridiculous number. Am I ashamed? Absolutely not!

 

Coming Up…

Things are probably going to seem a little quiet here for the next few weeks or so. I am going to keep posting as much as time allows, but I do have some other commitments that are going to take up some of my time.
With that in mind, I am cutting down my blogging schedule to a couple of posts a week. I’ll post my Sunday Summary updates as usual.

Midweek, I want to share another book review. I have plenty to get through! This week I am going to be sharing a review of a book that I borrowed from the library last year. I borrowed it rather than getting my own copy as I didn’t know what I was going to make of it at all. It was a little out of my comfort zone, but I am glad I read it. I wanted to read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes as it touches on the sensitive subject of euthanasia. I didn’t expect to fall in love with it as I did!

That’s everything to look forward to next week and all from me in today’s Sunday Summary! What have you been reading?

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Reading List – March 2020

I can’t believe it is the beginning of March and I’m writing my reading list post already! Last month just flew by. I know it’s a short one, but still! I’m happy with my reading progress last month given that I had a few bits on. I didn’t quite finish last month’s reading, so I am carrying one book over.

Shall we take a look at the books on this month’s TBR?

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

Good Omens is my carryover. I only just started reading this at the end of last week, so it’s hardly surprising I’ve had to carry it over to this month. That said, I’ve managed to make a good start over the past day or two and I am enjoying the book so far! It’s definitely got the flavour of Terry Pratchett’s humour I love so I can see myself finishing this book pretty quickly!

 

Songbird – Karen Heenan

Goodreads – Songbird

Bess has the voice of an angel, or so Henry VIII declares when he buys her from her father. As a member of the Music, the royal company of minstrels, Bess grows up within the decadent Tudor court, navigating the ever-changing tide of royals and courtiers. Friends come and go as cracked voices, politics, heartbreak, and death loom over even the lowliest of musicians. Tom, her first and dearest friend, is her only constant. But as Bess becomes too comfortable at court, she may find that constancy has its limits.

 

My first blog tour related read of the month is this historical fiction novel. I love the Tudor period of history and I haven’t picked up a book on it in ages! Also, books with politics in them really interest me, which is funny because I hate politics! At least, I hate ours!

 

Helene – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Helene

Dr Helene Vermalle is shaping the conscience of a goddess-level AI.

As a leading civilian expert in Emergent AI Socialisation, she has been invited to assist in a secret military project.

Her role? Helping ViraUHX, the most advanced AI in the universe, to pass through four theoretical development stages. But it’s not easy training a mind that surpasses her in raw intellect. And the developing AI is capable of killing her with a single tantrum.

On top of this, she must prove her loyalty to the oppressive government hovering over her shoulder. They want a weapon. She wants to instil an overriding sense of morality.

Can she teach the AI right and wrong without being categorised as disloyal?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.

 

I’m definitely reading more in the way of science-fiction than I ever have before. I have been fortunate to have picked up some great books recently, which means I keep gravitating back to the genre.

I love the premise of this novel. Artificial Intelligence is definitely relevant right now and there are plenty of people sat on the fence about its benefits and drawbacks. It sounds like this book might touch on that, so I can’t wait to read it and share my thoughts with you in the upcoming blog tour!

 

Tooth & Blade – Julian Barr

Goodreads – Tooth and Blade

Parts 1-3 of the legendary TOOTH AND BLADE series together for the first time!

Two worlds. One destiny.

Dóta has dwelled sixteen years among the trolls. She knows nothing but the darkness of her family’s cave. Her mother says humans are beasts who would slay them all. Yet the gods of Asgard whisper in the night: Dóta is a child of men, a monster unto monsters.

To discover her human side, Dóta must take up her bone knife and step into the light above. Secrets await her in the human realm–beauty, terror, the love of a princess.

Soon Dóta must choose between her clan and humankind, or both worlds will be devoured in fire and war.

A monster sheds no tears.

Norse mythology meets historical fantasy in TOOTH AND BLADE. Step into a realm of haunted meres, iron and magic.

 

I love the idea of a mash-up of Norse Mythology and fantasy. Honestly, it’s so unlike anything I have read before that I wanted to give it a try.

 

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.

 

I really enjoyed reading The Alloy of Law back in January and I am keen to make even more progress with this series. It’s been on my TBR for a long time so it’s overdue! I honestly love every single Brandon Sanderson book I have ever read. The Alloy of Law was brilliantly reminiscent of the previous Mistborn trilogy, yet so much more! The change in setting and characters really worked for me. I can’t wait to get back to their adventures!

 

The God Game – Danny Tobey

Goodreads – The God Game

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

 

I was very lucky to receive a copy of this from Gollancz in exchange for a review. Again, I love the science-fiction vibe. If asked what my second hobby was (because reading is my first, obviously),I’d say it’s gaming. I don’t have anywhere near as much time as I used to spend playing games on my laptop, but I do enjoy it now and then!

The premise of The God Game combines my two favourite hobbies, so I have very high hopes that I’ll enjoy it. It reminds me of another book I received by Gollancz and reviewed last year – Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs. That particular book blended these two together, as well as included virtual reality and I really enjoyed it.

So, that’s March’s TBR taken care of. Have you read any of the books on this month’s list? Have any of them caught your eye? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Review: The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

I was very fortunate to receive a copy of The War Within by Stephen Donaldson last year from Gollancz in exchange for an honest review. The synopsis caught my eye right away as something I would enjoy – and I did!

Before I could read The War Within though, I had to catch up with the first book in the series. I read Seventh Decimate in May last year when I found a copy at my library. If you haven’t checked out that review yet, catch up with the first instalment of the series here.

 

The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

Goodreads – The War Within

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 people into defiance…

 

Purchase Links: Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

The War Within is on a completely different scale to Seventh Decimate. Where the first book in the series follows a very personal quest by Prince Bifalt to assure the safety of his nation, The War Within has a grander focus on the fictional world as a whole. A larger plotline and conflict involving multiple nations open this story up significantly, and with that, we are also introduced to multiple perspectives.

The War Within was a bit of a slow starter for me. Getting through the first quarter of the book (150 pages) took the longest. But, once I got that far, I read the rest of the book in a week. I think because this book was so different to the first, and set so much later, it took a bit of time for the author to fill in that time gap to get us up to speed with events in between. It also wasn’t what I expected based on the first book, but it actually turned out better once I got into it!

Books written in the third person and from multiple character viewpoints are my favourite. I find it’s easier to get a lot more depth about a character, setting etc without any bias. For fantasy novels where there isn’t any form of intrigue, I like that. Bias has its place and if written well can add to a story. It wouldn’t have really fit into this novel though.

As a result of the stressful situations Bifalt has had to deal with, he’s actually difficult to get on with. His demeanour has completely changed from the first book to the point where he isn’t all that likeable anymore. It’s fitting with what has happened and I like that the author hasn’t been too protective over his characters. Books that have you worry about what could happen are a lot more entertaining than ones where you feel characters are “safe” because they are the hero of the narrative.

I’m interested to see how the story concludes and the character conflicts resolve themselves. There is a lot of potential for an epic conclusion – let’s hope it’s delivered!

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!
Thank you!***

Book Review: Crowfall – Ed McDonald

I’m really excited for today’s book review of Crowfall by Ed McDonald. Why I hear you ask? Well, only because this is my favourite read of the year!!! So far, at least.

Having read the earlier books in the series, I requested and gratefully received a copy of Crowfall from Gollancz for the purpose of reviewing this epic conclusion to the Raven’s Mark series. I can’t wait to get started, but first, you can check out my review of the previous book in the series, Ravencry using the link here. Once you are all up to date, here are the details, and my thoughts, on Crowfall: –

 

Crowfall – Ed McDonald

Goodreads – Crowfall

Crowfall is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky.

‘Dark, twisty and excellent . . . Grimdark with heart’ Mark Lawrence

A sorceress cataclysm has hit the Range, the final defensive line between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings.

Tormenting red rains sweep the land, new monstrosities feed on fear in the darkness, and the power of the Nameless, the gods who protect the Republic, lies broken. The Blackwing captains who serve them are being picked off one by one, and even immortals have learned what it means to die. Meanwhile the Deep Kings have only grown stronger, and are poised to deliver a blow that will finally end the war.

Ryhalt Galharrow stands apart from it all.

He has been deeper into the wasteland known as the Misery than ever before. It has grown within him – changed him – but all power comes with a price, and now the ghosts of his past, formerly confined to the Misery, walk with him everywhere.

They will even follow him, and the few surviving Blackwing captains, on one final mission into the darkness.

 

My Thoughts…

You know that bittersweet feeling of wanting to finish a series to find out what happens, but then not wanting to finish it because then it’s all over? Crowfall is definitely one of those for me. The world, the magic and fantasy setting are truly unique. And the characters have to be some of my favourites. It turns out I’m a sucker for a reluctant, non-altruistic hero.

Grimdark is a genre I want to read more of as a result of this series. I have read a few other grimdark fantasy novels, namely Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire series and I have plenty more on my TBR. I enjoy the blurred lines around “heroes” and the amorality of the characters. As a genre, I feel it has a sense of gritty realism – uncertainty as to how events are going to pan out. Classic fantasy has a lot of overused tropes, in my opinion. I want to be worried about my favourite main characters. In dark and life-threatening situations, I don’t want to trust that a character will make it through because they are pivotal to a story. As a reader, I thrive off the danger of knowing anything could happen at any moment… that no one is safe from harm.

Ryhalt is one of my favourite fantasy characters of all time. Before the events of Blackwing and Ravencry twisted him into the man he has become in the opening pages of Crowfall, he already had a sarcastic sense of humour that I loved. He has always had a cynical, pessimistic view of life which fits in so well with the tone of the novels. Corrupted my magic born of death and devastation wrought years earlier, he is far from the ideal candidate to prevent such devastation again.

Crowfall truly is the epic conclusion to this series, and I was hooked on it. I read it from cover to cover in a matter of days and I was absorbed from start to finish! I don’t want to spoil even a single thing so I am trying to comment as little on the plot as possible. All I will say is that I don’t think you will be disappointed. I wasn’t!

Will I be re-reading this series again? Absolutely! The world captured in the pages of these books is truly unique, and one I could re-visit again and again without getting bored.

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Review: Seventh Decimate – Stephen Donaldson

In today’s post, I’ll be sharing my review of Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson. After receiving a copy of The War Within, the sequel from Gollancz, I picked up a copy of Seventh Decimate at my local library. I cannot read books out of a series out of order, so I grabbed my copy of this a month before I planned to read The War Within. Seventh Decimate and The War Within have turned out to be on totally different levels of fantasy… but more on that below!

 

Seventh Decimate – Stephen Donaldson

Goodreads – Seventh Decimate

The acclaimed author of the Thomas Covenant Chronicles launches a powerful new trilogy about a prince’s desperate quest for a sorcerous library to save his people.

Fire. Wind. Pestilence. Earthquake. Drought. Lightning. These are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil.

But a seventh Decimate exists–the most devastating one of all…

For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides brandishing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power. And now the Bellegerins stand defenseless.

Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to find the book of the seventh Decimate–and reverse the fate of his land.

All hope rests with Bifalt. But the legendary library, which may or may not exist, lies beyond an unforgiving desert and treacherous mountains–and beyond the borders of his own experience. Wracked by hunger and fatigue, sacrificing loyal men along the way, Bifalt will discover that there is a game being played by those far more powerful than he could ever imagine. And that he is nothing but a pawn…

 

My Thoughts…

Seventh Decimate is a classic coming-of-age tale and an intriguing introduction to what will be an epic fantasy series. Prince Bifalt has lived within the threatened borders of Belleger all his life. Constant skirmishes with their neighbours in Amika have been ongoing for generations, sapping all their resources. That is, until one day their magic is gone. Convinced Amika are responsible for their plight, Prince Bifalt sets out on a journey to restore their magic and learns just how small a world he has been living in. There are larger forces at play…

Prince Bifalt himself is far from perfect. As eldest son, he feels the pressure to perform his role and not fail his mission keenly. As the adventure unfolds the prince is filled with even more self doubt and a stubborn arrogance accompanying his birthright. He is ruled by honour and public perception dictates his behaviour a lot – and not always in a good way. I feel Seventh Decimate has set him up in a way that we can expect a lot of personal development from him in future books.

In addition to Bifalt a number of colourful characters are met along the way, which introduces the wider plot for us as the reader.

Seventh Decimate is an enjoyable tale in its own right, however compared to The War Within it’s a mere drop in the ocean. An introduction, really. I feel it deliberately mirrors the main character, Prince Bifalt and his experiences. Up until the end of book one, he is very small-minded about the world and his priorities. In book two he has a far larger weight on his shoulders… but I’ll save the details for my review on The War Within. I only mention it in passing to give an idea of how simplistic his character and plight is by comparison.

I think of Seventh Decimate as the prologue of the series, if I’m honest. Whilst the main action of the series will follow in later books, Seventh Decimate is the opening narrative to introducing the wider world and more complex plot of book two, and hopefully beyond.

 

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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!

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Review Banner

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!

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Reading List – May 2019

We are just over a third of the way through the year – isn’t that a scary thought?! Yes, it’s time to publish another reading list; I have lots of plans this month. My recent time off has got me kind of excited and slightly ambitious about this TBR. I have lots of books that I want to pick up now and in order to achieve my goal, I’m thinking of experimenting a little more with reading more than one book at once. This worked really well for me recently, so why wouldn’t it in the long term?

I’m also excited to be picking up more books that aren’t part of blog tours. I am only taking part in one tour this month (in stark contrast to the four I did last month). It affords me more freedom to choose books I have wanted to pick up for some time! I fully expect my last book of the list is going to appear on next month’s list too – it’s an epic in its own right.

 

Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell

 

“Bernard Cornwell ranks as the current alpha male of testoterone-enriched historical fiction….This satisfying tale leaves you hungry for more of Uhtred’s adventures.” -USA Today

The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish Kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Warrior by instinct and Viking by nature, Uhtred, the dispossessed son of Northumbrian lord, has land, a wife and children-and a duty to King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have invaded the decayed Roman city of London with dreams of conquering Wessex…with Uhtred’s help. Suddenly forced to weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning side of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles, Uhtred-Alfred’s sharpest sword-must now make the choice that will determine England’s future.

 

I’ve recently watched Season 3 of the TV adaptation, The Last Kingdom, and it has re-ignited my love for the story! I last picked up the series nearly two years ago now – June 2017. That’s far too long! I had barely started my blog at that point.

 

Son of the Moon – Jennifer Macaire

 

Can you face the consequences of cheating the Fates? Alexander the Great journeys to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts and treachery. With their son, Paul, being worshiped as the Son of the Moon, and Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable: how to save them and whether she dares to cheat Fate?

 

This read is my one and only blog tour of the month. I have read the first two books in the series already, The Road to Alexander and Legends of Persia already. I’m really enjoying the series so far; I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say that I know very little of the time period itself. Whilst it’s great to visit favourites (Tudor History, for example), it’s also refreshing to try something new. This is a gamble that really paid off on this occasion!

 

Seventh Decimate – Stephen Donaldson

 

Fire. Wind. Pestilence. Earthquake. Drought. Lightning. These are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil.

But a seventh Decimate exists–the most devastating one of all…

For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides brandishing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power. And now the Bellegerins stand defenseless.

Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to find the book of the seventh Decimate–and reverse the fate of his land.

All hope rests with Bifalt. But the legendary library, which may or may not exist, lies beyond an unforgiving desert and treacherous mountains–and beyond the borders of his own experience. Wracked by hunger and fatigue, sacrificing loyal men along the way, Bifalt will discover that there is a game being played by those far more powerful than he could ever imagine. And that he is nothing but a pawn…

 

I have plans to read a book that Gollancz have sent to me for review next month, called The God Within. That book is the second instalment of a series. You can probably guess where this is leading… There is no way I’ll be able to pick that up knowing that I haven’t read the first book –so here it is! A bit of pre-reading, shall we say…

 

The Drawing of the Three – Stephen King

 

This second volume in the epic series ‘The Dark Tower’ both stands alone and continues the adventures of Roland of Gilead. He has mysteriously stepped through the doorway in time to 1980s America, where he meets Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes.

 

I have started reading this book already! I finished April’s TBR at the 11th hour (almost precisely) yesterday and decided that I wanted to get stuck in with May’s list. This is my first victim ahem book of choice for the month! It’s been too long since reading the first book really; I need to pick these up sooner!

 

The Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

 

In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.

 

Here is another read sent to me by Gollancz for review. I haven’t really read all that much fantasy aimed at a YA audience lately, so I am looking forward to seeing how I like this book. I think the plotline is really interesting – it’s what has enticed me to read it the most!

 

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.

 

There is absolutely no way I am going to get all the above books read in one month, but if I can read the rest and at least make a START on this one, I’ll be happy! Naturally, A Game of Thrones is hot-topic at the moment with the final series already halfway through (and wasn’t that last episode epic?!) Now more than ever I am keen to pick up the books and continue to enjoy the experience.

 

What are you reading?

 

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Review Banner

Book Review: The Cathedral of Known Things – Edward Cox

***I am grateful to have received a copy of this series for an honest review courtesy of Gollancz. All opinions stated are my own***

 

Goodreads – The Cathedral of Known Things

Divided, hunted and short on resources, the surviving members of the Relic Guild are in real trouble. Their old enemy, the Genii, and their resurrected master have infiltrated Labrys Town and taken over the police force.

So the Relic Guild must flee their home, and set off on a dangerous journey across the worlds of the Aelfir. One that will lead them to a weapon which might destroy the Genii. Or the whole universe…

And forty years before all this, the war which led to the fall of the Genii continues. And what happens to the Relic Guild during that conflict will change the course of their desperate flight.

 

My Thoughts…

My initial impressions of the series can be found in my review of The Relic Guild, the first book of the series. The turmoil within Labrys Town continues in this second instalment, and the Relic Guild are out of their depth.

The dual timeline between The Great War forty years ago and the present day is one of my favourite elements of the book. The circumstances have changed for both sides since the first invasion years ago. Fabian Moor has licked his wounds and learned from his mistakes. On the other hand, the Relic Guild has fewer numbers than before. The odds are stacking against them rapidly in this new attack on the Labyrinth.

It is fair to say that the narrative storyline is well developed, but isn’t hard to follow. In this second book of the series, there is far more action and plot development. It builds on the events of the first book well, so the character relations and world building are carried through. I really enjoyed the characterisation and world-building elements in the first book. Although I didn’t pick up The Cathedral of Known Things straight after the Relic Guild, it was easy to pick up again and felt familiar almost immediately. The world building and characterisation were necessary components of the first book of the series and brilliant besides. However, I am grateful to start to see the action unfold now that I have invested time into the lives of these characters.

Whilst both storylines are narrated concurrently in the book, the main emphasis I took away from it lies in the storyline of The Great War all those years ago. Could it be that the key to winning this present day war lies in events of the past? Perhaps. I’ll only know that once I read The Watcher of Dead Time later this month. I can’t wait to read it and share my thoughts with you all. With any luck though… I’ll pull my finger out and share them with you a bit sooner than three months after the reading of it…