The Blogger Squad – What we are reading update

Hello!  Welcome to the first feature post from the new crew at The Book in Hand!  Westu hal!  I am delighted to be kicking this document off and showcasing what I am reading at the moment and what everyone else is reading as well.

While we are telling you, why don’t you let us know in the comments about what you are reading?  It was always interesting and great to learn about other readers and add to the TBR pile as well (not that mine isn’t worryingly high) but anyway let us begin!


Well I am very excited at the moment, my reading has gone so well this month that I was able to get to my bonus September read early and thoroughly enjoyed re reading Northern Wrath by Thilde Kold Holt, book 1 of The Hanged God Trilogy. This was mostly in anticipation of the sequel Shackled Fates which I was granted a physical ARC for by the publisher.  I am at this moment reading another eARC, The Bone Ships Wake by R.J Barker and seriously enjoying my return to this amazing world but sad because it is coming to an end.  I am also beta reading A Skeleton’s Eye for Michael Baker – and if you have never read anything by this chap then I highly suggest you do as he is an author to watch. 

Anyway I now turn the table to the next member of the squad 

Arthur / nocrackedspines

Hi everyone! I am excited to be stepping back into the Wheel of Time this month with book number 7 – A Crown of Swords! I started my journey through the series for the first time last March. With all of the excitement around the Amazon series, I have been itching to get back into the world. I recommend picking up Wheel of Time if you haven’t read it yet especially if you love Lord of the Rings and Dune! I picked up an eARC this month from an author for a book called Scion of the Oracle. Looking forward to reading in the next couple of weeks!

I will turn the table once to the next member of our squad

Edpool / Hatboy’s Hatstand

By the time you read this, it will be out of date. I’m currently churning through three books a week as a judge for the first ever Self-Published Science Fiction Contest, the SPSFC. Each book I read gets a review and I’m posting them on Amazon, Goodreads, The Book In Hand and my own blog. I tried Reddit but it turned out to be Reddit. So look for those books as they pop up! There’s some mithril to be found in the self-published mine. I’m currently just finishing up with Week 7 out of 10 for round one of the contest, and then I will have a little break to read a couple of books written by the contest organisers: Wool by Hugh Howey (soon to be a live action show on Apple+, I believe!) and Monstre by Duncan Swan. I’ve been looking forward to them!

Preparing to turn the table to the next member of our squad, turning the table, table turned


Hello everyone! I’m not reading anything. 

JOKE! I am actually at the very start of The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler, which is book two of The Shadow Campaigns books. Book one was fantastic so I jumped straight into book two. I also had to due to peer pressure of my buddy reading companions who finished the book way sooner than me 🙈😂 Yes, David and Eleni I’m talking to you!

I am also currently listening to The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley, which is also the second installment of its series. Again book one was really good and I thoroughly enjoyed my listening experience. I’m liking the change in pace in book two and also more time with other characters!

Turning table to the next squad member…


Hey Folks !! I am currently embroiled in the dark and sordid goings on of Earwa. I’m reading The Great Ordeal By R Scott Bakker.This series remains to be completely consistent in every way and i do think that this series has reached new heights and surpassed the first half of the series in some ways. Bakker is one author that doesn’t pull any punches and I would say that some of the content is not for the faint of heart, but it’s totally uncompromising in every way, as intended. It’s writers like this that really have a lasting impact on me and I love that he goes near subjects that most writers won’t and still manages to write something that’s completely credible.. His character work still continues to blow me away and im currently so impressed with one character that he’s created, as he is by far one of the most psychotic characters that ive read in fantasy and this is a seven year old boy… Enough rambling lol  I will be continuing with The Aspect Emperor series and finishing the series with The Unholy Consult coming up next! Its looking like I will be starting my journey into the Mazalan book of the Fallen series after I finish Bakkers series. My Erikson and Esselmont collection seems to be growing at an alarming rate in the last few days…. I cannot wait !!!

Turning table to the next squad member…


The final entry here is me, William. I have quite the world of chaos going on. The deepest read I’m in right now is Rise of the Ranger, book 1 of The Echoes Saga by Philip C. Quaintrell. This is the first book I have read by him and color me impressed. The best way I can describe this book is classic fantasy with Peter’s own twist. We have elves, dwarves, humans, dragons, and magic. The twist is that Elves are in quite a dark place. Peter’s writing is in the classic vein, but it is more action oriented than grand epic feel. It does have an ultimate evil. I’m enjoying this book and would be done, but this is my first Kindle Paperwhite read so I’m still adjusting to using it. As for my Audible book I have just finished one and will continue on with The Sandman production with Act II. Hoping Kat Dennings as Death is around more because she kills it. I also have ventured into The Obelisk Gate, book two of the Broken Earth Trilogy. I have moved slowly on it because its post apocalyptic fantasy which just hasn’t really hit my current mood. It’s brilliantly written just as The Fifth Season was, I’m just not exactly sure where it’s going yet. I do like the new PoV of our protagonist’s daughter though. Anyways. I will probably steer towards a horror read for October as well. 

“By the maiden, Mother and Hag!” A review of the Bone Ships by R J Barker

Welcome to my first review here at The Book in Hand!  Westu hal, I am delighted to be here contributing reviews to this amazing blog, it’s an honour to be here helping this blog grow.  I do hope that you are staying safe and well and reading something awesome as well.

I am bringing a review to you today of an amazing book, it was easily one of the best opening books of a trilogy that I have ever read. This is my review of The Boneships by R.J Barker and by the Maiden, Mother and Hag this is why you should read it.

First of all, check out the premise.

The Premise


For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.

The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted.

Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour. Because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war.

The Review

This is a great story, it takes a hold of you in the first few pages and this is testament to R J’s flowing writing style. It is easy to read and wonderfully descriptive, and immerses you in this brutal world.  The story begins with one Joron Twiner, Shipwife (Captain) of the Tide Child being confronted by “Lucky” Meas Gilbryn and a changing of Hats happens.  Hats are an important symbol in this world as you will discover, this event is an important one for the story as well.

Meas is about to take over “Tide Child” a black ship of the Hundred Isles fleet.  Black ships are ships of the dead, those who serve aboard are sentenced for crimes I would rather not mention here, needless to say it is not a happy place to be.  As the book progressed I began to see the ship as home, it was very much a home for the crew and each battle fought they came more and more together.

The world that R J has created is wonderful as well, a brutal and unforgiving world though which is sharply divided by birth.  Let R J take you around this world, a brilliant example of secondary creation with it’s own creation myth (I loved this), religion (the Maiden, Mother and Hag) and ways of life. One of the most unique aspects ( I know I should have mentioned this before) are the ships, the tall ships, the bone ships.  Carved from the bones of dragons, the hundred isles fleet of this world “fly the ocean” on great Bones Ships in their war against the Gaunt Islands.

An issue that R J brings into the book is that of class, and how sharply divided the Hundred Isles is.  It is very simple, your class is determined by birth, if you are born okay and your mother does not die in this world, you join the “Bern”, if you are not or your mother dies then you join the “Berncast”.  R.J addresses very sharply in the book, it plays a key aspect and comes to the fore when the “Tide Child” and it’s crew are given a mission of great importance to the Hundred Isles.

You are introduced to many characters, but my favourites were Joron Twiner and Meas Gilbryn.  Joron is an interesting character, he is not sure of his place in the world but gradually finds he has a place and a role.  Meas Gilbryn is charismatic and she will draw you to her, her determination to succeed against the odds is an endearing factor to both the reader and her crew.  Other characters such as Farys, Barlay and Solem Mufffaz will greet you, tell you their stories and hopefully like me, draw you in.  R J really does write some wonderful characters, charismatic, determined, fearful and with shameful and storied pasts they are all here.

Putting it simply, I loved this book, as soon as I finished the first chapter I became immersed in this world and it really rewarded me as a reader.  As a fantasy book, the fantasy is there in the world as it’s a secondary created world, but be prepared to meet some of the stranger creatures of this world, The Guilame, those who control the wind.  

This really was a great book, one of my best reads of the year so far and a book and a series that I really recommend that you read.  R J really is a writer to watch, I loved his first trilogy and this trilogy could be something special with it’s wonderfully created world, intriguing and charismatic characters and glorious sea battles because those scenes (for me) are extra special.

By the Maiden, Mother and Hag, this is why you should read “The Bone Ships” by R J Barker, one of the best reads of the year for me, a book I highly recommend and an excellent start to a trilogy!  I couldn’t wait for book 2!

All that remains is for me to say westul hal, stay safe and enjoy what you are reading.