Thursday, 28 October 2021


 
The coreseal is shattered and a new darkness is coming.

Chrys swore to never again let the Apogee take control but, in a moment of desperation, he gave in. Now, he will learn what the Apogee truly wants.

In Alchea, Laurel will do anything to get her threadlight back, even if it means working for the leader of the Bloodthieves. But she has no choice...a life without threadlight is no life at all.

To the west, Alverax travels with the Zeda people to the large port city of Felia, where they seek refuge after the fires in the Fairenwild. But he shattered the coreseal, and no one quite knows what the consequences will be. They only know it won't be good.

Together, they doomed the world...now, they must save it.

 

Gods, Monsters and revelations abound aplenty in Zack Argyle's gripping sequel to Voice of War.

At the end of Voice of War, Chrys was lost to all as he had let loose the Apogee.

Now, in the grip of the Apogee's powers, he is being led to far off lands, attempting to regain power and take control of himself once again

Meanwhile, Laurel, mourning the loss of her powers has allied herself with the head of the blood thieves, Arabella, the amber thread weaver.

And on the other side of the world, Alverax, and the survivors from Zedalan have sought sanctuary in the land of Felia. In their hopes to find a safe haven for their people, Alvarax, Elder Rowan and Elder Rosemary petition the Empress of the Sun to grant the people of Zedalan asylum.

The Stones of Light builds on the events that began in Voice of War, and adds much more to the story. In Stones of Light, we find out more about the voice in Chrys's head as it leads him to the home of The Wastelanders, the people he fought when he was The Apogee.

In addition to that, he learns of a new threat in the form of the Ancient Wastelander god, Relek and his sister, Lylax. These were gods who were once imprisoned and have now been released. Their only goal; to get revenge on those that locked the away by setting their army of Wastelanders and pet monsters, the Corespwan upon the world.

All the main characters are expanded upon really well in the book, however, it is Laurel that undergoes the most change.

At the end of Voice of War, Laurel experienced a massive wound which had a catastrophic effect on her. And it is due to this change that she allies herself with Alabella, who has told her that she can fix the wound that she has suffered. But this comes at a cost, and the price is to take her back to Zedalum in order to access the core seal and get the necessary materials to make her plans of being able to make everyone be a thread weaver come to fruition. Obviously, things don't go to plan and as she struggles with her inabilities, she believes that Alabella will be the answer to set everything right. However, what Laurel doesn't count on, is the change that she will undergo.

Alverax, the thief gone good, also experiences changes. He finds that he has a conscience, and actually wants to do good. As he tries to remedy the mistakes he made in the last book, he finds that actually, he is a good man. He has gone to Felia with the Zeda people. But they must fight against mistrust, and the shocking events that unfold

Stones of Light is a fantastic read, and if possible, is more accomplished and breath taking than the first.

It's plot runs along at the pace of a juggernaut and grabs you immediately, never letting you go until you reach the end. It's populated with characters that you will adore and expands the world that Zack Argyle has built in his first book.

Stones of Light is a fantastic read, full of action and fantastic characters. I would heartily recommend it to any fantasy fan.

Just as a bit of an addition, I listened to this on Audio which was kindly given to me by Zack Argyle (that's the author like!). Anyway, he said "Do you wanna copy to have a listen to like. I think it's ace and he said that Adam Gold has done a really good job!", and I can't disagree with him there, coz he has!

He then said "it would be nice if you wrote a little review for me if you like it, no pressure like, s'up to you, but I would greatly appreciate it"

Then I acted all cool like and said to him "Yeah, no worries, I can do that!", but secretly I was going like Yeeeeeessssss! (But I did it dead cool😁)
 





Wednesday, 27 October 2021









A gorgeously creepy classic haunted house story based on Japanese folklore, combining The Haunting of Hill House with The Ring.

A group of thrill-seeking friends in search of the perfect wedding venue plan to spend the night in a Heian-era mansion. Long abandoned, and unknown to them, this mansion rests on the bones of a bride, and its walls are packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

Their night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare, as the house welcomes its new guests. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.


Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw is a menacing ghost story set in a haunted Japanese Mansion 

The story centres around a group of friends (although that is a term that can be applied loosely) as they rent a Heian Mansion for a wedding for two of the party. The party are a group of thrill seekers who regularly go exploring so called haunted places and have heard that the mansion that they are going to is regarded as one of the most haunted places. 

Whilst there are many eerie goings on in the house, the main focus revolves around the groups tenuous relationships with each other, and as we delve deeper into the story, the frayed relationships between the friends become steadily unwound. As the story progresses, we learn of the characters mistrust for each other and how their relationships have become more fractured as time has gone on.

Cat, the central member of the cast has recently experienced some form of mental health crisis but is on the way to recovery and has been invited to a wedding celebration for her best friend, but we soon learn that her best friend’s fiancee is not her biggest fan. 

Even though the book is short, Khaw steadily builds layers of tension, not just between the characters, but in the cloyingly, claustrophobic atmosphere of the house. 

There are going to be obvious references to Shirley Jackson with Nothing But Blackened Teeth, particularly in the way that the house has just as important a role in the narrative and events of the story, and the fact that you are never entirely sure what is orchestrating the events or widening the tensions of the group. Is it the house itself, or the unnatural presences in the house. In addition to this there is a slight hallucinatory tone to the book and you are never sure what is actually real. I like the fact that the characters are not particularly likeable, and again it gives it that unreal feeling as to whether the events are due to extraneous forces or whether the group are reacting to the environment and are succumbing to their own personal insecurities. 

Khaw continuously plays with and subverts common horror tropes, gently having a little bit of a humourous poke at horror films and the formulas that they use. The book never falls into outright horror as Khaw restrains the story and keeps it firmly in the eerie side. In the book, Cassandra Khaw carefully dissects the relationships between the group, and exhibits the scars of their friendships and we see the wounds slowly ooze as we learn that none of these wounds have actually healed. With Nothing But Blackened Teeth, Cassandra Khaw demonstrates a talent for building tension and atmosphere and I think Cassandra Khaw will definitely be a name to watch out for in the future





Monday, 25 October 2021

 

 

An action-packed epic fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, and Michael J. Sullivan

After a supernatural and unforeseen calamity shatters the tentative alliance of the five realms, the Deseran Dominion has returned to take back their homeland and restore their oppressive regime.

As the Dominion readies their troops for invasion, the fate of the entire world rests in the hands of a fugitive scientist, a powerful pacifist, and an unseasoned prince with little to guide them but their own ideals. With the freedom of a kingdom at risk, each must find their place in a world torn asunder.

The Seventh Cadence is a sweeping high fantasy epic of war, found family, and reckoning with fate.

 

 

Dragons, found family and heroes aplenty abound in Jim Wilbourne’s sprawling epic, The Seventh Cadence.

The Seventh Cadence is as interesting novel that introduces a new world to readers that lies somewhere between Brandon Sanderson’s epic Stormlight series, and David Eddings’ chosen one familiarity.

Tele is a Keeper, a not altogether safe occupation and one that her family and the other Keepers have hidden in order to maintain knowledge that is passed through the generations until the Wizard Titan makes his triumphant return. However, the world has split into various races and religions that see the object of their religion in different lights, ranging from near slight observation of the religious edicts to the fundamentalist zealotry of the Dominion (the bad guys of the story).
 
If epic fantasy is your bag, then I would definitely point you in the direction of The Seventh Cadence. It has all the things that you would expect from the genre and it builds on these admirably. I have always had a soft spot for the found family trope, and the relationships between Tele and Navid, a seer who has the potential to be dangerous and every time that he meets others during their travels, we are aware that he is classed as a dangerous weapon and is thus shunned in fear from all that he meets, plays to that soft spot
 
It takes quite a while to see the sheer awesomeness that Navid is capable of, as throughout most of the book spends his time shielding those around him from the power that he holds. However, this is nicely played on and he is regularly seen as weak, especially by Tele, the prickly Keeper who has spent most of her time shielded by her family. Which whilst keeping her safe, also affects her ability to interact with others around her, and a large portion of the first act of the book shows us the steadily growing relationships between her and Navid as we learn about the two characters and the main motivations that drive them.

In amongst Tele and Navid’s story is the build up of political events in the city of Caldor, and the King of the Hzorah, Jeremiah. Besides giving the reader some political and cultural insight into the world the characters inhabit, it is also an opportunity for the book to provide some background to how the world was shaped. We learn that the world is split into a number of different cultures that were once dominated by the Dominion, and their fundamentalist religion The Creed. However, through a series of wars and skirmishes the people gained their freedom and their right to self-govern themselves. However, the Dominion, with the Prophet Tristan are always in the background, ready to reassert their dominance and bring everyone back into the fold, including the religious leaders of the other lands, The prophets.

During Jeremiah’s stay in the city of Caldor, calamity strikes and a whole city is decimated resulting in the death of King Jeremiah, and subsequently leading the way for another of the main characters to be introduced, the reluctant boy king Gabriel, who whilst being a fearsome warrior, does not really see himself as the leader that his father was.

Structurally, the book alternates between the points of view of four main characters, Gabriel, Tele and Navid, Amie and her sister Mara (who we learn are related to Navid, quite early in the book) and a member of the Dominion, General Darius Gareth. With these differing points of view, Jim Wilbourne is able to give differing world views and build the different areas and people that the characters encounter. 

There is a lot of world building within The Seventh Cadence, and Jim Wilbourne is able to carefully add layer by layer, different aspects of the world. At times, the intricateness of the world building can hamper the pacing of the plot as Jim Wilbourne takes his time to layer his canvas. However, if you have patience and enjoy the carefully laid strokes you are rewarded with an ambitiously entertaining introduction to The Continua Chronicles.
 
All in all, The Seveth Cadence is a bold introduction to Jim Wilbourne’s epic world vision, and I cannot wait to see where the next installment leads, especially with that cliff-hanger of an ending.
 
 





Thursday, 21 October 2021



 
Hello, today I pleased to be part of the book tour, organised by The Write Reads on Tour. I think one of the best things of doing tours is that you get the chance to read some fantastic books, and this is one of those that I enjoyed immensely. I have had this book on my TBR for quite a while actually and I was so glad to get to read this book. So..... on with the post.


Length: 373 Pages

Publishing: 26th January 2021

Amazon 

Goodreads 


In the fires of World War II, a child must save his people from darkness…

Ten-year-old Uriel has always been an outcast. Born mute in a Jewish village known for its choir, he escapes into old stories of his people, stories of angels and monsters. But when the fires of the Holocaust consume his village, he learns that the stories he writes in his golden notebook are terrifyingly real.

In the aftermath of the attack, Uriel is taken in by Uwe, a kind-hearted linguist forced to work for the commander of the local Nazi Police, the affably brutal Major Brandt. Uwe wants to keep Uriel safe, but Uriel can’t stay hidden. The angels of his tales have come to him with a dire message: Michael, guardian angel of the Jewish people, is missing. Without their angel, the Jewish people are doomed, and Michael’s angelic brethren cannot search for him in the lands corrupted by Nazi evil.

With the lives of millions at stake, Uriel must find Michael and free him from the clutches of the Angel of Death...even if that means putting Uwe in mortal danger.

The Book of Uriel is a heartbreaking blend of historical fiction and Jewish folklore that will enthrall fans of The Book Thief and The World That We Knew.
 
 
 

Heartbreaking, horrifying and whimsical, Elyse Hoffman’s historical fantasy, set in Poland during world war two, centres around Uriel, the mute Angel Finder, who is tasked by Samael, the Angel of Death to complete five tasks that will set the captive Angel Michael free. 

Elyse Hoffman’s book is a strangely beguiling story. As I said, it centres around Uriel, a mute Jewish child who after surviving the massacre of his village, Zingdorf, in Poland, is healed by a host of angels who tell him that the Angel Michael is being held captive by the Angel of Death in revenge of the people that he was the Guardian for, the Esau. They heal him and tell him of their plight, subsequently engaging his aid to help them and giving him a Hamsa in order to protect him and turn him invisible from the unrighteous, telling it will only be the righteous that can see him.

What we don’t count on is that the righteous person that can see him is a German linguist called Uwe Litten, who has been employed to translate for the leader of the Ordnunpolezei, the Order police, Major Brandt. Upon being transported to his place of residence, Uwe travels through the village of Zingdorf, and discovers the nearly dead body of Uriel. Whilst he cannot revive him, takes the boy most prized possession, a golden notebook, in which the mute boy has written down the stories that that boy’s father has told him.

Later, Uriel travels to the house where Uwe is staying and learns that the Germans cannot see him and steals into the house but is shocked to discover that against his expectations Uwe can see him, thus making him righteous. Uwe, then hides the boy in his room.

As the story moves on, he meets with the Angel of death who informs him of his plan and also that the thing he desires most is the death of Michael’s people, the Jewish people, and that he is following around the destruction caused by the Nazis with not a small amount of glee. 

In the midst of this, while he is being aided by Uwe, a sort of friendship and bond develops between the two. In essence, Uwe is a good soul, and is able to relate to Uriel as both a child and a human being, which we know this was something that was lacking in the Nazi Psyche, and was one of the many myriads of reasons that they could carry out the atrocities they did.

This is one of those books that defies being fitted into a particular pidgeon hole. On the one hand, it runs like a fairy story, and is it at times almost whimsical. However, it never shies away from the brutality and horror of the situation. In addition to this, there is this strange juxtaposition of the German Army, that paints a different picture of the people that were carrying out these atrocities. For instance, Major Brandt is constantly shown as an affable and amiable soldier, who is almost father like in his ministrations to his subordinates, and they regularly refer to him as Uncle, yet carries out a thoroughly awful torture scene in the book, and other atrocities against the Jewish people.

In addition to this, Elyse Hoffman gives the reader insights into the Jewish faith and folklore, that are encapsulated in the stories that Uriel writes down, or by little passages at the end of a chapter, but it is never preached 

Uriel is one of my favourite characters that I have seen written. He is at once innocent, trusting and faithful to his religion, yet on the other hand, he is strong, resilient, and fearless in the face of adversity. And then we have Uwe, who is loving and has more than an ounce of compassion, yet can be hard, as is illustrated when he cuffs Uriel around the back of the head for going out of the room, or when he stands up for his principles and stops the torture that Brandt is involved with.

This is one of the most original books that I have read all year, in fact for a very long time. It beguiled and captivated me, horrified me, delighted me, whilst educating and perplexing me at the same time. I don’t know how I felt about this book, but I do know that it will stay with me. 
 

About the Author

(from https://project613publishing.com/)