Thursday, 28 January 2021

 

 

Some information about the book

Author: Jeff Wheeler

Title: Knight's Ransom

Publisher: 47 North

Date of Publication: 26th January 2021

Pages: 432

 
Synopsis

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. A brutal war of succession has plunged the court of Kingfountain into a power struggle between a charitable king who took the crown unlawfully and his ambitious rival, Devon Argentine. The balance of power between the two men hinges on the fate of a young boy ensnared in this courtly intrigue. A boy befittingly nicknamed Ransom.

When the Argentine family finally rules, Ransom must make his own way in the world. Opportunities open and shut before him as he journeys along the path to knighthood, blind to a shadowy conspiracy of jealousy and revenge. Securing his place will not be easy, nor will winning the affection of Lady Claire de Murrow, a fiery young heiress from an unpredictably mad kingdom.Ransom interrupts an abduction plot targeting the Queen of Ceredigion and earns a position in service to her son, the firstborn of the new Argentine dynasty. But conflict and treachery threaten the family, and Ransom must also come to understand and hone his burgeoning powers—abilities that involve more than his mastery with a blade and that make him as much a target as his lord.

Jeff Wheeler crafts a masterful tale of war, succession and intrigue in his latest book, Knight's Ransom.

Review
 
The story follows the tale of Marshall Barton, a hostage of King Gervase of Kingfountain. In a bid to bring Marshall’s father to heel, King Gervase is advised that in order to make him toe the line is to kill his child. However, things don’t go according to plan. Firstly, Marshall’s father refuses to acknowledge his son, thus making the death worthless, and King Gervase is not the type of king to callously kill a child.

When we get to the first chapter, we learn that Marshall has earned the name Ransom due to him being held as such. We learn that Ransom has been kept for years as a hostage and he has developed relationships at court with another child Claire de Murrow.

However, as with everything in Kingfountain, things change. The death of King Gervase signals change for Ransom and he is sent out into the world to make his own way. However, his father, a cold and frigid hearted man has cut Ransom out of the family and tells him that he has no place at his family home. His mother takes pity on him and gives him a letter of recommendation to take up a position with family member Lord Kinghorn. Thus starts Ransom's journey through the tumultuous waters of courtly politics and life as a knight.

Wheeler tells the story of Ransom extremely well. The character of Ransom is likeable, charming, sometimes a little annoying in his absolute goodness. He goes through life just wanting to make his way in the world and serve someone who is as loyal to him as he is to them. However, he goes through life being tested, having temptation put in his way and at times being out in the wilderness.

 The plot moves at a decent pace. There were times when I did think that the courtly intrigue did become a little sluggish and you could see that certain situations weren’t going to go that well and you wanted to shout at Ransom that he shouldn’t go there because we know it is going to go bad. However, Ransom refused to listen and did it anyway. 

Additionally, Wheeler gives us a pretty solid retinue of supporting characters, both good and bad. Sir James is a good character. I like how he is not as straightforward and when certain events happen with him, I thought I didn’t expect that. There are some surprising events that blindsided me that I didn't see coming. 
 
I liked that there is a reference to David Gemmell in there by calling the horse Gemmell.
 
Now, there is one thing that I did have a little difficulty with and that was the place names that are used in the world. Wheeler uses a number of English place names, like Folkestone, Connaught, North Cumbria, which on the whole did not bother me. However, when he uses Blackpool as a place name this jarred me a little, as this means something a little different to readers from the UK and I had a little difficulty picturing Blackpool in a medieval way. I know it must have been at some point.
 
The magic system was intriguing. I certainly want to know more about what a fountain blessed and what it means and what they can do. I liked the structure of the book with the diary entries at the end of the chapters. It is a good device to expand the world and give us another point of view and to detail wider world eventsThis is my first time reading Jeff Wheeler and I enjoyed this book. I will definitely reading the next part of the series

Sunday, 24 January 2021


 Here's some little bits of information

Title: The Year of the Witching

Author: Alexis Henderson 

Date published: 23rd July  2020

Publisher: Bantam Press

Pages:386


“Evil wears the skin of good men”

Alexis Henderson’s debut is a wonderfully glorious dark tale of witches, religious oppression and secrets.

I have seen mixed reviews for Alexis Henderson’s novel, The Year of the Witching, but for me I have to say from the outset that I loved it. I found Alexis Henderson’ story to be beguiling and evocative, and it seriously clicked with me.

The tale starts with the birth of our Protagonist, Immanuelle who lives in the town of Bethel. Bethel is a place that is governed by a strict puritanical religion and watched over by the Prophet, who maintains his power with the aid of his apostles.

The prologue immediately conjures a feeling of disquiet and we know that Immanuelle has a destiny, one that will unfold as she grows.

The story then jumps seventeen years to show us Immanuelle, kneeling prostrate at an altar awaiting the blessing of the father in the form of blood from the sacrificial lamb.

As Henderson tells the tale of Immanuelle, we quickly learn that Bethel is not a particularly nice place to live and that Immanuelle is considered to be somewhat of a pariah. Her mother, whilst betrothed to be one of the many wives of the Prophet, had a clandestine affair with a man from the outskirts. This does not go well, as Miriam is cast out and the poor man suffers an even worse fate.

This is a strange world in which the religion resembles a Christian religion, with the main deity being the Father, and that the opposing force is The Mother. Who we later learn is called The Dark Mother, not just because she resides in the darkness!

The town of Bethel is surrounded by The Dark Wood. The cursed home of the Dark Mother and her coven of witches. All are forbidden from entering the Dark Wood and all those who enter are immediately suspected of being witches. However, one day. On return from the market in which she must sell her ram in order to alleviate the harsh winter that her family have experienced. Immanuelle is drawn into the dark wood. And there, she is given the journal of her dead mother. The secrets that are held within will change everything. Both for Immanuelle and for all of Bethel.

This is quite a hard review to write in all honesty. It’s difficult to convey how much I enjoyed this book and not give away plot spoilers, but for you I’ll try.

I have seen many reviews likening this to The Handmaid's Tale, and it does bear a resemblance in that there is oppression both in the form of a Patriarchal religion and the oppression of women. I have also seen it mentioned that this is a horror. However, I found it to be more of a dark fantasy rather than horror.

One of things that really impressed me about the book was Alexis Henderson’s masterful ability to maintain a cloying sense of disquiet throughout the story. Whether it be from the supernatural elements, the oppressiveness of the religion, the duplicitous prophet or even from Immanuelle’s own family. Everything seemed to be off kilter and distorted in some way.

The book is populated by complex, well rounded characters. Immanuelle herself is a superb character that we see grow as the story progresses. In addition to that the other standout characters are her Grandmother Martha, the matriarch of the family, who is both harsh and loving of her granddaughter. The loathsome Prophet, Grant Chambers, whose puritanical and insidious influence spreads throughout all of the town of Bethel and he rules with a rod of iron and fear, unwilling to relinquish even the slightest bit of power. And then there is his son and heir, Ezra Chambers, who sees his father for what he is and wants to change the system.

Added to that, there are the Witches, Lillith and her coven whose influence seeps from the dark wood. She is used as a totem of fear and oppression to keep the women of Bethel in line. However, there is more to the story of Lillith who was banished to the dark wood by the first prophet David Ford, and we see that she is a multi-faceted character that whilst being an object of fear, this is not exactly the truth.

The book is peppered with a number of different prejudices. Not only are prejudices based on gender, but there is also colour of skin and class, and we learn that these views have a grip in all parts of the society. Immanuelle for instance, is of mixed heritage, culture and race. And she is not accepted by either those in the town of Bethel or the folk in The Outskirts.

Additionally, Alexis Henderson does a fantastic job of building the world around her characters, mapping out a well thought out world, complex political and religious systems. As we move through the book, she cleverly expands the story to encompass other parts of the world. The Dark Wood is malignant and foreboding, the Outskirts where the poor and the dispossessed, and those who are not white of skin reside. It then moves out to the towns around Bethel and gives us more of an insight of what lies beyond the gates

I found The Year of The Witching to be an engrossing and utterly compelling book. It has some very dark themes, but I did find the ultimate theme was one of change and emancipation. Not just from the shackles of oppression, but from the past and tradition and Alexis Henderson masterfully crafts subtle creeping atmosphere into the essence of the story and I for one loved it.

Oh, and just to mention that I actually listened to this story on audiobook which was fantastically narrated by Brianna Coleman.


Wednesday, 20 January 2021


 

Alex Award-winning author P. Djèlí Clark, A Dead Djinn in Cairo is a Tor.com original historcal fantasy set in an alternate early twentieth century infused with the otherworldly.

Egypt, 1912. In Cairo, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine.

What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and a plot that could unravel time itself.

 

This is a short story by P. Djeli Clark, clocking in at forty six pages, and I have to say that they are forty six pages of pure gold. 

I don't know how P. Djeli Clark does it, he must be a magician becasue he sets up this little self contained story with such craftsmanship.  When I read this was absolutely engrossed with this take on an alternative world in which Cairo is inhabited by Djinn, Clockwork Angels and murderous ghouls, all painted on a steampunk backdrop.

In such a short space of time, he introduces his snarky, bowler hat wearing female protagonist, Fatma el Sha'arawi at the scene of a death in which a Djinn has died in what appear to be suspicious circunstances. Fatma is an investigator in the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Emtities, who besides wearing a bolwer hat, carrying a specially made cane, likes to look 'exotic' by wearing an english style suit. As soon as Fatma quips at the salacious police chief Aasim in the first scene I knew I was going to like her. However, P. Djeli Clark just populates his little world with brilliantly realised characters.

Immediatley you are thrust into a world which is vibrant and colourful, and that is surprisingly expansive. Cairo is brilliantly realised with trams, motorised cariages and strange flying machines. Clark builds the world so vividly that never once are you lost as you move through the city with Fatma.

The pace of the story is like a runaway motorised carriage and it takes you along at such a speed you are shortly out of breath. Honestly, from begining to end not one word is wasted. And before you know it, you are at the climactic end, holding your breath until events play out. 

I will most definitelybe seeking out the next instalments of these stories, with the Novella 'The Haunting of Tram Car 015 and Clark's debut novel, The Master of Djinn. Which is to be relaesed in May 2021. I'm not sure if they have Fatma el Sha'arawi in, but I hope so!




Monday, 18 January 2021




Good evening Fantasy Book Nerds


We are well and truly into 2021 and I am hoping to get my TBR into order. This year I am hoping to do a number of different series and finally start some of those books that people talk about. Now in this post, most of these are completed series or series that are due to be finished in 2021 and might have two books in there already. So, let’s get down to it!

1. John Gwynne – The Faithful and the Fallen 
 
This is one that I have been meaning to read for such a long time and I intend to sink my teeth into these this year. I recently bought the physical books in order to give me a physical reminder that they are there. Obviously, I am not going to say much about these books as everyone has already written a ton of stuff about these books and I think everyone agrees that they are simply superb.

2. The Poppy War Series by R.F. Kuang

The third book in the series ‘The Burning God’ was released late last year. I have had the books on my Kindle for ages and have not got around to reading them. The books sound really good, epic fantasy that combines the history of China with Gods and Monsters. Hmm, sounds just up my alley.

3. The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis & Tracey Hickman
 
This is a readalong with some other bloggers. I read these years and years ago. I have actually started this series and read Dragons of Autumn Twilight. It’s funny when I read this recently, as I could not recall a lot about this, so it was a pleasant read, having little details come back to me from the mists of time. I was like, ‘Oh Yeah, I remember that!’.

4. The Paternus Trilogy by Dyrk Ashton
 
If you don’t know this is described as an urban fantasy and I started the first one years ago. However, something happened, and I got waylaid by life for some reason. However, I recently purchase the whole trilogy during a sale of SPFBO authors (if you see that sale, I highly recommend that you have a look at it if it is still on!). I have seen all sorts of descriptions about this, like American Gods meets The Avengers or Supernatural meets Lord of the Rings. I don’t know if they particularly apply but I can’t wait to read them.

5. The Ash & Sand series by Richard Nell 
 
Lots of people have described this as the darkest of dark fantasy, and that leaves me intrigued. I know very little about this series and I want to keep it that way. I like to go in blind to a series as it halts the expectations that you have, and you can read them on their own merit rather than having a preconceived idea about what to expect.

6. The War Eternal by Rob J. Hayes 
 
The War Eternal (3 book series) Kindle Edition 
I have a load of books by Rob J. Hayes on my Kindle, follow his website and get his monthly news letter (If you are interested in SP authors this is a really good resource that Rob does on a monthly basis), so why have I never read his books. Main reason is time. However, this year I am going to make sure that I do. I hear nothing but good things about Rob Hayes.

7. The Daevabad Trilogy by S. A Chakrobarty
 
Another one that has been on my Kindle for ages. I like tales of Djinn and I like tales that are not set in a medieval western setting, so that seems to be my boxes ticked, and apparently (I'm not sure if it is true) but Edgar Wright's company, Complete Fiction has picked this up to develop a Netflix series. So, I may be able to act all superior and go like, yah, I read the book years ago!

8. The Powder Mage Trilogy by Brian McCellan
 
This is a favourite of many other bloggers that I respect immensley. And let me tell you , they know their books. So, this is something that I want to read really bad. This is something that is new to me, flintlock fantasy, so that really interested me.

9. The Godblind Trilogy by Anna Stephens

I was recently introduced to Anna Stephens when I read her latest book The Stone Knife. If you haven't read it, then honestly, get a hold of it. The Stone knife is tremendous book and I gave it five stars on good reads, and there is a review of it on the site.


10. The Gifted & The Cursed by Marcus Lee



I started with this last year. I really enjoyed Kings and Daemons. I need to read Tristan's Folly and will get this read by the time the third book, End of Dreams comes out (There is a blog tour for it in February and fingers crossed I will get on that). End of Dreams is one of my most anticipated books of this year, so I will let you know.

11. Dan Fitzgerald - The Maer Cycle
 
I'm always saying this, but it's true. I have Got Dan's books on my kindle (and a signed copy of Archive - pretty much one of my prozed possessions). This is the story of the return of legends long since thought disappeared. The third one comes out this year so I cannot wait for this.

I don't know what the covers look like for the last two series as they come out this year.
 
There's a few series that are ongoing that I want to get to this year, like;

War for The Rose Throne by Peter Mclean.

This is due to be a four books series and the third one is out this year. The story revolves around Tomas Piety, a crime boss newly returned from the war to find that his business has been taken over.

Five Warrior Angels by Brian Lee Durfee

I have the first two books in this series and have heard so many good things. This is osme of the blurb

'Welcome to the Five Isles, where war has come in the name of the invading army of Sør Sevier, a merciless host driven by the prophetic fervor of the Angel Prince, Aeros, toward the last unconquered kingdom of Gul Kana. Yet Gault, one of the elite Knights Archaic of Sør Sevier, is growing disillusioned by the crusade he is at the vanguard of just as it embarks on his Lord Aeros’ greatest triumph.'


Sounds cool, eh?


Well as a famous talking rabbit says 'That's all Folks!'
















Friday, 15 January 2021

 

Here is some info about the book

Title: Inscape

Author: Louise Carey

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 21st January 2021

Pages: 334


Louise Carey’s stylish and sleek first book is a sci fi thriller set in a post - apocalyptic London.

Following a cataclysmic event called The Meltdown, the world has been taken over by Corporations, run by boards and CEO’s. These Corporations are warring factions that dominate the people of the world and the story revolves the cold war between Intech and the breakaway corporation Thoughtfront, who have both taken control of London, dividing it equally on each side of the Thames. 

The story starts with a mission to retrieve some stolen data files that have been taken to a place that has no allegiance to either of the two Corporations called the ‘Unaffiliated Zone’. And it is here that we meet Tanta. A rookie agent for the Intech Corporation who has been given the task by her mentor ‘Jen’ to retrieve the stolen files. However, the mission is a disaster and the squad is attacked by an enemy agent. 

After returning to Headquarters, Tanta is debriefed and despite her first field assignment not going to plan, she is given the task of finding out what was on the stolen files. She is quickly promoted from rookie to Agent and later in the story, introduced to her ‘partner’ Cole. A neuro engineer that has been involved in a corporate accident, that whilst leaving him incapable of carrying out his original job, he is still a valuable asset, particularly in relation to this case. 

As we move through the story, we are introduced to the world of Inscape. From the very beginning of the book, Louise Carey carefully starts introducing to the world and the technology that is predominant in the book. We are shown that the Inscape is a piece of biotech that overlays the world that the protagonists live in with an Augmented Reality. I really like this idea of the Inscape, and Louise Carey does a fantastic job of showing the reader how the it affects the characters and those around them.

One of the strengths of the book, is that Louise Carey does not info dump the world on you but unfurls the environment as the story progresses and we are always learning some new nugget of information about the city. She carefully adds layer upon layer of information showing how the environment, monetary systems, political systems and technology impact on those living in this world and it organically feels part of the story rather than one big info dump which you can get in both sci – fi and fantasy novels. 

Inscape mainly revolves around the two main characters, Tanta and Cole. These are the two that have to hold the weight of the story on their shoulders. So, it is a good job that they are solid, believable and relatable characters. Especially Tanta! 

When we first meet Tanta, I didn't wholly gel with her. She’s a little too quick to please the commands of her mentor Jen, and the corporation as a whole. It almost seems to border on subservience. We learn that she is a Corpsward, an orphan who has been brought up by Intech and we know that there is something a little off about Tanta (I am not going to elaborate too much as this is part of the plot). As the plot moves on and events come into play. Tanta changes and you warm to her more. Particularly in the second part of the book! This is when Tanta starts to learn and experiences things about those she works with and herself. As she realises the impact of the thing she discovers, she changes, and we get to share that change with her.

Cole is a little different. As I said earlier, he has been involved in an accident that has rendered him unfit to complete his original job. In some ways, when they first meet it reminded me of the traditional pairing story in a police procedural. One cop does it strictly by the book and is teamed with the maverick who breaks all the rules. However, the relationship between the two grows throughout the book, and again, Carey cleverly layers this growing relationship and we learn that this friendship doesn’t come out of the blue. As the story progresses we can see that there are reasons for this relationship and that Cole has some latent feelings for Tanta. 

From the very first chapter, Louise Carey immerses you in the story from the outset. And, even though initially you are a little disorientated with the world of Inscape, trying to work out what this does, why this works the way it does etc.go with the flow and you will find that all is revealed one way or another. 

It took me a little bit to get used to the book at first as it is written in the present tense. I have always found that I have a bit of a difficulty getting into books that are written in the present tense, for some reason. I don’t know why, but I need a period of adjustment. However, it didn’t take me long and then I was fine, happily immersed in the world of Inscape. 

Obviously, as a thriller, you need to be able to write good action sequences. And Louise Carey certainly can write good action sequences. The hand to hand combat sequence with the enemy agent for instance is cracking. The visual aesthetics of it really worked and I felt that I was actually watching this on a screen in my head rather than it being a sequence of letters on a page. 

On the whole, I enjoyed this book. The pace is cracking, the writing immersive, the action sequences excellently visual, and the characters are solid and relatable. As one of the first books that I read this year, I hope the rest of the books that I read can compare to this standard. Apparently, this is the first one of a series. So I cannot wait to see what happens next.

I initially received an advanced reading copy for Inscape from Netgalley and the Publishers. My thanks go to them for this opportunity to read this ARC.
 
The book will be released on 
21st January 2020


Monday, 11 January 2021

Welcome Fantasy Book Nerds to 
#MusicMonday

So, what is music Monday? Well, it is where I put up a song that I really like. 

It was started by The Tattooed Book Geek
If you haven't visited The Tattooed Book Geek's website, go and have a look. It's really good! And it is one of the blogs that I follow. 




Lyrics

I always flirt with death
I look ill but I don't care about it
I can face your threats and
Stand up straight and tall and shout about it
I think I'm on another world with you
With you
I'm on another planet with you
With you
You get under my skin
I don't find it irritating
You always play to win
But I won't need rehabilitating
Oh no
I think I'm on another world with you
With you
I'm on another planet with you
With you
Another girl, another planet
Another girl, another planet
Space travel's in my blood
There ain't nothing I can do about it
Long journeys wear me out but
I know I can't live without it
Oh no
I think I'm on another world with you
With you
I'm on another planet with you
With you
Another girl, who's loving you now
Another planet, who's holding you down
Another planet

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Peter Albert Neil Perrett
Another Girl, Another Planet lyrics © Perrett, Peter A.



Friday, 8 January 2021

 

Where to start with Terry Pratchett


For all those people that have not read Terry Pratchett, why not? You will love it, although I do realise that his books are not for everyone.

I started reading Terry Pratchett in 1987 when I first picked up Mort from the library. I found it hilarious. It was something that was completely different  and fresh. This was the fourth book at the time, so I did not have to go too far back when I wanted to read his back catalogue. I think at the time, there were only three other Discworld novels and also his earlier works, Dark Side of the Sun (1976) and Strata (1981) and there was also a children’s book called ‘The Carpet People’ which had been published in 1971.

After that, Terry Pratcchett books became a staple of my book buying and also most likely my life as I also have a pretty decent collection of the old Clarecraft figures which were produced in the 90’s. In fact, I actually met him on a few occasions and got books signed by him (up until earlier this week, they were the only books that I ever had that were signed). He was generally a lovely, affable man when I met him, and I have to say at the time I did not know how popular he would become. It was a great loss to both fantasy fiction and British Literature when he died aged 66 in 2015.

Now going back to my earlier statement of why haven’t you read Terry Pratchett? Well it is quite easy really isn’t it. I think on the whole he wrote about 70 books, not all of those were set in the Discworld, but there is a large majority of them set there. I think he wrote about 41 in total. And there were the other books that he wrote that connected in there, like The Science of the Discworld (which he wrote four books with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen) and also The Folklore of the Discworld (written with Jacqueline Simpson). So, when it comes to starting these books it must seem pretty daunting! *See Below

A Bit about The Discworld

Let’s give some background to what the Discworld is!

The Discworld is a flat planet that lies on the backs of four elephants (Berelia, Tubul, Great T’Phon and Jerekeen) who all stand on the back of the Giant Star Turtle, Great A’ Tuin.

 

 

(Now this might seem a little bit out there,  but it does bear a striking resemblance to Hindu Cosmology in which the tortoise Chukwa supports eight elephants, four named male elephant, Viroopaakshaa (east), Mahaapadma (south), Saumanasa (West) and Bhadra (north) and four unnamed female elephants)**See Below

Now, the first book in the series was The Colour of Magic, which was published in 1983 and this introduced us to Rincewind (apprentice wizzard because it says so on his hat!), Twoflower and the Luggage (a magical luggage trunk that has a hundreds of tiny legs, a voracious appetite and a really bad temper!).

The other character that everyone remembers is Death (who really likes cats and has a daughter called Ysabell. Oh, and a horse called Binky).

“What is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”
Death thought about it.
CATS, he said eventually. CATS ARE NICE.” - SOURCERY by Terry Pratchett

The  other characters of note are Captain Sam Vimes, and my personal favourites the three Witches (Esme (Granny) Weatherwax, Gytha (Nanny) Ogg and Margrat Garlick).


For the first time in her life Granny wondered whether there might be something important in all these books people were setting such store by these days, although she was opposed to books on strict moral grounds, since she had heard that many of them were written by dead people and therefore it stood to reason reading them would be as bad as necromancy. - From Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett


 

However, there are a multitude of characters throughout all his books (my personal favourite is Cut-me - own – throat Dibbler) ***

One of the things that I love about Pratchett is that whilst set in a fantasy world, they are generally a parody of the non sensical aspects of our own world and they centre around such things as film making (Moving Pictures), newspaper publishing (The Truth), religion (Small Gods), music industry (Soul Music) and all sorts of other things.

So, the question is where do I start with this series?

Well for one you could go in publication order and start from the very beginning with The Colour of Magic and work your way through them like that. ****

Or maybe you could cut it into tiny digestible pieces and read it by character. Like read all the Death books (I think there are 5), The Witches books (6), The City Watch (The largest amount of books clocking in at 8), Moist von Lipwig (3) Rincewind/The Wizards (7) and the Tiffany Aching Books (5)*****

You could dip your toe in and read some of the standalones, or gateway books like Mort, Small Gods, or Moving Pictures

Or maybe you want to do it your own way and just do whatever. They are all fine, these are suggestions.

However, there are a load of sites out there but a couple that I like are:

www.terrypratchett.com and www.discworldemporium.com (which is also a shoppe, so beware! There are loads of oooh too many tempting things on there)

So, if you want to start reading Terry Pratchett, I hope you find this useful.

Oh, and if you were wondering about the little asterisks. Each one will go to a little comment at the bottom of the page. This is a sneaky training session to getting you used to these as Pratchett’s book have these and lead to some funny comments at the bottom of the page.

*I am only doing the Discworld in this post, I might be here all night if I have to write about the rest of his books. I have a job you know! And a nerd needs to sleep, you know!

**If any of those facts are wrong, I take no responsibility for any of it. It was the internet and we all know what that is like!

*** And there is a multitude of supporting characters

**** That’s the way that I read them, coz I had to wait for the next instalment (patiently, very patiently!)

***** These are what would be called Young Adult in todays publishing terminology


Wednesday, 6 January 2021

WWW WEDNESDAY - 6th January 2021

 


 
Good day Fantasy Book Nerds.

This week, I have decided to have a go at WWW Wednesday, and this is my first entry into this weekly meme thing.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Taking On A World Of Words where you just answer three questions.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?




What am I Currently reading?


The book that I am reading is an Advanced Reading Copy of Louise Carey’s ‘Inscape’, which comes out on 21st January 2021.                                                                                                    I am only about a quarter of the way through it. However, so far, I am enjoying it. I found it a bit weird at first as it is written in the present tense and for some reason, I always have a bit of a problem with books written in the present tense. I don’t know why, but I overcame this and quite enjoying it.

As a pretty new addition to the Blogsphere, the predominant genre that I have been reading is fantasy. However, as this is a new year, I want to more Sci - Fi reviews on the site ab

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
However, that is not the only book that I am reading.                                                                                                  I am also reading Elantris By Brandon Sanderson.This is a readalong with Ben’s Blurbs Cosmere conquest. The aim of the readalongs is to read all of the Cosmere books by Brandon Sanderson.               

This is the second time that I have read the book and it is interesting reading it this time as there are bits that I forgot. It’s fun doing a readalong with others as you get other people’s views and comments as they work their way through the book



 
 

What did you recently finish reading?

I have just finished reading ‘Blood, Metal, Bone’ by Lindsay Cummings. Another ARC, which is due to be released on 7th January 2021.

I thought this was a good book, although, for me, I had some problems with it.

The story is a mix of Sci – Fi and epic fantasy. It’s an interesting mix and it kind of works. I have just done a review for it on Monday, so if you interested, take a look and see if it is for you.

What do you think you’ll read next? 


Well there is no think about it, I am definitely reading ‘Dragons of Autumn Twilight’ by Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman. This is a buddy read with Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub.

It’s a number of years since I read this and I have to say that whilst I recall the main plot, I can’t really remember all of the things that happen in it. I have read a lot of books since then and I am much older than when I first read it. But I have to say that I am really looking forward to returning to the Forgotten Realms.

So, there you have it, my first WWW Wednesday. Hope you like it.
Happy Reading!












Monday, 4 January 2021

 Thank You Dan Fitzgerald!

Well, today was a good day. It was the first day of work and you know what that is like bluuurgh. But lo and behold, text received from the Mrs - you have a book, from Dan Fitzgerald. Everybody was a sispicious because I was smiling on my first day back.

Yep, I got a book and it was signed. 

It was such a lovely surprise and I cannot wait to read it. It was on my TBR anyway

look at these!





Some little nuggets of information about the book


Title: Blood Metal Bone

Author: Lindsay Cummings

Publisher: HQ Young Adult

Date of Publication: 7th January 2021

Pages: 384 


Lindsay Cummings' new novel is an enjoyable genre-fusing mix of Sci-fi and Fantasy. 

Maybe, when picking your next book to read you might have a hard time deciding between SciFi or fantasy. Lindsay Cummings must have been thinking this when writing Blood, Metal, Bone. But then she just thought, well why do I need to choose? Let's stick 'em in a blender and see what it tastes like. 

Blood, Metal, Bone tells the story of Sonara. Cinderella bastard child of the warrior queen of Soeria, who when we first meet her is forced to maintain the horses of her mother's stable. She has a deep bond with her brother, Soahm the crown prince of the aforementioned land and jewel of his mother's eye. 

However, one fateful day, a spaceship with a phoenix symbol takes Soahm, we don’t where or why, he’s just taken. Subsequently, Sonara gets the blame for this and it is assumed that she has nefariously done away with the crown prince. She is then publicly flogged by her mother, placed on a horse that her beloved brother gave her, and then forced to ride over the edge of a cliff. 

 Well, there’s no coming back from that one! The End! 

Not quite the end, because Sonara comes back from the dead as a Shadowblood, a mysterious, magicy type of … person. The story then moves forward ten years and we meet Sonara again. Now she is working with a gang of cutpurses and she has taken up the mantle of The Devil of the Deadlands, a badass thief with magical powers. However, the shadow of her missing brother hangs over her and she is determined to find out what happened to him. 

Lindsay Cummings' book is an interesting one, in that she mixes a number of different things together in this plot-driven story. In fact, she chucks everything at you Medieval fantasy that includes dragons, magic swords and quests, and then she also has a Sci-Fi story that has space smugglers, shady conglomerates, and alternative earths. 

The points of view are mainly from Sonara (the medieval fantasy bit) who after been brought back from death, is surviving by being a thief in the Deadlands with other like-minded individuals who have also been brought back from the dead and now have magical powers. The other point of view comes from Karr (the sci - fi bit) who is a space smuggler aboard a spaceship called Starfall. Initially, the book is split into these two protagonists' individual story and you are wondering what on earth the girl with the sword and the boy in the spaceship has in common. 

Well, it’s obvious innit, Einstein! Brother gets pinched from his planet by a strange spaceship, what more do you need? Yep, that is what I thought too. However, Lindsay Cummings skilfully weaves, twists, and manipulates this story to leave you with answers that quite honestly, I didn't see coming. And I enjoyed the spaceship ride that she took me on. 

However, not only are there two points of view, there are two separate stories happening at the same time and at first, this can make the book a little disjointed, making you split your brain a little bit because you have to throw yourself into two separate settings.

 Firstly there’s Sonara’s adventures in the Deadlands as she tries to steal stuff from the tyrannical King of the Deadlands, gets sent to jail, gets saved by her gang (who have a Dragon!), and then gets hired by a deposed princess and her skeleton encased friend to undertake a quest. Oh, and she has to come to grips with the magic powers that she gained when she was brought back from the dead, why she was brought back from the dead with all her mates, and work out her relationships with those around her, including her ex-boyfriend who also had a bit of a thing with the deposed princess and is a bit of a one! 

Phew, that’s enough for one book there! However, Lindsay Cummings doesn’t stop there, she also gives us the tale of Karr and his brother Cade, who are escaping the tyrannical Jeb, who took them in as children when their parents were murdered and forced them to do some pretty underhanded jobs for him. To escape him Cade decides that taking up with a mysterious head of the shady conglomerate is the best way to escape Jeb’s clutches 

The Head of the shady conglomerate then gives them a quest to get a mysterious object that is located on Sonara’s planet and can save the galaxy from a deadly disease called the ‘Reaper’, which has decimated the people of Earth and forced them to create a second Earth called Beta Earth. In the process, Karr realises that he doesn’t want to do the space smuggling thingy anymore and wants to be an artist, and he has to work out his relationship with his brother. 

Now, I know that that sounds like a lot and that it may be a little confusing. But honestly, it kinda works. The stories do converge and become one and that is quite a feat, but Lindsay Cummings manages to pull it off well, and when the stories do converge we rush headlong onto the end of the book and what on earth all those things have to do with each other, beat the bad guy and discover why the Deadlands gang all have these mutant powers and who or what brought them back from the dead in the first place. 

 I enjoyed this book. Lindsay Cummings is a writer that treats her audience with respect. Whilst it is not up there with something like Grimdark, Cummings does pepper the story with some violence and does not shy away from it. She also introduces some complexity to the plot that twists and turns and keeps you guessing to the very end. She introduces curveballs constantly throughout the plot that leaves your brain a bit numb. In fact, at some points I met myself coming back, there were that many twists and turns in the story. 

The only downside is that because there is so much in the book. I didn’t feel that I connected with the characters enough. It was like being in a perfectly decorated house, but something was a little amiss. At times, I didn’t feel that the characters quite hit their mark. For instance, Sonara was not particularly devilish, she could be a bit grumpy, but she wasn’t entirely devilish. For me, it was the same with quite a lot of the characters. I don’t want to go into it too much as this would spoil the plot. 

Additionally, I felt that since there was so much in the book, a couple of storylines just didn’t feel finished. Particularly the shady space conglomerate. I just felt that I needed to know some more about them. 

I’m not sure if there is another book planned, but there is definitely lots more room to carry on the story of Sonara, Karr, and the magic gang. 

 On the whole, the book has a mix of fantasy and sci-fi that I enjoyed right till the very end.


Music Monday

 
Welcome Fantasy Book Nerds, this is my first Music Monday. This is the first time that I have taken part in this little venture. It was started by The Tattooed Book Geek
 
If you haven't visited The Tattooed Book Geek's website, go and have a look. It's really good! And it is one of the blogs that I follow. 
 
So, what is music Monday? Well, it is where I put up a song that I really like. 
 
Now these are songs that I like, you may or may not like them, I don't know your music tastes. However, if you do go and check it out. Now a word of warning. I do like metal and you will probably see some on here. However, I have a pretty varied musical taste and there might be something you like, you never know!
 
Anyway, onto my first song. This is one of my favourite artists of all time. He has been putting out music for about three decades and in my opinion is an absolute genius. So without much further ado, I give you Steven Wilson.
 
 Steven Wilson has been involved with lots of different music projects. The first time I heard him was with his original project Porcupine Tree. However, his musical output is phenomenal and he has done other things like Bass Communion, No Man, Storm Corrosion (with Opeth front man Mikael Akerfeldt) and Blackfield. I am sure I have missed some because he is so prolific. He is also known as a producer. He has become known as a 5.1 surround sound producer and has remastered a number of classic prog albums including Jethro Tull, Marillion and King Crimson.
So, it is hard to choose just one song, so I will probably be revisiting his music again at some point in the future, but for this week I am going to put up Routine from his album Hand. Cannot. Erase
 

 

Routine is a heart rending song about a woman who has lost her family. She engages in the routine that she had when they were all there so that she can bury the grief that she feels. 

The video is directed by Jess Cope using stop motion animation. 

Every time I hear this song, I have a lump in my throat, especially when Isreali singer Nenet Tayib's vocals kick in.

Hopefully you will like this. It is a long song, clocking in at about nine minutes, but stick with it, it's brilliant. 

The lyrics are below if you want to sing along.
 

Routine

Song by Steven Wilson


What do I do with all the children's clothes
such tiny things that still smell of them
And the footprints in the hallway
onto my knees scrub them away

And how to be of use make the tea and the soup
All of their favorites throw them away
And all their schoolbooks and the running shoes
Washing and cleaning the dirty still sink

Routine keeps me in line
Helps me pass the time
Concentrate my mind
Helps me to sleep

And keep making beds and keep the cat fed
Open the Windows let the air in
And keep the house clean and keep the routine
Paintings they make still stuck to the fridge

Keep cleaning keep ironing
Cooking their meals on the stainless steel hop
Keep washing keep scrubbing
Long until the dark comes to bruise the sky
Deep in the debt to night
 
Routine keeps me in line
Helps me pass the time
Helps me to sleep
 
Routine keeps me in line
Helps me pass the time
Helps me to sleep

The most beautiful morning forever
Like the ones from far off, far off away
With the hum of the bees in the jasmine sway
Don't ever let go
Try to let go
Don't ever let go
Try to let go
Don't ever




Friday, 1 January 2021


Happy New Year! 

To all you Fantasy Book Nerds everywhere!

Well, here we are on the first day of the New Year. I hope the celebrations went well and you were able to share time with everyone you hold special.

As we come into the New Year, I have no doubt that you may have set yourself new reading goals and Challenges. 

Me too! 

So, throughout 2021, I will be taking part in two readalongs with different groups. The first one is working my way through Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere books over at Ben's Blurbs.

This is reading a book a month starting with Elantris.

(it may take some time to write this post as my dog, Alfie, is obsessed with his new Christmas presents and is demanding to play! Calm down Alfie!)

I read Elantris earlier this year and although not Sanderson's best, it is quite good. I think the problem with Elantris is that many people come to it after reading Mistborn or The Stormlight Archives and the fact that Sanderson's greatness is already established. However, if we put Elantris into context and forget all that stuff, Elantris is an excellent debut from a promising new author. It has excellent worldbuilding and the magic system is exceellent with believable and enthralling characters. Yep, already Sanderson is developing his trademarks and they shine through.

(There is also a discord channel for this readalong called Cosmere conquest which is a lovely community of bloggers and people taking part)

The second readalong that I am taking part in is The Malazan readalong with the excellent Mike's Book Reviews. If you haven't seen Mike's Book Reviews on Youtube, I urge you to seek him out. He presents reviews of books in a warm, friendly and comprehensive way (and he has a cup and T-shirt collection to die for!).

As well as starting Elantris, I will also be reading Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson.


I have heard so many things about this series, and although I am looking forward to it, I do have a slight bit of trepidation entering into this one. So, I will update you with my progress.

There is plenty of support out there, particularly on my twitter buddy's excellent blog Under the Radar blog

Under the Radar is doing  a Discord channel to discuss and support those taking part, as well as Mike's Book Reviews Discord Channel (which you can find in the info for his channel on youtube)

I also have a buddy read with one of my other favorite book blogs Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

For this buddy read, I am re - reading The Dragonlance Chronicles 

I read these many moons ago and I loved them. However, this will be like reading new books again for me bescause to be honest, I cannot recall much about them except the bare bones of the story, so I am looking forward to that immensley.

In addition to these books, I will be continuing to tackle the Mythical beast known as the TBR and bringing you reviews of the books that I have read. Starting with Blood, Metal, Bone by Lindsay Cummings. I need to write it first because I have only just finished it.

This year, I am determined to start my journey in The Banished Lands. Many of my book blogging compatriots have been telling me for ages that I need to read this as John Gwynne's books are excellent. So as a bit of a motivator, I went and bought the first two books yesterday, along with Northern Wrath by Thilde Kold Holdt.

Vikings on my mind!

So, In the inimitable words of a famous cartoon rabbit.

That's All Folks!

So, what plans do you have? 

Are you taking part in any readalongs or buddy reads? Have books that you plan to read? 

Whatever they are, I wish you all good luck and will hopefully see you back here again soon!

Happy Reading!




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Welcome to my website. Hopefully, you are all like minded individuals here and are interested in the fantasy genre. Mostly, I will be reviewing books that I like. It might not always be fantasy, there might be some horror or science fiction.

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