Silicon Override: An Edpool Review

This review is part of my judging effort for the SPSFC. For a little intro to the whole thing and an explanation of my judging style, see this practice review.


My latest read was Silicon Override, by Shawn Ketcherside. Let’s take a look, shall we?

This action-packed techno thriller started in a fairly muted way, with a nice buildup of sympathetic and relatable characters (Chase and Abbey, and arguably Doctor Edwards who I immediately pictured as Sigourney Weaver and to be honest that was a difficult one to shake so I just went with it). Maybe a bit more of a hook is needed to pull the reader in. If you’re going to have a Jurassic Park-style Hammond-video intro that the protagonist doesn’t listen to, then make either the information in the video or the protagonist not listening to it the main point of the chapter. And if you go with the latter, the protagonist needs to do something else interesting, like eat a bunch of sunflower seeds and spit the husks all over the exposition-giver.

What am I talking about?

Well, Chase has a backstory and it’s important to the narrative, but at the point we were just starting out I had to wonder why he had worked so desperately to get in on the ArcSIS project and was so desperate to work there (in ‘app development’, which … okay I’ll get to that), but then so aggressively refused to take part in viewing the introductory video, or any kind of preparation for the job, or the orientation even though he was being given a personal orientation tour and assistance by the female protagonist he was definitely kind of super into at first sight, or … well, any of it. Just didn’t make sense to me why Chase’s motivations and actions were so unclear and he was going into ArcSIS with such a vague yet churlish yet super-keen yet meh attitude. That did fold kind of nicely into his ultimate fate and his lack of an emotional aura (I’ll get to that too), though. So, okay.

Also, I’m afraid I completely missed what ‘ArcSIS’ stood for or meant. It’s a cool name and stuff but I somehow managed to not see it expanded anywhere. I’m pretty sure that’s on me, though.

ArcSIS is a little city under the sea, a technological wonderland isolated from the world. The potential of its construction and setup is unlimited. The things all the scientists who live there could be doing is very exciting. And the inclusion of all the necessary behind-the-scenes people (and making them into main characters) was really great the more I think about it. Those people are necessary, and often forgotten, and you can tell that Ketcherside gets that. It could have been … okay, stay with me on this.

You know how, in Gremlins 2, there was this high-tech self-sustaining smart tower with a bunch of office grunts but then also a freaky lab run by Christopher Lee where they were doing, just, tons of weird shit? This was that, only it was also the ocean lab in Deep Blue Sea.

So, as tradition demands in such a setting, a bunch of gung-ho mercenaries go full Dennis Nedry on that shit and everything goes to Hell in a handbasket. Their appearance and interaction with Sigourney Weaver, and everything that happens with them, is weird but oddly readable nonsense. I had fun.

Should Chase have sat down at some point and explained clearly why he wanted to work in app development in this incredible sci-fi lab? Maybe. Should Doctor Edwards have explained why Chase needed to be reassigned to some kind of management role? Sure. Should Abbey … okay, you know what? No notes on Abbey, she was great. Her weird superpower was perhaps somewhat surplus to requirements, but damn it, it was interesting.

I loved that, for a while there, it seemed like the day was going to be saved by the junior analyst grunt who was actually reading the boring data and double-checking figures and actually spotted a catastrophic problem. That was a cool little side / intro drama and definitely made me like Abbey way more than Chase.

I was less fond of the fact that, considering the fact that this was an undersea super-lab, very little of the story seemed to focus on the fact that they were under the ocean. I’m not saying there had to be a genetically engineered hyper-intelligent security octopus (although there objectively should have been), but the main point was that they had no easy way to get to the outside world or communicate with anyone, and that could have been done underground, or in space, or in Clamp Tower in the middle of New York City. The ocean needs to be a character in an undersea sci-fi setup.

As I was reading this story, I thought to myself that it definitely wouldn’t be out of place in a lineup of TV shows and movies where there are intricately-set-up and dangerous settings, lots of dudes with guns, and a gross but unique zombie outbreak scenario. There are good examples and bad examples of such adaptations, but Sigourney Weaver would definitely have to carry any TV show or movie that got made out of this one. I’d still watch the shit out of it, though.

Sex-o-meter

The male and female protagonist have an immediate thing for each other and eventually share a tender kiss. The beefy head of security is doinking the male protagonist’s mum off-page. I award Silicon Override one very small piano player and accompanying musical instrument out of a possible Carry On movie.

Gore-o-meter

The gore wins the day in this one, even if it wasn’t too explicitly written. Lots of firefights and cold-blooded executions, tons of zombie violence. Four flesh-gobbets out of a possible five for Silicon Override.

WTF-o-meter

The phrases you’re kidding / joking, and you can’t be serious, were used just a little too regularly and at a certain point I started to get a funny surreal jolt every time a character said it. At no point in the story was shit not serious, so why anyone would be joking … I know it’s a figure of speech but it’s – anyway. I also liked the fact that different people were using different terms – Trax, Initialized – instead of zombie. Which nobody seemed to even lampshade as a term they could be using (except one time, someone throws the z-word, but that’s it). Also out of nowhere they decided the group noun for the zombies was pod, which was at least sort of aquatic even if it was the only thing that was. Adrian’s increasingly cataclysmic inability to take responsibility for his own actions was hysterical. And the cyber-sphere and AI point of view stuff was fascinatingly imaginative. I’ll give this a Lawnmower Man movie out of a possible Lawnmower Man Stephen King short story. That is, very close to one another in WTF terms, but on inspection nothing alike in any way.

My Final Verdict

When you decide to combine mundane-conflict office narratives, a mother-son drama, an undersea lab getting overthrown by mercenaries, a greedy multinational corporation with dark motives, a bunch of utopia-seeking scientists, a zombie outbreak with a nanocyte twist, a junior analyst who can see people’s emotions and a lovable-nerd IT Guy plucky comic relief, that’s definitely a choice. With so much going on, the result was at once page-turning and cacophonous. I’ve got to give Silicon Override two and a half stars, which I’ll bump to three for the Amazon and Goodreads scale for the sake of the endearing banter between Chase and Rider.


The Awakening: An Edpool Review

This review is part of my judging effort for the SPSFC. For a little intro to the whole thing and an explanation of my judging style, see this practice review.


My latest #SPSFC book was The Awakening, by Adair Hart. Book 1 of the Evaran Chronicles.

Man, where to start? At the beginning, I guess. And bear with me because this doesn’t sound great but it’s crucial to remind you that it all works.

This book opens hard, and it doesn’t apologise for it. There’s a space thug named Jerzan Graduul, there’s Dalruns and Bilaxians and Greers, oh my! There’s a whole lot of information all at once – not so much an info dump as an info tommy gunning – and there’s a space anomaly, and…

And then, in a switchover that made me wonder if we were about to read the novel equivalent of Critters (or even worse [better?], Alien vs. Predator), we were whisked away to a sleepy little college campus on more-or-less-present-day Earth, where we meet mild-mannered Dr. Snowden and his niece Emily. Only it turns out they’re in a simulation of Earth after they were abducted by aliens, and the simulation is breaking down, and they’re pulled out of it and back into crazy over-the-top space by a mysterious alien named Evaran. As in Book 1 of the Evaran Chronicles Evaran.

Then, of course, we skip across to meet another couple of humans who were abducted and are in the same situation as Emily and Dr. Snowden. Including the real hero here:

I’m talking about Jay Beerman.

This army vet truck driver introduces himself to the reader by shitting his actual pants, pulling over at a truck stop to wash the clinkers off, then responds to the deactivation of the alien abduction simulation and the encroaching dark of utter existential negation by balling up his fists and shouting, “Well c’mon then, you pussy-ass darkness!”

Needless to say, I was smitten. Jay Beerman, the hero we deserve.

This book has a bit of everything. Alien monsters, cool tech, time travel and reality-hopping and worldbuilding on an incredible scale, and Jay Beerman. We circle back around to the characters from the prologue after a few chapters of complete, relentless immersion and the result is a very satisfying ohhhh, now I get what’s going on here. You suddenly see Evaran in a new light, and as the story fills out it is just very cool. I never did quite get the CrittersThe Last Starfighter imagery out of my head, even when I realised this was really more like the R-rated Doctor Who we could have gotten but we got Torchwood instead (and Torchwood was fine, I guess, but – and this is important – it didn’t have Jay Beerman in it so fuck Torchwood), but that’s okay. It’s all good.

You get a distinct, if a little hackneyed-slaver-pirate, sense of menace from the mercenaries, and the rest of the characters are nicely relatable and you definitely get invested in their fates. Oh, and the universal translator, with its “nearest available colloquialism” function? Nothing short of brilliant. It provides a perfect explanation for dialogue that might otherwise pull the reader out of the story. All in all this was a really enjoyable read.

Let’s get down to brass tacks.

Sex-o-meter

The space mercenaries were a bit on the rapey side, but it was mostly talk and soliloquy – there was not really any sex in the story itself. Which is good, because the gang-rape of lesbian character trope is pretty on the nose. I mean, rape of any kind but you know. Like I said elsewhere, I’m saving up for some grimdark here and I know what comes with that territory so I’m toughening up. Anyway, the mercenaries were gross but it was fine (as long as you’re “okay” with reading that sort of thing). Let’s give this story a single dried-out scrap of melon rind out of a possible five melons of assorted firmness and pulpiness, with a variety of different-sized and -shaped holes cut in them.

Gore-o-meter

Plenty of gore, lots of death and dismemberment and gross alien killing methods, severed limbs and stinky decomposing corpses. I was mildly disappointed the worm pit didn’t get used for one of the bad guys but I’ll cope. Can’t ask for much more than this without the gore becoming the point of the story, so nicely done. I’ll award The Awakening four flesh-gobbets out of five.

WTF-o-meter

The Farethedan and the Matter Mages, the timelines and alternate realities and the different variants of people, all of it, it’s very big and very cool and very WTF. Evaran fixes things in some cases but doesn’t undo or prevent disasters (like the massacre of Neoparene) … I wondered why that was, but the explanation holds up. We veered a little bit derivative particularly towards the end, with the sonic screwdriver and the TARDIS stuff Evaran was working with, but considering some of the incredible revelations Hart springs on us in the closing chapters of the book, I’m going to allow it. And the similarities are earned. Evaran’s couple of closing lines to the main bad guy are just brilliant, and just serve to add a juicy WTF cherry to the top of the WTF sundae. Which is what I will give this story, out of a possible same thing but with some sprinkles. And honestly, I don’t care for sprinkles.

My Final Verdict

The Awakening could use a bit more polish, there are still some parts that read more clumsily than others and Hart has some quirks that take a bit of getting used to. I admire the fact that this was a second edition and it was clear that a lot of issues had been patched up and re-worked and new scenes added. The improvement is somehow noticeable even without having seen the first edition. This story concludes with a nice lesson about not judging people on first impressions, and showing your emotions, but it doesn’t get preachy. The whole thing, I want more. And there’s a ton of these books, so it’s an absolute win! I can only assume Jay Beerman will continue to…

*Word-searches for Jay through the Evaran Chronicles product pages*

Aw.

Anyway, four stars for The Awakening. Great stuff!


Eos: An Edpool Review

This review is part of my judging effort for the SPSFC. For a little intro to the whole thing and an explanation of my judging style, see this practice review.


Oh hi there. Today I’ve mostly been reading Eos, by Jen Guberman.

I’m torn when it comes to characterising this book as a young adult dystopian sci-fi in the vein of Maze Runner and The Hunger Games, but those were the stories I was reminded of as I was reading. That’s just a risk of this subgenre, and I know it will read as a point in favour to some and a point against to others. Personally, even though I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of young adult dystopian sci-fi, it’s solid entertainment and Eos Dawn can easily stand next to Katniss Whatsherface without feeling self-conscious.

And just for the record, I didn’t hate the Hunger Games series as I read it. It was good escapist fun and said some interesting things about humanity. Eos, in my opinion, might say even more (potentially) – and that’s pretty darn cool. I’d watch movies of this, and I’d definitely snoot about how I read the book first, and the book is better. Also I read it before it was cool.

Anyway, let’s get into the meat a bit more.

Eos tells the story of a post-cataclysmic-war world where the known population is restricted to a handful of cities because of the radiation and other devastation. Travel between cities is strictly controlled, and society frighteningly regulated. Any threats to this regulated existence, from violent crime to just kind of being a sassmouth, are neatly removed and placed in “exile towns” according to their category of non-conformity. This is a rather cool concept and makes for a nice self-contained story map (literally) with lots of potential for expansion. And the names of the exile towns are clever.

Eos Dawn is, at least on initial impression, an extraordinarily gullible and naïve thief who puts up with people being shits to her at least three more times than she should at the outset. And she’s given one, what, half-hour job to do each day and somehow forgets to do it after two days? Fuck me. But here’s the thing: that’s a very human and relatable set of failings (and it doesn’t really matter, since we don’t get bogged down in that bullshit pseudo-normal nine-to-five thing anyway). I’m just saying, it’s not hard to water a garden if that’s the one thing you have to do the entire day. I just – fine. Bygones. Moving on.

Eos isn’t your typical hero, who after an obligatory period of angst immediately sets about righting wrongs and taking names. No, Eos is a big dumb-dumb who isn’t really great at anything, and even a couple of learning curves and a training montage later, she’s still getting herself needled with knockout drugs (which seem to be everywhere, but are we even surprised? This is an authoritarian Everybody Be Nice dystopia after all). Everything she does is kind of seat-of-the-pants and she doesn’t seem to get bitter and broody about it. She just sighs and throws up her hands and goes you see what I have to deal with here? Her quest isn’t for justice and unity or anything else. It just seems like something she’s doing because it’s slightly more interesting than watering the goddamn – fine.

Yeah, I thought it was a fun read. There are some clumsy segments of dialogue and inserted thought-statements explaining what is going on in the story – they looked to be added in to clarify what had just happened in case the reader missed it, and in some cases they’re necessary because the scene was misleading, and in some cases they’re not necessary and serve to pull the reader out of the moment … but none of it ultimately interferes with the simple and highly imaginative narrative and setting.

Sure, there’s a few issues with the world Guberman has created here. It all seems very flimsy and prone to security breaches, and with all the apparent malcontents and people with … let’s be generous and call them skills … outside in the exile towns, it’s hard to believe they haven’t just busted out and overthrown the cities before now. Maybe the second and third books in the trilogy go into more detail about this. The nature of the war that destroyed everything is also unexplored, but that’s not a deal-breaker. We only need to know it happened. It wiped out things like birds and rabbits, but the hunting teams still bring in game … I’m not certain about that, but eh. It all works. The Fabian set-up and pay-off, once we get to it, seemed a little too miraculous to me. Some more earning of that coincidence would have been nice, but the ultimate ending of that thread helped me get over it.

And what’s with the daggers? They definitely mean something and we need to know.

As I said, this is the first book in a trilogy – it had a nice cliffhanger ending, leaving the reader all too ready to one-click purchase the next instalment for the ol’ kindle, but did not leave the first book wanting for a proper beginning, middle and end. I like the symmetry of the clickclick storytelling device.

So what else have we got?

Sex-o-meter

Solid and rather innocent young adult fare, barring the occasional assault-and-near-rape one should probably expect when detailing a journey through dystopian penal settlements populated almost entirely by specific types of violent criminals. Hey, at least there wasn’t a Fiddlerville[1]. I award Eos twelve and a half shades of grey out of a possible you know the fuck how many shades don’t make me say it.

Gore-o-meter

Not much violence in this story – a throat-slashing, a gut-stabbing and a head-on-floor bashing, along with some random fights and stuff … okay I guess it had its share of gore but I’m aware that we probably have some grimdark still to come in this contest so I’m leaving myself space to expand. Two flesh-gobbets out of a possible five.

WTF-o-meter

How did this whole world happen? What was the nature of the war and is there anything left outside the (apparently) inhospitable nuclear wastelands? How are they feeding people now that Eos stopped watering the carrots (no I will not let this go)? How did they even start with the truck routes and lockup system and where are the rations coming from? Are they people? Is the mystery meat people? Why all the fuss over a key that can open stuff that can generally be opened in other ways? What are we missing from this story’s past? There’s a lot of WTF here, to be sure, but it’s mostly unanswered-questions WTF rather than the higher-grade uncut surreal WTF I need in my veins. Nevertheless, I’ll give it a polar bear dressed up as The Fonz out of a possible The Fonz dressed up as a polar bear.

My Final Verdict

Eos was an enjoyable read and was a great introduction to a fascinating and troubling world where society comes at the cost of all the things that make society robust and vibrant (but I mean, yeah, if people could stop stealing and killing, that’d be nice). A little more exploration of the different interwoven threads – the thieves who steal out of poverty and oppression, the noise polluters who are just speaking out against injustice, the privileged joy-riders who just got kicked out because therapy is hard – might have been nice to see, but there’s a lot going on under the surface. I remain uncertain just how much of a video game MacGuffin the assorted keys and boxes and the final goal were, but it was fun to watch it unfold. Solid three stars on the Amazon / Goodreads scale.


 

[1] For … people who play the violin badly. What? What did you think I was going to suggest? Yeesh.


BOOK SPOTLIGHT | KINGS AND DAEMONS BY MARCUS LEE

A massive thank you to the fabulous TheWriteReads for arranging this blog tour.

Hello EVERYONE!

I have been away for a while now, with several attempts at coming back that I have failed at miserably but I am now officially back so we can expect content from me again!

I won’t bore you with the details and so I will move swiftly on to this post…

Today we are participating in the book tour for Kings and Daemons, you may or may not have seen my previous review of this book, so today I will be posting a spotlight post. Now, this is the first spotlight post I have ever done so pardon me if it sucks ass!

ONTO THE BOOK…

KINGS AND DAEMONS BY Marcus Lee

THE GIFTED AND THE CURSED | BOOK ONE

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!

If you like fantasy tales of conquest, dark kings, daemonic heroes, and magic, you’ll love ‘Kings and Daemons’ by Epic Fantasy author, Marcus Lee. This is a spellbinding Dark Fantasy novel which will enchant you with its plot of ambition, revenge, love, and tragedy. What the gods give with one hand, they take away with the other, for if you are gifted, you shall also be cursed.

—–

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.


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


A SNIPET OF MY REVIEW..

CONTINUE READING…

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, and now I’ve started, I don’t intend to stop.

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 covers.

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…

PRAISE FOR KINGS AND DAEMONS…

KINGS AND DAEMONS is a multi-perspective fantasy tale that takes the reader on an exciting journey that both entertains and gives all of the familiar traditional fantasy feels that made me fall in love with the genre to begin with…”

Nick Borrelli @ Out of This World SFF

“I wasn’t expecting such an enthralling and well written book. I was hooked pretty much from the start…”

Cassidee @ FanFiAddict

“Deliciously dark fantasy, and a spectacular debut…”

Rowena Andrews @ Beneath a Thousand Skies

“Marcus Lee managed to write an excellent debut and I am really looking forward to reading the following two books of the trilogy…”

Lily @ Lily Reads

“Grim and hopeful at the same time, Marcus Lee’s debut is an enjoyable tale of magic, possessed knights, dark lords and Daemons…”

FBN @ FantasyBookNerd

Well, as usual thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and read about the book I am reading! I truly hope you pick this book up as it is such a great read!

Byee



SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 BOOKS WITH FIERCE ASS MOMMA BEARS…

***Please note this page contains affiliate links and at no extra charge to you I can earn a small fee on any qualifying purchases. Any and all money earned through these goes straight back into the blog***

Happy Sunday Bookish Folk & Happy Mother’s Day to all you beautiful mommas out there!

Well, seen as though it is mothers day I figured what better way to celebrate than to have todays Sundays Seven feature some of the awesome mums that feature in SFF books!

I was talking to David and Eleni a little while ago about tropes and I had myself a wee moan about the orphaned hero trope. I don’t hate it but I always thought to myself why can’t the hero just have a normal and functional family? I get it, the ambiguous origins trope means that you can have an easier route to other tropes such as the amazing trope of found family or the secret heir trope, but there are still ways to get to those with them having a family! Then to add to that, when there is a family dynamic we see the evil step mother or the disgraced child (in the terrible parents eyes) and so you can see how parents have themselves a wee bit of a bad rap in books!

And folks that ain’t on! I have a fierce ass momma bear of my own, and she has been mom and dad for a bloody long time, so as a thank you to her and all the fierce mothers out there I wanted to find some books with some fierce, loyal and loving mums in them!

So, without further ado, here are seven books which feature a fierce momma bear…

ON TO THE BOOKS…

ORKA

(The Shadow of the Gods BY JOHN GWYNNE)

“Fear is no bad thing,” Orka said. “How can you be brave if you do not feel fear?”
“I don’t understand,” Breca said, frowning.”
“Courage is being scared of a task and doing it anyway.”

Having just read this incredible book (which I will post a review for soon) I simply could not have a list about fierce momma bears and not feature Orka! I think I was less than ten pages into this book and I knew I would love Orka, I even tweeted about expecting to see one of the fiercest mums in the book and I wasn’t disappointed!

Orka is such an incredible mum, and not one I would want to mess with…AT ALL! This mum has some serious skills and she will scour the earth for her son and die to protect him! The raw emotions you see within the pages of this book are incredible, from the motherly chastising to her internal worries and fear you will feel it all!

“It is a hard world, and we will not always be here to protect him from it. We are not just his parents, we are his teachers, too.”

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


MOLLY WEASLEY

(HARRY POTTER SERIES BY J.K. ROWLING)

“You – will – never – touch – our – children – again!’ screamed Mrs. Weasley.
Bellatrix laughed, the same exhilarated laugh her cousin Sirius had given as he toppled backwards through the veil, and suddenly Harry knew what was going to happen before it did. Molly’s curse soared beneath Bellatrix’s outstretched arm and hit her squarely in the chest, directly over her heart.”

I love Mrs. Weasley she is a different kind of fierce mum, she is the stay at home beautiful mother to a brood of seven (I think) and she is such a loving and caring mum and one I adore! She is funny, she cooks the best food, knits the sweater and will shout at her silly kids through a letter for being a dumb kid! I’m sure I have pushed my mum to some of the levels of frustration you see from Molly for being a little shit!

“Now, you two – this year, you behave yourselves. If I get one more owl telling me you’ve – you’ve blown up a toilet or –”
“Blown up a toilet? We’ve never blown up a toilet.”
“Great idea though, thanks, Mum.”

Then throw in the fact that on top of her children already she has no issue taking Harry and Hermione under her wing too!

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


MISAKI

THE SWORD OF KAIGEN BY M.L. WANG

Oh Misaki! How I love her, she made me feel strong yet beaten and so much more.

Misaki is another type of fierce mother and her journey is a phenomenal one, she goes through so many stages with her children and motherhood, she goes from feeling like her children are husbands and less hers, to longing for her old life and all the way to her realising that isn’t the case and her fighting ! It is an emotional roller coaster!

“What is really important to me was protecting the people I cared about. I’ve never needed a sword to protect you—to raise you the way your father wanted. Caring for my family meant putting away the fighter, so I did.”

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


ALANA

SAGA BY BRIAN K. VAUGHAN

I love this series! And Alana is funny, kick ass and such a great mum. She is always trying to e better and very rarely has Hazel far from her.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


TAMRA

RACE THE SANDS BY SARAH BETH DURST

“Tamra’s breath caught in her throat. She spun around and there was Shalla! Dropping to her knees, Tamra pulled her in tight until she yelped.”

Tamra is another mother who just wants what is best for her little girl! She faces so many challenges through her journey and is constantly trying to make the best of her situation. She proves that they don’t need all tings lavish, but what her daughter does need is unconditional love!

On top of that she assumes a mother role of another character within the book too, despite all her struggles.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


AGNES

ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES BY ALIX E. HARROW

“Agnes almost laughs at her: of course she wants a child. Of course she wants to lay its sleeping cheek against her breastbone and smell its milk-sweet bread, to become on its behalf something grander than herself: a castle or a sword, stone or steel…”

In The Once and Future Witches we see a different take on being a mum, we see it through the eyes of Agnes as her baby grows in her tummy.

Agnes shows the love and care that mothers go through on their journey, from realising they are pregnant to the bond they slowly but surely develop throughout the pregnancy. Agnes develops a fierce love for someone she has never met and you see how it changes the way she sees the world, the people and how she makes some huge decisions.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


CERSEI LANNISTER, GILLY, LYANNA STARK & CATELYN STARK

GAME OF THRONES BOOKS BY GEORGE R. R. MARTIN

Game of Thrones reps so many mums here, and with such a variety too! We have Cersei who, despite having some seriously messed up traits, can’t be said to not love her children! Yes, she makes mistakes but down to her core her children are her everything.

Gilly is my absolute favourite she goes so far to protect her baby, she is so wholesome and lovely and is always trying her best!

Then we have Catelyn and Lyanna Stark! Lyanna did everything she could before her son was even born to ensure he was safe and it cost her everything, if that isn’t a fierce display of love then i don’t know what is! Then we have the super tough mum, Catelyn Stark she might have been a dick to Jon but she loved her own children fiercely and always seemed to have their best interest at heart.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


There you have it, seven books that feat a different variety of all the strong momma bears out there!

Thanks for reading. Who are some of your favourite mums in books!?


BOOK TOUR REVIEW | THE END OF DREAMS BY MARCUS LEE

Hello Bookish Folk!

How are we all doing today? I hope you are all well.

Today I am once again thrilled to be one of the many incredible bloggers coming together to review Marcus Lee’s final book in The Gifted and the Cursed trilogy! This tour is hosted by Storytellers on Tour, who I have had the pleasure of working with on a few previous occasions, so definitely check out their site!

I would also like to take this time to thank Marcus for sending me a copy of this book!

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The End of Dreams
  • Author:  Marcus Lee
  • Series: The Gifted and the Cursed (Book Three)
  • Published by Marcus Lee
  • Pages: 403

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

‘What the gods give with one hand, they take away with the other, for if you are gifted, you shall also be cursed.’

The End of Dreams is the nervewracking and glorious conclusion to The Gifted and The Cursed trilogy.

—–

As Daleth the Witch-King and his horde ready themselves for the final battle, a small alliance prepares for a desperate last stand.

However, the alliance is weak and fractured, led by a king interested only in retaining his wealth and a lord commander consumed by his thirst for revenge. With a seemingly unbeatable army before them, invisible foes amongst them, and broken hearts between them, the alliance appears destined to fall.

Yet in these dark times, her light almost extinguished, a peasant huntress is soon to be queen. But if she can find what was lost, she might prove to be more powerful than two kings combined.

This war will bring about the end of dreams, but for whom, the gods have yet to decide

ORDER HERE: Paperback | Kindle (Free with Kindle Unlimited)


Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

  • A dark fantasy romance;
  • Epic battles;
  • A far reaching and magnificent world;
  • Deep, complex and nuanced characters; and
  • An utterly satisfying end to a great trilogy.

On to the full review…

I feel like I have been on such a journey with these books, from its characters and their journey all the way down to mine. I have the joy of saying that I have been able to participate in a book tour for each book from this series, and I am honoured to have been one of the many bloggers to have come together to share our thoughts on these books.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series as a whole and this final book was not a disappointment. I have loved, throughout reading this series, the the detail Lee puts into his writing, it is the little things I wouldn’t think of like Kalas’ armour being to bright to give appropriate camouflage, and it just adds that little extra to his writing that makes all the difference to the readers immersion into the book. 

I also really enjoyed Lee’s knack for showing us the camaraderie amongst those who had survived Tristan’s Folly, and the introduction of new people into their ranks, though I did feel at times that anyone who wasn’t a part of their group were untrained simpletons and that at times felt a little unrealistic.

Lee manages to draw out some serious emotion towards the characters. Lord knows the moment I saw Yana’s name I was sighing at the bitch. Girl, please. He ain’t your man!! But then she surprises you and has you agreeing and appreciating certain aspects of the same damn character and it is such a real and human reaction. You don’t simply hate someone and instantly dislike every word out of their mouth and I like that Lee is able to showcase the complexity of several of his characters, especially within his darker less “good” characters. 

Lawdd, help me but I just cannot get enough of Lee’s ability to blur the lines between what is typically good and evil! It allowed for us to see so many shades to several different characters every time we saw it from their eyes. 

Damn, Daleth!

The man got darker in this instalment, suffering many near fatal wounds at the hands of Kalas he was bitter, showed slight signs of redemption, became even darker and more! I think that is what makes him a great villain, and while they were utterly despicable they were such a great addition to this character and story overall. I think Daleth was one of my favourite characters!

The characters that have filled the pages of this series are all great, some you love, some you hate and some you just can’t decide! But regardless of that I’m sad to see an end to their stories and happy because this was just such a satisfying ending!

It gives you everything!

It wraps up the tory brilliantly, it makes you sad, then happy, then sad again, then smug and so much more. It is simply one of those ending that is truly satisfying.

I don’t want to say much about the plot because you have so much to experience when you read this but know it is very satisfying, we travel and get to experience so much more of this incredible and vivid world Lee has created. It is a world that just keeps giving, I absolutely adored the insertion of the Horselords. I loved them, they are such a great addition to an already great book. It is the fear of their savage nature, the unknown and so much more that I enjoy about these elements and Lee managed to execute it so well, you were genuinely worried about the outcome of certain plot points surrounding them, so kudos to Lee for brilliantly weaving them into this story and with such suspense and tension.

I do have one gripe, and it is petty but the overuse of the word ‘for’ bugged me to no end. It was everywhere, I loved it in the other books because it wasn’t used nearly as much as it was in this book. I got to a point where I scowled each time I saw it.

However, despite my petty gripe this book and series in general is a fab one! When I think bak to the books of this trilogy I just smile, it is one of those trilogy that has a lot of scenes and moments that I love, I can pick out so many scenes that I LOVED and get excited about these books all over again!


You know the drill, On to the rating…

THE RANKS: 

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

I am happy to say that Tristan’s Folly is a BUY THE PAPERBACK! Yayyy

  • As I said in my review, I enjoyed this book. I have book one and two so it would be rude t not have the complete set!

ABOUT MARCUS LEE…

What Marcus Lee has 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 my first of many.  I genuinely hope so.

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

Epic fantasy has been my favourite genre since I first read The Odyssey and the Illiad as a seven-year-old.  Now it’s my turn to see if I can bring another world to life in the imagination of others. 

Ways to get in touch with Marcus…

Author Website:

Head on over to Marcus’ website where you can see his upcoming books, other reviews, artwork and more,

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:

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | THE RAVENMASTER’S REVENGE BY JACOB SANNOX

Hello!

I hope you are all well, and once again reading something awesome. I am going to review Jacob Sannox’s The Ravenmaster’s Revenge. I was due to review this a little while ago but I honestly forgot until I posted my February Book of the Month post yesterday.

The Ravenmaster’s Revenge is a retelling of the story of King Arthur but with a an urban twist.

And also thank you to Jacob for sending me a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Ravenmaster’s Revenge
  • Author: Jacob Sannox
  • Series: The Return of King Arthur (Book One)
  • Pages: 220

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

ORDER HERE: Audible | Kindle

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

  • A scheming Merlin;
  • Arthurian re-telling with a twist;
  • ancient bloodlines and English kings;
  • A satisfying glimpse at many notable historical moments in the eye of an immortal; and
  • A tale of Good Vs Evil.

On to the full review…

This is going to be a shorter review as I am about half an hour away from a killer migraine. So, while I am currently at the uncomfortable throbbing stage of this I am going to quickly write this with the darkest screen setting I can get away with and then proceed to hide in a dark room!

Although I mentioned about about this book has phases featuring great historical moments in which Arthur is involved in, this book spends most of its time in modern day England through its take on an age old tale of King Arthur. I actually wasn’t fully clued up with how this story would be told going into this book and I found the flashbacks a little jarring, I am not the biggest fan of flashbacks in any case so my issue stands more to that than the actual book. I actually found the flashbacks were brilliant in their own right, I would LOVE to see Sannox dabble in Historical Fiction because, evident by these flashbacks, it is something he does incredibly well and with astounding detail.

Now, without spoiling things, in this book Arthur is essentially immortal, long lived how ever you want to describe it and one of my main praises for this book was how incredibly well Sannox represented that. I have read a great many books and several have featured the immortal character and many never manage to show you that bone-weary tiredness that comes with living for several lifetimes. The ache on the soul at never stopping, seeing your life go through massive historical changes and Sannox does this brilliantly, it is not morbid or anything like and is amazing to read, there is an old feeling to his characters that represents them brilliantly.

The world that Sannox has created in this tale, despite being one we know to some degree being in a modern setting still felt refreshing and it was a joy to explore. The magic that fills the book is also great with familiars, warlocks, immortality, spells and so much more.

If you enjoy Arthurian tales the you will be glad to see the familiar names attached to them and will enjoy the characters Sannox has made, they are great, while I would have loved a bit more depth to some of them this is a short book so its would be wrong for me to expect the depth I am used to reading in 400 to 600 page novels.

Overall, this is a fun read, it is a shorter book and if you love history and Arthurian tales I think you will appreciate this book. It is adventurous and has a fun and familiar plot and characters.


THE RANKS: 

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

This would be a but the kindle for me, I enjoyed reading it and Sannox’s writing is lovely!

A massive thank you to Jacob for sending me a copy of this book!

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK OF THE MONTH | FEBRUARY

Hello Bookish folks!

It is that time of month where I talk about the book I have read in February and guys I read a lot in February, too much to be honest. While I enjoyed the books I read after so many I got serious book fatigue. My pace dropped and I had a mini slump of sorts, it wasn’t the slump in which no book sounded interesting but a literal inability to focus and read more than a few paragraphs without being distracted by tiny things!

I overdid it!

Though, I have to admit I am seriously impressed with my month at the same time, I made such a big push because I want to get through my ARCs both physicals and from NetGalley, and I was able to up my NetGalley ration through the five reviews I was able to get through.

On top of that I dealt with a two physical ARCs and worked my way up to a few other NetGalleys…the ones where I may have, and by may have I mean definitely did, request book three of a series which then got accepted and so meant I have to read the two earlier books…

I know, its a shameful thing to do!

What I am reading currently…

I am currently reading The Light of All That Falls by James Islington with David S from FanFiAddict and Eleni from Late Night Books! I am also about 70% of the way through The End of Dreams by Marcus Lee as a part of the Book Tour hosted by Storytellers on Tour and finally I am listening to The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell in preparation for one of those shamefully requested NetGalley.

ALL ARE GREAT SO FAR!

WHAT HAVE I READ THIS MONTH?

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them – the Gifted – are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion’s Four Tenets, vastly limiting their own powers.
As a young Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and his friends are despised beyond their school walls for the magical power they wield: a power that Davian, despite his best efforts, cannot seem to control. Worse, with his final test approaching and the consequences of failure severe, time to overcome his struggles is fast running out.
But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will change his life – and shake the entire world.

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Here

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book, more so because I had the joy of reading this with some amazing book friends but I cannot deny it is an amazing debut!

Snakewood by Adrian Selby

This debut epic fantasy from a British writer of incredible talent tells the tale of the Twenty, a band of mercenaries hunted by an unknown killer. Filled with unique voices and incredible worldbuilding, this stunning novel will delight fans of Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher, Joe Abercrombie or Mark Lawrence.

Once they were a band of mercenaries who shook the pillars of the world through their cunning, their closely guarded alchemical brews and stone cold steel. Whoever met their price won.
Now, their glory days behind them and their genius leader in hiding, the warriors known as the ‘Twenty’ are being hunted down and eliminated one by one.

A lifetime of enemies has its own price.

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Snakewood was a really great and an amazing introduction to the works of Adrian Selby, it is a format that some may not like. It has an actually name but I cant remember it but it is when the book is made up of a collective of journals and accounts to make up a story. Either way I really enjoyed it.

THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD by T. L. HUCHU

When ghosts talk, she will listen . . .

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghost talker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.

She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan . . .) as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets. And in the process, she discovers an occult library and some unexpected allies. Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

Opening up a world of magic and adventure, The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series.

Review Link: Here

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This was a different read to my normal, I enjoyed it and its main strength is definitely its main character Ropa.

Northern Wrath by Thilde Kold Holdt

Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.

A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods.

A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim.

A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.

The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief’s wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.

Review Link: Here

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Now, this wasn’t my favourite read as I had a few issues as to character depth and its length but I can appreciate its prose, world-building and captivating plot.

THE SHADOW OF THE GODS by John Gwynne

Set in a brand-new, Norse-inspired world, and packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance, The Shadow of the Gods begins an epic new fantasy saga from bestselling author John Gwynne.

After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrið.

Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave – or desperate – enough to seek them out.

Now, as whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.

All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods . . . 

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

As usually John Gwynne has knocked it out of the park! He is such a great writer, I was only discussing the other day with a friend that in some ways we love these books because we trust John Gwynne as an author. So while usually I might not like something, say I don’t know like a cliffhanger! I really don’t mind with Gwynne books because he has done nothing but deliver in the past and has earned my trust as a reader!

THE LEGION OF FLAME by ANTHONY RYAN

Survival is the only currency…

For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood–and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed–to fuel and protect its empire. But when the drake blood lines began to fail, a perilous expedition was mounted to secure them.

Claydon Torcreek survived the fraught mission through uncharted lands in pursuit of a myth that might have secured his people’s future. Instead he found a nightmare. The legendary White Drake was awoken from a millennia-long slumber, with a thirst to reduce the world of men to ashes, and the power to compel an army of Spoiled slaves to do it.

Spurred on by a vision he desperately hopes he can trust, Clay and rebel naval officer Corrick Hilemore hijack a warship and head towards the icy southern seas, searching for an ancient secret that may give them and their allies a fighting chance.

They are aided on another front by Blood-blessed agent Lizanne Lethridge. The spy and assassin will use her diplomatic status to infiltrate deep into enemy territory on a quest for a device to save them all.

As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few Blood-blessed are the last hope for all of civilisation. 

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Anthony Ryan is another author who has my trust a a reader, I really love these books and I am so sooo excited to start book three! This is a brilliant second instalment to an already amazing series.

THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES by ALIX E. HARROW

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Here

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book, it was a nice refreshing read for me and one that timed perfectly with my mood at the time, proving that just sometimes being a mood reader rocks!

The Ravenmaster’s Revenge by Jacob Sannox

It is the autumn of 2019. Merlin’s wayward apprentice has escaped from the Tower of London with his raven familiars. Legend foretells that the White Tower, then England, will fall.
Can King Arthur, a weary veteran of the English Civil War, Waterloo and the Somme, prevent the Ravenmaster from exacting his revenge?

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This book is a great reworking of an Arthurian legend, and one which I enjoyed, a strength of this book for me was the authors ability to show the effects of immortality on a person, something I have seen other more popular authors not do half as well.

Priest of Lies by Peter McLean

Tomas Piety has been many things: soldier, priest, gangster…and spy. As Tomas’s power grows, the nobility better watch their backs, in this dark and gritty epic fantasy series.

People are weak, and the poorer and more oppressed they are, the weaker they become–until they can’t take it anymore. And when they rise up…may the gods help their oppressors.

When Tomas Piety returned from the war, he just wanted to rebuild his empire of crime with his gang of Pious Men. But his past as a spy for the Queen’s Men drew him back in and brought him more power than he ever imagined.

Now, with half of his city in ashes and the Queen’s Men at his back, the webs of political intrigue stretch out from the capital to pull Tomas in. Dannsburg is calling.

In Dannsburg the nobility fight with words, not blades, but the results are every bit as bloody. In this pit of beasts, Tomas must decide once and for all whether he is truly the people’s champion…or just a priest of lies.

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Here

My Thoughts:

An impressive and standout dark fantasy sequel from Peter McLean for a series which is shaping up to be an all-time favourite.

A ​Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas 

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This is a typical SJM fantasy romance, and one I enjoyed very much!

An Echo of Things to Come by James Islington 

Darkness spreads across a land in need of heroes.

In the wake of the devastating attack on Ilin Illan, an amnesty has been declared for all Augurs – finally allowing them to emerge from hiding and openly oppose the dark forces massing against Andarra. However, as Davian and his new allies hurry north towards the ever-weakening Boundary, fresh horrors along their path suggest that their reprieve may have come far too late.
In the capital, Wirr is forced to contend with assassins and an increasingly hostile Administration as he controversially assumes the mantle of Northwarden, uncovering a mystery which draws into question everything commonly believed about the rebellion his father led twenty years ago. Meanwhile, Asha begins a secret investigation into the disappearance of the Shadows, determined to discover not only where they went but the origin of the Vessels that created them – and, ultimately, a cure.
And with time against him as he races to fulfil the treacherous bargain with the Lyth, Caeden continues to wrestle with the impossibly heavy burdens of his past. Yet as more and more of his memories return, he begins to realise that the motivations of the two sides in this ancient war may not be as clear-cut as they first seemed . . .

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Another second instalment that was brilliant, while this did feel lie it was setting up the third book a little it was still a great book and one I loved!


Ok, so the bit of the post you actually wanted to read…

This months BOOK OF THE MONTH is…

THE SHADOW OF THE GODS BY JOHN GWYNNE

Once again I have been very lucky in the books I have read this month, but John Gwynne has this one in the bag and it is much to do with the fact the book is bloody brilliant but also to do with the fact that this book got me out the book fatigue/slump I was talking about earlier.


Well that’s is fellow book friends! Thank you for reading, feel free to comment here or on Twitter if you have read and loved/hated any of my reads this month. Also, let me know what your favourite read was this month.


KEEP IT OR CUT IT | WEEK ELEVEN

Hello and welcome back to Keep It or Cut It!

It is Thursday AGAIN! And that means me very slowly going through my TBR, ten books at a time.

As you can see by the title this is the 11th Keep It or Cut It post and you know what…MY TBR IS BIGGER THAN WHEN I STARTED! No lie. Though I don’t actually mind, I feel like the more recent additions are better suited to my tastes than some of the books in the early levels of my TBR, and you can never have to many books to read.I mean, yes, finding the time is problematic but still…I will die trying!

I have also been adding a few more books of the nonfiction variety lately, and on top of that I want to try a few horrors and more historical fiction so growth is as inevitable as Thanos. I love Thanos he is such a great villain! Just saying.

AS USUAL, The Method

  • Go to the HUGE TBR list on Goodreads
  • Gather ten books of the week
  • See if the blurb/synopsis still tickles my fancy
  • Check out the reviews of those I trust
  • Maybe read the sample if I still cant decide

THE BOOKS…

BOOK #1

NAMELESS QUEEN by REBECCA MCLAUGHLIN

Goodreads Link

One girl must make a name for herself–or die trying –in this royal fantasy where an unknown peasant becomes the ultimate ruler. But how long can she keep the crown if everyone wants her dead? Perfect for fans of Furyborn, Red Queen, and Everless.

Everyone expected the king’s daughter would inherit the throne. No one expected me. 

It shouldn’t even be possible. I’m Nameless, a class of citizens so disrespected, we don’t even get names. Heck, dozens of us have been going missing for months and no one seems to care.

But there’s no denying the tattoo emblazoned on my arm. I am queen. In a palace where the corridors are more dangerous the streets, though, how could I possibly rule? And what will become of the Nameless if I don’t?

Do I Already Own It? No

Hardcover

Reasons & Thoughts:

I have had this on the TBR for a while now and I haven’t ever looked at it since I added it soooo…Take from that what you will. Reading it again for this post, and I don’t really feel sad about that.

BOOK #2

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by ALLISON GOODMAN

Goodreads Link

Swordplay, dragon magic–and a hero with a desperate secret

Twelve-year-old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye–an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. 

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic…and her life.

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

I was quite close to tossing this on the drop it pile tbh, bu the reviews saved it for me. It sounded interesting but I was thinking is it any different than the others? Well, anyway the reviews show that this is quite a fun feeling book, one where you can easily love the characters and It has asian influences, which I love.

BOOK #3

THE MERCIFULCROW BY Margaret Owen

Goodreads Link

A future chieftain.

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince.

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard.

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own? 

Do I Already Own It? Yes

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ohhh, so I actually have this book, and in Hardback form no less. Fugitives, chieftains and a dash of romance. Honestly, reading the blurb for this again I am wondering why I haven’t read it yet! Might have to sneak this in somewhere. I love spirit animals so castes associated with birds works for me.

BOOK #4

FIREBORNE by ROSARIA MUNDA

Goodreads Link

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

Dragons. I want more dragons. I love them but I don’t actually read too much dragon fantasy. not really sure why, so in order to rectify this I am going to keep this.

BOOK #5

All the Stars and Teeth by ADALYN GRACE

Goodreads Link

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I think I added this to the TBR when it was being hyped, I actually read a few articles about how this book and a few others had reimagined the genre for a modern reader and writer. I’m not sure if it does or not but I kind of want to find out. Plus, its pirates, romance and mastery of a magic. so we shall see how it goes.

BOOK #6

SHERWOOD by MEAGAN SPOONER

Goodreads Link

Robin of Locksley is dead.

Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on, but the people of Locksley town, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, need a protector. And the dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley andMarian’s fiancé.

Who is there to stop them?

Marian never meant to tread in Robin’s footsteps—never intended to stand as a beacon of hope to those awaiting his triumphant return. But with a sweep of his green cloak and the flash of her sword, Marian makes the choice to become her own hero: Robin Hood. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Audible | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I actually read some of this authors other work, though it was really early in my reading life. I read her book Hunted and I enjoyed it then but I am not to sure how it will hold to my tastes now.

BOOK #7

THERE WILL COME A DARKNESS by KATY ROSE POOL

Goodreads Link

The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it… or unleash it? 


For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.

All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:

A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart. 
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.

One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer? Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Children of Blood and Bone, and An Ember in the Ashes. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Paperback | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ok, can I just say how much I love this cover! I think this book could either be incredible or so bad! The characters sounds super interesting, and I am hoping it is an epic character driven fantasy with some great romance in its pages. So…

BOOK #8

POISON PRINCESS by KRESLEY COLE 

Goodreads Link

She could save the world–or destroy it.
Sixteen year old Evangeline”Evie” Greene leads a charmed life–until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, killing everyone she loves, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future–and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally trust Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side…

In Poison PrincessNew York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces a dark and intriguing world, full of unspeakable danger and irresistible romance.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ok, Trin this one is safe because of you, girl! Five stars and the most riveting read…

BOOK #9

THE DEMON KING by CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA

Goodreads Link

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her…

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I love the idea of this book, and it sounds great but even a great story can fall flat and from the review (of those I trust) this doesn’t have the best characters, and I love my characters deep.

BOOK #10

REBEL OF THE SANDS by ALWYN HAMILTON

Goodreads Link

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I’m pretty sure this is in the same article about doing things for modern fantasy so I gotta see what that is all about.


THREE CUT AND SEVEN KEPT…

Ohh good lord again!!

Thank you for reading, as always, I hope you enjoyed the post and feel free to comment or have a natter with me over on Twitter.


SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 BOOKS ON MY NETGALLEY TBR…

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Happy Sunday Bookish Folk!

This post is about a few things this week. Not only is it seven books I am SO excited to read, but also seven book on my NetGalley TBR that I have to get and I am so excited for! So we have a degree of accountability today…but books!

My NetGalley ratio is NOT good. So, having got through many of my physical arcs I can get to my NetGalley ones and make a move on my ratio. I have some serious work to do, but I am so up for it

ON TO THE BOOKS…

SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN BY SHELLEY PARKER-CHAN

I am so excited for this book, every time I read the synopsis I nearly screw the TBR and just pick it up. I love Mongol history from its rise to its fall, it is one of the most interesting periods and then throw in the serious Mulan vibes and I am practically vibrating with excitement for this book!

She’ll change the world to survive her fate . . .

In Mongol-occupied imperial China, a peasant girl refuses her fate of an early death. Stealing her dead brother’s identity to survive, she rises from monk to soldier, then to rebel commander. Zhu’s pursuing the destiny her brother somehow failed to attain: greatness. But all the while, she feels Heaven is watching.

Can anyone fool Heaven indefinitely, escaping what’s written in the stars? Or can Zhu claim her own future, burn all the rules and rise as high as she can dream?

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

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Hardback | Kindle | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org


Phoenix Extravagant BY Yoon Ha Lee

I am ashamed I haven’t read this book yet, I actually got it quite some time ago and it is still yet to be read. With its discord, need for revolution and mechanical freaking dragons I need to pull my finger out and get this book read!

Dragons. Art. Revolution.

Gyen Jebi isn’t a fighter or a subversive. They just want to paint.

One day they’re jobless and desperate; the next, Jebi finds themself recruited by the Ministry of Armor to paint the mystical sigils that animate the occupying government’s automaton soldiers.

But when Jebi discovers the depths of the Razanei government’s horrifying crimes—and the awful source of the magical pigments they use—they find they can no longer stay out of politics.

What they can do is steal Arazi, the ministry’s mighty dragon automaton, and find a way to fight… 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org


Northern Wrath BY Thilde Kold Holdt 

This is another one I really wish I had read already, it sounds fab and it reviewed so well. I was silly enough to let page count steer me away each time I contemplated it.

Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.

A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods.

A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim.

A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.

The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief’s wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org


The Black Coast BY Mike Brooks 

Recently released this book is reviewing really well! I have read each one I have seen pop up in th book community and they all make me even more excited to read this book. I’m actually due to start it in the next few days.

The Black Coast is the start of a series filled with war-dragons, armoured knights, sea-faring raiders, dangerous magic and battle scenes.

When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them, for they know who is coming: for generations, Black Keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Iwernia. Saddling their war dragons, the Naridans rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own homeland by the rise of a daemonic despot who prophesies the end of the world, they have come in search of a new home. Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the cross-fire of the coming war for the world – if only its new mismatched society can survive. 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org

Songs of Insurrection BY J.C. Kang 

I only recently found out about this book from stalking the indie lists on Goodreads and then I saw it on NetGalley and couldn’t resist! This is another I’m due to read in the near future.

Lose yourself in this fusion of Asian and Western fantasy, which critics extol as “wonderfully opulent,” “Breathtaking,” and “Unique.”

Only the lost magic of Dragon Songs can save the world. Only an awkward girl with the perfect voice can rediscover it.

The Dragon Singers of old summoned typhoons and routed armies, liberating mankind from the orcs before fading into legend. Now, with the world again facing a new cataclysm, the power of music stirs in Kaiya, an a naïve misfit with the perfect voice.

Without a master to guide her, she must rely on Hardeep, a disgraced foreign paladin, to help awaken her latent magic. His motives might not be entirely noble. When he leads her to the fabled Dragon Scale Lute, which only a Dragon Singer can wield, it is up to Black Lotus Clan to intervene.

Because the instrument’s fell power can save the world…

Or destroy it. 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Paperback | Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited)


We Ride the Storm BY Devin Madson

I am so sooooo LATE on this one, I’m pretty sure bloody book three is due out soon! I have no excuses!

In the midst of a burgeoning war, a warrior, an assassin, and a princess chase their own ambitions no matter the cost in Devin Madson’s visceral, emotionally charged debut. 

War built the Kisian Empire. War will tear it down.

Seventeen years after rebels stormed the streets, factions divide Kisia. Only the firm hand of the god-emperor holds the empire together. But when a shocking betrayal destroys a tense alliance with neighboring Chiltae, all that has been won comes crashing down.

In Kisia, Princess Miko Ts’ai is a prisoner in her own castle. She dreams of claiming her empire, but the path to power could rip it, and her family, asunder.

In Chiltae, assassin Cassandra Marius is plagued by the voices of the dead. Desperate, she accepts a contract that promises to reward her with a cure if she helps an empire fall.

And on the border between nations, Captain Rah e’Torin and his warriors are exiles forced to fight in a foreign war or die.

As an empire dies, three warriors will rise. They will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org


Ashes of the Sun BY Django Wexler

I actually have this book in physical copy too, from Goldsboro but I originally got it on NetGalley. Considering when this book came out you can imagine how shite my ratio is!

Long ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world in the start of Django Wexler’s new epic fantasy trilogy.
Gyre hasn’t seen his beloved sister since their parents sold her to the mysterious Twilight Order. Now, twelve years after her disappearance, Gyre’s sole focus is revenge, and he’s willing to risk anything and anyone to claim enough power to destroy the Order.
Chasing rumors of a fabled city protecting a powerful artifact, Gyre comes face-to-face with his lost sister. But she isn’t who she once was. Trained to be a warrior, Maya wields magic for the Twilight Order’s cause. Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, the two siblings will learn that not even the ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Paperback | Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited) | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org


As usual thank you for reading another Sunday Seven!