Thursday, 31 March 2022


 Hello Book Nerds

Recently I got the chance to listen this audiobook of Paul Kane's new collection of stories read by the inimitable RJ Bayley. 

I do like a good short story, and like how you are plonked (quite literally in some of these stories) straight into the middle of events and you watch as things unfold. 

The book is published Encycopocalypse publications.

So without much further ado let's talk about the book.

About the Book

A winter’s day, and something terrifyingly dangerous is waiting out there in the snow, while at the same time an even more dangerous curse is spoken… In a possible future a monster uprising is in full flow, but a couple have their own problems to deal with when they’re stuck in a very strange queue... And while a scientist attempts to rid humanity of all evil, a female werewolf is on the prowl… Here we have a clutch of stories by award-winning and # 1 bestselling author Paul Kane (Hooded Man, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell, Before, Arcana), including another one of his popular horror fairy tales and a ‘Mortis-Man’ prequel, proving once again that there’s more to this world than can be seen by the Naked Eye. With an introduction by Sunday Times bestselling author Cavan Scott (Doctor Who: The Shining Man) and cover by Christian Francis (Wishmaster: The Novelisation) you might just find yourself taking another look at what you thought was possible. Watch out! 

Review

White Shadows: Amy hunts monsters! Most 13 year olds look forward to the snow, but not Amy! Ever since the death of her parents who were heading away on an idyllic retreat up north, Amy knew they had been taken by the White Shadows that lived in the snow. And now the White Shadows have come for her! Was she the hunter or the hunted?

The Cursed: What is the perfect gift for the one you love? The one who fills your dreams and is the centre of all your desires? Well, it certainly isn't a box of chocolates that is delivered by a man doing daring spy type things to deliver them in the dead of night. Not in Stuart's world. When his Goddess Athena (not the Greek one, but the one he meets at uni who prefers to be called May) chooses another man over him, Stuart thinks that the best gift he can give the girl he loves is a curse

Not that he believes in these things like, but one drunken night he gives it a go on the off chance that his familial lineage of general witchery might actually work.

Maddy the Monster: A tale about monsters. A tale about the end of the world. In Maddy the Monster, we are thrown into an unknown facility, with Maddy. Maddy is helping the children. They take blood from her, and sometimes Nurse Julie brings her treats from the canteen. Maddy doesn't know how long she has been at the facility. They call her a monster, they call everyone a monster. However things change when Barbara is caught and brought to the facility. She tells them of Michael and how he will save them all.

The Queue: How far would you go? What would you do for the woman you love. Donny would do anything to get his Grace away from George

He would go to the ends of the earth. He would do anything - even the M word. But would he wait till the end of the Queue?

Crumbs: If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise. 

Gabby and Harry go to the woods with their father who has fallen on hard times and is now a poacher. Along for the ride is his new wife, who seeing an opportunity wants to get rid of the 'anklebiters' who belong to a previous relationship, And now that Gabby and Harry's mother is dead, the stepmother thinks the children should be too. However, fate lends a helping hand and things don't turn out quite as the stepmother foresaw.

Pure Evil: The road to hell is paves with good intentions!

What makes a person kill another? What evil lies in the heart of men whose only thought is to mete out violence to those around them?

Dr Elizabeth Warren thinks she has the answer. Her 'procedure' has already given starling results, but when she tries to 'tame: a prolific serial killer things don't go exactly according to plan. Especially when a local evangelical priest becomes involved.

Mortis Man - A superhero origin story.

Another Life - A female werewolf escapes from the predators hunting her.

----------------------------------------

This is my first encounter with Paul Kane's writing and I must say I will be hunting out more. There are a different range of stories in this collection from a young girl who hunts monsters, to superhero origin stories.

However, not only are there a different range of stories, there a various layers of horror. Some of them reminded me of Ronald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected, whilst others like Pure Evil are more visceral. 

My standout stories of the collection were White Shadows, and I would definitely like to read more about these monsters that live in the snow and make people disappear. The other story that I think was my favourite was Maddy the Monster. I loved this tale of monsters who had been genetically made to fight a war.

However, I did enjoy all of the stories. They were immediately engaging and hooked me in immediately, making me want to get to the end of the story to see how it would unfold.

I listened to the audio version of this book, which was narrated by inimitable R.J. Bayley who really showed his vocal prowess in this book. Each story had a different mood and atmosphere which the narrator had to convey, and this was done well. In addition to that there was an array of accents, including American accents which were all believable. 





Monday, 28 March 2022

 


Hello Book Nerds one and all!

It is that time of week again where I talk about one of those book thingies again! Today, it is the turn of The Weeping Sigil by Jordan Loyal Short, the second book in the Dreadbound Ode.

This is one of those books that I didn't expect to read! The first book was on my TBR, but was not quite scheduled to be read yet. However, when I kindly recieved an invitation to listen to the book in its audio format, in exchange for an honest opinion of what I thought about the book, I simply could not resist. 

The series is a dark fantasy sci Fi tale of rebellion, ancient Gods and the uphevel of empire, and I must say it has quite captured my imagination.

How is your reading year progressing? Are there books that you didn't expect to love that have crept into your TBR?

Now let me tell yo about The Weeping Sigil


About The Book

Adrift in the void, Henrik’s rescue is only a prelude to slavery.

But his new life on Tyria is not at all what he expected. When the illustrious House of Quoll purchases him, Henrik finds himself living in the home of his old enemy, Prefect Brasca Quoll. Desperate to hide the truth of his last days on Heimir, Henrik dives into the murderous game of Tyrianite politics. Devastated by the catastrophe on the Norn homeworld, the Federation teeters on the brink of civil war.

While the Shining Ones maneuver their champions for the final confrontation, Henrik’s fevered visions unveil the scope of Moriigo’s nightmarish rebellion.

Aboard a stolen voidcraft, Brohr and Lyssa hurtle into the depths of the starry abyss, on a desperate exodus in search of safe haven. But the outer reaches of the system are full of strange worlds, haunted ruins, and bizarre cults.

As anarchy grips the streets of Tyria, Henrik vows to reveal the true peril facing the Federation: Moriigo’s return! While rival electors, assassins, and federal inquisitors plot the downfall of House Quoll, Henrik must bind himself to the future of his one time enemies, lest the horrors of his prophetic visions come to pass!

The Weeping Sigil by Jordan Loyal Short is the second book in the Dreadbound Ode. I read it not long after (well listened really!).

The story begins not long after the first book, with the Norn refugees from Heimir escaping from the doomed world on the Tyrian void ship that they commandeered. Meanwhile, Henrick has escaped on his own ship built by his father.

In The Weeping Sigil, the book has expanded exponentially as it takes place over multiple locations as Henrick is captured and sold into slavery on the planet of Tyria in the employ of Brasca’s father, Boster Quoll, whilst the rest of the Norn refugees end up on The Clockwork, a space station located in the middle of the void.

I felt that in this book, the science fiction element takes more of a centre stage than in the first book, and I think that it enriched the book incredibly. It seemed to make the story more immersive as we learn more about the galaxy rather than the more focussed setting of the first book.

This in turn provides Jordan Loyal Short with much more expansive world building a we get numerous settings that the story is set in. We meet more people, races and worlds.

This book takes more time for the plot to reach its full pace, but again this is not to the detriment of the book, as the story introduces more political machinations, particularly with Henrick on the planet Tyria as he carefully manoeuvres Boster Quoll into various situations as political upheaval comes more to the fore on the planet.

Again, all the characters are strong and well defined. Henrick is put more to the fore in this book and we see another side to him as he becomes increasingly calculating in order make everyone aware of impending doom.

As always, my standout character is Lyssa, and we see her become captain of the Norns and whilst she seems like she does not care, we see that she does have a caring side to her as she makes decisions that affect those that she has aided in escaping her home planet.

Brohr continues to struggle with his destiny and the other side of him that is violent. We learn more of Moriigo's plans for him and what his destiny actually is. In addition to this, we learn more of the lore of this section of the galaxy, and get more backstory to the struggles of the Shining Ones and their impact on this system.

For me, The Weeping Sigil improves impressively on the first book. It increases the tension and the action twofold and sends us careening towards the conclusion. I particularly enjoyed Henrick more in this book as his character is given more depth and scope. Similarly with Lyssa. I love this blend of science fiction and fantasy and I cannot wait to complete this series soon with the recently released Travels in the dark. 

 


Thursday, 24 March 2022


Earth is on course for a devastating invasion from the Dark Dimension, forcing the world’s mightiest heroes into unthinkable alliances, in this heart-stopping new novel in the Marvel: Crisis Protocol series

Doctor Strange created the Shadow Avengers to save the world from Dormammu, but instead they’re on the verge of dissolution. When sudden weather anomalies across the world correspond with Asgardian heroes emerging from portals ripe with Dormammu’s magical signature, the Shadow Avengers realize the “Master” is making his move. Loki, Venom, and Green Goblin are behind a ceremony plotting to open a portal big enough to encompass Dormammu’s presence. From the Sanctum Sanctorum to the streets of NYC to beautiful Wakanda, the Shadow Avengers must stop Dormammu at any cost – but the Master, in all his cunning wisdom, has something greater in store that will doom the world once and for all.


I think the consensus with this latest instalment in the Crisis Protocol, Shadow Avengers, is that it is a fun book. I cannot disagree with this! It’s a fun, fast paced, action packed addition to Aconyte’s ever growing retinue of Marvel Books.
I was a little surprised by the Shadow Avengers as I thought it may be similar in tone to DC’s Justice League Dark. However, I was happy to find that it bore no resemblance to that superhero team that was formed to fight magic.
The premise of the book is that the Shadow Avengers was formed by Dr Strange to combat the ever-present threat from the Dread Sorcerer Dormammu attacking earth. And yes, you guessed it, this is what the story revolves around.
In the Shadow Avengers, we start the story with Venom witnessing Loki dumping what appears to be some form of toxic waste into the water supply in an Oscorp truck. Venom, being the anti – hero that he is attempts to stop Loki, and finds himself enslaved to Dormammu’s plan to invade the earth. Loki disappears in a puff of portal magic leaving Venom to deal with the truck full of toxic waste. (Enter stage left Spiderman as he is on his way to the Shadow Avengers meeting) Well, you can see how this is going to turn out can’t you?
The initial few chapters deal with introductions and various heroes seeing this same incident from a different perspective, including Black Panther.
This is the second Carrie Harris book that I have read in the Marvel Universe and have enjoyed them immensely! She gives already established characters that we all know and love more depth of character. For instance, Spiderman’s relationships with Ms Marvel and how he takes her under his wing to show her the Superhero ropes. It’s a lovely relationship that shows an almost fatherly side to his character as he instructs and nudges her to increase her confidence with her powers and her abilities. He never condescends or looks down on her but gives her patience and understanding. Similarly, with Ms Marvel herself as she grows in confidence throughout the book. At times she is a typical teenager adrift in a sea of grownups, wanting to make her observations known, but at the same time finding it difficult to make her voice known in a group of personalities that includes Dr Strange, Luke Cage and Black Panther.
The writing style is quite light and Carrie Harris has an almost cinematic approach to the book, regularly peppering the story with set pieces that you would expect in a Marvel story, including death defying escapes from planes, massive fight scenes etc etc.
In essence, Shadow Avengers is like a big slice of pie. You know what you are getting, and you get that warm hug that you know you wanted in the first place. Coz, that is why you ate pie! 

 

Please Note: I received this book from Netgalley & Aconyte boks in exchange for a honest review.

About Marvel Entertainment
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media for over eighty years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing, publishing, games, and digital media.
For more information visit marvel.com. © 2022 MARVEL 


 


Monday, 21 March 2022


Hello Everyone!

Today's review is The Skald's Black Verse by Jordan Loyal Short.

This was one of those books that really took me by surprise.

I received a code from the author saying do you wanna have a listen to this and then write what you thought about it? So I did!

Before we get to see what I thought of the book, here is some info 


 
Brohr has been lied to, abused.

All he wants is to live in peace, away from the ignorance of his village, to outrun the raging ghost which haunts him.

But a hidden evil seeks to harness Brohr's fury.

Accused of murder, hunted by ruthless soldiers, Brohr delves the way of the Skald, unlocking forbidden blood magic as he unearths terrible family secrets.

When the red moon is broken, and all is lost, it’s up to Brohr to lead a rebellion, or face the end of the world.
 

Jordan Loyal Short begins his sci - fi/ fantasy Trilogy, Dreadbound Ode with this dark tale of rebellion and Revolution in The Scald's Black Verse.

Brohr is the grandson of Anders Nilstrom, a deeply scarred veteran of The Tyrianite invasion of his homeworld Heimir. Brohr is a mix of Norn and Tyrianite, born of a brutal assault by Tyrianite troops, which leaves his mother pregnant with twins

However, his twin is killed at birth and bound to him by a dark ritual performed by his grandfather shortly after Brohr's birth.

Skip forward quite a few years and Brohr is planning to run away with his girlfriend. However, things don't go according to plan when his supposed best friend tattle tales on his plans and they are stopped. As a result, Brohr loses his temper, and subsequently beats said best friend half to death.

As a result, he is shunned even more than he was, and things go from bad to worse when he is out drinking and gambling. The result of the night, which is one that is echoed in towns all over the universe it seems, is violence. However, whilst the man that Brohr became involved with is unconscious, he is killed be a shadowy apparition. The event is witnessed by two others Lyssa and Hendrick.

This incident is the catalyst for an event that will change all their lives forever.

I have got to say that this book surprised me, and I did not expect it to go the way that it did. Initially, the world building points to a Norse inspired fantasy. A pitch black Norse inspired fantasy, I may add! However, things soon took a different turn with the introduction of space faring invaders that are oppressing the people of Heimir and the whole book goes in a direction that I did not foresee.

The story is made up of four diffiering POV’s; Brohr, Lyssa, Hendrick and Brasca, each of them very different. Brohr is possessed by the spirit of his dead brother and resembles a berserker (or The Hulk, or even Slaine the Horned God when he goes into his warp spasm). Then there is Lyssa, an independent young woman who is totally bored of working in her father’s tavern. Next up is Hendrick, a spoilt prig of a boy whose father is the Mayor, and also one who has done very well from allying himself with the oppressing forces. And finally, there is Brasca, the Tyrianite Prefect sent to Heimar as some kind of political punishment.

The story is mainly confined to one place, the village of Skolja (although there is some mention of other towns in the world). Whilst in some ways it may seem that it is limited in its world building, it does add to the intensity of the book. And I have to say, I did find this book quite intense.

Like I mentioned earlier, this is a dark fantasy, pitch black even, but this works well. It highlights the oppression that the inhabitants of the village are experiencing, and it also heightens that sense of foreboding that is ever present throughout the book.

Throughout the story, there seem to be a plethora of differing influences in there, such as; epic fantasy, grimdark, ecological disaster, sci fi and even some folk horror. Whilst it may make you wonder how these elements can be melded together, Jordan Loyal Short makes them work extremely well and provide a fantasy tale that is quite individual.

The magic system is quite intriguing, with the Scalds using blood magic, which is used for all sorts of things like hiding evidence and intent. However, other forms of magic are used in the book, and we learn about bindings.

The characters are all well realised, with Lyssa being the standout for me. At times I found Brohr to be a little less than the sum of his parts and could be quite frustrated with him, whilst Hendrick was a typical lordling’s son. The other character Brasca was well realised and complex. It was interesting to see his story unfold to show how he had fallen from a star of the Tyrianite Empire to being demoted to his current position.

I liked that Jordan Loyal Short used some typical other fantasy elements like the chosen one trope, warring gods or the found family trope, and twisted them to fit the story.

So, if you like your dark fantasy flavoured with a bit of grimness and spiced up with a touch of Sci Fi and horror then give The Scold’s Black Verse a try. 


 














Wednesday, 16 March 2022


 HELLO EVERYONE!

The Kaiju Preservation Society is released tomorrow so I thought I would put out some thoughts on this book.

Talking in the back of his book, John Scalzi writes that this book came about when he was writing another book. However, with the events of the pandemic, he could not entirely get his head into gear (I am paraphrasing here!) and had to put the book that he was writing on the back burner. Not only that, he describes that he experienced an illness that he was sure was COVID. All this hampered his efforts to write the book he had planned. 

When he started writing again, he felt much happier with the stuff that he had created. However, as we all know, computers can be absolute gits, and whilst he thought he had saved his work, the cold reality was that it had been eaten by an entity that hangs around cyberspace and is known to eat the words that people produce. 

That was it! He decided on a moment of clarity that the novel that he was originally going to write was well and truly gone. After some wrangling he sorted it out, and got the idea for The Kaiju Preservation Society, which he describes as 'dropping into his head, all at once'.

So, let's get on with The Kaiju Preservation Society.

 


The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi's first standalone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times bestselling Interdependency trilogy.

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls "an animal rights organization." Tom's team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn't tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They're the universe's largest and most dangerous panda and they're in trouble.

It's not just the Kaiju Preservation Society that's found its way to the alternate world. Others have, too--and their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

 

When Kaiju ruled the world!

That’s the premise in John Scalzi’s Kaiju Preservation Society. Jamie Gray has given up their college course to work for a startup company called Müdfüd.

At an appraisal with their boss, Jaimie’s life is irrevocably changed when they are ‘let go’ from their job. They are offered a job as a delivery person. However things are about to change when the pandemic strikes.

Whilst out delivering, he happens to deliver to an old friend who seems to have done quite well for themselves. Over a period of time they reacquaint themselves and Jamie is offered a job.

What Jamie does not realise is that the job is on an alternative earth, studying massive Kaiju, who have developed on an alternative evolutionary trajectory.

This is the first book by John Scalzi that I have read and found that it was a good introduction to his writing as it is a light read that is just entertainingly fun. The prose is light and breezy, and by his own admission, this is a bit of a pop novel that is simply there to entertain, which it does with ease.

One of the strengths of the book is the relationship between the new comrades as they become orientated to this new earth. There is plenty of snarky dialogue between the new recruits as they become familiar with both their new roles in the job, and this other earth that is vastly different, where in all honesty it is not the massive Kaiju that is the main danger, but everything else.

As the story progresses we are treated to the scientific reasons why the Kaiju exist and how they differ from our perceived ideas of just being behemoths that terrorise the world they live in and are in fact massive ecosystems that are a part of the ecology of the world. You are never overwhelmed by the ‘science’ of the world that Jamie now inhabits and it adds to the fun of the book.

There is a solid cast of characters that are well realised. The characters are all diverse, and John Scalzi doesn’t make any issue of this, for example, we have non binary characters, and this is treated as part of the culture. No judgement, no source of conflict etc, which makes it refreshingly inclusive.

The book is peppered with pop culture references, and there are references to things like Gozilla and other things that make you smile as the references become more apparent.

However, underneath the fluff and bubblegum, there is a satirical swipe at our current world and the corporate dictation that has emerged and shines a light on the fact that this culture regularly puts profit at the forefront of its ethos and the disastrous results this can have.

The book itself is lighthearted and playful, and will be a delight for those of us who have grown up on monster flicks, and wondered about the science behind the creature.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tuesday, 15 March 2022


Hello Everyone!

Today’s my stop on the Blog Tour hosted by the wonderful The Write Reads for Our Bloody Pearl by D.N. Bryn! This was one of the finalists in the 2021 BBNYA competition, there’s some more information about BBNYA near the bottom of this post if you’re interested. Thank you to the The Write Reads and BBNYA teams for organizing this blog tour and providing me with the materials for it.


The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear.

That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs.

Perle was the first siren captured, and while all since have either been sold or killed, Kian still keeps them prisoner. Though their song is muted and their tail paralyzed, Perle’s hope for escape rekindles as another pirating vessel seizes Kian’s ship. This new captain seems different, with his brilliant smile and his promises that Kian will never again be Perle’s master. But he’s still a human, and a captor in his own way. The compassion he and his rag-tag human family show can’t be sincere… or can it?

Soon it becomes clear that Kian will hunt Perle relentlessly, taking down any siren in her path. As the tides turn, Perle must decide whether to run from Kian forever, or ride the forming wave into battle, hoping their newfound human companions will fight with them.

This adult fantasy novel featuring an nonbinary disabled protagonist is a voyage of laughter and danger where friendships and love abound and sirens are sure to steal—or eat—your heart.

Trigger warnings: mild gore due to carnivorous sirens and sensations of drowning.
 

Book Info

Publisher: Bryn Books

Length: 206 Pages

Date Published: 26th July 2018

Amazon UK

 Amazon US

Goodreads 

 About the Author


D.N. Bryn began writing short stories in middle school and has yet to stop. They received their bachelors degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from UCSD, and enjoy a day job involving respiratory disease research. They bring their love for animals, science, and mythology into all their writing, and are passionate about creating inclusive worlds where a diverse array of characters can go on grand adventures without being hindered by social misconceptions based on their appearance, sexuality, or gender.

 About BBNYA

 

BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.

The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!
 



 Hello Everyone

Welcome to today's post.

This is one of those hard posts as it is the final book of one of my favourite series. Initially when SC Gowland got in touch with me to talk about his book Coven of Shadows, I had not read the first book The Dark Crown. 

So, in order to get up to speed, I immediately fell for the series. I mean it has all the things that I love in books; great characters, animal companions and found family (even though Kaolden does have his daughters)

Now why is it so hard? Well for a start it is the third in a series, and we have already established that I love it! 

Darkness Falls was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I hope that people go and find this series.

So, lets have a look at the book.

 


THE WORLD IS SHROUDED IN DARKNESS

The end is near. Souls and kingdoms fall into darkness. Three heroes must fight off the shadows and restore light to the world.

Within the walls of Zapomniane prison, Kaoldan schemes to escape. He has a promise to fulfil, and nothing will stop him.

Meanwhile, Romina battles to survive against Otan forces. When a stranger offers her a way out, she must decide whether to save herself or stand against the evil that threatens the world.

Zahara has left her loved ones behind. She bears a secret that might destroy her - and the realm. The enemy relentlessly hunts her, determined to take back what she stole. If they succeed, all is lost.

Fates collide and the light shines anew in the epic conclusion to the first SOULS' ABYSS trilogy.

 

Epic Fantasy at its best!”

The final confrontation is an epic battle that rivals any in fantasy...”

Definitely recommend this book as it has everything you could possibly want from a fantasy book.”

 

Okay, now you know what it is about, let's talk about the book!

Darkness Falls is the third instalment of The Soul’s Abyss Trilogy.

The story directly follows on from the end of the second book and we join the group as they have effectively been split apart. Kaolden and the gang are in prison, held on the orders of Gythe, the Paragon Walker, Zahara is now a fugitive and in hiding with Johana, following the events of Coven of Shadows and Romina is still being held by the Otan at their hidden city.

Now the pieces are all placed, S.C. Gowland let’s loose to put all his pieces in play in this fast-moving finale. 

Third books are difficult to review as a reviewer. You don’t want to spoil the end of the second book, even though they have a direct impact on the third book, and you don’t want to give away the plot of the third too much as this is the finale of the whole trilogy. However, I will try to give some idea of what the book is about without spoiling too much (and please take note, that some of the things that I mention are part of the running theme, rather than individual plot points)

Darkness Falls mainly revolves around driving towards the ultimate goal of the story. Find the final piece of the Dark Crown and attempt to stop the baddies. Simple! And that is the beauty of SC Gowland’s trilogy. He uses themes that most fantasy fans are familiar with, and uses them well, but the key to the trilogy is the fantastically realised characters and their relationships with each other. However, not only that, but he has also taken these familiar themes and injected them with other influences that are sure to please all who read it. You have the shape changing Walker Blades that can be any bladed weapon that the bearer can envisage, and you have the Pantheras that remind you of Battle Cat from Masters of the Universe and has slotted them into the story so that they sit naturally in the world that he has created. 

I must say that when you come to the end of a Trilogy that you have invested time and emotion into, there is a certain amount of trepidation to how this will play out. There is the move to the final conclusion of the story and yet it still has to be a book in its own right and be an addition to the overall arc of the tale. 

Did SC Gowland manage to do this? Well, the answer is yes! Yes, he bloomin well did! And let me tell you, I was not expecting it to go the way that it did. He manages to introduce new characters, such as the Paragon Walker Gythe , Rhazien’s twisted offspring Idrik, and Bromlyn and Edanu from the Miru Sib. 

And not only that, he gets in some expansion to the world by introducing new lands and new beasts. All of these elements enhance and enrich the story to get us to where we need to be. 

In Darkness Falls, SC Gowland sends his characters to unknown and well imagined parts of his world, all richly described and holds it together with brilliant characters and emotional camaraderie and tension. There are things that you won’t see coming and he manages to wrap up the series in an utterly satisfying manner that leaves you breathless and just a little bit stunned! 









Wednesday, 9 March 2022


Hello,

Today, I am going to try and talk about Jade War by Fonda Lee. This was a hard one to put into words and rather than it being a review, it is me going on and on about how brilliant it is. So. let's start with what the book is about.

In Jade War, the sequel to the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Jade City, the Kaul siblings battle rival clans for honor and control over an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.

On the island of Kekon, the Kaul family is locked in a violent feud for control of the capital city and the supply of magical jade that endows trained Green Bone warriors with supernatural powers they alone have possessed for hundreds of years.

Beyond Kekon's borders, war is brewing. Powerful foreign governments and mercenary criminal kingpins alike turn their eyes on the island nation. Jade, Kekon's most prized resource, could make them rich - or give them the edge they'd need to topple their rivals.

Faced with threats on all sides, the Kaul family is forced to form new and dangerous alliances, confront enemies in the darkest streets and the tallest office towers, and put honor aside in order to do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival - and that of all the Green Bones of Kekon.

Jade War is the second book of the Green Bone Saga, an epic trilogy about family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of blood and jade.

 Okay Nerd, get a grip!

Brain: But how are you going to write about Jade War?

I don’t have a clue!

Right, if you haven’t read my review on Jade City, here is a recap – It’s marvellous!

I was so sucked in, I went straight onto Jade War, and have gone straight onto the next book Jade Legacy, which I will post a review when I have done.

Better crack on with this (I don’t know if I can call it this) review of Jade War then haven’t I?

Say one thing about Jade War, say its ambitious!

The Green Bone Saga takes place in an Asian inspired world that is set somewhere in what seems  to be the present. However, whilst at times it appears modern, at other times it feels that it is set in the seventies. You can never put your finger on it, and this adds to the mystique of the world.

The main drama is set on the island of Kekon. An island that is ruled by warring clans that battle for dominance over the island.

Jade War is full of intrigue and conflict which encompasses political, economic and physical war spanning several years. The saga centres around the Kaul Family and the No Peak clan, telling the tale of their bid to stamp out the rival clan of the Mountain. The war is waged in a multitude of arenas, on the streets, in the boardroom, in other countries and in the home.

At the heart of it is Jade. A substance that is at the centre of everything on the island of Kekon. It is their sole export and it is also a mystical substance that gives fantastical abilities to the wearer. The clans fight for control of it, the people wear it and everyone wants to possess it

As I said, we follow the trials and tribulations of the Kaul family, run by the ruthless clan leader Hilo. He is the head of the clan and everything revolves around the clan. Members are indoctrinated into the cult of the clan and everything on the island is run by the clans.

It is hard to describe what is happening in this book, as there really is so much going on. The story itself is a character driven family drama. However it is so much more than that, and it really had my jaw dropping on several occasions throughout the story.

Fonda Lee is such an amazing writer, and she has you thoroughly hooked in this epic drama. And let me tell you it is epic, magnificently, grippingly epic. The scope of the story is massive, with the family jet-setting to different parts of the world, setting up business deals in other countries, influencing political opinion and policy, assassinating people abroad and at home. Honestly, I do not think I have even scratched the surface of the story. To call it multi layered is an understatement.

However, not only that, Fonda Lee writes such captivating drama. When you get into the books you get seriously attached to the characters. It can be a little overwhelming at first as the cast of characters is massive, and I guarantee that you won’t remember them all, but you only need to remember the main ones as people retire, get killed, die, move away and all sorts of other things.

I really do not know how to tell you more without spoiling it and waxing lyrical about how amazing it is.

Jade War is utterly gripping, epic and sweepingly, dramatically brilliant. 


 


Tuesday, 8 March 2022


Hello everyone. 

As you probably know, it's International Women's Day.

So in celebration, I wanted to do a little piece about women in music and highlight musicians that I admire by doing some little pieces them.

First up, is Sister Rosetta Tharp (March 20 1915 - October 9 1973).

Forebears: Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Godmother Of Rock 'N' Roll : NPR

Born Rosetta Nubin in 1915 in Cotton Plant, Arkansas to Katie Bell Nubin & Willis Atkins (although she may have been born Rosether Atkins (or Atkinson). Her mother Katie was also a singer and a mandolin player, deaconess-missionary, and women's speaker for the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), 

Tharpe (a child musical prodigy who played guitar when she was six years of age) gained popularity in the 1930's and 1940's with her gospel recordings and was extremely important to the origins of rock and roll. She was among the first popular guitarists to use heavy distortion when playing and is said to have influenced such notables as Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Keith Richards. She was later dubbed 'The Godmother of Rock & Roll' and inducted posthumously in the Blues Hall of Fame

Next up is Gilli Smyth (1 June 1933; 22 August 2016)

Gilli Smyth is one of those people that I saw numerous times with the band Gong (one of my favourite bands), and met a few times when I happened to get back stage.

Gilli Smyth - Shakti Yoni - Posts | Facebook

 

 Originally born in London and studied at King's College. After a brief spell    teaching at the Sorbonne, she began doing performance poetry with  the well known group Soft Machine, an influential band on what was known as the Canterbury Scene. She co - founded Gong with Daevid Allen in 1967. When Gong split in the seventies, Gilli Smyth formed Mother Gong  with Harry Williamson

She had a unique vocal method which was termed as  Space Whisper. She continued with Mother Gong throughout her career, but also re-joined Gong when they reformed and also guested on other bands associated with Gong.

 

Anne Marie Hurst 

Anne Marie Hurst was the lead singer of Goth Band Ghostdance.

skeletal familyEndenocte | Dark night 

Anne Marie Hurst originally from Keighley in West Yorkshire was the lead vocalist in the band The Elements until 1982, but then went on to form Skeletal Family, which she departed in 1985. At the same time Gary Marx of The Sisters of Mercy was also looking to form a new band. Together they formed Ghost Dance.

Larissa Stupar

Venom Prison's Larissa Stupar: The 10 Songs That Changed My Life — Kerrang!

Described as 'metal's most important - and uncompromising - voice, Larissa Stupar is the lead vocalist with Venom Prison. With the recent release of their fourth Album, Erebus to much success (especially with me). They are due to play Download festival this year, along with the likes of Sepultura.

Gabriella Quintero

Video: Gabriela Quintero of Rodrigo y Gabriela on | Reverb News

Gabriella Quintero is one half of the duo Rodrigo Y Gabriella, who play Flamenco, jazz and rock tunes. If you haven't heard their rendition of Orion by Metallica, have a listen, it is simply stunning. Originally born in Mexico, the pair took up residence in Dublin. They have numerous albums out and have been featured on films such as Dreamwork's Puss In Boots & Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Taimane Gardner

Taimane Gardner and the ukulele | Upa Upa Tahiti

Now I know that some people consider the ukulele a fun instrument, however, watch Taimane Gardner strum this diminutive instrument and and I guarantee that you will be gobsmacked by Taimane Gardner does with it. Born in Honolulu in 1989, she has been playing the ukulele since she was five.

 

 

 

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga - Songs, Movies & Facts - Biography

What can you say about Lady Gaga that hasn't been said already! The woman is amazing. She will incorporate different forms of music. She cites all kinds of music as a reference, such as Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder and a whole host of others. She is flamboyant, a multi instrumentalist and utterly brilliant.

I don't think I need to say any more really, you all know who she is.

 

 

Sarah Longfield 

Disparity: Sarah Longfield Talks Making a Living, Eight-String Guitars and  Bold New Album | Guitar World

I first heard Sarah Longfield on Youtube, where she does a jokey thing called 'Sunday Uke Club' in which she will play various metal covers with Rob Scallion. However, this led me to investigate her other stuff, and let me tell she is amazing, at times reminding me of someone like Joe Satriani. In 2018, she was named as one of the 15 best seven & eight strings guitarists. 

Siouxsie Sioux

Siouxsie Sioux :: My Favorite Artists – lyriquediscorde

Siouxsie Sioux (born Susan Janet Ballion in 1957) adorned many a young Goths wall (mine included) in the 80's and was one of the first bands (along with Bauhaus) to be labelled as Gothic (which obvioulsy got shortened to Goth) and has had a lasting effect on music. Allmusic labelled her as one of the most influential British singers of the Rock Era. when she was with Siouxsie and the Banshees they released 11 studio albums, and in my opinion their live album, Nocturne, is one of the best live albums ever recorded. However, not only did she record with The Banshees, there were other side projects such as the Creatures, and she has also released solo works. 

Jospehine Baker (3 June 1906 – 12 April 1975)

Josephine Baker | Biography, Children, Movies, Banana Skirt, & Facts |  Britannica

Josephine Baker was an American French entertainer who came to prominence during the Jazz era. During her early career, she was one of the most celebrated performers of the 1920's, causing a stir in the Folies Bergeres as her costume consisted of a short skirt of bananas and a pearl necklace. 

During World War 2, she aided the French resistance and after the war she was awarded the Resistance Medal by the French Committee of National Liberation, The Croix de Guerre by the French Military and was named a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honner by Charles de Gaulle.

Although, based in France, she supported the civil rights movement and refused to play to segregated audiences in the US, even though she was offered large sums of money. Later in life, she was approached to, unofficially, take up the leadership of the Civil Rights movement by Coretta Scott King, after the assassination of Martin Luther King. However, after some deliberation she refused.

Okay! I could keep going on (and on, and on!), so I will have to stop there! 

I hope you enjoyed this post.




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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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