Friday, 30 July 2021


 Hello and good evening everyone.

Well, I do have some reviews to write but I haven't quite written them as yet. I know! I know! HOw can you have a review site when you haven't written a review. Well, dear readers, I have been on a little bit of a staycation and I have also been familiarising myself with some new (it's really old though) imaging software, and whenever I get started with that, time just flies I am afraid.

So anyway, on to the post. I never usually do this, because when it comes to TBR's, I never know where my mood will take me, and as a mood reader, I tend to veer off strict TBR lists. However, this time, I am going to try and stick to this one!

So what do we have in store for you this month. Well, to be honest with you, this month is a pretty full up month. There are a couple of tours with The Write Reads Tours. one of these is one of my favorites from last year, and that is Marcus Lee's 'Kings & Daemons.

I will also be hosting another tour for Fireborn Twelve and the Frozen Forest by Aisling Fowler, which is a middle grade fantasy, so might be one to watch out for if you have a younger fantasy book nerd in the house. 

 
As you can see, it's a pretty full month!

Let's have a little closer look. As you can see there are a couple ARCS on there. Let's go from top to bottom, left to right. Just to make you aware, the pictures are not in order of their to be read status. I will read them according to priority, and some have a bit more priority than others due to archive dates (the dates that Netgalley shut down their feedback thingy)

First up is:

The Hand of the Sun King by J.T. Greathouse.

I have so much about this and I have been dying to read it. 

All my life, I have been torn between two legacies: that of my father, whose roots trace back to the right hand of the Emperor. That of my mother's family, who reject the oppressive Empire and embrace the resistance.

I can choose between them - between protecting my family, or protecting my people - or I can search out a better path . . . a magical path, filled with secrets, unbound by Empire or resistance, which could shake my world to its very foundation.

But my search for freedom will entangle me in a war between the gods themselves . . .

Next up will be The Serpent & The Dead by Anna Stephens.

I mean come on, Anna Stephens doing a Marvel book about Brumhilde & Lady Sif. In Asgard! What's not to get excited about.


In The Serpent and the Dead, Brunnhilde the Valkyrie, the fearsome Asgardian warrior entrusted with conveying worthy souls to the heroes’ afterlife, stalks a battlefield finding only empty husks. Yet the souls are not already in Valhalla, or the lesser afterworlds—they have vanished.

She enlists the aid of the valiant Lady Sif, and together they scour Asgard for answers. Rumors abound of towns being attacked by a horde of soldiers who cannot be killed. Someone is building an immortal army and stealing Asgardian souls… A worthy challenge for two of Asgard’s mightiest champions!

Now, the rest are in no particular order.

Paladin Unbound by Jeff Speight has been getting a lot of positive results and I really neeeeed to read this. From what I have seen this is classic fantasy done well. 

The last of a dying breed, a holy warrior must rise up against a growing darkness in Evelium.
The most unlikely of heroes, a lowly itinerant mercenary, Umhra the Peacebreaker is shunned by society for his mongrel half-Orc blood. Desperate to find work for himself and his band of fighters, Umhra agrees to help solve a rash of mysterious disappearances, but uncovers a larger, more insidious plot to overthrow the natural order of Evelium in the process.
As Umhra journeys into the depths of Telsidor’s Keep to search for the missing, he confronts an ancient evil and, after suffering a great loss, turns to the god he disavowed for help.
Compelled to save the kingdom he loves, can he defeat the enemy while protecting his true identity, or must he risk everything?

Fireborn by Aisling Fowler is for the Write Reads Tour.  

Lyra. Lucy. Percy. Once in a generation, a hero emerges whose story enthralls readers worldwide.

Fireborn is an epic quest, perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials and The School for Good and Evil series, that will spin readers into a magical world like no other--and introduce them to an unforgettable new heroine named Twelve.

Ember is full of monsters.

Twelve gave up her name and identity to train in the art of hunting them--so she says. The truth is much more deadly: she trains to take revenge on those who took her family from her.

But when Twelve's new home is attacked, she'll find herself on an unexpected journey, where her hidden past is inescapably intertwined with her destiny--and the very fate of her world.

A book that I am really interested to read is The Hellborn King by Christopher Benning. 

A KINGDOM AT WAR.
A ROYAL FAMILY AT WAR WITH ITSELF.

After the massacre of his people, Damien Dreadfire leads a patchwork army of unlikely allies against the Kingdom of Betanthia. The alliance teeters on the edge of a knife, as old rivalries between clans threatens to tear it apart. With the help of his trusted friend, Einarr, and a strange mystic, Damien launches a bold offensive that will decide the future of the free lands. Short on time, and even shorter on men, the fate of a once vibrant culture and its people rests on the outcome of the next battle. 

 Meanwhile, Betanthia's crown prince, Gareth Bethard, faces dangers of his own. With his family coming apart at the seams and a growing conspiracy afoot, he tries desperately to hold everything together. Even as Gareth grapples with inner demons, he must learn to take up his father's mantle as the protector of civilization and defeat Damien's invading horde. It's only the fate of a thousand-year dynasty resting on his shoulders, after all. 

A book that I have had knocking about for ages is The Broken Heart of Arelium by Alex Robbins.  

Now to be honest, I don't know much about this book, which makes it exciting. As I have said before, I love going into a book with no prior knowledge as I feel like a bit of an explorer, charting unknown territory. 

Some Things Must Never Be Forgotten.

Over 400 years ago, twelve great warriors united the beleaguered armies of men and scoured the war-torn lands of evil, pushing the enemy back into the underground pits and caverns from whence they came. To ensure their legacy, each of the Twelve founded fortress monasteries to impart their unique knowledge of war and politics to a select few, the Knights of the Twelve.

But now the last of the Twelve have long since passed from history to legend and the Knights, their numbers dwindling, are harbouring a dark and terrible secret that must be protected at all costs.

Merad Reed has spent half his life guarding a great crater known as the Pit, yearning for some escape from the bleak monotony. Then the arrival of Aldarin, one of the few remaining Knights of the Twelve, sets off a chain of cataclysmic events that will change Reed forever.

To the north, Jelaïa del Arelium, heiress to the richest of the nine Baronies, must learn to navigate the swirling political currents of her father’s court if she hopes one day to take his place. But the flickering flames of ambition hide the shadow of an even greater threat.

And deep within the earth, something is stirring.

The next book is a fantasy based around mythology. And who doesn't like a book about Muythology. Also, it has Sarah Chorn as an editor, and besides the fact that she writes some of the best books, she also edits great books too. This one is The Gifts of Pandora by Matt Larkin, So a little 

 The winding road of fate unfolds …

In the last days of the Silver Age, the tyrant god Zeus takes whatever and whomever he wants with impunity. He has already torn Pandora from one home and now he threatens to destroy another. When he turns his wrath upon Atlantis, Pandora flees with the Titan Prometheus.

Despite her bitterness, Pandora finds a friendship she never imagined possible. But Zeus is not done with Prometheus, and what Pandora will face next will make all she has endured pale in comparison.

But Pandora has considerable gifts of her own, not least her cunning mind. When Zeus binds Prometheus, Pandora swears to turn all those gifts toward bringing Zeus down and saving her one true companion.
 

And the penultimate book is a book that I read the first of the series earlier this year and will be my regular foray into cosmic Horror. However, this is also mixed with a bit of detective fiction. I found that this worked really well and som am looking forward to reading Those Under The Hill by Mark N Drake 

It’s eight months after the events in ‘The Gathering of Shadows’ and Jack Glennison is about to get pulled back to Darkisle, this time to investigate the disappearance of a young boy. If he thought he knew what the island could throw at him, he soon realises he was sadly mistaken. For Darkisle abounds in secrets. And some secrets are best left buried… 

And the final one is Dragon Mage by M.L. Spencer

As usual, events have taken over and I haven't managed to read this yet despite the fact that I have had it for ages. 

So when the Audiobook came out, it was a no brainer really. 

So there we have it folks. That is the list of books I will (hopefully) be reading. You know how it is, you start off with the best of intentions!

And just as a special mention, August is the month that the conclusion of one my favorite trilogies comes out and I will be taking part in the blog tour for 


Amd that is not all! Later this month, there is also a cover reveal for one of my Twitter pals

Have a Happy Yorkshire Day!


 


Tuesday, 27 July 2021


She Who Became The Sun

by 

Shelley Parker Chan


She Who Became the Sun reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty's founding emperor.

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty plain, a seer shows two children their fates. For a family's eighth-born son, there's greatness. For the second daughter, nothing.

In 1345, China lies restless under harsh Mongol rule. And when a bandit raid wipes out their home, the two children must somehow survive. Zhu Chongba despairs and gives in. But the girl resolves to overcome her destiny. So she takes her dead brother's identity and begins her journey. Can Zhu escape what's written in the stars, as rebellion sweeps the land? Or can she claim her brother's greatness - and rise as high as she can dream?

This is a glorious tale of love, loss, betrayal and triumph by a powerful new voice.

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan is a re-imagining of the rise to power of Zhu Yuanzhang. Zhu was the peasant rebel who expelled the Mongols, unified China under native rule, and became the founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty.



She Who Became the Sun has garnered a lot of attention as one of fantasy’s summer must reads. To say there has been a lot of attention is a little bit of an understatement. Along with The Jasmine Throne, it has had praise heaped upon it from many notables of fantasy fiction, and there has been a bit of a superstar hype around the book. Obviously, opinion can go either way, as one of the problems with books that have this kind of hype attached to them, they can disappoint as expectations can be quite high.

She Who Became The Sun is the first in The Radiant Emperor duology and revolves around both a reimagining of the story of the rise of the Ming Emperor in middle ages China.

I have to say that the book starts off pretty bleak in all honesty. There is not a shred of pomposity about the main characters or the epicness of the story. It starts with famine and death. We are initially introduced to the girl, who is a resourceful little creature, but is considered worthless by her family. Her father is a harsh, contemptible thing who, after taking the son to a fortune teller, believes that he is destined for greatness. However, things do not go as planned (do they ever!) and fate decides that it is going to have a starring role and when some bandits attack the girl’s family home, killing their father, who happens to be a shining beacon of fatherhood, and offers his daughter to the bandits in the hope that they will take her and leave the hope of their life alive.

Following the death of their father, they are subsequently orphans. Zhu Chongba is totally hapless and has to have the girl looking after him, but he subsequently gives up on life  and dies.

With a burning desire to survive, the girl throws on the mantle of her brothers identity and seizes the fate that was promised to her brother and becomes Zhu Chongba.

With her new determination to grasp whatever fate has set down for her brother, Zhu Chongba takes his place at the local monastery, and after four days of stubbornly refusing to remove herself from the front steps of the monastery, she is allowed admittance, and thus begins the story of Zhu Chongba

Now I have to say that I was perplexed with this novel initially. So much so that I was teetering on the brink of throwing in the towel and putting it on the DNF shelf. There were loads of things that weren’t clicking for me. I am not saying at all that there is a fault with the book, but I just wasn’t getting it…… at all!


Yes, the writing is excellent. The character of Zhu Chongba is good, and she has a case of astounding resilience going on there, but I was not getting the fantasy element or what it was about. At times, I was totally lost as to what the heck was going on and who these people are. I found the sheer volume of people in this book just totally blew my mind and I could not keep up. Another thing was that I was not getting the fantasy element. This seemed to be a historical novel, with supernatural elements, but I wasn't getting any fantasy from it, that ‘s for sure.

However, I did decide to stick with it, got past my reservations that I had with it and ended up enjoying it.

Obviously, there has been a lot made of the main character’s identity in relation to their gender fluidity, but for me I felt that there was a wider discussion happening in the book about the acceptance of role. Whether that is in relation to gender, sex, duty, expectation, marriage, the role that fate decrees etc. Throughout the book, Zhu is constantly questioning if these roles should be accepted and to strive to be more than a role assigned to you. And you can see it highlighted in this quote from the book

“Learn to want something for yourself, Ma Xiuying. Not what someone says you should want. Not what you think you should want. Don’t go through life thinking only of duty. When all we have are these brief spans between our non-existences, why not make the most of the life you’re living now? The price is worth it.”

In addition to this, I found that there was an extremely positive feminist vibrancy to the book. Again, whilst Zhu is constantly questioning roles she is also empowering women to move beyond the constraints of the male dominated society and to take power for themselves, and there is a really excellent scene in the book where instead of using force and epic battles to get what she wants, Zhu uses alternative methods and empowers a woman to take power in a quiet revolution kind of way.

As you can see, I ended up having a little epiphany about the book and liked it more than I first thought I was going to.

We have to mention other characters for whilst Zhu is the star of the show, there is a full cast of characters in the book. And we need to mention Ouyong and Esen. Ouyong is a eunuch in Esen’s army. He was initially a slave, whose father was some kind of traitor to the Mongol Khan and Esen’s father was tasked with deposing of the traitorous family to the ninth degree, and subsequently having Ouyong castrated so that the family line could not go on and also leaving Ouyong to live in shame. Ouyong is in some ways the opposite of Zhu. However, not only is he an angtagonist in some ways, he enables Zhu to fulfil her role and become what she thinks she should be.

You are never sure about who the antagonist in the story actually is, in all honesty, because every character (inc Zhu) is neither good nor bad. And for me, it again plays with that idea of role, and does the antagonist of the story need to fit into the archetypal role of the villain, and similarly with the protagonist. Again, they shift, and you are as equally fluid in your sympathies to each character.

In the end, after I had got over my difficulties with the book, I ended up enjoying this one.





Wednesday, 21 July 2021

 

Here we are again with the Self Published Authors Appreciation Week. I was going to do a list of my favourite SP books, but then I thought, no let's centre on Audiobooks, and do a list of Audios by Self Published Authors.  Now this is just a dip in the ocean because there are loads out there. 

Now some of these I have read, some of these I have already listened to, just bought or are in the process of listening to, some are just choices based on recs and I may have not read yet. 

So if you want some recs for audiobooks out there by Self Published authors, I hope this will tickle your fancy

Now, the latest one (yesterday in fact!) that I have just bought is Dragonmage by ML Spencer. This is hot off the press and was just released yesterday. Obviously, I haven't had the chance to listen to this yet (or read it!) so I am looking forward to this one. 


Summary

Aram Raythe has the power to challenge the gods. He just doesn't know it yet.

Aram thinks he’s nothing but a misfit from a small fishing village in a dark corner of the world. As far as Aram knows, he has nothing, with hardly a possession to his name other than a desire to make friends and be accepted by those around him, which is something he’s never known. But Aram is more.

Much, much more.

Unknown to him, Aram bears within him a gift so old and rare that many people would kill him for it, and there are others who would twist him to use for their own sinister purposes. These magics are so potent that Aram earns a place at an academy for warrior mages training to earn for themselves the greatest place of honor among the armies of men: dragon riders.

Aram will have to fight for respect by becoming not just a dragon rider, but a Champion, the caliber of mage that hasn’t existed in the world for hundreds of years. And the land needs a Champion. Because when a dark god out of ancient myth arises to threaten the world of magic, it is Aram the world will turn to in its hour of need. 

©2021 ML Spencer (P)2021 Podium Audio

This is one that I have just started, The Forever King by Ben Galley, and already this audio has grabbed me.

 

Summary

A brutal war against a vast empire. An immortal mage. Soul-drinking daemons. A trickster god with chaos in mind. And a girl with the future of the world in her hands. The Forever King is the start of an epic, blood-soaked fantasy saga.

In Emaneska, to consort with magick is to court death. Banned by the Arka Empire, magick's purging has finally brought peace to war-torn Emaneska.

Like any dutiful citizen, Mithrid Fenn wants nothing to do with magick. But when an illegal spellbook washes up on a beach after a battle between giant, unknown ships, Mithrid Fenn is thrust into a war she never knew existed. Her family slaughtered, Mithrid finds herself hunted by daemons and the emperor's assassins. She is dragged inexorably north to Scalussen, where mages, dragons, beast-people, and witches doggedly wage a war for freedom against the tyrannical empire. But Mithrid only cares for revenge and nothing nobler. If killing the emperor means helping the Outlaw King, then so be it. Even if it means drowning the world in fire. 

©2021 Ben Galley (P)2021 Podium Audio

I have loved Susana Imaginario's Timelessness series and have only just finished The Dharkan. These books are quirky, snarky, strange and highly original. The narration by Sarah Kempton is just unblievably good, and now I cannot read the books without her voice in my head. Here is the Summary for both books

 

 

Wyrd Gods

Summary

Chronos, god of Time, and creator of the Universe, wants to destroy Eternity.

A mysterious immortal seeks vengeance.

And a reclusive Olympian deity does what no god should ever do: She answers a prayer. 

As punishment, she is stripped of her powers and trapped in a mortal's body. Now a Wyrd - a fated god - she is haunted by the memories and thoughts of her host and must hide her true identity in order to survive in Niflheim, the rival Norse Underworld.

There she discovers the afterlife is not quite what it used to be. Niflheim's new ruler threatens the precarious balance of a world overrun with outcast deities and mortals alike.

To save her own sanity and find her way back to the stars, she must help the other Wyrd overcome their grievances to defeat this enemy, but those who would be her allies appear to have motives as hidden as her fragmented consciousness.

And yet it seems the greatest threat to her freedom comes from within, and the prize it seeks is her immortal soul....

©2019 Susana Imaginário (P)2020 Susana Imaginário
 

The Dharkan

Summary

The enemy is defeated. 

The gods strike a truce. 

And the Dharkan strike against the gods. 

Victory has cost both gods and mortals dearly. The veil between life and death in Niflheim is thinner than ever. Try as they might, the gods are powerless against the influence of Time, and their past mistakes threaten not only their future but their very existence. 

Now the fate of eternity rests in the unlikely alliance between the goddess of the soul and a soulless Dharkan, as they must work together to achieve peace between the living and the dead in Aegea. And although their goals may seem similar, the motivations behind them couldn’t be more at odds with each other. 

Meanwhile, a greater enemy approaches. Or maybe it’s already here...

©2020 Susana Imaginário (P)2021 Susana Imaginário
 

The Keeper Chronicles by J.A. Andrews 

 

 
Classic Epic Fantasy. this is one of those that I didn't know anything about. I am about midway through this and am enjoying it immensley.

Summary

When Mallon the Undying threatened the land years ago, the elves stopped him - and then disappeared.

Now Mallon's followers seek to bring him back to finish what he started. 

Only the Keepers - storytellers, historians, and magic-wielders - are left to stand against them.

Alaric, who betrayed everything he believed to save his wife - and still failed.

Will, a storyteller who’s convinced his weak magic makes him useless. 

And Sini, a former slave girl with unimaginable power but no way to wield it. 

Can they survive being hunted by dragons, attacked by frost goblins, and betrayed by traitors in their midst? 

Or will Mallon's minions overwhelm them and plunge the land into darkness? 

Fans of Patrick Rothfuss, David Eddings, and Terry Brooks will love this engaging trilogy. Dive into this enchanting epic fantasy series fans call "heart-pounding, emotional, and very satisfying".

©2019 JA Andrews (P)2020 Podium Audio

Now this is the second one in the Dead Sagas, and RJ Bayley just brings this one to life (and always gains a special place in my reading heart for the correct pronunciation of water!)

Summary

As evil ravages the north and the dead walk, all eyes fall to Arn.... The apprentice journeys south, home to the College, unaware of the dark events that transpired in the High Passes after his departure. His leg in ruins, and haunted by watching shadows, the College council in Arn awaits him, but he does not travel south alone. 

Arnulf and his warriors must travel to Arn also, with tidings for the king of the risen dead and the terrible curse which has destroyed all that he knew. Arnulf seeks vengeance upon the College, but must choose wisely if he is to save his son.

Meanwhile in the west, Bjorn and his strange Wildman companion report back to High Lord Archeon at Oldstones with grim news of cannibal Stonemen encroaching from the Barrens, but is embroiled in news of war and invasion as Archeon requests his service once more.

In the capital, sickness awaits them all, as Nym has fled to the city and must now continue her struggle for survival on the plague ridden streets of Arn, keeping all who she cares for safe from the halls of Old Night.  

The many threads of this Saga converge on the city of Arn, but amid plague, invasion and terror, a greater darkness is looming. Dark forces are seeking to unleash evil upon Arnar, honour and renown is all, and sword, axe, and shield is all that stands between the living and the grasping hands of the dead.

©2020 Lee Conley (P)2021 Lee Conley
 

Again, one that I knew nothing about, but I was looking through my kindle unlimited subscription and seeing if it would do audiobooks as well. It did, so there you go, thought I give this one a go

 

Summary

The first audiobook in the new epic fantasy series listeners are comparing to David Gemmell and Raymond E. Feist.

r/Fantasy 2016 Stabby Award Finalist

2016 #SPFBO Finalist2016 Indie Spotlight - BestFantasyBooks.com

A war fueled by the dark powers of forbidden sorcery is about to engulf the Ascendant Empire. Agerastian heretics, armed with black fire and fueled by bitter hatred, seek to sever the ancient portals that unite the empire - and in so doing, destroy it.

Asho - a squire with a reviled past - sees his liege, the Lady Kyferin, and her meager forces banished to an infamous ruin. Beset by tragedy and betrayal, demons and an approaching army, the fate of the Kyferins hangs by the slenderest of threads. Asho realizes that their sole hope of survival may lie hidden within the depths of his scarred soul - a secret that could reverse their fortunes and reveal the truth behind the war that wracks their empire.

Unpredictable, fast paced, and packed with unforgettable characters, The Path of Flames is the first installment in a gripping new epic fantasy series.

©2016 Phil Tucker .
 
So, just some little tips on audiobooks. Now, as you can guess, there is no money tree at the bottom of our garden, so it pays to be a bit savvy.
 
Yes, I have a subscription to a couple of services (you can probably guess what they are), but they only go so far, so I am always looking on how to maximise credits, like looking on 2 for 1 sales. If there are £3 sales on, I may get an audio on that and save my credit (sometimes saving my credit for another month. 
 
If you have a Kindle Unlimited Subscription, see of there is a corresponding audio. There are quite a few of these books knocking about. 
 
The other thing is that I generally read on a certain device and usually you can buy the corresponding audio for cheap. Where this comes into play really well is when you buy those 99p books. Whatever price you pay for the book you can usually get the corresponding audio, so sometimes I have had the book and the audio for a really good price
 
So, as always thank you for reading!

And don't forget to have a look at the other bloggers who are doing this week. But beware, the TBR will grow. Mine did!


Tuesday, 20 July 2021

 

 

The Swordsman's Lament

by

GM White 

Good whatever time it is in the part of the world that you are living in when you are reading this post. I hope things find you well.

Today, dear reader, I have a review for GM White’s The Swordsman’s Lament, which I was sent by GM White (Ta very much!) who said ‘Ere, I have this book. Do you wanna have a look at it and maybe write something about it?”

So, obviously, I am not going to turn it down am I?
 
However, before we get into the review, I suppose we need a little ...  Book Blurb
 
A dead prince.
A grieving king.
A legendary swordsman accused of murder.

Loyalty counts for nothing when the king demands blood.

In the ancient city of Villan, wealth and power descend from proximity to the throne. As royal champion, and confidant to the king, Belasko thought he was beyond intrigues and machinations. But when the grief-stricken King demands vengeance for his murdered son, Belasko discovers he is expendable. His options are clear: find the killer or die for a crime he didn’t commit.

Forced into the city’s bleak underbelly as the palace mobilises against him, Belasko finds unlikely allies in his hunt for the truth. Can the veteran survive to protect his friends and prove his innocence?

Join Belasko as he hunts the real killer from the royal court to the depths of the city’s criminal underworld, finally learning the true meaning of The Swordsman’s Lament.

A story about friendship, betrayal and doing the right thing no matter the cost, this breakneck fantasy thriller is perfect for fans of David Gemmell, Sebastien de Castell and Miles Cameron


Now, when it comes to review writing, some are easier than others, and it is usually those books that I have really enjoyed that I find the most difficult to write about because I have so much to say. 

Well here goes! I will try to get this out without falling in to too much gushiness. Oh, and I must mention, some of the references may be more relatable to people of a certain age, but I make no excuses, sorry!

The Swordsman’s Lament centres around our central character, Belasko. Master Duellist, teacher, advisor to the king and general friend of the stars. The story starts pretty much how it goes on, with a duel. Immediately, GM White sets up his main character, a good guy, skilled at fighting and generally nice to all those around him, unless of course you happen to offer him out in a fight, then you take your chances. Although, he will be pretty amiable to those that he is about to dispatch in a duelling contest. 

After the bout of swordicuffs ends he returns to the Inn where he was dining, pays for any inconvenience and compliments the chef, the innkeeper's daughter Kendra, and offers her a job. He books a table at the inn and then comes back to the inn with the King of Villan and his family, subsequently giving her a job in the palace kitchens.

See, told you he was a generally good guy!

Thus starts a story of adventure and general chicanery that pretty much defines this zip wire of a plot. 

To say that I loved this book, is an understatement. It is one of those books that reminds me of being a kid and the kind of stories and films that I watched and read as a child. It took me back to those dreary saturday afternoons where I would watch the saturday afternoon matinee and there would be films showing like Captain Blood or Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, or The Flame and The Arrow and The Crimson Pirate with Burt Lancaster. I absolutely lapped up these cinematic swashbucklers and it was these types of films that were my gateway into fantasy novels, as I wanted more things like this.

And guess what, The Swordsman’s Lament fits this bill perfectly. It just pressed the correct button, my happy nostalgia button that makes me feel warm and fuzzy and brings a smile to my face.

Belasko is a roguishly good guy who is instantly likeable and you cannot help but like him, and the rest of the characters are equally likeable (or dislikeable depending on their alignment). 

Now, one of the things that I admired about GM Whites book is that whilst the book is short, he manages to fit so much in such a short space of time. It is a proper little Tardis of a book.

In two hundred pages, he manages to fit in backstory, world building and everything that you need to get you running along nicely with the plot. 

This takes some pretty good writing chops, and I was instantly enamoured with it. The plot is a good action adventure that just sucks you in. Rooting for the good guy, and hoping that the bad guy and his scheming will be uncovered so that there will be some semblance of happy ever after. 

I think one of the other things besides the plot and characters of the book. G.M. White writes fantastically vivid action sequences, which I freely admit. I love a good action sequence. They are typically flamboyant and swashbucklery and sated that desire to see a good sword fight.

Interspersed with this, is that element of comedy that you get in these types of books, but it is also levelled out with loss and grief.

So, if you want a book that is full of rambunctiously, spirited adventure, then The Swordsman's Lament is definitely your book.

And to top it all, this is the first time that I get to use this phrase (and I have been wanting to use it, like, forever!)It is a rollicking good read from start to finish. 






Monday, 19 July 2021


Thank you to Jodie from Witty and Sarcastic Book Club for inviting me on this week long event for Self Published Authors Appreciation Week. There are a whole host of bloggers coming together for this event that has been organised by Jodie, who I am sure you will know by now has the uncanny ability to bring together a gaggle of bloggers to carry out a number of events, which you have got to admit is a bit like herding cats. Today, I am having some thoughts. And I suppose that this is what this article little thing is. Just some thoughts. 

Since becoming a blogger, I regularly see the argument of traditional publishing vs self published authors. And this is not hyperbole, it was only the other day that I saw a comment from an author bemoaning the fact that they had told their friend that they were talking about their book and their friend had said something along the lines of that they weren’t a proper author as their books weren’t published by traditional publishing methods.

Well, I am sorry but what makes a ‘real’ author? Don’t they sit in front of a keyboard, notebook and pore forth their imagination onto a page? Yup! I think you can see what I am getting at, can’t you? 

Now, personally I have not always been Mr Advocate of the self published author and have changed my views over the years. Obviously we know that the (in some people’s view) ‘evil’ giant’s introduction of a certain product that can read electronic books made things a little easier for self published books to be reaching the masses..

I have had one of these devices for many years, since about the third generation, and regularly dipped my toe into the self publishing lake, but for some reason, failed to find anything that resonated with me and came away with the impression that self published authors are not for me.  

However, whenever I make rash statements like this, you can be guaranteed that my opinions will inevitably change, because as we know,opinions are fluid and malleable and are a bit like that River near our house, forever flowing. 

And it is the same with my own!

If I look at my own reading habits now, they have changed considerably over the years. From mainly reading so-called traditionally published books to mainly self published fiction. Obviously, one of the big factors that have affected this change is the fact that I run a blog, and obviously self published blogs are a good source of promotion for self published authors. 

As putting my reading under further scrutiny, there have been other shifts. Obviously, I have not been at this game for very long, I mean it has been less than a year that this site has been on the ethernet but most of my four and five star reads come from ‘self - published’ authors.

Now, initially, I started with the idea that I was going to put together a traditional publishing vs self published article, but I think we have all heard the argument before and we know that there is no difference. I like to read different authors regardless of how they are published. I am not going to lambast traditional publishing and state that either one is better as all have their pros and cons, and if you want to know what makes an author want to self publish then there is a really good series by one of favorite sites Sue’s Musings called Indie Spotlight which showcases a variety of different authors talking about the reasons that they chose the self published routes and the pros and cons.

As I have gone on in my time as a blogger, I have become more and more involved with the self published community, I have met some brilliantly talented people who write books that have been exciting, strange, epic and at times gut wrenchingly brilliant (and yes, I am looking at you for this one Sarah Chorn!) and it has been an enlightening journey finding the wealth of stories that people write. 
All of this has been brilliant. My reading habits have expanded stratospherically. However, I must warn you dear reader, that there is a downside to all this. Unfortunately, my personal reading list has skyrocketed and I now find myself with more books that I can possibly read in a lifetime. In addition to this, I have found myself as a panellist on the BBNYA, which is the book bloggers novel of the year award. 

And if you are wondering how get started with self published books, these are a good place to start, as there are a number of book competitions going on this year (and every year). 

There is the Self Published Fantasy blog Off (now in its 8th year), which is run by that master of the grim dark, Mark Lawrence. And I suppose that this is a good place to start a journey with the wealth of self published fantasy fiction that is out there, as all these are currently been reviewed by other bloggers at the moment.

However, if your taste lies in the Science Fiction route of things, there is the Self - Published Science Fiction competition also running at about the same time, run by Hugh Howey, author of Wool.

But, the self published literature does not stop with these two genres. If you can imagine it, there is most likely a book that will fit your tastes, be it Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Adventure, Military, you name it. Someone will have thought about it.

My intention is to put out a list of some sort, about my favourite self published authors and my favourite books that I have read. So, keep your eyes peeled.

Also, as I have said before, there are a number of other bloggers and authors who are contributing to this week of appreciation. So I hope that you will visit them and that you find something that will suit your tastes.

Thank you for reading.

Oh and one last thing, another place to get some books that you might want to read that is solely for self published and indie authors is Indie Story Geek



 

Good Whatever everyone

Thank you for visiting the site and today we have a cover reveal for you. Today I will be joining loads of other bloggers in the cover reveal for Lyra Wolf's The Order of Chaos & That Good Mischief. This is an update of some already existing books, but they have been updated with these brand new covers. 

Before we go on to reveal the covers, let's tell you about the books and Lyra Wolf.

So, as there two books, but only one Lyra Wolf. Lets start with the first one: -

The Order of Chaos

Book Information

Title: The Order of Chaos
Series: The Nine Worlds Rising (#2)
Publisher: Ravenwell Press
Genre: High Fantasy, Mythic Fantasy, Action and Adventure
Cover by: Dominic Forbes (http://www.dominicforbes.co.uk)

Book Blurb

Let’s start Ragnarok, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

Nothing pisses off a trickster god more than being imprisoned for five hundred years and not being able to annoy Thor. There are other reasons, secrets, and promises behind Loki’s rage, but that’s for Loki to know and the gods to find out—preferably painfully.

When the chance to start Ragnarok presents itself, Loki feels the apocalypse is as good a way as any to burn Asgard to the ground. And, it is, until the gods reveal their own teensy, tiny little surprise for Loki.

Suddenly, Loki has every reason in the worlds to stop them from ending. But this is Ragnarok, and one does not simply stop the apocalypse.

Chaos is all well and good, so long as Loki is in charge of it. Except chaos isn’t about to start taking orders from anyone, not even the god of pot-stirring himself, and it has a universe to destroy.

Originally published as "Chaos Rising."


Amazon links:

US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08J4FKZYB
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08J4FKZYB


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58494617-the-order-of-chaos

And next 

That Good Mischief

Book Information

Title: That Good Mischief
Series: The Nine Worlds Rising (#3)
Publisher: Ravenwell Press
Genre: High Fantasy, Mythic Fantasy, Action and Adventure
Cover by: Dominic Forbes (http://www.dominicforbes.co.uk)

Book Blurb

It wasn't supposed to be like this.

Loki and Sigyn had gone full Midgardian, settling down in California, with Loki going off to toil for their daily bread. So what if his nine-to-five is actually working as a knife-for-hire? Ocean views aren’t cheap, and neither are engagement rings.

When Sigyn collapses, Loki senses a darkness growing within her, and he knows only one god who may be able to stop it before it possesses her completely. However, asking for help from the man you swore to never see again carries its own price.

Even with Ragnarok on the table again (and, again, not Loki’s fault...really), it’s the least of Loki’s problems, especially when buried secrets start surfacing.

Lies are unraveling, the truth is spinning, and consequences are flying faster than Loki can run and he might lose Sigyn forever.

Either to the darkness, or to his own lies.

Amazon links:

US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09181K81P
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09181K81P

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58494628-that-good-mischief

And as promised, let's get to know the author, Lyra Wolf




Lyra Wolf is a Swiss-American author of fantasy and mythic fiction.


Raised in Indiana, home to a billion corn mazes, she now lives in Central Florida, home to a billion mosquitoes. She enjoys drinking espresso, wandering through old city streets, and being tragically drawn to 18th century rogues.

When Lyra isn't fulfilling the wishes of her overly demanding Chihuahua, you can find her writing about other worlds and the complicated people who live there.

Lyra has earned a B.A. in History and M.A. in English.

You can follow Lyra on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or visit her website at www.lyrawolf.com.

Website: www.lyrawolf.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/lyrawolfauthor
Instagram: instagram.com/lyrawolfauthor
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lyrawolfauthor
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/20139297.Lyra_Wolf
Newsletter (Subscribers get a free novella!): https://lyrawolf.com/newsletter

 And now, I suspect that you want to know what the covers look like. Well, firstly, here they are both together, and then I will do the indiviually.


  And individually:



Well, there we have them, in all their glory. I hope that you like them.  And thank you for visiting



Thursday, 15 July 2021


 Good whatever and wherever to you all. Welcome to this book blitz for one of favourite books of the year - The Iron Crown by L. L. Macrae. Thanks to Storytellers On Tour for letting me join this Book Blitz. If you want to know more about Storytellers On Tour, just follw the link and it will take you to their home page.

Now I have already done a review for this book which you can find here and I have already written about how much I loved this book.

If you haven't read The Iron Crown, below is a little summary of what the book is about: -

Book Blurb

Fenn’s first and only memory is finding himself in the middle of a forest, face to face with a dragon spirit mocking him, all knowledge gone apart from his own name.

Lost and confused, his only hope for answers is Calidra—a woman living on the edge of the world with her partner. Forced to return home when her father dies, Calidra has put off facing her estranged mother for seven years, and she begrudgingly helps Fenn, forging papers for him so he can avoid the Queen’s Inquisitors.

But her mother is the least of her worries when they discover an ancient enemy is rising again. It should be impossible with the Iron Crown in power—and Fenn is terrified he might unwittingly be playing a part in the war’s resurgence.

Surrounded by vengeful spirits and powerful magic, Fenn’s desperate attempt to find his way home might well alter the fate of Tassar, and every power in it.

A new high fantasy series bursts into life with the DRAGON SPIRITS who reign supreme in the magic-drenched world of Tassar.

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56301646
Ebook: https://mybook.to/IronCrown
Paperback: https://llmacrae.com/shop/p/theironcrown

 
#
 

Author Info

Lauren is a fantasy author of character-driven stories and epic adventure. Her books usually contain dragons, rarely feature romance, and are typically fun and hopeful. She lives in a tiny village in the UK, has a degree in Psychology, and was a professional copywriter before going full-time as an author (it’s just more fun to write about dragons than corporate copy!) She has previously published under the name L.L. McNeil.


Website: https://llmacrae.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/_LLMacRae
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/l.l.macrae/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LLMacRaeAuthor

And just to top this off there is a Giveaway (& it's international)

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e832e98890/?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

  


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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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