Tag: Thran

Author Interview – Brian McLaughlin

Hello everyone!

If you haven’t already checked out yesterday’s post and book review of Thran Book 1: The Birth by Brian McLaughlin, now would be a great time to do so! Today I am interviewing the author of the well-built and complex world of Thran.

Without further adieu, shall we get into it?

How did you discover writing as a passion?

Brian:-

It goes back a quite a long time, but didn’t take the form of writing, per se. It started around the age of 13 when a friend introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons. By age 15 I had evolved into the dungeon master role and never really relinquished it. I had a solid group of friends and we played through high school and college which lasted almost 9 years. As a dungeon master I wasn’t writing prose, but I was creating adventures all the time which required worlds, creativity, and the art of “telling” a story: describing situations and features to the players, building tension and managing outcomes.

I look back at that time as training to become a writer. Towards the end of that period I did begin writing a story, but I only managed 50 pages or so before I moved on to other things in life. However, it planted a seed. From there adult life took over and I embarked on an 18-year hiatus from D&D and anything close to writing. So that leads me to the true answer to your question. I’ve had a great career in business (mostly supply chain), but there was a brief time in 2012 where I found myself in a job that I didn’t find very challenging or rewarding. I remember consciously deciding that if I couldn’t get fulfillment from my work, then I would try to get fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment from some other activity. So, in June of 2012 I literally dusted off the old manuals and began creating the world of Thran with the intent of writing a novel and solving my fulfillment/accomplishment void.

Rebecca:-

I’ve never actually played Dungeons and Dragons. I spent my teenage years playing Dragon Quest, which is much like the format of the group in Thran. More recently than that though, I played countless hours on The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. It’s essentially a single player version, but you pick your character type and traits which are similar to the characters and factions in the book too.

Brian:-

When it comes to fantasy role playing games, I think you could make an argument that Gary Gygax and TSR really pioneered the genre. Each variation that came after it embellished and tweaked the basic system. The classes and monsters were all familar. In a way it’s not much different than Thran or any work of fantasy fiction after 1970; they all were inspired by D&D.

 

Obviously, Thran has a lot of overlaps with modern fantasy role-playing games. Are you an avid gamer? What did you play growing up?

Brian:-

Well, I think I answered this question above, but we dabbled in all sorts of role-playing games. The Middle Earth role playing game comes to mind and there were a variety of games we played sporadically but we always returned to D&D. I would still classify myself as an avid gamer as I like to play chess and other strategy-based games on the computer or an app. I even play DDO (Dungeons & Dragons Online) with my adult children which works our great since we can do it from wherever we are!

Rebecca:-

As I mentioned above, I’ve been a gamer since a teenager really, although I have a lot less time for it now with working full-time and managing my blog in my free time. When I do get a spare hour or two, my current game of choice is Minecraft! It’s quite easy to play as there isn’t too much in the way of storyline or quests, but you can be creative and stop/start as and when.

Brian:-

I’ve dabbled with Minecraft, but world building makes a fun game and Minecraft obviously fits that niche nicely. I grew up on games like pools of radiance which is like the great-great grandmother to Baldurs gate which is a turn based game. So I’m partial to turn based games to this day. Hearthstone has been a favored past time and recently I’ve been playing Dota Underlords. Both are addicting!

 

The story has a split narrative between present-day and historical events. Which did you enjoy writing more and why?

Brian:-

That’s like asking which of your kids you love more! 😊 Of course, I enjoyed writing both narratives, but for different reasons. If you pressed me, I will say the Anthall narrative, in book one, is more compelling for the reader because it’s a tragic story and focuses on one individual (rather than a group) and his dark journey. We feel for him, or at least I do, because of the choices he’s forced to make and his struggle with his identity. I’ll also say this: in book II I have really enjoyed writing about the “current” narrative because some of the twists and surprises I set up, but probably weren’t obvious or appreciated in book one, are starting to get revealed which draws you more deeply into that narrative. Okay, I love them both! 😊

Rebecca:-

If I had to pick a favourite, I would say I enjoyed the Anthall storyline a little more than the present day. It gives a lot of context to what’s going on… and well, I’m a sucker for all things that contribute to epic world-building.

Brian:-

I’ll be interested to see what you and other readers think of Book two. As you know, when I tell people Thran is an epic story, I’m not kidding. It’s 650 pages long, and I spend a lot of time building the characters and planting seeds. If I can get an ah-ha moment or two from readers, or even better: an “I didn’t see that coming” moment, I’ll feel really good! The world and characters are complex – they just don’t know it yet…the readers AND the characters!

 

 

There is a very extensive map of the world of Thran on your website,
https://www.worldofthran.com. How far along in the narrative did this come into creation? Has it helped you with your writing?

Brian:-

Actually, the first thing I did was create the world. Before I wrote the first word, I drew the map with the detail you see today. I also created the pantheon of gods, the calendar, and how I wanted magic to work. Speaking of magic, a lot of people forego the material requirements when they play D&D (we did back in the day) because it’s a little burdensome, but for the world of Thran, I thought the material component would add a nice level of detail and also tied in with the concept of the gods granting the spells – so the material component acted like a sacrifice when required.

Another aspect I determined from the start was the dialog. I didn’t want the dialog to be too “fantastical”. I felt that in order to keep the passion of the dialog relevant, I would sacrifice the “historical” aspect and go with more of a modern diction, including the curse-words which I felt strongly needed to stay current. When someone curses, it’s usually trying to convey a deeper context to the situation. It makes serious and tense situations more serious and tense while also making lighter moments even lighter. Using a “made up” or substitute curse could never convey to the modern reader the nuances of the situation and might just feel cheesy. However, in order to make the dialog feel a little different, aged so-to-speak, I used a little trick I came up with: never use contractions. The reader might not have noticed, but if the dialog was read out loud, it would become obvious. The map and all the other foundations I created up front helped me conceptualize the story.

 

As an author, what advice would you give to anyone looking to write a book and get published?

Brian:-

Funny you should ask! The journey for writing, editing, marketing, and publishing has been such an educational journey that I started organizing what I’ve learned and seriously considering writing another (much shorter!) book about it. My advice for writers:

1) Writing

a. Create an environment that inspires you and limits distractions. The routine will help you establish a rhythm and promote creativity.
b. Give yourself a word count to hit each day or each week, depending on how often you can write. Give yourself a little reward for hitting the count, and if you can blow it away – even better! There are gonna be many days when you can’t hit the count. Find the right balance – where it’s achievable, but not a gimme.
c. Find software for writing a novel. I used Scrivener and that has been very good. It helps me keep everything organized and easy to find for reference, not to mention it can create all the file types you need for your ebook. There are other software choices out there, so just do a little research.

2) Editing

a. Editing is a money game. It depends what you can afford. If you have the money a good editor can help you immensely, but for most Indie writers that’s not going to be an option, it wasn’t for me.

b. If having an editor is not an option, you will almost certainly need help proof-reading and correcting grammar. I hired a professional to proofread Book I and they corrected a ton of stuff. I used a service called Reedsy, and it worked out fine.

c. Family and friends. Let anyone who wants to read help with editing. I still find issues with Thran Book One today, so it feels like a never-ending process.

d. It will never be perfect, so eventually you will have to publish the book!

3) Marketing – How do you get anyone to actually read your book!? That’s such a difficult task! LOL.

a. Social media

i. This is a great way to build a following but doesn’t translate into sales very well. It’s also time intensive. You need to post once per day, but not too much more than that, and so building a following takes time unless you have a celebrity connection.

b. Book reviews & Bloggers

i. Getting your book reviewed is very important. Paying for reviews is less impressive, but if you have to it’s better than nothing.

ii. Voracious Readers Only

1. I found this to be a very good platform. It connects readers and authors and is how I am building a solid email list

c. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, others

i. This comes down to money. My experience is that Amazon has the cheapest advertising, essentially free if you do KDP, and best tools for promoting your book.
ii. I have been in KDP (amazon exclusive) so I have access to the promotional tools, but I am going to try without it for a bit and work other platforms in order to reach a wider audience.

4) Publishing

i. I didn’t go down the traditional path, but it involves finding an agent and then submitting your work to a lot of publishing houses.

ii. I do know this:

1. Cover

a. You’ll need to hook up with an artist unless you can create a cover yourself, which I think would be rare. Today’s art world is ruled by digital art, and depending on the size of your book and the number of pages, it’s not an easy job getting the cover just right.

2. If you decide to go the traditional route – DO NOT self-publish first. Everything I read, most publishers won’t work with manuscripts that are already published. So if you go the traditional route – find an agent and go from there.

3. Self-publishing

a. eBooks

i. These are pretty straight forward, you just submit them to the site, pick a royalty program and you’re off…well, you still need a cover.

b. Hard copies

i. You definitely need a cover and it needs to be very exact in the dimensions of the cover which includes the spine and the back art.

ii. Actually printing books.

1. I haven’t cracked the code yet on this. Printed copies are very expensive unless you’re willing to invest in quite a bit of inventory.
2. Amazon is the best. They print on-demand and ship it direct, so no inventory and their printing costs are 30% lower than any other place I found searching the internet.

 

You have already covered a lot of ground in your experience and it’s invaluable to other hopeful authors out there! I really hope you do publish your advice. No doubt it will come in useful for a lot of people!

Amazon, like they have in so many other ways, has broken down the traditional walls to getting a book published. Which is great, but there isn’t any great manual for new writers to reference. So when someone writes a book, the feeling is like: “now what?” There are soooo many choices out there it creates an analysis paralysis. I hope I can help a few people out!

About the Book

Part one of a three part series, Thran Book I: The Birth, tells of an adventure undertaken by a young group of friends living in the world of Thran, within the kingdom of Kardoon.  Three long years after his father went off to war, never to return, Brutal Mixnor decides to venture out into the wilds of Thran to find the truth surrounding his father’s disappearance.  Unwilling to let Brutal head out alone, his long-time friends and some new acquaintances, each with their own unique set of skills and reasons for going, head out with him.  Their decision to uncover the truth sets in motion the epic tale with all the crucial elements of betrayal, love, companionship, secrets, sacrifice, good, evil, tragedy, death, and triumph.

Source:

www.worldofthran.com

Book Review: Thran Book 1 – Brian McLaughlin

For day 2 of Blogtober I am sharing a book review of Thran Book 1: The Birth, which was sent to me by Voracious Readers Only in exchange for review. Thank you to them and to the author, Brian McLaughlin, who I have been working closely with lately. In addition to today’s review, I will also be sharing an interview with Brian tomorrow. In that post we talk about the fictional world of Thran, the influences behind the book and Brian also shares some of his knowledge and experiences in publishing.

That’s for you to look forward to tomorrow! Today’s post is all about the book, and my honest thoughts on it.

 

Thran Book 1: The Birth

Goodreads – Thran Book 1: The Birth

Set in the mythical world of Thran, a young warrior named Brutal Mixnor sets out on an adventure to uncover the truth about his father’s mysterious disappearance after a battle years earlier. Some longtime friends and new acquaintances join him in his search, each with their own reasons for braving the danger-filled wilds of the Cruel Pass. Follow the young adventurers and watch as their powers grow, along with the strength of the enemies they encounter. Discover the complex, imperfect, characters of all races, comprising the full spectrum of alignments (good, neutral, and evil) that weave their way into and out of the story, leaving their mark on the reader as the world of Thran is pushed towards cataclysmic war and suffering.

For readers familiar with the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons(R), Thran Book I: The Birth will feel like a warm wave of nostalgia washing over you, and the unfamiliar will get a glimpse of what it’s like to be immersed into the heart of an adventure that transports you into a world where magic abounds and almost anything is possible, but nothing is certain. Visit https: //www.worldofthran.com/ to learn more about the world of Thran, including: character portraits, the world map, the pantheon of deities, and more!

 

Purchase Links:  Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

When I say Thran is an epic fantasy book, I am not kidding! At 655 pages, this novel stands its ground in the fantasy genre. If you enjoy role-playing games you will recognise the format of the narrative and character types. The structure of the narrative is like Dungeons and Dragons, or perhaps a more modern example, Dragon Quest.

One of the biggest factors that I judge fantasy novels on is the world-building. It was very clear to me from the beginning that a lot of work has gone into developing the world and framing the narrative. The detail illustrates an advanced world, without being excessive or stalling the storyline at any point. This is consistent throughout so the pace of the narrative and balance between action/information is achieved.

The only place I would suggest that there was a little too much detail for me is in the combat scenes. It’s probably a matter of personal preference, but I envisage these as being a little punchier (excuse the pun!) What I will say is that evidently Brian has sequenced these out before committing pen to paper. I was a lot more interested in the continuation of the plot and development of the storyline, so I confess I started to skim-read some of these.

I really enjoyed the dual timeline structure and the narrative of Anthall, perhaps slightly more than the present-day narrative. This contributes to a lot of the historical side of the world-building, and there are subtle ties to the present-day if you can pick up the clues! Having the two intertwining storylines breaks up each storyline so as not to become too lengthy. It makes a refreshing change to read the different perspective. It is too early for what I think will be a complex storyline to be experienced by one set of characters without a rushed conclusion.

I am interested to see how the storyline will pan out throughout the rest of the series. Thran Book 1 provides a strong foundation to a unique fantasy tale and there is plenty more to explore in the world of Thran.

 

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 18th August 2019

Welcome back to my blog and my Sunday Summary post everybody! Have you had a lovely week and a great weekend?

I decided to scale back my posting a little this week to three posts instead of four. I have a couple of lengthy books to read – as well as the two additional books I have picked up – a busy schedule! My first post of the week was published on Wednesday. It had been a little while since sharing an audiobook review. With Darkdawn being published next month, I figured a review of Godsgrave was due.

On Friday I shared a First Lines Friday post. This week’s post featured a dystopian classic currently on my reading list. I would imagine a few people have already read this book, willing or not at school. I’m aiming to make my way through all these books at some point.

 

Books Read

As with last week, I have a few books on the list in this Sunday Summary post. Throughout the week I have been reading Thran Book 1: The Birth. Last week I commented that I wanted to make more progress on it this week. I’m pleased to say I have. I’ve read a further 35% of the book, so if I can keep that pace up, I’ll have it finished in time for next week’s post!

The next book on my list is Duality by K. J. McGillick. I had not long started this book at the time of reading last week’s Sunday Summary post, but I finished reading it very quickly. I set myself the target of finishing it by midweek, and indeed I finished it on Wednesday!

In the middle of this week, I was feeling a little restless in terms of reading. I already had two books on the go and I wasn’t really in the mood. I wanted something different. A work colleague has recently read and loved Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, so I took inspiration from that and borrowed an e-copy from my library. It really isn’t my type of read but I have enjoyed the beginning so far. I’ve been dedicating the rest of the week to making progress on Thran, so haven’t got beyond the first 10% yet. It’s been easy and enjoyable to read so far, so I am going to stick with it!

I struggled to get into Six of Crows last week – I actively put off listening to the audiobook on the way home from work in favour of listening to the radio. I’ve been better this week and put about another hour or so into it. It’s picked up, I’m glad to say. I’m not giving anyone a lift into work for the next couple of weeks, so I’ll be able to listen to put more time into Six of Crows. I plan to make use of it now I’ve found the hook.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been good and not spent any money on books, but I have added one book to the TBR this week. Take It Back has just been published by HarperCollins – it’s a courtroom drama in which four boys are accused of a horrific crime. Tackling racial divisions in society, I think this will prove an entertaining and enlightening read!

 

Coming Up…

If you want to know what posts are coming up in the next week, then you have come to the right place, my friends! With the amount of reading I have on, I have decided that I am going to stick to a three post week again.

In the usual format on these weeks, I’ll be sharing a book review on Wednesday. Earlier this year I received a copy of The War Within by Stephen Donaldson courtesy of Gollancz – the second book of the series. In order to catch up, I borrowed Seventh Decimate from my local library. This first book is the subject of my review. I hope you can check that out!

On Friday it is the turn of my regular Shelf Control post. For those who have not read these before, I feature a book currently on my TBR and tell you a little about it; why I want to read it and such. With this series in its infancy, I am still looking at some really old books on my list. I have found it useful though; it has encouraged me to pick one of these books up later this month!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

SPasciuti’s Blogger Review Feature – Reviewsfeed

Top Six Bookish Pet Peeves

#BookReview The Perfect Wife By J. P. Delaney #Thriller

So, that’s all from today’s Sunday Summary post! What are you reading?

 

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 11th August 2019

Welcome back to another Sunday Summary post! Yes, the weekend has come to a close once again. Doesn’t it fly? I hope you have had a good one, whatever you have been up to!

In addition to my reading this week, I’ve also been sharing a variety of bookish related posts. On Tuesday, I undertook another review of the TBR in my latest Down the TBR Hole post. It didn’t turn out to be all that successful in terms of reducing the list, but it was still good fun to look at this list all the same.

On Thursday I reviewed a book I initially read back in May, Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I am really enjoying this historical fiction series. By all accounts, I shouldn’t get on with Uhtred’s character, but you cannot help but like him… faults and all!

Friday was the turn of my regular Shelf Control post. Rather than just one book, this week’s post featured three! I’ve read the first trilogy of this series so far, however, with three following books published and one final one yet to be published, I still have a bit of reading to do with this one!

 

Books Read

I’ve dipped in and out of several books this week. I have spent the week reading parts of a long fantasy novel, Thran Book 1: The Birth. As this is a long and detailed read, I think it’s the type of book that I’ll be chipping away at in between other reads rather than binge reading. I’m about a quarter of the way through the book so far, although I am hoping to make more progress on it in the next week.

I’ve also been dipping in and out of reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle throughout the week. I finally finished this last night and… wow! The story was so complex! Who knew so much could happen in one day? I knew  this murder mystery was portrayed in several perspectives, but I didn’t expect them to jump around as much as they did. If I had tried to read it faster I would have lost the plot. Don’t get me wrong, it worked, but if you’re not paying attention then you just end up mind-fucked. It deserves the 5* rating I’ve given it, but I’m glad I took my time unravelling the story. I realise that for many 6 days wouldn’t really fall under ‘taking ones time’, but yeah.

On Saturday evening I started my current read, Duality by K. J. McGillick. I’m glad to be back with a number of familiar characters and another, totally unique art theft case. The undercurrents and history of Renaissance art vs Religion is really interesting and I can’t wait to discover more about it as the team work to unravel the case! I’ve managed to read just over a quarter of the book already. I imagine I’ll have this read by mid next week at this rate!

After your results on my Twitter poll last week, I made a very meagre start on listening to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. For one reason or another, I only ended up listening to this on the way home from work one day this week.

 

Books Discovered

The only addition I have to the list this week is a cute little sample my mum got for me! Whilst she was out shopping last week she was offered a sample of One Minute Later by Susan Lewis. Knowing my obsessive reading, she took it and has given it to me this afternoon. Thanks mum!

 

Coming Up…

Since I am free of blog tours and other commitments next week, I have totally free reign as to what I share with you. As I mentioned in last week’s Sunday Summary post, I have a few reviews to catch up on. To that end, on Wednesday I’ll be sharing my review of an audiobook I listened to AGES ago now – Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff.

Later in the week, I’ll be sharing another First Lines Friday post (no prizes for guessing when that goes live). As always, it’s as much a mystery as to which book I’ll be featuring at the moment, but I’ll figure it out closer to the time!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Okay, so confession time. I’ve been really bad and not read any blogs this week. I’m really sorry – I’ll be back on it next week. I promise!

What have you been up to this week? What books are you reading?

 

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 4th August 2019

Hi friends and welcome back to my usual Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a lovely weekend? Mine has been nice and relaxing, for the most part. Aside from catching up with the housework (always a fun job) and going to a charity “Night at the Races” event, it’s been a quiet one. Plenty of time for reading, anyhow.

Earlier in the week, I shared my reading list for August. I shared it earlier than usual as I had a blog tour scheduled on Thursday for Birth of the Mortokai by Desmond Palmer and a First Lines Friday post to round off the working week. Having remembered on Monday/Tuesday, I must confess that I very nearly forgot to draft and schedule my blog tour post! I’ve never had a last-minute panic like that before, nor do I want it again!! That was the only near-disaster of the week though.

I’ve also decided to put a little more pressure on myself to beat a personal best. The all-time record number of books I have read in one year is 60, achieved in 2017. I have been way above and beyond schedule to meet my target of 50 books by the end of the year. To that end, I’ve decided to increase it to 70 books. I’m still just about on schedule to meet that goal, but getting over 60 will be a win in my eyes regardless of hitting 70 or not.

 

Books Read

I have lots of books to talk about – so I’ll try to keep each one brief.

I started the week with two reads carried over: Kau D’varza by David Noe and The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor. The Chalk Man was the first book I picked up and finished reading because it’s a lot shorter than Kau D’varza and frankly, I was HYPED about it! I think it’s one of my top reads of the year! Kau D’varza shortly followed, and after a few dedicated evenings to the book I could tick another sci-fi off the list!

Moving onwards, I’ve picked up another two books to read simultaneously for the latter end of the week. First and foremost, I have picked up Thran Book 1: The Birth by Brian McLaughlin. This is the first book on August’s TBR (since I didn’t get around to it in July) and at present, I am nearly 20% through the book. It’s quite a long one at 655 pages, but the world-building, characters and descriptions are fantastic!

On the side, I am also reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. I have to say I haven’t read anything like it in my life. In a good way, it’s kinda weird. Keeping track of the murder and the guests/staff (and how they interact with others) at the Hardcastle estate is exciting. I’m nearly 40% through this read. I’m glad I allowed myself breathing room on the TBR to pick things up at will – I do enjoy some freedom in book choices.

I was hoping to say that I was finished listening to The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman, but I still have half an hour left to listen to. I think I’ll probably wrap up the evening with that once this Sunday Summary is posted. That way I can start afresh tomorrow. I’m torn between a couple of books and I currently have a poll on Twitter – can you help me decide what to listen to next?

 

Books Discovered

Where I had a lot to talk about in the section above, I don’t actually have anything of note here this week! About chuffing right too – I wish I could spend all my money on books instead of bills…

 

Coming Up…

Time to roll my sleeves up and devise next week’s plan (and hopefully remember it in good time…) Fortunately, I have no blog tours this week, so it wouldn’t be a disaster if I was a day late anyway.

I have a few backed up reviews to catch up on and this week, I want to share my thoughts about Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I finished reading this back in mid-May if that gives you an idea of how much I have to catch up on. Sword Song is the fourth book in the Last Kingdom / Saxon Stories series. I started reading them in 2017 and I always enjoy picking up the next book.

Since I added quite a few books to the TBR again recently I am going to sort through the next 10 on the list and see if there’s anything there I don’t want anymore. For my sanity’s sake I kinda hope so.

As usual, on Friday it’s the turn on my Shelf Control post. This week I am featuring a series as opposed to just one book! I can’t wait to share the details with you!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

In this section of my Sunday Summary post, I like to offer a quick nod to other amazing book bloggers by sharing some of the posts I really enjoyed reading! This week there is also another link to a bookish article published by the Telegraph. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I have: –

 https://thebookprescription.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/july-wrap-up-2/

Book Blogger Hop – Owning Multiple Editions

N.E.W.Ts Readathon

https://thebookdaddotca.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/the-hiding-place-by-c-j-tudor/

Links I’ve Enjoyed This Week – 04/08/19

August Book Haul (Stacking The Shelves) 2019

https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2019/jul/how-to-get-out-of-a-reading-slump.html

So, that’s this Sunday Summary post wrapped up! what are you reading this week! Please take a moment to check out any of the links above and I would love your thoughts and votes on my Twitter poll!

 

 

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Reading List: August 2019

It’s unusual for me to be drafting and publishing my reading list for August so early. Since I have a couple of other blog posts already lined up in the first couple of days in the month, I felt publishing it a couple of days early was better than nearly a week late.

After having such a productive month in June, I oversubscribed a little in July. Three books on the list had over 500 pages each, and the other two probably made up another 500 between them. I think I would have been alright if I had been in a reading mood more often. I didn’t allow for giving myself time to chill and do something else. But, hey ho, I’d rather not burn out in the long run. Does it matter if I take a break and read a book in the last week of one month or the first week of the next? Not really.

Anyway – onwards and upwards! Let’s crack on with the list for August!

 

Thran Book 1: The Birth – Brian MacLaughlin

Goodreads – Thran Book 1

Set in the mythical world of Thran, a young warrior named Brutal Mixnor sets out on an adventure to uncover the truth about his father’s mysterious disappearance after a battle years earlier. Some longtime friends and new acquaintances join him in his search, each with their own reasons for braving the danger-filled wilds of the Cruel Pass. Follow the young adventurers and watch as their powers grow, along with the strength of the enemies they encounter. Discover the complex, imperfect, characters of all races, comprising the full spectrum of alignments (good, neutral, and evil) that weave their way into and out of the story, leaving their mark on the reader as the world of Thran is pushed towards cataclysmic war and suffering. For readers familiar with the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons(R), Thran Book I: The Birth will feel like a warm wave of nostalgia washing over you, and the unfamiliar will get a glimpse of what it’s like to be immersed into the heart of an adventure that transports you into a world where magic abounds and almost anything is possible, but nothing is certain. Visit https: //www.worldofthran.com/ to learn more about the world of Thran, including: character portraits, the world map, the pantheon of deities, and more!

 

I picked up a copy of this fantasy novel via Voracious Readers Only and I didn’t get the chance to pick it up last month, as intended. It’s the first book I’ll be picking up this month, however. I’ve had a very brief look at it – the first couple of pages really, and I’m optimistic that it will be an enjoyable read!

 

Duality – K. J. McGillick

Goodreads – Duality

Just when you think you’ve figured it all out, you’ll learn how wrong you’ve been.

What started out as a normal art restoration project for Melinda Martin soon took on a life of its own. Could this unusual painting actually be a Botticelli masterpiece thought to have perished as part of Savonarola’s Bonfire of the Vanities? Had Melinda’s friend, Lara, a well-known art picker inadvertently acquired stolen art; art that might have ties to the occult and worth millions? Did a bad business decision endanger everyone who touched this potential treasure?

When the painting disappears and both women are found dead, the police think it’s an open and shut case. The husband – it’s always the husband. He had means, motive, and opportunity, and acted strangely cold after the fact.

Is it a case of mistaken identity? Does a secret relationship put Mr. Martin in the crosshairs of an assassin sent to retrieve the painting? Or is he really a sociopath forger with mysterious ties to the Vatican?

Two sides of the same coin. Completely alike. Completely different.

 

I’m on another blog tour for one of K. J. McGillick’s books! Having read and enjoyed no less than four other books of hers already, I’m now going to be reviewing Duality for the upcoming tour. At this point, I will auto-accept tours for, or buy, her books. I think that says how much I like them…

 

The Fourth Victim – John Mead

Goodreads – The Fourth Victim

Three parks, three deaths, four victims, two grieving families, one murder enquiry team and an unknown number of killers. Can an answer be found? Whitechapel is being gentrified, the many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of peace, tranquillity and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder. Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looked as it the inspector was already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with her head bashed in, down to a mugging `gone wrong’. The victim deserved more. But the inspector isn’t ruling anyone out; the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer…

 

I am also taking part in a blog tour for The Fourth Victim this month. I was already looking forward to the book based on the genre and synopsis, but my impromptu read of The Chalk Man (and LOVING it!) has got me all the more excited to read more books in the thriller genre.

 

Elantris – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Elantris

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

 

Starting my Shelf Control series recently has got me thinking about how much of a backlist I have. It’s ridiculously long and I need to do something about it. So, here we are! This is the oldest item on the TBR; by the end of the month I’m hoping to be able to tick it off the list!

I have read a few books by Brandon Sanderson and really enjoyed them all, so I have no doubts about picking another of his books up at all.

So, only four books on the list this month. I am very aware that a couple of these are quite long, so I’m trying to take the pressure off. I would like to read more, but I’ll play it by ear. I may get the chance to pick up another impromptu book month and actually have time for it without sacrificing something else…

What books are on your TBR next month?

 

 

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Reading List – July 2019

It’s the beginning of the month, and so unsurprisingly, it’s time to publish a new reading list! I didn’t quite get finished with last month’s list, although I did read an impressive number of books! June was my best month for the number of books read in one month, but I confess in the last few days I burned out a little. I’m hoping a new month and reading list is just the refresher I need!

Shall we take a look at what books I am reading in July?

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’m picking up where I left off with this read. It’s the only book I didn’t finish from my June TBR. Considering there were a couple of late and impulsive additions to my list, I don’t think I fared all that badly! I’m around 100 pages in, so I’ll be looking to finish this in the next few days. I’d best get reading!

 

 

Scouse Gothic – Ian McKinney

 

Melville wakes with a pounding headache – there had been too many hangovers recently, but this one felt different. What had he been drinking last night? Then he remembered – it was blood.

Enter the bizarre world of Scouse Gothic where a reluctant vampire mourns a lost love and his past lives, where a retired ‘hit man’ plans one more killing and dreams of food, and a mother sets out to avenge her son’s murder, and, meanwhile, a grieving husband is visited by an angry angel.

Set in present day Liverpool, vampires and mortals co-exist, unaware of each others’ secrets and that their past and present are inextricably linked.

But as their lives converge, who will be expected to atone for past sins?

 

I’ve signed up to the upcoming blog tour for this book and I cannot wait to pick it up! It’s a little bit different to anything I have picked up before. I’m not really one for reading books that involve vampires, angels or such supernatural things. Saying that, I’m prepared to give it a go! The plot and modern twist sound really interesting!

 

 

Birth of the Mortokai – D G Palmer

 

Daniel Welsh was born different-and to Daniel, to be different means to be alone. But what if he’s wrong? Born an albino with a photographic memory, Daniel Welsh never expected to fit in. Yet, when he is approached by Trinity-a young girl who definitely isn’t human-she reveals a whole new world where he might just belong. Ariest is a place where his features aren’t a disability or the mark of a freak, but rather a trait of powerful mages born of human-faerie unions. His father is a renowned war hero and swordsman, his mother is a human doctor, and that makes him a powerful mage that’ll tip the scales. Magic is real – and so is the threat it brings. Trinity and her father, a battle mage, aren’t the only ones to have discovered Daniel and his gifts hidden in the human realm. The Shade have awakened. Enemies to the fae realm long thought dead have been lying in wait for their moment to strike. Young mages like Daniel are the perfect morsel for their starving appetites and they start their killing spree without delay with the nearest unsuspecting mage boy. Daniel cannot sit idly by while monsters take innocent lives, so he will embrace a destiny he is only just beginning to understand… even if it means losing a life that’s finally worth living. Birth of the Mortokai is a young adult coming of age fantasy adventure novel. Trigger warning: this novel contains descriptions of albinism, a real genetic disorder that affects 1/17,000 persons worldwide per year.

 

Birth of the Mortokai is another blog tour I have signed up for. It features a character from a minority group, a person with Albinism. From the synopsis, I get the impression that draws characters out of a judgemental and unkind society and celebrates their differences. This is a fantasy book with an element of magic, my favourite genre. For these things alone, I can’t wait to see if my first impressions are correct.

 

 

Kau d’Varza – David Noe

 

Even in the vastness of space, trouble finds a way.

When Elise Rivera arrived on Kau D’varza, a distant station near an anomaly known as the Void Cloud, she’d hoped to escape the troubles of her homeworld. Now, the appearance of a mysterious freighter places her new home under threat; a threat that Elise – along with station commissioner Gierre Nevos, his aide Specialist Kaska Stone, and a team led by Commander-Captain Joseph Raffa – must race against time to avert.

 

I am always looking to squeeze more science fiction into my reading schedule, so I was delighted to receive a request from David Noe to read his latest book. Keen-eyed readers may remember that I reviewed a book he co-authored when I first started my blog – Seeker. Since Seeker was such a hit with me, it makes sense to read Kau d’Varza, which is also set in the same Chaosnova Universe.

 

 

Thran Book 1: The Birth – Brian MacLaughlin

 

Set in the mythical world of Thran, a young warrior named Brutal Mixnor sets out on an adventure to uncover the truth about his father’s mysterious disappearance after a battle years earlier. Some longtime friends and new acquaintances join him in his search, each with their own reasons for braving the danger-filled wilds of the Cruel Pass. Follow the young adventurers and watch as their powers grow, along with the strength of the enemies they encounter. Discover the complex, imperfect, characters of all races, comprising the full spectrum of alignments (good, neutral, and evil) that weave their way into and out of the story, leaving their mark on the reader as the world of Thran is pushed towards cataclysmic war and suffering. For readers familiar with the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons(R), Thran Book I: The Birth will feel like a warm wave of nostalgia washing over you, and the unfamiliar will get a glimpse of what it’s like to be immersed into the heart of an adventure that transports you into a world where magic abounds and almost anything is possible, but nothing is certain. Visit https: //www.worldofthran.com/ to learn more about the world of Thran, including: character portraits, the world map, the pantheon of deities, and more!

 

I picked up a copy of this fantasy novel via Voracious Readers Only. I’m always interested in trying a new fantasy novel or series. I am really intrigued by the synopsis. It has all the components of epic fantasy: a quest, magic and conflict!

Can’t wait to see how it pans out!

 

 

A Dance with Dragons: Part 1 – George R. R. Martin

 

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone—a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

 

I am reading a lot of ARC’s this month. To balance it out, I am going to pick up A Dance with Dragons in between books. My goal is to finish it by the end of the month. I’m only aiming to read part 1 for the moment – it’s an epic in itself! If I get way ahead of myself then maybe I’ll live dangerously and strive for part 2 as well.

We’ll see.

What books are you reading this month?

 

 

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