BOOK REVIEW | A FOOL’S HOPE BY MIKE SHACKLE

Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!

It is Monday, and thankfully I am not in work until tomorrow so I can write up my review of Mike Shackle’s second book to The Last War series: A Fool’s Hope!

I am absolutely thrilled to be able To read and review this book, it is a dark and sensational follow up to the first book: We Are The Dead!

A Fool’s Hope is due to release on 3rd December 2020, and you can pre-order from any of the below places…

AMAZON.CO.UK £15.19 | WHSMITH £15.19 | WATERSTONES £18.99 |

**Prices as shown on 30/11/20**

A few facts about A Fool’s Hope:

  • Title: A Fool’s Hope
  • Author: Mike Shackle
  • Series: The Last War (Book Two)
  • Published by Gollancz
  • Pages: 594

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

War takes everything.

From Tinnstra, it took her family and thrust her into a conflict she wanted only to avoid. Now her queen’s sole protector, she must give everything she has left to keep Zorique safe.

It has taken just as much from Jia’s revolutionaries. Dren and Jax – battered, tortured, once enemies themselves – now must hold strong against their bruised invaders, the Egril.

For the enemy intends to wipe Jia from the map. They may have lost a battle, but they are coming back. And if Tinnstra and her allies hope to survive, Jia’s heroes will need to be ready when they do.

The sequel to the darkly fantastic WE ARE THE DEAD: with more unflinching action, A FOOL’S HOPE sees Jia’s revolutionaries dig in their heels as they learn that wars aren’t won in a day.

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from :

  • WAR;
  • Epic battles filled with bloody desperation;
  • An excellently written masterpiece that doesn’t pull punches or pussy-foot around;
  • Fascinating, compelling and generally amazing characters; and
  • A great middle instalment to a sure to be exquisite trilogy!

First off I would like to thank the folks at Gollancz & NetGalley who accepted my request to read this book early! I also have to laugh because my instant response to this book was “Holy shit – this book” and that is what is quoted on Gollancz website! So, I see no other way to start my review…

On to the full review…

HOLY SHIT – THIS BOOK!

There, that is my review.

I joke, I joke. While accurate I think I can muster up some more words to do this book its justice.

A Fool’s Hope is an incredible story and it begins right back to where it left you, there is no irritating missing period that you always want to know about, you are straight back to it! Many say the second book is often the worst one, it is the calm before the epic climax of book three and can often be filled with a lot of filler. Well, Shackle shit’s all over that statement! This book just keeps getting better, it stands on equal footing with book one and is damned incredible.

Having read Shackle’s first book in this series, I am somewhat familiar with his writing style and yet A Fool’s Hope still managed to amaze me. Over my last few review’s I have been talking a little bit more about how coherent a book is, its dialogue and other general but crucial writing elements.

While reading A Fool’s Hope I saw nothing but a faultless piece of work! Shackle’s ability to weave a story is brilliant, no sentence is wasted, and no dialogue out of place. Everything just seemed to fit so well, and when a book is a fast paced as these books are it is often easy for it all to become a little jarring and feel all over the place. This was not the case in A Fool’s Hope despite the different locations and characters.

Shackle’s writing isn’t like anything I have read before, it is so tight-knit and compact you feel the punch of every word. His battle scenes are diverse and not repetitive and they all feel so real, because of Shackle’s incredibly world building you have more than brief explosions of imaginative action, you have a damn movie playing before your eyes! I felt the vibrations of every explosion and I felt raw from the sights that war brings, the people you cant help, the desperation. You are quite simply plunged into a world so deeply you are there for it all.

As with book one, We Are The Dead, you will be constantly driven to turn the next page, I read this book in three or four days. It is so addictive.

We Are The Dead introduced us to a good amount of the characters in this series but I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to some more in A Fool’s Hope. We continue to see these incredible and flawed characters grow, we see their relationships grow deeper and their level of progression is fantastic. No character really remains the same, war changes them irrevocably, and it was such a rush seeing them deal with the events that unfold within this book. Nothing about this book feels rushed and you will, as surely as I did, become wholly invested in the outcome of these characters journey!

A Fool’s Hope is darker in nature, the stakes are higher and it is filled with the grim realness of a country under siege. Shackle holds nothing back and is not afraid to throw everything he can at his characters but this book is also so much more than that.

I can say so much more about this book, and I really do want to, but to do so walks into the realms of the spoilers and that is no place I dare tread. All I can say is that everything you expect to happen in this book will not happen, the direction you think this book will go in…yeah, it is going to rage a battle so vicious in the complete opposite direction and it is all done with such incredible finesse it leaves you wanting!

I would definitely say to those who plan on reading this book to avoid anything even remotely spoiler’ish, avoid any review that goes into detail about the relationships and the characters who feature or well anything really! I don’t think my review falls into those categories but many I imagine will so please be careful. In my opinion, you should go into this blind beyond the first book to really experience this spectacular book!

I read A Fool’s Hope straight after We Are The Dead without sight of a single review and I enjoyed it so much more. Each event I came upon was shockingly brilliant, I had no idea which direction it would turn and what an experience it was.


On to the rating…

THE RANKS: 

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

A Fool’s Hope unfortunately is not being published in hardback I don’t believe, though that does not change this books rating of BUY THE HARDBACK!

Instead I purchased the signed Paperback (Twitter Link Here) from Matt, he is a bookseller at Waterstones so definitely message him to see if he has any left!

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | VOICE OF WAR BY ZACK ARGYLE & NARRATED BY ADAM GOLD

Good Afternoon Bookish Folk! I hope you are all having a good weekend.

This week I am in a bid to get up to date with some of my reviews so here is another, and today I am super happy to talk to you about Zack Argyle’s book Voice of War.

I would firstly like to thank Zack for sending me a copy of this book. We partnered up for a giveaway and not only did Zack gift more than one copy in celebration of me reaching 1,000 followers on Twitter he sent me a copy too! So a HUGE thank you!

A few facts about Voice of War:

  • Title: Voice of War
  • Author: Zack Argyle
  • Narrated by: Adam Gold
  • Series: Threadlight (Book One)
  • Published by Zack Argyle
  • Pages: 380
  • Narration Length: 12 hours 32 minutes

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Listen To the Audiobook Sample:

“Voice of War is a perfect blend of magic, family, and chaos that will leave you begging for the next installment. Fans of Brandon Sanderson will love this.”

Chrys Valerian is a threadweaver, a high general, and soon-to-be father. But to the people of Alchea, he is the Apogee—the man who won the war.

When a stranger’s prophecy foretells danger to Chrys’ child, he must do everything in his power to protect his family—even if the most dangerous enemy is the voice in his own head.

To the west, a sheltered girl seeks to find her place in the world.

To the south, a young man’s life changes after he dies.

Together, they will change the world—whether they intend to or not. 

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from Voice of War :

  • Epic fantasy;
  • A stunning and imaginative magic system;
  • An amazing world;
  • Loveable characters; and
  • A self published gem!

The Audiobook…

While I did read some of this book, I consumed most of it by way of audiobook and what an audio narration it is. I knew instantly I loved the sounds of Adam Gold’s voice and bought the eBook a few seconds into the sample! Though, once I listened to the whole sample I got a little worried, I thought ‘ahhh everything this guy is saying sounds like its a question’. So I was going to just read it instead and maybe tackle some audio when I was running out of reading time!

I’m so glad I opted to go the opposite way.

Adam Gold gave a stellar performance, his characters are distinctive and he doesn’t sound like everything was a question as I worried! So if you get that same feeling worry not, it is not an issue.

Gold has such a seductive voice, it is deep and a little husky and really worked with this book. He really brought the characters and the world to life.

I would STRONGLY recommend you get this audiobook, it is phenomenal!

On to the full review…

I think I will start this review with the magic in Voice of War, I found the magic in this to be really refreshing. It stays clear of your spell based magic and to me felt more natural, or as natural as the manipulation of gravity determined by ones eyes colour can be! I have heard a few people mentioned its likeness to Sanderson’s works, but I haven’t read them so I cant comment. To me, it was a wholly new magic system and one I loved. It is so well integrated into the life of these characters and it truly added something special to this story!

Straight of the bat I loved the characters in this book, I started this book with the intention of getting a bit of a feel for it and when I stopped I was over 30% of the way through it! The characters, in my opinion, are solid. I wanted to keep reading and reading and reading because of them, and I did…each chance I got.

Zack gave each of his characters a distinctive and well rounded feel, each one had their own motivations for their actions and I really enjoyed experiencing the characters individual journey. Even better is each character is from fairly different worlds. Zack does incredibly well at really drawing you into this world. We see its underbelly, its lush forests and also its main city! Each world you visit it so well written and filled with amazing things from the amazing chromawolf, photospores, necrolytes and so much more!

I think one of the reasons this book is so easy to read and listen to is that it is really well paced and coherent, it smoothly moves along in its plot making it really easy to progress.

Now, this next point is not something I think I have ever mentioned before in a review, but I have found myself picking up on it more and more lately. I don’t know what changed or if I am just seeing a broader spectrum of it in my recent reads and that is dialogue! Voice of War has no issue with this though, its actually quite a strength in this book! I laughed at some, I felt saddened by some and all the conversations and bits of dialogue all fit. The tone of the characters is consistent too and I didn’t feel at any point that the characters veered away from themselves for the sake of progressing the story.

Zack is a great writer and I really enjoyed his writing style, I especially enjoyed the battle scenes. They had just enough action woven in with the use of magic, it was great to see the way in which such a cool magic system could be used in a fight. I also really want to talk about the Apogee but that walks into spoiler territory and I’m not about that life, yanno?! So, just know it is a fantastic element to an already incredibly book!

Voice of War is, as I said above, a self published gem. It is epic fantasy and one I am so glad I read. Voice of War is such a good start to the Threadlight series and leaves you wanting the next book!

ALSO! It is currently a finalist for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and boy does this book deserve a place there!!


On to the rating…

THE RANKS:

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

Voice of War is a great book and I would definitely pick up a physical copy. I would BUY THE PAPERBACK! Though, I will say GRAB THE AUDIOBOOK! It is so good.

  • This is such a good book, I really enjoyed it and I will read this again. I will definitely listen to it again Adam Gold’s voice is great.
  • This is one of those books that as you review it you realise how much more you liked it, it has so much going for it while staying so well glance and utterly enjoyable.

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | WE ARE THE DEAD BY MIKE SHACKLE

Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!

Ohh, two days in a row. I have a wee bit of a backlog of book reviews to write up so I’m going to try and keep smashing them out and get up to date, then I have more time to reading. Which is always good.

As you can see by the title this will be my review of Mike Shackle’s book We Are The Dead. I can’t thank Mike enough for sending me a copy of this book.

A few facts about We Are The Dead:

  • Title: We Are The Dead
  • Author: Mike Shackle
  • Series: The Last War (Book One)
  • Published by Gollancz
  • Pages: 488

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

The war is over. The enemy won. Now it’s time to fight back.

For generations, the people of Jia – a land where magic has long since faded from the world, clinging on in only a few rare individuals – have been protected from the northern Egril hordes by their warrior caste, but their enemy has not been idle. They have rediscovered magic and use it to launch an overwhelming surprise attack. An invasion has begun.

And in moments, the war is over. Resistance is quashed. Kings and city leaders are barricaded in their homes awaiting banishment and execution, the warriors are massacred, and a helpless people submit to the brutality of Egril rule.

Jia’s heroes have failed it. They are all gone. And yet… there is still hope. Soon the fate of the kingdom will fall into the hands of a schoolboy terrorist, a crippled Shulka warrior and his wheelchair bound son, a single mother desperate enough to do anything she can to protect her baby… and Tinnstra, disgraced daughter of the Shulka’s greatest leader, who now lies dead by Egril hands.

A brand new epic fantasy: gritty and modern featuring a unique ensemble of characters who will lead a revolution against their overlords.

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from We Are The Dead:

  • A fast paced book which has you unable to put it down;
  • Bloody and marvellous close quarters combat;
  • War and invasion; and
  • A book not for the faint of heart but well worth it and wholly addictive!

On to the full review…

We Are The Dead is an outstanding book and it is one of those books that has me completely shocked that more people haven’t read it! I mean i’m not one to talk really I added this to my shelves back in April and haven’t read it until November but I feel redeemed somewhat as I read the following book A Fool’s Hope immediately after and what a ride it has been.

We Are The Dead, despite being an incredibly fast paced book which is brutal and bloody, it is remarkably well balanced. I posted via Goodreads while reading this saying how this book has you and keeps you and I stand by that. I also standby my statement that a book had me like no other has but worry not you do have moments of respite. Mike gives you a moment to breath, though not much more I might say, not before you are plunged back into the turmoil that is Jia.

Now, do not mistake We Are The Dead for a simple and brutal tale, yes it is brutal, but it is by no means simple. This is a layered book with complex themes present. Mike shows you that the best are only so until someone bigger and better comes along, you do not remain superior forever it is but a chapter in ones history.

The world that Mike creates in We Are The Dead is marvellous, while reading this I had a FULLY realised world in my mind. Mike’s world building and infusion of its history and magic was brilliantly done, and I would say essential with the battle and fights that are present in this book. I don’t think I would have experienced it the same if I didn’t have such a clear depiction of Jia. So, massive praise to Mike for doing such an incredible job.

The characters that fill Jia are incredible, I don’t think I can accurately explain how great these characters are, and not just our main POV characters but every single person that fills this world. Each character is uniquely individual with their own motivations for fighting in the war for Jia, with their own influences and their own limitations and hurdles.

Ok, so the combat…I can’t not bring the combat up in this book. The fights; the battles; just the action sequences in general are incredible and altogether engaging. There is such a savageness to the Egril and Mike does not hold back in showing this through several bloody scenes.

This book is exactly as it says on the cover, it is a book with no more heroes.

I think that I stand with numerous other readers of this book in saying that to explain how magnificent this book is, is no easy task. Yes, I have just written a review of it but blimey it wasn’t easy and I don’t feel like I have even remotely covered everything that is amazing about this book, so I implore you to read this book for yourself and experience what is one of the best dark fantasy books I have read.


As you are now aware I rate on a buy the hardback, buy the paperback, buy eBook or library rental/wait for a sale scale.

BUY THE HARDBACK RATING

Now, I’m pretty sure these book have not been published in Hardback but if they were I would DEFINITELY get this in Hardback!

  • The cover…I mean look at it, it is bloody amazing that alone deserves a HB!
  • I will read this book more than once.
  • This book is INCREDIBLE!

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 GREAT FANTASY DEBUTS…

Happy Sunday Bookish Folk!

As per…this is a late post. When coming’s up with this feature I wasn’t always working Sundays so my apologise for such a late post all the time. I am definitely a spontaneous blogger and I write my posts as I think them. the only drafts I have a templates. I tried scheduling and failed! miserable…

**I have linked the Goodreads Links for your ease…***

Today, while at work, I was wondering what can be my Sundays Seven post and I came up with books debuts. I don’t imagine it is anything overly original and I don’t doubt there are many posts of this across a great many blogs but I don’t care. I like the idea!

So, here be seven debuts, most of which I have read but there may be one, maybe two that I am due to read soon!If you want to check out any more debuts I actually have put together a little Debuts Goodreads List with a few I have found…

On to it…

THE RAGE OF DRAGONS BY Evan Winter

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

Having recently read this I couldn’t not put this book on the list! It is too good to not get raved about all over the book blogging world.


PROMISE OF BLOOD BY BRIAN MCCLELLAN

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

I LOVE this book so much, it was my first flintlock fantasy and, in my opinion, it set the bar pretty damned high for others I read.


MALICE BY John Gwynne

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

My goodness, if you do one thing this year please, please PLEASE read this book! It is soo good and you need to experience Gwynne’s storytelling, writing and the Banished Lands themselves.


STORMBLOOD BY JEREMY SZAL

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

Now, I haven’t read a lot of Sci-Fi but this book is one of my favourite sci-fi books! It is so incredibly good. Stormblood is such a fascinating and captivating story, and so well thought out.


THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER BY ANDREA STEWART

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

The Bone Shard Daughter is an exceptionally good fantasy debut. It has an imaginative world, a unique magic system and some great characters.


THE NAME OF THE WIND BY PATRICK ROTHFUSS

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

I have only read half of this book, but I can telly the half I have read it so worth the praise it receives from so many! I am so eager to pick this book up and finish it though I am tempted to start from the beginning. I plan to tackle this before the year ends.


The Bear and the Nightingale BY KATHERINE ARDEN

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

And last but not least The Bear and the Nightingale. I haven’t read this but have recently picked up the audiobook and I am super excited to start it. I have heard such high praise for this and the other books of the trilogy i’m really excited to listen to it.


There you have it, seven books, one for everyday of the week and this week you have the joy of seeing which fantasy debuts I have read or plan to read really soon. As I said above, I have found a good many more so if ou are interest simply click the link up top and have a browse!

Thanks for reading.


BOOK REVIEW | THE RAGE OF DRAGONS BY EVAN WINTER & NARRATED BY PRENTICE ONAYEMI

Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!

I will today be posting my review of the much loved ‘ The Rage of Dragons’. It is a book that has been on my radar for quite some time. I actually added this to my Goodreads page in August 2019 and then when Twitter blew up over the book, it totally renewed my interest. It is too often that we add a book to our TBR and then completely forget about it so I am thankful to the many amazing bloggers and book lovers who brought this book back to my attention.

A few facts about The Rage of Dragons:

  • Title: The Rage of Dragons
  • Author: Evan Winter
  • Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
  • Series: The Burning (Book One)
  • Published by Orbit
  • Narration Length: 16 hrs and 15 mins
  • Pages: 544

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.

Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him. 

YOU CAN GET THIS BOOK FROM…

AUDIBLE | AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM | WHSMITH | WATERSTONES | BOOK DEPOSITORY | FORBIDDEN PLANET

**Pssst…It is only £0.99 on Kindle at the minute, just saying**

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from The Rage of Dragons:

  • A fast paced military fantasy;
  • Utterly compelling characters;
  • A revenge story;
  • Incredible battles;
  • heart-wrenching writing; and
  • It will be one of the best books you will read.

On to the full review…

I listened to this via the audiobook, so as usual when I listen to the audiobook I will start this review with a few thoughts on the audiobook!

First and foremost, I cannot praise Prentice Onayemi enough! He brought this book to life in a way you can’t even begin to imagine. To the point that I am now reading ‘The Fires of Vengeance’ and it is his voice I hear in my head, not mine but his base narration voice and his interpretations of Tau and the other characters. I could have listened to this book again immediately after finishing it, it was that good.

My only struggle when listening to the audiobook, and it is a truly minor one, was interpreting certain words. If you are not reading the book it can be a little confusing distinguishing what is a name, a location, an honorific or a rank for example. However, this is easily fixed. I simply read the first few pages of the book, with the audio narration, and you immediately see what is what. Then back to the narration alone. This may not be an issue for regular audio listeners but this is only my third or so audiobook so I am still getting the hang of being read to, if that makes any sense!

So, that’s I on the audio aspect I don’t really know what to say in resect of audios other than whether I enjoyed it or not.

Now for the story…

I have seen dotted around that this book is a mix of Gladiator and Game of Thrones. I don’t see it, and I am glad I don’t. I really don’t like it when books get described as another book. Especially a book which needs no reference to fan favourites. What exactly makes this like Game of Thrones?

This book is a mind-blowing African inspired fantasy novel about injustice, love, revenge and so much more. It is one which has you completely absorbed immediately. It needs no comparison because this book will be one of the best books you read.

The Rage of Dragons is told from Tau’s POV, though there are certain times when we get another characters POV, this doesn’t happen often and it is wholly appropriate when it does. I actually really liked those moments.

Tau. What to say about Tau? He is one of the MOST compelling characters I have read, there is something so authentic and raw about him. He is compelling, relatable and authentic. At no point does Tau do something out of character, even when he does something stupid, and your left staring at the book like stop being so dumb and think for a minute man!

Evan Winter is a superb writer and I thoroughly enjoyed his writing style, it felt like every word that was written was something more, you almost felt the words. Evan is such a thought-provoking writer but not in a way that you feel you are being force fed the issues the book tackles. They are instead weaved throughout the character interactions, in how they deal with the constant barrage of injustices they face. It is in how they still form relationships when it seems nothing in their favour can possibly last.

This book is a fast paced and action packed read, the battles and fight scenes in this book are incredible. The story is constantly moving forward, something is always happening and remarkably it is not detrimental in any way to the characters development or world worldbuilding.The finale of this book is an absolute rollercoaster, your heart is in your mouth the whole time.

Another thing I loved about this book is that it shocks you, it is ruthless at times and at several point renders you speechless and stood mouth open catching flies. This happened to me at work, I pop in to get some clothes and BOOM something happens and I am just stood there mouth agape in a cleaning cupboard and even then my walk to the front office was just me in a state of sheer shock. I had to pause the audio for a moment to just stop and take in what was happening!

This was my first African-inspired fantasy, and I can happily tell you it will not be my last! I could honestly go on and on and on about this book but i’m conscious this review is already getting to be quite long, so let us leave it at that and if you have read it let’s fangirl over Twitter!!


As you are now aware I rate on a buy the hardback, buy the paperback, buy eBook or library rental/wait for a sale scale. If you couldn’t tell from the above review this is a BUY THE HARDBACK rated book for me!

ANNNNNDD…

I managed to find a not too expensive hardback copy in perfect condition! Sooooo, to celebrate this book being…AMAZING I am going to give away my paperback copy of this book. As I listened to this via audio the book is unread and the spine is unbroken. See my twitter post (the one sharing this review) for details.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


7 SELF PUBLISHED BOOKS I HAVE READ AND 7 I WANT TO READ…

Good Afternoon book folk and welcome back to my blog, yes it is the one in which I promise a weekly feature and forget said weekly feature! My bad, I am sorry but sometimes work just gets in the way. However, worry not as I am going to give you the goods today!

Maybe I should call today Missed Posts Monday. Mmm, yeah that could work…

So, as it turns out I actually forgot TWO Sunday’s Seven posts…

To compensate you for said loss I am going to give you 14 books!

As we are still in September’s Self Published Fantasy Month I am going to be giving you 7 self-published books I have read and enjoyed and 7 self-published books I am due to read!

7 SELF PUBLISHED BOOKS I HAVE READ AND ENJOYED…

Kings and Daemons

by Marcus Lee

Synopsis:

A tale of conquest, dark kings, and daemonic heroes. A spellbinding story that will enchant you with its plot of ambition, love, betrayal, sacrifice and redemption.

Over fifty years have passed since Daleth the seemingly immortal Witch-King and his army conquered the Ember Kingdom.

Now, with the once fertile lands and its enslaved people dying around him, the Witch-King, driven by his insatiable thirst for eternal youth, prepares his forces to march on the prosperous neighbouring Freestates. It will be the beginnings of a conquest that could destroy nations, bringing death and destruction on an unimaginable scale.

Then, when a peasant huntress whose rare gift was concealed from birth is exposed, it sets in motion a chain of events that could alter the destiny of generations to come

My Thoughts:

Kings and Daemons is Marcus Lee’s debut novel and the first in the series, I loved it and I am excited to read the next book in the series. I truly loved Marcus’ writing, it read perfectly to me, and by perfectly I mean it is exactly the tone and style of writing I adore in fantasy. 

MY REVIEW

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

AVAILABLE FROM: | AMAZON UK | AMAZON USA |

Blood of Heirs

by Alicia Wanstall-Burke

Synopsis:

Lidan Tolak is the fiercest of her father’s daughters; more than capable of one day leading her clan. But caught between her warring parents, Lidan’s world begins to unravel when another of her father’s wives falls pregnant. Before she has time to consider the threat of a brother, a bloody swathe is cut through the heart of the clan and Lidan must fight, not only to prove her worth, but simply to survive. 

Ranoth Olseta wants nothing more than to be a worthy successor to his father’s throne. When his home is threatened by the aggressive Woaden Empire, Ran becomes his city’s saviour, but powers within him are revealed by the enemy and he is condemned to death. Confused and betrayed, Ran is forced to flee his homeland, vowing to reclaim what he has lost, even if it kills him.

Facing an unknown future, and battling forces both familiar and foreign, can Lidan and Ran overcome the odds threatening to drag them into inescapable darkness?

My Thoughts?

Blood Heirs is a promising debut and sets itself up for a darkly entertaining second book. I enjoyed reading Blood Heirs due to the amazingly beautiful writing style that is Alicia Wanstall Burkes and the great characters… 

MY REVIEW

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

AVAILABLE FROM: | AMAZON UK | AMAZON USA |

The First of Shadows

by Deck Matthews

Synopsis:

How do you kill a shadow? 

As a raging storm descends on the Blasted Coast, the crippled young rigger, Caleb Rusk, meets a stranger on the road. Little does he know that the encounter will pull him into a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear—and change the course of his life forever. 

Meanwhile, in the Capital of Taralius, a string of inexplicable deaths have captured the attention of the Ember Throne. Second Corporal Avendor Tarcoth is tasked with uncovering the truth behind a danger that could threaten the very fabric of the Realm. 

My Thoughts?

A delightfully fast paced and easy flowing novella which gives you the feels of a larger epic read while not bogging you down with the page count! AND the map! This is a map that is even outstanding on my Kindle soo imagine it on paper!

Pssst…RTC.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

AVAILABLE FROM: | AMAZON UK | AMAZON USA |

Limbo

by Thiago d’Evecque

Synopsis:

The fate of the world hinges on a forsaken spirit, a mad god in a sword, and 12 mythological beings.

The Limbo is where all souls — human or otherwise — go to after dying. Some don’t realize where they are. Death is a hard habit to get used to. Gods and mythological figures also dwell in the plane, borne from humanity’s beliefs.

A forsaken spirit is awakened and ordered to dispatch 12 souls back to Earth to prevent the apocalypse. Many don’t take kindly to the return. Accompanied by an imprisoned mad god, the spirit must compel them.

Each of the 12 unlocks a piece of the forsaken spirit’s true identity. Memories unfold and past wounds bleed again.

The journey will reveal buried truths about gods, angels, humanity, and the forsaken spirit itself.

If you like epic fights, diverse mythology reinterpreted, and surprising plot twists, Limbo is for you. 

My Thoughts?

Limbo is a strange tale to be told, interesting and quite creative with its mixture of many religions, legends and folklore tales. It was interesting to read one story which is made up of many historical tales coming from Asia, Europe and all across the world and done so skilfully as not to feel disorientating.

MY REVIEW

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

AVAILABLE FROM: | AMAZON UK | AMAZON USA |

Paternus: Deluge, A Short Story

by Dyrk Ashton

Synopsis:

“Deluge” is a stand-alone backstory of two characters from The Paternus Trilogy. In this short story, myths, fables, and legends from around the world are combined to recount the adventures of Fintán mac Bóchra and Myrddin Wyllt in ancient Ireland, and tell the “true” tale of the global disaster known as the Great Flood. 

My Thoughts?

I have been eyeing Ashton’s Paternus books for a while now so saw this little gem and took it for the perfect opportunity it is, and I can safely say I loved Ashton’s writing and will be reading his other book in due time!

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

AVAILABLE FROM: | AMAZON UK | AMAZON USA |

The Sword of Kaigen

by M.L. Wang

Synopsis:

A mother struggling to repress her violent past,
A son struggling to grasp his violent future,
A father blind to the danger that threatens them all.

When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?

High on a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For hundreds of years, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire’s enemies at bay, earning their frozen spit of land the name ‘The Sword of Kaigen.’

Born into Kusanagi’s legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his family’s fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen’s alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be. Worse, the empire he was bred to defend may stand on a foundation of lies.

Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married into the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her growing son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of an impending invasion looming across the sea, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface.

My Thoughts?

This book is just, wow. I would say I have no words but that’s a lie! I could praise this book all year round. This is easily one of the best books I have read this year

MY REVIEW

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

AVAILABLE FROM: | AMAZON UK | AMAZON USA |

The Heart of Stone

By Ben Galley

Synopsis:

Golems are built for war and little else. In centuries past, they were a terrifying staple of the battlefield. Empires were conquered on the backs of golems. Now, time and fear have whittled their kind down to a precious few, kept only by kings and warlords.

Task of Wind-Cut is one such machine of war.

Task was built to kill. Built to win. Thousands have died at his stone hands. He cared once, perhaps, but far too many years have passed and too much blood has been spilled. Task has become numb to the chaos he wreaks for his masters. A slave to the spells that bind him.

Now, Task has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund is in the grip of civil war, tearing itself in two over coin and crown. This time, Task will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.

Beneath his formidable stone, Task longs for change. For an end to this cycle of warfare. For proof of light and good amongst the foul darkness of humanity and war. It will take the mind of an unusual stable-girl to change his.

My Thoughts?

Ok, I know this one is technically cheating because I am still in the process of reading this book but its going well so far so I’m going to chuck it in! Go judge me.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

AVAILABLE FROM: | AMAZON UK | AMAZON USA |


7 SELF PUBLISHED BOOKS I HAVEN’T READ BUT PLAN TO…

Sufficiently Advanced Magic

by Andrew Rowe

Synopsis:

Five years ago, Corin Cadence’s brother entered the Serpent Spire — a colossal tower with ever-shifting rooms, traps, and monsters. Those who survive the spire’s trials return home with an attunement: a mark granting the bearer magical powers. According to legend, those few who reach the top of the tower will be granted a boon by the spire’s goddess. 

He never returned. 

Now, it’s Corin’s turn. He’s headed to the top floor, on a mission to meet the goddess. 

If he can survive the trials, Corin will earn an attunement, but that won’t be sufficient to survive the dangers on the upper levels. For that, he’s going to need training, allies, and a lot of ingenuity. 

The journey won’t be easy, but Corin won’t stop until he gets his brother back.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

What Remains of Heroes

by David Benem

Synopsis:

Lannick deVeers used to be somebody. A hero, even. Then, he ran afoul of the kingdom’s most powerful general and the cost he paid was nearly too much to bear. In the years that followed, his grief turned him into a shadow of his former self, and he spent his days drowning his regrets in tankards of ale. 

But now an unexpected encounter casts Lannick upon an unlikely path to revenge. If he can just find the strength to overcome the many mistakes of his past, he can seize the chance to become a hero once more. 

And with an ancient enemy lurking at the kingdom’s doorstep, he’d better…

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

Asunder: A Vatan Chronicle

by L. Steinworth

Synopsis:

Alden knew life in the Shadowen Thieves Guild would cost him greatly, but when their next mission means abducting Princess Mayli Drake of Ammos, the price was too high. Defying the guild, Alden sets out to return Mayli safely home in hopes of restoring peace with the kingdom of Brimley. 

Mayli feels as though her life has torn asunder after being taken captive. However, if she is to survive, she must come to trust the renegade thief loyal to her mother’s killer. As Alden pleads for Brimley’s innocence, Mayli begins to question what she thought she knew about her kingdom’s enemies.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

Frozen Rage

by Steve McHugh

Synopsis:

Realm of Dreich is a getaway for the rich and powerful, a medieval-inspired town in the middle of a vast frozen wilderness. Now it’s the site of a wedding, intended to join two feuding families who have spent centuries in an uneasy truce with each other.

When Tommy Carpenter asks his best friend, Nate Garrett, to help him with the security of the wedding, Nate reluctantly agrees, knowing that it will be a long weekend of work and, in all probability, treachery.

It is only a matter of time before members of each family are found murdered and it is up to Nate and Tommy to find the killer before more bodies fall, potentially reigniting a war. 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

The Thief Who Spat In Luck’s Good Eye

by Michael McClung

Synopsis:

Amra is a thief with morals—she won’t steal from anyone poorer than she is. Fortunately, anybody that poor generally doesn’t have much worth stealing! Holgren is a mage with a distaste for magic and a soul bartered away to dark powers who will transport him to an eternity of torment on the instant of his death. Together they embark on a quest for the fabled city of Thagoth, where the secret of immortality is rumored to be hidden. 

But Amra and Holgren aren’t the only ones after the secret. Many others seek to utilize the hidden magic for their own twisted ends. And waiting in the ruined city with dark plans for the world are the twin gods Tha-Agoth and Athagos, a brother and sister whose illicit passion is as destructive and vengeful as they are. 

Now, as potent sorceries clash in a violent struggle for dominion over all that lives, Amra and Holgren face a choice between the unthinkable and the unbearable—with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. . . . 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

Parasites

by Matthew Samuels

Synopsis:

Parasites is a YA science fiction, solarpunk exploration novel that takes place at the end of the universe, just as it slowly starts to contract in the ‘big crunch’. On the planet Lyra, humans evolved late, on a resource-poor world, in a resource-poor solar system. The Lyrans master space flight, only to discover that their nearest worlds have also been stripped of resources. The population begins to decline, until a scientist discovers a technology allowing people and vehicles to travel through ‘thinnings’ – patches of space linking universes. 

Kael and Alessia are explorers, charting where the thinnings go and bringing valuable resources back to Lyra, trying desperately to extend the lifespan of their home world. Alessia’s father, Ben, set out two years ago to uncover another species’ reference to a ‘solution’ to the big crunch problem – but never returned. A chance discovery leads Kael and Alessia to a clue, prompting another expedition to see if they can avoid the mistakes of the past and help to unravel the mystery. 

Kael, Alessia and their gruff bodyguard Basteel retrace Ben’s steps, seeking closure for Alessia, a solution for Lyra and together begin a voyage through wild, weird and wonderful planets.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

Voice of War

by Zack Argyle

Synopsis:

Chrys Valerian is a threadweaver, a high general, and soon-to-be father. But to the people of Alchea, he is the Apogee—the man who won the war.

When a stranger’s prophecy foretells danger to Chrys’ child, he must do everything in his power to protect his family—even if the most dangerous enemy is the voice in his own head.

To the west, a sheltered girl seeks to find her place in the world.

To the south, a young man’s life changes after he dies.

Together, they will change the world—whether they intend to or not.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS


There you have it folks, my Missed Posts Monday feature, the day in which I make up for missed posts! I have a good few more Self Published books I want to read so feel free to check out my Self Published List on Goodreads! It is always growing so you may find something you are yet to read!



Book Tour: Kings and Daemons by Marcus Lee

Welcome! Today it is my turn to follow in the footsteps of some incredible bloggers on the Kings and Daemons Book Tour hosted by the amazing Storytellers on Tour. It is day five and my turn to gush about this gem of a book.

For full details about this tour then head on over to the Storytellers on Tour Book Tour Page.

Firstly, the giveaway…

Click on the picture above for a chance to win one of five paperback copies of the brilliant Kings and Daemons! Ends in three days!

My Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A few facts about Kings and Daemons:

  • Title: Kings and Daemons
  • Author: Marcus Lee
  • Series: The Gifted and The Cursed (Book One)
  • Publisher: Self Published by Mr Marcus Lee
  • Pages: 416

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

A tale of conquest, dark kings, and daemonic heroes. A spellbinding story that will enchant you with its plot of ambition, love, betrayal, sacrifice and redemption.

Over fifty years have passed since Daleth the seemingly immortal Witch-King and his army conquered the Ember Kingdom.

Now, with the once fertile lands and its enslaved people dying around him, the Witch-King, driven by his insatiable thirst for eternal youth, prepares his forces to march on the prosperous neighbouring Freestates. It will be the beginnings of a conquest that could destroy nations, bringing death and destruction on an unimaginable scale.

Then, when a peasant huntress whose rare gift was concealed from birth is exposed, it sets in motion a chain of events that could alter the destiny of generations to come.

Review:

I really bloody enjoyed this book!

Kings and Daemons is Marcus Lee’s debut novel and the first in the series, I loved it and I am excited to read the next book in the series.

As I said on my Twitter and Goodreads update I truly loved Marcus’ writing, it read perfectly to me, and by perfectly I mean it is exactly the tone and style of writing I adore in fantasy. It made me feel like I was reliving a tale told by someone who knew the characters and witnessed the story unravel. 

I really enjoyed my time in the world, it was a dark and punishing world with a history as bloody and harsh as it’s present. Really early on it the book, when we hear a little of Kalas’ history, I was thinking give me that book too! I wanted to know more and more and could have read about the previous wars and beauties of the Ember Kingdom for longer and that’s saying something! For this not to come off as an unwanted info dump is a feat all in its self. These glimpses into the characters and the worlds history were utterly enjoyable.

Spoiled vegetables in the fields, dead or dying fish in the rivers, the whole land was teetering on a knife-edge.

Marcus really managed to make the world something in its own right, yes the witch king was an epic villain and always the root cause of it, but the world was almost a character unto its self, it was so evil and utterly corrupted. People were taught to relish in bloodshed and revel in the gore of war and death, it was so corruptive you saw glimpses of it’s corruption even in your ’good’ characters. 

His dreams, full of killing and bloodshed, he would once have considered nightmares, had shown him his destiny in all its blood-drenched glory.

Throughout we see glimpses of quite a few characters in Kings and Daemons, I’m going to say this is third-person omniscient because the narrator knows all the characters and their inner thoughts not just our leads, but I could be wrong. As I was saying, you see into other people’s minds in between our main characters. This is done brilliantly, I enjoyed the breaks in main character pov’s and found that they really added to the story and the scenes. In some cases it showed the awe of someone in response to one of our leads actions or the disgust. It is done fluidly and does not come across as disjointed or clunky. 

Maya is one of our main characters and I found I quite liked the nimble-footed little hunter, at one point she says something a little flirtatious and I was a shocked and giddy at it, as was who it was said too, because I was like oh hello new playful Maya. Then the nitpicker in me thought is that really in character for her and it was, because all her life she had been told to stay away and keep to herself, play herself down whereas now she was in the company of folk whole knew her so she had nothing to hide and could be her true, playful and nature-loving self. 

Mmmm, and the grey hair! You know I love this, I mean I named my dog Rogue (after the x-men and not rogue one star wars) so I was digging this little detail. 

Kalas was also quite an intriguing fellow, I adored his history and thoroughly enjoyed reading of it. Kalas was at sometimes infallible though, there didn’t seem to be any risk to him. I would have liked to have seen more go wrong for him, or at least provide a few wee hiccups in his journey. Though saying this I don’t think this will be an issue in the next book!

From there, chaos reigned. But inside the chaos, as men ran forward, swords clashed, blood flew and screams shattered the afternoon air, there danced the daemon, moving fluidly, every blow deadly, men falling behind him like leaves from a tree.

Rakan was a great character too, I actually liked him from the start despite his horrible nature. Something about him just seemed redeemable and to see his character grow and develop was an absolute treat.

Taran was a joy to read too and I thoroughly enjoyed the blossoming relationship between him and Maya. 

His life which was hardly gifted by the gods, was now certainly cursed.

And. Don’t judge me. I like the Witch-King, its almost as if by calling him by his given name I feel more understanding towards him. He didn’t have a great start and was pushed to some degree in the direction he took. Don’t get me wrong he continued in that direction with a ruthless brutality but I still kind of like the guy. It is understandable how he masterfully manipulates those around him perfectly, by knowing his soldiers and gifting them his attention and actual gifts! Heck, he manipulated me into kind of liking him! Thats how well written his character is. Marcus managed to create a brilliant cast of characters who are all fun and unique.

Marcus takes you on a great journey with his plot and his writing, I love the burst of colour when Maya works her magic and his descriptions of such create such vivid imagery. The plot is filled with many of the aspects I love from fantasy and constantly had me wanting to read more. We are treated to dark fantasy elements, a natural feeling and stunningly written romance and your classic fantasy elements. 

I’d rather die fighting next to you, than live without you. Don’t ask me to go again. I won’t.‘

The magic in this book is satisfying to read, I love that it always comes with a cost and Marcus does a brilliant job at slowly showing you the rules of said magic. Without saying much I am really excited to see the costs of said magic for some of the characters, we find a few out in this book but I expect we may find out some others in the later books too.

This book is really good, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series, it was a super easy read and you will find yourself reading and reading and reading.


Sound good? I can confirm it is! If you want to pick up your own copy you can do so through Kindle Unlimited or treat yourself to a physical copy from Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com


What Marcus had to say…

Writing hasn’t always been a serious hobby for me … but it has always been there, lurking in the shadows, serving me well when called upon.

As I look back over the years, I realise I was guilty of writing many short stories, as well as poetry, and I’d like to think, that even if they were never intended to be published, they were nonetheless warmly received by the intended recipients.

Then in 2019, I was inspired to write not just a short story, or poetry, but a book. Then, suddenly, one book turned into a trilogy and a labour of love, and it was a love I wanted to share with the world.

So, here we are. The pandemic that put my career in sport on hold also gave me the opportunity to lavish time on my alternative hobby, or if demand dictates my new career.

However, only you, the reader, will decide whether this trilogy, which is still a work in progress, will be the first of many. I genuinely hope so.

Who knows, now these creatives juices are flowing, I might just keep on writing anyway.

Ways to get in touch with Marcus…

Author Website:

Head on over to Marcus’ website where you can see his upcoming books and also other version of his book cover.

Marcus’ Twitter:

Go and follow Marcus, he is a great contributor to the Book Twitter community and is great to engage with too!

Marcus’ Facebook:

What I just said! But for Facebook 😉

Thank you for reading!


7 FANTASY BOOKS WHO’S COVER ART IS THE BUSINESS…

This is a fairly simple Sunday Seven this week, mainly because i’m shit and didn’t even realise it was Sunday! I have been working for the last ten days and honestly all my brain can comprehend right now is that I’m at the end of my stint. I promise I have something a little different next week, I’m actually pretty excited for next weeks!

Sooo, what I thought would be a nice easy post was actually pretty damned hard. I ended up with so many covers I love that I opted to try and grab one from different styles. You’ll see what I mean in a wee moment.

Le’t get down to it eh? Here it is seven books who’s cover art is the business!

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

I couldn’t not put this cover on the list it is absolutely amazing! It is bright and colourful, it grabs the eye and it genuinely makes you want to read the book at first glance.

Illustrated by Ivan Belikov  and designed by David Mann.

A Natural History of Dragons

I chose to put this cover in this list because I feel like it is a cover unto itself, it is completely different to any I have seen and that alone warrants recognition.

We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle

I really like this cover, and couldn’t help but put it in the post. I’m playing Ghost of Tsushima at the minute and I have a Samurai mask very similar to this for my character! I also love the Japanese Hannya masks and this reminds me of them too.

The Binding by Bridget Collins

This one was a tough one, I had put together Circe, The Bone Shard Daughter, Gilded Wolves and The Goblin Emperor for this slot. They all are more pattern based in nature, but as I only have seven slots I had to try to narrow them down, almost by category if you will and out of them I found The Binding to be the winner (for lack of a better word).

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

I find this cover to be absolutely breathtaking, I love this type of art. I actually have several of the types of designs floating around on my Pinterest Boards and find them to be so beautiful. They are such a vivid mix of nature and humanity and for some reason they really get to me.

Cover art and design by David Curtis.

Descendent of the Crane by Joan He

I adore this cover, it is genuinely stunning! It is intricate, mysterious and really quite fantastical! It helps that I love tattoos and one of my favourite design styles are Chinese tattoo designs.

Designed by Feifei Ruan

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

This is such a cool cover, I haven’t read this book so I don’t know how much it encapsulates the story but if the cover and blurb are anything to go by its pretty appropriate! Also I love a lot of Lauren Panepintos work, she I responsible for The Shadow Of What Was Lost, Promise of Blood, Kings of the Wild and more. All of which were in the shortlist for this blog post!

Art by Ian Leino with design by Lauren Panepinto.

There you have it guys 7 book covers I think are the business, this was harder than I anticipated and i’m pretty sure I could do another seven several times over!

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings and I hope you enjoy these covers as much as I do!


What’s New To My Kindle?

This month I went a little mental with Kindle Deals, I got so many and a few others that were still a steal but not necessarily one of the deals.

Here we go…

The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

Add Them To Your Goodreads!

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Add This To Your Goodreads!

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Add This To Your Goodreads!

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Add This To Your Goodreads!

A Time of Blood by John Gwynne

Add This To Your Goodreads!

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

Add This To Your Goodreads!

Sword in the Storm by David Gemmell

Add This To Your Goodreads!

Vultures by Luke Tarzian

Add This To Your Goodreads!

Spit and Song by Travis M. Riddle

Add This To Your Goodreads!

The Blood-Tainted Winter by T L Greylock

Add This To Your Goodreads!

The Heart of Stone by Ben Galley

Add This To Your Goodreads!

The Wildfire Cycle by D. P Woolliscroft

Add These To Your Goodreads!

Well, that is my list of Kindle purchases! So many of these are currently £0.99, I think for another two days or so!

So you should definitely head on over to Amazon and get them while you can!

Thank you for checking out my new purchase. What have you bought this month on Kindle?